Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday - 1/31

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 5 books.  You can watch the Vlog to learn more about them and look at the covers below.  Hope you all have a great week of reading :-)

For Review:
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Midnight Riot
First Sentence: "It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St. Paul's at Covent Garden."

Swapped through
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal 
The False Princess
First Sentence: "The day they came to tell me, I was in one of the gardens with Kiernan, trying to decipher a three-hundred-year-old map of the palace grounds."

Audio Books:
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) by Jeaniene Frost
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If I Stay

King Maker: The Knights of Breton Court, volume 1

Friday, January 28, 2011

Review - Behemoth (Levithan Trilogy, Book 2) by Scott Westerfeld (5/5 stars)

Behemoth (Leviathan)Reading level: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk
Size: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 5, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1416971757
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in Leviathan Trilogy
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5 stars

This was the second book in the Leviathan trilogy by Westerfeld.  I really enjoyed Leviathan and this book was also wonderful.  There is a ton of action and we see a lot more of Alec and Dylan.

This book starts with Alec and Dylan on the Leviathan getting reading to dock in Istanbul.  Tensions are high in Istanbul because of German presence there.  Dylan will get drawn into secret activities.  And when Austria-Hungry declares war with Britain, suddenly Alec finds himself a prisoner of war.  Alec and Dylan soon embark on separate adventures that will take them apart and then eventually draw them back together.  Full of crazy genetically engineered animals and wonderful steampunk machines this book is super creative and fun to read.

This was an absolutely wonderful book.  The things that Westerfeld thinks up for crazy animals and contraptions are fascinating and incredibly creative.  The plot that is woven is complex and full of political subtleties; it never falters and never slows down.  The characters are very likable; you are really cheering Alec and Dylan on throughout and it is hard not to want to learn more about the mysterious Lady Boffin and the leaders of the rebellion in Istabul. 

Keith Thompson's illustration are spectacular and really bring Westerfeld's creations to life for the reader.  I thoroughly enjoyed them and was constantly looking forward to the next fantastical thing upcoming pictures would show me. 

Overall just a very wonderful read.  It is exceedingly well written, creative, has great action scenes, great characters, and a wonderful plot loosely based on events that happened during World War I.  The book ends in a good spot; although I am very eager to see what happens next.  Of course the number one question is: will Alec realize Dylan is really Deryn, a girl disguising herself as a midshipman?  You'll have to read it to find out.  If you like the steampunk theme that this book has you might want to check out Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series as well.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- Get Steampunked!

Behemoth (Leviathan) 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review - Shadowfever (Fever, Book 5) by Karen Marie Moning (5/5 stars)

ShadowfeverReading level: Adult 
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Size: 608 pages 
Publisher: Delacorte Press 
Release Date: January 18, 2011 
ISBN-13: 978-0385341677 
Stand Alone or Series: 5th (and final) book in Fever series 
Source: Bought e-book 
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the fifth, and final book, in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.  Is this really the end you say?  Well according to the afterward in this book Moning is working on a new series set in the Fever it is only kind of the end.  This was a very good book, the plot takes so many twists and turns it will leave you reeling and the story is nicely wrapped up in the end.  

This review does contain spoilers for those who have not read previous books in the series, because you can't even talk about the first page of this book without having spoilers from the previous books.

The book opens exactly where the fourth book, Dreamfever, left off.  Mac is standing over Barron's lifeless body, mourning.  Seeing Barron's body lying there lifeless breaks something in Mac and she decides to do whatever it takes to get the Sinsar Dubh.  If Mac can get the Sinsar Dubh she believes that she will be able to rewrite the whole world and existence as she knows it.  Mac in her desperation joins forces with the very person who is her sworn enemy, the Lord Master himself.

I am not sure how to write a review of this book without having any spoilers, but I will do my best.  There are a number of huge revelations and crazy plot twists throughout this book.  Just when you think you have it all figured out Moning throws you a curveball and you are left sitting there with your mouth open thinking, "Did that really just happen?!"  Most of this book leans more to the urban fantasy genre, although there are some pretty steamy scenes in here too.

This was one dense book.  There are so many players at this point that they story is almost epic in breadth.  The book is told from both Mac and Dani's point of view.  The Sidhe Seers, Druidic factions, Barron's mysterious group and the Fae all play large roles.  We learn what Mac is, we learn a ton about Fae's long existence, and we learn a ton about Barron's past.  Many startling truths are revealed.

The pace is pretty non-stop, this is a very hard book to put down.  The action scenes were spectacular, but even more time is spent with Mac trying to work her way through the clues to solve the mystery behind the Sinsar Dubh and the Fae.  If I have one complaint about this book is that we get to spend too much time in Mac's head listening to her ask questions to herself.  Some of that could have been eliminated and the story would have moved forward a bit better and been tighter.

Overall a great end to this series.  If you've been reading this series you absolutely have to read this book.  You will get answers to all your questions, you will be surprised and amazed. Moning does mention doing spin-off series in this world and I am eager to see what she comes up with next.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge


Waiting on Wednesday - 1/26

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

This week my Waiting on Wednesday book is Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  I loved her Gemma Doyle trilogy and also enjoyed Going Bovine.  So I am really looking forward to Beauty Queens.  Love the cover :-)  It looks really funny!

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 24th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0439895972

Synopsis from
From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review - Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) by J.R. Ward (4/5 stars)

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Size: 464 pages
Publisher: Signet
Release Date:March 7, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0451218049
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in Black Dagger Brotherhood series
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the 2nd book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by Ward.  I enjoyed this book, though not as much as the first book.  The characters are very engaging and there is solid world-building; although the focus is definitely romance for this novel.  I listened to this on audio book and it was very well done.

This is the story of Mary and Rhage.  Mary is fighting with Luekemia and loosing the battle; she is drawn into contact with the Brotherhood as she serves as translator for a young boy that she helped through her volunteer work for the Suicide Hotline.  Rhage is the most beautiful of the Brotherhood and is in constant battle with his Beast.  When Rhage offended the Scribe Virgin she cursed him to 200 years bound to the Beast.  Rhage is inexpilicably soothed by Mary's voice and is determined to make her part of his life.  Around these events the war between the Lessers and the Brotherhood rages on.

Ward has again created captivating characters that have wonderful chemistry together.  I did like that Mary and Rhage take a little more time to develop their relationship than the two main characters in Dark Lover did.  It made the romance between them seem a little more realistic and romantic.  Mary and Rhage have huge obstacles to overcome in their relationship as Rhage fights to control the Beast in Mary's prescence and Mary fights for her life against Leukemia.

I like Rhage as a character, he had some awful choices to make in this book and it was interesting to see him battle through them.  I wasn't sold on Mary as a character because she seemed just a bit...cold to me or something.  At points I felt like they interacted like children; they would argue about stupid things and neither was ever willing to be honest with or listen to the other.  In the end their chemistry worked, but there were points mid-book when I wanted to smack them both.

I really enjoyed how Ward started to set up the story between Bella (Mary's vampire friend) and Zsadist for book 3.  Zsadist is the most damaged (and most interesting of the brothers to me) so I am eager to hear his story in the next book, Lover Awakened.  The story between Butch and Marissa is mentioned but not really developed any more.

This book did drop a lot of the plot to concentrate on the romantic development between Mary and Rhage.  That irritated me a little.  I felt like the overall story of the battle between the Lessers and the Brotherhood definitely took a back seat to the romance; much more so than it did in Dark Lover.  I am hoping that book 3 picks up the story more and puts a little more urban fantasy into the paranormal romance.

Ward's writing is lovely and captivating.  There were a couple of eye-rolling moments for the over-the-top romantic descriptions; but for the most part the writing sucks you in.  This is a guilty pleasure and definitely more romance than paranormal.

Overall I ended up enjoying the book, but not as much as the first book.  This book definitely focuses on the romance and doesn't spend as much time developing the world and moving the plotline forward.  The characters and writing are still very engaging and the book was hard to put down.  I look forward to reading more about Zsadist and Bella in the next book, Lover Awakened.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Teaser Tuesday - 1/25

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!

This week my teaser is from the final book in Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, Shadowfever.

Here it is: "The weight of my spear in the holster beneath my arm is back, heavy against my side.  Like V'lane, Darroc has some way of taking it from me, but when we are apart he returns it.  Perhaps so I can defend myself.  I can't imagine needing to in a place such as this." Location 926-31

Monday, January 24, 2011

Early Review - Lost Voices by Sarah Porter (3/5 stars)

Lost VoicesReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: July 4, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0547482507
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in planned trilogy
Source: ARC from
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through  I was very excited to read this book about mermaids from debut author Sarah Porter.  This is the first in a trilogy (which I didn't know when I picked it up to read, my bad).  After reading it I was bit disappointed in how dark the story was and how abruptly it ended.  That being said the writing was beautifully done for the most part.

Luce is fourteen and has had a tough life.  Her mother is dead, her dad is missing, and she can never seem to fit in at school.  Now she is living with her uncle who beats her when he isn't busy ignoring her.  One night on a cliff in town things get out of hand; her uncle beats her and tries to rape her.  Luce escapes but then succumbs to the cold on the side of the cliff.  She awakes to find herself in the ocean...she is a mermaid.  Now she must navigate mermaid politics and do her best to not completely give in to the urge to sing seafarers to their death.

This is a very, very dark book.  I am not sure what age group Porter is aiming for.  It seems like a book more appropriate to the older YA crowd, but the main character is only 14 years old.  The descriptions never get extremely explicit but there is a lot of abuse, sexual and otherwise in this book.  All of the girls that are mermaids become mermaids because of something dark or life threatening happening to them.  So, all of the girls have history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.  Subjects such as rape, suicide are dealt with throughout.

While I enjoyed the fact that mermaid mythology was combined with that of sirens singing seafarers to their death, I was a bit disappointed at Luce's time with the mermaids.  The group of mermaids that she joins is not unlike high school; there is a lot of posturing between the girls, they form cliques, and cat-fight a lot.  I felt like the middle of the book was one big cat-fight between Luce and the Queen mermaid and it was somewhat boring.  At points the writing style is very beautiful though and you can really feel Luce's love and wonder for the ocean.

That being said there are some really interesting elements brought into this book.  There is the mystery of the larva that are not quite mermaids and the laws the mermaids are supposed to follow (no interaction with humans beyond singing them to death).  The implications of these elements could be interesting, but they were not explored at all in this book.  In fact the book pretty much leaves everything unresolved and ends right in the middle of a scene.

Overall it was an okay story.  The book is beautifully written, incorporates some interesting elements, and I loved reading about mermaids.  It is a very dark book though and deals a lot of sexual and physical abuse, which is not my favorite subject to read about.  I thought the interaction between the mermaids was shallow and catty, and nothing is resolved in this book...things are only introduced.  At this point I am not sure whether or not I will read the next book.  This book was pretty depressing and I absolutely hate it when books start a story and end without, well, any sort of actual ending.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

- 100+ Reading Challenge
- The Debut Author Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge
- Fantasy Reading Challenge
Lost Voices 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Short Story Review - Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver (3/5 stars)

Retro DemonologyReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 136 KB
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: December 17, 2010

Stand Alone or Series: Prelude to Demon Trapper's Daughter
Source: Free Kindle Downloadd
Rating: 3/5 stars

This story is a prelude story to the book the Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver which is due out beginning of February 2011.  This is a very, very short story.  It takes maybe 10 minutes to read.  The majority of the download is an excerpt from the beginning of the book The Demon Trapper's Daughter...which I didn't read because I don't like reading excerpts (also I already have an ARC of the Demon Trapper's Daughter that I am hoping to read next week).

The story introduces an interesting world were people find shelter under different retro trends and demons regularly infest houses.  Riley Blackthorne is a Demon Trapper, and this book gives an account of her doing a small scale demon capture.  Riley seems like a plucky character, but the story is too short to really know.  The world might be interesting, but again the story is so short that it is hard to get a feel for the world, the character, or the author's writing style.

It is a free download so I can't complain too much.

Overall it is okay.  This sample story is not a really good way to get a feel for the author though because it is so very very short.  I guess get it if you have read the Demon Trapper's Daughter and enjoyed it.  I wouldn't get it to get a feel for the author though it just isn't a large enough sample of her writing.

Retro Demonology