Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (31)

Once again, really late. Sorry. I had work and then I hit Borders right after because it's going out of business (;sniff;) and is having a HUGE sale. So I just got home today after being out since eight this morning. Anyway, moving on.
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we got this week. All the links in this post go to the book's amazon page if you want more info on them.

From Borders Closing sale:
Women of the Otherworld Book 3: Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong-On sale and my library doesn't have this one so here we are.
Mediator bindup 1: Shadowland and Ninth Key by Meg Cabot-Love this series, my old copies are really beat up so I'm replacing it with the new pretty covers.
The Parasol Proctectorate series Book 3: Blameless by Gail Carriger.-Love this series. Still need to read book 2 but this was on sale so...
Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones-It's Jones. Nuff said.
Delirium Book 1 by Lauren Oliver-Got it for a really good price and I've been wanting to read it anyway.
Tortall series: Tortall and Other Lands Short Story Collection by Tamora Pierce.-If you haven't read Tortall or Circle of Magic yet, do so. These books are awesome.

Checked out from the Library:
Bewitching Mysteries Book 4: No Rest for the Wiccan by Madelyn Alt-Trying to wrap this series up.
The Tiger's Curse Book 1 by Colleen Houck-Trying to keep up with the new books again ;)
The Agora Trilogy Book 1: The Midnight Charter by David Whitley-Looked interesting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Infinite Days

TITLE: Infinite Days
Book 1 in the Vampire Queen series
AUTHOR: Rebecca Maizel
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Lenah is a vampire who recently became human and is now trying to adjust to her new life, but her past is coming back to haunt her...
MY REVIEW: I'm not very sure how to rate this book to be honest so if this review seems a bit bi-polar, I apologize. On one hand, Lenah sometimes felt Mary-Sueish, I didn't care for the way all the girls were portrayed as catty (except of course for our MC), and that once again multiple love interests all in love with our main female and there was stereotyping. While it was nice to see a girl fall for a guy who wasn't a complete jerk for a change, I also didn't get what she saw in Justin and the relationship felt mostly physical but then they didn't go on about soulmates stuff so in the end that didn't matter (plus I'm positive that she still has a thing for Rhode).
BUT Lenah was also independant. It was nice seeing a girl take charge for once but also be vulnerable and she didn't completely irritate me. I loved the friendship she had with Tony (up until of course he absolutely had to have a thing for her and that DAMN ENDING ;grr; Tony was my favoirite...). It was nice having a character who didn't hate being human for a change! FINALLY, someone who enjoys life and all it has to offer! Also the author took into account that hey, this girl is used to a whole other century and writes her accordingly. There's also very little whining. Yay for the non-whiny heroines! More of them, please authors.
For the most part, this was a refreshing vampire book which I can't say very often so I applaud the author. I'm definitely interested in seeing where she takes this because it seems like a promising start. I just hope in the future the author develops characters and the romance a little better and focuses less on melodrama.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, Vampire Diaries fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five tattoos

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Leviathan

TITLE: Leviathan
Book 1 in the Leviathan series
AUTHOR: Scott Westerfield
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Steampunk, adventure, science fiction, historical fiction
PREMISE: In an alternate world during World War II, a young prince very nearly escapes being assasinated while a girl disguises herself as a boy in order to be a soldier...
MY REVIEW: Okay, first off issues: Westerfield's writing is super fast paced and as a result some of his characters are a tad two-dimensional. Plus he has a habit of telling, not showing in his writing. But honestly, I didn't really care much about that because I got swept up in this awesome world he created.
Leviathan takes place in an alternate history where Darwin took evolution a tad bit further, and the result is a vastly different world at the time World War I starts. I loved the idea of this world that Westerfield created. It was creative, interesting, and thought provoking. I could easily picture all of this in my head (the fabulous illustrations probably helped a lot though) and even the plot was interesting. It revolves around Alek and Deryn who are very different people in different circumstances that get brought together by a war. There is a lot of action in this so there's not really much focus on character developement (I hope maybe the next book will solve this issue) but that's not so bad because I did actually enjoy these characters, two-dimensionalisms aside. Deryn (or Dylan) was awesome. I know the female dressing up as a boy is a trope but it's a trope I love so I'm not going to complain to loudly. She's a nice change from all the swooning girls in YA right now, that's for sure.
This is not a perfect book by any means, but as far as this steampunk genre goes I think it's a solid addition. I'm honestly starting to really love this genre so you can expect a few steampunk book reviews in the future including the next book in this series, Behemoth (the third one, Goliath, comes out in October I believe) and the rest of the Parasol Proctorate series (fourth book comes out in June/July).
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of steampunk, strong female fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five mechanical contraptions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: How to Ditch Your Fairy

TITLE: How to Ditch Your Fairy
AUTHOR: Justine Larbalestier
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: faeries, urban fantasy
PREMISE: In New Avalon everyone has a personal fairy. Poor Charlie is stuck with a lame fairy and is determined to ditch it and get a new one.
MY REVIEW: I wanted to like this book. Really I did. The world building was sound (although some of the rules were...odd) and it was a very interesting idea. Plus, there were some pretty funny scenes. Sadly, the excution was sort of half hazard.
First off, Charlie is REALLY annoying. She's selfish, whiny, and frankly more of a brat then she claims her sister is. This would be fine if she got better but she doesn't. In fact, there seems to be no real lesson learned at all in this book. I mean if the lesson was to appreciate what you have that got lost because Charlie not only manages to lose what she wanted but she got something better so no real message is in this book. I'm honestly sort of lost about what the point of this book was in the first place. It just never really seemed to go anywhere.
So is it enjoyable? Maybe for younger teens/tweens but for everyone else it's kind of a waste of time.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger teens, tweens
MY RATING: Three out of Five fairys

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Deception

TITLE: Deception
Book 1 in the new Haunting Emma series
AUTHOR: Lee Nichols
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, mystery, romance
PREMISE: Emma's life is turned upside down when her parents disappear and she discovers she can see ghosts and everything she thought she knew about her family was a lie.
MY REVIEW: I must say I'm excited about this series. Finally, someone is doing good old fashioned ghosts. So rare nowadays, sadly as everyone is focused on vampires and werewolves and fairies and more recently angels. While this book is not without it's faults (Emma is slightly Sueish and whiny sometimes, writing is passable, usual YA tropes like love triangles, and some of the world rules were a little...odd to me) the good far outweighs the bad.
The best part is by far the mystery part. I honestly am stumped and have no clue where the author will take this. It's been a long while since that's happened and I always appreciate authors who manage to stump me so bravo Nichols. Plus I actually kind of enjoyed Emma, even if I sort of felt she whined and was a bit dim and I felt like the author kept piling stuff on her in order to make the reader sympathize her. As for the was okay. Honestly I felt it was the poorest part of the book, but I've read much worse in terms of romance so I'm not going to complain about it too loudly. Plus I don't think the author is going to make everything rosy between the couple so I'm reserving judgement till I see what she does with them.
All in all this was a promising start to a promising series. I look forward to reading more of this series which is coming sometime in April I believe.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of ghost stories, paranormal fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ghosts

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Hex Marks the Spot

TITLE: Hex Marks the Spot
Book 3 in the Bewitching Mystery series
AUTHOR: Madelyn Alt
GENRE: mystery, urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Once again murder happens and Maggie is on the case of who killed an amish wood carver.
MY REVIEW: This book is pretty much like the first two Bewitching Mysteries. There are no major developments, other then Maggie finally realizes Marcus and Felicity aren't an item (to which I say DUH). So now she's caught between Tom and Marcus. But the way this series is written it's fairly obvious she'll eventually go with Marcus. Which is fine because I find Tom patranizing and close-minded anyway.
My complaints about the previous books still stand: slightly bad prose, stereotypes up the wazoo, and I'm getting a little tired of the author bashing Christians. Look, I'm no fan of the church and religious types, believe me but you know what not all of them are close-minded bigots Alt.
So my opinion is the same as the other two books, hence short review.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two books, cozy mystery fans
MY RATING: three and a half out of five black cats

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review: Pegasus

TITLE: Pegasus
Book 1 in the Pegasus Trilogy
AUTHOR: Robin McKinley
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: In a magical land where pegasi and humans live together a young princess has an unusual bond with her pegasus.
MY REVIEW: This is yet another book that I'm terribly split over. Why has that been happening a lot lately? Anyway, as always with McKinley there's top notch world-building, good characterization (with non-whiny females!) and her books are always creative and free of the popular YA tropes nowadays. was slightly boring. About halfway through I started to get really bored with it and wanted McKinley to move on already because it felt like the book was dragging and dragging and honestly even the ending was slightly lackluster and anti-climatic because you sort of saw it coming. Perhaps all the exciting stuff comes in the second book? I don't know.
It is an interesting idea, I'll give her that, I just felt it dragged and went on for too long. Hopefully she'll work on that in the second book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Robin McKinley fans, those looking for fantasy books with no romance
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five pegasi

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Mailblox (30)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people about what books we got over the week. All the links in this post go to the book's Amazon page if you want more info.

Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver-Free short story that is a prequel to the new book The Demon Trapper's Daughter, out now in paperback.

The Iron Fey Book 3: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.-FINALLY got my hands on a copy. Can't wait to find out what happens next.
Demon Trapper Book 1: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver.-For the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.

From Library:
Bewitching Mysteries Book 3: Hex Marks the Spot by Madelyn Alt-Trying to finish this series up.
Trash and Treasures Mystery series Book 1: Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allan-cozy myster that looked interesting
The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman-Part of my quest to keep up on new reads.
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier-Looked cute even though I wasn't crazy about this author's attitude in Zombies VS Unicorns.
Leviathan Book 1 by Scot Westerfield-It's Westerfield. Nuff said.

That's it for this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: Reckless

TITLE: Reckless
Book 1 in the new Reckless Trilogy
AUTHOR: Cornelia Funke
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Jacob travels across a magical dangerous land to save his brother's life.
MY REVIEW: For those who haven't read Funke before who picked this up and were turned off I just want to say: please don't judge Funke by this book alone. She is normally ten times better then this. I honestly don't know what happened here. If you don't believe me, check out Thief Lord or Inkheart. I swear she's normally really good.
Which is why I'm puzzled by this book. It's not horrible persay. It does have Funke's trademark imagination overload that I love, and nonstop action but it lacked that certain something that made me addicted to the books I mentioned above. I think part of the trouble is she just jumps right into the story with little to no background so I found it hard to care about the characters and was pretty much confused throughout most of it. Now I think she's maybe going to explain more in the next two books but honestly, this did not help her story.
So I don't know. Maybe this was just a weak first book that's leading up to a better trilogy? I'll reserve judgement until I read the second book that comes out later this year, I believe. Honestly while it's a decent childrens read by other author's standards, I just expected much more from Funke.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, younger teens
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five swords

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: See What I See

TITLE: See What I See
AUTHOR: Gloria Whelan
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: drama
PREMISE: A girl goes to live with her reclusive father in order to go to art school.
MY REVIEW: This review is going to be very short because I honestly don't have much to say about this book. It was short and sweet and went by quickly (I finished it in under two hours). Mostly it was melodrama so if you like the Lifetime Movie channel sort of things then you'll probably like this book.
Honestly it just went by so quickly I didn't have much time to form any real attachment to the story or characters or writing. I guess I just wish it was longer because I felt like this could have been a much longer story and maybe then I would have had time to actually form an opinion on it other then: wow, that was quick.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of drama stories
MY RATING: Three out of Five art pieces

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book Review: Jane

AUTHOR: April Lindner
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: retelling, romance, drama
PREMISE: A modern day retelling of Jane Eyre with Rochester as a rockstar and Jane as the down on her luck girl hired to be his daughter's nanny.
MY REVIEW: Okay, before I go into my ranting stage I will say this book wasn't horrible. The author writes well (mostly) and has definite potential. There were some very cute scenes and ultimately this is a nice quick fluffy read in case you don't feel like tackling Jane Eyre. Plus, it makes you want to read the book and it does follow Jane Eyre so there was good effort here. For those who haven't read Eyre, this will be a cute book that will maybe be a good lead in for it.
However, the author missed the mark completely on character. She cut the first part of the story that deals with how Jane grew up and basically skipped to when she gets hired for Rochester (I'm sorry, Rathburn). Look, I know girls like to skip to the romance but that first part is necessary because it is what develops Jane's character, makes you root for her, and makes you want her to find love. In this, she's already developed (sort of) and is kind of a whiny pale imitation of Jane to be honest. The modern day Rochester also paled in comparison to the original and seemed like a watered down version of himself. I almost didn't want them to get together and was happy when Jane left! Not a good sign.
It was a nice effort and I appreciate the sentimate behind it. But ultimately Jane is a watered down version of the original book and I'd honestly only read it if you haven't read Jane Eyre yet.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger teens, those that haven't read Jane Eyre
MY RATING: Three out of Five

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

Again with the lateness, sorry. This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. All the links in the post go to the book's amazon page if you want more info.

Percy Jackson Book 5: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan.-FINALLY out in paperback so I can get a set that's finished and all the same (I'm extremely picky about this). After this it's Lost Hero and then I'm all caught up on Riordan!

From the Library:
Reckless Book 1 by Cornelia Funke.-If you haven't read Inkheart or Thief Lord do so.
Pegasus Trilogy Book 1 by Robin McKinley.-It's McKinley. Nuff said.
See What I See by Gloria Whelan.-Released in January and about a daughter connecting with her estranged father.

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: Poison Study

TITLE: Poison Study
Book 1 in the Study Trilogy
AUTHOR: Maria V. Snyder
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure, romance
PREMISE: Yelena has been sentanced to death for killing her abuser. She is given a choice: become the commander's food taster and live a short while or die.
MY REVIEW: I know a lot of people like this series so I apologize in advance: I did not like it. I concede that the world building is sound and Yelena is at least a better role model then some of our so-called heroines out there, and there is at least somewhat of a plot going on. However, that's not enough for me to call this a good book.
First off, the writing is flat and amatuerish. The author tells and doesn't show and literally spells everything out for the reader as if we haven't already figured stuff out on our own. Second, Yelena is a Mary Sue. Likeable Mary Sue maybe, but a Mary Sue nontheless. Once you figure out she's a Mary Sue it's fairly easy to see where this book is going. Because Mary Sue storys pretty much all boil down to giving their heroine everything she desires with very little effort. I suppose the author thought the betrayel and everyone out to kill her was effort enough or something, however, you know Yelena survives because there are two more books and the characters betrayal doesn't mean much because the person was given so little screen time with the MC to begin you wonder why it's such a big deal. Even the secondary characters lacked any personality whatsoever, this includes the love interest who frankly confuses me. Once he's a jerk, who practically abuses Yelena as much as the man she killed then suddenly oh, he's so wonderful and he starts trusting her seemingly overnight and then just as suddenly they're both madly in love. Really?
I think in theory this book was a good idea. The author was obviously trying to emulate Tamora Pierce. Unfortunately she lacks Pierce's original thought (NOTHING in this book was original, even the world building felt familiar) and good writing and not predictable plots. The author tried and maybe with a little more polishing she could be good. However, considering this book I'm not particularly interested in trying out her newer stuff like Spy Glass and whatnot.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, Tamora Pierce fans (with lower expectations)
MY RATING: Two out of Five poison bottles

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review: Unearthly

TITLE: Uneartly
Book 1 in the Unearthly Trilogy
AUTHOR: Cynthia Hand
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, angels, romance
PREMISE: Clara is a part guardian angel who is trying to find her charge and learn her purpose.
MY REVIEW: Okay, before I start things I just want to take a moment to gush about that cover. Internet pics don't do it justice, it's even prettier in person. This is possibly my favorite cover of the year and we haven't even gotten halfway through yet. Now book. This is the first book I read for the 2011 debut challenge and for a first book it's pretty good. However, I do think people are going a tad overboard with the praise for this book because there were a few issues.
One being that Clara could get really annoying sometimes, particularly when she was gushing over Christian. Seriously, I am tired of girls who wax poetic about guys. Just say he's hot and get it over with because that's what most girls nowadays do. Second issue was that this was not free of tropes and I sort of found the ending a bit predictable. Granted there were still one or two surprises and there were refreshing things in it like, Clara actually has a parent who's involved and actually cares about her family! She also isn't amazingly popular from day one or constantly picked on. Nor did she angst about how plain she was when it's clear she isn't plain. Plus, as always, the angel stuff was a little funky and probably didn't at all follow the mythology but I've pretty much given up any hope of a angel book actually following angel mythology period. If they followed mythology, the angels wouldn't fall in love and there'd be no romance and then they'd be less interesting to teens. Also, I would have liked for Clara to have a bit more of a defined personality because she seriously flip-floped all over the place. One minute she was fun and kind of bad-ass, the next she was angsty and super-girly and concerned with her love life. It was annoying because I couldn't figure out who she was as a person. But I'm chalking this up to the hectic time in her life and hoping in the next book Hand defines her character more.
But other then that, this is a very solid book and pretty impressive for a first book. It isn't perfect and not the mind blowing book everyone keeps saying it is. But it's definitely worth a look, especially if you're into this whole angel thing. Me, I'm still trying to figure out if I like the angel trend or not. I think I honestly still don't get it and can take them or leave them. But if more angel books wind up like this one (or the awesome looking Angelfire) then I may turn into a fan.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angel fans, fans of Hush Hush or Fallen
MY RATING: Four out of Five glowing angel wings

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: A Charmed Death

TITLE: A Charmed Death
Book 2 in the Bewitching Mysteries Series
AUTHOR: Madelyn Alt
GENRE: mystery, urban fantasy
PREMISE: When a local teen queen is murdered, Maggie once again finds herself drawn into a mystery.
MY REVIEW: I have a confession: I am a cozy mystery addict. I totally blame my parents for hooking me on shows like Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, and so on (don't judge, these are what CSI/Castle and so on were back in the day) because since then, I've been hopelessly addicted to mysteries. Mystery series in particular. So is it any wonder I've fallen into the cozy mystery genre? The Bewitching Mystery series is the quintessential cozy mystery series with added bonus of magic. So I like it despite it's slightly bad prose and cheesy writing.
There are a few tiffs as well. I am tired of Alt's constant stereotyping. It was only slightly bad in the books, but in this with the added high school element, it was magnified like whoa. Plus, much as I like her...Maggie is kind of dim for a sleuth. I mean it's pretty obvious at this point that Marcus and Felicity are NOT an item. I'm still trying to figure out where she got this dumb idea in the first place. I know naive heroines are a thing nowadays but come ON.
That along with a slightly rushed plot make this a cheesy book. But it's a fun cheesy book. To her credit Alt makes me enjoy it, I'm curious about some of the ongoing mysteries and I look forward to seeing when Maggie will get hit by the clue bus where Marcus is concerned. If you like your fun mindless mysteries with a dash of romantic subplot then this series is for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first book, cozy mystery fans, Murder She Wrote fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five scrying crystals

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: I Shall Wear Midnight

TITLE: I Shall Wear Midnight
Book 4 in the Tiffany Aching series that is part of Discworld
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure, parody
PREMISE: Things are changing in Tiffany's world. Now she must face a horrible danger that she unknowingly brought as a result of kissing Winter.
MY REVIEW: Okay, before I start my annual gushing cause I freaking LOVE these books. I will say that sometimes they feel rushed and it would be nice if there was maybe more character growth and the ending was a bit abrupt.
But other then that, this was Pratchett's usual best. Tiffany really comes into her own in this book. You can see how much she's grown up and learned (my character growth issues has more to do with minor characters, not main characters). This is actually a bit darker then the previous Tiffany books but it is still not without Pratchett's trademark humor and spot on social commentary. I love how he takes common tropes in fantasy and twists them around and pretty much laughs at them.
Possibly this is the last of the Tiffany books which makes me sad because she has been my favorite among the Discworld witches. But I also look forward to whatever Pratchett has in store for us. If he has anything because I know he's been fighting a disease recently. If you are a regular Discworld reader, you know what to expect from Pratchett. If you haven't read Discworld, I suggest you pick up Color of Magic or the first Tiffany book, The Wee Free Men. I promise, you won't be sorry.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Discworld, those that have read the first 3 Tiffany books
MY RATING: Four out of Five feegles

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January in Review

So January has come and gone (with lots and lots of snow). Here's what I accomplished, book wise in that month:

Read and reviewed:
The Devouring Book 1 by Simon Holt (liked it)
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (really enjoyed it)
Impossible by Nancy Werlin (heavily disliked it)
Northern Light by Jennifer Donnely (good, but didn't thrill me)
Sleepless by Cyn Balog (liked it)
Raven Duet Book 1: Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell (liked it)
Witch and Wizard Book 1 by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (just okay)
Wildwing by Emily Whitman (wasn't thrilled with it)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (really liked it)
Mercy Thompson Book 2: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (enjoyed it)
Blue Bloods Book 1 by Melissa De La Cruz (wasn't thrilled with it)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (LOVED it! Favorite of the month)
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog (just okay)

Read in January but hasn't been reviewed yet:
Discworld-Tiffany Aching Book 4: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (hint: I loved it)
Read in January but finished in February (and review pending):
Bewitching Mysteries Book 2: A Charmed Death by Madelyn Alt
Started in January but not finished:
Uneartly Trilogy Book 1 by Cynthia Hand
Study series Book 1: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Fallen Book 1 by Lauren Kate

Movies reviewed:
Chronicles of Narnia 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Total Number of Books: 14
Series started: 6
Adult books: 1
YA books: 13
Personal accomplishements: I have now read all the major vampire books. Which means I'm DONE WITH VAMPIRES! Except for the series that I actually like (such as Vampire Academy) and any new ones that may be started. But honestly, I'm done. Now it's off to explore this angel thing. Hush Hush has made me somewhat curious about it.