Monday, January 30, 2012

Review - The Bride Wore Black Leather (The Nightside, Book 12) by Simon R. Green (4.5/5 stars)

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Release Date: January 3, 2012
ISBN: 978-1937007133
Stand Alone or Series: 12th book in the Nightside series
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This was the 12th and final book in the Nightside series. It was a great end to the series; a lot of favorite characters are in the story and John Taylor faces a challenge tougher than any he has faced before.

John wants to do one last case as a PI before he settles down in his position as the new Walker and ties the knot with Shotgun Suzie. When an anonymous tip about an Immortality Serum shows up on his desk he decides to crash the Immortality Ball to try and figure out what's going on. This draws him into a case involving a double murder and eventually into a face off with the Sun King. The Sun King is trying to bring daylight to the Nightside and John will have to fight both his enemies and his friends if he will wants to stop the Sun King. Not to mention Shotgun Suzie was offered a really really good bounty on John's head and seems bent on even the wedding is up in the air.

This was a great conclusion to the Nightside series. It wasn't super surprising and there weren't any moments that really awed me, but the story was very well done. We get to see a lot of the wonderfully disturbing and quirky characters that we have come to know and love. Dead Boy, Razor Eddie, the Oblivion brothers are all here. There are some great new characters too; we get to meet Frankenstein's Bride and Jack the Ripper and they were both fun.

The best part about this book is that, for reasons I won't reveal, John ends up facing off against a lot of his super powerful friends and these are some interesting fights to read about. The implications of what could happen to the rest of the world if daylight is brought to the Nightside are interesting as well.

Suzie isn't in the story a ton, which was a bit disappointing. But the role she plays towards the end of the story is stellar and all around awesome. Readers should be very happy with how the series ends. Although I am a bit sad we won't be seeing more of Taylor and his buddies. I would love to see some books about Taylor in his role as the Walker.

It did seem like Green is trying to lure readers over to his Secret Histories series (of which I have read the first book). There are mentions of the Drood family and things that they have done/had happen to them throughout the book. Some of these mentions are spoilers; I was a bit bummed to find out the fate of the Drood family in this book when I had only read the first book in that series up to this point. So just something beware of.

Overall a stellar conclusion to this series. Not quite as surprising and earth-shattering as Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth was, but still a very well done book. We get to read about a lot of our favorite characters and Taylor has to unravel a plot to bring daylight to the Nightside. Fans of this series should enjoy this installment. If you love dark urban fantasy full of quirky characters I highly recommend this series. It is a lot of fun and you never know what crazy thing each new page will bring.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday - 1/30

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 seven books.  You can watch the the video below to learn more about them or click on the cover below to go to Amazon to read a synopsis.

Hope you all had a great week and got some great books.  Also hope you have a wonderful week of reading ahead of you.

For Review:

Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell

The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Wicked Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, Book 5) by Linda Robertson

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Graphic Novel Review - Bake Sale by Sara Varon (4/5 stars)

Reading level: All Ages
Genre: Graphic Novel
Size: 160 pages
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: August 30, 2011
ISBN: 978-1596434196
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars

I borrowed a copy of this graphic novel from my library; it was a cute book that I enjoyed reading with my son. It wasn't awe-inspiring or anything just a cute book about running a bakery and friendship.

Cupcake runs a bakery and is dying to meet his baking idol Turkish Delight. When his friend Eggplant says he is going to Turkey to meet his aunt Cupcake thinks it is the perfect time to make his lifelong dream come true. Cupcake works very hard to make extra money to make his dream of meeting Turkish Delight come true. Will he make enough money to join Eggplant on an excursion to Turkey?

This was a cute book that gives some insight into how a bakery runs. My son and I enjoyed the cute pictures and the talking food. It touches on some good lessons as well. Basically Cupcakes has to work hard to make his dreams come true. When something bad happens to Eggplant, Cupcake has to make a tough decision about what is more important to him his personal dream or his friendship. It is a great lesson on hard work and the value of friendship.

There are a number of delicious looking recipes sprinkled throughout the book. I didn't get a chance to try any of them and would be curious about if they are any good. The pictures are simple and colorful, super cute and fun to look at.

Overall I enjoyed reading this. It was a cute read that addresses some good life lessons while showing how a bakery is run. It's a graphic novel the whole family can read together. To be honest it probably isn't something I would read again or go out and buy, but it was a quick read and a sweet diversion. I'll be interested to see what Varon comes up with in the future. I'd recommend this as a great read for the graphic novel baking enthusiast in your family.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Graphic Novel Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

News - Book Releases for Week 5 (Jan 29th - Feb 4th)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Review - The Dragon's Tooth (The Ashtown Burials, Book 1) by N.D. Wilson (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Size: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 23, 2011
ISBN: 978-0375864391
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Ashtown Burials series
Source: From Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. The book starts out a bit slow but ends up being a solid and engaging middle grade adventure and fantasy read.

Cyrus, Antigone, and Dan Smith live in a rundown motel that they barely make a living running. When an old tattooed man shows up demanding to stay in a certain room things start changing fast. Within hours of the man's arrival the motel is burnt to the ground, Dan is missing, and Cyrus and Antigone are whisked away to the Order of Brendan.

I thought the book started a bit slow, but as it progressed it picked up pace quickly and introduced the reader to an adventurous and fantastical, if grungy, world. I liked that the book followed both Antigone and Cyrus; it made the book easy for both boys and girls to relate to and engage with.

The Order of Brendan is an order the kids' parents belonged to and an Order that doesn't like the Smith children much because of things that their past relations have done. Cyrus and Antigone are faced with with a lot of hatred from the moment they arrive at the Order of Brendan. They find help in unexpected places though and discover the secrets behind the keys and tooth that the old tattooed man left with Cyrus.

In their exploration of the halls and corridors of the Order of Brendan they find adventure and surprises at every turn. They also find some nifty magical items and meet some fascinating people. Soon though they are on a run for their lives as a very evil man seeks possession of the tooth that Cyrus was given.

Cyrus and Antigone were wonderful characters I enjoyed reading about them and enjoyed the stoicism with which they accepted all of the horrible situations they were put in. They always tried to make the best of things and persevere; they supported each other with bravery and determination.

I loved the Order of the Brenden and all of the secrets that were in its halls. There is a ton of adventure in this book. There are also traitors, spies, and some scary only for middle grade or older. I should mention the book takes place in a lot of creepy and gross settings. From the moldy and bug infested motel the characters start in, to the water-logged stone halls with scuttling Whip Spiders that they are forced to sleep in at the Order of Brendan; there is a lot of yucky in this book. I found myself wondering how they could ever sleep in those conditions and got a little itchy from time to time. Still, the descriptions were wonderful and really made the settings come alive.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an excellent middle grade adventure fantasy and I enjoyed the world and the characters. You never knew what crazy character you would run into next or what fantastic magical thing you would find around the corner. I highly recommend this to fans of middle grade fantasy. If you enjoyed Fablehaven by Brandon Mull or The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens you should definitely give this book a try.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Early Review - Witchful Thinking (Jolie Wilkins, Book 3) by H.P. Mallory (3/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: February 28, 2012
ISBN: 978-0345531452
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Jolie Wilkins series
Source: From Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the third book in the Jolie Wilkins series. I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program for review. It was a fun read but the cliffhanger ending of the book made me roll my eyes and wonder if I want to keep reading this series.

Jolie's been crowned Queen of the Underworld...whether she wants to be or not. Rand is trying to deal with all the fallout from the battle in the second book and is still unsure about his relationship (or lack of one) with Jolie. Sinjin has wholeheartedly supported her reign and has vowed to be her top protector. Constantly tugged between these two powerful men Jolie is having trouble managing her personal life, let alone all the creatures of the Underworld.

This was my least favorite of the Jolie books to date. I guess I am getting sick of the constant non-resolution between Jolie and Rand. The number of times Jolie states she needs to move on with her life and then doesn't gets really repetitive throughout this story. This book also features journal entries by Jolie which, for the first half of the book, recap events that happened in previous stories. I think this was supposed to make the book stand on its own, but since I have read all of the previous books in the series I found this recapping a bit tedious.

The story has a lot more Sinjin than previous books and I like Sinjin as a character; but the plot hints at darker aspects of Sinjin than I wanted to know about. Sinjin was my favorite character in this series, by the end of this book...not so much.

This book is pretty soap operaish. Most of it deals with the fallout of the battle in book 2 and with Jolie setting up her reign as Queen. I found it a bit disturbing the Jolie is so weak yet is crowned Queen of the Underworld. The prophetess Mercedes is pretty much running the whole show and Jolie trusts her blindly. Jolie serves as mostly a figurehead and the fact that she never questions some of Mercedes more questionable behavior made me think a lot less of Jolie as a character. There is very little action and very little to propel the story forward; although there is mention of a new group of enemy mostly human part vampire type creatures that Jolie and crew will eventually have to face off with.

Usually these books are overly sweet and fun. While this book was well written and easy to read I didn't find it as fun as previous books. Jolie seemed tired and I was tired with her; I just wanted her to stop letting herself get pushed around and do something.

The book ends on a total cliffhanger that promises even less resolution between Jolie and her men in the future. It made me sigh in exasperation; I mean come on let's get on with the story and move past Jolie and Rand and their issues.

Overall, although this was a fun and easy read, it was my least favorite book in the series. Jolie seemed tired and doesn't really exert herself as a character; she spends a lot of time following. Jolie also gets pretty much no resolution with her guy situation and I just want to move past her guy issues and get on with the evil human vampire baddies. I guess the series is a getting a bit too chick-lit for me. At this point I am not sure if I will be reading future books in the series.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Young Adult Giveaway Hop.  This hope is being hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole.

For this hope I am giving away all of the below books to one person.  All of the books are ARCs.  This is a US only giveaway.  Please fill out the form below to enter and make sure to visit all of the other blogs in this fun Giveaway Hop.

The Secret of the Water Knight by Rusalka Reh
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Secrets of the Magic Ring by Karen McQuestion
In Darkness by Nick Lake
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges