Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strategy for Sustainability by Adam Werbach (4/5 stars)

I am not a big business person. I mean I have worked for corporation basically since I started working; but I don't read a lot of business books. I got this book because it looked intersting. I wanted to know how sustainability was tied into the larger corporate picture.

What I found out is that this was a really interesting book. Werbach (as the former CEO of Sierra club) does a great job of engaging the reader at the beginning of each chapter. The first part of the book was focused more towards upper management but later parts of the book were more about how any individual can create change in a business.

Werbach uses a lot of very interesting real-life company (and nature-occuring) cases to start out each chapter. These case studies are very interesting and engaging. For each chapter he then goes into an aspect of his STaR plan. The StaR plan stands for Society, Technology, and Resources. He talks about managing these items to make a sustainable company and how sustainability is strongly linked with successful company performance. He also spends a lot of time discussing setting a "North Star" goal and about what that is.

Time is also spent discussing how important it is to engage employees at all levels, how important it is for a company to be transparent to both its customers and its employees, and how cultural and societal impacts of corporate action also have high impact on corporate success. The book applies well to both small and large companies. Case studies are looked at about how some successful small companies started out as sustainable companies and how larger corporations have made headway into becoming a more sustainable companies.

Overall I liked the book. I agree with the sentiment. I think that in an ideal world this book would be a good guide. I think realistically the ideas in it are much more complicated to put into practice than the book makes them seem. Still Werbach makes a number of interesting points and I may check out more of his books in the future.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (4/5 stars)

This book is exactly what the title suggests. Some parts of the book are intact and then zombie scenes thrown in. Much of the dialog is also changed to incorporate that Britain has been overrun by zombies for the last 50 years or so.

The good stuff about this book is that parts are hilarious. The pictures in the book are also very hilarious. Sometimes I was chuckling loudly at the craziness of the whole thing. Somehow Grahame-Smith managed to do zombies in a very Victorian way. It is awesome that there are now fight scenes and zombies and ninjas! Yes, I said ninjas. The ninjas and the Bennet's combat training sometimes give the book a bit of a kungfu taste at points. So I liked that too.

Now for the bad stuff. I found the beginning of the book, with zombies, to be just as long and tedious to get through as it was without zombies. Also, since I already knew what happened in the end (kind of) the story just wasn't as interresting the second time through. I also have a stylistic quip. A big part of what makes "Pride and Prejudice" awesome is how all the characters use their subtle wording as weapons. Well, a lot of that is lost when instead of being clever about how something is said, Lizzie whips out her katana and slices her "enemies" head off. I mean it is funny but the story looses a lot of it's intelligence too...if you know what I mean.

Overall this was an okay book; it gets an extra star just for being a very novel and interesting idea. I would read it mostly if you like zombies and you like "Pride and Prejudice". If you don't like one or the other very much I think you will have trouble getting through it.

Stargazer by Claudia Grey (3/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Evernight series. There are supposed to be four books in the series. This book was much like the first book for me. If you liked the first book you will like this one. It is beautifully written, the first part is kind of boring and nothing happens, and then the last few chapters are so packed with action it's amazing.

Bianca is returning to school after a grueling summer separated from Lucas. Upon returning to school she finds out that she is being haunted by wraiths. Much of the story deals with Bianca trying to get away from campus to secretly meet with Lucas. Balthazar is also in the story a lot.

The pacing of this book matched the first book. It is pretty darn boring for the first two thirds. A lot of teenage angsting going on as Bianca feels sorry for herself because she can't be with Lucas. The wraith hauntings happen at wide intervals and are the only interesting thing in the beginning of the book. The end of the book however is packed with so many revelations and action scenes that it leaves you dizzy.

This whole series has been much more well-written than the House of the Night series by PC and Kirsten Cast. Unfortunately the pacing is such that I find these books to be pretty dull. I don't really think Bianca is the most inspriing character either.

The end of the book is fantastic and almost makes up for the slow beginning. The end was enough to make me want to know what happens in the next book. This book was definitely a transition novel that builds to the next book. This book is definitely not a stand alone; you need to read Evernight first. Also this book doesn't resolve much at all; so for any resolution you'll have to hang around for the next book "Hourglass".

News - Wicked Lovely #4 and Alice in Wonderland

Okay I have some great news that I saw on another blog. Looks like the title for Wicked Lovely Book #4 has been released and it will be "Radiant Shadows". There are going to be five books total in this series. I've been kind of luke-warm on this series but it one of the few series out there that deal with fairy courts, which I love, so I have been sticking with it. For the original article see here: Wicked Lovely #4

Also a trailer is finally out for the Alice and Wonderland movie. Go here to link to it. It looks like a fantastic movie! Of course I am a bit bummed that it doesn't come out until next spring :-( I will be waiting in anticipation! So far there hasn't been a Burton/Depp movie I haven't loved.

Lastly Suzanne Collins book "Catching Fire" will be out in just over a month. I am soooo looking forward to this book. Anyone who hasn't read the first book in the series "Hunger Games" should; it was fantastic. You can read my review of it here.

Well that's all the news I have for now. I have three books that I have finished that are waiting for me to write reviews on them. Hopefully I will get to that tonight!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monday - Weekly Book Haul

I got quite a few new books this week too. Mainly because there were some good deals going on; that and I stumbled into a couple books in the clearance section of Half Price Books that I has been looking for. So, without further ado here are the books I got in last week.

From Half Price Books:

I've had this book on my wish list for quite a while. When I ran into it for $1 at Half Price Books I couldn't past it up.

I like Brom and after reading "Plucker" which I loved; I was excited to see he had a new book out. Okay really it was new last year, but HPB finally has it so I got it! I am also very excited to report that I am getting an ARC of "Child Thief" his next book through Amazon Vine next week!

From the Library:

I've been on the wait list for this book a while and now I finally was able to pick it up from the library this week. It's a 10 day so I will be reading it soon!

Direct from Author:

I was actually contacted by an author who offered to send me one of his books if I would review it. So, that's this book. Hopefully it will be a good read.


This book just caught my eye one day on PBS website. Food, desserts, and vampires; how can you go wrong?

Another anthology of some of my favorite paranormal authors. There are also a couple authors in here I am interested in reading but have never read. I still have the anthology "Dates from Hell" to get through too. Eventually it will be done.

I was looking for more Nancy Collins books to read. I have read all of her Sonya Blue novels and everything else she has written. I loved it all, so I am hoping this is also a good book.

The second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I think these lean more towards romance but I've been told they are really good and have awesome action scenes. So we will see. I have yet to acquire the first book in the series but I got 2-4 in a deal I couldn't pass up.

The third book.

The fourth book.

That is all for this week. Again, it is more than enough :-) Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Spook's Tale: And Other Horrors by Joseph Delaney (4/5 stars)

This book is more of an interlude or a supplement to The Last Apprentice series. It is well written and interesting nonetheless, but not as fantastic as a full-fledged book would have been. Although we don't have a long wait "Clash of the Demons" comes out the end of August '09.

There are three stories in this book. The first details how the Spook became a Spook. This story was okay; it gives you some background around the Spook. Nothing that is really surprising, but a decent story.

The second story is about what happened to Alice when she was in Pendle right before Tom came to rescue her. This was my least favorite story of the bunch. Again no surprises and a very brief story.

The third story made the book worth having. This was the story of how Grimalkin became a witch assassin. I think Grimalkin is a fascinating character and found this story to be an interesting read. It made me wish that Delaney would write some books from Grimalkin's point of view...maybe he can do that after he is done with Tom Ward's story :-)

Overall I enjoyed this book. It is just filler for the main event though and I am eagerly awaiting "Clash of the Demons"!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (2/5 stars)

I was excited to read a novel by Gail Carson Levine; but this book turned out to be less than I was hoping for. It make work out better for young girls, but I seriously doubt young adults or adults will find it all that engaging. On a side note I listened to this as an audio book and that was experience. They used a full casting for the audio book and all of the songs were sung in all of their full operatic glory. I was riding my bike when I started listening to this book and I almost fell off of it when all the sudden music started pelting out in the middle of my audio book....

Aza thinks that she is ugly; she is too big and has different coloring from other people in the kingdom. Her parents run an inn and love her dearly, but they are not her birth parents (they found her on the steps of their inn as a baby). When Aza accompanies a Duchess to the wedding of their new king she feels drawn to the new Queen. The Queen ends up asking Aza to be her lady-in-waiting and from there Aza gets embroiled in a dangerous plot to help Queen Ivy save face.

This book is supposed to be a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It has some similarities to that story but more differences. If you think Disney took the grim out of Grimms Fairy Tales well then this book is Disney sugar coated with a cherry on top. There is so much happy ever after it is almost sickeningly sweet. The dire circumstances of the heroine are never really dire at all; the book is completely predictable.

Aza makes an unlikely role model for young girls. Aza (who is wed at 16 years old, I might add) is fifteen going on sixteen but has the mentality of a ten year old. Her obsessiveness with her ugliness is really...well...obsessive. She easily tosses morals aside to be beautiful. At the end she says she can't believe how much she has changed throughout the book; when not a few seconds earlier she was *again* whining about her ugliness. At times the author tries to excuse Aza being ugly because she sings so beautifully. Is it a requirement that everyone do one thing outstandingly wonderful to make them a good person?

All of the characters pretty much have this shallow level of depth. All the characters are type-cast. Not one single character does anything surprising.

Is there good in this book? If you read it knowing what to expect it is an okay book. It was actually what I expected, but not what I was hoping for. It is super cute, and super sugary. I as said it is a Disney film with heaps of sweetness added. That is not all a bad thing. The book ends how you expect and all the characters are just so good that you can't help but smile at times. Of course at other times you want to slap them for being so stupid, but I feel that way about Disney films too.

If you love Disney and you love cutsey and you want to be a princess then this book is for you. I think it will probably find appeal with younger girls who still dream of being a fairy princess. I think anyone over ten years of age will have trouble finding much to love here. This book did not make me eager to read more of Levine's books. Maybe if I am in the mood for more brainless sweetness I will check other out. Instead of reading this I would recommend "Princess Ben" by Catherine Murdock; this is also a sweet fairy tale but with more guts and more interesting characters.

Ice Land by Betsy Tobin (3/5 stars)

When I started this book I thought it was going to be a really good one. I love mythology, especially Norse mythology. Unfortunately the awkward writing takes away from the fascinating landscape the book is set in.

The book alternates between three viewpoints. The first viewpoint is done in first person and deals with Freya the goddess of beauty. She is on a mission to save the Gods from self-destruction. The second viewpoint is done in third person and deals with Fulla, a young girl on the brink of womanhood who is dealing both with the invasion of Christianity and her looming betrothal. The last viewpoint is from that of Dvalin; also in third person, Dvalin is a half-dwarf who is connected to both Fulla and Freya. Between these viewpoints are small intervals where Ice Land's primary volcano is discussed.

Unfortunately this switching of viewpoints makes for an awkward story. The early passages with Fulla are done in third person with almost no conversation; so there is a lot of she does this, her hand touches this and it is a very awkward read. I agree with previous reviewers that if this book had been written in a completely different style it could have been great. As it is, it is very hard to read. I really had to push through the beginning of the book. The end was a bit better.

Once you get to know the characters, they are engaging. Unfortunately though it takes quite a bit of time for the characters' personalities to show through because of the cumbersome writing style. I am not sure if the book was written as it is to convey primitive culture, but the writing style itself is primitive. All in all this made it hard to enjoy the book.

There were some good things about this book. It was interesting to read about the gods acting and living as normal people. Most of this book was about the characters going about their day to day lives; there wasn't a lot of build up to some spectacular climax. It was also interesting to learn how the volcano affected everyday life; although this wasn't included until the end of the book. The characters were somewhat interesting and engaging and I was rooting for them by the end of the story. The setting of the book was creative and interesting too.

Unfortunately the above mentioned positives were just enough to drag this book into an "it's okay" category from me. I definitely don't feel a need to check out any more of Tobin's books and mostly I am just happen I am done reading it.

The Devouring by Simon Holt (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in a series by Simon Holt. The 2nd book "Soulstice" is coming out in September '09. I wasn't able to find how many books are planned for this series so if anyone knows; speak up!

Reggie and Aaron are horror fanatics. Reggie finds an old journal at the horror bookstore she works at. The journal talks about Vours, evil entities that can take over your soul during winter soulstice. The Vours can only enter the minds of people who are truly afraid. In an effort to scare themselves silly Reggie and Aaron try to tempt the Vours to take over them by daring each other to face their worst fears on Winter Solstice. They are disappointed that nothing happens but Reggie's little brother is not so lucky; he has been a scared little boy since their mother left and the Vours find him easy pickings.

In other book reviews I have mentioned that I don't like scary things; be they books, movies, or haunted houses. Well for the other woosies like me out there, beware, this is a scary book. For those who revel in all things horror; you will be delighted. The horror aspect in this book is more around the magical/psychological type of horror. Although fans of classic horror get their due too; with the appearance of an ax wielding clown, refreshements laid out in open rib cages, and people buried alive. Also if you have any type of fear of spiders I would steer clear of this book.

The book itself was very well written. The characters were likeable and engaging. The idea of the people you love and trust becoming evil incarnate overnight is very Exorcist; and totally creeped me out. I really liked Reggie and Eben, the bookstore owner. I felt for all of the characters. The book was fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. This is a book that focuses less on high-school life and more on the unusual events in Reggie's life; which I enjoyed. If you really enjoy all the gossiping and angsting that is included in some young adult books like this you might be disappointed.

There was some swearing in the book, but it was pretty mild. I was also surprised that the book was very scary without being excessively gorey. The story was a good one and was tightly put together and well thought out. This book works well as a stand alone book; although Eben mentions that the Vours are just the tip of the evil iceberg.

So, the million dollar question is will I read Soulstice when it comes out? I am tempted to; The Devouring is a fascinating book and a quick and engaging read. Do I want to have to sleep with the lights on for another night and suffer nightmares for a couple nights? No, not really. I found Laura Faria Stolarz's "Blue is for Nightmare's" to also be too scary for me. So if you loved "Blue is for Nightmares" you will probably love this book. I actually thought the Devouring was much more creative and interesting than "Blue is for Nightmares".

As a great young adult horror book I think this book is a winner. For me personally it is just too darn scary.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monday Book Haul

I got a lot of books last week. Mainly was my birthday! So I always get a lot of books for my birthday because I love them :-) I also had a lot of wishes granted on some of them are listed here; although I won't get most of those until next week.

A quick note, I gave up on "Raven's Strike" just couldn't get into it no matter how hard I tried. It goes on my list of 6-7 books that I have never been able to finish. Someone on really wanted it; so I sent it to them along with Raven's Shadow and hopefully they will get more joy out of it than I did!

On to the list of books I got last week:


So since the movie for this is coming out I finally have an excuse to get this series read. This is the first book in the trilogy and I am hoping to get the second and third book soon.

I have the first and fourth Fabelhaven books and have been (not so) patiently waiting for the second and third. So finally I got the second book. I think this is the next young adult series I am going to start reading! The fifth book is the last in this series and comes out later this year.

This is the first book in another trilogy I have been really wanting to read. It will go on the shelf until I get the second and third book.

This is another first book in a series I am really interested in. Five books total in the series.

The third book in the Larklight series by Philip Reeve. I love the first book "Larklight". Now if I could only get my hands on a copy of the second book "Starcross" then I would be set! I'll keep my fingers crossed :-)

Books I Got As Gifts for My Birthday:

The description of this book drew me. I am excited to read it; it reminds me some of Elizabeth Hand's writing which I love.

I was so excited to get the next Vampire Hunter D novel. I have been holding off on reading volume 11 because I know that the author ends in the middle of things when he carrier a story over between two books. Now I can finally read volume 11 too!

The fourth book in the "Signs of the Zodiac" series. I love this series and am really excited to read the next installment.

I love the Kushiel's series but wasn't so hot on the second series Carey wrote. This is a stand alone novel that is Carey's take on the super hero world. I am interested to read it and I am betting I will really like it.

The latest installment in "The Spook's Apprentice" series. This is a favorite young adult series of mine and I am eager to devour this book :-)

That's it. Another huge haul. Lots of books to read; just how I like it :-)

Swallowing Darkness by Laurell Hamilton (4/5 stars)

This is the seventh book in the Merry Gentry series by Laurell Hamilton. It is the only Laurell Hamilton book for a long time that I really actually liked. This book was on par with some of the earlier novels in the series. The plot really progressed and the book overall could have wrapped up the series for good. Although I know "Divine Misdemeanors" is out later this year; I am not sure what to expect from that book since this book wraps up most of the big issues remaining in the series.

This book starts right where "A Lick of Frost" left off. Merry is in the hospital recovering from being raped by her uncle. Gran comes to visit her but something is wrong with Gran and Gran tries to take out Merry's men. All of this leads to Merry and Sholto summoning the Wild Hunt and going off on the ride of their lives. Miracles abound and great battles are fought; Merry shows her tough side even as she tries to protect the twin babies she carries.

This book spends a lot of time with Sholto and the slaugh; which I loved because the slaugh are probably the most interesting group in faerie. This book covered a lot of ground. Lots of really neat fairy magic happens and great relics of fairy are returned to Merry and her guards. There was a lot more action and fighting in this book than in any of the previous books and a lot less sex. I personally thought it made for a wonderful book.

Merry really toughens up and you start to see her strength. She starts to really exercise her special abilities and use her hands of power. The book proceeds at breakneck speed and you are thrown from battle to battle and from miracle to miracle as the Goddess makes her presence strongly known.

My biggest complaints about the book would be that Merry calls on the Goddess a lot; it almost seems like Merry can't solve anything without the Goddess's help. Also at multiple points in the book, despite her new-found toughness, Merry spends the majority of a fight laying underneath a guard while the guard takes the majority of the physcial battle damage and Merry can't see what is going on. Other than that this book was way better than any of the recent ones.

I also mentioned that this book basically ties up all the loose ends of the series. It would be a great place to end the series. Now that I know another book is coming out I am really confused about what more is going to happen, and a little worried that the series will, yet again, take a turn for the worse.

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen (4.5/5 stars)

I got this book as an ARC (advanced reading copy) through the Amazon Vine program. When I received the bright turquoise book with a bubble-gum looking blond on the front sporting a tiara and horns...I was was unsure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised; this was a really good book!

Nikki Donovan is your typical teen. She has just moved into a new school and lucked out in making friends with the popular girl in school. Her luck holds when the hottest guy in class asks her to the dance and even her mom's lousy new husband isn't screwing her life up too much. Then this creepy guy starts stalking her, ends up his name is Michael and he wants to take her to the Shadowlands to visit her father who is a demon, oh and Michael is really cute. Nikki never knew her father. Even weirder supposedly Nikki is a Darkling and is half demon and her demonic powers are about to surface.

This book was a quick, fast-paced, and fun read. I zipped right through it in one night and really enjoyed it. Nikki's demon powers and transformations are really something and really made for a great book. The tension between Nikki and the Shadow, Michael, was also wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of this book was more focused on action and world-building, a lot of these types of books spend too much time with teenagers angsting about each other and not doing anything. Nikki was a smart practical character than took her changes (pretty much) in stride, she didn't whine, she didn't complain, and she wasn't stupid about the guys around her.

I loved the book and am really looking forward to reading the next one in the series "Demon Princess: Reign Check". I think fans of Buffy will really get into this series. Fans of The House of Night series can also find relief here and maybe get over the disappointing fifth novel. This is a smart, fun read that will leave you smiling.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (3/5 stars)

Right away I will say that I didn't realize this is the first book of two. So anyone who is thinking about reading this book should know that. This book does not resolve any part of the story and really leaves you hanging. It is an okay book overall; there are some things about it that are amazing and some things that are really annoying. I listened to it on audio book and the audio book quality was good; although sometimes the narrator got a bit shrill when reading parts where Eon goes into a panic.

Eona is a Dragoneye candidate. She is passing as Eon, a male candidate, because females are not allowed to be candidates. Eon is special because she can see all the dragons in the spirit world. Her Master is desperately hoping that Eon will get chosen to be the new Dragoneye Apprentice.

The story is a good one. There is a ton of attention to detail with regards to the Asian feudal society and the beliefs and rituals of that time. Eon is a good character that treads a tough path; in the beginning she seems weak but she ends up having a core of toughness that is admirable.

Unfortunately there was a lot more that bothered me about this book. The plot moves very, very slow for the first half of the book. Part of this is because of the great amount of detail the author puts in. Some of it is interesting but a lot of it is unnecessary. For example at one point Eon is going in to bathe; the author needs to describe how stressful it is for Eon, how the tiles look in the bathing room, the temperature of the water, etc. I actually fell asleep for 5 minutes in the car and when I woke up I asked my husband what was going on. He laughed and said that Eon still hadn't quite gotten into the bathtub. This is how this book went. It seemed like some action was imminent (like taking a bath) and it would take 15 minutes (for the audio book) to get through all the descriptions and Eon's panicking to finally get to that action; it made for horrible pacing. Both my husband and I found it wearying and boring to the point where we almost stopped listening a number of times.

The other large thing I didn't like about this book was Eon in general. Eon was susceptible to almost constant attacks of panic and self-doubt throughout the whole book. Even as she became more powerful she would still drop into lengthy digressions about how dangerous something was, how she might be caught, how she didn't know if she could do it, and what if she wasn't enough? This is understandable for a character to go through once in a while, but Eon did this very frequently and it didn't get better as the book went on. I understand that Eon lived in constant fear. As a reader we understand this, we don't need that character to go into lengthy panicky digressions every other page; it didn't add a lot to the story and took up a lot of page space.

My last complaint is that the book doesn't resolve anything. You are pretty much left in the middle of a battle. The next book isn't released until 2010 sometime. That is a long time to make your readers wait. If you are looking at reading this duology I would recommend waiting until the second book has been released.

Overall this book wasn't a favorite of mine. The pace was just too tedious, the detail painful, and Eon exceptionally whiny and panicky. I will read the next book though because nothing is resolved in this book.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Raven's Shadow (Raven Duology, Book1) by Patricia Briggs (3/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Raven Duology by Patricia Briggs. It was an okay book. I liked the world and the magic system but thought that the pacing throughout the book was a bit erratic. I have also read Briggs Mercy Thompson series (which I thought was okay, but lacking in character development); this series is much different from the Mercy Thompson series. This series is written in a more traditional fantasy style, with less humor, and a slower pace.

Seraph is the last of her Traveler Clan. She thinks her and her husband have settled down for a life of farming when they find out a greater evil is targeting both the Travelers and the land as a whole. Seraph and her family are drawn into the very conflict that Seraph tried to avoid when she was younger.

The first part of this book was really slow for me. I had to really, really push through it. I tried to be patient and remember that sometimes good fantasies take a while to set up. It doesn't help that I recently read "Warbreaker" by Brandon Sanderson which was an amazing book. A lot of time was spent dealing with the past when Seraph met her husband, and I really thought this probably wasn't needed and made the story take a lot longer than necessary to get going.

Once the story did get going though I really enjoyed some of the other characters; mainly Teir, Jes, and the Emperor. The plot was well done and the end of the book was action packed and fast-paced. I never did care much about Seraph. I was also disappointed that Seraph's younger daughter (the weather witch) was left at home; she was a great character and she got shuffled out of the story.

The magic system was very interesting as was the structure of the clans. If the second book keeps up the pace of the last third of the first book; then the second book will be a great book. I would buy both books at once if I was going to read this series. Although the first book concludes a major plot point there are many loose ends left hanging that have yet to be wrapped up. Also keep in mind these books are very different from the Mercy Thompson series both in character-type and writing style.

Personally I liked Rhiannon's Ride by Kate Forsyth and Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson much better than this book when it comes to your traditional fantasy type of book.

The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell (4/5 stars)

This was a very cute and humorous read. I thought it was a charming book; it reminds of many other books that involve child geniuses dealing with distant parents (Artemis Fowl, A Taste of Red, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and Theodosia).

Christina lives in a old house on the border of a forest that is home to a secret lab that her father works at. Her father tries to be a good dad but is more concerned with mathematics and seclusion of his daughter (for her safety) than Christina's experience with the outside world. Christina's mother was "blown to bits" in her laboratory and her father has become overprotective since these events. Christina wants nothing more than to escape and find the secret tunnel that leads into the forest. With the help of an orphan boy she does. Then she finds out that nothing that is happening in her family or town is quite as it seems.

This was a fun book. It had me laughing out loud a number of times. It was a quick read, the was fast paced and really drew you through the book. The characters were likable; even Christina's father is easy to identify with and understand. The plot itself it fairly predictable but this doesn't detract from a good story. Some of the ideas, mainly song and pitch being used to power things, are very creative and interesting to read about.

As far as the age-group for this book, I think it could be read to younger children. There are some scarier parts but nothing too horrible.

I don't have any major complaints. The story is pretty focused on a small series of events; so no huge attention to world-building. The real strengths are in characterization and writing a good mystery/adventure.

Overall a good read. I liked the humor throughout and enjoyed the story.

Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (5/5 stars)

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. Overall this book delivered a story that was much more than I as expecting and much broader. The research that had to have gone into this book is amazing and the story both sweet and bitter. I listened to this on audio book and it was a great story to listen to; it had a very lyrical quality to it and I think listening to it added to the beauty of the story.

The story starts out with the narrator telling about the car crash that left him recovering in the burn ward. From there we take part in his recovery in the burn ward, learn about his past, and meet Marianne, a woman from the psychiatric ward. Marianne befriends the narrator and aides in his recovery by recounting stories of friends in her past. Eventually the narrator leaves the burn ward and moves in with Marianne; they struggle both with the narrator's morphine addition and Marianne's psychosis. This is a quick synopsis; but the book is about so much more than that.

Let me start by saying I really loved and enjoyed this book. Let me also say that this is not a book for the faint at heart. The descriptions of what happens in a burn ward will have your stomach turning with nausea and your knees weak in sympathetic pain. The descriptions of the narrators' former career (as a porn star) may also be too much for some. I should also mention that the pace of this book is deliberate, it kindly of gently winds itself around you while slowly creating tension and making you wonder what will both happen to the narrator and to Marianne as she gives up her hearts to the gargoyles she carves.

The worst part of the book for me was the pace; sometimes I wished the book would pick it up a little bit but this was also part of the beauty of the book. This slower pace really conveyed how the narrator dealt with the expanses of time he spent recovering from his burns.

There were a number of things I absolutely loved about this book. Marianne for one. Marianne was such a gracious and interesting character. She had equal parts toughness, madness, wisdom, and vulnerability. Yet, she was so certain in her destiny.

I also loved the detail that the author put into certain aspects of the story. I enjoyed the detail about how burn victims recover, the detail spent on how people are diagnosed with schizophrenia or manic depression, and the detail on the history of Marianne's supposed abbey.

I loved Marianne's stories. Marianne's stories were like small novellas in and of themselves. The stories were creative, always bittersweet, and always filled with interesting historical detail. I, like the narrator, always looked forward to one of Marianne's new stories.

Best of all I loved the story itself. The narrator deals with so much pain and changes dramatically throughout the novel. He makes a comment at one point of how ironic it is that when he was beautiful he acted ugly and now that he is ugly he has learned how to be beautiful. The narrator and Marianne deliver a story of pain, hope and incredible history tinged with a bit of fantastical mystery.

All I can say is that whatever you think this book is from the synopsis; it will be different from what you think. It will be both more beautiful and more gruesome. If you start the book and are irritated with the pace; I can only suggest that you hang in there because the journey is worth it. I will definitely be checking out more of Davidson's book; even though this book was outside of what I normally read.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monday Book Haul

This was a light week for books. Amazingly enough I actually read more books this week than I obtained!

From Library:

The fourth book in the Georgina Kincaid series. I actually have finished it already and it was an awesome book. You can kind the review here.


This is the second book in the Luxe series; I haven't read the first one yet and am kind of hoping to collect the third one before I start to read them all. The fourth book in the series "Splendor" is being released later this year.

That's it only two books were added to my stack this week! Hope everyone has a good week :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Succubus Heat (Georgina Kincaid, Book 4) by Richelle Mead (5/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Georgina Kincaid series and I thought it was also the best. I was so excited to read this book after how the third book ended with Georgina and Seth on the rocks. I recently found out that there are going to be six books in this series. After this book I am eagerly awaiting the fifth book.

In this book Georgina is in a bit of a rut after breaking up with Seth. She has spiraled down and spends most of her time smoking, drunk, sucking the life energy out of moral men, and shacking up with the truly evil Dante. Jerome (her demon boss) is pissed at her bad attitude and loans her to another demon in Canada; he wants her to help with a problem that they are having there with some demonic cult that is just being plain annoying and getting Hell bad press. Shortly after her trip to Canada she gets sick and Jerome goes missing. With Jerome gone all of his underlings have their immortal powers taken away. Georgina needs to figure out what happened to Jerome and figure out how this cult is involved; but what does having her powers taken away mean for her and Seth?

This was a great book. The plot was wonderful, focused, and fast-paced. Georgina is a great character and I loved that Seth remained in the story. Dante is also an interesting character, but the angel Carter remains my favorite character of this series. It was fun to see how Georgina dealt with not having her powers. Overall the main mystery/puzzle of this book is concluded nicely and the broader story-arc regarding Georgina's contract with Hell and her relationship with Seth is filled out and made even more mysterious.

The strongest point of this book is characterization; Mead develops wonderful multi-dimensional characters that you can really care about. She also writes good sex scenes, which is something you don't get to see in her Vampire Academy series. The plot sucks you along and I had a ton of trouble putting this book down. I also love that the books in this series have good, well-organized plots that make sense and don't seem frantic. I run into so many of these paranormal books where the heroine ends up running around like crazy and seems lost; but these books are not like that. This book also has a healthy dose of humor to keep you chuckling :-)

If I had to come up with something to complain about it would be that we didn't get as many glances into Georgina's extensive past in this book and I really enjoy those little stories. Oh and the book cover and book name is still pretty corny...

Still this book didn't disappoint I loved it. I zipped through it and couldn't believe that it was over. I love her Vampire Academy series too and am eagerly awaiting the next book in that series. I think I will give her other series: Dark Swan a look too. Loved this book; this series just keep getting better!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey (4/5 stars)

I love reading re-telling of fairy tales. This book was just that, a sweet and unique re-telling of Sleeping Beauty.

The beginning of the story follows somewhat with the classic fairy tale but about halfway through the book some interesting twists take place that really make this book a good read. If you like fairy tales you will like this book. It is a read that makes you feel good.

My biggest complaint would be that so much time was spent setting up the story. I really wish Aurore could've spent more time in the enchanted forest. This is a small quip and overall I enjoyed this book. It is a short quick read, that is beautifully written and never left me bored.

Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely, Book 3) by Melissa Marr (3/5 stars)

This is the third book in the "Wicked Lovely" series by Melissa Marr. Where the second book was from Ash's friend's point of view, this book goes back to Ash's perspective. This was an okay book and seemed to be very much a transition book.

Almost all of the book deals with Keenan, Ash, Donia, and Seth trying to find a balance with each other as Summer gets stronger. Keenan (Summer King) loves Donia (Winter Queen) while Ash (Summer Queen) loves Seth (mortal); unfortunately as Summer peaks Keenan and Ash are drawn together more than ever making their other relationships tough to deal with. To complicate things Lady War (Bananach) is going around trying to create trouble as she wants all of the courts Summer, Winter, Dark, and High Courts at war with each other.

Mainly this book focused on the above mentioned individuals trying to make progress in their relationship balances. This book seemed to be setting things up for some big events in the next book. I was actually kind of disappointed that this book really leaves you hanging and doesn't really resolve anything.

I also did not enjoy Ash's continuous whining and incompetent attitude throughout the book. Ash talked herself in circles over and over again...I get it, it's a hard decision but geez you don't need to flog the reader over and over with it a hundred times.

Niall and Seth remain my favorite characters. I wish Ash would go away, she is uninteresting and boring to read about. Dania was another great character and really came into her own in this book. The events that happened in the end of this book made it interesting and make me want to read the next book. Personally though I would recommend waiting to read this book until the next book is out. Nothing is resolved in this one and reading it will just frustrate you.

Blood Noir (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Book 16) by Laurell Hamilton (2/5 stars)

This is the sixteenth book of the Anita Blake series with no end in sight. Why do I read this series? I ask myself that a lot. I am now getting them from the library because I am not willing to spend money on them. I think I read this series because I like the characters and I am curious as to how the whole mess that is Anita's life will be resolved (will it ever be resolved may be a better question).

In this book Jason's dad is dying and Anita travels with him to visit his dad in order to show support for Jason. Unfortunately upon arrival to Jason's home town it ends up that a man named Keith Summerland (who looks identical to Jason and is a colossal jerk) is in town for his wedding. Most of the book deals with Jason being mistaken form Keith and the ramifications of that. Of course Anita and Jason also have to spend many, many, many long pages confronting their relationship and if it is a friendship or if it's more. Things get dangerous when some vampires gunning for Keith end up targeting Anita and Jason. Then, of course, Marmee Noir has to rear her ugly head and add in a ton of strange paranormal junk (oh yes and more guys for Anita to add to her harem).

For the most part this book was boring. So much page space was given to Anita and Jason hashing and re-hashing their relationship that it was ridiculous. The whole mistaken identity premise that propelled the plot of the book was contrived and unlikely and in general kind of came out of no-where. All of the interesting parts with Marmee Noir happened in the last fourth of the book and were quickly shoved in. There were less sex scenes than in previous book, and the ones that were in here were pretty poorly done. All in all I think this book could have been 20 pages and said all it needed to say. Like previous books this one covers a time span of only a few days.

There were some positive aspects to the book. It was nice to learn some of Jason's back story and to learn about his family. You also learn a bit more about Anita's childhood. The end of the book showed that things are coming to a head with Marmee Noir and this (again) made me curious enough that I will probably read the next book. Truthfully I am just hoping that this series comes to a close in the next couple years. I am not sure there is much good left to read about these characters.

Will I read the next book? Of course. But I will get it from the library. These books are no longer keepers and are to be quickly read and then gotten rid of.

Mona Lisa Darkening (Monere, Book 4) by Sunny (4/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Children of the Moon series by Sunny; and it was actually my favorite of the series. The setting was more interesting than previous books and there was a lot more action; there wasn't as much sex and romance so people who really dig that may not like this book as well as some of the previous ones.

The book starts out with Mona Lisa basking for her Monere. Suddenly a black light comes out of the moon and Mona Lisa is taken somewhere else. Strangely enough Mona Louise's personality is stronger in the new place and Mona Lisa soon finds out she is in a different version of Hell than she ever knew existed. Can Gryphon and Halcyon save her before something more deadly finds her?

I really liked that Mona Lisa's character took things into her own hands in this book. Mona Lisa's compassion matched with toughness really set her character above all other characters and made her character something special.

I loved that both Halcyon and Gryphon were in this book a lot; Halcyon is my favorite character and it was interesting to see him have to deal with limitations to his power. Once again though Amber was absent for most of the book. Mona Lisa did make some progress in her relationship with Dontaine which was nice to read about.

I thought this book had more purpose, a better story, and a faster pace than the previous book. There are less sex scenes than normal; the ones that are present are well written. I enjoyed that this left more room for action scenes. After the third book I was ready to give up on this series, but after reading this book I am convinced to stay with this series a bit longer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

June in Review

For me book wise; June was a month to catch up on series that I had fallen behind on and to start a couple new series. Overall I read 21 books this month; a record for me!

I finished reading the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, caught up on Melissa Marr's "Wicked Lovely" series, finished all of the released Kitty Norville books by Carrie Vaugh, read the latest Nightside book by Simon Green, finished the newest Rachel Morgan novel by Kim Harrison, read a couple more volumes of Gaiman's Sandman, and caught up through the latest Blue Bloods book by Melissa de la Cruz.

I also started a new series; the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead. And while this is a good series it had less action and more romance than I was expecting.

A couple books that I really loved were "Just Another Judgement Day" the newest Nightside novel by Simon Green and "Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey. I also loved the new kid's book "Crazy Hair" by Neil Gaiman.

I had a few disappointments this month too. "Swoon" by Nina Malkin really disappointed me. "Aurelia's Colors" also was a let down. The last big disappointment of the month was "You Suck: A love story" by Christopher Moore.

I am going to be doing some more catching up on series this month. Hopefully I will also get to through a few random books into my reading. Below is a full list of book I reviewed for this month.

1. "Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand" by Carrie Vaughn

2. "Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods" by Suzanne Collins

3. "Swoon" by Nina Malkin

4. "Princess Ben" by Catherine Murdock

5. "Gregor and the Marks of Secret" by Suzanne Collins

6. "Gregor and the Code of Claw" by Suzanne Collins

7. "Succubus Blues" by Richelle Mead

8. "The Roar" by Emma Clayton

9. "Fables and Reflections"

10. "Succubus on Top" by Richelle Mead

11. "Succubus Dreams" by Richelle Mead

12. "White Witch, Black Curse" by Kim Harrison

13. "Aurelia's Colors" by Jeffrey Overstreet

14. "Ink Exchange" by Melissa Marr

15. "Kitty Raises Hell" by Carrie Vaughn

16. "Just Another Judgement Day" by Simon Green

17. "You Suck: A Love Story" by Christopher Moore

18. "Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey

19. "Masquerade" by Melissa de la Cruz

20. "Revelations" by Melissa de la Cruz

21. "Crazy Hair" by Neil Gaiman

Monday Weekly Book Haul

Time for the weekly book haul. I got a lot of good books again this week. And despite my vow to not buy any more books until I have got through all the ones I already have; I found a few great books on super sale at Borders that I haven't been able to get through or the library. So here's the list!


I am looking forward to this re-telling of the classic fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty".

This is the second book in the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch. I enjoyed the first book; it was a darkly humorous epic fantasy type of book with loads of intrigue. I am excited to read the second book.

From Amazon Vine:

This book is being compared a lot to the "Mists of Avalon". We will see. I glanced through the first page and it looks like something I will like.

This looked like an amusing kid novel; so I am hoping it is as good as the premise sounds.

Bought At Borders:

I have read "Extraordinary Girl" and liked it a lot. Based on that I started aquiring parts of the "Alien Huntress" series by Showalter. I have the first and third books; but haven't been able to find the second book used when I saw it at Borders on clearance I snapped it up.

I have read all of the Noble Dead series by Barb and JC Hendee. So when I saw that Barb had written another vampire book (previous to the noble dead) I wanted to read it. I have been having trouble getting my hands on it used though; so this is another one that when I saw it on clearance I grabbed it.

I have read the first book of the Thursday Next series and loved it. So I have been slowing acquiring the next four books in the series. This is the last of the bunch. Again couldn't find it used so when I found it on clearance I had to get it!

So there you go. Some more good additions to the bunch of books I already own. Someday I *will* read them all!