Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 2011 - In Review

This month I read 25 books.  It was a big month for catching up on series.  Tons of books came out in series that I read and love.  You can check out the full list of which series I caught up in, started and finished below.  What books I loved, my reading challenge stats, and a list of all of the books I read are also listed below.

Anyway check out my monthly stats below.  Hope you all had a great month reading too!

I caught up on the following series:
The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book 2) by Rick Riordan
Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2) and Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3) by Kevin Hearne (5/5 stars)
Arcane Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 4) by Linda Robertson
Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4) by Gail Carriger
Bloodlust (Nightshade, Book 2) by Michelle Rowen
Keys to the Kingdom (Locke and Key, Book 4) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
The Sorceror of the North (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5) by John Flanagan
Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Noville, Book 9) by Carrie Vaughn

I started the following series:
Roil (The Nightbound Land, Book 1) by Trent Jamieson

I finished the following series:

My Favorite Books of the Month Were: 
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (5/5 stars)
Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2) by Kevin Hearne (5/5 stars)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (5/5 stars)
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (5/5 stars)
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (4.5/5 stars)
Creepy Presents: Berni Wrightson by Bruce Jones, Nicola Cuti, Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin (5/5 stars)
Keys to the Kingdom (Locke and Key, Book 4) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5 stars)
Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3) by Kevin Hearn (5/5 stars)

Here are the stats on the reading challenges I am participating in:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge: 63/24 books (done!)
- 100+ Reading Challenge: 178/100+ books 
- The Debut Author Challenge: 19/12 books (done!)
- Get Steampunked!: 12/15 books
- E-book Reading Challenge: 32/20 books (done!)
- Zombies! Reading Challenge: 10/10 books (done!)
- Fantasy Reading Challenge: 39/20 books (done!)
- Show Me the Free Challenge: 4/12 books
- Audio Book Challenge List: 20/12 books (done!)
- Graphic Novels Challenge List: 29/10 books (done!)

The full list of books that I read this month are shown below. 
1.   Gimoles: Secrets of the Seasons by Mike Bullock, Theo Bain, Michael Metcalf, Bob Pedroza (4/5 stars)
2.   The Secret of the Water Knight by Rusalka Reh (1/5 stars)
3.   The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book 2) by Rick Riordan (4.5/5 stars)
4.   The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (5/5 stars)
5.   Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2) by Kevin Hearne (5/5 stars)
6.   The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (5/5 stars)
7.   Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock (4/5 stars)
8.   The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric (4/5 stars)
9.   Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (5/5 stars)
10. The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens (3.5/5 stars)
11. First Frost (Prequel to Mythos Academy series) by Jennifer Estep (4/5 stars)
12. Misfit by Jon Skovron (4/5 stars)
13. Arcane Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 4) by Linda Robertson (4/5 stars)
14. Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, Book 4) by Gail Carriger (4/5 stars)
15. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (4.5/5 stars)
16. Roil (The Nightbound Land, Book 1) by Trent Jamieson (4/5 stars)
17. Creepy Presents: Berni Wrightson by Bruce Jones, Nicola Cuti, Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin (5/5 stars)
18. Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors by Stephanie True Peters (3/5 stars)
19. Bloodlust (Nightshade, Book 2) by Michelle Rowen (3/5 stars)
20. Keys to the Kingdom (Locke and Key, Book 4) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5 stars)
21.The Sorceror of the North (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5) by John Flanagan (4/5 stars)
22. Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3) by Kevin Hearn (5/5 stars)
23. Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Sun - Ianto's Tomb by Alexander Irvine and Peter Burgting (4/5 stars)
24. Fury by Elizabeth Miles (2/5 stars)
25. Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Noville, Book 9) by Carrie Vaughn (3/5 stars)

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday - 8/1

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 nine books.  Yes I know how will I ever get through my reading pile at this rate...I have absolutely no idea.

I did buy quite a few.  Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George was on sale for cheap for Kindle.  Ghost Story (Dresden Files, Book 13) by Jim Butcher was a must buy because I am just such a dedicated fan!  I had also prepurchased Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1) by Jennifer Estep because I am such a big Jennifer Estep fan.  Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, Book 2) by Kiersten White I used an audible credit for, because I loved Paranormalcy on audio book and was excited to start listening to the sequel. Lastly I got a $10 bday gift certificate from Audible and used it to buy At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3) by Jeaniene Frost.

I also got two books for review.  I got  Spell Bound (Women of the Otherworld, Book 12) by Kelley Armstrong direct from Penguin publishing; thanks Penguin! The second book was The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson which I downloaded from

Lastly I got two book from the library: Darkborn by Alison Sinclair and Dead Iron (The Age of Steam, Book 1) by Devon Monk.  Again both are books I am eager to read.

Hope that you all got wonderful books this week.  Hope you have an excellent week of reading ahead of you!

Dragon Slippers Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) Supernaturally (Paranormalcy)At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3)
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

For Review:
Spell Bound (Otherworld, Book 12) The Girl of Fire and Thorns

From Library:
Darkborn (Darkborn Trilogy) Dead Iron: The Age of Steam (Cedar Hunt)
Darkborn by Alison Sinclair
Dead Iron (The Age of Steam, Book 1) by Devon Monk

Review - Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Noville, Book 9) by Carrie Vaughn (3/5 stars)

Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Norville, Book 9)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size:  307 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN: 978-0765365651
Stand Alone or Series: 9th book in the Kitty Norville series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Kitty Norville series.  It was an okay addition to the series but was nothing special.  There were some things I liked about it but mostly Kitty and friends just seemed to plod through the story.

Kitty, Ben, and Cormac get a call from Anastasia asking for help hunting down Roman.  Roman is after a special magic artifact that he will stop at nothing to acquire it.  Kitty and friends will be plunged deep into the depth of San Francisco's Chinatown Underworld in their search of the magic artifact.

Kitty and friends seem a bit tired in this book, it seems like the book was written just to write something.  By the end of the book it looks like Kitty and pack are going in a completely new direction, so maybe this is more of a transition book than anything.

The aspect of this book that I did really enjoy was the inclusion of a lot of Chinese mythology.  There isn't a lot out there on Chinese mythology and the inclusion of it in this story was interesting.  I also enjoyed watching Cormac evolve as a wizard, this made the story interesting too.

I had a lot of trouble with the plot though.  Would Kitty really take off and search for famous dead werewolves just because she was curious about it?  In previous books she has been pretty tied to her home territory so it seemed strange to have her running off on these frivolous missions in the beginning of the book.  Then when she goes to help Anastasia it again seemed a bit contrived and out of character for her to become so deeply involved.  

This book is missing a lot of our favorite characters; Kitty, Cormac, and Ben are there but no one else really makes an appearance.  For the most part the book didn't hold my interest all that well.  My favorite book in this series so far has been Kitty's House of Horrors.  Books following that book have been less and less interesting to me as the series progresses.  Given the way this book ends though maybe the next book will be more engaging.

Overall okay, but not nearly as engaging as the last couple books.  Kitty acts out of character, a lot of our favorite characters are missing, and in general the characters that do show seem a bit tired.  I had a lot of problems with the plot and why Kitty was motivated to do some of the things she did; it just seemed a bit contrived to me.  I will probably read the next book in the series, but if it is similar to this one I won't be reading any more.

This book goes to the following reading challenges:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Early Review - Fury by Elizabeth Miles (2/5 stars)

FuryReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size:  384 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 30, 2011
ISBN: 978-1442422247
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone?
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: 2/5 stars


I got an advanced reading copy of this book at Book Expo America.  I fell in love with the beautiful cover (I know shame on me).  The story is interesting, but not something I enjoyed much.  It spends too much time following around teenagers with no morals and pushing the blame of their actions off on the small amount of supernatural explanation in this book.

This story is told from the viewpoint of two teens.  The first is Emily; she is struggling with her attraction to her best friend's, Gabby's, boyfriend Zach.  When Gabby takes off for winter break Emily and Zach are left to their own naughty devices.  The second teen is Chase.  Chase is trailer trash struggling to fit in with the rich kids in his school, he is also the star quarterback.  When he runs into a beautiful girl named Ty his life starts spiraling out of control.  Little do Emily and Chase know that somehow bad choices they have made have sucked in supernatural forces not known to most people, and these forces are going to make sure that Emily and Chase pay for any previous mistakes they have made or will make.

The majority of this book focuses on all the naughty things that Emily and Chase end up doing over their winter break.  As such this is probably a book for older teens and is full of characters I would not recommend as role models for anyone.  There are little hints of supernatural forces throughout; the faces Emily sees at her window at night and the beautiful girls that seem to haunt Emily and Chase throughout their winter break.  They are only hints of magic...that is until the end of the book.  To be honest all of the stalking, window peeking, suicides, etc make this book seem more like a thriller/horror novel than a paranormal one.

Neither Emily or Chase are very good characters.  Emily cheats on her best friend's boyfriend for goodness sake and thinks all will be forgiven if she buys Gabby an expensive Christmas present.  Chase is more of a mystery; you can't figure out why someone is out to get Chase until the end of the book.  Delicate readers beware though.  Not only are social economics made fun of in this book (Chase is constantly ragged on for being poor and for being trailer trash), Chase is humiliated by having naked pictures of himself plastered around school, and cavorts nakedly with Ty during a room painting session...additionally there are suicides, ugly language, and scenes of sexual behavior between teens throughout.  Honestly the morality and looseness of this book reminded me a lot of Swoon by Nina Malkin (definitely one of my least favorite books of last year).

The only decent character in this book is the sweet JD, Emily's neighbor friend who obviously adores her.  JD is much more than Emily deserves and the only character in this book that I acutally cared about and found interesting, he had a great personality and some style to boot.

The book is easy to read and generally well-written.  The only thing that makes this story engaging is the car-wreck quality to it all.  As a reader I was confused by what all of this wanton teenage behavior was leading to and only kept reading out of sheer morbid curiousity.

In the end the mythology of the Furies is tied into the story, but it is really only at the very end of the book.  The way all of the mythology and theory behind the goings on throughout the story was shoved into the end of the story felt rushed and contrived.

SPOLIER ALERT-----------------------------
I have to admit the part where Emily binds the Furies to her is intriguing.  I wish this had happened at the beginning of the book. 
SPOILER END-------------------------------

Overall I didn't enjoy the story all that much.  It spends a lot of time dwelling on Emily's and Chase's naughty behavior at the beginning, this made the story slow and made me wonder what the whole point was.  It isn't until much later in the story that the supernatural elements come in to play.  This story is more of a thriller than paranormal, so those who don't like scary reads should look elsewhere. The characters are unlikable and the things they do un-excusable.  I so wanted to love this book, the idea of tying the mythology of the Furies into a story could be really cool.  I won't be reading any more books in this series, to be honest the best thing about this book is the beautiful cover.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- The Debut Author Challenge


Friday, July 29, 2011

Early Graphic Novel Review -Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun - Ianto's Tomb by Alexander Irvine and Peter Burgting (4/5 stars)

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun - Ianto's TombReading level: Adult/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Gaming
Size: 132 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: September 13, 2011
ISBN: 978-1600109966
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley(dot)com.  This book was an interesting concept.  Basically it starts with a graphic novel set in the Dark Sun world, then after the graphic novel there is infomation (monster stats, maps) on running the story as a campaign for a group of Dungeon and Dragons (DnD) characters.

The story features an ex-gladiator and a bard who meet in the desert.  They are trying to get into a city but run into quite a bit of trouble along the way.  The ARC I got only included the first 40 pages, or first part, of the graphic novel story.  Following that was stat info on the monsters the characters ran into during the graphic novel story.  Also included was information on the campaign setting, maps, scenarios ect.  All of the things you would need to run your own group of DnD characters through this graphic novel story.

First let's discuss the quality of the graphic novel.  The illustration is so-so; very cartoony with sound bubbles (blam! whack!) it wasn't bad but it wasn't exceptional either.  The story was much more interesting; this is obviously set on an interesting desert world where there are a lot of conflicting interests (slavery exists, as does gladiator fighting, as well as a mysterious symbols and tombs).  The dialogue between characters was well done and engaging.  Some of the battle scenes were a bit confusing, it was hard to figure out exactly what was going on with the characters.  So overall the graphic novel portion was okay, not exceptional but generally well done.

The second portion was all of the campaign setting info.  This info seemed very complete.  All the enemy creatures actions and stats are there.  Scenarios are played out and possible paths addressed.  There are maps of the regions and ships etc.  The group of DnD characters that would play this campaign follows in a general story similar but not identicle to the one played out in the graphic novel.

This is a neat idea, and the campaign provided is a nice campaign for shortish DnD excursion.  Nice for a DnD group that wants a smaller campaign to run through.  The campaign does seem to follow the graphic novel story pretty closely though.  As a DnD player I would think this would take a bit of fun out of the campaign.  If you read through the graphic novel then the element of surprise during the campaign is eliminated; which is part of the fun.

I did not get a chance to play through this campaign with my DnD group.  Since all of us have small kids we only get 5-6 hours per month of play time and are dedicted to a many years long campaign right now.  So I probably won't get a chance to play through it with them in the near future.  From my read through the campaign looks pretty well set up, although I will be curious to read reviews from people who actually give it a full play through.

Overall this is a nifty idea.  The graphic novel portion is okay; the illustration is not the best but it does provide an engaging story and a good introduction to the world.  The campaign information that follows the graphic novel seems complete and is a cool idea.  It should provide a nice short contained campaign for those who like that; it could also be tied in with a larger DnD campaign.  The only downside I can see is that if you read the graphic novel first, the element of surprise is gone from the campaign.  So if you want a small contained campaign in an interesting setting and enjoy fantasy graphic novels I would check this out.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun - Ianto's Tomb