Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Review: Prophecy of the Sisters

TITLE: Prophecy of the Sisters
Book 1 in the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy
AUTHOR: Michelle Zink
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, historical fiction
PREMISE: Lia's father dies starting changes in her family. She learns of a prophecy that has to do with her family and that she and her twin are destined to be adversaries in a dark battle for people's souls...
MY REVIEW: I'll say the stuff that didn't jive with me at first with this book. First, it's rather slow in the begining. While I was very intrigued by stuff that was going on, I didn't fall OMG in love with it like I did with Hex Hall and other books I've read this year. I'm still not totally OMG in love with this series to be honest. Oh, I like it well enough, and I'll definately be checking out the other books, but love? Not so much.
For starters, I didn't get the mixture of bible mythology/magic mythology in this one. It seemed like quite a stretch to me. For another, I would have liked more character developement on Lia's part and more stuff with her and James because I was rather confused about why she liked him so much. Okay, their families were close. What else? I got no real sense of who he was that made him such a big part of Lia's heart. It was sweet, don't get me wrong, I just felt these two characters (and other minor ones for that matter) needed more fleshing out.
Actually it all needed more more fleshing out because I was left with more questions then answers. Now I'm hoping that's because this is the first book and more about the world is going to be revealed in the next two books which is why I'm not complaining too loudly because as I said, I did enjoy it. I just kind of found myself wanting more from it? Still, it's a unique idea, the writing is well done, and I literally have no clue what is going to happen but I want to read on to find out what happens so really, it's a job well done aside from a few minor details.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gemma Doyle Trilogy fans, historical fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five petticoats

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Hex Hall

TITLE: Hex Hall
Book 1 in the Hex Hall series
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
CATEGORY: Young Adult
GENRE: fantasy
PREMISE: Sophie lands herself in trouble and is sent to Hecate aka Hex Hall a school for delinquent witches, warlocks, faeries, shifters, and even a vampire or two...
MY REVIEW: I start by saying I didn't have high expectations for this book. It sounded like a Harry Potter rip off and to be kind of is. Actually it's more like Harry Potter rolled together with Percy Jackson and Evernight. So yeah, original this book series really isn't.
However, I enjoyed it still. Most of it is because Sophie is an enjoyable narrator. Like the Percy Jackson books (incidently these books are from the same publisher: Disney Hyperion) her quirky sense of humor really carried the book and you find it hard not to like her despite maybe a few annoying traits. Then there's the fact that the author actually is a pretty decent writer. This is her first book and I have to say, despite some amatuerish quality (long description sequences for instance) she has definite potential. If this is her writing on the first book I can't wait to see what happens when she starts to develop her talent more.
Another part of it is that it wasn't full of all the YA cliches that have been present lately. No love triangle (so far, I really hope the author doesn't try to make one between her, Archer, and Cal), for once the girl isn't completely obsessed with a love interest. Yes, she has a crush on the hot bad boy but she freely admits it's mostly a crush and that eighty percent of it is that he's hot. She's not going around declaring that he's the only one for her and actually stands up to him! So nice to see for a change. In fact, her love life was a minor issue in this book that was actually mostly about her dealing with this world, prejudice, and family secrets. Also, her friend was actually a lesbian which considering this was from Disney publishing really surprised me (in a good way) and no she wasn't stereotyped to death and she actually did comment on finding girls attractive. There were also one or two twists I actually didn't see coming.
So okay, this series isn't the most unique idea in the world. But it makes up for it for trying to avoid the cliches that come with those ideas and just being plain enjoyable. I was kind of grinning throughout this whole book; it's that fun. I can't wait for Demonglass, the second book in the series which comes out next year.
WHO SHOULD READ: Percy Jackson fans, Harry Potter fans, Sabrina the Teenage Witch fans, you like books about witches
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: Dead in the Family

TITLE: Dead in the Family
Book 10 in the Sookie Stackhouse series
AUTHOR: Charlaine Harris
GENRE: urban fantasy, vampires, werewolves, faeries
PREMISE: Sookie's life is still crazy but on the brightside she has a somewhate steady relationship with Eric now. Though that may change when Eric's maker arrives...
MY REVIEW: A lot of people have complained that this book is boring. I do concede that it's not the most exciting of the Sookie books but I've been noticing something that I think has escaped readers notice: these books happen in threes. Having breezed through all the books this year I've noticed that Harris likes to have a slightly calmer book, then a more exciting book, and then a super exciting book with things happening right and left, and then we'll get back to the calmer book. Book 10 is one of those calmer books and I personally appreciate it I mean a lot stuff went down in the last book. To have even MORE stuff go down in this one would be exhausting.
The thing about Book 10 is that it's mostly character focused. This book gives us more details on backgrounds of vampire governing (it's...odd...), some slightly more character reveal about Eric when his maker arrives, and even some focus on how Sookie herself has changed which I found interesting. Because when you look back to Sookie from book 1, she's changed quite a bit from that naive girl who first started to date Bill and I appreciate that Harris doesn't try and say all the changes are good and try to put Sookie on a pedestal. She doesn't. Sookie is quite aware that the person she's changed into isn't maybe all that great and does wrestle with that part of herself. It's nice to see character growth for a change.
Things I loved in this book: more Claude! I can't help it, I find Claude hilarious. Weaving of history into vampire history. I love how Harris does this in these books, it's fun for a history buff such as myself. Sookie becoming more fierce. How awesome was it when she told Eric to basically put on his big boy panties and deal with it? I think Pam is rubbing off on her and I so approve. More Pam. These books need more Pam. In fact, I'd love if Harris did a spin off series focused on just Pam. That would be awesome.
Some things I was not so crazy about: No Bubba? Eric's Maker was...icky. No other way to describe it. While I loved the weaving of the history with Alexei it was also just slightly icky. Yet again the cook at Merlotte's was up to something. I swear the cook at Merlotte's position is becoming this book's Defense Against the Dark Arts position a la Harry Potter. Perhaps one of Holly's Coven cursed the position? I'm just saying it's suspicious. Poor Jason gets another crazy person going after him. I swear that poor guy gives off crazy person pheromones or something...I'd feel sorry for him if he wasn't such a jerk.
So again, it's not the most exciting book of the series, but if my three book theory is correct, the next one will be more exciting and then the one after that will be absolutely crazy. Brace yourselves guys.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that read and liked the first nine books, True Blood fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five Merlotte Cooks

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (14)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people about what books we've gotten over the week. Just got my usual stash from the library this week:

Accidental Friends series Book 1: The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy-looked fun so I picked it up.

The Dark Divine Book 1 by Bree Despain.-Heard good things about this one so I picked it up.

Hex Hall Book 1 by Rachel Hawkins.-The one I'm most excited about reading this week.

Evernight series Book 3: Hourglass by Claudia Gray.-Second one I'm most excited about. One of my favorite vampire series going on right now, even if it's not the best out there...

So that's what I got this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

TV Weekly Recap

So now that fall tv is back in full swing and there's actually stuff to watch I'm going to start doing recaps/thoughts on the shows I've watched. If anyone wants to, please feel free to chime in with your own comments as I have no one at home to discuss this with ;sad face;.

Dancing with the Stars: ah, my guilty pleasure. I half to admit, I was expecting Bristol to be horrible (okay, I was hoping cause I'm not a Palin fan and I find her stance on abstanance rather hypocritical) but she wasn't bad. Not great, but not as bad as some of the others were. Not really surprised the Hoff was the first. People seem to think he has this large fan base and while he does in older generation, the older generation? Probably doesn't watch this show very much. And those who do probably liked other people better (my Mom is totally going for Jennifer Grey right now). I'm going to call it right now: I think it'll come down between Jennifer Grey and Brandy unless someting major happens in the next few weeks.
Castle: I'm a huge Castle fan (mostly due to my neverending love for Nathan Fillion whom I've liked ever since the awesomeness that was Firefly) so I'm very glad this show is back. Though I'm not surprised the arrest wasn't what we though, I kind of wish more had been done with it.Ah well, at least it's back and now we have more fun mysteries to solve. Plus the new Nikki Heat book out this week which I'll probably be reviewing soon as it gets on Kindle.
Glee: Ah Glee. I should hate you for getting Telephone stuck in my head all week but I'm to happy from the episode. My only tiff is that Sunshine won't be a recurring character. I think it would have done Rachel a world of good to have major competition and would have maybe caused some character growth. But the girl who plays her has a new CD out so she probably can't promote and do a show at the same time. Can't wait for the Britney Spears episode and I'm not even a huge Spears fan. Personally I bet they'll do a better job on the songs then Britney herself because these kids have much better singing voices (sorry Spears, but it's the truth).
Undercovers: One of the few new shows I've actually sat down and watched and I like the premise (although it's a bit silly). My only concern is that it may get old fast, particularly if they do a bad guy a week like in this ep. But considering it's J.J.Abrams...I doubt that will be the case. I bet we'll have one or two relatively calm episodes and then he'll do a massive mind blowing episode that will change everyone's thoughts about the show.
The Whole Truth: Slightly bland law show. Nothing new or original in this one though the chemistry between the girl and guy lawyer is great. It's just these law shows don't interest me much so I'll probably not be tuning in.
Project Runway: My other guilty pleasure. I will say this: I'm rooting for Mondo and Andy. Don't care about the third person. As long as those two get in the finale I'll be happy (and as long as the third person isn't horrible attitude Gretchen with her boring designs).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review: Captivate

TITLE: Captivate
Book 2 in the Need series
AUTHOR: Carrie Jones
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: faeries, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Zara and her friends are in the process of rounding up the faeries. However tides change when not just one but two faerie kings show up and one of them causes Zara to question what she knows about faeries.
MY REVIEW: Some of you may recall I read Need a few months ago and was pleased and found refreshing so I was excited to pick up the second. But as I started reading it was like all the freshness from the first one was flushed down the toilet and this series quickly became like every other YA faerie book out there. Zara is now completely wrapped up in Nick, Dev suddenly is able to WALK when I found him being in a wheelchair interesting and a nice change of pace, and oh look another love triangle is developing.
It's not that it's bad. I still found some things intriguing. I also like that the author tried to instill that lesson that just because some people in a group are bad, it didn't mean all the people in the group were. But it was just disappointing seeing a series that had promise quickly fall back into the mainstream you know?
So this one isn't as good as the first but it's still decent. I will be reading Entice the next book in the series to find out what happens. I'm just really disappointed that the author took the uniqueness of Need and basically got rid of it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Need, faerie book fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five iron forks

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: Magic Strikes

TITLE: Magic Strkes
Book 3 in the Kate Daniels series
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
GENRE: urban fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Kate is once more drawn into pack business by her partner Jim. This time the business leads them to a dangerous one on one underground cage match...
MY REVIEW: With each book I'm warming up more and more to this series. I still maintain that it isn't terribly original but the characters more then make up for the unoriginality of it and slightly lackluster writing. I must say of all the adult urban fantasy I've read so far (which isn't much mind you as I'm still very new to the genre) Kate is one of the better female leads I've seen. She kicks ass and takes names, yet there's a believable vulnerability to her and she has flaws. Plus, she doesn't sleep with every guy in sight which is a nice change of pace.
I also think her relationship with Curran is definately one of the most entertaining and well-developed ones that I've seen as well. As with the previous books, I pretty much loved every scene the two of them were in together even if I sometimes felt like shouting "have sex already!" because lets face it, it's all leading up that way anyway.
This is a excellent addition to the series, though I was pretty angry about what happened with Derek (one of my favorite characters in the series) but at least he's okay more or less. Plus, it looks like there's going to be Derek/Julie like I hoped so I'm happy about that at least. I reccomend this series still and can't wait to read the next one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read the first two books, urban fantasy fans, Kelley Armstrong fans, Patricia Briggs fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five shifters

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: The Inside Story

TITLE: The Inside Story
Book 8 in the Sisters Grimm series
AUTHOR: Michael Buckley
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy
PREMISE: The Grimm sisters are back along with their friend Puck chasing a villian through a storybook that tells all the tales of the EverAfters...
MY REVIEW: For those that have no clue what this series is, I'll sum it up as best I can. This series follows two girls, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm who after going to live with their grandmother discover they are descendants of the Grimm brothers and the tales in storybooks are actually real life tales. All the people, such as Puck, Snow White, etc. are actually real people and still living today trapped in a town known as Fairyport Landing (where their grandmother lives). As Grimms it's their job to keep them (known as the Ever Afters) safe and investigate when things go wrong which in this town, it usually does.
This series starts off as a really simple (yet kind of brilliant) idea but as it goes on the plots and ideas slowly start to get more complicated. I will say the writing isn't the best and pacing could be better but these books are so much dang fun you don't care. I dare you to crack open one of these and not grin at the thought of Rip Van Winkle driving a taxi, or the fact that the Three Pigs are in construction (no, seriously), or my personal favorite: Snow White not only ditching her prince but starting a Kung Fu group for women called the Bad Apples. I'm telling you this series is comedy GOLD.
Could it be better? Yes, possibly. But I don't care. I enjoy this series and where the author is taking it. Even better is he goes by the BOOK VERSIONS of these tales not the better known movie versions of them. Oz in this book goes by the book, therefore silver slippers instead of ruby ones, Glinda is not from the North, and so on. I really appreciate this fact because very rarely do kids these days actually read the book versions so I'm hoping this book inspires them to read them instead of merely watching them. The Inside Story isn't the best of the Grimm series but I will say it's a good continuation and I'm still eager to read the next book whenever that comes out.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read the first seven Sisters Grimm books, fairytale fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five munchkins from Oz

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: Wintersmith

TITLE: Wintersmith
Book 3 in the Tiffany Aching series which is part of Discworld
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: parody, fantasy
PREMISE: Tiffany and the Wee Free Men are back. Now they have to deal with the Wintersmith, a winter spirit who has his sights set on Tiffany, thinking she's the summer spirit...
MY REVIEW: The Tiffany Aching books were my first introduction into Terry Pratchett's Discworld and even after trying out the other Discworld books, they remain my favorites. I love Tiffany and her no nonsense style and I love, love, LOVE the Wee Free Men. Possibly they are the coolest sidekicks ever.
I also like that with each of these books, Tiffany is growing up but the books never lose that humor that is the trademark of Discworld. There is actual romance in here but it's never the sappy kind and the characters still remain themselves. I personally really like Roland and Tiffany's growing relationship. I look forward to seeing what Pratchett does with it in the future.
If you've read these books before, then you already know that these are some crazy books sometimes and occasionally they make no sense. But they are nevertheless hilarious and enjoyable. I can't wait for the next Tiffany book, Shall Wear Midnight which comes out later this year.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Discworld, if you've read the first two Tiffany books
MY RATING: Four out of Five wee free men

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review: Elsewhere

TITLE: Elsewhere
AUTHOR: Gabrielle Zevin
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: drama
PREMISE: Liz wakes up to discover she died. Now she needs to adjust to a new life in the Elsewhere...
MY REVIEW: I found the concept of this novel fascinating. It's definately a unique take on what happens after you die. If you're a devout Christian who believes in the heaven/hell scenario you may not be on board with the ideas presented in this book. That's okay, it's not for everyone. But I personally liked the unique idea.
However, the unique idea was bogged down by the romance/drama that apparently everyone thinks needs to be in a YA book. I felt this book would have been stronger without these things in it. But because it's YA and everything, there you go.
But that's my only major complaint. For the most part I enjoyed this book. I found the ideas presented interesting, I liked seeing Liz go through character growth and seeing her new life progress and the writing was pretty good as well (despite the ever awkward present tense). This is one of those rare YA novels that make you think about life and how we live it and on a completely random note: how cute were those dogs? Though as a cat person, I kept wondering where all the cats were...But all in all this is a solid book.
WHO SHOULD READ:...not sure really, if you think it's something you'll like I guess...
MY RATING: Four out of Five snowglobes

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In My Mailbox (13)

This is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren which tells people about what books we recieved over the week.

From the Library:
Kate Daniels Book 3: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews.
Sisters Grimm series Book 8: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley.-My library finally had this one. After the major cliffhanger in book seven, I can't wait to find out what happens.
Sookie Stackhouse Book 10: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris.-Can believe Sookie has ten books out? Eleven if you count the short story collection. If Harris is to be believed, that means there's only like four books left. ;insert sad face;
Need series Book 2: Captivate by Carrie Jones

That's all I got this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Book Review: Midnight for Charlie Bone

TITLE: Midnight for Charlie Bone
Book 1 in the Children of the Red King series
AUTHOR: Jenny Nimmo
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Charlie discovers he has a magic gift and is sent to a magic school...
MY REVIEW: If the first thing that pops into your head is that this book sounds like it's a Harry Potter're pretty much on the money. Unfortunately, unlike other so-called Harry Potter rip-offs (see Percy Jackson series) this one isn't very good. Now to be fair, I'm not the target audience. I'm pretty sure this series is intended for the younger kids of Harry Potter starting to read on their own. Now for them, this may be a passable book. But for everyone else? This book is dull, dull, DULL.
It all sounds exciting in the summary but the book itself is just flat. The characters are flat. The writing is flat. The plot...I don't even GET what the plot is supposed to be. It drags. It's just all together dull. Reading it became tedious and plus stuff didn't make any sense, it felt like the author was practically making it up as she went.
So I'm sorry to say, this series is kind of a dud. If you have younger kids then maybe check it out from the library for them but otherwise? I wouldn't bother.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger kids (who haven't read Harry Potter yet)
MY RATING: Two out of Five orange cats

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: Bloodfever

TITLE: Bloodfever
Book 2 in the Fever/Mackayla Lane series
AUTHOR: Karen Marie Moning
GENRE: Urban fantsy, faeries, mystery
PREMISE: Mac's life is still in chaos even after the setback to the Lord Master. New problems are popping up and she STILL doesn't know if she can trust Barrons...or anyone for that matter...
MY REVIEW: I still have issues with some of the things in this series but like Sookie Stackhouse it's addicting enough that I find myself not caring. I can't help it, I'm really curious to see how all this plays out. I'm DYING to know what Barrons' deal is because I literally have no idea and will not be satisfied till I find out.
So again, like the first book, there are issues in it. It jumps around quite a bit, sometimes I'm not clear one what's going on, it's also...a little harlequin romance/bodice ripper-ish at times. But there's something about it that makes me not care and want to continue reading despite the flaws. So I still reccomend urban fantasy fans to at least check it out from the library if they're interested. Others may not be as interested.
WHO SHOULD READ: urban fantasy fans, faerie fans, True Blood fans (it's more similar to the show then the Sookie books if that makes sense...)
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five tattoos

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review: Glass Houses

TITLE: Glass Houses
Book 1 in the Morganville Vampires series
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Claire has had enough of her dorm situation and decides to move out. Moving out however not only gives her new wierd roommates but makes her realize there's more to her college and Morganville then she realized...
MY REVIEW: The way to enjoy this series is to basically suspend a lot of disbelief. Because if you think to hard about this...a LOT of plotholes pop up. Which is kind of why I can't really give it a full four stars despite the fact that I liked it. Because there were a LOT of plotholes. The writing was also weak, and I sort of felt the whole girls ganging up to harrass Claire because of one minor embarressment was frankly over the top. Plus Claire was a little Mary Sueish for me.
But it was intriguing still. I liked that for once vampires were the enemy, not a love interest. Claire wasn't falling for one, she was falling for a normal guy. That whole aspect of the books was interesting (though again, many plotholes popped up from it too...). I also loved the humor part of the books. I liked the roommate banter (love Eve and Shane), and that though Claire is Sueish, she at least stood up for herself and didn't just let people walk over her.
So yeah, this series isn't perfect. But it isn't crappy either. I liked it well enough that I'll be continuing it because of the major cliffhanger and I'm curious to see where Caine takes it all.
WHO SHOULD READ: vampire fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five protection bracelets

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: Blood Promise

TITLE: Blood Promise
Book 4 in the Vampire Academy series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Rose has split off from the academy in order to find Dimitri, now a Strigoi, and kill him. But as always, things don't go according to plan for Rose...
MY REVIEW: Before I start my annual gushing with these books (I can't help it, I love them) I will say one thing that kind of gets on my nerves about this series: Mead's constant summarizing. I don't need a rehash of every situation in this book, Mead. I love your books and it's very well explained so I really actually don't need you to remind me every book what the difference between Moroi and Strigoi and Dhamphirs are, what the political climate is like, who the queen is and so on. Trust me, I remember because this is one of my favorite book series going on right now. I know teenagers nowadays have the attention spans of knats sometimes but chances are, many of them remember too so could we cool it with the summarizing and recaps please?
Other then that teeny peev, this one totally lived up to Shadow Kiss. We got to see more of what the world was like outside of the academy, we got to meet new characters (even find out who Rose's dad is! I'm not going to give it away for those who haven't read this yet), and due to Rose's link with Lissa we got to see her side of things too and lets just say...Lissa kind of gets screwed with in this book. Granted some of it was her fault as well, but really she gets jerked around and her character kind of starts to take a turn back too. I mean in Shadow Kiss it was like she grew leaps and bounds (I loved her in Shadow Kiss) and then suddenly we're back to Lissa from book 1/2. Boo. Though that could possibly be because of what was going on with her. Don't know for sure. Will have see what happens with her character in Spirit Bound.
All in all, an excellent continuation of this series. Mead does not disappoint (aside from the annoying summarizing). This story is growing more complicated by the minute and I can't wait to see what happens next!
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who have read the first three books, Twilight fans, House of Night fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five of Abe's wacky scarves

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (12)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we got or recieved over the week. I went a little crazy at Borders this week as it was the first time I'd been at a bookstore in a month and a half(and they were having a sale paranormal books) and I went to the library so I have quite a few books this week. Links go to the book's amazon webpage if you want more info on it:

From the library:
Mackayla Lane series book 2: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
Children of the Red King series Book 1: Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo.-I've heard next to nothing about this series yet it's been marketed in bookstores like whoa. So I'd thought I'd check it out.
Discworld: Tiffany Aching Book 3-Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett.-There's a new Tiffany Aching book coming out in October guys! Just in case you all don't know.

From Bookstore:
Mercy Thompson Book 1: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs.-I'm finally giving Briggs a shot since I've heard many good things about her work and finally figured out where to start and I've been digging these adult urban fantasy books I've been reading lately.
Parasol Protectorate series book 1: Soulless by Gail Carriger-another series I've been meaning to start and have heard good things about.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.-One I'm most excited about ;)
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.-awesome bargain book find.
Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy Book 1 by Michelle Zink.-Heard many good things about this one. Can't wait to read.
I don't really have a link for them but I also managed to snag a Mockingjay bookmark and a Glee bookmark (that had Sue on it ;)) that I'm very happy about. Yes, I'm Gleek. Between Glee and Castle (my two favorite shows right now) premiering, the week of the twentieth can't come soon enough.
Anyway, that's all I got this week, what did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon (and brief talk of 9/11)

TITLE: How to Train Your Dragon
Book 1 in the How to series
AUTHOR: Cressida Cowell
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Hiccup is the useless son of the village chief. In order to prove himself, he must train a ferocious dragon...
MY REVIEW: First, I will address the question that probably will be the first asked: is the movie or book better? I feel really sacriledge by saying this, because I'm a book lover, but the movie...was kind of better. That doesn't mean this book is bad. It had it's good points to it. I for one kind of wish the movie had the friendship part between Fishlegs and Hiccup. But mostly the movie was stronger in story and ideas. However, for younger kids this book is great. But that's the thing: it's just for younger kids. Adults...really won't get much out of it like I did with the movie.
Now on to the book itself: I like the tone of the story. It's kind of cheeky/monty python style story telling. It's not at all historically accurate but the author isn't trying for that. She's trying for a fun fantasy that will appeal to kids and with this she definately succeeded. So if you have younger children they'll probably get a kick out of this.
But the issue is it isn't really readable outside the age market it's aiming for. For older kids (like possibly the Diary of Wimpy Kid) it'll probably seem childish and for everyone else much the same. That's fine though. Not every childrens book needs to appeal to everyone, it just sort of helps you know? So I'm really rather split on this book. Part of me feels it could have been a lot better, but I do also see that she's appealing to a younger market. It's good, but not great like the movie was. But I think the book and movie took very different approaches with it so really I guess it just depends on your taste.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger children just getting into fantasy
MY RATING: Three out of Five viking kids

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Now, onto a bit I want to talk about: today is the anniversary of 9/11. I want to take a moment to send a shout out to all the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy, my thoughts and best wishes are with you. I also would like to thank all the men and women who have or are currently serving in the US armed forces for all your service. I most definately appreciate the sacrifice you all are making and hope you all make it home safely, and for those home from the Iraq war a definate thank you for serving as well, I'm sure you're glad to be home. That's really about all I have to say about it to be honest. I'm not from New York so it didn't extremely effect me so I don't feel like I should be getting on a talk box about the subject. But I will take the time to thank the armed forces. I have several family members who were in the army at various points (grandfathers were both in WWII, Uncle was in Vietnam, and my cousin was briefly serving overseas, he thankfully made it back with no problem) so I know it can be hard on them and hope it works out for them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Magic Burns

TITLE: Magic Burns
Book 2 in the Kate Daniels series
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Kate is back and this time is responsible for a young girl while there are magic waves going on in the city. Then she learns of a plot to release demons into Atlanta...
MY REVIEW: The more I read this, the more I'm starting to like it despite the unoriginality of it. Kate is just fun. She's fun and spunky without being over the top. As with the last book, the highlights for me were any scene that she and Curran were in. Seriously, this is one of the best couples and they're not even together (yet)! Anytime they are near each other I just grin because I love watching them trade barbs and keep waiting for the UST to explode (but Andrews keeps teasing us...darn you Andrews; I mean that with love).
I also must say, Derek is becoming one of my favorites in this. How sweet was he with Julie? So much potential there, I kind of hope Julie shows up again just so we see awkward adolescent romance blossom (and it will also have a plus of making Kate and Curran interact more...just saying).
The mystery part of this wasn't terribly interesting, but other then that, it was a solid follow up. I look forward to reading more of it. Still rec this to all urban fantasy fans.
WHO SHOULD READ: those who read the first Kate Daniels book, urban fantasy fans, Kelley Armstrong fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Review: Ballad

TITLE: Ballad
Book 2 in the Gathering of Faerie series
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, faeries, romance
PREMISE: James and his friend Dee are still reeling from the consequences in Lament when a new faerie shows up as well as a new plot by the faerie queen...
MY REVIEW: While I liked Lament it was not my favorite. I think Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series is much better. But I wanted to read the next book in this because it was from the point of view of my favorite character in Lament: James. Having it in James's point of view made for much more enjoyable reading I must say. He's not as whiny as Dee and this had less of the lovey dovey romance then Lament did (I actually think this one was far better developed then Dee and Luke).
Speaking of Dee may I just say how much I wanted to smack her in this book? Don't get me wrong, I understood where she was coming from but that does not in any way excuse the way she treated James in this book. To top it off, when her guy turns out to be an ass, she's suddenly all "oh no, you're the one I love!"? I don't think so honey. One of my major complaints is that James never looked at her in face and told her to go to hell like I kept wishing he would.
From the looks of things, this is going to be the last book in this series. Ah well. It's just as well, I don't think I (or other readers) would really be interested after this. I mean, James gets over Dee and all and after this book I am not interested at all in what happens to her because I now detest her. Now if there were a book about Paul, James's roommate I wouldn't really complain...but I don't think it'll happen. So probably best to just leave it at this.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who have read Lament, faerie book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five worry stones

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: Shade

TITLE: Shade
Book 1 in the new Shade series
AUTHOR: Jeri Smith-Ready
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, romance
PREMISE: Aura is one of many who can now see ghosts. This doesn't really concern her though till her boyfriend dies, a new guy enters the picture, and things suddenly start happening to make her question her past and her gift...
MY REVIEW: I honestly had no clue what to expect from this series. I've never read the author's adult books before (though now I'm considering it), and I was actually just expecting a cheesy Mediator combined with Twilight rip off due to the rather poor summary the publisher gives us (really guys, you couldn't have written a better blurb than that?).
Thankfully this was a lot better then I was expecting. In fact I enjoyed it quite a bit and can't wait for the continuation of this series. One of the best things about this? REALISTIC TEENAGERS! Really! For a change the teens aren't stereotypes of what adults think (or rather wish) they were. Plus, they have personalities! I personally loved Aura even if she was a tad frustrating sometimes and Meghan is like one of the best book best friends ever. There was also some slightly heavy topics in it that the author didn't shy away from and quite a few twists that I wasn't expecting. Only complaint is the fact that I have to wait longer to find out what happens. Well...and the writing could have been a tad bit better (it was amatuerish and sometimes the book did drag).
But basically, the book was really good. I can't wait to see where the author takes this series and I plan on checking out her adult books now.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Cabot's Mediator series, paranormal romance fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five red ribbons

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: Magic Under Glass

TITLE: Magic Under Glass
Book 1 of apparently 2 planned
AUTHOR: Jaclyn Dolamore
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, faeries
PREMISE: Nimera is whisked from her life as a trouser girl and taken to be a singer for a rich man named Hollin. However when she gets to Hollin's place she discovers secrets and a dangerous plot that will involve war with the faeries.
MY REVIEW: If some of you are wondering where you've heard about this book before, it is the one that was involved in that whitewashing controversy a few months ago. Basically what happened is the character has dark skin but for the original cover Bloombury used a white girl and people went up in arms and I don't blame them because whitewashing is wrong. Unfortunately because of that a rather good book got lost in the shuffle because people basically decided they weren't going to buy it or anything else Bloomsbury published (or I think that was the decision...not sure how it was resolved actually...people kind of just stopped talking about it). Now I did not buy this one, I borrowed it from the library and as you can see this cover is not whitewashed so please no yelling at me for going against any boycott that may be in existance.
Now actual story review. I enjoyed this book. Granted there were a few flaws as there always are with an author's first book. Characters could have been developed more, and I wish more time was spent making the romance believable because it seemed to come out of nothing more then a few conversations. But luckily for the most part this book is good. It was an interesting premise for a change, kind of a magical version of Jane Eyre if you will.
I also found the writing to be very decent, aside from lack of developement. I could easily picture stuff, there was suspense built, idea was unique, and despite the abrupt ending (which I'm sure leads into the sequel planned), it was a good book. I look forward to whatever else this author has planned for readers, and hope for her sake that her future books don't get caught up in controversy.
WHO SHOULD READ: Jane Eyre fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five keys

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi over at The Story Siren telling people what new books we've received this week. The links provided go to the book's Amazon page if you want more info.

From the Library:
Kate Daniels Book 2: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. Yet another Urban I have gotten into. Mostly I'm reading this series to tide me over till the next Sookie Stackhouse though.
Morganville Vampires series Book 1: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine.-Have heard good things about this series. Plus after this and Blue Bloods I think I'm done with all the major vampire series books. One of my book goals this year has been to give each of them a try.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.-Loved movie (coming to dvd in October guys!) so I thought I'd take a look at the series that inspired it.
Books of Faerie: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater.-Lament wasn't my favorite of Stiefvaters (I much prefer her Wolves of Mercy Falls series), but I was lured to read the sequel because it promised to be more about my favorite character in Lament: James.

So that's all I got this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Book Review(s): Dance With a Vampire and Coffin Club

TITLE: Dance With a Vampire and The Coffin Club
Books 4 and 5 in the Vampire Kisses series
AUTHOR: Ellen Screiber
PUBLISHED: 2007/2008
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Vampires, romance
PREMISE: In the next two books of the Vampire Kisses series, Raven deals with a pint sized vampire interested in the blood of her brother and the Coffin Club which is going in directions for vampires that aren't maybe that great...
MY REVIEW: I still enjoy this series. Once again, I must say it's not the best out there. The writing is average, there's little character developement (though to her credit the author does try), and many of the events happening are random and slightly chaotic.
But I can't help it, I enjoy it. Mostly because the author is aware it's slightly absurd and has fun with that fact. She plays on the stereotype of the goth girl obsessed with vampires. Raven is also frankly hilarious. I love seeing what she'll think of next. It's fun watching her interact with other people (particularly seeing her go head to head with her nemesis). Plus, some of the ideas of the vampires are interesting and she draws interesting parallels between vampires and outcasts and why teens would relate to them.
If you have read the first three books in this series, you know what to expect. If you want a fun vampire romp that are quick reads, I rec these books to you. I definately look forward to see what hijinks Raven gets up to in the next few books.
WHO SHOULD READ: Younger vampire fans, Twilight fans (the younger ones), vampire fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five bats

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Releases

So there are lots of cool and interesting looking releases coming out this month. Here's my monthly list of ones I think you all may be interested in, ones that I'm interested in, or ones that look interesting period. If it has this next to it (!) that means I'm excited about it and you can probably expect a review sometime in the future.
Plain Kate by Erin Bow. Hardcover, released September 1rst (TODAY).
Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror by R.L.Stine (!, it's STINE? You expect me not be dorkishly happy he's still writing?)
The Presance: A Ghost Story by Eve Bunting. Paperback, released September 6th.
All Hallows Eve: 13 Stories by Vivian Vande Velde. Paperback, released September 6th.
Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie. Hardcover, released September 7th (!)
Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Hardcover, released September 7th.
Cloth Trilogy 1: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan. Hardcover, released September 7th.
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. Hardcover, released September 7th (!).
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike. Hardcover, released September 13th (!).
The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson. Paperback, released September 14th.
The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle. Hardcover, released September 14th.
Caster Chronicles Book 1: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl. Paperback version, Released September 14th (highly rec, I loved this book)
Zombies V.S. Unicorns by various authors. Hardcover, released September 21rst (!, I'm Team Unicorn BTW, have been ever since I read Rampant...)
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Twelth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer. Hardcover, released September 21rst.
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Paperback version, released September 21rst (!).
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. Hardcover, released September 21rst (!).
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon. Hardcover, released September 21rst (!).
Leland Sisters: Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle. Paperback, released September 28th.
Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner. Hardcover, released September 28th (!)
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harison. Hardcover, released September 28th (!, yes, this sounds like a self insert fanfic on Jane Austen's life, do I care? Not really, damn my OCDness concerning anything Jane Austen related...)
Fallen Book 1: Fallen by Lauren Kate. Paperback version, released September 28th (!)
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston. Hardcover, released September 30th.

Plus, much more but these are the ones I'm most interested in this month. How about you guys? Which books are you eagerly awaiting in September?