Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: The Traitor in the Tunnel

TITLE: The Traitor in the Tunnel
Book 3 in The Agency series
GENRE: Mystery, historical fiction, drama
PREMISE: Mary investigates thefts going on in Buckingham Palace only to find a much larger mystery then she thought.
MY PREMISE: I adore The Agency series. Yes, I give that the idea of female spies in Victorian England is silly. Do I give a damn? No. I also will admit that Mary, while enjoyable, is a bit of a Mary Sue. However she's a useful and proactive Mary Sue who gets things done so again, don't care.
Like all previous Agency books this one is just so enjoyable. Lee has nice smooth prose, she gets right into the mystery and doesn't waste our time dragging things out, Mary and James' relationship is entertaining as hell, and the mysteries are pretty solid. It's everything one could want in a historical mystery.
Now I don't know if this is the last book, but I hope not because I felt there were more ideas to explore especially given the ending of this third one. So I hope there's more, if not this is a decent end to a very satisfying series. Either way, I hope to see more of Y. S. Lee.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two books, historical fiction fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five maid outfits

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Books and a word about IMM

Okay so unless you all have been living under a rock, you've probably heard about all the drama over at The Story Siren. Everyone else has already pretty much weighed in on the topic so I'll spare you my thoughts on it, just know I don't approve of what she did at all. I'm still following her because she has useful info on upcoming books for me but I will not be participating in any of her memes/giveaways/debut author challenge anymore because I don't think what she did was right and I'm not very satisfied with the way she's handled it. But this is my choice and everyone is free to do what they want with the situation.
That said, I will be posting my books for the week here and and then looking around at the new IMM alternatives that are popping up to see which one I want to do because IMM has been very helpful to me and I like seeing everyone's books. If you, like me, are looking for any alternative IMMs Alexia from Alexia's Books and Such has a useful roundup of the new memes: Alexia's Books and Such: Looking for IMM Alternatives
Here are is my book haul for this week:

Downloaded to Kindle:
High Heels Mysteries Book 1: Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday-adult mystery series by the same author as the YA Deadly Cool series which I adore (if you haven't read Deadly Cool yet, do so, it's hilarious).

Library Haul:
Gilded Wings Book 1: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti-2012 debut I haven't heard much about but the premise sounds like it could be interesting. Also: hello gorgeous cover.
Raised by Wolves Book 2: Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes-I'll be forever puzzled about why this series isn't more popular. If you haven't read Raised by Wolves do so. It's much better then the more popular Nightshade series.
Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne-Debut mystery book thing from last year that I've been meaning to read.
Demon's Lexicon Trilogy Book 2: The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan-I finally read Demon's Lexicon last year and loved it. I've already read this one and loved it (review forthcoming). I can't wait to read book two and really can't wait for the new series she has coming out later this year as well as the co-written book Team Human.
Gods and Monsters Book 2: A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton-I was fairly mixed about Darkness Becomes Her which I've just read this year. I'm sort of hoping book 2 turns the series on its head and takes it from okay series to totally awesome series.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows-2012 debut that I've heard good things about. I hope it's as great as its gorgeous cover.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: Silence

TITLE: Silence
Book 3 in the Hush Hush series
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
GENRE: Angels, Urban fantasy, Romance
PREMISE: Nora wakes up with no memory of the past six months including no memories of Patch...
MY REVIEW: And like a balloon letting out air, there went all the progress that was made in the last book in terms of quality. What the heck, Fitzpatrick? You did so well last book! Now it's back to Nora being helpless and dependant on Patch. I'm seriously beginning to wish this series was written by another author who wasn't so hell bent on Patch/Nora being the Epic True Love Couple. Because I feel if another author wrote this, Nora wouldn't be with Patch. Or at least she wouldn't be getting back together with him.
Because frankly the Patch/Nora thing is the thing that hinders this series for me. I'm sorry I can't get behind this couple. Patch is controlling, he doesn't trust Nora or let her be independant, he doesn't tell her things that could help her in the long run, and frankly I'm still fuzzy about what it is that makes them such a great couple in the first place. Other things in this series I find interesting. I like the angel mythology (even if it makes very little sense), I like the action, I like Nora when she's not so obsessed over Patch, I adore Vee (who was SO in the right in this book, but naturally because she's against the epic True Love couple she's shown as a horrible being), while Fitzpatrick's prose could use a lot of work, they never got to the mind numbing annoying levels. In short, if it weren't for the troubling Patch/Nora relationship this would be at least a relatively decent guilty pleasure series. Unfortunately the author insists and insists on Patch/Nora and pretty much drags down not only her main character who has so much potential but the book itself.
Because I'm this far into the series I will be reading the final book if only to see where this is all leading (it better be good and not anti-climatic lameness like Breaking Dawn). I do also mildly enjoy this series despite how horribly cheesy and in the Patch/Nora case mildly disturbing it gets. But...the series isn't good. It's like those trashy bodice rippers that you read for kicks but are really ashamed that you read them but you can't stop reading them because they're so addictive. Not that you know, I've ever read bodice rippers or anything...;whistles innocently;
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, angel books fans, those that have read the first 2 books
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five leather jackets

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: Frost

TITLE: Frost
AUTHOR: Marianna Baer
GENRE: horror/suspense, mystery
PREMISE: Leena gets a unexpected roommate in her new year and tries to work through it. But Celeste keeps insisting that something is coming after her. Is it just paranoia or is something wrong with their dorm house?
MY REVIEW: The thing about Frost is I do think it's a good book. I just am not sure if it has much to offer lots of readers because large parts of it are honestly a bit dull. In fact, the dullness of it is really the only thing that hinders a otherwise intriguing first book.
This is one of those pshycological old-school kind of thrillers. You don't know if Leena is imagining the stuff in her head or if it's real and the author never tells you for sure really. While I appreciate the ambiguity it was slightly frustrating because in the end I wondered: what is the point of this story? Because I'm not really sure. I mean there was great creep factor and I appreciated the parallels between roommate struggles and all but the ending is just...unsatisfying.
I think this is one of those books that will just appeal to a certain group of readers, namely those that like psychological thrillers. To them, I totally recomend this. Everyone else, I would check it out of the library first.
WHO SHOULD READ: pshycological thriller fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five spooky dorm houses

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: The Vanishing Game

TITLE: The Vanishing Game
AUTHOR: Kate Kae Myers
GENRE: Mystery, Paranormal
PREMISE: A girl searches for clues that her brother left behind after his death.
MY REVIEW: The thing is this isn't a bad book. It's just not very interesting. I mean, I read it like a week ago and I barely remember anything about it now. That's how uninteresting it is.
If you like mysterys then this definitely fits the bill. But really, I don't really see much to say: go and read NOW. I really don't have that much to say about it really it's that dull and thus this review will be quite short. In fact, this is the end. Okay book for a library read and only if you really want too.
WHO SHOULD READ: Patient mystery fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five yawns

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Jessica Rules the Dark Side

TITLE: Jessica Rules the Dark Side
Book 2 in the Jessica series
AUTHOR: Beth Fantasky
GENRE: vampires, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Jessica learns how to be a ruler now that she is a royal vampire.
MY REVIEW: I think it's time I part ways with Beth Fantasky's books. They just are not for me. They're great for the younger crowd and those that like vampire romances but for me...they're just dull and predictable.
There's nothing completely wrong with this book. It's cute even. I did enjoy the snarky romance that Jessica's friend had. But really I just kept thinking throughout it: why is this neccessary? Because I didn't see why. It just reconfirmed how in love Jessica was. The court stuff was mildly fun to see but really I didn't see any real reason for a second book. Also again: predictable.
So really, I think this is mostly a case of book not really suiting my taste. For fans of the first Jessica book I suspect this will be lots of fun for them. For those of us that were just okay with that's kind of boring. So I'm sorry you guys, unless she comes up with a really cool sounding idea, I think I'm parting ways with Fantasky and letting her fans enjoy her instead.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that read Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (and loved it), vampire fans, Twilight fans, romance fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five stakes

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

TITLE: The Diviners
Book 1 in a apparently new series
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
GENRE: Historical fiction, paranormal, mystery
SUMMARY FROM PUBLISHER: Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

RELEASE DATE: September 18th

WHY I'M EAGER: I'm a huge Libba Bray fan and am up for pretty much anything she does. I'm especially excited that she's going back to historical fantasy/paranormal because the Gemma Doyle Trilogy is what made me fall in love with her stuff in the first place. While I like Going Bovine and Beauty Queens, I am no where near as fond of them as I am with Gemma Doyle so I'm uber excited for her returning to this genre. Plus: Thirties! Supernatural elements! Flappers! Mystery! Creepy museums! It's like Bray knows my soul. All I can say is bring it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Rivals

TITLE: The Rivals
Book 2 in the Mockingbirds series
AUTHOR: Daisy Whitney
GENRE: Contemporary, drama
PREMISE: Alex starts her role as leader of the Mockingbirds and is immediately given a difficult case involving cheating.
MY REVIEW: I read Mockingbirds about a month or so ago because I'm slow that way. I enjoyed it a lot despite the topicy-ness of it and was looking forward to the sequel. While I did enjoy this one a lot...I don't think it had the same appeal as Mockingbirds did? I'm not sure how to explain it. The quality was still there but I just wasn't as into it as the first one.
I think part of the problem is Martin. I was skeptical about him as a love interest in the first one and this book pretty much confirmed that I just don't like him as Alex's boyfriend. He's fine as a person and all but as a boyfriend I find him controlling and have issues with that. I especially hated him when he said this gem of a line: "Well don't make me act jealous!" What the hell? No one MAKES you act jealous. Girls, any boy tries this line on you, please please do not take it. I really can't believe that the author has Alex stay with him after this. That just...sends so many mixed messages to me I don't know where to begin. My only hope is that in the next book (from the way it ended I'm assuming there's a next one) Whitney addresses this problem in a more satisfying way. But I will point out bias on my part, because see I want Alex to end up with Jones.
Other then the Martin Issue this book still does what I liked about Mockingjay: talk about ethical issues to teens without talking down to them. Informing them but not telling them what to think. The twists at the end were nice and surprising and I am definitely going to read the next book if there is one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that read Mockingbirds, those that like topic books
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five jealous boyfriends

Book Review: The Future of Us

TITLE: The Future of Us
AUTHOR: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
GENRE: Drama, contemporary, Sci-Fi? Does this count as time-travel?
PREMISE: Two teens in 1996 log on to the internet for the first time and find Facebook, a site that shows them where their future selves are.
MY REVIEW: I will not lie, this premise sounded awesome to me and was mostly picked up for pure nostalgia on my part. See, I went to school in the nineties. These teens totally could have been me. I even had that AOL disk that took forever to load up. Seriously, you kids have it easy with your internet previously installed on the computer ;) We old folks had to WAIT for our internet. Till DSL came along anyway.
So yes, this book was pretty much pure nostalgia for me. I mean FRIENDS is mentioned. I wasn't even a huge Friends fan in the day and that made me smile. So for us old fogies this book can be kick. For actual teens...I don't know. You guys may not enjoy it very much. But then I'm not one of you so I can't say for sure...As a book I will say other then the nineties nostalgia it was rather...dull. I found the main characters irritating (especially whiny Emma), I was lost on the point of it all (HOW is the disk doing this? This is never explained and that is endlessly annoying to me), and really it just DRAGS. Also anti-climatic ending much?
I think this was one of those ideas that sounded better on paper then in actual reality. Which is wierd because I've read Jay Asher and he's good. I've also heard good things about Carolyn Mackler (I've been meaning to read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things for AGES) so I don't get how this got to be so dull and ultimately rather pointless. I guess some author collaborations aren't always a good thing.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of drama books, those that went to school in the nineties (MY PEOPLE!)
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five old AOL disks

Top Ten Tuesday (5): Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters.

Oh, now you've all done it. Do you know how hard it is to narrow down favorite characters for me? There is no way I can limit to just ten. But here are ten at the top of my head in no particular order.

1) Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling-Really all the characters from HP are fabulous in their own little ways (even the villains) but Luna stole my heart the first chapter she appeared and I've never lost that love for her.

2) Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan-How much do I adore Percy and hist snarky ways? I have no idea. I just know I love him a whole lot and while I do like Kane Chronicles and Lost Heroes, those characters are no where near as epic for me as Percy was.

3) Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-Everyone seems to have beef with Katniss in the HG fandom. While, I do understand why they may have issues with her (she is flawed after all), I personally adore Katniss. Her inner strength is amazing. I for one would not have been able to go through half the crap she went through in what, less then two years with the amount of strength she did. Yes, she had a few angsty moments in Mockingjay, but you know what? She kept going on and finished what she set out to do. To me, that's a damn strong person. Nothing but respect for Katniss.

4) Gandalf the Grey/White from Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien-Long before Dumbledore, Gandalf was rocking the long white beard and being generally badass. I judge all wizards by Gandalf's standards.

5) Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillup Pullman-Another character with amazing inner strength. and all around general badassery.

6) Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin-Anyone who reads this series or watches Games of Thrones knows how awesome Tyrion is. For those that don't Tyrion is a dwarf who doesn't let that limit him in any way and goes around snarking at people and pwning everyone and throwing around epic one-liners in court all with a smirk on his face. He's a fascinating character. But then all the characters in this series are interesting in their own ways even though all (including Tyrion) are deeply deeply flawed people.

7) Evie from the Paranormalcy Trilogy by Kierstan White-Evie is just one of those MCs I just love unconditionally. She's sassy, badass, and just plain fun. Were she real, we'd totally be best friends.

8) Cassel Sharpe from the Curse Breakers series by Holly Black-Cassel is just so interesting to me. He's flawed but generally a good guy who is caught up in a bad world therefore his life tends to suck a lot. Yet he keeps going and his snark, like Percys, is fabulous (are you getting yet that I love snarky characters?). I really do need to read the third book in this series...

9) Trisana Chandler from The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce-Well really all the characters in Pierce's two series are awesome, but Tris I especially adore. She's flawed but in awesome ways if that makes sense. I just love how much she's not afraid to be herself even if being herself doesn't earn her friends.

10) Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot-All of Cabot's characters are well defined but none moreso then Mia. PD was one of the first YA titles I read when I was younger and I still have a deep fondness for Mia. I especially love how Cabot slowly shows her developement over time but still keeps what's so fun about Mia. She can be petty, she can be whiny, she can be thoughtful, she can be insecure, she can be shallow, she can be loving, and insightful. In short she's a fully realized teenager still going through growth. Mia is a fully fleshed out character and I love how we get to see her grow up and change through her extremely amusing diaries.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Perception

TITLE: Perception Book 2 in the Clarity series
AUTHOR: Kim Harrington
GENRE: Paranormal, mystery
PREMISE: Clare gets wrapped up in a new case. Meanwhile her status at school has changed and her relationship with Gabriel as well...
MY REVIEW: Clarity was a out of no where book for me last year. I picked it up on whim in the library having heard very little about it and was surprised by not only how fun it was but by the fact that it was pretty solid too. So I was looking forward to Perception quite a bit and Harrington totally delivered.
One of the most engaging things about this series is Clare herself. She's an enjoyable protagonist for a change. I root for her, I get where she's coming from, and the author makes her real. She has interesting relationships that are believable and even better: she doesn't whine or angst. Sadly a heroine who doesn't do those things is hard to find in YA nowadays. Secondly I adore the side characters just as much as Clare herself. They are all interesting in their own ways, even the popular girls get some personality in here. Granted it's still a wee bit stereotyped but I did like how complex the author made the girl hierchy in school because really it's not as simple as much media likes to portray.
This book did what a second book is supposed to do. It moved characters forward, solved some issues from the first book but introduced new ones (and I STILL want Clare's dad to show up because I feel he's important somehow), and was just overall satisfying. Can't wait for the next book.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read Clarity, mystery fans, paranormal fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ghosts
PS: am I the only one NOT a fan of this new system? It is NOT LETTING ME DO INDENT AT ALL. WTF, blogger?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ditched Book Review: Embrace

TITLE: Embrace
Book 1 in a series
AUTHOR: Jessica Shirvington
GENRE: angels, urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: A girl finds out she's an angel.
WHY I DITCHED IT: Quite frankly, I ditched this because I could tell in about ten chapters how things were going to go down. And sure enough, I skipped to the last five chapters or so and nothing was a huge suprise. I am so TIRED of books like this.
It was just utterly unimaginative. There was nothing new that hasn't been done before in much better ways. And to top things off, the main character was a huge Mary Sue and an annoying one at that. There was a typical love triangle between the best friend and new comer bad boy. There was the typical ditzy best friend (who I felt got judged a lot by the main character/author). There was even the incompetant parent syndrome who when they actually tried to do any parenting gets yelled at by the main character. Yeah. No thanks.
Perhaps there is something compelling in between there in the books but judging from the chapters I read, it's not really worth my time.
WHO MAY LIKE IT: Twilight fans, Halo fans, fans with more patience for mediocre storylines then me

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

TITLE: Enshadowed
Book 2 in the Nevermore Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kelly Creagh
GENRE: horror/fantasy?, romance, paranormal
SUMMARY FROM PUBLISHER: While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.
But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.
Varen is changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

RELEASE DATE: August 28th

WHY I'M EAGER: I was a bit late in reading Nevermore (didn't get to it till last year) but oh boy did I love the hell out of that book. Anyone who has read it can tell you: the cliffhanger is evil yet totally brillaint. I for one can't wait to get my hands on the second.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (4): Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

My Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers

1) Be Honest in your reviews: If you don't like a book then you don't like a book. Believe me, I know it can suck not liking a book that everyone else loves but your readers will most likely appreciate you being honest with them instead of saying you loved a book that you actually hated.

2) Do memes. Memes like this one, Waiting on Wednesday, In My Mailbox can really help promote your blog and sometimes gain you followers.

3) Don't worry so much about numbers. Yes, followers are awesome. They give you promotion, help you find new books, and can become awesome internet friends. But stressing about whether you've gained a hundred followers or not or if you've gotten so many comments on a post just sort of takes the fun out of blogging to me.

4) Ignore the hype. Book hype is a way of life in the book world/book blogging but it can be a double-edged sword sometimes. Hype has found me some awesome books such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games but likewise it has led me to books I've outright detested. It is very random and strange what gets hyped sometimes so my best advice is to pay no attention to hype unless it's a book that does actually sound like something you want to read and even then, don't get too high of expectations because a lot of time hyped up books tend to get overrated.

5) Use Twitter. Twitter is another tool to help you get your blog out there. Plus you can interact more easily with your followers who are on there as well as get news from your favorite authors because a lot of awesome YA authors such as Holly Black or Maureen Johnson use Twitter a lot and you can get news about new books/movie deals whatnot from them. In many cases before everywhere else because Twitter tends get news faster.

6) Figure out what you want to use your blog for early on. Is it just a random review blog? Is it for YA only? A specific genre of books? Do you want to be a little blog or a big blog? Once you figure this out it can help you figure out how to proceed.

7) Use the library if you have access to one. Especially if it's a good one and especially if it has inter-library loaning available. Inter-library loaning is awesome because that lets you borrow from multiple libraries and you can pick up reserves at which ever locations are near you. My library has this and it's where I'm getting ninety percent of my books right now. True, you may have to wait a bit longer for new releases if there's a reserve list, but it is great for discovering other books.

8) Don't be afraid to try those books that not everyone has reviewed to death. Another flaw with hype is that it tends to overshadow a lot of books and thus many are missed because tons of books get published a month, it's impossible to hype them all. Some of these books that aren't reviewed much can sometimes turn out to be the most interesting. One of my favorites from last year: The Iron Thorn was one such book.

9) Comment on people's posts! I've been bad about this lately, I know (I'm sorry! I'm trying to get better!) but commenting on people's posts lets them know you genuinely read their stuff and may gain you followers as well.

10) Read books you want to read. I know that sometimes we can all feel pressure to read a book because well, everyone else is. While it is good to read books outside your comfort zone, if you don't want to read it in the first place then there's a good chance you won't like the book. Go with your instincts if you genuinely don't think the book will be for you then don't read it.

Book Review: Grave Witch

TITLE: Grave Witch
Book 1 in the Alex Craft series
AUTHOR: Kalayna Price
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mystery, paranormal, faeries,
PREMISE: paranormal PI Alex Craft gets involved in a complicated mystery.
MY REVIEW: I liked this book. It was a nice intro to the world of Alex Craft. It was entertaining, it set up conflicts for later books, and was just overall nice.
I just don't have much to say about it other then it's decent. It's pretty typical adult UF stuff: sassy female sleuth-check, love triangle to keep interest in the series going-check, mystery to solve-check, complicated family issues-check. There were tropes galore in this. Fun tropes yes, but tropes nonetheless.
If you are a fan of the adult urban fantasy genre though, I rec this. Just don't expect ground-breaking fiction.
WHO SHOULD READ: urban fantasy fans, Kelley Armstrong fans, Patricia Briggs fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five hot male detectives

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Legend

TITLE: Legend
Book 1 in the Legend series
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
GENRE: Dystopian, drama, adventure
PREMISE: June goes after notorious criminal Day after he kills her brother.
MY REVIEW: I liked Legend quite a bit. Granted, I don't think it's brillaint or anything. It's actually pretty typical YA dystopian du jour. It isn't groundbreaking fiction or something. But as far as entertainment goes? It was pretty good.
I found the world interesting though I sort of wish we got more info on it. I liked what the book had to say about things like class and control and whatnot. The leads were interesting though I'm not entirely sold on their epic romance, but I did root for them. Some twists were a tad predictable but at least they made sense. Writing is nice. Not mind blowing but nice. All in all, this is a solid book.
Again, not a mind blowing book but I definitely see why people raved about this and I am definitely going to be reading book 2 whenever it comes out. All in all a solid entertaining dystopian for those in the mood for a dystopian to read after Hunger Games.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five riots

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In My Mailbox (77)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've received over the week.

I'm on a budget now so I just have my now bi-weekly library haul:
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler-Mostly interested in this for the nostalgia factor. I actually went to HS the same time these teens did so I think I'll get a kick out of all the nineties references.
Frost by Marianna Baer-Debut from last year. Sounds like a pshycological thriller and I do love those. ;blames Stephan King;
Dragon Diaries series Book 1: Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke-Debut from last year that sounds like it may be fun.
Hush Hush series Book 3: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick-Damn my addiction to this series. I don't understand it really. I don't even think the books are that good. But I keep freaking reading them. WHY? I need to find a way to quit this series. This one and Fallen I just keep reading them despite how bad they get. I thought the last Fallen book was a complete waste of time, yet I'll be reading Rapture. There needs to be a support group for readers trying to quit bad book series or something. My only consolation is I can check them out from the library and not waste my money on them.
Evernight series: Balthazar by Claudia Gray-Evernight series is my guilty pleasure series and Balthazar is mostly why. Can't wait to read his story and I hope he finally gets a love interest that's actually worth it.
The Agency series Book 3: The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee-I'm totally addicted to this historical mystery series. Are they implausible? Yes. Do I care? Not really.
Shattered Souls Book 1 by Mary Lindsey-Fun sounding paranormal debut book that I've been meaning to read mostly due to it's awesome cover.
Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr-Short Story collection from one of my favorite authors. Squee!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Review: Fever

TITLE: Fever
Book 2 in the Chemical Garden Trilogy
AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
GENRE: Dystopian, drama
PREMISE: Rhine continues her escape.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. This was a trilogy that I was hoping would improve with the second book but unfortunately it didn't. It didn't get worse or anything, but this book just furthur proved that this trilogy just isn't for me. I get the appeal of it, don't get me wrong. There is some nice writing in here, it's entertaining, and something about the world is intrigueing. It's just simply not to my taste.
A large part of my ire rests with Rhine. I'm sorry I find her annoying and bland. She is typical selfless Mary Sue who of course is never wrong. Boring. The love interest is also possibly the most boring male lead I've seen since Edward Cullen. I mean, all I remember him doing in this book is getting sick and playing with kids, and I have yet to see why he and Rhine make such a great couple. I was hoping the world building would become more clear in this second book and while we do get more of it, it still is very sloppy to me and things make very little sense. Number one head scratcher: people are seriously upset that the president is trying to find a cure?! WHAT?! So upset, they're bombing things? I'm sorry this makes no sense whatsoever to me. I would think you would WANT A CURE. Plus, the twists that came later in the book were pretty obvious.
Frankly I just find this trilogy to be incredibly mediocre and a bit of A Handmaiden's Tale rip-off but without the important messages Handmaiden's Tale had (don't get me started on how much I hate that the author has Rhine feeling guilty about running away from a FORCED MARRIAGE. Seriously, what? Who feels guilty about that?). I get why it's popular and all those who enjoy it, I'm happy you do; at least someone did. If you loved Wither, chances are you will love this just as much. But me? I'm done. Perhaps if DeStefano does something else, I'll take a look because I do like her writing. But this particular trilogy, I'm just not bothering with the rest of.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that loved/liked Wither
MY RATING: Three out of Five fever inducing candies (I'm sorry but CANDY did it?)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful Chaos

TITLE: Beautiful Chaos
Book 3 in the Caster Chronicles
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
GENRE: Urban fantasy, witches, southern, drama, romance
PREMISE: Gaitlin is now full of uncertiny and Lena's birthday draws ever closer...
MY REVIEW: So you all know I love this series to death and this book is no exception. Yes, I give there are several southern stereotypes, Ethan doesn't really sound like a guy sometimes, and the romance between him and Lena is sappy beyond belief. But it all works. For one, these books are so well written. The authors do such a good job with character, pacing, keeping it interesting, snappy dialogue...everything. To me, Gaitlin is real, that's how good these authors are.
I love the characters and how the authors aren't afraid to stretch them and take them to places you don't want them to go (AMMMA!). This book in particular filled you with dread in each coming chapter so that you just knew something huge was about to go down and boy did it. Damn, talk about evil cliffhangers.
Thankfully there is another book coming. Sadly, it's not till October, which is WAY TOO FAR AWAY. I am still addicted to this series and still wholeheartedly recomend it.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two books, southern fiction fans, urban fantasy fans, anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five of Ridley's lollipops

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

TITLE: Team Human
AUTHOR: Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy
SUMMARY FROM BOOK: When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.

Release Date: July 3rd

WHY I'M EAGER: While I haven't been overall impressed by Larbalestier I did really like Demon's Lexicon and frankly this story sounds right up my ally in that it makes fun of the vampire genre in a loving way. It just looks very meta and I frankly love meta books like Princess Bride and whatnot. It sounds like I'll at least get a kick out of this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (3): Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic: Books that were totally deceiving. Books that were totally not what you expected due to covers, marketing, etc. etc.

My Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving:

1) The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling-To be fair, I think the general public was fooled into thinking this was just a fun little kiddie series. Then the third book happened and we got suspicious and then the fourth book happened and everyone was like "wait, what?". Despite the marketing, HP is not a kid series. Actually, it's more YA then kid/middle-grade. And anyone who has read it all the way through can tell you there's a lot more to it then the summarys give you.

2) The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer-On the flip side of HP, this series was made out to be this epic love story. I was told it was epic by fans, according to the author it was better then Elizabeth and Darcy. Then I read it and frankly I have to say: it isn't epic. Not by a long shot. At my meanest I can call it crap, at my nicest I can say average and uninspired. This is one of those series that was just pretentious and thought way too highly of itself. Sorry Twilight fans, but this series is not epic. Lord of the Rings? Epic. This? Not by a long shot.

3) The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs-Admit it, you've heard of this series, then took one look at the covers with the skantily clad Mercy on them and no thanks. Yeah, I did it too, don't feel bad. Those covers are such a poor representation of what Mercy Thompson is as both a character and a series in general. Not to mention for a Native American girl, Mercy looks awfully white.

4) Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead-Oh, how I long to take those covers and blurbs and smash them to bits because they are such a poor representation of VA. Especially the blurb they like to put: the obvious heir to the Twilight throne. VA is miles ahead of Twilight and frankly the only thing the two have in common is that they have vampires in them. And as you can probably tell from above, I don't think Twilight was any good to begin with. This, and the poor covers make you just think it's a cheesy series. While yes, there is some cheese to be had, it is also very good and I think just lumping it in with books like Twilight and House of Night like the covers/blurbs/marketing do just don't do Mead any favors.

5) Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot-Like probably most people, my intro to PD was actually the Disney movie with Julie Andrews and then newcomer Anne Hathaway. While I do have a fondness for the film I think it's a poor way to introduce the books to people. Same with the rather girly frilly covers. Princess Diaries actually is a solid series. For something that's frilly, it's pretty feminist, the character of Mia goes through some real growth during the books, much more so then her movie counterpart, and it's frankly hysterical sometimes. Unfortunately I'm sure there are people who get turned off by the girlyness of the marketing and never pick it up.

6) Wicked series by Gregory Maguire-Most people probably just know Wicked through the musical. I do love the musical too, but it actually is very very different from the book. Like probably most people I thought Wicked would just be lots of fun, and while I did get a kick out of it, Maguire does some great work here. He deftly fleshes out the world of Oz and uses it to comment on society, politics, feminism, nature vs nurture, propaganda, and still manages to not utterly destroy the world of Oz in Baum's original books. No easy feat. I know Maguire's books aren't everyone's cup of tea and I get it. But you have to admire what he did.

7) Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini-Due to the blurbs and description I was expecting to not like Starcrossed very much what with all the talk of starcrossed lovers and whatnot. Yes, there is a bit of a starcrossed romance in this book but that's not the only thing the series is about and all that other stuff I wound up enjoying a lot. While yes, it has its cheesy moments, there is a lot more to this book then just starcrossed romance.

8)The Kendra Chronicles: Bewitching by Alex Flinn-Recent read. I picked this up because the summary and the title led me to believe it was going to be about Kendra from Beastly who was the most interesting character to me from Beastly. However, Kendra is hardly in it! She gets some backstory explained, but the focus is mainly the dull and slightly pathetic girl she helps instead. Boring.

9)Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl-I picked up BC on a whim because I had heard great things. From the cover and summary I was expecting just a drippy/sappy stock southern romance. While, there is sappy romance, there is also much more to this series then meets the eye and I wound up falling in utter love with the series. I am impatiantly awaiting the fourth one now because that third book cliffhanger was evil. EVIL.

10)Sister's Grimm series by Michael Buckley-This is another series that gets shafted because it's marketed as a silly kiddie series. Yes, it is campy fun but there's also some great messages in here about family and great meta dealing with fairytales. The ORIGINAL Fairytales/books. Not the Disney versions. Plus, you just have to love the idea of Snow White being in charge of a self defense group called the bad apples. To everyone who says Once Upon a Time is just a rip-off of Fables, I say Once is actually a combination of Fables and this series.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: Bewitching

TITLE: Bewitching
Book 1 in the Kendra Chronicles
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
GENRE: retelling, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Kendra from Beastly tells her part in the fairytales.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I had such high hopes for this. Let me be clear, there is nothing really wrong with this book or any of Flinn's other books. Writing/storytelling wise they're okay. It's just...I find them mediocre and just...lacking I guess you could say. They're like that student who you feel can do better then they are doing and so you feel disappointed with them when they give you a average project. That is how I feel with Flinn. I feel she can do better then this and keep hoping that maybe this book will be when she brings her writing talent to the table and thus I wind up disapointed with her stuff every time. Probably my own fault, I know, I just wish her stuff wasn't so stock and boring and predictable. That said, I think this will be my last Flinn book.
One of the problems for me is that for something called The KENDRA Chronicles, Kendras hardly in it! She was the sole reason I picked up this book because she was one of the few things that actually intrigued me in Beastly so I was hoping this would give me more time with her character and help me understand her motivations. While we do get the semi-plausible backstory for her in the beginning that is a small bit and mostly this winds up being about a girl she helps who frankly annoys the hell out of me. I'm sorry, I did not care one bit about this girl. I wanted to know more about Kendra but that backstory was literally all we got. In which case, why are you calling this the Kendra Chronicles? Call it random fairy tale theatre instead because that's more accurate.
So for me this was a disappointment and the third try with this author and she has failed to capture my interest in the three books of hers I've read so sorry, Flinn you are just not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Beastly fans, Alex Flinn fans, retelling mashup fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five bungling witches

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: American Gods

TITLE: American Gods
Book 1 in a two book series
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mythology, adventure
PREMISE: Shadow is approached by a man who has a job for him, but this job has a bit more to it then it appears...
MY REVIEW: I am a big Neil Gaiman fan and American Gods has been one of those books I've been meaning to read since I started reading his stuff. Like Neverwhere I will warn it's dark and twisted. I know there are some readers who aren't fans of that so for you this may not be your thing. But for everyone else I rec this one hundred percent.
This is one of those books that will have you thinking about it long after you read it. There's just so much brought up in it from how we use religion, to how people operate, to progress, to even just the American landscape in general. I just loved this world Gaiman created and find it fascinating and can't wait to read Anansi Boys now which apparently takes place in the same world.
In short I loved the hell out of this book and continue to love Gaiman's stuff. If you are a fan of Gaiman's younger books such as Graveyard Book or Coroline you should definitely read this (assuming you're old enough of course).
WHO SHOULD READ: Gaiman fans, anyone inclined to pick it up, you don't mind dark and twisted books
MY RATING: Five out of Five road trips

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: Archon

TITLE: Archon
Books of Raziel series Book 1
AUTHOR: Sabrina Benulis
GENRE: Urban fantasy, angels, romance
PREMISE: A redhead girl goes to school in search of her brother and learns she's part of a prophecy.
MY REVIEW: This is one I picked up on a whim in the library. Sometimes these books work out well for me, sometimes they don't. Sadly this was one that didn't. Now there is some interesting world-builiding going on here and I'll even say there's some interesting plot. Unfortunately it was one of those books where the characters were just so unlikeable that it made it hard for me to like the other good stuff.
I'm sorry but every character in here was annoying as heck and so juvenile it wasn't funny. Seriously, these were adults?! I expect this kind of behavior from YA book characters but adult characters? Really? They had no depth, I saw very little growth, and again they were all unlikeable and all just using each other for their own ends and frankly I get bored quickly with books where everyone is a jerk/or idiot.
Perhaps the author is going somewhere interesting with all of this but as I don't like anyone I don't really care enough to find out if she is. This series is just not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: adult urban fantasy fans (but even then only check it out from the library)
My RATING: Two and a half out of Five angel wings

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: The Nightmare Garden

TITLE: The Nightmare Garden
Book 2 in the Iron Codex Trilogy
AUTHOR: Caitlin Kittredge
GENRE: steampunk, faeries, fantasy
PREMISE: Aoife continues her journey.
MY REVIEW: I loved The Iron Thorn last year. Sadly it was one of the many overlooked books last year which I think partly had to do with it being released in a month when many other more hyped up books were released and had to do with lack of promotion. Because I seriously recall very little reviews of this book. It's sad too, because I think Iron Thorn was really good.
I loved Nightmare Garden just as much too. Granted, Aoife's self-martyring got on my nerves a lot, and I still want more developement for side characters like Cal. It also is very much a second book in that mostly it's plot leading up to the third book. It's still exciting and everything but even I have to admit I wished things had slowed down just a bit for character stuff though the morsels that the author did put in were very nice. I now feel like I get Dean as a character more.
The ending did feel like typical sequelness that is straight out of Star Wars (see Luke and Leia going after Han Solo) but it's still a very solid book overall and I can't wait to see how this all comes to head in the last book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Leviathan fans, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five airships

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review: Firelight

TITLE: Firelight
Book 1 in the Darkest London series (not to be confused with Firelight by Sophie Jordan)
AUTHOR: Kristin Callihan
GENRE: Urban fantasy, witches, romance
PREMISE: A sort of Urban fantasy retelling of beauty and the beast.
MY REVIEW: This review will be short because honestly I have little to say about this book. It is what it is. I did love the world building going on in it but really other then that there's nothing really I can rave about in this book that hasn't been done in a million other books.
Plot is basically a Beauty and the Beast redo with mystery added, characters are okay but not really memorable, romance is predictable, writing is decent enough, and basically the book has a been there done that feel to it. It's fine. It's just not OMG-you-must-read-this-now-book. Rec to urban fantasy fans as a library read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five corsets

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Scarlet

TITLE: Scarlet
AUTHOR: A. C. Gaughan
GENRE: Retelling, adventure, romance
PREMISE: What if Will Scarlet from Robin Hood was actually a girl?
MY REVIEW: I honestly don't have much to say about this. I was super excited for it because, come on, one of the merry men a female? Awesomeness, right? And there is much enjoyment to be had from having a female merry man. When one just reads it for that, it's a enjoyable book.
My issue is that Scarlet became a Mary Sue. Suddenly she did everything, including suddenly being Robin Hood's true love because Maid Marian is mysteriously absent all of a sudden. Not only does Robin fall for her but oh look, so does Little John! She practically runs the place. This is why stories like this fall into a slippery slope. It's one thing to change a characters gender but that characters gender shouldn't suddenly change the whole focus of a classic and make it all about that character. After awhile it sort of felt like glorified fanfiction. Well written fanfiction, but fanfiction nonetheless.
I give the authors several points for an interesting idea, and good writing, and even the plot was interesting when it wasn't all about Scarlet. But I just became too exasperated by how suddenly Robin Hood really became all about Scarlet and how awesome she is to really love it. Rec mostly as a library read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Robin Hood fans, retelling fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five daggers

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In My Mailbox (76)

Yes, this is really late, I had to work all day today sorry.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Downloaded to Kindle:
Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens-Was a freebie when I got it. Now back to regular price.
Gray Whale Inn Mystery Book 1: Murder on the Rocks by Karen McInerney-current freebie. Damn mystery addiction...
White Witch by Trish Milburn-today's deal of the day.

Library Haul:
Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 2: Fever by Lauren DeStefano-While I wasn't as crazy about Wither as everyone else (to me it was a poorly thought out rip-off of Handmaiden's Tale, sorry) it was good enough that I'm giving the sequel a shot. This worked out well for me for A Million Suns with Across the Universe (I wound up enjoying A Million Suns lots more the AtU), so I'm hoping it's going to happen with this trilogy too.
Jessica Book 2: Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky-Giving this author one more shot before I give up on her.
Clarity Book 2: Perception by Kim Harrington-Clarity was a book that came out of nowhere for me last year and I fell in absolute love. I can't wait to get to this one.
Legend Book 1 by Marie Lu-Dystopian from last year which has been getting rave reviews so I'm pretty pumped about it.
The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers-Paranormal thing that looks cool.
Alex Craft Book 1: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price-Adult UF book series I've been meaning to check out.
Embrace Book 1 by Jessica Shervington-Yes, I'm giving another angel book a shot. No, I don't know why I keep doing this despite not really liking the angel genre either.
Mockingbirds Book 2: The Rivals by Daisy Whitney-I just read Mockingbirds this year and loved it. Can't wait to read this one.