Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Reckoning

"Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope." -From

I loved Kelley Armstrong before she started writing Young Adult, and I love her even more now. This series is by far one of my favorites and I can't wait for the third book to come out.

By the way, does anyone know if this is the final book in a trilogy, or just the third book in a series? I guess I always assumed it was just a trilogy, but now that I think about it, I'm not entirely sure if I actually read that somewhere or if my mind just came to its own conclusions.

This title will be released on April 27, 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fade Out by Rachel Caine

"Without the evil vampire Bishop ruling over the town of Morganville, the resident vampires have made major concessions to the human population. With their newfound freedoms, Claire Danvers and her friends are almost starting to feel comfortable again...

Now Claire can actually concentrate on her studies, and her friend Eve joins the local theatre company. But when one of Eve's castmates goes missing after starting work on a short documentary, Eve suspects the worst. Claire and Eve soon realize that this film project, whose subject is the vampires themselves, is a whole lot bigger-and way more dangerous-than anyone suspected." -From the back

Overall: 4/5

For being such a long-winded story (and I mean that in the nicest way possible), Caine has done a fantastic job of holding readers' attention. A chronic problem with YA book series that last more than five or so books is that, you always seem to come to a point where the story just seems to keep repeating itself. Not so, with the Morganville series. She continually twists this story into directions I never would have foreseen.

Her characters are well-developed and surprisingly distinguishable from each other, each carrying their own voice loud and clear. I could see Eve being my own best friend and easily see myself falling for Shane and/or Michael, though I could do without a few certain other characters.

Characters: 5/5

Plot: 4/5

Writing: 4/5

Ending: 4/5

Cover: 4/5

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series, which, by the way, already has its cover out:

I can't decide if I love these covers, or if they remind me from something out of the early 90s. What do you think?

You can see where the cover designs changed between the 3rd and the 4th books. Unfortunately, I think I like the original style the best. It looks less 90s-ish. Oh well. The new design is pretty good too. Nice font, very dramatic.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

"For Zaria Tourmaline, the three years without her mother and brother have been lonely ones, living with a cold and distant guardian while she completes her education. Just as she is ready to join the world of adult fairies and genies, she finds a spellbook written entirely in her mother’s hand. But this treasured object is not safe from a new enemy, a fairy with more power than Zaria ever dreamed existed. Only among the humans–who must never know fairies and genies exist–can Zaria hide the spellbook; but hidden magic, it turns out, can expose a fairy in ways she never thought possible." -from

Overall: 3.5/5

After the past couple years of filling my mind with O.R. Melling, Holly Black, Melissa Marr and the like, it was hard for me to get back into the idea of fairies being cute and helpful creatures with pretty wings and magic wands. Because of this, it took me a little time to get into the story.

I did, though. Get into the story, I mean. Hanley managed to take what seemed to be an over-done and cliched idea and turn it into an entirely new world that was impressively detailed. You can just tell how much time and thought was put into this story, probably before there were even words on the page.

It was cute and fun, but also dealt with a lot of very real moral dilemmas. Where's the line between doing what you've always been told is right, and doing what you personally believe is right?

It was a very enjoyable book, but clearly meant for someone more in their pre-teen/middle school years. I would highly recommend it to any tweens out there.

Characters: 4/5

Plot: 4/5

Writing: 3/5

Ending: 3/5

Cover: 2/5

Thursday, December 24, 2009

*Shadow* fascination

I, as much as anyone, understand the lure of a dark and mysterious title that hints at danger and intrigue, especially when dealing with a YA paranormal book. But this is starting to get a little ridiculous:

Shadowland by Alyson Noel
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Shadow of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Shadow Mirror by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Shadow by Jenny Moss

Anyone else seeing a pattern here?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Radiant Shadows

"Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?"


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fire By Kristin Cashore

"Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story." -From

Overall: 5/5

My expectations for this book weren't particularly high. I wasn't overly impressed with Cashore's first book, Graceling, and expected this one to be much the same. But excitement about it's release among other respected YA bloggers caught on, and I found myself with this book in my hands.

And I'm so glad I did. I loved this book! It was fun, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. The characters stole my breath away and I'm simply stunned with the completely original and interesting world that Cashore has managed to create within these pages. I stayed up way late into the night reading this one.

The only complaint that I have about this book is that the plot seemed almost too busy at points. There were a couple different key villains with different motives and intentions, and sometimes it was a struggle to keep them straight.

Still, it was an excellently told story that has completely renewed my faith in Kristin Cashore. I look forward to her next one.

Characters: 5/5

Plot: 4/5

Writing: 4/5

Ending: 5/5

Cover: 4/5

Friday, December 18, 2009

Going Bovine By Libba Bray

"When Cameron, a high-school slacker, finds out he has fatal mad cow disease, he sets out on an epic quest to find a cure and maybe save the world, too. Accompanied by his friends -- Gonzo, a dwarf, and Balder, a Viking god disguised as a long-suffering yard gnome (don't ask) -- Cameron faces an increasingly bizarre series of misadventures involving a punk angel, New Orleans jazz musicians, and snow globes in this very postmodern retelling of Don Quixote."

Overall: 5/5

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but the first time I heard about this book, I thought it was a joke. I had read an interview that a favorite book-blog did with Libbab Bray and one of the questions was "What's coming next?" (This was just after the release of the third and final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy).

This was her answer:

"My next book is called GOING BOVINE. It's an absurdist, dark comedy about Cameron, a sixteen-year-old guy with mad cow disease, who goes on a road trip with his friend, Gonzo, a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf, and a talking yard gnome named Balder who wants to be a Viking hero. They are sometimes joined by a punk rock angel named Dulcie who has a propensity for spray-painting her wings and a love of microwave popcorn. You know, the usual."

Can you blame me for thinking it was just a really cool way of saying "I have no idea"? I mean, honestly, who writes books like that?

Libba Bray, apparently.

Because that is exactly what this book is about. And it was the best freakin' book I've read all year. From the first couple paragraphs on the first page, this book is laugh-out (very) -loud funny. The whole thing is downright hilarious. Libba Bray has a way of writing that turns even the most mundane of moments into something amazing.

But apart from just being funny, it's moving. I almost cried twice while reading this book. I never cry at books or movies or anything like that. But this almost did it.

One of the key symptoms of mad cow disease is hallucination, so there's always the question of how much of the story is real, and how much is just Cameron's mind in its last struggle for control. I got so caught up in Cameron's adventures and the beautiful writing, and of trying to connect all the dots in the story.
Another thing about this book that was a first: The average book that I read takes between three days to a week, depending on the length of the book and how busy my schedule is. This one took me almost two full weeks to read. Not because it was slow and I just couldn't keep myself awake, but because it was such an intense story that I could only read it bits at a time.

I realize that at this point I'm probably just rambling, but I can't say enough good things about this book.

If you haven't read it, you need to. Put it at the top of your to-read pile. You won't regret it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


You know how sometimes you just get that craving for a certain book? One that you've already read, I mean.

I never used to. It used to be that once I was done with a book, I was done, no matter how good it was. Those are days of the past. Re-reads make up about a fifth of my bookshelf space now, and not all of them are books that I particularly loved the first time around. Lots of them are, but some are just ones that, even though they weren't my favorite book, they still stuck in my mind somehow until I finally broke down and re-retrieved them from the library.

Part of me still hates re-reading books though. Mostly the part that thinks there are so many books out there that I still haven't read. Why waste time on a story that you already know when you could be using that time for a completely new one, right?

But this is not true. I've found that reading a book for the second time allows you to go deeper into the story. Since you already know what happens, you can focus on other things, including little hints the author leaves about future plot twists that you see the second time around. You can also bypass previous expectations because you already know what to expect, and actually find the book more enjoyable.

Like Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, for example. The first time I read this book, I was sorely disappointed with it. I think a lot of it was that I had such high expectations for the book, and not just in quality. I had expectations for how the story was going to go, how the male lead was going to act, and how the story was going to end. The story met none of these expectations, and I think I was so focused on the story that wasn't being told that I forgot to focus on the story that was.

So when, for some unknown reason, I started itching to the read the book again, I thought I would skip around the pages a lot. You know, satisfying the itch without really delving into the disappointing book again.

And then I found myself hooked from page one. It was like I was reading an entirely different story, and a really great one at that. I loved it! It was funny, action-packed, and I completely fell for Lucius. What I probably would have originally given an overall rating of 3/5 has turned into a 5/5, hands down.

This seems pretty similar to when I read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, too. I remember reading somewhere that Meyer asked people to read the book twice becasue the first time around, the only thing people can focus on is the complete lack of Edward in the story. Now New Moon is my favorite of all four books. How many people do you know that can say that?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dark Divine

"Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul."

I'm so excited that this book is finally about to come out! Despain had posted the first chapter on her website a while back (or maybe it was just an excerpt, I don't remember) and I completely fell in love with the story just from the little tidbit I had been given. But that was so long ago and I've been waiting and waiting for it to come out so that I can finally read the rest.

And isn't the cover just gorgeous?

December 22 is the release date, so just a couple more weeks!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The "_______ from Hell" Anthologies

I don't really like short stories that much. I think that, for the most part, they are just a waste of a really good idea. Forty pages is not enough of a story to make you actually care about the characters or fall in love with the love interest (which is the best part, of course :P ). It gives you just enough time to know what's going on, then ends it abruptly.

But then, anthologies written by some of my favorite authors started coming out. Namely, the ____ from Hell ones (Ex: Prom Nights from Hell, Vacations from Hell, Dates from Hell, ect.), but others too (Unbound, Immortal, Eternal Kiss, ect.). Despite my lack of interest in short stories, I've read a number of these anthologies out of loyalty to these loved authors. But I still don't like short stories much more than I did when I started.

And they just keep coming. Seriously, when will they finally stop?

Unfortunately, I will still probably read them as long as there's an author that I love taking part. Which is my own problem, so I should probably stop complaining.

Does anyone else feel this way, or is it just me?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy By Kim Harrison

"My name is Madison Avery, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I’m there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison’s prom was killer—literally. For some reason she’s been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she’s stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn’t know why the dark reaper is after her, but she’s not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison’s ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff."

Overall: 3.5/5

I've never read Kim Harrison before, but I've heard good things about her books and I love her choice of genre. So of course when I hear that Harrison is writing a YA book, I'm pretty excited. I read the short story that she did in Prom Nights From Hell so I at least had the background for the story (I definitely reccomend that you read the short story before the book. It doesn't clearly state in the book that there is a back-story, but other reviewers who figured it out the hard way were nice enough to share the little hint with the rest of us. It made the story much less confusing).

I was a little discouraged when The Story Siren, who I trust for almost all things YA, gave the book only 2 stars out of five. I was also a little hesitant when I saw the book had only 232 pages (I usually don't pick up anything under 300 pages just because, anything less and I feel like you don't get to know the characters well enough before the story is finished).

Fortunately, I decided to read it anyway. It surpassed my expectations-which, granted, weren't terribly high-and turned out to be a very well-thought and action-packed story. Still not quite as good as I would have thought from such a highly-acclaimed author, but worth the read.

Characters: 3/5

Plot: 5/5

Writing: 3.5/5

Ending: 4/5

Cover: 5/5

Devil's Kiss By Sarwat Chadda

"As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy.

Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.

But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined."
Overall: 4/5

When I first read the front flap on this book, I thought it would be good, but not spectacular. The idea is original, but for some reason I didn't expect it to really live up to its potential. This feeling could easily be chalked up to how little I've heard about it. Usually if a book is incredible, then by the time I finally get my hands on it, I'd have heard plenty of great things about it. Not so, with this one. So I wasn't expecting how very much I liked it.

Billi instantly wormed her way into my heart as a strong but also very human female protaganist. Her emotions were real and I was honestly surprised at how well Chadda was able to portray her.

I only wish that he had gone deeper into Kay's character. I always love a mysterious guy, but only so long as the mystery eventually, not necessarily gets solved, but at least becomes less mysterious.
Great ideas, great action, and fabulous debut from Sarwat Chadda!
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Ending: 3/5
Cover: 3.5/5

In the Beginning...

Honestly, I'm a little nervous. I've never done a book blog before and I'm not entirely sure how this is going to play out. But feel free to tell me how you think it's going...