Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Possession (The Turning, Book 2) Jennifer Armintrout (1/5 stars)

Okay I didn't really like the first book in this series much but I already had the second book downloaded on audio so I figured I might as well listen to it. I guess I can't say it was a waste of time because I was driving while I listened to it, but I can say I won't be reading any more of these books.

In this book Cyrus is brought back to life as a human and Nathan runs around mad possessed by something. There you have the majority of the book. Many pages are spent on Cyrus angsting about how he feels guilty for all he did as an "evil" vampire and him wondering how to atone for it. Nathan runs around killing people; as he is insane. This book is primarily about Max and Cyrus. Max comes to help Carrie help Nathan. There is a lot of time spent on Max's and werewolf girl's relationship. There is a lot of time spent on Carrie and her desperate need for Nathan to be alright and Carrie and her desperate need for Cyrus to be alright.

You here about Max not wanting to fall in love, about Carrie not being in love with Cyrus but loving him, and about Carrie loving Nathan but Nathan loving his dead wife. There really is not much plot development. I think you could have condensed this book down to maybe a page and called it done.

There isn't very much gore or violence in this book. There are a couple brief fight scenes. The amount of action is minuscule. Carrie proves herself to be as much of a victim as ever, despite her own thoughts that she has changed so much since killing Cyrus. She is still whinny and incompetent (both emotionally and physically). Even the new female lead character the werewolf woman; despite being less whiny and more competent, ends up needing a man to help here out and constantly shows her "vulnerable" side. This whole book was too much of the swooning woman and big man coming to help me type. I didn't like it at all; I kind of wished that Cyrus would go crazy and wipe out the whole lot of them. Of course, he didn't, he was just as whinny and indecisive as everyone else in the book.

I would recommend skipping this series altogether and reading something worth your time.
Here is a link to the book on amazon:

The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl Book 5) by Eoin Colfer (4/5 stars)

The Artemis Fowl books have continued to be a great series to read. For some reason I always start reading these books with a bit of reluctance because they are, after all, kids books. A few pages into the book though I am always hooked again; this continues to be the case.

In this book Artemis calculates that the time warped island that demons live on is slowly unraveling. He is attempting to prove his calculation by detaining a time warped demon. With a demon as proof he is hoping that fairykind will take him seriously and take action to save the demon race. When he shows up at the next demon appearance he finds that he is not he only one who has made calculations about demon appearances. A girl Artemis's age, name Minerva, kidnaps the displaced demon in hopes of completing research on the demon and hopefully winning the Noble Prize. Of course everyone's plans end up collapsing and chaos ensues.

The book is action packed and non-stop intellectual fun from the beginning to the end. The new characters introduced are wonderful. Minerva is the perfect female counterpart to Artemis and No.1, who revels in his new found English vocabulary, is a hoot. The whole gang is back and ready to deliver. Holly is in for a lot of action and Foaly has a whole new bag of tricks in his mean hoofs. Artemis is taking his turn as a "good guy" seriously and his new outlook on life really endears him to the reader. The addition of Minerva as a possible love interest is very interesting. Finally Artemis has someone to laugh at quark jokes with.

This is another fun book that further enhances the Artemis Fowl series. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Here is a link to this book on amazon:

Magic Study by Maria Snyder (4/5 stars)

This sequel to Poison Study starts off shortly after that book ended. Yelena is on her way to Sitia to meet her family and to start her studies in magic with Iris. Of course nothing goes as planned and Yelena is having a hard time focusing on her studies because of all the things that keep happening to threaten the realm. Once again a threat rises that could be detrimental to both Sitia and Ixia and Yelena finds herself in the middle of it all; trying to find a way to save everyone.

This was a great book, if not quit as astounding to me as the first book. There are a number of new complex characters introduced throughout the book. Unfortunately I didn’t find many of the new characters to be nearly as likeable and engaging as the characters (from Ixia) in the first book. In fact I feel like this book really comes alive once the characters from Ixia join the plot again.

The above being said the book is non-stop action and the plot a complex set of intertwining political and personal events. This is another book that keeps you thinking during the read and wondering how all of the different strands of story will be neatly tied up by the end of the novel.

I think my main complaint about this novel would be an aspect of Yelena’s character. Yelena seems to rush off all the time into extremely dangerous situations without any thought as to the danger of them. I think this aspect of her character is played on too strongly and too often throughout the book. I mean Yelena is supposed to be very smart, yet I found her reasoning and logic as to why she had to be the one to put herself in danger to be unbelievable and not in keeping with her character.

Anway, this is a great book. Well written, smart, sassy, and high action. Valek is still my favorite character of the bunch; he is just so awesome. I am highly anticipating the next book of the series.

Here is a link to the book on amazon:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (5/5 stars)

I’ve been very curious about this book. Seeing it on Audible I downloaded it to listen to on the second half of our trip to South Dakota. I will start off by saying the audio book was done very well; very high quality production.

Yelena has been imprisoned with the ultimate punishment of death awaiting her; her crime is the murder of a man. As she takes what she believes to be her last steps before hanging by noose she is instead lead into the office of the Commander’s head of security, Valek. There she is given a choice; she can go to the noose or she can go through training to become the Commander’s food taster. Of course she chooses the second action. From this point on her live is full of the danger of food-tasting and of escaping the guards of the father of the man whom she killed. It is also filled with the kindness of a few special people and of Yelena’s exploration of here own abilities.

I loved this book. This book was a breath of fresh air after all the mediocrity I’ve read lately. The characters had a lot of depth and were very intriguing. I loved Yelena’s character and found her training as a food taster to be very interesting; I don’t think I’ve ever read anything on this subject before. The character of Valek is close to the top on my list of male characters that I love. He is just awesome in his skill, his depth, his humor and his loyalty. The Commander is another character with great depth and great interest. You really want to know all of these characters better; you want them to be a part of your life.

The book is exquisitely written and full of lush detail; yet there is wry sense of humor throughout the book that keeps the story from taking itself too seriously. The plot starts off simply and becomes more convoluted and intriguing as the book continues. There are many layers of political intrigue here that really keep your brain thinking and active. The characters are constantly evolving and surprising you. Yet somehow the book is an easy read (or listen). I found myself unable to leave the car because I needed to know what would happen next! This is one of those books that you will think about; I couldn’t wait to start the second one in the series.

A great book. I am very happy that I picked this one up; definitely one I will re-read. I will have to go and by the hardcover book just to have it in my collection of books that I absolutely adore.

Here is a link to the paper book on amazon:

Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson (2/5 stars)

My husband and I listened to this on audio book on a car trip to South Dakota. I downloaded the audiobook out of pure curiosity. I have heard a lot about these novels and MaryJanice has written a ton of them. So I wondered what all of the hubbub was about.

In this book we meet Betsy who has just been fired from her job as a secretary. Betsy has a thing for fancy shoes and lives with her cat. One night after chasing after her cat, she is smacked by an SUV. She wakes up in the morgue only to find that she is a vampire and that she is curiously unaffected by things that seem to plague her fellow undead compatriots. Nostro, the resident evil vampire, who is trying to recruit her into his clan, kidnaps her. Another vampire, the tasty looking Eric Sinclair, is also after her to join his cause. Betsy is trying her best to resume her live before death and wants no part in vampire politics.

The quality of the reading of the audio book was very good and I have no complaints with the production of the audio book.

As a native Minnesotan I loved that this book took place in the Twin Cities. My familiarity with the setting made some parts of the book funnier than they probably would have been to a non-native. This book is not a fine work of literature. It’s full of slang, the jokes are generally stupid jokes on word play, and sometimes slapstickish. Still, the book was mildly entertaining and non-involving. My husband and I chortled at some of the jokes. It was just the right type of book to listen to in the car. I never felt that attached to it. It was easy to leave the car in the middle of the book and easy to get back into the book when we resumed driving.

I guess it depends what you want in a book. This book was an easy read, kind of fun, and very chic-centric if you know what I mean. I was surprised my husband found it as amusing as he did. It is not an intellectual read, not really that well written, and I have to admit a lot of the fashion-speak was lost on me. I am by no means a shoe expert and couldn’t really respect Betsy’s shoe obsession. I did respect the blatant-ness of Betsy’s character; Betsy’s sheer candidness and non-normal reaction to some of the situations she ended up in were hilarious at times.

Will I read more of these books? Probably not. There’s just too much fluff there; the end of this book was already boring me with the over-the-top humor and the uninspired writing. If I was stuck in the car on another trip to South Dakota, and I had absolutely nothing else to do, I might listen to the second audio book. This was just another in a series of mediocre books that I have read lately.

Here is link to the book on amazon:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rebel Fey by Barb Hendee (3/5 stars)

This book is the fifth installment of The Noble Dead series by Barb and JC Hendee. This has been a pretty good series.

In this book Leesil, Magiere, Wynn, and Chap make their way into the elvish lands to find and rescue Leesil's mother who is being held captive by the very elves she was working for. As you can imagine upon entering the elvish land things start to get complicated. The party run into a number of elves that they have meet before. They are granted guardianship by Sgaile and Leesil finds that the Most Aged Father of the elves wants to make a deal to bargain for the freedom Leesil's mother Nien'a. Chane and Welstial are seen infrequently in the book and their quest to find the place of Welstial's dream doesn't make much progress.

There are many plotline advances and surprises in this book. You find out more about the secret group of elves that Nien'a is part of and what their plans are for Leesil. You find out more about Magiere and what her involvement as the Sister of the Dead is. You find out a lot about Chap. In fact much of this book is centered around Chap and he takes a center role in this book which is a bit unusual for a glorified dog :-) You find out more about Chap's mission and his position with the Fey. There are a few new and endearing characters introduced in this book; I especially like the old elf Glenn, Chap's girlfriend Lily, and we learned a lot more about Botun (not sure of this spelling). The Most Aged Father was also an interesting, if unlikeable, character.

All the above being said I was very disappointed with the pacing of this book. There really isn't much that happens in the first 2/3rd's of the book. It took me forever to get through this book because it just wasn't holding my interest. I feel like we spent a lot of time listening to Leesil whine, listening to Magiere listen to Leesil whine, you listen to Wynn whine, and you listen to Chap whine. It was ridiculous. Thankfully the last third of the book had a ton of action, huge amounts of plot development, and really hooked me again. The main quest in the book is resolved but I felt like a lot more questions were created at the end that will, most likely, be answered in the next book of the series.

Maybe this book should get more then 3 stars but I didn't think it really compared to the other books in the series. In general this whole series had been of mediocre writing quality. I think the only thing that draws me to it and keeps me reading is that these are nice basic swords and sorcery books with a vampire twist to them..oh yeah and they have that whole darkness is going to destroy the world going on in the background. I really hope that this series doesn't continue for more than a couple more books. Any longer than that and I think it will be just barely limping along.

Here is a link to the book on amazon:

The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout (3/5 stars)

The book "The Turning" is the first in a series called Blood Ties. So far I believe there are 3 books in the series. I listened to this on audio book. Quit honestly the only reason I "read" it is that I saw it available on and I used one of my credits to download it.

Dr. Carrie Ames is an ER doctor. One of the trauma cases that comes into the ER effects Carrie in a strange way; the viciousness of his injuries make her literally sick. In order to confront what's seen as a weakness in the medical field, she goes to the morgue to assure herself that she can stand the site of such a vicious trauma. In the morgue she is attacked by the supposed dead trauma case and after a lengthy recovery starts to develop strange powers and weaknesses.

The book follows Dr. Ames as she tries to figure what is happening to her. She meets up with Nathan Grant who is a member of a group of vampires for the extinction of vampires; he helps her figure out how to cope with being a vampire. She struggles with the "blood tie" that draws her to her sire; the violent vampire Cyrus.

This is a mediocre book. All in all it was entertaining since I was driving and didn't have anything better to do. On a positive note there were some unique ideas. For example the blood tie is interesting. Typically vampire masters are seen as all powerful; in this book the blood tie works both ways. The blood tie leaves the master somewhat vulnerable to the fledgling vampire. This is an interesting idea. Another interesting idea is that there is a group of vampires solely dedicated to helping the extinction of their own race. I know many books follow a good vampire exterminating bad vampires and this is a variation of that but in a bigger and more organized way.

When I found out this was a harlequin book I almost didn't listen to it. I am not really into the romance genre. Surprisingly there really isn't any mushy horrible romance language in this book. In fact I would classify this book as more of a horror novel. The violence in this book is extremely graphic. Not quit as graphic as the early Laurell Hamilton Vampire Executioner novels; but very close.

Nathan and Cyrus were interesting characters. In fact most of the characters were pretty interesting excepting the most important one. I though Dr. Ames was weak as a female lead and a bit too much of a victim considering the circumstances she got herself into.

As for the quality of the audio book; it was very well read. The only thing that bothered me a bit was that the voices of Ziggy and Dahlia were too close to each other.

Will I read the next book? Probably since I already have it downloaded on audio book. Overall though I think this is another run of the mill vampire series. I am not sure if all these new vampire books are just mediocre or if I am just getting tired of the genre; but I didn't really see anything spectacular here.

Here is a link to it:

Monday, October 1, 2007

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (2/5 stars)

I had been wanting to read this book for some time. It got many reviews and fellow reviewers have lauded the creativity of this book. Here is a link to the book on amazon: The City of Ember

This book details the lives of the people in the city of Ember. The city of Ember is an isolated city where it is always dark. Only the many streetlights dampen the darkness and although people have tried to penetrate the Unknown Regions beyond Ember - no person is known to have successfully made it out of the city. The Builders left instructions on how to exit the city to the Mayor but greed caused the loss of these instructions. This book follows Lina and Doon as they try to figure out a way to help Ember and to find a way out of the city. In Ember power outages are increasing and supplies are running low and the city's survival only seems to be a matter of time.

This book is well written and an easy listen (we listened to it on audio book). The person who reads the book has some very irritating voices for some of the characters. The mayor's voice was especially annoying and had me and my husband cringing everytime he spoke. The initial idea of a lost city where humans dwell in seclusion is not really that unique. We have encountered numerous stories of humans kept in a safe house during a crisis and struggling to survive. What is creative is the cult-like atmosphere that develops in Ember and the supression of human creativity and intelligence that seems to keep this city working.

I thought that this last trait in the book was ridiculous. None of the humans in the last 240 years have figured a way out of the city; it didn't sound like anyone really tried. This is crazy; humans are naturally curious and, unless there was some genetic culling going on, someone would have tried to find a way out of the city. This book also makes big deal out of creating a movable light to explore the Unknown Regions with. Apparently no one can figure this out and it is a major impediment to people leaving the city. Yet, the people in the city have electricity and they even have fire and cooking oil. You can't tell me that no one in 240 years figured out they could use a wick and some cooking oil to create a lantern and explore the area. I mean this isn't rocket science.

In fact all of the adults in this book are lazy and stupid. I know this is a young adult book meant to empower young adults. But is potraying adults as stupid and untrustworthy really doing anyone really good; is it even remotely realistic? On top of that Lina and Doon blindly trust a number of authority figures that *have* given them great cause to not trust them; this is just a plain inconsistency in Lina's and Doon's characters. How can these characters be so brilliant and clever, yet be so inconsistently stupid?

This book was also full of other inconsistencies. I believe at one point Lina or Doon starts talking about cars and then later they don't know what cars are (this isn't the exact way it happened but it's a similar type of reference). If you are going to make a big deal about Lina and Doon not being familiar with an object, you can't have them be familiar with it earlier in the book.

This book addressed an interesting, if over analyzed, topic. And it addressed it in a poorly reasoned way. I won't be reading the second book in the series because, if it mimics the first, it will drive me crazy. This book gets 2 stars because it was readable and somewhat engaging. I still wouldn't recommend it unless you are totally at a loss for something to read. I think the best thing that came out of this book was that it gave my husband and I something to discuss for an hour while we were hiking; we talked about how stupid the characters were and how lame the story was.

Here is a link to the book on amazon:

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (5/5 stars)

I read the first book in this series (A Great and Terrible Beauty) and was surprised at how much I loved the book. I was really hoping that the sequel, Rebel Angels, would live up to my expectations; and guess what? It did!

Here is a link to the book on Amazon:

Most of the book takes place during Christmas break with the girls back in London for the holidays. The girls are struggling to find the secret of Circe, figure out how to bind the magic that Gemma released in the first novel, and to discover what the deal is with the newest teacher at Spence. Of course there are struggles with family, potential suitors, etc thrown in with all of the mystery surrounding the Order. The book is well-written and fast-paced. It really kept me interested the whole way through. There is mystery, intrigue, magic, and romance all in perfect amounts. There is the intrigue of the girls' everyday lives woven into the deeper mystery involving the magic of the realms. Sometimes it seems like almost too much is going on but the book is written in a way that makes the events fast-paced rather than frantic.

New depth is added to the current characters. You find out more about Gemma, Ann, Felicity, and Kartik. This book is written in a lovely way and is a pleasure to read. It is a pretty quick read. For some reason I am always surprised at how much I love these books and this book left me again pleasantly surprised. I look forward to the next book in the series "A Sweet and Far Thing".