Saturday, July 31, 2010

August Book Releases

Sorry about not having a list for July, but as I was on vacation when July started...anyway, here are some releases in August that either I'm super excited about (of which there are a few), think people reading this blog may be interested in, or think may be worth checking out. If it has this by it: (!) it means I'm eager about it and you can probably expect a review about it on this blog sometime in the future.
Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa. Paperback, out August 1rst. (!)
Prophecy of the Sisters Book 2: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink. Hardcover, out August 1rst.
Mortal Instruments Book 3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. Paperback version, out August 3rd. (!)
Twilight Saga Book 4: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. Paperback version, out August 3rd (personally could care less, but maybe some Twilight fans read this and care, who knows?)
The Hollow Book 1: The Hollow by Jessica Vernay. Paperback version, out August 3rd.
Thresholds by Kiriki Hoffman. Hardcover, out August 5th.
Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer. Paperback version, out August 10th.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. Paperback version, out August 10th.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Paperback version, out August 24rth. (!)
Hunger Games Book 3: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Hardcover, out August 24rth. (!!!)
Wintersmith: A Story of Discworld by Terry Pratchett. Paperback version, out August 24rth. (!)
Delcroix Academy Book 1: The Candidates by Inara Scott. Hardcover, out August 24rth (!)
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade. Paperback, out August 24rth.
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. Hardcover, out August 31rst.
Infernal Devices Book 1: The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Hardcover, out August 31rst (!)
Unraveled by Gena Showalter. Hardcover, out August 31rst.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones. Paperback version, out August 31rst.
The Hollow Book 2: The Haunted by Jessica Verday. Hardcover, out August 31rst.
Lots of good ones coming out this month. In case you couldn't tell by the access of exclamation points, I'm all about Mockingjay this month (I just bought Catching Fire yesterday!) as well as Cassandra Clare's series which is one of my guilty pleasures right now. For those that don't know, she's supposed to be doing a video chat August 4rth around 5 o'clock and announcing some news concerning the series (I'm hoping it's either another planned trilogy or something about the movie like say a planned cast?) but as I'll be working then, I'll have to wait till after to find out what the news is. ;is bummed about this; Anyways, happy reading in August!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: The Body Finder

TITLE: The Body Finder
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in a planned series
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, romance
PREMISE: Violet has always been able to find the bodies of the dead due to her "gift". When a killer starts preying on girls in her small town she starts using this gift to try and track him down...
MY REVIEW: I'm sort of split on this book. Parts of it I liked, parts of it were eye-roll worthy, mostly this is one of those rather forgetful books. I will say this: it was nice seeing believeable high schoolers. For once there's no, average girl falls for super hot supernatural guy...chaos ensues. No, it's instead the old best friends falling for eachother trope which is kind of a trope I miss in YA, about the only one who does it anymore is Cabot. The dialogue between Violet and her friends is great as was the banter between her and Jay. The premise was also different from what is going on in YA now.
On the other was kind of blah. I mean, you knew she and Jay would get together and after they get together they get rather boring fast. There's no major shock factor about who is killing the girls and of course he gets caught. It's just all very predictable. No real surprises, everything tied up neatly so much that it sort of felt like a tv-movie of the week thing. That said, I'm confused about why they're making this into a series because I was pretty satisfied with what went on and felt it was pretty much finished. Is Derting going to make things more interesting next time around? I hope so because I personally am not all that interested in a sequel for this.
In other words, this is one of those shrug books. There's not much to set it apart from the crowd but if you're in the mood for a decent paranormal cute book, it does the trick.
WHO SHOULD READ: paranormal fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five dead animals

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Chat (2)

First off: Huge and Pretty Little Liars.
Okay, for Huge. Was I the only one snickering throughout the obvious parody of Twilight? I hope not, but seriously, that was fantastic. I also found it interesting that they had the nerve to have an asexual character (or a girl who thinks she is). I believe this is the first time someone has done that on TV? Either way, kind of cool though a bit of a bummer because I was kind of hoping for a romance between her and hot counselor guy whose name escapes me. But I can settle for interesting friendship thing they have going on instead.
Pretty Little Liars: kind of a dull episode but found the flashbacks interesting. Am I the only one who is confused about why these girls were all friends with Allison? Because it kind of seemed to me that they didn't like her that much and that she was basically blackmailing them with all the stuff she knew. But that could be me because I frankly can't stand Allison. From the memories it seems like she's one of those over priviledged-world revolves around me because I'm pretty and popular types and I can't stand girls like that.
Second topic: Hunger Games Trailer
Won't post it because I'm sure we've all seen it by now but god, does it look awesome. I haven't even read book 2 yet and I'm excited for it. Definitely picking up Catching Fire next week so I can join in on the festivities when the third one is released.
Third topic:
Apparently Daniel Craig (the new Bond, even though apparently Bond movies are on hold right now ;sad face;) is going to be in the american version of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Yay. Note to self: pick up book when you finish Catching Fire (this is yet another trilogy I haven't read yet).
About all the topics I have this week.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

TITLE: Beautiful Creatures
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in The Caster Chronicles
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Ethan lives in the most boring town in the south. Then a new girl shows up and this new girl shakes up his world in ways he never imagined possible.
MY REVIEW: Warning: there will be lots of gushing in this post because I absolutely adored this book. So I will get the few minor qualms I have with it out of the way. One qualm is that while I love that they did a book from a guy's point of view for a change, sometimes it didn't seem like Ethan was a guy. The other is that the whole "town versus Ethan and Lena" thing was a little over the top for me, even with the revelation at the end about Mrs. Lincoln (won't give away revelation for those that haven't read it).
But other then that, this whole book just clicked the right way for me. For one it wasn't full of all the common tropes that are going around in YA fantasy nowadays (although there are maybe one or two but not enough to bitch about). There are no vampires and werewolves, just good old regular magic casters for a change. No love triangle. No macho guy who protects the whiny girl from a danger he brought on her(Ethan is a gentleman who isn't a wuss but he's no Edward Cullen which is good because otherwise I would have hated him). The romance takes time to develop for a change as well. Finally, a couple who does normal things like deal with school, having to study, going on dates as well as the magic stuff. Also, actual parental supervision! They have adults who are actually present in their lives and who aren't treated like some big nuisance that needs to be protected from themselves. It was just very refreshing to read.
But two things really made this book for me: the setting and the characters. There seems to be a semi gothic revival thing going on in YA right now and all I can say is bring it. I love me my gothic novels and if it's gothic fantasy like this one all the better. The characters were also nicely written and varied and just plain fun. For those curious my favorite characters are Marion, Amma and Link. In that order. I found Ridley kind of interesting too because I don't buy that she's totally evil and will be curious to see if we see more implications of that in the next book.
So despite a few minor flaws, this is an excellent first book (this was a debut novel in 2009) and I highly reccomend it. The next book in the series is Beautiful Darkness and comes out in October (there's a widget in the sidebar if you want the actual date).
WHO SHOULD READ: Anyone interested
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five charm necklaces

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

This is a meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we've gotten over the week.

This week I managed to snag two books (from this year!) at my local library:

Alice, I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin.-Been wanting to read this one ever since I first heard about it but it's been on reserve up until now.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting.-Debut novel from this year and another I've been curious about.

So that's it. What did you get this week?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Book Review: The Color of Magic

TITLE: The Color of Magic
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in the Discworld series
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
GENRE: parody, fantasy
PREMISE: A bumbling wizard and tourist get stuck on a journey together through the crazy world of Discworld.
MY REVIEW: So I finally have officially started this series (yeah yeah I know, it's sad I haven't picked it up till now). Now Pratchett may not be for everybody. If you like logical clear cut stories...he's not for you. Discworld is first and foremost a parody of fantasy novels (I'm pretty sure Rincewind is supposed to be a parody of Gandalf...could just be my opinion though...). The first book contains random adventures that the two have so it's not exactly a organized book.
But what makes this book is the humor. Pratchett is one hysterical writer. He takes all the common tropes that are in fantasy books and runs with them and has a blast while doing so. There are some hilarious one liners in this book. In fact, someone needs to come up with a quote book just for Discworld alone.
So in short, the book is hilarious. It may not suit all tastes, but if you don't mind somewhat chaotic storytelling (and in this case I certainly don't) it will be utter fun for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: parody fans, fans of Monty Python (there are echoes of it in here)
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five demon boxes

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games

TITLE: The Hunger Games
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in the Hunger Games trilogy
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Science fiction, action/adventure
PREMISE: When Katniss's sister is called forward to participate in the deadly Hunger Games, she steps forward to take her place. Soon she gets involved in the deadly game that pits children against one another in a fight to the death...
MY REVIEW: Normally, I don't care for these battle to the death type things (HATED Lord of the Flies) but GOOD. For one the battle to the death is actually just a plot device for a much larger story that involves a complicated futuristic system that is intriguing and a much more involved story arc then you normally get with these type of scenarios. Now I will say, I wasn't all that interested in the games part themselves, I was more interested in the political/possible rebellion type stuff going on, but I do give Collins credit for not shying away from the violence aspect of it.
But the thing that made me really love this was Katniss. Finally a teen heroine who is concerned about more then her social life or love life. She cares about things other then herself. So refreshing from what is normally going on in YA fiction nowadays. Also refreshing is that the romance isn't contrived or cliche, what little romance there actually is in the book. Because the author is not using the romance to drive the story, it's a secondary thing to the excitement going on which is the way it should be in these types of stories.
Now, since I know someone will ask me eventually I'm going to state it now: I really don't care who Katniss ends up with. Yeah, I know, something wrong with me. But I honestly like both Peeta and Gale so I have no qualms with her ending up with either one. Now bear in mind I haven't read the second book yet so that may change, but for now I'm Team I don't give a damn cause both guys are pretty cool.
So in short, I'm now in love with this trilogy and am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. But hey, I'll be picking up the second as soon as my bills for the month are paid so I'll be caught up with the trilogy in time to celebrate the third book's release on August 24rth. There's going to be a release party right? I hope so.
WHO SHOULD READ: anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of five bow and arrows

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Wednesday Weekly Chat (1)

Wednesday Weekly Chat is something I'm going to be doing on this blog from now on. Obviously it'll be every Wednesday and I'll chat about random fandom, mostly book related things/topics. So without further ado, here's the first things I want to chat about.

Huge and Pretty Little Liars on ABCFamily
Most of the first part of these chats will be me discussing these two shows which I have become utterly addicted too. Both are based off of books and are completely different. Huge takes place in a weight-loss camp and deals with the drama that goes on with the campers. The ever awesome Nikki Blonsky is in it (as well as Paul Doosey of Happy Days fame and the girl from Firefly whose name escapes me) and she plays Will. I really love this show. For one, it's nice seeing plus size people on a show but not being mocked/shamed about their weight nor are they stereotyped to death. For another, it's very relateable even if you aren't overwieght, the characters are nicely varied and again not stereotypes. Then the writing is just good. Nice and subtle lines that make you think and they manage to get a lot of stuff in one episode without being overwhelming. If all this doesn't convince you to give it a shot, it was created/written by the same people who did My So-Called Life. If you are too young to remember My So-Called Life it was a awesome teen drama (possibly one of the first teen dramas out there, but I may be wrong on that so don't quote me on it) back in the nineties that aired on MTV back when MTV wasn't completely lame and full of reality shows like it is now.
Now Pretty Little Liars...I'm kind of embarressed and surprised about how addicted I've become to this show. I'm surprised because after trying out the books in preperation for the show I didn't care for them. They were amatuerish (and not in a good way), the characters were annoying and bratty, the pacing was really bad, and there was the annoying habit of label dropping and pop culture referencing. About the only thing the books had going for it was the mystery aspect of it. So I watched the first few episodes to see if the show was better and yay, it was. The characters are much more tolerable (though I still do want to shake some of them like for instance, Spencer's whole selfish family), the mystery part is the important thing in the series and that's good because sometimes the melodrama parts are a little silly and cliche. The pacing in the series is also ten times better.
So what I want to discuss this week: Pretty Little Liars (Huge didn't have much going on sadly). Now that we know for sure it's not Toby, and I'm pretty sure it's not Jenna, who is the possible A? If you've read the books and already know, please no spoilers. Because honestly, I'm drawing a blank right now and that never usually happens to me on these shows. It's both exciting because for once I don't see it coming, and both annoying at the same time. So, thoughts please? I need to discuss this with people as most everyone in my non internet life doesn't watch the show so I can't discuss it with them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale

TITLE: The Thirteenth Tale
PART IN SERIES: Standalone
AUTHOR: Diane Setterfield
GENRE: drama, mystery
PREMISE: A young writer gets an invite by a famous author to come and write her biography and ends up getting caught up in the writers family secrets...
MY REVIEW: Does anyone remember V.C.Andrews? When I was a teen I devoured her books, even though I freely admit they aren't the best thing written and they aren't even usually the type of thing I go in for. Why do I bring up her books, you ask? Because this book is basically a V.C.Andrews book, just slightly classier in tone.
If you're trying to remember where you've heard about this book before, it was probably a few years ago when the book first came out. For awhile it seemed this was on EVERYONE'S book list of best books. I believe it was even mentioned on Oprah once (not being a big watcher of Oprah I can't say for sure if this is the case, but it certainly feels like the kind of book she'd go for). I myself kind of ignored it as I usually do hyped up books but I saw this in a bargain bin and figured what the hell.
Now I'm kind of scratching my head about why people went so gaga over this thing. I mean it's not totally horrible. I like the feel of it (it's a gothic Jane Eyre type of thing and I have a thing for those types of books normally, hence my whole love affair with the V.C.Andrews books in the first place), and there are some really great lines in it, and the mystery part was interesting. Other then that was kind of just ho hum for me.
The writing was terribly amatuerish (but did hint that the writer had potential, I believe this was the author's first book?) with bad pacing and way too much telling and not showing. I didn't care for how it jumped around between Vida's story and the writer's story because frankly the writer just wasn't that interesting to me. The book wavered a lot between kind of dull to kind of interesting but never got to that OMG!I have to find out what happens next point.
So honestly, the book was just okay. I don't understand all the hype but then I rarely get why some things get over hyped and other things don't (when you all figure out the Twilight thing let me know please).
WHO SHOULD READ: V.C.Andrews fans, those who like family saga type books
MY RATING: Three out of Five old musty books

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: School Spirit

TITLE: School Spirit
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in the Suddenly Supernatural series
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: Paranormal
PREMISE: Kat's mom has the ability to see ghosts and therefore is resigned to the fact that her life will always be strange. She doesn't appreciate it though when she herself turns thirteen and discovers she has gotten the same gift because seventh grade is hard enough...
MY REVIEW: Most of what I can say about this book is cute. It's not phenomenal but it's not horrible either. For the audience it's aimed for (older elementary schoolers and middle schoolers) it's appropriate and very relateble and they'll probably get a kick out of it.
Kat herself wavered for me. Sometimes I felt she was a little whiny but even she acknowledged things weren't so bad so it didn't get out of hand. I also felt the mean girls of the school were grossly stereotyped and a little over the top. The ghost story part was also pretty easy to figure out and was of course neatly dealt with, though there is a hint of something being at the school that may be dangerous so that may play out in an interesting way in later books.
So honestly, this book just gets a okay from me. It's good for the audience it's aimed at but for anyone else it'll probably just feel silly. If you have kids in that tough middle grade age who like ghost stories but aren't ready for Stephan King, this is a good book series to suggest.
WHO SHOULD READ: middle schoolers, older elementary school kids
MY REVIEW: Three and a half out of Five flutes

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Book Review: 1rst to Die

TITLE: 1rst to Die
PART IN SERIES: Book 1 in the Women's Murder Club series
AUTHOR: James Patterson
GENRE: mystery, thriller
PREMISE: A man goes on a killing spree killing off newlyweds. A female cop, reporter, medical examiner, and lawyer team up to bring him down.
MY REVIEW: What can I say about Patterson? He knows how to spin a good mystery yarn. His books may not be the best thing out there (some of his prose can be pretty eye roll worthy) but when you're in the mood for a decent mystery, his books do the trick. Personally, I prefer his Maximum Ride series to his adult books but that's just me.
I will say this though, it was refreshing having a mystery series where the females weren't young twentysomethings who were hot, single, and who had guys panting after them every time you looked around. These women were middle aged, one was married (and heavy but her weight never became an issue), one was divorced, and all were average looking. It was a nice change of pace and made them more relateable.
However, sometimes this series became...I don't know over the top to me. I mean, I'm all for it not being boring but sometimes I had to raise an eyebrow or two and this is from someone who enjoys her cop shows (Castle is one of my current favorite shows). So while it did have it's strong points, it was sometimes a little absurd for me. But I'm letting that go mostly because of the genre it's in.
WHO SHOULD READ: James Patterson fans, fans of cop/mystery tv shows
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five magnify glasses

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In My Mailbox (4)

This is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at Story Siren telling people about the new books we've gotten over the week. Here's mine:

From the library:
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley.

Bought from bookstores (who loved me this week no doubt...):
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.-I'm probably the last person on the YA blogosphere to read this. With the third book coming aroud August 24rth, I figured now was a good time to get this trilogy started.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl.-Another where I'm probably the last in the book reviewing world to read it.
Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 2: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.-Oddly enough, this is in Borders already even though my countdown says the release date is on Tuesday. Oh well, works out well for me. I've been anticipating this since I read Shiver a few months ago.
Vampire Academy Book 3: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead.-I love this series and can't wait to continue it.
That's all my books!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Sorceror's Apprentice

TITLE: The Sorceror's Apprentice
PEOPLE INVOLVED: Jerry Bruckheimer, Nickolas Cage, Jay Baruchel
REALEASED: July 16th, 2010
DISTRIBUTED BY: Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer
PREMISE: A science geek meets Merlin's apprentice who tells him he's going to be a powerful wizard in an important upcoming battle.
MY REVIEW: This movie...will not win Oscars. Like Prince of Persia it wavered between fun and cheesy and never got off that mark. But I enjoyed Prince of Persia as well, so I also enjoyed this. The reason Bruckheimer's movies tend to work for me is that he doesn't try too hard. He makes movies for ENTERTAINMENT. He knows what audiences want in movies and knows how to get butts in the seat. He doesn't go trying to make Oscar worthy winning movies that are obviously there to win Oscars. Does this make sense? It did when I tried to explain to someone else why it is that I don't abhor Jerry Bruckheimer. Oh well.
Anyway, like I said, the movie is fun. Cage is Balthazar who is a cranky/slightly crazy sarcastic wizard who was Merlin's pupil. Say what you will about Cage, I like the guy. Particularly when he just plays fun characters like this one and runs with it. Now for the kid played by Baruchel (aka the voice of Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon for those trying to place where they know this guy) he wavered between sometimes being annoying to being awkwardly adorable. But he effectively made you root for his character.
Effects were...average. Nothing really to write home about. The story...also average. Typical geeky kid finds he's special and must rise to the challenge yada yada. I also have to mention that as adorable as the romance was it seemed rather...forced to me. I kind of would have rathered they had focused on the magical aspect of it but this being Disney, all the guys need to paired off (hence why Veronica and Balthazar have a thing and why she and he magically live).
What elevated this movie was the humor, the fun ideas in it (come on, you know you want a car that changes models like the car in this movie). I also found the blending of science and magic rather interesting. All in all it was just enjoyable. Again, will never win Oscars, but if you need something to take your slightly older kids too that won't annoy you but likewise won't traumatize them. This movie is a good bet.
WHO SHOULD GO: families with older kids who aren't ready for the PG-13 movies yet, Bruckheimer fans, Cage fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five lighting balls

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Never Trust a Dead Man

TITLE: Never Trust a Dead Man
PART IN SERIES: Standalone novel
AUTHOR: Vivian Vande Velde
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: a boy gets accused of murder and is buried alive. A witch helps him escape and he sets out to prove his innocence.
MY REVIEW: If you've never heard of this book, don't feel bad, neither had I till I picked it up at my local book fair for a quarter (aren't library book fairs the most awesome idea?). It's shame too, this book is quite fun. It's not uber spectaculer (and it kind of surprises me that it won an Edgar Award apparently) but still, if you're in the mood for a spooky whodunit, this book does the trick.
One of the best things about this book for me was Elswyth. She was hysterical, and it helped that she reminded me of one of my favorite characters Yuuko from xxxHolic (if you do not know what xxxHolic is, you're not a manga fan, pick it up; you won't be sorry). The other thing that kept me reading was the humor.
Other then that, it was your average run of the mill book with nothing really to recomend it. Though I do think guys will quite like this one as there's not any sappy romance and they enjoy the vague creepy factor in the book.
WHO SHOULD READ: guys, if you think you'll enjoy it
MY RATING: Three out of Five winged bats

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review: The Poison Eaters

TITLE: The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
PART IN SERIES: standalone
AUTHOR: Holly Black
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Short stories, urban fantasy
PREMISE: A short story collection from Holly Black featuring a girl about to become a vampire, a boy facing down an evil latin club, characters from Tithe and many other stories.
MY REVIEW: Short story collections are a little tough for me to review. I don't read many of them, I mostly picked this one up because...well it's Holly Black. This collection is a gathering of stories she's written for other anthologies as well as new ones she's done. They range from downright creepy tales, to short random things that you're not sure what the deal is exactly, to everything in between. But it all has Black's trademark style: humor mixed with darkness and just utterly interesting ideas.
I'll go over my favorites though. My favorites are the Tithe one naturally. I loved Tithe and it was a treat to see Corny and Roiban again, if only briefly, and even more fun because they actually interacted which they didn't do much of in the Tithe Trilogy. It was quite entertaining to tell the truth, even if the story didn't have much point. My other two favorites was the first one The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and In Vodka Veritas. The others were just mildly interesting but not much to them.
If you don't mind quick stories and love Holly Black's writing, this book is for you. However, if like me, you tend to crave longer may not be too into this.
WHO SHOULD READ: Holly Black fans, those who don't mind short stories
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five fairy wings

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: Bitten

TITLE: Bitten
Book 1 in the Women of the Otherworld series
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
GENRE: urban fantasy, werewolves, romance
PREMISE: Elena has been trying to leave her life as a pack member behind. She's got a boyfriend, a great job and is perfectly happy. But then the pack calls with urgent news and that means going back to face them and the man she tried to forget...
MY REVIEW: This is actually fairly different from Darkest Powers which is the first of Armstrong's books I read. I'm trying to refrain from comparing the two because this was Armstrong's first book whereas Darkest Powers was written years later and the thing is...I can tell it's her first book.
Whereas in Darkest Powers the writing was more subtle, the plot more complicated, and the ending not totally obvious, this book...there's kind of a lot of telling not showing and I saw the ending coming from a mile away. Now Armstrong does still have strong characters with complicated relationships. I liked how she went and took time to give us the bigger picture on pack relationships and fleshed out this world of hers.
I'm just saying when you compare this book to her later can see that it's actually not her strongest work and obvious that she probably grew better as a writer over time. So at least she got better. I also will say this was interesting in some parts and it helped that it had Armstrong's humor in it as well. So overall it's a solid book, it's just that I know she's done better then this.
WHO SHOULD READ: Kelley Armstrong fans, True Blood fans (this book is so similar to Sookie Stackhouse I half expected Bill to turn up), urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Sunshine

TITLE: Sunshine
PART IN SERIES: standalone
AUTHOR: Robin McKinley
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, drama, urban fantasy
PREMISE: When Rae is taken prisoner by vampires, her quiet life is changed forever.
MY REVIEW: I have mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, it's McKinley and therefore the characters are fleshed out well and there's great world building and it was a nice refreshing take on the vampire thing that is rather tired right now. Though I would like to point out this was written in 2003 which was way before the vampire madness resurged with Twilight (written in 2005). So kudos to Mckinley for doing this before vampires became annoying and for not currently jumping on the bandwagon either (her next book coming out this year is about winged horses).
Now comes my issues. One issue I have is that at times this book tended to drag. Normally I am fine with authors taking their time, but I don't know, it seemed like this book moved at a snail's pace. My next issue was that while I love that Mckinley took time to flesh out her world but at times it felt like too much detail? Sometimes Rae would just go on and on about this is this and that is that and while a lot of it was was also occasionally annoying as I wanted her to get on with the story.
But overall this is a solid book with a very interesting take on vampires. There were also some hilarious lines in it that helps with the slightly slow pacing. To those wondering, her next book (Pegasus) comes out in November.
WHO SHOULD READ: Robin McKinley fans, vampire fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five pocket knives

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren telling what new books we've gotten for the week.

Well, I've been on vacation so my new book list is fairly short. But I do have two:
From the library I have:
Women of the Otherworld Book 1-Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.
Believe it or not, I've never picked up Armstrong's books before I started her Darkest Powers trilogy because I'd heard good things about it. Now that I know Darkest Powers is actually a part of the Otherworld books, I'm curious as to how it all started. If it's as good as Darkest Powers, chances are I'll be picking up all the rest because I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy.
Bought in stores:
Discworld Book 1: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
This is another series I've just recently discovered by way of reading The Wee Free Men and loving it and deciding to pick up the first book.

Well, that's all I've got this week till I go to the library again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book Review: Insatiable

TITLE: Insatiable
SERIES: Book one so far (but apparently Meg is planning a sequel ;squee;)
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot
PUBLISHED: 2010 (no your eyes do not decieve you, I am reading a book published this year)
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy, romance, chick lit
PREMISE: Meena has always had the annoying ability to see people's death. This and other factors means her life is kind of hell right now. Then she meets who she thinks is the perfect guy, only perfect not so perfect.
MY REVIEW: This is officially now my favorite vampire book EVER (sorry Dracula) and most definitely my favorite Cabot book. As I've said before, I'm horribly biased about her, I generally always love her stuff despite some of the flaws. But honestly, there aren't much flaws in this book. The ending was maybe a bit chaotic but that's about the only bad thing I can find to say about it, and of course the standarad chick lit formula. Plus, I'm sure some of the history was flubbed as it generally tends to be in these things.
But other then those little qualms this book had everything I didn't realize I was craving from the vampire genre. One being: it made fun of the genre! Yes! It did! There were several jokes about it and even the main character hates the vampire trend and does NOT WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE. Thank you, Cabot, just thank you. Even better? The guy being a vampire is NOT SEEN AS HOT OR A PLUS. It is a problem between the girl and the guy. Yes, yes, yes. Also, it isn't written in stone that Meena will stay with the vampire! Just so many little things like these twists on the vampire cliches going on right now that make me love this book. Oh, and for those who have read the book and are wondering, I'm Team Alaric.
Basically this book was what I was waiting for when this resurgence of vampire popularity started. It had all the things I wanted in a vampire book for a change along with Cabot's signature snappy pace and hilarious dialogue. Now, as I said, the book is not completely perfect but for me, it came pretty darn close. Highly recomend this for all vampire fans.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, vampire fans, Meg Cabot fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five bats

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Book Review: The Dead Drop

TITLE: The Dead Drop
SERIES: Book 4 in the Gilda Joyce series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Allison
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: mystery, paranormal, drama
PREMISE: Gilda is off to Washington D.C. for an internship at the spy museum.
MY REVIEW: As always with Gilda this was great fun. As someone who used to live in D.C. (but haven't for years, I haven't even been to the spy museum which I believe opened after I moved) I loved the setting (and can tell you that the details and observations of people in the city are correct). Gilda was fun and wacky as always and it was great seeing her in my old stomping grounds. If you've picked up this series before you already know what you're getting.
Which brings me to my thing about this series. Is it going anywhere? Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy it and am looking forward to the next one (Allison is apparently writing a fifth, yay!) but it just seems to be random mystery one shots ala CSI that don't really go anywhere. On one hand, I have no real problem with that. On the other, it kind of makes me crave more from it. One thing I'd like to see is Gilda's school life. Wendy can't be her only friend, right? So I wouldn't mind if Allison took what is already a fun series and just...I don't know, upped it a notch. It doesn't have to be epic or anything, just maybe an ongoing story arc or something like that. More investigation into Gilda's powers, that sort of thing.
But that's not really a huge deal with me because the series is still very enjoyable and I still rec it to my hearts content.
WHO SHOULD READ: Harriet the Spy fans, those who've read the first book
MY RATING: Three and a half stars

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Finish that series (first series completed!)

For those wondering what the deal with this week was, the deal was that my internet was down since Wednesday. Some clown in the building had Charter and therefore there were issues and the Charter guy did something that screwed everything up for everyone on our floor so we were without phone and internet until today when our guy (who is NOT Charter) came and fixed everything. Just so you know, I kind of hate Charter right now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review: Life as we Knew it

TITLE: Life as We Knew It
PART IN SERIES: Book one in a trilogy
AUTHOR: Susan Beth Pfeffer
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Science fiction, drama
PREMISE: When a meteor knocks the moon forward it causes devastation across the planet effecting everyone...
MY REVIEW: Just a warning for the casual young adult reader: this book is not sappy/happy/typical YA. There is little to no romance (and what romance there is isn't neccessarily happy). This is about devastation that happens across the earth and how that effects one family...think a really extreme future version of The Diary of Anne Frank (minus her dying at the end).
One thing about this book is...that it's kind of scary how completely plausible the ideas Pfeffer comes up with are in this book. I completely bought this happening because scientists have mentioned the moon plays an important part in our system or whatnot and should something like this occur...well lets just say we'd be in deep trouble and I hope it never happens (and I'm exceedingly happy it didn't happen during the Bush administration like it occured in this book). The only thing I didn't get was the electricity part of it. I didn't really understand why the electricity was going in and out because I would think the moon wouldn't have much effect on that...but maybe I'm wrong or perhaps the author explains that in the rest of the trilogy.
Anyway, what I can say is that this is a really powerful book (and will definitely be one of those "make you grateful for what you have" type things) and is pretty well written. I found maybe some of it a bit extreme but all in all it was pretty good. Especially as from what I understand this was the author's first book at the time. I will definitely be picking up the next book The Dead and the Gone and the third book which is currently in hardback.
WHO SHOULD READ: science fiction fans, fans of survivalist stories
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five cans of soup

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So for those wondering, I'm now back from Colorado, and have finished three out of four of the books I brought so many reviews are coming up. Including one for the book I finally got my hands on while in Boulder, CO.: Discworld book one: The Color of Magic. I'm telling you, Boulder is like bookstore heaven. There's a huge Borders and Barnes and Noble. Then there's the Boulder bookstore which has a pretty awesome selection of art books and graphic novels as well as several used books and then there's little places of books here and there. It was wonderful. Oh, and the mountains were nice too ;)