Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (33)

This 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.

Faeriewalker Book 1: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black-My Borders is somehow still open so I snagged this book from their closing sale. Books are now 40% off for those wondering.
The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones-Another from the sale. Again, it's Jones, nuff said.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.-2 of my favorite authors cowriting a book? Sign me up!
These are probably the last books I'm going to be buying for awhile because I've realized I have too many that I still need to finish (over 10) so it's time to buckle down and get them done.

From the library:
Hush Hush 2: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick-Surprisingly I enjoyed Hush Hush a bit. Not enough to actually buy the books but enough that I'm checking out the sequel.
Drought by Pam Bachorz-2011 dystopia that looks interesting.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Succubus Blues

TITLE: Succubus Blues
Book 1 in the Georgina Kincaid series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
GENRE: urban fantasy, angels, vampires, mystery, romance
PREMISE: Georgina is a succubus who lands herself in trouble when a local vamp gets murdered...
MY REVIEW: So I adore Vampire Academy and that led me to wanting to check out Mead's adult books. I will say this plot is rather simple compared to VA and wow, four guys into Georgina? Really? But despite some of the Mary Sueness of it I enjoyed this almost as much as VA.
A lot of it has to do with Mead's characters and writing. Her prose are nice and simple but her dialogue is fantastic. With just a few conversations you get a good feel for characters and how they intereact. Her characters are also hilarious. Like VA all of them are interesting in their own little ways. Her world building in this is also wierd though I did find the angels hanging out with demon thing a bit odd myself. I liked it, don't get me wrong because Carter is awesome but it was wierd. Georgina is just as awesome as Rose though maybe not as kick butt. She doesn't sit there and whine constantly she goes out and enjoys what she's given and does actually use her brain to get things done. But my favorites were hands down Peter and Cody. They were the highlight of this series for me.
I rec this series for anyone into the urban fantasy scene, and for all adults into Vampire Academy. Speaking of which, Bloodlines comes out in August you guys! It's apparently about Sydney and Jill. Can't wait!
WHO SHOULD READ: adult fans of Vampire Academy, fans of Women of the Otherworld, fans of Kate Daniels, fans of Mercy Thompson, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five whips

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Desires of the Dead

TITLE: Desires of the Dead
Book 2 in the Body Finder series
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, mystery
PREMISE: Violet is once again pushed into a mystery because of her gift.
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest I'm not as gung ho about this series as everyone else seems to be. I do like a lot of things about it, don't get me wrong and I enjoy it enough to check out future installments from the library. But I don't know it's just sort of lackluster somehow, I feel like the author doesn't bring it as much as she could. Part of the trouble is that Violet angsts about her gift WAY too much for my taste. I just wish she'd get over it and embrace her gift to become a badass detective or something. Second is the mysteries while interesting and creepy are also a tad predictable. I also really hope the author doesn't go for the obvious love triangle angle between Jay, Rafe, and Violet but she probably will because it wouldn't be YA without ONE love triangle. Sigh.
But the good far outweighs the bad in these books. Violet and Jay are possibly one of the most realistic romances in YA nowadays. I like that even though they are together now, not everything is perfect between them. I ADORE Chelsea and Violet's friends. They are hilarious and the perfect foil for Violet's angsting tendancies and how nice is it that she appreciates them and doesn't judge them? Same with Violet's family who supervize her and aren't made out to be villians when they try to actually ;gasp!; ACT like parents.
So perfect this series is not but I do see why people like it and I recomend it if you're in the mood for a sweet paranormal series. I also hope there's a third one coming out because I do think the developement with the FBI was kind of interesting so I hope the author takes that further.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read The Body Finder, paranormal mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five dead animals

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (32)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we got over the week. I've been absent for the last week or so, therefore I'm including books I got the previous weeks as well as this week. All the links in this go to the book's amazon page if you wish for more info, cover images can be seen on my goodreads sidebar widget.

Seven Kingdoms Book 2: Fire by Kristin Cashore-I really enjoyed Graceling so I can't wait to finally read this. I hear Bitterblue is slated for a release sometime later this year. Hope this is true.
Hex Hall Book 2: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins-So excited to read, however will have to wait till I get through the books I got at my Borders closing sale which will take awhile...

From the library:
Halo Book 1 by Alexandra Adornetto-Already finished, review is up. I pretty much hated it unfortunately. Dang pretty cover fooled me again.
Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist Book 1: The Devil Inside by Jenna Black-Part of my further foray into adult urban fantasy/paranormal reads. Looked good and if I like it I may end up trying her YA series.
The Body Finder Book 2: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting-Wasn't as nearly crazy about Body Finder as everyone else seemed to be but I still enjoyed it enough that I'm looking forward to reading this. Violet and Jay are such a cute couple.
Sphinx's Queen, sequel to Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner-Last one and then I'm done with these books! Now Friesner, Helen of Troy book 3? Pretty please?
Need Trilogy Book 3: Entice by Carrie Jones-Hopefully the third book will deliver cause I sort of found book 2 lacking.
Georgia Kincaid series Book 1: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead-another foray into adult urban fantasy and plus I love Vampire Academy so I figured I'd give this a shot.
Kitty Norville series book 1: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn-See above. I also believe this is another adult author who has recently come out with a YA book. Seems to be quite a thing nowadays to write both YA and adult.

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

Book Review: Halo

Book 1 in an apparently planned trilogy
AUTHOR: Alexandra Adornetto
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, romance, drama
PREMISE: a angel comes to earth on a mission and falls in love.
MY REVIEW: Warning, this review will probably be long and contain a)ranting, and maybe b)spoilers. If you don't mind this, read on. First off I wish to apologize to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Dark Divine authors because I said your books were the most disappointing of 2010. I totally take that back, THIS was not only disappointing, it was the worst book of 2010 (to my knowledge). Your books were awesome compared with this. So I apologize. My only defense is that I hadn't read this book at the time I made that list.
Now again, I try to be fair to books I heavily dislike and so I'm going to say the two (yes, only two) things I liked about this book. One is the GORGEOUS cover. Isn't it pretty? Kudos cover artist. Second, I did sort of like the beginning where the angels were trying to adjust to human life and being human. That was all right and made me think for a milisecond that this book may actually turn out all right. Boy was I wrong.
First off I'll talk about my main issue. This is what I call an agenda book. The author is obviously very christian and religious and it's clear she's using this book to express those views. Okay, fine. I have no problem with that. What I had a problem with was how it basically felt like she was judging everyone who didn't behave in a way the main character (aka Mary Sue aka herself) thought appropriate. For instance MC goes to a friend's house. Friend is having a wild party. She is suitably horrifed because OMG, friend lied! Oh and there's drinking, how horrible! Teenagers acting like teenagers! For shame! Then of course she drinks a punch that tastes funky, but still drinks it and what do you know after one cup she's drunk and of course love interest takes her home and she is humiliated even though it really wasn't that big of a deal, none of her friends even comment on it the next day (and all she did was act drowsy so she had no real reason to be so humiliated unlike a dormmate I had once who threw up in the hallway my freshman year of college). The book was just full of unsubtle moments like this where the author was basically using her character to say "THIS is how teenagers should behave!" I won't even go into the troubling religious aspects that are basically shoved in the readers face. you DO know not all your readers will be Christian, right? Oh, and I loved how there was practically no one in this book who practiced a different religion, no bisexuals/homosexuals/transgender etc., or different races either. Oh wait, no I didn't love that.
About halfway through I realized this was making my opinion biased so I tried to mostly base my rating on the story aspects of the book like writing, characters, and plot. Unfortunately that didn't help the author either because it was a very poorly written book. Prose were average ranging to bad and there were definite grammer mistakes and again we have a Meyer fan because random theosaurus words would be thrown in along with vivid flowery descriptions. Characters...UGH. All of them were two dimensional, including the only one I sort of liked (Molly). Bethany was pretty much a Mary Sue and not an intelligent one at that and I'd go as far as to say she's almost worse then Bella Swan. Xavier was more boring then Edward Cullen (yes, really), and don't get me started on Ivy and Gabriel and the frankly insulting portrayel of US teenagers in this book (author: most US teens know where the Middle East is cause oh yeah, we're fighting a WAR over there you know).
Then there's the plot. IT MADE NO SENSE. Or at least it tried to make sense but failed because the little things got in the way. For instance how exactly did these angels expect to help a town change when they pretty much refused to interact with people? Really? Call me crazy but that seems counterproductive to me and frankly I would not want any of these judgemental angels on my side. Then there's Bethany and her knowledge gap. Okay, I could understand at first that she wouldn't know much (except if she was watching over people for 17 years wouldn't she gain SOME knowledge?) but I would think after a month that if Bethany can figure out where the Middle East is then she can remember that there are 28 days in February. Plus, if she has this knowledge gap how is she acing all her classes? For that matter, how does she even know how to write if she apparently has such a large gap? Just lots of things like this that bugged that heck out of me and made it hard for me to take this book seriously at all. Not that I took it seriously to begin with.
Frankly, this book is bad. Now, I don't deny there is a market for this book (sadly). Tweens who adore Twilight and don't think too hard throughout it and don't mind being preached at will probably be okay with the book. For everyone else, this book is a waste of your time. Oh, and this is my last angel book I think. This genre just isn't for me I've decided. I'll be reading Hush Hush 2 and Fallen 2 as well as Angelfire but for the most part, I'm done with angels unless I find a book that looks really interesting in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger Twihards who don't mind being preached at
MY RATING: One out of Five feathers

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: My Soul to Take

TITLE: My Soul to Take
Book 1 in the Soul Screamers series
AUTHOR: Rachel Vincent
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Faeries, romance, mystery, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Kaylee starts screaming uncontrollably when she sees someone about to die. Then she learns that she is in fact, a sidhe...
MY REVIEW: Okay, first off issues: sometimes the book felt awful rushed. Especially where the romance between Nash and Kaylee was concerned (and that sometimes became too gooey for my taste). Plus some characters, particularly the character of Sophie felt two-dimensional but I'm hoping this is because the author is planning on developing those characters more in the later books of which there are currently four (and more forthcoming this year).
But for the most part, I dug this book. Kaylee was an okay MC. She felt a tad underdeveloped but she had brains for a change and cared about something other then her epic romance and she didn't know everything right away for a change. I liked that we learned about Sidhe as she did and I really liked this world that Vincent has created. It's interesting (particularly the part where reapers are concerned) and I feel like there's still so much more to learn and honestly can't wait. Oh, and frankly, I need more Tad backstory. NOW. I found him ten times more interesting then Nash and I'm pretty sure there's going to be a love triangle developing there which on one hand I'm tired of, but in this case I can sort of see it being an interesting one.
So this was definitely an interesting start to a very interesting looking series. Will be on the lookout for the rest of these for sure and I'm probably going to look into her adult books as well.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of faerie books
MY RATING: Four out of Five souls

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Only the Good Spy Young

TITLE: Only the Good Spy Young
Book 4 in the Gallagher Girls series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: adventure, mystery, romance
PREMISE: Cammie's world is rocked when someone she trusts turns out to be a double agent.
MY REVIEW: I've been having rotten luck with books lately (you may have noticed, sorry) so probably I'm being overenthusiatic about this book but I can't help it. I love the Gallagher Girls series. Ridiculous premise? Sure. But in the end, who cares? Cammie is such a refreshing heroine. She doesn't lose her head or personality over some guy. She doesn't whine constantly about her unfair life. She doesn't lust after a supernatural creature. She's smart, thinks for herself, loves being a spy (most of the time), and the guy she likes actually is human and NOT A JERK. Arrogant, sure, but he actually respects her which is a nice change of pace and he's just as interesting as Cammie is. Also her friends are awesome as is her mother who actually ;gasp; does some parenting!
If you've read Gallagher Girls before you know what to expect. This book takes what's already a great series and kicks it up a notch. Carter rocks Cammie's world and shakes things up in ways you don't expect (although I did sort of suspect that her dad may be alive) and then she leaves off with a brilliant (but evil) cliffhanger that will leave you begging for more. Or at least I can't wait till the next one.
Between this and Heist Society (Book 2 comes out soon!) Carter is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA authors. Actually, I'm digging most of these books that the Disney Hyperion group is publishing. They also publish the awesome Hex Hall series, Rick Riordan's books, and are coming out with a new angel series that looks interesting. All in all a great addition to the Gallagher Girls series and I can't wait till book 5.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first 3 Gallagher Girls books, Heist Society fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five spy gadgets

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: The Darkest Night

TITLE: The Darkest Night
Book 1 in the Lords of the Underworld series
AUTHOR: Gena Showalter
GENRE: Romance, fantasy
PREMISE: Maddox is a demon of the underworld who finds a woman in his forest.
MY REVIEW: This is the first Showalter book I've read and after this...I have a feeling it'll be the only Showalter book I'll read. Perhaps it was my own fault, I did go into this with slightly higher then normal expectations because everyone keeps raving about her books online and on blogs. Normally I try to not let this influence me cause this has burned me before (Twilight, House of Night, Anita Blake and so on) but I let my guard down because this just sounded cool and like something I would dig. Boy was I disappointed.
Now to be fair, these are romance books meant to entertain and I suppose in that category they're all right. Unfortunately that doesn't erase the poor characters and poor plot that is all basically and excuse for sex scenes. Plus the book is rather sexist. The female lead is pretty much useless (and personality free) and basically is completely reliant on the male though Showalter does try to disguise that a bit, unfortunately for her she fails. The males, while hot, are basically two-dimensional stereotypes that capture little interest. To her credit, Showalter did try and when there wasn't poor characterization and sexism going on I was vaguely interested for awhile.
If you just want a mindless romance with hot sex scenes that yes, this book is for you. However, if you want a little more out of your romance novels, I'd suggest going elsewhere. Women of the Otherworld or Kate Daniels for instance are much better then this.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that want mindless romance with sex scenes
MY RATING: Two out of Five stereotyped males

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Review: Sapphique

TITLE: Sapphique
Book 2 in the Incarceron series
AUTHOR: Catherine Fisher
PUBLISHED: 2010 (in the US, was released earlier in the UK)
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: steampunk, science fiction, adventure
PREMISE: Finn has escaped Incarceron but all is not well. His place in court is still undecided and he can't forget those he left behind in the prison...
MY REVIEW: I adored Incarceron and Sappique is just as good, even if I think there is definite room for a third book here, but this is apparently just a two book series. Bummer. Still Sapphique was awesome as well. If you've read Incarceron you already know what to expect so I won't bore you with details.
I liked the interesting direction Fisher took the sequel. I appreciated how she made everything not automatically all right once Finn was out and I dug all the court intrigue. Probably a lot of people tired of that but me I find courts and the way people manuever around them fascinating (probably why I'm such a fan of Wicked Lovely). There are a few surprises at the end but not as much as Incarceron but I won't give them away.
All in all if you loved the first book, you'll probably love the second just as much although some will probably have issues with the ending. Like I said, I wish there was another book coming but apparently not. But hey, maybe some time down the road? ;hint, hint, Fisher;
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Incarceron, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five small prisons

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: The Tiger's Curse

TITLE: The Tiger's Curse
Book 1 in The Tiger Saga
AUTHOR: Colleen Houck
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Kelsey gets a job taking care of a tiger who is actually a cursed prince.
MY REVIEW: I think I may have found the worst YA book of the year but the year is still young so I won't go that far quite yet. Now I try to be fair to books that I heavily dislike so I will say this: younger teens in the tween age who love Twilight will adore this book. I also give the author points for doing something other then angels, vampires, werewolves, or faeries. She did at least TRY to think outside the box. Unfortunately she apparently admires Meyer or something because she writes the exact same way (seriously, at one point I wondered if this was Meyer writing under a different name) and it's clear she too thinks research is overrated.
Also apparently overrated is character personality because none of her characters have any. They are two-dimensional cookie cutter characters that of course are beautiful and perfect in every way. Kelsey almost annoys me as much as Bella did but at least she isn't sexist towards her own gender. She's just yet another female lead that swoons over the hot male lead and doesn't really care about much else other then their romance. I really wish this trend would die already. Ren likewise has basically no personality other then "I am alpha male, hear me roar" or "see what a perfect gentlemanly romantic lead I am?".
Then there's the writing. There's info dump after info dump of stuff that really doesn't add much to the story and in some cases is totally inaccurate. Apparently no one told this author that India is evolving and slowly growing out of the caste system or trying too. It's also pretty obvious the author has never been to India in the first place, she's just writing what the average ignorant tourist thinks India is like. Also those prose...ouch. I almost want to take back every thing I've complained about with Meyer's writing. Almost.
Like I said, younger tweens into the Twilight like stuff may get a kick out of this. But to everyone else I say: avoid, avoid, avoid. Also I would like to point out: THIS ISN'T A SAGA. Saga=telling of a hero's journey/obstacles/heroics etc. This and Twilight are not sagas because do any of these characters go around saving the world/people/etc? NO. Greek myths? Saga. Percy Jackson? Could be considered a Saga but Riordan isn't that pretentious. This and Twilight? NOT A SAGA. Please get this through your heads future authors of America. Okay, mini rant over.
WHO SHOULD READY: possibly younger tweens into Twilight
MY RATING: One and a half out of Five tigers

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review: No Rest For the Wiccan

I apologize for not being active these last few days. I was sick and working a lot and frankly my books this past week were not that great so I've had very little enthusiasm for reading. But I'm almost done with those and hopefully the next ones I have are much better.

TITLE: No Rest For the Wiccan
Book 4 in the Bewitching Mysteries Series
AUTHOR: Madelyn Alt
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mystery, romance
PREMISE: Maggie deals with another mystery as well as ghosts in her sister's house.
MY REVIEW: I'm starting to get a little tired of this series. I'm tired of Maggie's family. Her mother is irritating (I applauded Maggie for finally telling her off in this book), her sister is even WORSE and sadly this book had more of both of them. I also wish the author would just solve the love triangle already. It's obvious Maggie isn't even really into Tom and that they aren't going to work out and that she'll end up with Marcus. So just dump Tom for good and get on with it.
Even the mysteries in this book were a little lackluster and obvious from the start. I hope the next installment is better because I'm seriously on the verge of giving up this series. About the only interesting thing that happened was the outing of N.I.G.H.T.s (thanks to before mentioned horrible sister) and in the ultimate witch cliche, Maggie got a black cat.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read the first 3 books, cozy mystery fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five black cats.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review: Fallen

TITLE: Fallen
Book 1 in the Fallen series
AUTHOR: Lauren Kate
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, romance, drama, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Luce gets sent to a detention center where she meets Daniel who she feels inexpicably in love with.
MY REVIEW: Ask people about Fallen and you'll likely get three reactions. First is the uberfangirl love. They think it's utterly amazing yadda yadda. Please ignore this. This book is far from amazing. The other two reactions will be utter hatred but with different reasons for the hatred. Most Twihards will tell you this is a Twilight rip-off and it doesn't compare to their beloved series, most anti-Twilighters will tell you it's a Twilight rip-off that's just as bad. Also please ignore this because it's biased and unfair on both parties. I do not deny it's sort of a Twilight rip-off, but it's no where near as horrible as that dreck.
Honestly this book is what I call mediocre cheese. I am ashamed to admit I found parts of it enjoyable. Mostly the side characters though. Luce was almost as annoying as Bella Swan with her obsession over Daniel. She is perhaps a tad more self aware so I could at least tolerate her but nevertheless she is a Mary Sue, as is Daniel. Seriously, why was I supposed to root for these two? I saw no reason whatsoever for their attraction. They meet and wham!we're in love. No, my enjoyment came from slightly funny lines, the awesomeness that were Gabbe and Arriane and Penn (I hate what the author did there), and that at the very least it wasn't a complete waste of my time because when the book didn't deal with the romance and melodrama there were some intriguing ideas going on in here (even though once again, angel stuff is all wrong). I liked the suspense part. Unlike Meyer, this author is competant and manages to invite interest and doesn't spoil her own endings with unsubtle forshadowing.
So here's my dilemma. I do think it is a mediocre book but I enjoyed it despite the mediocreness? If that makes sense. You know how there are Twihards that say they enjoy Twilight despite how bad it is? Well...I guess you could say this series will be my Twilight. Only I'm not going to defend it to the death because it is mediocre (particularly the writing, GOD those prose...). My advice is check this out from the library and make your own conclusions. Oh, and I actually think this book is Twilight combined with Vampire Diaries and mixed in with The Immortals series so the Twilight rip-off isn't particularly accurate.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans (who don't think it's the best book in the world), angel fans (with low expectations)
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five angel wings (that half star is for the pretty cover)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: The Big Crunch

TITLE: The Big Crunch
AUTHOR: Pete Hautman
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: realistic fiction, romance, drama
PREMISE: the contemporary telling of boy meets girl.
MY REVIEW: Once again, a book that I'm rather split on. On the other hand it was hilarious. I also appreciated the accurate portrayal of high school life along with NO VAMPIRES and that finally two teens who don't meet each other and go "he/she's my soul mate!" right away.
However, it dragged. Characters could have been more fleshed out. I also didn't get what the point of the story was. I mean okay, boy meets girl. Great. Why should I care?
It was cute and harmless but ultimately I found myself wishing the author did more with it. Lovers of rom-coms should dig this though.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger teens, fans of romantic comedys
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five moving vans