Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Books in the mail

So having not finished the book I'm currently reading , I don't have a review to post.  So I thought I would post what books I've received or expect to receive in the mail.   I've discovered www.paperbackswap.com and its become my new best friend!

  Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton

Anita Blake may be small and young, but vampires call her the Executioner. Anita is a necromancer and vampire hunter in a time when vampires are protected by law--as long as they don't get too nasty. Now someone's killing innocent vampires and Anita agrees--with a bit of vampiric arm-twisting--to help figure out who and why.
Trust is a luxury Anita can't afford when her allies aren't human. The city's most powerful vampire, Nikolaos, is 1,000 years old and looks like a 10-year-old girl. The second most powerful vampire, Jean-Claude, is interested in more than just Anita's professional talents, but the feisty necromancer isn't playing along--yet.

   Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

Elena Michaels slips out of bed, careful not to wake her boyfriend. He hates it when she disappears in the middle of the night, and can't understand why any normal woman would crave the small hours of the morning, the dark unsafe downtown streets. But Elena's skin is tingling, the pent-up energy feels like it's about to blow her muscles apart; she can't put it off any longer. She loves to run at the edge of the city, but she doesn't have time to get there. She has to slink into an alley, take off her clothes and hide them carefully, and make the Change.
Elena's trying hard to be normal. She hates her strength, and her wildness, and her hunger for food, for sex, for running in the night, for the chase and the kill. She wants a husband, children…even a mother-in-law. Or at least that's what she tells herself.
And then the inevitable happens. The Pack needs her. The Pack she loves and hates is under siege from a bunch of disreputable and ruthless mutts who are threatening to expose them all, breaking all the rules that have kept them safe. The loyalty of her nature calls her home, and into the fight, which tests just who Elena is: the wild woman or the wistful would-be human.

 A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Description: Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise–she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.
Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.

Have you ever read a book that you knew you liked, you just weren't sure how much (like does it rank in with the best books you've ever read?)  That was this book for me.  I come across them from time to time.  This book pulled me right in, but there were parts that I didn't enjoy reading.   Why we really needed to know about Margaret beyond the fact that she was a twin was beyond me.  I didn't feel any of that really added to the story (except her research stuff).   The ending was not what I was expecting, and I wasn't exactly sure how believable it was.   And what happened to Charles?   Were did he go?  I hate loose ends!!   But, overall I enjoyed the story.  Worth the read.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Untamed by P.C. Cast

I give this book 4 out of 5 Stars!

Descriptions: Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird; she's become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened.

This was my favorite book of the series so far.   But, there is one thing that greatly annoys me.  Why does Zoey have to have an instant and powerful connection with every freaking guy she meets?  I mean really.   Anyway, I was glad to see her friends come around and realize why she did what she did.  I was a little pissed at Erik at first, but he was acting like what I remember of typical teenage guys (although technically he's an adult vamp now).  I love Aphrodite.   Who knew she would grow to become one of my favorite characters.  I'm still a little leery of Stevie Rae though.  Something seems not quite right there.   Now just comes the decision if I want to wait for Hunted to come out in paperback or just go ahead and buy the hardback edition!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

I Give This Book 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 Description:  One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.
For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.
Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?

I really wanted to like this book.  A friend recommended Jodi Picoult and said this book was her favorite.  The description sounded good and I thought it would be an easy read.   I was very disappointed.   Before to long I felt like I was reading a very bad version of Stephen King’s “The Green Mile” mixed with any one of John Grisham’s books.  I actually almost stopped reading.   It got better about half way through and I was able to finish the book.  Strangely when I felt the book got better is when the subject of religion actually came into play.  I’ve always been intrigued by the history of religion and the subject of the Gnostic books of the Bible.   I learned some things I didn’t already know and was pleased to read about a few things most people probably don’t realize.  I found most of the book predictable, but was slightly surprised in the end to discover Shay might have planned it all.  Made me wonder if there was any truth to his story about what really happened the night of the murders.  I didn’t like ending the book with doubts of one of the main characters true motives.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

I give this book 4 out of 5 Stars!

Description: Meridia is a lonely child; a mysterious incident when she was an infant has torn apart her parents, leaving them sharing nothing but a cold, mist-filled home. Not until Meridia meets the charmer Daniel, at age 16, does she finally feel loved. They marry and move in with his family and at first Meridia loves her life in Daniel's home. But she quickly learns of matriarch Eva's deceitful, manipulative ways and her power, both natural and supernatural, which she uses to control her family. When Meridia rebels against Eva, finding unexpected support from her parents, the rivalry solidifies and a lifelong battle begins. As time passes, Meridia faces heartbreak and betrayal, becoming a strong, fiercely independent woman. While filled with fortune-tellers, ghosts and unexplained phenomena, the relationships between the various characters are true to life so that fans of fantasy and fiction lovers alike are sure to enjoy this magical tale.

This was my first ARC (advanced reader's copy) and I was excited to receive it.  I signed up for the Barnes and Noble First Look Club.   Although completely outside the realm of what I normally read, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I was a little confused at first, and wasn't sure I would like this book.  But, I gave it a chance.   The characters were rich, although not everyone of them was pleasant.  The story was easy to keep wrapped up into.  I enjoyed the magic elements, which felt to me like the could be part of everyday life.  I felt like the characters were easy to identify with even with the magic.  I liked that the story could have taken place anywhere and anytime.  Overall 2 thumbs up for a great debut book from a new author.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chosen (House of Night #3) by P.C. Cast


I give this Book 3 out of 5 stars

Description: Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series” (Romantic Times), in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity. Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected and rare position of having three boyfriends. Mix a little blood lust into the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster. Just when it seems things couldn’t get any tougher, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey’s horrid step-father in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends so often find out, how things appear rarely reflects the truth…

While not the best vampire series, I've enjoyed it so far.   But the 3rd in the series has definitely not been my favorite.   I can't exactly pinpoint what it is that made this book less than than the first two.   Maybe it's the "teen" talk that seems to be way over the top.  Or maybe its the strange relationship between teacher and student that doesn't seem quite plausible.  I also didn't quite like how fast Zoey's friends seemed to drop her after the discovered she had been lying.   Seems second chances aren't given in the House of Night.   I did enjoy the development of Aphrodite's character and what might actually be a friendship between Zoey and her.  I also liked the strength Zoey is showing.   Her powers would be a lot for any teenager to handle and think so far she's doing a understandable job taking it all in stride.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Description: One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from Inkheart, and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of the book, landing in their living room. suddenly, Meggie's in the middle of the kind of adventure she thought only took place in fairy tales. Somehow she must master the magic that has conjured up this nightmare. Can she change the course of the story that has changed her life forever?

This book had such potential, but I really felt like it was all over the place. I expected to just devour this book. Instead it took me 3 days to read once I finally got started. I never felt really afraid of the villain Capricorn, at least as not as much as I felt I should be. I know its a children's book, but it felt like the author didn't want to you to feel much of anything for the characters. The characters I felt were developed the most were the secondary characters Basta and Dustfinger. The plot was an excellent idea, but if felt like the author wondered how to make the book longer with very little in the way of substance. The best part was the last 100 pages or so. There is finally felt like something was being accomplished. It was there the book redeemed itself. I will probably continue to read the series, but only because I want to know what happens next, not because it was a fantastic read.


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