Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank You Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to all of you who entered my Thank You Giveaway :-)

The winner of the Middle Grade Pack was Brooke!

The winner of the YA Pack was Karla!

The winners were drawn with Random.org.  Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving :-)  The winners have been contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.

Review - Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, Book 2) by Richard Kadrey (5/5 stars)

Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel (Sandman Slim Novels)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Size: 448 pages
Publisher: Eos
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0061714313
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in Sandman Slim series
Source: Bought from Audible.com
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Sandman Slim series; you wouldn't have to read the first book to read this one, but the first one gives a lot of great background and is a wonderful book so I would recommend reading it.  I actually listened to this on audio book; the audio book was exceedingly well done.

Stark (Sandman Slim) is whiling away his time drinking, doing miscellaneous work for the Golden Vigil, and wishing he could kill Mason (the evil man who sent him to hell for eleven years).  Then he gets a message that Lucifer (Satan) is in town and wants to meet.  Ends up Lucifer needs a body guard while he is in town working on his new movie Morningstar and he wants it to be Stark.  As if this wasn't odd enough Stark is called in by the Golden Vigil to consult on a mysterious and violent death.  Stark also kind of notices, in between his drunken hazes, that people have been disappearing at a higher rate than normal.  Next thing you know revnants (zombies) are roaming the streets and the whole world is on the brink of apocalypse...again.  All Stark has to back him up is a mysterious belt buckle, some Hellion hoodoo, some kick-butt weapons, and a bit of half-angelic boost.

This was seriously a very awesome book.  I was excited to read it after how much I liked Sandman Slim and I am so happy I did.  Stark is tough and not afraid to get hurt; he is an excellent anti-hero who always impresses with his harshness, yet is somehow still a kind of moral hero of sorts.  Oh yeah and he is hilarious, the humor in this book is dark but I was laughing out loud a number of times during this book.  The shear awesomeness and funess (is that a word?) of the whole thing was just exhilarating.  This book is very violent, but in a fun way...

You learn a lot more about Stark and his world in this book.  You learn more about his family and more about his history.  You get a chance to understand him better and how his human and angelic sides work (or don't work) together.  We get some great new characters; one of my favorites was Brigitte.  Brigitte is a porn-star/actress with an awesome secret, some serious attitude, and of course some serious sexiness.  I also loved that we got to spend so much time with Lucifer and get to understand him better too.  There are some shocking revelations in this book that will keep readers guessing as well.

The action scenes and pacing are spectacular, I listened to this on audio book and it was hard to stop.  I just wanted to keep listening.  Kadrey is just an excellent writer and I can't wait to read the next installment in this series.  This story wrapped up well, but definitely has some issues to deal with still in future installments.  For some reason this book reminded me a lot of The Crow movie; it has that same anti-hero thing going on, is ultra-violent, and action packed.  This book reads like a movie and it would be great if they made it into one some time.

Overall an absolutely stellar read and an excellent addition to this series.  These are definitely adult reads (lots of violence and some sex).  If you haven't read these books you should give them a try especially if you are a fan of the anti-hero/superhero type of things, love urban fantasy, or love action.  Fans of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Remy Chandler by Thomas Sniegoski, Spellbent by Lucy Snyder, and Felix Castor by Mike Carey should find lots to love in this book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel (Sandman Slim Novels) 

2011- Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge

I am signing up for another reading challenge: the 2011 Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge is hosted by Book Chick City. This is one I will have no problem making; I read so much Urban Fantasy!  I am excited to be part of the challenge.  Read below or follow the image below to sign up and get more information on this challenge.

Challenge Details
  • Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011
  • Rules: To read TWENTY FOUR (24) horror & urban fantasy novels in 2011 (24 is the minimum but you can read more if you wish!)
  • You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.
  • You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
  • At the beginning of Jan 2011, you will find a link to add your reviews.

My books will be listed below as I read them:
1.    Tempest's Legacy (Jane True, Book 3)by Nicole Peeler
2.    Vesper (Deviant's, Book 1) by Jeff Sampson
3.    Double Cross (Disillusionists Trilogy, Book 2) by Carolyn Crane
4.    Horror, Humor, and Heroes Volume II: New Faces of Fantasy edited by Jim Bernheimer
5.    Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
6.    Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) by Faith Hunter
7.    Teeth: Vampire Tales Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
8.    Black Wings (Madeline Black, Book 1) by Christina Henry
9.    Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) by J.R. Ward
10.  Shadowfever (Fever, Book 5) by Karen Marie Moning
11.  Pale Demon (The Hollows, Book 9) by Kim Harrison
12.  Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1) by Mira Grant
13.  A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside, Book 11) by Simon R. Green
14.  Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) by J.R. Ward
15.  Monster Hunters International (MHI, Book 1) by Larry Correia
16.  Nightshade (Jillian Conrad, Book 1) by Michelle Rowen
17.  Legends: The Enchanted by Nick Percival
18.  Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
19.  Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, Book 1) by Devon Monk
20.  Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom, Book 2) by Devon Monk
21.  Magic in the Shadows (Allie Beckstrom, Book 3) by Devon Monk
22.  Magic on the Storm (Allie Beckstrom, Book 4) by Devon Monk
23.  A Hundred Words for Hate (Remy Chandler, Book 4) by Thomas E. Sniegoski
24.  Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom, Book 5) by Devon Monk
25.  The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
26.  Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) by J.R. Ward
27.  Toil and Trouble (Jolie Wilkins, Book 2) by HP Mallory
28.  Late Eclipses (October Daye, Book 4) by Seanan McGuire
29.   A Tale of Two Goblins (Dulcie O'Neil, Book 2) by HP Mallory
30.  The Neon Graveyard (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 6) by Vicki Pettersson
31.  Unshapely Things (Connor Grey, Book 1) by Mark Del Franco
32.  Hard Day's Knight (Black Knight Chronicles, Book 1) by John G. Hartness
33.  The Devil You Know (Felix Castor, Book 1) by Mike Carey
34.  Red Glove (The Curse Workers, Book 2) by Holly Black
35.  Magic on the Hunt (Allie Beckstrom, Book 4)  by Devon Monk
36.  Head Games (Locke and Key, Book 2) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
37.  Hellsing, Vol. 10 by Kohta Hirano
38.  Wolfsbane (The Witches War, Book 2)  by Andrea Cremer
39.  Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4) by Jennifer Estep
40.  Vicious Circle (Persephone Almedi, Book 1) by Linda Robertson
41.  Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
42.  The Deadliest Bite (Jaz Parks, Book 8 ) by Jennifer Rardin
43.  Hallowed Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 2) by Linda Robertson
44.  Vicious Circle (Felix Castor, Book 2) by Mike Carey
45.  The Crown of Shadows (Locke and Key, Book 3) by Joe Hill
46.  Baltimore: The Plague Ships by various authors
47.  Fatal Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 3) by Linda Robertson
48.  Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5) by J.R. Ward
49.  Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Volume 1 by Patricia Briggs , David Lawrence, Amelia Woo
50.  Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5) by Ilona Andrews
51.  Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow
52.  The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen, Book 1) by Amanda Stevens
53.  Dracula: The Company of Monsters (Vol 1) by Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory, Scott Godlewski
54.  Deadline (Newsflesh, Book 2) by Mira Grant
55.  Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1) by Kevin Hearne
56.  Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6) by J.R. Ward
57.  Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2) by Kevin Hearne
58.  Arcane Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 4) by Linda Robertson
59.  Creepy Presents: Berni Wrightson by Bruce Jones, Nicola Cuti, Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin (5/5 stars)
60.  Keys to the Kingdom (Locke and Key, Book 4) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
61.  Bloodlust (Jillian Conrad, Book 2) by Michelle Rowen
62.  Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3) by Kevin Hearne
63.  Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Norville, Book 9) by Carrie Vaughn
64.  Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost
65.  Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall
66.  Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead, Book 1) by Jesse Petersen
67.  Animal Farm (Fables, Book 2) by Bill Willingham
69.  Eye of the Tempest (Jane True, Book 4) by Nicole Peeler
70.  The Hair Wreath and Other Stories by Halli Villegas
71.  One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2) by Jeaniene Frost
72.  Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
73.  Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1) by Jennifer Estep
74.  Black Night (Madeline Black, Book 2) by Christina Henry
75.  After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
76.  At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3) by Jeaniene Frost
77.  Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4) by Jeaniene Frost
78.  Blood Rights (House of Comarre, Book 1) by Kristen Painter
79.  Flip this Zombie (Living with the Dead, Book 2) by Jesse Petersen
80.  Downpour (Greywalker, Book 6) by Kat Richardson
81.  This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 5) by Jeaniene Frost
82.  Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean
83.  The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax by Trinity Faegen
84.  One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress, Book 6) by Jeaniene Frost
85.  Blood (The Mercian Trilogy, Book 1) by K.J. Wignall
86.  Mind Over Monsters by Jennifer Harlow
87.  Aloha From Hell (Sandman Slim, Book 3) by Richard Kadrey
88.  Z: Zombie Stories edited by Kelly Link
89.  First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost
90.  Soul Thief (The Demon Trappers, Book 2) by Jana Oliver
91.  One Salt Sea (October Daye, Book 5) by Seanan McGuire
92.  The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, Book 4) by Julie Kagawa
93.  Monster Hunter Vendetta (MHI, Book 2) by Larry Correia
94.  Ghost Story (Dresden Files, Book 13) by Jim Butcher
95.  My Life As a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
96.  Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things (Courtney Crumrin, Book 1) by Ted Naifeh
97.  Eat, Slay, Love (Living with the Dead, Book 3) by Jesse Petersen
98.  Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
99.  Flesh and Blood (House of Comarre, Book 2) by Kristen Painter
100. Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls, Book 1) by Tera Lynn Childs
101. Magic on the Line (Allie Beckstrom, Book 7) by Devon Monk
102. Skyfall (The Troll Hunters, Book 1) by Michael Dahl
103. The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Book 1) by Kelly Gay
104. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
105. The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
106. Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 2) by Jennifer Estep

Teaser Tuesday - 11/30

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould 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!

This week my teaser is from The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson.  

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, Book 2)

Here it is: "Vin hit the cobblestones shoulder-first.  She rolled-flaring pewter to enchance her balance-and flipped to her feet.  At the same time, she burned iron and Pulled hard on the disappearing coins." Pg 11

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson (2.5 stars)

The Healer's ApprenticeReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Christian
Size: 272 pages

Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: September 14, 2010
ISBN-13:  978-0310721437
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  This looked like a wonderful book, a great historical romance with a bit of fantasy flare to it.  It was okay, in fact the beginning of the book was pretty good, but it declined from the middle of the book on.  Keep in mind I approached this as a historical fantasy, I was not aware that the publisher was a Christian fiction publisher....so when characters started setting aside action to wait for God to save them and then the Duke of the realm used his divine right as a leader to banish demons I was confused and irritated.

This is the story of Rose.  Rose is apprenticed to the Healer of the realm.  When the Duke's sons come for a visit; both of them are drawn to her beauty.  Rose knows her place in the realm and, as a Healer's Apprentice, does not want the attention of either brother.  When one of the brothers, Wilhelm, is injured Rose heals him.  Wilhelm and Rose are drawn to each other's personalities, but it cannot be.  Wilhelm is betrothed to a Princess whose identity will not be revealed until the evil mage is defeated.  Meanwhile Wilhelm's younger brother, a rogue of sorts, has started courting Rose.  Wilhelm struggles to keep his feelings for Rose under wraps while trying to hunt down the evil mage that plagues the realm.

This book started out pretty good.  It had a lot of a fairy tale feel to it, with a definite German tone.  You can't help but love the characters in the beginning they are all so sweet, pure, and innocent.  Rose is determined to be good and to have a life as a healer.  Rose can get to be a little much at points; she is pure to the point of not exposing her arms, not touching a man's hand, or wearing makeup.  But that seemed to be mostly cultural, so went well with the story. The writing is fairly well done and engaging; there are beautiful descriptions but the dialogue between characters is a bit stilted.  I was really enjoying this as a sweet historical romance with a bit of a fantasy flare to it...then we get to the second half of the book.

Keep in mind I did not know this book was released by a christian fiction publisher, so readers beware.  As the book continues God is mentioned a lot (I mean a lot a lot) and scripture is quoted.  Wilhelm is especially religious; all of which I don't have a problem with.  The problem comes in when the characters decide to stop taking action and sit on their bums praying for God to save them.  I was like "what is going on here?"..."Why are these wonderful characters waiting around for God to do their work for them rather than taking positive action themselves?"

Then suddenly things get even stranger; Rose is haunted by demons and speaking in tongues.  Wilhelm enters to save the day by using his power as a Duke to cast the evil forces out of his realm in God's name.  It all got very weird, was very predictable, and made me very uncomfortable.  I couldn't figure out why the author would drop such a sweet positive story and turn it into some weird parable of religious text.

Overall I loved the beginning of this book.  The characters are positive, sweet, and likable.  The romance between Rose and Wilhelm is well-founded and they have great chemistry together.  I hated the ending of the book, I thought the overpowering use of God as a solution to the characters problems and Wilhelm's sudden ability to make use of divine intervention were strange and distasteful.  So just be warned; this is a Christian fantasy and gets very preachy towards the end of the book.  If that's not your thing pick up a different book with sweet characters and wonderful romance; I recommend Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith or The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. This book is appropriate for all young adults and older.

This goes towards the following challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Healer's Apprentice 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday

IMM is a meme started at The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.

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. 

This week I got four books.  The first two were from Amazon Vine and these were: Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports, Book 1) by Cherie Priest and Vesper (Deviants, Book 1)  by Jeff Sampson.  I am excited to read them both but especially excited for the new Cherie Priest book since I have absolutely loved everything I have read by her.

The third book was Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, Book 13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson and I got this one from Tor Publishing for review.  Thanks to Tor and I am very excited to progress in the Wheel of Time series...hopefully someday I will get to the end :-)

The fourth book I bought because I had this awesome 50% off coupon from Border's and that book was: Havoc (Malice, Book 2) by Chris Wooding.  The first book in this series was Malice and it was an awesome book that was part graphic novel part novel.  Very cool, check it out if you get a chance...anyway Havoc is the continuation of that story.

So that's my books for the week, you can see more on them below.  Hope that you all have a wonderful week of reading!

Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports, Book 1) by Cherie Priest
First Sentence: "You wouldn't believe some of the weird shit people pay me to steal."
From Amazon.com: "Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride."

Vesper (Deviants, Book 1)  by Jeff Sampson
Vesper: A Deviants Novel
First Sentence: "I was halfway out my bedroom window when my cell rang."
From Amazon.com: "Emily Webb is a geek. And she's happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up in her room to watch old horror flicks, she's never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she's definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls' boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates--also named Emily--is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn't know why she's doing any of this. By day, she's the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it's no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. When she wakes up one morning to find herself covered in scratches and dried blood, she realizes that she's not just coming out of her shell . . . there's something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is she becoming something else entirely--something not human? 

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she's not the only one this is happening to--some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters--and how many people will they kill to get what they want?"

Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, Book 13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time)
First Sentence: "Mandarb's hooves beat a familiar rhythm on broken ground as Lan Mandragoran rode toward his death."
From Amazon.com: "The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way--at long last--to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways--the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn--have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series--the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007--brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.

Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice."

Havoc (Malice, Book 2) by Chris Wooding
Havoc (Malice)
First Sentence: "Seth had never seen a storm gather so fast."
From Amazon.com: "Getting into the sinister comic-book world of MALICE is just the beginning. Getting out of it is much, much harder -- as it surviving while you make your attempt.

Part novel, part comic book, all thrill -- welcome to MALICE."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thank You Giveaway reminder

Just a reminder that you have a couple more days to sign up for this contest!  The contest and form can be found here...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Review - Mind Games (The Disillusionist Trilogy, Book 1) by Carolyn Crane (4/5 stars)

Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 1)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
384 pages
Release Date: 
March 23, 2010
ISBN-13:  978-0553592610
Stand Alone or Series:
1st book in a trilogy
Borrowed from Library
4/5 stars

This is the first book in The Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane.  The premise to this book just sounded so interesting I had to give it a read.  I am glad I did, there are some very creative and interesting things in this book and it is looking to be an interesting series.

Justine is a hypochondriac, and she has it bad.  She is constantly convinced she is dying, constantly in the emergency room, and constantly driving her loved ones away because of her fears.  She has a great boyfriend named Cubby and she is trying to make this work...the problem is that her hypochondria is getting worse and if it keeps getting worse then she may be institutionalized.  Enter Packard, he is a redcap that can detect people's psychic compatibility.  He can "see" Justine's problem and has a solution for her; she can get rid of her fears by using it as a weapon.  She can thrust her medical fears into criminals, causing them to destabilize and become disillusioned.  Packard's got a team of Disillusionists set up and he wants Justine to be part of it; after trying it out and being fear free Justine is tempted to take Packard up on the offer...the problem is there is a lot more going on with Packard and his Disllusionists than Justine is originally led to believe.

The big thing this book has going for it is creativity.  This is an absolutely unbelievably creative idea and the storyline is unlike anything I have ever read about before.  I mean the idea of using phobias, obsessions, etc as a weapon by thrusting them into criminals is interesting and clever.  Crane does an excellent job bringing this idea into play.  What is really masterful is that beyond the Disillusioning that the characters do to criminals, Justine finds herself wrapped up in a Mind game of a different type.  This book ends up with a plot that is layers over layers of mind games and it is very clever.

The characters are interesting too.  All of them have weird psychosis they are dealing with, so the conversations between the Disllusionists are pretty darn funny.  I mean when you get a hypochondriac, an obsessive gambler, a person cursed with ennui, someone convinced that world conspiracies are always in play, and someone chronically depressed together in a room...it sounds like a bad joke...and to be honest it is hilarious at times.  All of the characters have some depth and are in general interesting and pretty likable.

The book was easy to read and well-written.  There wasn't anything spectacular about the writing style, but it sounded natural and was a good, quick read.  The main story presented in this story is wrapped up well and some threads left open for the next installment.

There were a couple things that I didn't like about the book.  For one none of the characters really grabbed me as a reader, I had trouble relating with them and really getting involved with them.  Justine was a bit...well...skanky for my tastes.  She immediately thought every guy she meet was delicious and yummy and she wasn't shy about giving the guys a piece of the action.  Then she complained a lot about trying to be faithful to her boyfriend.  I personally like my heroines a bit more honest...I mean if they are skanks that's fine but at least don't make them complain about how they can't help being skanky all of the time. 

Overall this was a great new series.  It is incredibly interesting and creative, the plot was masterfully woven.  I thought the characters left something to be desired and had trouble relating to Justine's character.  Given that I will still definitely be reading the next book in the series because it was just too interesting of a book...I have to see what happens next.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 1) 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Graphic Novel Review - Out from Boneville (Bone, Book 1) by Jeff Smith (5/5 stars)

Bone, Vol. 1: Out From BonevilleReading level: Children's/Middle Grade
Genre: Graphic Novel/Fantasy
Size: 144 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: February 1, 2005
ISBN-13: 978-0439706407
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in nine book Bone series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars

I borrowed this from the library because I had heard a lot of great things about this graphic novel series and wanted something that me and my son could read together.  This is the first graphic novel in a nine book series.  Overall this was a great graphic novel and completely appropriate for younger children, yet complex and funny enough for adults.

Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone have been kicked out of Boneville because of Phoney's greediness.  Fone Bone gets separated from his cousins and ends up wandering through a strange valley.  There he meets Ted the Bug, horrible rat-creatures, the beautiful Thorne, the butt-kicking and cow-racing Gran'ma Ben, among many others.  He main goal in this installment is to find his cousins.

This was an awesome graphic novel.  The illustration is solid but what really makes the book are the wonderful characters, the humor, and a storyline that will appeal to both kids and adults.  This is the first book I have read in the Bone series and it is already starting to explore deeper concepts of good vs. evil, greed, etc.  There is enough slapstick and general funniness that even my four year old son gets a kick out of it; although the rat-monsters are a bit scary for him and some of the more complicated storyline is lost on him.

There are some hilarious characters here.  You've got Gran'ma Ben who can kick monster butt with the best of them, the sweet Thorne, Smiley Bone (who is crazily positive), and even a cigar-smoking dragon that only seems to appear when Fone Bone is by himself.  Fone Bone has an obsession with Moby Dick that constantly puts other characters to sleep, which is hilarious.  There are the creepy, but somewhat dopey, rat-creatures that are constantly after the Bone with the Star on his chest...these add a sense of danger and adventure to the story and hint at some greater evil lurking in the valley.

I loved every minute of this graphic novel and loved how the story is already interesting and complex.  The characters are awesome and the humor wonderful; I found myself giggling out loud a number of times.  We have only read a little bit of this with my son and he seems to be enjoying it also (he is four years old).  This is a great comic for the whole family to read together.  A great intro to graphic novels and a great way to transition from picture books to more complicated story/chapter books.  I will definitely be checking out more installments in this series.

 Bone, Vol. 1: Out From Boneville

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Discussion: What books are you thankful for?

I am taking a cue from Angieville and stepping back to think about what books  I'm really thankful for!  I have a number of books that are near and dear to my heart.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess:  The very first book I ever read on my own.  This is the book that started it all :-)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: When I was a little girl my dad would read me and my sister and illustrated version of  The Hobbit.  I loved it and was absolutely enchanted by it and it helped set the course for my lifelong reading preferences.

The Wonderful World of Oz by L. Frank Baum:  My mother read the OZ series to me and my sister as we were growing up.  This was another set of books that absolutely made me love fantasy.

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley: The first fantasy book I purchased and read on my own.  I loved it, I fell in love with the wonderful characters and the determined young girl who worked so hard to succeed.

By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey: When I meet my husband in high school we were both reading this book.  It was part of what brought us together as friends and I am grateful that it helped draw us together.  This also led me to reading The Last Herald Mage series which was a wonderful series and my first intro to GLBT literature.

The Eye of the World(Wheel of Time, book 1) by Robert Jordan:  This was the first epic fantasy series I ever read and it was/is fantastic.  In high school me and a couple of my girlfriends dedicated a good portion of our lives to this series.  I am still reading it and excited for its conclusion.

Moonheart by Charles DeLint:  The first urban fantasy I ever read.  This is responsible for my delving into urban fantasy and for the love I have for that sub-genre.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: The first Gaiman book I read.  It opened my eye's to the wonderful world of Neil Gaiman and the wonders of urban fantasy.

The Sleep Book by Dr. Suess: I read this book to my son a billion times during the first couple years of his life and it will always bring back wonderful memories (as well as memories of sleep-deprivation).

The Bravest Knight by Mercer Mayer: A wonderful little book that introduced my son to knights, castles, fair ladies, trolls, and irony.  Great little book, that we read with my son obsessively from the ages of 2-3.

Review - Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Book 5) by Melissa De La Cruz (3/5 stars)

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Book 5)Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 272 pages
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: October 26, 2010
ISBN-13:  978-1423121282
Stand Alone or Series: 5th book in the Blue Bloods series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the fifth book in the Blue Bloods series by Cruz.  There is a novella due out for this series in December 2010 called, Bloody Valentine; the sixth book is going to be titled, Lost in Time, and is planned for an October 2011 release.  This was the weakest book in this series by far.  The story doesn't progress much and we are only given painfully short glimpses into what is happening to Schuyler and Jack.  Many of the major players from previous books are not even mentioned.

The book starts with Jack and Schuyler and we get a brief glimpse of them escaping captivity and taking off to try and find the last gate.  We don't spend much time with them before Cruz switches to telling the story from Mimi Force's perspective.  Mimi is now leading the Conclave and trying to solve a crime involving an internet video that shows a vampire being burned alive; if she can't figure out where the information is being leaked she is in trouble.  The Conclave is threatening to take the vampires back underground.  After hearing about this for a while we switch to another perspective, this time from a new character named Deming Chen.  Deming is a Venator from Shanghai that is trying to help Mimi solve this case. 

Jack and Schuyler don't get much page space and this is disappointing.  Blyss is left out of the story completely, leaving me puzzled as to what has happened to her.  It does look like Cruz is trying to expand the storyline by telling more of it from Mimi's perspective and by adding in the new character of Deming.  Mimi is quickly becoming a favorite character of mine; as a reader you begin to sympathize with her in this book and learn more about why she is who she it.  Deming looks to be a promising character and brings some interesting background to this story.

As with all of Cruz's book this book was well-written and easy to read.  I just felt like Cruz is either running out of ideas for this series or confused about where she wants to take the story.  This was such a short book and briefly touched on a number of things without really advancing the story.  Very much a transition novel.

Overall I have really enjoyed this series, but this book left me somewhat disappointed.  I don't feel like much happened, it was kind of boring, and I felt like this was more of a transition book or a book where Cruz was confused on where to take this series.  So, it was okay but not great.  Hopefully the sixth book is better because if the sixth book is like this book...well then I am not sure I will keep reading this series.

This book goes to the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge