Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Last Olympian (Percy and the Olympians, Book 5) by Rick Riordan (5/5 stars)

This is the fifth, and final book, in this series. I was excited to read this book and it didn't disappoint. I actually listened to this on audio book and the audio book was very well done. This was a great conclusion to the series.

In this book Percy and crew head to New York in an attempt to protect Mount Olympus; Kronos is hot on their tails giving our heroes quite the difficult time. Meanwhile the Olympian gods struggle to contain the titan Typhon as he rampages across the United States.

This book was well done and an excellent conclusion to the series. I love the humor in this series and enjoy all the action as well. While previous books were more of the questing variety, this book was mainly one huge epic battle between the demi-gods and Kronos. I personally enjoy reading about heroes questing more than I enjoy epic battles; but that being said, the epic battles were really well done.

The whole way that Riordan dealt with the battles, Kronos, etc was excellent. The pacing of the book was great, never a dull moment. The heroes make believable decisions and mistakes, as do the villains. The ending was very satisfying and tied up most of the loose ends. There were a couple interesting twists to the plot that should keep readers on their toes. Riordan does hint at a future series set in this world at the end of the book. Whether it will involves Percy or a different group remains to be seen.

Anyone who has read the previous books in this series won't be disappointed with the way this is all wrapped up. Anyone who hasn't read the series should; both adults and kids can really enjoy this series.

Waiting on Wednesday - 9/30

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my WoW book is "Lord Sunday" by Garth Nix. This is the seventh (and final) book in Nix's "Keys to the Kingdom" series. This has been a great series and I am really eager to read the conclusion! The cover art below is for the UK release; I couldn't find the cover art for the US release yet :-(

"Lord Sunday" (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 7) by Garth Nix
Pages: 336
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: March 16, 2010

From "Seven days. Seven keys. Seven virtues. Seven sins.

In this thrilling conclusion to Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, Arthur Penhaligon must complete his quest to save the Kingdom he is heir to...and Arthur's world. "

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 9/29

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from "Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villianous Tales" edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

Here it is: "The braid twisted and writhed like a snake and even began to rear up, and the shadow on Rapunzel's chest reached out to it, but Jenny's claws held it tight and the Witch's scissors flashed, snipping the braid into shorter and shorter lengths. Finally, the hair moved no longer, and Jenny tore the shadow from the girl and flung it on the ground, where is withered in the sun." Pg. 44

Monday, September 28, 2009

Troll's Eye View: A book of villainous tales by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (4/5 stars)

This is a children's book of 15 short stories by various fantasy writers. Overall it was a decent collection. The stories are very short and there are some poems thrown in between stories. My favorite story of the bunch was Catherynne Valente's "A Delicate Architecture." I also really enjoyed "Skin" by Michael Cadnum and "Troll" by Jane Yolen. My least favorite was "Up the Down Beanstalk" by Peter Beagle. Overall though it was a great group of stories. See below for brief comments on each story.

- "Wizards Apprentice" by Delia Sherman
About an evil wizard's apprentice. Where all is not what it seems to be. This was a pretty funny story. 4/5

- "An Unwelcome Guest" by Garth Nix
In this story Rapunzel is the one harassing the witch. Very cleverly written. 4/5

- "Faery Tales" by Wendy Froud
A short poem about what happens to the princesses when they get older. 4/5

- "Rags and Riches" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
This was a retelling of the goose girl. The story was very detailed and a good read. 4/5

- "Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers" by Peter S. Beagle
In this story we get a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk from the Giant's Wife's perspective. My least favorite of the bunch. 3/5

- "Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces" by Ellen Kushner
A retelling of the twelve dancing princesses. Loved the story. 4/5

- "Puss in Boots, the Sequel" by Joseph Stanton
What if Puss in Boots didn't stay captured? This poem explores that. 4/5

- "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" by Holly Black
How did the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood" end up at grandma's house? Very clever ending. 4/5

- "Troll" by Jane Yolen
Talks about the troll under the bridge; only this on is scared of goats. Very funny little story, I liked it a lot. 5/5

- "Castle Othello" by Nancy Farmer
Maybe Bluebeard wasn't the evil one afterall. Interesting take on the tale. 4/5

- "'Skin" by Michael Cadnum
A very beautifully and clever retelling of Rumplestilskin. Loved this story. 5/5

- "A Delicate Architecture" by Catherynne M. Valente
How did the witch from Hansel and Gretle end up in that house made of candy in the woods? This story answers all and is writen beautifully. The story had wonderful imagery and was very creative. My favorite of the bunch. 5/5

- "Molly" by Midori Snyder
Tells about how Molly tricked the Giant. Maybe the giant wasn't so bad after all? 4/5

- "Observing the Formalities" by Neil Gaiman
A poem about sleeping beauty. Well-written. 4/5

- "The Cinderella Game" by Kelly Link
When two siblings start playing Cinderella, things get violent. This was an odd story and I wasn't quite sure what had happened when I got to the end. It was well-written. 4/5

Mailbox Monday - 9/28

Mailbox Monday can be found at The Printed Page.

Another week with only a few books received. That is good because it means maybe I have a chance of getting my "to be read" pile below 150 books :-) I got "Bloodheir" through It is the 2nd book in The Godless World series by Brian Ruckley; I haven't read the first book yet but it is supposed to be good epic fantasy.
I got "Beautiful Creatures" through the Amazon Vine program. It is a massive book (around 700 pages) that I have heard a ton of good stuff about. Let's hope it lives up to all the hype!

Bloodheir (The Godless World, Book 2) by Brian Ruckley

First Sentence: "The na'kyrim lay curled on a pallet on interlaced hazel and juniper boughs inside the Voice's lodge."

"The latest addition to one of the durable institutions of modern fantasy, McKiernan’s Mithgar saga, is a quest yarn in which a warrior, his true love, and a stalwart band of men and dwarves set off to find the legendary City of Jade and its lost magic. They encounter more than enough perils, of which enough of the magical sort are pretty original. Apparently a stand-alone story, the book is an unexpectedly good introduction to McKiernan and Mithgar, as well as a solid treat for long-haul fans."

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

First Sentence: "Falling. I was free-falling, tumbling through the air."

"There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything."

So there you have it folks. That's my haul for the week. Hope that you all have a good week!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga (4/5 stars)

This is the sequel to the "Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl". You wouldn't absolutely have to read the first book to understand whats going on in this one, but reading the first book gives you Fanboy's perspective on things and helps this book make a lot more sense. So, I guess I would recommend reading the first book before this one. This was a pretty darn good book by itself. I had a lot of trouble putting it down, Goth Girl is a very engaging character.

After the incident with the bullet in the first book Kyra is sent to a mental ward. This book starts as she is returning back to school from the mental ward. When she returns to life "outside" she is peeved to find out that none of her friends have e-mailed her in the 6 months she was gone. She is especially pissed at Fanboy. When she goes back to school she finds that Fanboy has started publishing his graphic novel "Schemata" in the school newspaper and on top of that people actually like him now. The whole thing makes her even madder and she sets out to plot her revenge against Fanboy.

Overall this book was paced much like the first one. This book is all from Goth Girl's view. Goth Girl spends a lot of time thinking and struggling with her rage throughout this book and dealing with her mother's death. The chapters are interrupted by occasional letters to Neil (Neil Gaiman) where she talks out the things that are bugging her. There are a boatload of references to Neil Gaiman's Sandman in here. I am a huge Gaiman fan so I enjoyed those references. There was also a lot of discussion around what different parts of the Sandman novels actually mean; it makes me want to go back and read them all more carefully to see what I missed.

I thought that this story wasn't quite as good as "The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl" in a couple of aspects. Goth Girl spends a lot of the beginning of the book complaining about her big breasts and how people notice them too much. Way too much time is spent on this. I started scanning the parts of the book where she just spends too much time on this. I also thought it took way too long for Goth Girl to come to some of the revelations that she came to; it made her come off as a little dim at parts. I know Fanboy is super smart, but I never thought Goth Girl was stupid and there are parts of this book where she acts pretty stupid (although smarter than her girlfriends).

Still, overall I really enjoyed the story. This is another one of those young adult books that talks about how young adults deal with anger and with the crappy hand that life deals them. I am sure many people can relate to this book. Kids who have lost a close loved one will relate with a lot of the feelings Kyra (Goth Girl) deals with. The thing I love most about this book is that the writing is witty and snappy. This book makes reading about all the heaviness in Kyra's life kind of fun for the most part. I really do enjoy Lyga's writing style.

Will I be reading more Lyga books? Not for a while; just because I prefer fantasy/paranormal books to angst ridden young adult books. I will definitely check out some more of his books when I am in the mood for some more young adult drama.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements (4/5 stars)

I got this book on a whime, because the premise sounded interesting. It was a decent book overall; although not so spectacular that I want to read the next two books in the series.

Bobby wakes up one morning to discover that he is invisible. No one can see him and he can't see himself. What seems kind of cool at first, is actually quite a problem as Bobby and his family try to figure out what happened and Bobby tries to struggle through normal everyday life. He ends up meeting a blind girl named Alicia; they are both invisible to people in their own way. Bobby and Alicia form an unlikely friendship that helps Bobby to deal with his invisibility.

This was a pretty good book. Bobby and Alicia are likable characters, as are their parents. Bobby has to struggle with interesting issues as an invisible person. He can't go to school and can't even go out places unless he goes au natural. Bobby's condition is dealt with in detail given that his dad is a successful physicist that is determined to fix his son. We learn strange facts like the fact that Bobby's spit is invisible, but things he holds in his hand do not become invisible.

Of course this book, like many books dealing with teenagers, is about more than Bobby becoming invisible. It is about how Bobby felt invisible before he actually became invisible and how his parents react to his invisibility. It is about how people, including surrounding society, deal with disabilities. It is also about Bobby and Alicia, from very different social circles, form a steadfast friendship because of their respective disabilities. They would have probably never even tried to get to know each other if it wasn't for Alicia's blindness and Bobby's invisibility.

The book is a quick read and keeps you engaged. The writing is not spectacular, but it is very readable. Overall it was an interesting read and deals with some interesting topics. I liked it. The story wraps up very nicely at the end. I actually had no idea that there were two additional books dealing with Bobby and Alicia until I looked up this book on Amazon. Will I read those books? Probably not, I got what I wanted from the book and am not really all that interested in what happens to Bobby and Alicia next.

Waiting on Wednesday - 9/23

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my WoW book is "Gone" by Lisa McMann. This is the third (and final) book in McMann's "Wake" series. This has been a great series and I am really eager to read the conclusion!

"Fade" (Wake series, Book 3) by Lisa McMann
Pages: 224
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9, 2010

From "The third and final book in the paranormal teen series that includes The New York Times bestseller Wake and Fade.

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her. She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves -- she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both. Then a stranger enters her life -- and everything unravels.

The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

He reaches toward her, his fingers black and bloody, his eyes deranged, unblinking. Janie is paralyzed. his cold hands reach around her neck, squeezing tight, tighter, until Janie has no breath left. She's unable to move, unable to think. As his grasp tightens further around Janie's neck, his face turns sickly alabaster. He strains harder and begins to shake. Janie is dying. She has no fight left in her. It's over."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (4/5 stars)

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. When I got "Goth Girl Rising" through the Amazon Vine program; I decided that that was the perfect excuse to go ahead and buy this book. It was a very good book. I enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down.

Fanboy is having a rough year. His mom is pregnant with his step-dad's kid, his step-dad doesn't understand him, he only has one friend, and everyone at school picks on him. There is one thing that he lives for and that is a graphic novel he is working on called Schemata. He meets Goth Girl, aka Kyra, and in her finds a kindred comic book spirit. Kyra has troubles of her own though.

This was a great book. I loved the comic book references. Mainly this book is about finding your place in life and becoming who you want to be, never-mind what the rest of the world thinks about that. This book accurately catches the feelings and troubles of high school; with real characters that you are rooting for and really like. Fanboy challenges the American perception that being smart is uncool and being a hard headed jock is awesome. He also deals with how smart jocks moderate their behavior to fit in with both types of high school crowds.

I liked Fanboy and thought he was a believable and interesting character. As Fanboy tries to get his graphic novel noticed you are holding your breath and waiting for what will happen next. Goth girl came off as a bit annoying and brash; but I think that was the point. The plot was well done; my only complaint would be the open ending. I guess the ending was a bit too "real life" for me; that is we don't really know what happens with anything. I am hoping some of that is resolved in "Goth Girl Rising".

A great book all around. This should appeal to a large audience; especially young adults or people who want to re-visit high school trauma. Comic book geeks or smart people in general will find a lot to relate with in Fanboy.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (4/5 stars)

This is the first book I have read by Jessica Day George. Overall I really enjoyed this book. This was a quick read, written in a classic fairy tale style.

The main character was never named by her mother, but her siblings called her pika. She has numerous brothers and sisters, and they all live on the brink of starvation in a small cottage. Two things happen to change pika's life forever. The first happens when she stumbles upon, and rescues, a white deer. The deer offers to grant her one wish, and pika wishes for a name, which the deer whispers to her. Then later a great white bear shows up on pika's doorstep and demands that she come and live with him in a castle made of ice for one year and one day.

This was a very entertaining story. Pika was a great character; she is accepting of things, and very caring, but deep down has a strength and toughness to her. Her older brother is also an interesting an mysterious character. Of course, the giant white bear, is another fascinating character. The book is beautifully written and gracefully moves through the plot. I had a lot of trouble tearing myself away from this book. In fact I read it all over the course of one day. There isn't a ton of action, but the mystery surrounding the palace of ice really pulled me in and kept me guessing.

If you like fairy tales; you will love this one. It is a easy read, the character never ends up in too much trouble. This is a softer fairy tale but creative and fascinating all the same. At times it reminded me a bit of "Beauty and the Beast"; I know it is based on an old folk tale, so that may be why it evokes that image for me.

While I probably won't re-read this story; but it was a wonderful and pleasant read and made me interested in reading more of Jessica Day George's books.

Teaser Tuesday - 9/22

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from "Goth Girl Rising" by Barry Lyga. Here it is: "It's been months since I've been able to do anything on the computer. The had computers in the hospital, but we were monitored and we only got, like fifteen minutes at a time, so I didn't bother." Pg. 8

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dead Girl's Dance (The Morganville Vampires, Book 2) by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Morganville Vampires series. For some reason I just cannot get into this series. The story is okay, but the characters aren't all that engaging. I didn't finish this book thinking "Oh, I just can't wait for what happens next!".

This book starts out exactly where the last book left off, which is good considering the last book left off with a knife plunging toward Michael's heart. In this book Shane's father, a crazy vampire hunter, shows up and starts creating trouble for the residents of Glass House. It's up to Claire to try and figure out how to fix everything, especially when Shane gets imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit.

I will start out with the good stuff in this book. The Founder of Morganville, Amelie, is a great character; in fact I think she is the only interesting character in this book. She is intriguing and must have a very interesting past indeed. I also liked the addition of Sam the newest vampire in Morganville; although he wasn't in the story much. Okay, well that was the good stuff. I think the other characters are very stereotypical. The story is okay, but not all that engaging. The writing style is fine but nothing special.

I thought the title and synopsis of the book were both a bit misleading. The Dead Girl's Dance doesn't happen until almost the end of the book and the main characters have nothing to do with the preparation of it. The Dance just happens to be a place where some bad stuff happens. I also thought it was a bit strange that Claire rarely goes to class; I mean I understand that she is in danger, but Claire's actual classwork is really pushed into the background and dealt with as an's kind of weird since the whole reason she stayed in Morganville initially was to go to school. I also thought that Claire's parents were dealt with in a clumsy way; it was like Caine didn't really know what to do with them so she made them magically forget and left it at that.

Overall, this book was okay. I just didn't really get into it all that much. Everything about it remains average. The nice thing was that this book wrapped up the plot somewhat instead of leaving it wide open like the last book. I won't be reading anymore of this series. I just am not enjoying it; there is not enough creativity and the characters are not engaging enough.

Starcross (Larklight, Book 2) by Philip Reeve (4/5 stars)

This was another great book set in the Larklight universe. You wouldn't have to read the first book to have fun with this one; but the first book does provide some background that would make this story have a bit more meaning at parts.

We are back to a Victorian Age where the British Empire has conquered the secrets of space travel. Art and his family have been invited to stay a premier ocean side resort called Starcross. Starcross is a bit different in that the ocean is only there 12 hours a day. Also there is a hat in Art's closet that really wants him to put it on. And what it up with the shadows creeping around that say "Moob"? Art, his sister Myrtle, his mother, and Jack Havoc are in for some crazy adventures when Starcross ends up not being what it appears to be. It will be up to them to (again) save the world from complete destruction.

This was another wonderful book. If you liked the first one you will love this one. The characters are wonderful, the book is hilarious and written with a somewhat sarcastic sense of humor. The drawings sprinkled throughout add a lot to the story and make this book even more of a pleasure to read. The writing style is perfect, the action non-stop, and the world Reeve has created will amuse and impress. Art's mother was a wonderful character and I was pleased to see her so much in this book.

This book didn't disappoint and I am really looking forward to reading the third book "Mothstorm". Fans of Douglas Adam's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or Joseph Delaney's "The Last Apprentice" should really check this series out. I think people of all ages will get a kick out of these books; they are also very appropriate for younger children.

Mailbox Monday - 9/21

Mailbox Monday can be found at The Printed Page.

Last week I got four books through The first three were part of the DarkAngel trilogy by MEredith Ann Pierce. My husband actually read these when he was younger and has been telling me that I have got to read them. So, I finally got those.

I also got the second book in the Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke. I am eager to start on that series too! That's it for this week; hope you all have a good week :-)

"The Darkangel" by Meredith Ann Pierce

First Sentence: "Aeriel rested the broad basket against her hip and adjusted her kirtle."
From "The Darkangel, a vampire of astounding beauty and youth, can only summon his full power when he finds his 14th and final bride. But for Aeriel, whom he kidnaps to serve his brides, there is something about him--something beyond his obvious evil--that makes her want to save him rather than destroy him. The Darkangel--Pierce's first book, originally released in 1982--was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a New York Times Notable Children's Book, a Parent's Choice Award Superbook, and a Booklist Best Book of the Decade."

"A Gathering of Gargoyles" (Dark Angel, Book 2) by Meredith Ann Pierce

First Sentence: "Aeriel sat of the low window seat."
From "Aeriel has broken the spell on the vampiric darkangel known as Irrylath and returned him to his human form, but the White Witch continues to haunt his dreams. To save her love and the world they live in, Aeriel sets off on a quest across the Sea-of-Dust, to solve a mysterious riddle and gather six magical steeds. Pursued by the White Witch and haunted by her six remaining darkangels, the former slave girl seeks out an ancient oracle who may help her find a way to defeat her enemies."

"The Pearl of the Soul of the World" (Dark Angel, Book 3) by Meredith Ann Pierce

First Sentence: "She has no idea where she was - only that she was in a cave, the walls pressing close about her, all of white stone."
From "Readers who crave solemn tales peopled with strange beings will find much to relish in this final volume of the Darkangel trilogy. Deprived of both her memory and the power of speech, Aeriel awakens to find herself in a cave somewhere below the earth's surface. In the company of three underground-dwelling duarroughs--natives--Aeriel journeys to the city of Crystalglass. There she meets Ravenna, the last of the race of ancient beings who created the world. Ravenna restores Aeriel's memory and reveals to her the nature of the role she must play in the final battle against the cruel White Witch. Though good does finally triumph over evil, this novel's conclusion is not a typical "happy ending": Aeriel is reunited only briefly with her estranged husband before she must leave to begin the lonely task of healing her planet. Pierce's thoughtful characterization and well-constructed plot lead to a poignant and believable conclusion. The meticulous, creative use of language gives form and substance to a fascinating mythic world."

"Inkspell" (Inkheart, Book 2) by Cornelia Funke

First Sentence: "Twilight was gathering, and Orpheus still wasn't here."
From "Fourteen-year-old Meggie is back at home after the intrigue and adventure she encountered in Inkheart (Chicken House, 2003), the first volume in this projected trilogy. In this second episode, the calm of her life is shattered when Farid, protégé of the fire-eater, Dustfinger, begs her to use her magical ability and read him into Dustfingers story. Meggie longs to see the enchanted world she has only encountered through the pages of a book and travels with Farid into the story. Events quickly spin out of control. Evil characters from Inkheart re-emerge to extract revenge. Battle lines are drawn between two kingdoms. Several individuals are intent on re-writing the story to ensure their own happy ending. A multitude of intriguing characters are kept straight by the tour-de-force performance of actor Brendan Frazier who distinguishes each one with a different accent–from Dustfingers Scottish burr to Fenoglios Brooklyn inflection to Orpheuss southern drawl. His performance is so convincing that listeners must remind themselves that this is not a full-cast production. Action, romance, and danger are delivered with just the right inflection and pace in this stunning performance."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

News - Next Anita Blake Book, Blue Bloods Book 5, and Sign of the Zodiac Book 5

I was researching the next books in series I am reading and ran across some information that was new to me.

The wikipedia article for Laurell Hamilton has been updated and showed that Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Book 18 will be entitled "Flirt". has the release date as Feb. 2nd 2010.

Melissa de la Cruz shared via Twitter that the 5th Blue Bloods book will be entitled "Misguided Angel" and will be released in the Fall of 2010. I know we are all still waiting for the 4th Blue Bloods book to come out in a few months. But just in case you wanted a head up :-)

Also is anyone is reading the "Signs of the Zodiac" series by Vicki Pettersson you will be happy to know that there is going to be a fifth book in the series. It is on her website that the book will be called "Cheat the Grave" and will be out in the summer of 2010.

Okay well that is all the news I have for now!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (5/5 stars)

This is the first book by Laurie Halse Anderson that I have read, although I have "Speak" on my bookshelf to read too. It was a great book; albeit an uncomfortable, somewhat depressing, and difficult read because of the subject matter. I listened to this on audio book and the audio book was very well done; the reader did a good job of changing her voice for Leah's thoughts vs. what Leah said, etc.

This book is told from the perspective of Leah. Leah is anorexic and regularly cuts herself. She finds out that her ex-best friend was found dead in a hotel room. The book follows Leah's mental and physical degeneration as she tries to make unbelievable weight goals; first 95 pounds, then 85 pounds, etc. Leah feels clean, in control, and strong when she is not eating. It also deals with all the external troubles in Leah's life. Although no one really treats her all that badly, she is lonely because her mother is a very busy heart surgeon and her dad is a famous historian. She now lives with her step-mom Jennifer, her stepsister Emma, and her father.

This book was really well done and really sad. This is not a book to read if you are depressed and it definitely won't leave you feeling great; although it will leave you a lot to think about. Leah, in no way has a horrible life. She just feels neglected enough by her parents that she starts to spin out of control. She starts thinking that "being the thinnest" is the only thing that can distinguish her. She is stuck between two outstanding parents who want her to both follow their loves; she is tugged into trying to be what everyone else wants her to be and not eating is her way of rebelling. It doesn't help that her ex-bestfriend was bulimic and introduced Leah to additional ways of avoiding weight gain; using laxatives and diuretics.

Over all the characters in this book were very believable and very heart-breaking to read about. Everyone from Leah herself, to her parents try who to understand what they can do to help her, to her stepsister who is torn between being embarrassed by her sister's thinness (she tell her classmates Leah has cancer) and loving having a sister, struggles in a very believable way. Anderson does a wonderful job of portraying the world through Leah's eyes as Leah gets sicker and sicker from starving herself. Leah looses time, starts seeing things, and makes the strangest connections between things as her brain starts to have trouble functioning.

The interesting thing about they book, is that in despite of the fact that I do feel sorry for Leah, she comes off as very selfish. She doesn't care about anyone around her and all that she is doing to them; she gets lost in her own misery and pain. The only person that she even cares about a little bit is her stepsister Emma.

This is a great book to read if you want understand the minds of teenagers who inflict physical pain to center themselves, find themselves, and deal with emotional pain. It's a great book to read even if you are older, like me, and need to remember what it was like to be a teenager. I think both teenage boys and girls will come away from a lot to think about from this book too. I remember being pretty ego-centric as a teenager, and this book aptly shows what that can do to the people around you. This book was about way more than eating disorders; it was about having everyone else expecting you to be someone you aren't, dealing with that pain, and figuring out how to determine who you really are. There is one point in the book where Leah is looking in the mirror and she can't figure out if she is too fat, too thin, or what she even looks like at all and that is what this book is about.

News - "Succubus Shadows" and "Gone" Cover Art

A couple of series that I really love have new books coming out next Spring. The cover art has finally been released for them; and I think the covers are absolutely lovely :-)

The first book is "Gone". This is the third and final novel in Lisa McMann's "Wake" trilogy. Nice cover! I am totally looking forward to reading this book. Too bad it doesn't come out until Feb. 2010!

The second book is "Succubus Shadows"; which is book 5 in the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead. A stunning cover. I am also anxiously waiting for this book; although it doesn't come out until next April!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Glass House (Morganville Vampires, Book 1) by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Morganville series by Caine. Previously I have read the first four books in Caine's Weather Warden series. I liked those four books okay, but I didn't like the main characters all that much, so I ended up dropping the series. When I heard she had a young adult series, I wanted to give that one a try because I thought I might like it better. Overall I thought this book was okay, but it had some of the same problems that I had with the Weather Warden series.

Claire is super smart. So, smart that she graduated early and started going to college at the age of 16. Only her parents wouldn't let her go away to school, so she is stuck going to University in the town of Morganville. Right from the beginning things go wrong; the cool girls are picking on her and stealing her laundry. It isn't until one of the girls actually tries to beat her to death that she realizes something is seriously wrong. She ends up finding her way out of the dorms, where she feels like her life is in danger, and instead renting a room in the Glass House. There she finds that Morganville is not at all what it seems. She is in more danger than she ever suspected.

Everything about this book was okay for me. The characters were okay. I didn't really love any of them, they were pretty stereo-typed in general. Claire is an okay character, and I think as we get to know her she might become more than okay. The guy characters in the book were okay too. The idea of vampires being evil is old. The action scenes were written okay, and the plot of the book was interesting enough to keep my interest, but not so engaging that I couldn't put the book down.

The most interesting thing about this book is the way Caine set up the vampire/human relationship structure in the city of Morganville. The type of society she has set up is pretty neat. I also think that Claire has potential to become someone more interesting, and that the lead vampire Amelie could be a fascinating character if we get to read about her more. Additionally Caine doesn't pull any punches when it comes to what her characters, especially Claire, has to endure.

The only thing I really hated about this book is that it ends with someone literally stabbing a knife at someone else; seriously in the middle of an action scene. What is up with that? I hate it when authors can't wrap up a book in a decent way.

I have the next two books so I will read them and see if the series gets better. I would recommend at least getting the second book with the first because, as I said, the first book ends in the middle of an action scene. My first impression of this series is that it is okay, but nothing special.

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber (4/5 stars)

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book. It is definitely a children's chapter book; it took me maybe 20 minutes to read. Overall though it was a very good read.

This book tells the somewhat classic tale of a princess locked up by her evil father. Any price who comes to woo the princess is given an impossible task to perform, in order to win her hand in marriage. That is until a minstrel comes along and with the help of an elven/dwarfish prankster, tricks the old king in his own game.

This was a great classic fairy tale with some humorous quirks thrown. It is cleverly written and would sound wonderful read out-loud. The characters are a bit stereo-typed but each have their own unique quirks. There is a sharp sense of humor throughout the book. The pictures throughout are down in a dark medieval style that somehow still has a bit of humor in it.

Overall I think everyone would enjoy this book; no matter what your age. Kids will enjoy the castles, knights, and general fairy tale aspects of it; adults will enjoy the clever word play and interesting plot. I am glad I read it and it is a book that I will keep on my shelf to read to my son when he gets old enough to sit still for 30 minutes at a time :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, book 3) by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)

This is the third book in the Kate Daniels series and what a wonderful book it was. Very creative, very fast-paced, all the wonderful fight scenes, and hilarious attitude that Kate is known for. I actually listened to this on audio book and the audio book is wonderful. If you have a change to listen to the audio book it's worth it; the lady who reads it does Kate's voice and personality absolutely perfectly.

Something strange is going on. Shapeshifters are being killed and Kate is brought in to find out why. Then Simone catches Derek trying to steal tickets to some forbidden and illegal event called the Midnight Games. Kate has to cut a deal with Simone to get Derek out of there, as such she ends up at the Midnight games, as Simone's date, and watches a team called the Reapers. The Reapers are supposedly human, but end up being much more. Kate needs to figure out if the Midnight Games and the murders are linked.

This was a great book and super hard to put down. Kate has a wonderful dry sense of humor, as does Curran. All the characters in this book are well done, amusing, and likable. The fight scenes are plentiful and extremely well done. The plot is complicated and takes many unexpected twists and turns. Many very creative things happen; you meet some new races and get to venture deep into Unicorn Alley.

The best part is that you learn a lot more about Kate's history with Roland. It seems that the story is winding closer and closer to a confrontation between Kate and Roland. You learn a lot more about Simone's past too. Oh and did I mention the wonderful fight scenes, and the awesome magical weapons?

Overall another wonderful book in this series. I don't have any complaints; except that I want to read the next on sooo bad. For those of you dying for more Kate; Andrews did write a short story involving Kate, Andrea, and Raphael in the "Must Love Hellhounds" anthology called "Magic Mourns". It's a pretty good read. What a great series; I hope Andrews can keep this up for many more books to come!

Waiting on Wednesday - 9/16

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my WoW book is "Twin Shadowed Knights, Parts One and Two" by Hideyuki Kikuchi. This is the 13th book in the Vampire Hunter D series. I really enjoy this series quite a bit and am excited to read the next book.

"Twin-Shadowed Knights, Parts one and two" by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Pages: 480
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: November 18, 2009

From "When Vampire Hunter D entered the town of Sedoc it was in search of answers to the meaning of a dying vampire's last words: "Find Muma." But when he meets Mia, the daughter of the local fortuneteller, he learns the mists emanating from a smoking crater on the outskirts of Sedoc have reanimated thousands of corpses, compelling them to crawl from their graves and hurl themselves into the smoking chasm. When D goes to investigate, he finds himself split in two: a second Vampire Hunter D, full of passion and lust and hunger for the company of women, is born!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clash of the Demons (The Last Apprentice, Book 6) by Joseph Delaney (5/5 stars)

This is the sixth book in the Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney. This was another wonderful book in this series; a lot of changes happen to Tom Ward and his adventures as a Spook take on a more worldly nature to them.

Tom is contacted by his mother who wants him to travel to Greece with her to face the Ordeen, an evil goddess, who is in league with the Fiend. Mam, thinks Tom's presence will help to win the final battle with the Ordeen. Bill, the Spook, and Alice are among those who Mam hopes will accompany her to Greece. Tom faces all sorts of strange new creatures and has to face one of the most deadliest forces of evil yet. Will Tom be able to resist his own slow decline into the dark?

This was a wonderful book. I loved learning more about Mam, her true nature, and more about her homeland. Tom's dealings with the Fiend were interesting and make the story take on an urgency. This was definitely a page-turner. It was hard to put down and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

The new creatures and dangers that Tom encountered were interesting and creative. It was nice to have Alice deeply involved in the story as well. Delaney doesn't pull any punches as far as the danger these characters face. The writing is superb; the books are beautiful to read.

Another great book, in a wonderful series. This book is a keeper. I just can't wait to see what will happen next!

Backup by Jim Butcher (3/5 stars)

This is a small novella told from Thomas's point of view, Harry's brother, it takes place in the same time/place as the Dresden Files. It was an okay story. The story was well written but nothing spectacular. The illustrations throughout were okay, but again not masterpieces.

Thomas is contacted by his sister. Apparently Harry has been set up by some evil witches and Thomas, as a soldier in the thousand years old Oblivion Wars, needs to save Harry and get rid of the threat that the witches pose.

Thomas's character came across as a bit dry for me. The story was interesting as was the back story dealing with the Oblivion Wars. The action scenes were well done.

This is a very short novella though; it took me 20 minutes to read. Although the story is okay, it wasn't anything breath-taking. If you are a huge Dresden fan, you probably want to read this. I wouldn't waste my money on it though. I got it from the library and I am happy that I did.

I am eagerly awaiting the next Dresden Files book though...."Changes" will be out in April, 2010. So I have quite the wait!

Pale Fallen Angel, Parts Three and Four (Vampire Hunter D, Book 12) (3/5 stars) by Hideyuki Kikuchi

This is the twelfth book in the Vampire Hunter D series and the second book in the epic story "Pale Fallen Angel". It wraps up the story of Pale Fallen Angel nicely. Although I had some issues with the writing style and following the plot.

In this book D continues to lead Miska and the Baron to the Baron's home town. The Baron is on a mission to kill his father and Miska needs to pick up something that her grandfather left to her.

I didn't enjoy the second part of this story as much as the first. There are a lot of extra characters thrown in here; including many doppelgangers of characters already present in the story. As is often the case with Kikuchi's writing it gets hard to tell who is talking sometimes and who is doing what (especially with the doppelgangers thrown in). The fight scenes can be pretty confusing. The plot itself is also a little crazy and switches viewpoints a lot. In general this book was a bit of a struggle for me to get through. I am not sure why; I usually enjoy these books quite a bit.

There were some positive things about this book too. The world is crazy and inventive as always. D continues to manifest new and interesting powers that give insight into his origin. The Baron is a great character and gives D a run for his money power wise. D continues to alternate between coldness and glimpses of feeling for the tumbling brother and sister.

This was an okay book. More so than in previous books; I thought the writing style/plot were a bit choppy and hard to follow. I also think that these continuous adventures of D's are getting a bit tired for me. D never makes a lot of progress as a character and I am unsure of what the series as a whole is building towards. Will I continue to read the series? I am not sure right now.

Teaser Tuesday - 9/15

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from "The 13 Clocks" by James Thurber. Here it is: "Outside the tavern the night was lighted by a rocking yellow moon that held a white star in its horn. In the gloomy castle on the hill lantern gleamed and and darkened, came and went, as if the gaunt Duke stalked from room to room, stabbing bats and spiders, killing mice." Pg. 26

Monday, September 14, 2009

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Fablehaven, Book 4) by Brandon Mull (5/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. This book was absolutely wonderful. Mull does it again, delivering a complex and dangerous plot, with humor, and non-stop action.

Kendra and Seth are back at school. Kendra has been trying to read the secret journal that she was given to figure out where the rest of the artifacts are hidden. Unfortunately she ends up getting kidnapped by the Society of the Evening Star. The rest of the family thinks she is dead. So Seth is sent to Fablehaven for his protection. The group at Fablehaven has to do what they can to recover the remaining hidden artifacts; first they must go to the Dragon Sanctuary and hope to live long enough to get the key to the next artifact.

This was a wonderful book. All of the characters are just fabulous. In addition to all of our favorites from the last book, some new and very interesting characters are added. Mull is so creative with his writing, I am never able to guess what will happen next. The plot pulls you right through the book, the action scenes are wonderful. It was awesome to learn about Seth having his own special set of powers; I liked how they compliment Kendra's in a way. It is a rare book that can keep some many creative things coming at you and such a wonderful plot going that you can never guess what will be next.

This is also a very emotion evoking book. There is humor, at times I was cheering for the characters, at times I was almost in tears at some of the horrible betrayals that happened in this book. It was just riveting.

Needless to say I am absolutely dying to read the next book. This is definitely a keeper series. I think if you enjoyed Harry Potter or Percy and the Olympians; you will really enjoy this series. I actually think everyone should read this series, it just keeps getting better and better!

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon, Dean, and Nathan Hale (5/5 stars)

This is the first book that I have read by Shannon Hale, although I have a few more books of hers that I want to read. This is actually a graphic novel/novella. I really liked this book.

This is the story of Rapunzel; with a few twists. Rapunzel escapes from her tower and proceeds to get revenge on her evil step-mother. She wields her many feet of hair as a weapon and defeats many a dastardly enemy with these deadly locks.

This was a really fun book. The drawings are well done and very humorous. The story itself is also very well done and extremely funny. The graphic novel is a pretty good length; it took me a couple hours to read it. Overall a pretty uplifting story, lots of action, and lots of humor.

The whole story is done with a gunslinger, wild west type feel to it. So, Rapunzel's step-mother is an mining baron of sorts and her side-kick Jack is a lousy cowboy thief. I also enjoyed that this fairy tale ties in with the story of Jack (with his magical bean and goose that lays golden eggs).

Overall a great story and lots of fun to read. I am eager to read more of Shannon Hale's books.

News - Release Date for "Hourglass", book 3 of the Evernight series

I just found out today that the third book in the Evernight series, "Hourglass", by Claudia Grey is going to be released on March, 9th 2010. This series has been okay, not my favorite young adult series right now; but good enough that I want to finish it.

After "Hourglass" there remains one more book in the series that will be titled "Afterlife".

The cover art for "Hourglass" is shown below.

Mailbox Monday - 9/14

Mailbox Monday can be found at The Printed Page.

I didn't get many books this week. I am trying to catch up on what I have for once :-) What I did get is shown below.

On Loan:

"The Monstrumologist" by Rick Yancey
I got this on loan from a friends. It sounds pretty interesting.
First Sentence: "These are the secrets I have kept."
From "Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore War throp, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet. Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?"
"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
I have been wanting to read this book for awhile so I finally ordered it from
First Sentence: "It was a nice day."
From "Pratchett (of Discworld fame) and Gaiman (of Sandman fame) may seem an unlikely combination, but the topic (Armageddon) of this fast-paced novel is old hat to both. Pratchett's wackiness collaborates with Gaiman's morbid humor; the result is a humanist delight to be savored and reread again and again. You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them. The minor characters along the way (Famine makes an appearance as diet crazes, no-calorie food and anorexia epidemics) are as much fun as the story as a whole, which adds up to one of those rare books which is enormous fun to read the first time, and the second time, and the third time... "

"The Demon in the Teahouse" by Dorothy and Thomas Hobbler
Second book in the Samurai Mystery series. I almost have the whole series now, so I can start reading them soon!
First Sentence: "Seikei stood facing the target with his bow held ready."
From "When several geishas are murdered and fires are set in the Yoshiwara district of Edo, Judge Ooka knows he must act quickly. Based on a real character in 18th-century Japan who was known for his reasoning and his ability to solve crimes, the man comes up with a plan. He strategically places his adopted son, 14-year-old Seikei, in a teahouse frequented by a popular geisha who seems to have some connection to both the fires and the murders, and he tells him to keep his eyes open. Conscientious and clever, Seikei quickly finds a number of clues, but in the process is accused of setting a fire. In and out of trouble, this feisty boy, whose greatest desire is to become a samurai, is almost killed, but in the end, he solves the mystery and learns a bit about what Bunzo, his instructor, told him in the beginning: "A samurai must possess the way of the warrior." This sequel to The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (Philomel, 1999) is a fast-paced mystery with a well-constructed plot that moves quickly and often in dramatic ways. Seikei is a likable hero, a believable detective who encounters characters of all types who add to the rousing adventure and suspense."

That's it for this week! I hope you all have a great week :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastards, Book 2) by Scott Lynch (4/5 stars)

This is the second book in the Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch. Overall this was a great book. The pacing was a bit slow in the middle, but the story telling is intricate and clever. You wouldn't have to read the first book to enjoy this book, but knowing the background of the first book would enable you to get more out of this story.

Locke and Jean are nearing the end of a two year scheme to rob the Sinspire. Unfortunately the Archon of the region learns their true identities and wants to use their skills for his own purposes. They are forced to temporarily abandon their Sinspire scheme and are sent on a mission for the Archon. They are supposed to pose as pirates which ends up dragging them into a whole new set of problems.

This book is just as clever as the first book. The plot is complicated and deftly weaves between a number of confidence schemes. True to the Gentleman Bastards of the last book, Jean and Locke take on a number of different guises throughout the book. While Locke remains somewhat ambivalent toward the opposite sex because of his loss in the first book, Jean finds romance on the high seas in the form of feisty pirate named Ezra.

Overall this was a great read. Locke and Jean are great characters; the villains are pretty good villains. This book still deals a lot of witty banter between the characters; although I thought the humor was a bit lighter than in the first book. The pace of the plot is good in the beginning and the end. Unfortunately, in the middle Lynch suddenly spends a ton of time going into the basics of sailing. It was kind of interesting but I don't think it was necessary to the story, and it made the middle of the book stall.

This was a good read though. The end leaves us with a cliffhanger that will have everyone wonder what happens next. And since the next book isn't coming out until sometime in 2010; that's quite the wait for those who want to know what happens. Fans of the series should be happy with this book, as long as they know they need to push through the middle.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seduce the Darkness (Alien Huntress, Book 4) by Gena Showalter (2/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter. While I thought the first two books in this series were okay; I really didn't like the third book all that much. Unfortunately this book followed the third book as far as how much I liked it. I did really like her first book in the Extraordinary girl series "Playing with Fire".

Bride is a vampire who lives on the Earth's surface. She has never met another of her kind and has, for some reason, started getting sick when she drinks blood. Devyn we have met in previous books; he is the womanizing Targon that tried to buy Eden in the second book. They meet when Bride recognizes the scent of her old friend on Devyn. Things get more dangerous when Bride takes the disease invested Nolan from Devyn to piss Devyn off. Now Devyn has to find where Bride is hiding Nolan before Nolan's queen arrives from her home planet. Someone is also trying to kill Bride and she doesn't know why.

The plot in general was pretty thin in this book. I don't mind reading books a bit heavy on the romance, but I do like some substantial plot. The plot basically focused around Nolan and trying to get him to tell where and when his Queen would land; in an effort to stop the virus that Nolan is carrying from wiping out all of Earth. There wasn't much to it. Most of the book focuses on Bride trying to piss off Devyn and Devyn trying to get into Bride's pants. It was also a bit weird that there are all of these alien races on Earth and suddenly Showalter has to throw a vampire in there. I mean where did that come from? Was she worried about missing the current "everyone loves vampires" trend in books?

Bride was very immature for a ages old vampire. Mostly she came off as a brat and was not likable at all. Devyn is an admitted womanizer and most of the time was a jerk. I think Devyn's character was supposed to add some humor to the book; mostly though he was just irritating. Devyn's sense of humor reminds of a hormone ridden teenage boy and really wasn't all that funny. I was actually looking forward to reading more about Devyn, but his back story ended up not being all that interesting.

Showalter's story between Devyn and Bride mimicked the storyline of the previous books. Feisty girl meets arrogant alpha male. Male wants girl, girl resists. Girl can't resist anymore, male gets her then realizes he can't live without her. Boring. This could have been forgiven if there was tension between the characters or decent sex scenes. Unfortunately Devyn and Bride didn't seem to have much chemistry and the sex scenes were uncreative and boring.

In addition to all of the above the scanty plotline about the Queen arriving is left wide open. If I had to hedge my bets I would say the next book in the series is about Dallas falling for the alien Queen...but that is just a guess on my part. I guess I will never know, because I don't plan on continuing to read this series. I don't like any of the characters and the world building (as well as the plot) is thin at best. There are better books out there for romance/sci-fi/paranormal. I would suggest Sunny's Monere' series for those interested in steamy scenes with paranormal races.

Waiting on Wednesday - 9/9

Okay "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week my WoW book is "ArchEnemy" by Frank Beddor. This is the final book in the Looking Glass Wars series. I haven't been totally in love with this series, but I am still very eager to see what happens in the final book!

"The Looking Glass Wars: ArchEnemy" by Frank Beddor
Pages: 384 pages
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: October 18th, 2009

From "Discover the fate of Wonderland- and imagination itself- in this riveting conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy.

The Heart Crystal’s power has been depleted, and Imagination along with it. The people of Wonderland have all lost their creative drive, and most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers. There is some comfort in the fact that the vicious Redd Heart seems to be similarly disabled. Amazingly, she is attempting to team up with her enemy, Alyss, in order to reclaim Wonderland from King Arch. Alyss might have no choice but to accept Redd’s overtures, especially when she begins to receive alarming advice from the caterpillar oracles.

Page-turning and complex, this culmination of the Wonderland saga is intensely satisfying. "

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Book 4) by Richelle Mead (4/5 stars)

This is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series. This is a series that has consistently blown me away; I just love it. This book was a good addition to the series; although I didn't think it was as good as previous ones.

This book finds Rose in Russia on her quest to track down, and kill, Dimitri. We still see glimpses of Lissa's day to day life through Rose's eyes, as Rose visits her thoughts quite often throughout the book. Rose struggles with what she will do if/when she finds Dimitri. Lissa struggles with Rose's absence and finds herself spiraling into erratic behavior with no Rose around to shoulder the darkness for her. You learn quite a bit more about what it means for Rose/Lissa to be bonded and what the effects of Rose being shadow-kissed are.

It was interesting to learn more about Dimitri. I also liked the plot that enveloped Lissa. It was refreshing to see Rose out acting on her own and having to make decisions with maturity; without Lissa constantly driving her decisions. Like Mead's previous Vampire Academy books this book was an emotional roller-coaster; will Rose kill the love of her life Dimitri, will she join him, will Lissa make it without Rose around. The strongest point of the novel was the wonderful characters and characterization. There were ample fight scenes and those were also very well done. It was also fascinating to meet the Alchemists; a new part of the vampire society that has previously been a mystery. Unfortunately unlike the previous novels, there were a couple things that bothered me about this one.

Rose spends an awful lot of the beginning of the book wandering around and not making much progress. Gone is the hot headed, rashly decisive Rose of the previous books. She is replaced with a indecisive Rose, who questions her every decision and at times makes no progress at all towards her goals. I know that in a way this shows Rose developing a bit of maturity. At the same time though I thought some of this could've been omitted and the book would have been better for it. For me the first half of the book was very slow at parts and didn't grab me with the intensity of the rest of the book. At times it seemed that this book was just working to get things set up for the next book. That bothered me a bit because usually the Vampire Academy books are flawless in there pacing.

Despite that complaint; this was a very good book. The ending was especially thrilling. The way that all the pieces came together was exquisite and makes me desperately want to read the next book. Even with the small complaint above; I read this book in a couple sittings and had trouble pulling myself away from it. Overall another good book in what has been a fabulous series.

Teaser Tuesday - 9/8

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week it from "Seduce the Darkness" (Alien Huntress, book 4) by Gena Showalter. Here it is:
"Infiltrating that dark, gloomy world without permission would be impossible. They had a millenia of security down there, and they'd never give him permission to steal one of their own-even if he swore to bring her back when he was done with her." Pg. 164

Monday, September 7, 2009

Must Love Hellhounds edited by Charlaine Harris (4/5 stars)

This was a pretty good selection of writings. Despite the title not all of the stories featured Hellhounds; but all of them did include Hellhounds a little bit. My favorite stories were "Magic Mourns" by Ilona Andrews and "Blind Spot" by Meljean Brook. I am a big Ilona Andrews fan and this story doesn't disappoint. Meljean Brook's story was a surprise for me. I though Harris's story was written in kind of an amateurish style and was my least favorite. Singh's story was a bit too much of a romance for my taste but was set in a very interesting world. For synopsis and comments on each story see below.

- The Britlingens Go to Hell by Charlaine Harris (3/5 stars)
Two Britlingen body guards are hired to go to hell and help a client steal back something he tried to take from Lucifer. The story tone is very light and somewhat humorous. There is some action but I thought the writing was kind of amateurish. Overall I thought the story was okay.

- Angels' Judgement by Nalini Singh (4/5 stars)
Story about guild huntress Sara. She ends up as part of an investigation into a rogue guild member who is wrongly slaying vampires. Along the way she gets paired up with the Slayer, a super sexy hunter named Deacon. There was quite a bit of action but this story was definitely romance heavy. The world building was pretty good and overall it was interesting; although I didn't enjoy all the romance scenes that much.

- Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)
The story is told from Kate Daniel's friend's (Andrea's) point of view. Andrea gets a call from a distressed shapeshifter; it ends up being Raphael. She finds him being chased by a Cerebus. Raphael has had the hots for Andrea for a long time. They end up investigating the presence of the Cerebus and find that one of the People are involved. Just a warning about this story if you haven't read "Magic Strikes" yet (the third Kate Daniels book) this story gives away some of the stuff that happened in that book. I was a little irritated about that because I am in the middle of listening to "Magic Strikes" and this story kind of gave away the ending of the book. Overall though it was an excellent story, with great action scenes, and it filled in some of Andrea's history. 5/5

- Blind Spot by Meljean Brook (4/5 stars)
Maggie goes to rescue a blind man and his sister. She has a Hellhound with a strange sense of humor along for help. Lots of action and investigation. I actually really enjoyed this story and it made me want to look into more of Meljean Brook's books. The writing style and character personalities actually reminded me a lot of Ilona Andrews.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (5/5 stars)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I wasn't expecting it to be all pictures and no words; not to say that detracted from the book. This was actually a wonderful and thought provoking book, and it was better for its lack of words. Without language as a barrier I think anyone from any culture could get some understanding from this book. In the epilogue it mentions that Tan spent 4 years researching all of the drawings and stories that made up this book and it shows.

This book depicts the story of a man who leaves his family to travel to a fantastical alien place. He is trying to find work at that place, and have many of the problems you would expect of a person plopped into an alien society.

The pictures in the book are beautiful and the land the man visits truly fantastic. Despite all the alien-ness of the place though you see the main character gong through many troubles that any immigrant goes through. The book is surprisingly griping and you really feel for the characters. Even more surprising are the little bits of humor throughout, they make the book even more human.

To add depth to the story a number of the characters that the main character bumps into also have their back-stories depicted. It really is proving a point about how people end up in the beautiful alien world and what they've suffered to get there.

So I liked this book on a number of levels. All by itself it is an interesting story depicted with beautiful pictures; a tale of a journey to a far away land. On another level it makes a statement about immigration and what people who immigrate to a new world have suffered through and continue to suffer. The story is by no means depressing through, it is humorous and heartfelt. The lack of words makes it enjoyable to all ages. My 2 year enjoyed looking through it with me (although I don't think he got as much out of it as I did) he found the different worlds interesting and had lots of questions to ask about the characters. Believe or not he made it through the whole thing with me.

I got this from the library but I will definitely be acquiring a copy to keep in my library. I will definitely be checking out more of Shaun Tan's works.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mailbox Monday - 9/7

Mailbox Monday can be found at: The Printed Page

Quite a few books again this week. I broke down and bought "Blood Promise" (Vampire Academy, Book 4) brand new in hardcover. I really love this series so that is my excuse there. See below for the full list!


"Blood Promise" (Vampire Academy, Book 4) by Richelle Mead
Absolutely love this series. So I had to go out and the the book right away!
First Sentence: "I was being followed"
From "How far will Rose go to keep her promise? The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri. He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?"

The Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
Since I got the second book in this series through Vine; I needed to acquire the first one :-)
First Sentence: "I want to not ride the bus to school every day, but that would be a waste of a really big want - it'll take care of itself eventually."
From "On good days, Fanboy is invisible to the students at his high school. On bad ones, he's a target for bullying and violence. When a classmate is cruel to him, Fanboy adds him to The List and moves on. His only real friend, Cal, is a jock who can't be seen with him in public. Their love of comics, though, keeps them close friends outside of school. Reading comics and writing his own graphic novel, Schemata, are the only things that keep him sane. He dreams of showing his work to a famous author at a comic-book convention and being discovered as the next great graphic novelist. When Goth Girl Kyra IMs him with photos of him being beaten up, he's skeptical. Why does she care what happens to him? He learns, though, that she's as much an outsider as he is. The two form a tentative friendship based on hatred of their classmates, particularly jocks, and her interest in Schemata. Fanboy is a rule follower, but Kyra is a rebel with a foul mouth. She teaches him to stand up for himself, and gives him the confidence to do it."

From Amazon Vine:

Flight of the Phoenix (Nathanial Fludd, Beastologist, Book 1) by R. L. LaFevers
I really liked LaFevers Theodosia novels. So I decided to go ahead and pick this book when I was offered it through Amazon Vine.
First Sentence: "It was one of the most important moments for Nathaniel Fludd's life, he was stuck sitting in the corner.
From "Nathaniel Fludd’s life has taken a turn for the worst. With his parents lost at sea, he lands on the doorstep of a distant cousin—the world’s last remaining beastologist. Soon Nate is whisked off on his first expedition, to Arabia, where the world’s only phoenix prepares to lay its new egg. When disaster strikes, Nate quickly finds himself all alone. Will he be able to see the phoenix safely hatched, keep his accidental pet gremlin out of trouble, and rescue his guardian from the Bedouin? If he fails, nothing will stand between the world’s mythical creatures and extinction. Too bad Nate’s not the sort of boy who enjoys adventure . . .yet. "

Flesh and Fire (Vineart War, Book 1) by Laura Ann Gilman

I wanted to read Laura Ann Gilman's Retrievers series. But she is kind of far into that series. When I heard she was writing a fantasy series I thought that was even more up my alley. So, I am really looking forward to this book.
First sentence: "When I preach, I remind myself that the Collegium was created for one purpose: That the world not forget Sin Washer, and how - and why - He came to us."
From"Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.

But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft offers a hint of greater magics within -- magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed."


Tangled Webs (Black Jewels, Book 6) by Anne Bishop
Loved the Black Jewels Triligy and also really enjoyed the stories in "Dreams Made Flesh". I am hoping that this is a good addition to the Black Jewels world. Although I have heard it's not a great book; we will see.
First Sentence: "He laid his hand on the cover of his latest book, closed his eyes to shut out the world around him, and savored this new reality that was still so painfully sweet."
From "In Bishop's bewitching latest Black Jewels adventure (after 2005's Dreams Made Flesh), a tour of an old house becomes a hellish matter of life and death. Lady Surreal SaDiablo receives an invitation to preview the silly, spooky house that Queen Jaenelle Angelline has created to parody myths about the magically gifted Bloods, and she persuades her friend and fellow magic user Warlord Prince Rainier to join her. The only snag is that Jaenelle didn't send the invitation. Crazed, jealous novelist Jarvis Jenkell has discovered his Blood heritage and developed his own haunted house with the goal of trapping other Bloods and using their travails to inspire his fiction. As Surreal, Rainer and several local children struggle to escape Jenkell's deadly snare, Jaenelle's husband, Daemon Sadi, and Sadi's half-brother, Lucivar, must call upon all their Craft skills to free the trapped. With feverish pacing and terrifying twists, Bishop's surefire spell craft will leave readers' hearts pounding."

That's it for this Monday! Thanks for visiting; hope you all have a great week :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Flight of the Phoenix (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 1) by R. L. LaFevers (4/5 stars)

I got this book as an advanced reading copy through the Amazon Vine program. It is the first book in a series targeted at children. Previously I have read LaFevers Theodosia series and I enjoyed that series. This book is a short chapter book and was a very quick, fun read; as an adult it took me maybe 30 minutes to read.

Nathaniel never sees much of his parents; they are always off exploring and he's been left behind. Then a message comes that they have been "lost at sea". Suddenly Nathaniel's life is turned upside down and he is sent to live with his Aunt Phil. Aunt Phil immediately whisks him off on a crazy adventure to take care of a Phoenix. Ends up Nathaniel is the most recent of a long line of Beastologists.

This was a great kids book. It was fast-paced, creative, and both Nathaniel and Aunt Phil are likable characters. In some ways this book reminds a bit of the Spiderwick Chronicles. The chapters are fairly short and there are pictures throughout. This would be a great book to introduce a kid to chapter books. Kids that love animals, travel, and adventures will love this book. The story is concluded nicely, but there is room left for more books in the series.

A wonderful, creative book in a great new series. Anyway who likes the Spiderwick Chronicles or the Fablehaven series will like this book. The reading level is much easier than the Fablehaven series. I am looking forward to more adventures with Nathaniel and Aunt Phil in the future.

Strange Brew edited by P. N. Elrod (4/5 stars)

Overall this is a decent set of stories. The highlights for me were Karen Chance's super action packed "Vegas Odds" and Jenna Maclaine's beautifully written, action packed, and intricate "Dark Sins". I found Cin from "Dark Sins" to be a very interesting heroine and I would definitely like to read more about her. I also really liked meeting Jane Yellowrock in Faith Hunter's "Signatures of the Dead." Jane is a character I would also like to read more about.

My least favorites were Elrod's story (not surprising because I have read a couple of the books with Jack and don't enjoy her writing style all that much) and Harris's "Bacon". See a summary of each below. I liked the book in general and really liked that is gave me a look at some of the new authors and characters coming out in series.

Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs
A witch named Moira and a werewolf named Tom go to save Tom's brother from an evil coven. Pretty good, I enjoyed it. 4/5

Last Call by Jim Butcher
Entertaining story about Murphy and Harry tracking down the source of some tainted beer that Mac accidentally served in his bar. Tons of action, very entertaining! 4/5

Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine
About witch named Holly who resurrects an old witch, Andy, to help the police find a witch killer. Unfortunately Holly and the resurrected witch have a history. Fast-paced and engaging story although I didn't like the main character all that much. 4/5

Vegas Odds by Karen Chance
Lia is a War Mage stuck in the middle of a war between good and evil. When her house comes under attack she is left to figure out who the attackers are and hunt down their master. I really liked this story; it was packed with action and set in an interesting world that I want to learn more about. 5/5

Hecate's Golden Eye by P. N. Elrod
Jack and Charles are hired to recover a stolen piece of jewelry. The crime turns out to be more than it first seems. This was a fast paced story featuring Elrod's well known Jack Flemming. Overall a decent story. 3/5

Bacon by Charlaine Harris
This story is about a vampire, Dahlia, who hires a witch to help avenge her werewolf husband that has been murdered. Overall I thought this story was boring and the plot a bit hard to folllow at points. I didn't really like any of the characters much either. 2/5

Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter
About a witch named Molly who works with a Skinwalker named Jane Yellowrock to bring down some rogue vampires. I really didn't find Molly to be all that fascinating of a character. I did really like Jane Yellowrock though. The story moved quickly, was very engaging, and had lots of good action scenes. I am eager to read more stories involving Jane Yellowrock. I know that Hunter's book "Skinwalker" featuring Jane came out earlier this summer and this short story really makes me want to check it out. 4/5

Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge
A witch named "Sunny" gets kidnapped as part of a larger plot onvolving a witch coven. This was an okay story, although I didn't think it was great and didn't like any of the characters much. 3/5

Dark Sins by Jenna Maclaine
I really liked this story. Cin Craven is a vampire who attained her witch powers. Her and her S.O. Michael are attacked and captured; and need to escape to save their lives and the lives of their friends. This story was set in the Victorian era. I really liked both Cin and Michael as characters. Just the glimpse this story give hints at a very interesting and intricate world with a lush history. Lots of action and a tad of romance. The entrance of the goddess Morrgan made things very interesting. One of my favorite stories of the bunch. 5/5