Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summer People by Shirley Jackson

 Summer People
by Shirley Jackson

This one was a short story.

I'm not going to lie,
I read it because I'm reading Stephen King's book,11/22/63, and he mentions it in there.

The best part of checking this book out from the library is that I learned that I knew more Shirley Jackson stories than I thought!

She's written a lot of great suspense/horror that we've all heard of, like The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle...

I can see why she'd be a name that King referenced.
She is a master of subtle horror.

The Summer People was a quick read, only a few pages long, about a couple who decide to linger at their vacation home after the summer season is over.

The whole story is beautiful, it tells you exactly what is going to happen to these folks, without *actually* telling you anything.

However, this is not a story for people who need everything spelled out for them in black and white.

This haunting tale leaves a LOT to the imagination, and readers will have to fill in the blanks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

 To join in the "Waiting on Wednesday" fun, click HERE!

This week, I'm choosing something a little different:

Skip•Beat! 29
Due out: October 2nd

Here's Amazon' synopsis of the issue:

Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!
On the way to the Dark Moon wrap party Kyoko bumps into her cast mate Kijima. He’s never paid her any attention before, but he heard that people called her beautiful when they saw her in her Natsu role. Kijima can’t contain his curiosity and buys Kyoko a total makeover for the party. But is his interest innocent, or does he have wicked plans in store?!

 I *really* love this series. It's a shojo manga, but unlike many shojo manga, the lead character is strong, amazing and incredibly likable. She's no sniveling pansy!
I have read Skip Beat from the beginning, and have loved every minute of it. It mixes drama and comedy seamlessly... and NO, this is NOT A VAMPIRE COMIC!!! 
(I know the cover illustration for volume 29 might have you thinking otherwise, but it's not)

What it is, though, is a good solid storyline that, for a shojo manga, has surprisingly little romance in it. It's more about self empowerment. I mean, are there hot guys? Yes, of course... but are they the *only* thing going on in the main character's life? No.


Yup, there is some maintenance
I've been wanting to do on my blog,
so this weekend, I'm taking part in:

Click the image to join in!

Things I want to accomplish:
1. Update my pages to reflect the reviews actually available
2. fix any broken links
3. *maybe* implement a Halloween theme... maybe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

To join in the fun of Top Ten Tuesday, click the image below:

When I first sat down to make this week's top 10 list of
The Top 10 Series I have Yet to Finish,
I thought it would be really hard...
then I realized... NOPE.
I have more unfinished series than I thought! 
If the title is in RED, it means that's a series I don't intend to ever pick back up again!

1. The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
I read the first book in this series... but I probably won't read the rest unless someone gives them to
me for free. I just wasn't impressed.This was a series where I expected more because of all the hype, and all the talk of the author's contract.

2. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
I've read the first book, which I enjoyed... but then I stumbled on a spoiler on someone's blog (someone not considerate enough to mark that their post contained spoilers) and it just sort of killed my desire to read any more of it. Will I pick it up again someday? Yes, I already own the first three, so I might as well read them.

3. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Here is a book that I felt was just over hyped all around. I mean, yeah, it's really cool that a kid got published (but it wasn't like he didn't have connections), or dedicated himself to something so passionately... but the writing, plot and pacing are all very beginner when it comes to fantasy. His book was a vivid map of all the greater fantasy writers that came before him. It offered nothing original. I won't be reading the rest of this series.. I did *try* to read book two... but when I was hit with the million page recap of book one, I gave up.

4. The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
I really loved the first book in this series... but the second book was *literally* a slow boat to China. It bored me to tears, nothing happened, and reading it was tedious. THEN I was told that about every other book in this series is a slow trip to somewhere... so I stopped reading it after book two.

5. The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie
I have no excuse. I've read book one and two, and only have book three left to read... and this series is AWESOME... I mean it, if you like fantasy, pick this series up. NOW. Obviously I will read book three... but for whatever reason, I've put it off... since I read book one and two over 2 years ago now.

6. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
I will never pick this series back up. I read it through the beginning of book three and realized it was just the same story over and over and over. Not to mention that the author didn't know when to quit, and went well beyond the original number of books that were supposed to be published.

7. The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
I LOVE this series... LOVE IT. I have been reading it since long before the hype, and after the wait for this last book (and the wait was a doozy)... I just can't bring myself to rush into the latest release in this series... because I absolutely fear it'll be another almost decade long wait for the next one ;_;
Will I read it? Heck yeah... but I'm in no hurry.

8. The Abarat series by Clive Barker
Another series I really, really love... but it took Barker 8 years to release the third book. Now... granted, the man had an excellent excuse (very traumatic health issues)... but I am in no hurry to read the third book (which I own, it's sitting on my shelf at this very moment) until the next one comes out.

9. The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
I've read through book 17 in this series... but have just kind of lost my momentum on it. They're fun, light summer reads,  and I'm sure I'll read another one someday... but at the moment, I just don't feel like picking them back up.

10. The Age of Unreason series by Gregory Keyes
I've read the first book, Newton's Cannon, and loved it... and I will read the rest, eventually... but every time I go to buy it or check it out, my boyfriend goes, "But I OWN that entire series!" Unfortunately, they're packed in a box in our basement somewhere, so until he gets off his duff and finds them, I won't be reading them, LOL.

Please feel free to stop by and check out my reviews of two other series:

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

  Anna Dressed in Blood
 by Kendare Blake

There are spoilers in the PLOT section of this review.

Synopsis (via Amazon):
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

The main character, son of a ghost hunter and now a ghost hunter himself, he leads a lonely, troubled life. Personally, I don't like Cas much through most of the book. He's kind of an arrogant ass, and not in an endearing way. He makes assumptions about people, and is very contradictory, one minute thinking he's all that, then the next talking about how he's scrawny... his thoughts don't always mesh.
Carmel: The "It" girl at the High School Cas attends while he hunts Anna, Carmel find herself drawn into Cas's haphazard adventures. She seems to be a decent kid, and is a whole lot more likeable than Cas.
Thomas: Another High School student, and the one who lured Cas there in the first place... he is a mind-reader and a witch (although this book does not make it clear if ALL mind readers are witches or not). He attempts to befriend and watch out for Cas, and is dogged about it, even though Cas is a total jerk to someone who, you would think, Cas would recognize immediately as an important ally.

The ghost. She's obviously tormented, and for whatever reason, can't kill Cas, which allows him to have some deep conversation with her. Is it sad that I prefer Anna's character to Cas?

Cas's Mother: A white witch who travels the country at the whim of her teenaged son. She comes across as a protective, but meek character.
Mike, Will and Chase: The three moronic, predictable goons of the story. Are they jocks? Yes. Are they stereotypes? Yes. Did they offer any surprises? No.
Gideon: The mysterious British voice over the phone... aka, an old friend of Cas's father that we never actually meet, but he conveys really potent, important info to Cas, and gives a little background story concerning Cas's father. He reminded me of Giles from Buffy.
Morfran: Thomas's grandfather... and someone I really expected to step in a little more... I mean... you've got all these kids dealing with crazy occult and ghost stuff... you're pretty informed in that area, and you let the kids do their thing and call all the shots? Hmm.
Cas's Father: Dead from the start of the book, Cas's father is what set him on the path he's on. He died under mysterious circumstances that Cas just can't let go, despite everyone's warnings. 
Tybalt: Cas's mother's cat, he is a special cat who can detect the supernatural... which is evidently something all cats can do, but this one is better at it for some unexplained reason (literally, it's unexplained... Thomas mentions the cat is special... but no one ever says how).

 Writing: One thing I will say about this book, I actually love Kendare Blake's writing style. It flowed, and the description of the ghosts and the atmosphere were just downright creepy. She had my looking over my shoulder in rooms of my own house... and I've lived here for years without anything "spooky" ever happening. She is gifted at creating imagery in the reader's mind.


The VERY end of this book really is enticing. Even though I disliked quite a lot of things about this book, I will read the second, hoping the things I disliked about this book are not quite as glaring in the next.

Ah... the parts I hated most about this book all lie in the plot.
1. THE ATTIC. What... the... heck. Cas and his mother professionally hunt ghosts? They even have a cat who detects them... they clense every house they live in... and yet they neglect to check THE ATTIC???? It's like not checking the friggin basement. This was really, really unacceptable for me, as far as being able to believe this story or these characters... *especially* when Tybalt started freaking out about the attic, and Cas's mother heard things up there that went bump in the night. How was that NOT a glaring warning for them?? When I got to the part where the thing comes down out of the attic, I wanted to throw the book across the room... but it was a library book, so I refrained (I also wanted to smack Cas for literally telling his mother to shut up... it made me like him even less). It was so dumb that they didn't check EVERY room of the house, especially after their little house walk through, and the story of what happened to his mother once before. It made no sense and was an inexplicable, glaring oversight.. and just really bothered me because I felt like the author just couldn't think of anything better, so cheated to get the ghost in the house.
2. LOVE PLOT FROM A MANGA: Have you ever heard of shojo manga? It's the girly love story brand of manga (a manga is a japanese comic), where the characters tend to fall in love within the span of a page or two for no really great reason. Well... that's how I feel about the love story in Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas falls in love with this ghost (who has ripped human flesh to shreds right before his eyes) in the span of pages, and then suddenly trusts her whole-heartedly. Don't get me wrong, as far as characters in this book go, Anna is one of my favorites, but for Cas, Mr. Trust-no-one-even-if-they'd-obviously-make-an-excellent-ally, be-a-total-dick-almost-all-of-the-time, Super ghost hunter on a mission to do nothing but avenge his father... falling in love with Anna seems totally out of character. He literally is instantly transformed from a real jerk into a character I can actually find myself liking... it's why I'll read the second book, because I hope the author relents on his stupid machismo attitude... and there is promise of that... but unfortunately it came at the expense of a believable love story. I get it, he's all swoony and not thinking particularly straight... but his lack of fear around her just makes me think he's an idiot... even Sam took longer to fall in love with a Demon (that being Sam from Supernatural... a tv show with a hauntingly similar plot) than Cas did to fall in love with a Ghost. To me, it seemed just like the attic, a convenient plot device that felt contrived. Would it have been so awful for him to befriend her in the first book, and come to really respect her? There are obviously more than one of these books coming, so why not take your time and make it a rich, wonderful love story... why rush it?
3. TYBALT: Yes, it pisses me off that he died. I hope he haunts Cas and makes his life a living hell!!! This cat did his job 100% and they blithely ignored him. Shame on you, Ghost Hunters, shame on you (and really lame of you too, for supposedly being so experienced).
4. HUMAN VILLAINS WITH NO DEPTH: I mean this... did Mike, Will or Chase do a single thing that surprised you? Nope... very boring human villains. Normally, I wouldn't have an issue with this, but Cas made a point of pointing out repeatedly how clever Will seemed to be.
5. BIG BAD SUPERNATURAL VILLAIN WITH NO BACKGROUND: I can only hope this will be filled out more in future books... I'm hoping the end of this book didn't actually see the end of this villain... because an Obeahman could be really terrifying... if, you know, we had known more about him. I mean, yeah, the whole eyes stitched shut, jaw unhinging was creepy... but other than that, all we got was an info drop on what an Obeahman was, and a pretty skimmed one at that. Voodoo can be some really, really, really scary, creepy stuff... and he's supposed to be creepier than Voodoo? I need to know more to believe it. Just telling me isn't showing me... and what I was shown of him wasn't creepier than what I saw of Anna... so I wasn't really feeling the terror... nevermind we know *nothing* about this specific Obeahman... so he's just some vague, random ghost that Cas's dad had the bad luck of running into.

Believability of World:
I think all the ghostiness works... it's creepy and I like the explanation that people don't WANT to explain some deaths. That works... we've all seen the world turn a blind eye to atrocities, especially when they can't explain them... but Cas's stupidity about certain things and the love story's rushed feel really kill a little bit of it for me.

Overall Grade: C+ ~ I really loved certain aspects of this book, and will read the second one... but there were certain things in this story that really just made me angry... just glaring plot holes, or contrived romances, or generally unlikeable main characters that made me want to chuck this book across the room. I'm hoping book two is a little more well thought out, and a whole lot less convenient when it comes to events that occur within the story.

I would like to give this book a higher score, because I really thought Blake's physical description of the ghosts was spooky and fantastic (and so was some of the emotional conflict the ghosts experienced)... but this book just made me so angry when it came to those other things that I can't overlook that.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Read and Polish #2

This week's Weekly Read is:

The Curious Life of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach

It is an absolutely fascinating book...
but as you can imagine... VERY morbid.
It's not for those who have a hard time
handling their own mortality.

This week's nail polish:

Green with polka dots.

There's even a mention of nail polish in the book,
lol, nothing too morbid, just a med student who
was taken aback by finding nail polish on one of
the hands they had to work on.

Here are the colors I used:

First layer (2 coats):
Sinful Colors in the color Happy Ending
Second layer (1 coat):
Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in the color Teeny Greeny Bikini
Third layer (1 coat):
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in the color Chartreuse Chase

Sinful Colors are just awesome!I just discovered them about two weeks ago,
and this is the second color I've bought from them, and it's fantastic.
The best part, other than the longevity?
They're only $1.99!!!
You just can't beat that!!!

I love Sally Hansen products too,
they all hold up really well, and the Insta-Dri *does*dry really fast. Plus the colors are lovely.
They're a bit pricier, though, at anywhere from
$4-8 dollars a bottle, depending
on the type.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Barnaby Grimes: Legion of the Dead by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

 Barnaby Grimes
Legion of the Dead
by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

 Synopsis (from Amazon)

“The corpses swayed where they stood, their bony arms outstretched before them and tattered sleeves hanging limply in the foggy air. I smelled the sourness of the sewers about them; that, and the sweet whiff of death. Their sunken eyes bored into mine. I was surrounded. . . .”

Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock lad, delivering messages and running errands all over the city, day and night. Gangland funerals and diving expeditions are hazardous enough, but when the graveyards begin to give up their dead, this tick-tock lad is faced with his deadliest challenge yet. . . .

A blood-curdling tale of greed and betrayal. Will Barnaby be defeated by the Legion of the Dead?

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s incomparable Barnaby Grimes returns for another adventure in the third installment of the brilliantly exciting horror-thriller series set in Dickensian London.

The main character, he is a tic-toc lad, in other words, an errand boy. He makes his living doing this, and it leads him into all sorts of trouble.
Blindside Bailey: An old war veteran who now sells newspapers and lives penny to penny... he has quite the tale to tell.
Professor Pinkerton-Barnes: Barnaby's friend who asks him to try out all his zany experiements.

Illustration: One of the best parts of this series is Paul Riddell's amazing, graphic, dark illustrations.

 Writing: I LOVE Paul Stewart's dark, brooding characters with terrible pasts who partake in terrible actions... these books are lighter than The Edge Chronicles, but still pretty macabre!

Cute, succinct, and nicely wrapped up.

This book was pretty simple, since it is a Middle Grade for the younger audience... but the plot follows a clear, concise line that is easy to follow.

Believability of World:A very well put together world where all of the events that occur are plausible.

Overall Grade: B ~ it was entertaining, but a little slow at points.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Feature & Follow

 Welcome to another lovely Feature & Follow!

This weeks question seems to be a sort of follow up to last weeks...

Q: What hyped up book do you think was worth all the talk?

Man... what a question.
I suspect my answer will be one that comes up a lot, but...

Harry Potter
This series deserves every bit of hype it gets.
All 7 of the books are in the top 10 of most selling books of all time 0_0

These books got MILLIONS of children reading.
These book got MILLIONS of adults reading.

Were there some plot holes?

 Yet, even with the plot holes, this series is a triumph.
The characters are strong and wonderful.
The girls aren't OBSESSED with romance.

They are filled to the brim with a cleverness you rarely find in YA books these days.
Plus... like Twilight, there is some pretty great humor out there surrounding them...
especially the movies:

And speaking of the movies... they only acted to endear this series further...
We have literally watched these children grow up... and the movies have
a wonderful sense of whimsy about them.

I truly loved this series.
It made me wish, strongly, that this world existed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Click the picture below to join in:

 The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012

Book 3 in the Heroes of Olympus series.

The only thing I can really say about this is... if you haven't read these books, READ THEM.

Amazon Synopsis:
In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .
With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

*JUST A NOTE* I've added an audiobook clip to the Wake review I did, for anyone who is interested:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekly Read and Polish

I figure every Monday I'll share what I'm currently reading, along with the current polish selection.

I don't know about you guys, but I generally paint my nails while I sit and read, so I figured the two can be shared together.

Weekly Read:

Anna Dressed in Blood

... so far, I'm feeling so-so about it. I love the ghost story, but the main character is coming across as kind of a dick... and I'm on page 159 -_- That's about 50% of the way through the book.

I'm hoping he softens up a little. There's something about his speech pattern that annoys me, and I still can't decide if he actually feels like a male character to me, or if he feels like a girl trying to be a guy. It's weird.

Alright, I need to go on the record right now:
If there is something supernatural living in their friggin attic, this book sucks.
When they first did a search of the house, it really annoyed me that they didn't check it. That's like not checking the basement. WTF... but if there's actually something up there, and they're ignoring the cat acting weird... when THAT'S WHAT HE'S THERE FOR... yeah, this book sucks.  (seriously, it doesn't even make sense that they *didn't* check the attic, considering what they do for a living)

Nail Polish selection for the week is a bit of a Halloween theme, as far as color goes.

Base Coat: Sinful Colors Cloud 9 (why cloud 9 is orange, you got me) I applied 3 layers of this color
Next: china glaze Lighthouse (one layer)
Top Coat: OPI Top Coat Glitter Bit of Music (one layer)

I *just* discovered Sinful Colors for $1.99 at RiteAide, and can I say, it's AWESOME!!! I wore two coats of this orange for a week and it never once chipped! My $8 bottles of OPI and china glaze can't even boast that most of the time!

The end result looked like this:
(pardon the dark spot on my one finger by the nail... it's ink -_- No matter how hard I tried, there was no washing it off)

Also, I love how Anna Dressed In Blood's text... is the color of blood!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wake by Amanda Hocking

by Amanda Hocking

 Please check out the following link for an audiobook clip from the beginning of Wake,
provided by Macmillan Audio:

When I first wrote this review, I was unaware the audiobook existed...
I've listened to this clip, and it seems to be the first chapter of the book.

It's really cute... but has none of the supernatural elements that come in later in the book,
which are the parts I liked best... but then... giving those bits away in an
audio clip might be a bit spoilerish, since they'd probably give away too much!

(just a total side note... but I love everything about this cover...except the girl... she looks so pissy and annoyed and if she's supposed to be the main character, Gemma, her expression is just too much "bitch" and all wrong. I don't think you *need* to stick a girl on this cover... or at least, not this one -_-)

(from Goodreads):

Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

One of two main characters, Gemma is an avid swimmer. She is a likeable girl... but oddly, the story starts out really focusing on her emotions, and then sort of totally abandons them, explaining nothing and just detaching us from her.
Harper: Gemma's older sister, and the responsible one. Maybe a little too responsible, she seems to be forgetting to have a life. Harper is the more likable of the two sisters, in my opinion, if for no other reason than that the book doesn't abandon her thought process halfway through.
Alex: Gemma's love interest and Harper's best friend. Alex comes across as a likeable guy... but there doesn't seem to be anything exceptional about him.

Daniel: The bum who lives on a boat on the docks where the girls father works... he's probably the most interesting character in this book. There's obviously something going on with him that has yet to be explained. I have a guess... but we'll just have to wait and see.
Gemma and Harper's father... he was not too bad of a father figure, although came across as a bit immature.

Nathalie: Gemma and Harper's brain damaged mother (literally) She's an incredibly immature character, but it's not her fault. I think it's a pity she's obsessed with Justin Bieber though, in the future, this will date the book quite badly.

Penn, Lexi and Thea: Three beautiful, mysterious girls who have come to town, and who the locals are both in awe of, and a bit afraid of.

After reading Hocking's Trylle series, I'd say she's progressing in her writing style after reading Wake. These books are not beautiful, poetic prose, but they're a fun, easy read that flow well enough.

I've got to say though, there is one thing about this book that I HATED. That is the fact that whenever the girls thought about their father, they called him Brian... but whenever they spoke to him, they called him Dad. WHO DOES THAT?! If they are calling him dad to his face, then they think of him as Dad when they think about him... and if they're thinking of him as Brian, then they should be calling him Brian to his face. It ripped me right out of the story every time... and I found it absolutely annoying as a reader.

This book kind of fell apart for me at the end... and mostly because we had become almost totally disconnected from any real reason Gemma had for doing anything. We knew she was walking around acting a certain way, but her actions and what little of her thoughts we got just weren't lining up for me at all... she had sort of ceased to be the character I met at the beginning of the book, which really pulled me out of the story. I have no idea if I'm supposed to be rooting for her or not at this point. I'm not saying she goes evil or anything, I'm just saying she became a very vague, blah character... while her sister and Daniel became much more interesting.

I think this book has a really interesting plot going... I like many, many aspects of it, like the fact that Gemma wasn't really given a choice, and the whole mythology background... I find it all enjoyable, and I'll read the second book to see what happens next.

Believability of World:
This is set in our world, so there is no amazing new world building going on, but it is believable enough.

Overall Grade: C+ While there are a lot of things about this book that interest me enough to read the next one... there were too many things in the story that ripped me out of it to give it a really high score. The weird trailing off when it comes to Gemma's POV... and the whole Brian/Dad issue... those were huge negative marks in my book. Is it a fun read? Yes. Is it phenomenal? No. Do I recommend picking it up for something light and fun? Yes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Feature & Follow

Welcome to Feature & Follow!
To join in the fun, click the image above!!

Question of the Week:

Q: What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?

Yeah... I'm sorry, but by "Twilight" I meant the entire series,
not just the first book.

Honestly, out of all of them, the first one was my favorite...
then it just went downhill from there,
ending at the final book,
with what is possibly the lamest "showdown" ever
(and Bella's poor child... saddled with
just about the WORST name ever).

I read them all because my sister was super psyched about them,
and she NEVER reads anything.
... maybe that should have been a clue right there?

Then there's the little issue of Bella being possibly
one of the worst female role models ever.

Honestly, my favorite thing about the Twilight Saga
is all the humor that's been generated by it.

You said it, boys, LOL.

I didn't have a problem with Stephanie Meyers
writing style... my problem was entirely
with plot, pacing and character development.
The series just kept degrading into Bella being
more and more pathetic, and the pacing often
got hung up on her angst...
which made it SO boring.

Plus, Bella's really UNHEALTHY relationship
with Edward bothered me to no end.
Would I really want this girl being a role model
for my daughter?!
Heck no.

I'll be happy when this franchise is dead and gone.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

 What am I waiting for?


Days of Blood & Starlight
by Laini Taylor
Release Date: November 6th, 2012

I loved, and I mean, LOVED The Daughter of Smoke & Bone, 
so I am 100% on board to pick up this sequel!!!

Here is the Goodreads blurb on it:
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

(from Amazon):

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

The main character, and a zombie. While his spoken words are a bit... lacking, his thoughts are eloquent, and it's a beautiful juxtapose of what one wants to say and what one does say. Is this really the story of a zombie, or just any teenage boy? Well, except the brain eating bit... LOL!
M: R's kind of pervy zombie friend, and another of the zombies with a hint of memory of what life was like.
Perry: Julie's boyfriend, and the catalyst for this entire story.
Julie: The heroine of this story, and a living girl... she is strong and defiant... but for me, a little unbelievable.
Julie's best friend. She is a side character who is filled with character.
Julie's Father: He's not in it much, but when he is, he makes an impression.
Bonies: The "other" zombies... a strange, skinless religious faction of zombies that are absolutely terrifying.
It pulls you in. The prose are beautiful and the pace is fast... I have to admit, I actually *didn't* want to read this book, but my neighbor gave it to me, and I felt obliged, since it was the first book he ever loaned me... but I am really glad I read it. This was an excellent zombie story. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.

An ending that seemed to leave this book open to the possibility of more in the future.

Ok, I have to admit... I REALLY love some aspects of the plot... and don't care much for other aspects of it. First... everything from R's perspective, I LOVE. It all makes sense in a zombie sort of way and I think it's a pretty awesome idea. I really, really, really love that bit... but... I have a really hard time believing Julie's half of it. Now, I'm being vague so as to do this without spoilers... but we all know this is a romance of sorts. I find the aspect of her befriending R to be absolutely plausible... I find the idea of her encouraging a romance to be just nuts. This book really takes a lot of liberty with overlooking what a dead body that hasn't been preserved is actually like... and "kissable" is not one of those things, unless, you know, you're into that -_-
I also have to say, I love the way the Bonies were explained... it was really, really terrifying, and frankly, they scare me.
Believability of World:
This is set in our world, post-zombie-apocalypse, so it's a pretty believable setting, and I love that zombies congregate the way they do.

Overall Grade: B+ I've read a lot of zombie stories, and frankly, a lot of them are awful... but this one is actually pretty darn excellent! Check it out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Blogger Hop and Feature & Follow Friday

First up, Follow Me Friday!

The question this week:

Q: What book(s) are you reading right now? What do you think of it?

Right now I am reading:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
by Laini Taylor

and LOVING it!
Amazingly written, the author obviously has a love of language...
something I haven't TRULY seen in a YA book in some time!
And the story is so interesting!!


Next up, the Book Blogger Hop!
Book Blogger Hop

This weeks question:

 What book series do you never want to see end?

An easy one.

Harry Potter
I know technically it has "ended"... but I would read a million books written in that world.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Enchantress: Alchemyst series michael scott

 The Enchantress
by Michael Scott

(from Goodreads):

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.

San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.

But will the twins of legend stand together?

Or will they stand apart—one to save the world and one to destroy it?


  Ok... I could break this book down character by character, but let's be honest, Michael Scott's book are overflowing with characters... in a Lord of the Rings kind of way. They're all important, and honestly, in this book, we follow "side characters" almost as much as we follow Josh and Sophie... so to pick and chose some to mention would do the book a disservice. All of the characters are interesting, engaging, and in this book, part of the main plot.
Engaging and full of history and mythology.

I was satisfied with this ending, but saw it coming a mile away, which was a little disappointing. A friend of mine who has been reading this entire series HATED the end with a fiery passion... and I can understand why... it's not a "happy-happy-joy-joy" finish to things... but, for me, it was congruent with the feel of the books.

This is where everything comes together, all those dangling storylines that we've been following for the past several books. They weave together nicely.

Believability of World:
This is set in our world, a la Harry Potter style, where the magic is there, but most people have no clue about it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shadow of the Serpent: Kane Chronicles

The Serpent's Shadow
by Rick Riordan

(from Amazon):

He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes' only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent's shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld.
Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

The spunky, attitude-filled little sister has softened some from the beginning of this series... we find her in love and with more obvious affection towards her brother... she has become quite the likable character... not that she wasn't before, but now we see more of her loyalty shining through. She's not just an angry kid anymore.
Carter: Carter has really matured over this series, to the point where even his sister begrudgingly admits that he's quite the leader figure. He's a likable character, although I find him most interesting when he's hemming and hawing over teenage boy issues (aka, girls).
Walt: Sadie's love interest is as mysterious as ever, you know that Walt is a man with a plan through most of the book, and it's not that hard to guess what it might be, but you still wonder at the logistics of it.
Anubis: Sadie's other love interest, the poor girl... how does one choose between hot mortal guy and hot god guy?
Still coming to terms with the fact that another version of herself met and fell in love with Carter, Zia is also kind of losing her mind in this book. She's given the job of caring for the aged form of Ra, and it's having quite the effect on her.
Amos: Now Chief Lector, Amos is dealing with trying to keep a lot of very  nervous magicians under control, while still fighting off Apophis and his underlings. Due to events in previous books (aka, being possessed by Set), Amos is not the most trusted person around.
Setne: The guy you love to hate... he's bound to help Sadie and Carter, but he's tricksy, and causes them no end of trouble.
Everyone Else: To not at least mention other characters like Jet, Felix, Freak and Bes... would be criminal. These books are filled to the brim with an enjoyable supporting cast.
As per usual, Rick Riordan is a master. These books go by waaaay too quickly.

A wonderful ending in which you see satisfying conclusions to quite a few of the story archs that have been present through the series. Not only that, but there's quite the hint that this is not the last we'll see of the Carter siblings when it comes to Rick Riordan books. It looks like he's building up to something quite epic.

This is a plot that's been building up through two other books. It concludes quite a few of the mysteries that were left hanging, and promises more. 
Believability of World:
I believe I've said it before, but I love that these books are set in "our" world, just kind of behind the scenes.

Overall Grade: A