Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

oh I love happy accidents.
I often put my name on the longest hold list on the library - just for fun.  This was one of those.  While I waited through 400 something other people to read it I went on reading just about everything else.  I had never heard of Cassadra Clare or of the Mortal Instruments.  However, during my several month wait a friend introduced me to City of Bones and I finished the series quickly.  
The Infernal Devices are prequels to the Mortal Instruments and just when I was hungry for more shadowhunting my name came up!!!!  See... happy accident!  Clockwork Angel is my favorite so far!!!  Maybe because it was set 130 years ago and I kind of like that era, or maybe because I was already hooked.  When first reading I wondered which series would have been better to have read first.  I've decided it really doesn't matter.  Each alludes to the other but not in a way that depends on one another.  I am dying for the next one to come out.  There are so many secrets still left to be discovered!

First Line: The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

Summary: Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The Infernal devices
Book #1 Clockwork Angel 2010
Book #2 Clockwork Prince 2011
Book #3 Clockwork Princess 2012

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Ape House is a nice quick read about six bonobo apes at a facility where scientists are studying their language and communication abilities. These apes are the best characters in the book- their personalities seem to be better developed than those of the human characters; though the book is mainly narrated by their loving caretaker, Isabel Duncan and a news reporter, John Thigpen. It focuses less on animal and more on the personal lives of the humans.

I'm not sure if this book was really written to its full potential- it seems like because Water for Elephants was so popular they assumed they didn't have to try as hard on this is a little shallow. While it's not life changing or epic, the book is probably worth your time since it probably won't take too much of it. (**If you are squeamish about sexual references beware- reference,though not explicit, is often made to the bonobos' frequent natural behaviors.)

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

The Story Sisters is about three sisters who live in their own world and speak a secret language created by the oldest, Elv, after she endures a traumatic event. Over time Elv begins to change her story and the sisters eventually grow apart through a series of twists and turns. The author's storyline is riveting and unpredictable. There was a little bit in the middle where it seemed to slow down, but immediately something happens that changes the course of their lives entirely.

I'm not sure if I'm ok with the ending or not, it's a little hard to explain. Most of Hoffman's endings are different than you'd expect with something a little off about them; you have to learn to accept what happened. This ending was different because is a little bit more tied-up and complete.

Alice is one of my favorite authors, she is always good for some modern fairy-tale goodness. She reminds me of Brothers Grimm in a way since her stuff always has a darker (but not too-dark) whimsical vibe. There is always romance too...but not too much of that either.

All in all this book was one of the best I've read in a long time- refreshing and exciting compared to the "blah" I've been mucking through lately.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

I'm diggin' this author. Another book without a language issue.  I mean yeah - it was kinda weird, but I like weird.  The cover was a bit of a turn off for me, but it actually embraces the book in a nutshell.  I already have the next book ready for me to dig into so happy reading to me!

First Line: The halls of Bixby high school were always hideously bright on the first day of school.

Nobody is safe in the secret hour.
Strange things happen at midnight in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma.
Time freezes.
Nobody moves.
For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. Only a small group of people know about the secret hour -- only they are free to move about the midnight time.
These people call themselves Midnighters. Each one has a different power that is strongest at midnight: Seer, Mindcaster, Acrobat, Polymath. For years the Midnighters and the dark creatures have shared the secret hour, uneasily avoiding one another. All that changes when the new girl with an unmistakable midnight aura appears at Bixby High School.
Jessica Day is not an outsider like the other Midnighters. She acts perfectly normal in every way. But it soon becomes clear that the dark creatures sense a hidden power in Jessica . . . and they're determined to stop her before she can use it.

Midnighters Series
Book #1 The Secret Hour 2004
Book #2 Touching Darkness 2005
Book #3 Blue Moon 2005

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

It's a tiny little book that packs a big punch! From halfway through I finished it in one sitting.  I love books with a twist like this one!  It had a lot of folk lore and mythology, several stories within a story that reminded me a tiny bit of Arabian nights.
 First Line:  I didn't know how long I had been in the king's prison.
"I can steal anything."
After Gen's bragging lands him in the king's prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king's scholar, the magus, needs the thief's skill for a seemingly impossible task — to steal a hidden treasure from another land.
To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.

The Queen's Thief Series
Book #1 The Thief 1996
Book #2 The Queen of Attolia 2000
Book #3 The King of Attolia 2006
Book #4 A Conspiracy of Kings 2010
Book #5 Untitled 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Great Book!  I don't know why I am just now finding out about it, seriously sometimes I really live under a rock.  It has futuristic technology of Hunger Games but without the violence.  And NO language issues!!!!  It's a book I could comfortably recommend for my 13-yr-old niece without reservation. I have a schedule that means I can only read small bits at a time and then have to put the book down at the most random times - so I was constantly looking forward to picking it back up again.  When the book ended I had the same feeling of 'wanting to get back to it' days after it was over.  I cannot wait to get the next book and satisfy my craving!
First Line: The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license –– for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world –– and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Uglies Series
Book #1 Uglies 2005
Book #2 Pretties 2005
Book #3 Specials 2006
Book #4  Extras 2007

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer

I am a big Twilight fan (well the books anyway) so when these little extras drift in that offer another perspective from lesser characters I eat drink it up! 
First Line: The newspaper headline glared at me from a little metal vending machine: SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE - DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN.

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.
All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.
Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

Twilight Series
Book #1 Twilight 2005
Book #2 New Moon 2006
Book #2.1 New Moon Extra- Edward and Rosalie 2006
Book #3 Eclipse 2007
Book #3.5 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner 2010
Book #4 Breaking Dawn 2008
Book #5 Midnight Sun

Monday, November 8, 2010

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

Starts out kinda heartbreaking - not gonna lie, and then a tiny bit creepy in the middle but it has an awesome ending and is overall a feel-good Christmas book.  
Made me want to go on a moonlight sleigh ride at Hardware Ranch too!
First Line: When I was a little girl, my mother told me that everyone has a secret.

“As you read my story, there is something I want you to understand. That in spite of all the pain — past, present and that still to come — I wouldn't have done anything differently. Nor would I trade the time I had with him for anything — except for what, in the end, I traded it for.”
Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change.
For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life.
Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she's fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the beloved classics The Christmas Box and The Christmas List comes a breathtaking story of the transcendent power of love.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I was curious.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about even though I got a couple of warnings that I wouldn't like some of it's content. Truth is I didn't like MOST of the content, but it was like a train wreck that you can't take your eyes off of.  Torture, blackmail, rape, incest, murder weaved throughout a story line and mystery that is infuriatingly intriguing. I was on the hold list for months at the library and even though I have the other two books sitting on my nightstand they are going back unread.  I may not be able to learn from others, but I can learn from my own mistakes, usually.
First Line: It happened every year, was almost a ritual.

"Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no turning back...
Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo." --Dave Callanan

The Millennium Trilogy
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

I often put my name on a hold list on the library just because it has a really long wait on it so I figure it's got to be good.  Ummmm not so much.  The book was just silly I guess.  Not that there is anything wrong with silly, it was entertaining and a super fast read but there wasn't really any substance there either.  The bakery where Lizzy works did remind me of my ex-step-mother-in-law's donut shop in Casper though - that's something I guess.  And I do have a fascination with Salem Mass, and Lizzy also reminds me of my college roommate Heather just a tinsy but - but probably just because she bakes unmentionable cupcakes...
This is the first Janet Evanovich book I've read and maybe she just counts on her previous fans to carry her through fast reads like this - clearly she is widely popular - and I liked her style enough to try another one of her books, but maybe not one in this series.

First Line: My name is Elizabeth Tucker

Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long -- Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues' gallery of power seekers. He's an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She's freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston's North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle's bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it's suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She's not sure about Diesel. He's offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that's fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

I had a couple friends who didn't quite like it as much as the first but I would rate them equally.  It took a bit to get into it mostly because I knew that The Demon King really got interesting when Han and Raisa first met, so I was excited for their paths to cross again and it took 3/4 of the book for that to happen. I love the time that the books are set around, with candles, horses and stacks of books instead of computers - and I love the language - everything sounds cooler and their swear words are cute.  Maybe not the right choice of word but at least they aren't offensive like modern times.  Could just be me though!

First Line: Lieutenant Mac Gillen of the Queen's Guard of the Fells hunched his shoulders against the witch wind that howled out of the frozen wastelands to the north and west.

"Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.
Everything changes when Han's and Raisa's paths cross, is this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction."

Seven Realms Series
The Demon King released October 13, 2009
The Exiled Queen released September 28, 2010
The Gray Wolfe Throne expected release October 2011

Monday, October 18, 2010

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

First Line: The cold snap of the previous week was over: the sun was shining brightly as clary hurried across Luke's dusty front yard, the hood of her jacket up to keep hr hair from blowing across her face.
"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her new found powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the
New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments."

Clare may have intended for this to be the last book of her trilogy but I am glad she decided to do three more.  Things do get nicely wrapped up so if she stirs things up too much and doesn't fix it again by the end I'm gonna be upset.  I can't say much more because the fun of this series is unraveling all of its layers of SECRETS!!!

The Mortal Instruments
Book One: City of Bones March 27, 2007
Book Two: City of Ashes March 25, 2008
Book Three: City of Glass March 24, 2009
Book Four: City of Fallen Angels expected April 5, 2011
Book Five: City of Lost Souls expected May 2012
Book Six: City of Heavenly Fire expected September 2013

Friday, October 15, 2010

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

First Line: The formidable glass-and steel structure rose from its position on the Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky.

"Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation."

Ackkkk! I don't want to ruin anything...
I loved it and I really really loved that my friend let my borrow her 'edited' copy! So much better :)
I finished it and had to start the next book right away (so now they are kind of blended together in my mind...)

The Mortal Instruments
Book One: City of Bones March 27, 2007
Book Two: City of Ashes March 25, 2008
Book Three: City of Glass March 24, 2009
Book Four: City of Fallen Angels expected April 5, 2011
Book Five: City of Lost Souls expected May 2012
Book Six: City of Heavenly Fire expected September 2013

Monday, October 11, 2010

Need by Carrie Jones

 Didn't see that one coming :)
I loved it from the first page.
It's like an East Coast Twilight but without any Vampires

First Line: Everybody has fears, right?

"Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane . . . but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.
She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right—not human—in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.
In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear."

This may seem weird but my favorite thing about the book was that every chapter was named after a different phobia.  I thought it was really clever.  And in a nostalgic high school-y kind of way it reminded me of my favorite English teacher Ms. Smith who was kind of quirky and had a lesson on arachibutyrophobia: fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth (and other phobias, but I never forgot that one) since that lesson phobias have always reminded me of sophomore English!  Total high school drama, mean stuck up girl, jock guy, first love and lots of making out (last part not so much my high school drama). It was scary at times, deliciously scary haha!  really I'm not sure what drew me to it, but I really loved the whole thing - call me crazy.

I do wonder though if there is a phobia name for 'fear of swearing.' 
This book wouldn't help at all with curing me of that :(

Need Series
Book #1 Need December 23 2008
Book #2 Captivate January 5 2010
Book #3 Entice December 7 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

"My name is Alan Christoffersen. You don’t know me. ‘Just another book in the library,’ my father would say. ‘Unopened and unread.’ You have no idea how far I’ve come or what I’ve lost. More important, you have no idea what I’ve found." —Prologue
What would you do if you lost everything—your job, your home, and the love of your life—all at the same time? When it happens to Seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he’s tempted by his darkest thoughts. A bottle of pills in his hand and nothing left to live for, he plans to end his misery. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not any ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Al leaves behind all that he’s known and heads for the farthest point on his map: Key West, Florida. The people he encounters along the way, and the lessons they share with him, will save his life—and inspire yours.

Richard Paul Evans’s extraordinary New York Times bestsellers have made him one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. A life-changing journey, both physical and spiritual, The Walk is the first of an unforgettable series of books about one man’s search for hope.

So... Every once in awhile I find a book I cannot, and will not, finish. This is one of those. I hated it. I couldn't get pass page 119!

This book hit too close to home; and I don't even want to tell you how hard I cried. One star rating wise, in my opinion, would be generous!

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

I know! ANOTHER W.W.II. book! I find the conseqences of war fascinating though. This is one read I will never forget.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

I liked it even more than the first book!
The Iron King began a bit too Alice in Wonderland for me, and as I was reading The Iron Daughter, Queen Mab, ruler of the Winter realm was like White Witch of Narnia deja'vu (only more like the book than the movie - you know stunningly beautiful not, umm well, just not like the movie) and then when the wars began I kept having Lord of the Rings flashbacks!
SOOO when I read this praise:
"The Iron King has the...enchantment, imagination and adventure of...Alice in Wonderland, Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, but with lots more romance." -Justine magazine 
dingdingdingding bells went off! Great minds think alike!

First Line: The Iron King stood before me, magnificent in his beauty, silver hair whipping about like an unruly waterfall.

"Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the ...more Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart."

I'll admit that the ending threw me. I don't know what I expected to happen but not really THAT!
The beginning was a tad redundant, it reviewed the first book maybe a little too much - but of course I read them only weeks apart not months or years - so it's good she goes back over some of the details.  My heart was torn in two with the whole love triangle. LOVE Ash, love puck - what to do?  I have a love/hate thing with love triangles! I loved Meghan discovering and embracing her powers - she is one tough half fey, half human teenage chick!  

Iron Fey Series
Book 1: The Iron King, released February 1, 2010
Book 1.5: Winter's Passage, released June 1, 2010
Book 2: The Iron Daughter, released August 1, 2010
Book 3: The Iron Queen, to be released February 1, 2011

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

My name finally came up on the library hold list for this book.  It had been so long since I reserved it I couldn't remember who recommended it, or where I may have found it or why I wanted to read it, or what it might even be about.  I've been in a fantasy rut lately and I was getting a bit bored with it so when I saw the cover art and read the first line introducing Violet Ambrose I shuddered a little bit.  I was not ready for another fairy book.  But do not fear it's not fantasy at all, but it's not normal either.  So I guess then it's considered paranormal - but she doesn't move items with her mind or fly or anything psycho, so I am categorizing it YA Fiction, boring enough?

First Line: Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her.

"Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself."

Two late{ish} nights and I had it finished.  But the suspense, mystery, and scare factor combined with my crazy pregnancy hormones made for some really interesting/disturbing dreams last night.  Good thing I can't remember them anymore. I loved the back and forth plot between discovering she loves Jay (vice-versa) and the murder mystery.  Just when the suspense is maxed, it switches back to Jay and Vi and you can breath for a minute and forget their danger - then when their making out gets too blech/annoying it switches back to the hunt for a murderer, or his hunt for them.  Brilliant!  I found the ending satisfying, and was surprised to see this was Derting's first novel.  Good stuff!  

But of course my last (only) bit of critique you had to see coming... 

I don't like swearing: not in books, not in joking, not in anger, not even by drunken sailors.
(among other things I was fortunate enough to be shielded from in high school)
BUT especially NOT in YA reads, seriously peeps...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

What a rush! 
There were so many twists and turns in this book, I didn't know who to trust, or what to believe!
Definitely unnerving to be so unsettled and yet - WHAT AN ADRENALINE BOOST!
oh yeah, and the mother of all love triangles!


First Line: "You've got  to be kidding me," the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.

"When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.
But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...."

City of Bones offered it all, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Wizards, Mermaids, Demons, Shadow Hunters, basically any and all things fanatical.  
The 'Muggles' of Harry Potter are referred to as 'Mundanes' by Clare, but just the same they are surrounded by things they cannot see through the glamour or even imagine in their wildest dreams.  My husband flipped through the book and said "hey I'm in here!"  No, not as a demon or vampire but as the VILLAIN - Valentine!  He asked if that's why I liked this book so much and maybe it is.  There was a lot to like about this book and what little there was to NOT like (such as my biggest pet peeve - swearing) it wasn't so much an issue because I borrowed the book from a friend who had "edited" it.  Ahhhh! so much better.  
Best part: it's the first of a series!!! WAHOOO - I LOVE books in a series, yeah baby :)

I do have a question to those who have read it though...
How do YOU pronounce Jace?  
...And do you think I could convince hubs to name baby girl Jocelyn instead of Jolee?

The Mortal Instruments
Book One: City of Bones March 27, 2007
Book Two: City of Ashes March 25, 2008
Book Three: City of Glass March 24, 2009
Book Four: City of Fallen Angels expected April 5, 2011
Book Five: City of Lost Souls expected May 2012
Book Six: City of Heavenly Fire expected September 2013

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

First Line: Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.

Meghan begins her sixteenth birthday wanting what any other teen girl wants: her drivers license, to be noticed by the cutest boy in school and respect from her parents (oh, and a cell phone).  Her life focuses very quickly on what is important when she gets home from school that day with her mom lying in a pool of blood and her four year old brother kidnapped by creatures from the nevernever.  She acts fast following her "not as he appears" best friend Robbie into another world and an adventure that will leave her permanently changed.  

I struggled getting into this book, it was just too 'Alice in Wonderland' for me.  I never really 'got' or liked Alice in Wonderland, not sure why. 
ANYWAY...  Things really pick up and when 'Alice in Wonderland' collides into 'Transformers' meets 'World of Warcraft' - it became a bit more my mythical style - lol.

The imagination of Julie Kagawa is insane - in the best way possible.  Her attention to detail, the explanation of the surroundings both familiar and extreme, Her description of both the characters and the land made me think that this would make an awesome movie.  I could see the landscape sprawling out before me as Maghan was discovering it for the first time herself.  Stinkin cool!

There where sporatic swear words tossed in that I HATED.  Really I have issues with swearing - especially in Young Adult books.  It wasn't super extreme, but I really could have done without it.

Overall I did end up loving the book, I am excited to read the next one and if you are a fantasy lover I definitely recommend it.
Iron Fey Series
Book 1: The Iron King, released February 1, 2010
Book 1.5: Winter's Passage, released June 1, 2010
Book 2: The Iron Daughter, released August 1, 2010
Book 3: The Iron Queen, to be released February 1, 2011

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

First Line: Han Alister squatted next to the steaming mud spring, praying that the thermal crust would hold his weight.
Han (Cuffs) Alister is trying to recover from a life on the streets.  Having turned around his criminal life as Street Lord of the Raggers, he now has to work extra hard for his meager yet honest earnings doing whatever he can to survive.  Life just gets an extra boost of crazy when he runs into some underage wizards and takes their curious and magical amulet to save his friends life.  The story line crosses between his tale and that of the young Princess Raisa, until inevitably, their paths cross.
This medieval story is filled with heroism, danger, deception, survival, romance, hope, tradition, magic, good and evil.  
I loved it from the very beginning and can't wait for the sequel!

Seven Realms Series
The Demon King released October 13, 2009
The Exiled Queen to be released September 28, 2010
The Gray Wolfe Throne expected release October 2011

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

I pretty much loved this book.  
Kind of a guilty pleasure filled with silly high school romance and danger, 
so what's not to love?!?!
I am a sucker for Young Adult romances and for books in a series and this hits both.

First Line: Grace! You have got to see the new guy.

Grace Divine is the pastors daughter, and the so called 'new guy' isn't that new.  He's Daniel, the boy next door, Grace's first love, and now he's back.  The curious and stressful circumstances under which he left the first time have only concentrated and grew during his 3 year absence.  Jude, Grace's older brother and Daniel's former best friend is as cold and uninviting as ever with unbelievable accusations about Daniel, but they aren't without warrant.  There is something dark and wrong about Daniel, but he's not the only one with a secret.

I really don't get the cover...
Sure she goes to the prom with a purple sash covering her white dress and purple toe nail polish to match, but is it an important enough detail to make it the cover?  And what happened to the dress?

The Dark Divine Series
The Dark Divine released Dec 22, 2009
The Lost Saint expected release Dec 28, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Not really my favorite style of book.  It took a bit for me to get into, but it ended well.  Kind of a fun teenage version of Ocean 11 meets the DaVinci code.   Really clean and adventuresome, a book I could recommend to my pre-teen niece.

Dust jacket summary
"When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own–scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected. Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history–or at least her family’s (very crooked) history."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

When it comes to giving advice on divorce issues and impounded pets, 13-year-old Theodore Boone is first choice with his teachers and classmates. Theo knows more about the law than most lawyers.

But he also knows he has no business getting involved in his home town's first murder trial in years.

That is, until a witness tells Theo he saw things the day of the murder that could bust the case wide open. The only problem is, he's too scared to talk – Theo is the only person he'll trust.

With the trial about to be lost for lack of evidence, and a witness who won't take the stand, suddenly Theo finds himself caught in the middle of his – and the town's – biggest case ever . . .

What a cute little read. I loved it. I needed something light and fast. Perfect. The writing kept me reading too!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I made it!
It took me 2+ weeks to read it, yikes!  But really, that's more normal than it used to be since I have been managing 'lights out' closer to 10:30pm than 2:30am - go me!  
My only real objection to the book is that it is categorized Young Adult.  I guess I could see it as a high school English assignment. I traipsed through Crime and Punishment, Lord of the Flies, Tess of the d'Urberville, Jane Eyre and more in my Senior year, but then again, I wouldn't consider them 'Young Adult' either, but I guess they could be.  Honestly, I don't know.  Maybe I'm not giving the 'YA' group enough credit, or maybe in the ten years since I was in high school I have digressed.  
No matter, here I sit at 28, just having read an excellent, albeit hard to categorize novel!
The prologue had me stumped.  I almost cast it aside as 'not the book for me.'  Clearly the narrator was Death, which fascinated me to no end!  Maybe for that reason alone I continued reading, but I had NO IDEA what he was talking about...  A lot about colors, and the sky, and collecting souls.  The book started for me a couple of chapters in, somewhere around the time Liesel arrives at her new home on Himmel Street.  Of course by then she has already lost her brother and mother and has stolen her first book, so what do I know?

First Line: First the colors.
my First Line: Whoever named Himmel Street certainly had a healthy sense of irony.

Set in Nazi Germany 1939-mid forties, nine-year-old Liesel Meminger loses her communist parents to Hitler, her brother to Death, and her illiteracy to words and begins life again with the Hubermanns in Molching.  She is haunted by nightmares and bed-wetting and in the dark morning hours while her sheets dry, she is taught to read by her foster Papa.  The first book she read was also the first book that she stole, The Grave Diggers Handbook 
The Book Thief is about words:  about Liesel learning to read one word at a time; about Hitler using words to take over his world; about words being burned in Nazi fires, and words being saved from the fire by a thief.  Liesel discovers that because of all of these reasons she both loves and hates words.
The story is both heart-warming and heart-breaking.  It's inspiring to read of Germans during such a dangerous time, begrudgingly doing their mandatory 'Heil Hitlers,' hesitating to display the colors of the Nazi flag, muttering disrespect under their breath about their Führer, being whipped for sneaking a crust of bread to a prisoner headed to a consecration camp, and sacrificing everything to hide a Jew.
While reading my mind kept swimming with stories, plots, and situations from my only other sources of information about Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust: The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind, The Hiding Place, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. I'm sad, I know.  History was always my weakest subject and at the bottom of my interests list (along with current events and anything political really). I'm doomed.  Good thing I enjoy reading so that once in awhile a book like this can sneak it's way into my fun and floofy mindless reads and really make me stop and think.
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