Monday, May 31, 2010

May 2010 - In Review

This month I read 27 books.  It was a pretty good month for reading.  You can see details on what I read, what series I caught up on, my favorites, and reading challenges status below.

I caught up on the following series:
Greywalker:  Book 2, Poltergeist  and Book, 3 Underground by Kat Richardson
Theodosia: Book 3, Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers
Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Book 2, The Basilisk's Lair by R. L. LaFevers

I started the following series:
Shades of Fury: Book 1, Red Hot Fury by Kasey MacKenzie
Darkest Powers: Book 1: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
First Law: Book 1: The Blade Itself  by Joe Abercrombie

I finished the following series:
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

My Favorite Books of the Month Were:
Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, Book 5) by Brandon Mull
Hoot by Carl Hiaase
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) by Richelle Mead
Volcano: A Visual Guide by Donna O'Meara
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann

I  read a couple disappointing books this month that I just couldn't get into:
Red Hot Fury (A Shades of Fury Novel, Book 1) by Kasey MacKenzie
The Blade Itself (First Law, Book 1) by Joe Abercrombie
Monster: Oil on Canvas by Dmitry Zlotsky

Here are the stats on the reading challenges I am participating in:
- Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge: 12/12 read Complete!
- Debut Author Reading Challenge: 10/12 read
- Young Adult Reading Challenge: 51/75 read
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge: Complete!
- GLBT Reading Challenge: 2/4 read
- 100+ Book Reading Challenge: 101 read
- 1st in a Series Challenge: 19/20 read

Below is the full list of books that I read this month :-)  Hope you all had a great month of reading too!
1.  The Legend of Sleepy Hallow by Washington Irving (4/5 stars)
2.  The Hungry Scientist Handbook by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns (3.5/5 stars)
3.  Darkwood by M. E. Breen (3/5 stars)
4.  The Doom Machine by Mark Teague (4/5 stars)
5.  Red Hot Fury (A Shades of Fury Novel, Book 1) by Kasey MacKenzie (2.5/5 stars)
6.  Bumper Book of Nature by Stephen Moss (3.5/5 stars)
7.  Poltergeist (Greywalker, Book 2) by Kat Richardson (4/5 stars)
8.  Keys to the Demon Prison (Fablehaven, Book 5) by Brandon Mull (5/5 stars)
9.  Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett (3.5/5 stars)
10. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (4/5 stars)
11. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (5/5 stars)
12. Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus (Theodosia, Book 3) by R. L. LaFevers (4/5 stars)
13. The Basilisk's Lair (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, Book 2) by R. L. LaFevers (4/5 stars)
14. A Coven of Witches (The Last Apprentice) by Joseph Delaney (4/5 stars)
15. Wish by Alexandra Bullen (3/5 stars)
16. Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (4/5 stars)
17. Cyclist BikeList by Laura Robinson (4/5 stars)
18. The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong (3/5 stars)
19. Monster: Oil on Canvas by Dmitry Zlotsky(2/5 stars)
20. The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong (3/5 stars)
21. Volcano: A Visual Guide by Donna O'Meara (5/5 stars)
22. Stone Voice Rising by C. Lee Tocci (3/5 stars)
23. The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann (5/5 stars)
24. Underground (Greywalker, Book 3) by Kat Richardson (4/5 stars)
25. Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) by Richelle Mead (5/5 stars)
26. Caliber: Cannon of Justice by Sam Sarkar and Garrie Gastonny (4/5 stars)
27. The Blade Itself (First Law, Book 1) by Joe Abercrombie (2.5/5 stars)

Epic Review - The Blade Itself (First Law, Book 1) by Joe Abercrombie (2.5/5 stars)

I love epic fantasies.  So when I heard what a great series Abercrombie's First Law series was I am eager to read it.  Overall it was not one of the best epic fantasies I have read: I much prefer any of Brandon Sanderson's books, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, or Scott Lynch's works.

This book follows the actions of a number of different characters.  Logen Ninefingers is an infamous barbarian that is looking for a path away from killing.  Captain Jezal dan Luthar is a fop that is trying to win a fencing tournament to make his life more comfortable.  Inquisitor Glokta is a crippled torturer who takes care of the realms confessions.  Bayaz is a mysterious mage.  They each have their own agenda but are being drawn into a war between the Northmen and the Union.

Let me start by saying that Abercrombie has a writing style that is very easy to read and engaging.  His action scenes are well done.  That is about all I can say positive about this book.

The characters are unlikable down to the smallest side character.  They are all selfish, irritating, and just...well...very unlikable.  They aren't really all that fun to read about and many aspects of their personalities are overdone.  For example as a reader I understood right off the bat that Jezal was a selfish, spoiled, idiot.  I kept waiting for his character to gain some depth outside of this stereotype and it never really did.  The whole book I kept hoping the characters would break their mold, do something interesting or surprising, but that never happened.  They all acted as stereotypically and predictably as they possible could.

The plot itself tries to be an intricate web of political maneuvering, but in reality nothing much happens in this book.  All the characters are moved from place to place with not a lot happening, basically this book just gets all the characters in the right places and sets things up to send them off some place else in the next book.  The only interesting characters in the whole book are Logan (who may actually have some depth beyond a strict barbarian) and Bayaz (who is mostly a mystery).

I will say I am not big on books that totally involve only political machinations.  So that is probably why this book was a bit of a bore to me.  I usually like some adventuring, questing, war (up front, not at a distance), and even the occasional relationship.  I should mention that this book is also into giving you the gory reality of everything, not much is held back...there is also a ton of swearing (which doesn't bother me one way or the other).

On a side note being a woman who reads epic fantasies I have really enjoyed that writers such as Sanderson and Butcher create interesting woman characters that have a sizable and important role int their books.  This book reminded more of epic fantasies I read in the 80's and early 90's where it is all about the guys.  There are two woman characters in this book: one is a manipulating flirt, the other is a crazy ex-slave.  Neither of them are interesting and neither of them have a lot of pull in the plot of this book.

Overall I didn't like the characters and I thought the plot was boring.  I did like the style of Abercrombie's writing and I did like the action scenes.  When all was said and done; I put down the book and thought "Thank God I am done with this, I never want to read about these people ever again!"  If you like political novels with unlikable characters and revel in the awful gritty goriness of fight scenes this is the book for you.  I personally like my novels a bit more interesting with characters with greater depth.  I would recommend any of Brandon Sanderson's books, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, or Scott Lynch's works over this one.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge

The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One) 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mailbox Monday - 5/31

Mailbox Monday can be found at: The Printed Page

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. 

I got six books in my mailbox this week.  The first I got from the publisher off of for review and that was "Wildthorn".  I feel in love with Wildthorn's cover and thought the premise was intriguing.

The second book I got direct from the author requesting a review; "The Hunted of 2060" by Ami Rebecca Blackwelder.  Thanks to Ami for a copy of this book.

The third and fourth books were both from  BloodAngel looked like a good read.  Before Midnight is another fairy-tale retelling which I am eager to read.

The last two books were from the Amazon Vine program.  I was super excited to get Kraken by China Mieville.  I also got a really neat anatomy book called The Atlas of Anatomy.  Both very cool books that I am excited to read.

So that's it for my books this week.  I hope you all got good reads.  Have a great week and happy reading :-)

Wildthorn by Jane England 
First Sentence: "The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains."
"Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor's daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself - and others - in order to be set free. And love may be the key..."

The Hunted of 2060 (Volume 1) by Ami Rebecca Blackwelder
The Hunted of 2060 (Volume 1)
First Sentence: "I am torn."
From "by Ami Blackwelder America 2060. Three Lovers. Two Species. One Way to Survive. Set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her Sophomore year at University, she thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. Order on Kindle as an ebook and the .pdf directly from the author."

BloodAngel by Justine Musk 

Blood Angel 
First Sentence: "The girl came from nowhere."
"In downtown Manhattan, a rising young painter is haunted by disturbing dreams...In small-town Minnesota, a teenage orphan struggles with a knowledge beyond his years-and a destiny he wants no part of...In California, young and old, hipsters and hippies, fall under the spell of a wildly charismatic singer whose voice breaks down all barriers-including the ones between heaven and hell.
The fans of Asha are finding one other-and the world is running out of time."

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey 

Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" (Once Upon a Time) 
First Sentence: "What do you know about yourself?"
"Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.
The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are."

Kraken by China Mieville 
First Sentence: "An everyday doomsayer in sanwhich-board abruptly walked away from what over the last several days had been his pitch, by the gates of a museum."
"With this outrageous new novel, China MiĆ©ville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre’s prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis duxbetter known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London’s finest that fights sorcery

with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city’s entrails. There is Grisamentum, London’s greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be."
Atlas of Anatomy by Anne M. Gilroy, Brian R. MacPherson, and Lawrence M. Ross 
Atlas of Anatomy (Thieme Anatomy)  
From "Atlas of Anatomy contains everything students need to successfully tackle the daunting challenges of anatomy.
Complete with exquisite, full-color illustrations by award-winning artists Markus Voll and Karl Wesker, the atlas is organized to lead students step-by-step through each region of the body. Each region opens with the foundational skeletal framework. The subsequent chapters build upon this foundation, adding the muscles, then organs, then vessels, then nerves, and finally presenting topographic anatomy for a comprehensive view. Each unit closes with surface anatomy accompanied by questions that ask the reader to apply knowledge learned for the real-life physical examination of patients.
-2,200 full-color illustrations of unsurpassed quality
-Brief introductory texts that provide an accessible entry point when a new topic is presented
-Clinical correlates and images, including radiographs, MRIs, CT scans, and endoscopic views
-Muscle Fact pages that organize the essentials, including origin, insertion, and innervation--ideal for memorization, reference, and review
-Navigators that orient the reader with location and plane of dissection
- A scratch-off code provides access to Winking PLUS, an interactive online study
aid, featuring over 600 full-color anatomy illustrations and radiographs, “labels-on,
labels-off” functionality, and timed self-tests
This atlas provides everything students need in just the right format, making the mastery of human anatomy eminently achievable."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review - Caliber: Cannon of Justice by Sam Sarkar and Garrie Gastonny (4/5 stars)

I saw this book and had to get it.  I mean a graphic novel retelling the tale of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table but as a Gun-slinging western?  How can you miss?  This was a very good graphic novel.

What this book is about it pretty straightforward.  Arthur is a Gun-slinging cowboy, Merlin an Indian shaman, and the bad guys a group of corrupt sheriffs and outlaws.

The real hightlight of this graphic novel is the artwork; this is just a beautiful book.  The quality of artwork you see on the cover represents the quality of the artwork throughout the book, it is just stunning.  Page after page I just keep thinking wow this art is awesome!

The story is also very good.  The author did some clever things in adapting this to a graphic novel.  I was surprised how well the author was able to fit King Arthur's story to a good western, I suppose I shouldn't be, but it actually works really well and comes off as being very clever.

I have a couple small complaints.  The first is that you get a lot of characters thrown at you and at times I had trouble distinguishing them because they looked similar.  I really had to pay careful attention to not confuse them.  Also this book basically just sets up the story; showing us how Arthur got Caliber (the magic gun) and set up his round table.  I would really like to see a sequel to this book that goes into detail on some of the adventures these guys have.

Also this is a book meant for mature audiences.  There isn't any nudity, but there are sex scenes and a boatload of graphic violence.  I didn't have a problem with that, but some people might.

Overall I really enjoyed this graphic novel.  It is a great twist on the King Arthur legend, a good story, and had stellar artwork throughout.  A very high quality piece of work.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
 Caliber: First Canon of Justice Volume I

Friday, May 28, 2010

Review - Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) by Richelle Mead (5/5 stars)

This is the fifth book in Mead's Vampire Academy series.  There are six books planned for the series with the 6th book, Last Sacrifice, due out December 2010.  This was an absolutely excellent book in this series.

Rose is back at school with Lissa and the crew.  They are due to graduate and then they will be sent off to the Moroi Court until Lissa is ready to leave for college.  There are a number of things overwhelming the joy of graduation.  Lissa and Adrian still struggle with their Darkness from their Spirit use.  Rose and Lissa are still nervous over whether or not Rose will get assigned as Lissa's Guardian.  Then there is the issue of Dmitri; in the previous book Rose found out there might be a way to "cure" Dmitri from being Strigoi, Rose will plan a daring adventure to obtain this information.

The action is non-stop and poor Rose never gets a break.  It was nice to see more of Adrian; I do like him a lot as a character.  It was wonderful to have Lissa and Rose back in the plot together.  Rose still does some stupid things and acts more rashly than she should at times; but she has learned to temper that with some forethought.  Rose is definitely becoming one kick-butt girl and has grown a tougher skin; she usually chooses action over tantrums.

There isn't a ton you can say about this book without creating spoilers.  To be honest everyone who is a fan of the series will read it anyway.  Let's just say Dmitiri does return and is part of the story, a lot happens in this book to shake up Moroi and Guardian culture, Rose is thrust from one crazy predicament to another, and it is just an awesome ride.  I seriously could not put this book down and read it in a day or so.

The main story wraps up okay but then Mead leaves you with another cliffhanger.  I can't wait to find out how the series will wrap up.  This was an excellent, excellent addition to the series.  Mead is an excellent writer.  If you enjoy this series and are an adult I would definitely check out her Georgina Kincaid series also, this is another great series by Mead but is written for an adult audience.  I am counting the days to Last Sacrifice...

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review - Underground (Greywalker, Book 3) by Kat Richardson (4/5 stars)

This is the third book in the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson.  The 4th book, Vanished, had already been released and the 5th book, Labyrinth, is due out August 2010.   There are six books under contract for this series last that I heard.  I enjoyed this book and thought it was a good addition to the series.  I listened to this on audio book.  The audio book was fairly well done, sometimes the narrator has trouble distinguishing the different male voices, but other than that it was easy to listen to.

In this book Quentin contacts Harper about some weirdness happening in Seattle's Underground.  Homeless people are going missing and are found dead.  Even creepier, body parts have been found in the Underground and the occasional zombie has been seen wandering around.   The weather has been strangely cold and wintery; Harper needs to figure out how this is all connected and find out if it is a threat to Seattle.  This time the vampires bow out of helping; but luckily Harper has the very resourceful Quentin at her side.

As mentioned in previous reviews for this series, these books are mysteries with a paranormal bent to them.  There isn't much romance, there is some action, but most of the book is focused on solving the case through investigative work.  I again enjoyed Harper's analytical mind and practicality in getting the case solved.  It was wonderful to learn some of Quentin's secrets too.  He is a great character and I enjoyed having him play such a big role in this story.

As with previous books Richardson really does her research and gives us extensive detail on both the Underground of Seattle and the history of the Native Americans of that area.  I enjoy this detail, but I could understand how some people might find it cumbersome.  So again, if you have read previous books you are familiar with this, Richardson goes into great detail on things and I really enjoyed learning about them.

Harper does a great job incorporating the skills she has learned as a Greywalker in previous books to help solve her current case.  It was nice to see Harper making use of all that she had learned.  Additionally she again learns some new things about her power as a Greywalker

The overall story is nicely summed up, as it has been with each book in this series.  I am really enjoying this series.  The books aren't incredibly exceptional but they are very well done and make for enjoyable reads.  I love trying to race Harper to the conclusion of the mystery.  Richardson does an excellent job summing things up and at the end of this book there is a little teaser to what the next book is going to be about.

Overall this has been an excellent series and this book was no exception to that.  I look forward to reading the 4th book, Vanished, in this series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Thiller and Suspense Challenge
Underground (Greywalker, Book 3) 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review - The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann (5/5 stars)

I am a chemist and have always been fascinated by the Periodic Table of Elements.  So, imagine my excitement when I saw this book sitting in the bookstore.  Not only does it provide information on all 118 elements in the Periodic Table, it does it in a way that is interesting, accessible, and beautiful.  This is a book that makes you want to touch it and turn the pages, you just can't resist.  The picture of the elements are colorful and intriguing; they are all featured on a stylish black background...this is just a beautiful book.

Each element features a picture of the element in its purest form.  The side of the page has a small strip that gives lots of technical data.  The elements position on the periodic table is showm, atomic weight, density, atomic radius, crystal structure, electron order filing, atomic emissions spectrum, and state of matter are all given in this strip.  The rest of the page is given over to a few paragraphs about the element.  Then there are excellent pictures showing instances where the element is used and these pictures also have small descriptions.   Most elements are given a two page spread, but some of the lucky elements get 4 pages!

In addition to the individual elements the beginning of the book discusses the different sections of the periodic table and how the periodic table of elements got its shape.

This is more of a coffee table book than an ultimate reference to the Periodic Table of Elements.  Although it does provide a lot of information on the Elements.  Much of the discussion on each Element is anecdotal and somewhat humorous.  This makes the book an excellent reference for the layman interested in Elements, it also makes the book an entertaining read.  You would have to go elsewhere to get into the gritty details of some of these elements though....for example if you were trying to synthesize something with them or something else deeply technical.

Overall I really loved this book.  It is such an awesome book with such neat pictures. Everyone in the house from my computer loving husband to my three year old son has spent time looking through this book.  It is just such an interesting book and it is presented in such a beautiful way.  Not to mention it is even fun to read!  I think everyone should have this book in their house; if nothing else it makes for interesting discussions as you see the bizarre forms of some of the elements.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

Review - Stone Voice Rising C. Lee Tocci (3/5 stars)

I borrowed this book from a friend.  It sounded like an interesting fantasy story and I thought I would give it a read.  Overall it was an okay story.  Parts of it are very flawed, yet it is an intriguing idea.  This book is definitely not a stand alone and seems to be mostly setting things up for the next book.

The book starts by going back and forth between the viewpoints of 6 year old Lilibit and 8 year old Todd.  Lilibit can talk to stones and use them for magic.  Todd can talk to birds and is very different from all children his age.  After a short part of the story at these ages, 5 years pass.  Now the story is mostly from Todd's viewpoint and, when Lilibit enters the story she is a tortured/diminished soul.  Things are not all well in the world and it will be up to Lilibit, Todd and their friends to save things.

As I mentioned the initial part of the story takes place 5 years before the rest of it.  After the 5 years pass, the story starts out mainly being told from Todd's point of view.  Then the point of view switches willy-nilly as we hear from all of the different characters.  This can get a bit confusing because it isn't always immediately apparant whose viewpoint we are hearing from.

The characters are okay, not all that engaging but they all have interesting backgrounds.  The characters become more interesting as different stones claim them and lend them power.  This book is mostly an adventure/fantasy type of story as the kids leave on a quest to find Lilibit's Kiva.  But, it takes a while to get to the journey point.  The setting itself is awkward because it takes place in the modern day world; yet there is this sub culture of stone speakers and Stone warriors.  You are not ever really sure how this sub-culture interacts with the rest of the world.

I question this story as a children's book because of the violence that happens to Lilibit.  They basically explain that she has been operated on without anesthesia and tortured everyday for 5 years, she has also been killed and rehabilitated and number of times.  To be honest the whole concept was uncomfortable to me as an adult and definitely not something I would read to a child.  It was weird because outside of this part the book would have been great to read to children, but since this background is so central to the story I would have to recommend this to older young adults.

The high point of this novel is the interesting way Tocci deals with magic.  The stones are magical and have personalities all of their own.  This is a very creative and interesting premise.  Unfortunately Tocci never really explains how any of it works.  Tocci also kind of throws in new humanoid races whenever it is convenient; they are never explained or seem all that well planned.  Further books in the series might make the whole story seemed a bit more put together.

The writing style is okay.  For the most part it is very readable, but occasionally it is a bit halting and is a struggle to get through.  This whole book is about setting up the story, so the pacing is a bit slow at times and the story a bit boring.  I wouldn't recommend this book to reluctant readers, but it could be a good read for young adult fantasy fans out there.  The book doesn't resolve much and ends at kind of a cliffhanger.  This is a bummer considering I haven't been able to find any information on the sequel to this book.

Overall it is an okay read.  The creative magic system and perkiness of Lilibit as a character make it interesting.  It also seems like this could be a really interesting world if we could just learn more about it.  The rest of the book is somewhat flawed.  The torture and violence are a bit much for it to be a children's book, but it is appropriate for young adults.  After reading this book I don't feel a huge urge to check out anything else by this author.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Stone Voice Rising 

Waiting on Wednesday - 5/26

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

My WoW book for this week is Ascendent by Diana Peterfreund.  For those of you who read Rampant (a crazy book about evil rampaging unicorns and the young girls who are training to fight them) this is the sequel.  I am eager to find out what other crazy adventures Astrid will end up on.

Ascendent by Diana Peterfreund
Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: Harperteen
Release Date: September 28th, 2010

Synopsis from "Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.
So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?"