Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Sixth Gun: Book 1 -Cold Dead Fingers by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt

Becky becomes the recipient of a legacy that her step father never intended for her when she picks up the Sixth Gun, a gun that allows the owner peeks of the future they are heading towards. Unfortunately there are several other people on the hunt for this gun including it's original owner General Oliander Bedford Hume, recently brought back from the grave by his former compatriots upon his wife's orders and Drake a man who was once part of the General's pack.

I had heard some amazing reviews about this graphic novel so when I was able to get my hands on it, I decided it was a must. It's a great mix of western and paranormal/horror and this volume collects the first six issues. This volume was definitely all about the chase. Drake takes Becky on the run (even though really he is following Becky's visions). I was never sure if Drake's intentions were entirely honorable much like Becky isn't sure either. Right now Drake is making a phenomenal antihero and I think it will be interesting to see if he stays on what looks like a good path or ends up becoming more of a villain.

I love the different creatures that are run into, and the different cultures they come from including the birds and the hanging tree. I found the different abilities that the guns had and the peek we get at their history interesting. I am definitely hoping that there will be a more in depth look at their history in a future volume.

The only negative thing I'll say is that right now Becky kind of feels a little bit damsel in distress. It does seem like she is trying to step up and take responsibility for herself but keeps getting into trouble. She never saves herself and i would like it if just once she could be saved by herself instead of Drake or coincidence. Since this is only the first six issues hopefully she will grow a little more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Missy is a self injurer and whenever things are too much to handle she cuts herself with a razor. One night after a terrible party where she is exposed to the entire school, Missy cuts too deeply. In comes Death offering her the job of War the red horsemen of the Apocalypse. Missy takes the job and finds herself in an internal battle with the spirit of War and with herself.

At times Missy was very difficult to relate to. Understanding the impulse to injure yourself as a way of feeling control is difficult to understand, particularly since as a general rule people fear pain. I think that writing about a cutter is just more difficult. I did think that the author did a good job of showing the kind of alienation and the huge emotions that she was experiencing both before and after everyone knew what Missy was doing.

I absolutely loved the interactions between all of the Horsemen, it was nice to see Famine again although I wish they had let us know earlier that she retired from life b/c I was really confused trying to remember what happened. I thought Pestilence was scary in a very cool way. I am hoping that the next book is about him I really love how Missy's powers are all about passion, not just literal war and arguing; and again seeing how Missy was able to use her powers to help not just harm was pretty cool.

I think that so far this series is doing a great job. While they are obviously issue books they don't feel like issue books because of the fantasy component of the Horsemen. I also think this series works well to bring a series of issues to a group of kids that wouldn't necessarily read "issue" books.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne has a darker half that protects her and frightens her. As time goes on it is becoming more and more difficult for her to control and making it harder for her to keep a job. One night she is forced to run from her employers home and is hit by Griffin King a Duke who sees her as one of his own; people with abilities. He takes her in and soon learns that Finley has an interesting and unexpected connection to him. Finley joins Griff, and his friends Emily, Sam and Jasper on the hunt for The Machinist, a criminal who is managing to make machines turn against people.

I absolutely adored this book for so many reasons. Being the book geek that I am, I always love it when a book finds a way to connect with other books so I was completely amused and intrigued by the connections drawn to Jekyll and Hyde and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

I loved how the two parts of Finley become integrated over the course of the book. I liked watching her become stronger and more finely tied together. However I still loved her split parts as well, particulalry how part of her was attracted to Griff and the other part was attracted to Jack Dandy. (It's the first love triangle in a long time that has annoyed me beyond belief.) I also found Jack Dandy extremely interesting. He was a criminal beyond a doubt but he was an interesting mix of commoner and smart business man. I definitely think he is someone who makes it a point to allow others to underestimate him and I really hope that he is involved in the next book even though they will be leaving England for it. I also enjoyed watching Sam come to terms with himself and the changes that Emily made to save his life. I am hoping that in the next book he will continue to grow and become a little bit smarter. While I don't expect his temper to entirely disappear, I am hoping that he continues to think about things more. My biggest complaint about the book was the lack of information on Jasper so I am very excited to see that the next book in the series is going to focus on him and that was all resolved.

I also really liked how The Machinist tied into Griff's groups' past and I was very intrigued by how he was able to get the robots to work. While for the most part the story was anything but predictable there was one point regarding what the Machinist was planning where I found myself getting frustrated. Someone as smart as Emily is supposed to be should have figured out what was going on a few pages earlier. I did find it a little bit irritating that she had to wait for Griffin to come to the lab and figure out what was going on. I wanted her, Finley and Sam to be a little bit more independent sometimes; but I'm hoping over the course of the series the characters will continue to grow and learn to stand on their own.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

This is a prequel to the Girl in the Steel Corset, which I have an e-galley of and will be posting a review of tomorrow. I was able to get it free for my kindle from amazon. Prior to reading this I had thought that the whole short story on amazon thing for free was frustrating, because it only gave you a taste. Now I am thinking of it as more as knowing whether the book(s) it's based on is worth spending money on.

This introduces the main character of the Girl in the Steel Corset and lets us know how she is unique and how she got the position she is working at in the beginning of the next book. It was a short story that was definitely interesting and now I can't wait to read the book. It also gave me a really clear concept of the world that Finley lives in, a mix of technology, supernatural and Victorian London. Finley was definitely an interesting character and I'm hoping that Phoebe and her mother also make an appearance in the next book.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tricked by Alex Robinson

In this graphic novel we follow the lives of six unconnected characters who will eventually become connected by a horrible act of violence. Before the rockstar, temp, waitress, daughter, crank and autograph forger come together the reader gets to know them a bit and see how relationships begin and how events conspire to put them all in the same place on one fateful night.

I admit a huge part of why I read this book is that is has a fabulous cover, so I had to find the version of the cover I had which is why I ended up pulling this from amazon. I love the fact that it looks like a tape, although I find myself wondering if some people would even recognize a tape at this point. I saw the book as part of a display at the library and immediately felt a need to check it out. The plot description didn't really go with the cover for me until after I read it. Then I kind of saw each character's chapters as different sections of a mix tape and then it kind of all came together for me.

I really enjoyed watching the relationships that developed especially Ray and Lily, Pheobe and her father and Caprice's two relationship debacles. (Also a huge shout out to Caprice's boss Frank I believe it was who told off Caprice's ex in such a phenomenal and kick butt way without ever being an overt dick.) There are definitely times when I wanted to strangle Caprice too. I think she was the character that I liked the most because she made me the most crazy, although both of her bosses neither of which was one of the characters being followed were close seconds.

The graphic novel counts down as a way of building suspense although you kind of know from the description that something big is going to happen. I thought it was a decent way to build suspense and I kind of kick myself b/c I assumed that the obvious was what was going to happen and that certainly wasn't the case. (Was also kind of happy that it was my least favorite character that was involved in the violent incident.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

It's been a couple of days since I finished this and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel. I've always loved any kind of a twist on a fairy tale, and the idea of Sleeping Beauty and vampires sounded like it would be entertaining. When I found out it was choose your own adventure I was a little unsure because I read this on the kindle and I wasn't too sure about how that would flow on a kindle, particularly since it was a transfered document rather then a regular e-book.

I liked the twist on the evil fairy being a vampire queen instead. I liked Lucy even though at times she made me nuts. I loved that when you were offered choices of what to do next, Lucy's rationale was explained. She wanted to this because.... or the other due to.....

I hated that regardless of what path you took, the ending was the same. I remember chose your own adventure being about how you could get all of these different outcomes. I also found it kind of silly that they listed all the different combinations at the end. I would have liked to figure it out on my own. I also did have some difficulty manuevering on the kindle. I think in the end this book was kind of half and half for me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

The Abused Werewolf Support Group is about a boy named Toby who wakes up in a Dingo pen one morning. As this isn’t typical behavior on his part, his mother takes him for all kinds of tests. Then one day a boy and a priest show up at his door telling Toby and his mother that he is a werewolf. At first Toby doesn’t believe anything they tell him and thinks the whole thing is a crazy practical joke. Then Toby is kidnapped for a werewolf fighting pit and he slowly comes to realize that maybe he is in fact a werewolf.

When I first started reading this I was super excited and quickly became very confused. I thought this was going to be Rueben’s side of the story from The Reformed Vampire Support Group. Then as I read on I kind of realized that that definitely was not the case and had to kind of reorient my expectations.

Once I wrapped my head around the fact that this was Toby’s story and not Rueben’s I was able to enjoy it. Toby is a funny and interesting kid whose creativity and sense of adventure can often get him into way too much trouble. I really liked his character (but maybe that’s cause he reminds me of my fiancĂ© with the crazy experiments). He makes a lot of bad decisions and lets himself get talked into things by Fergus way too easily. I have to say that I loved Toby’s ingenuity. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to come up with next. Some of the things he was able to build were just incredible and there was a part of me that was tempted to go online and see if some of the science experiments (for lack of a better term) would really work.

The story was definitely interesting and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I also loved getting to find out what was going on with the crew from the Reformed Vampire Support Group although there was a lack of Dave I found disappointing. I also thought the ending was very creative. I always love stories that are kind of written as a “warning”. For some reason I just find it very entertaining and I like the reassurances Toby gave, that if help was needed they would find you.

My only other complaint about this book was that there was too much tell rather then show. Toby is telling the story in retrospect and because of that he would constantly tell you how he would never behave this way now and the different kinds of decisions that he would make now. I wish the author had let us see a little more clearly the life Toby was living after his adventures, so that we could see for ourselves how he was different and not have to be told that Toby no longer takes crazy risks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn

Celia West is the daughter of Captain Olympiad and Spark, Commerce City's two greatest superheroes. Unfortunately she has no powers and is totally normal, unless you count her ability to remain calm in the face of constant kidnapping. Now her parents greatest foe The Destructor is on trial and she is the forensic accountant assigned to find his assets. Her relationship with her parents has always been strained AT BEST, the events that follow can bring them together or take them apart.

As soon as I saw the cover of this book I knew it was for me. I recently discovered a love for Carrie Vaughn and I've always adored old school comics. This dealt with the realities of being related to a super hero and how it can hurt the family dynamic. Celia's pain was often palpable and it was impressive how she pulled herself out of her own drama and grew into a strong woman.

I do admit that the mystery was easy to solve. I knew who was committing the crimes, but the impetus behind it and how it related to the trial and to the past was very unexpected (I'm hoping this is vague enough not to give anything away.) I was so excited at how everything tied together at the end.

***Spoiler***
There was one thing that kind of bugged me. Sometimes it seemed like Celia was developing powers and other times it seemed like she was picking up Dr. Mentis' powers. I think you're supposed to infer that her power is more of a mental one but I'm just not sure and it was driving me insane. I want it confirmed!
***End Spoiler***

I loved who Celia ended up with. I did see it coming but not in a "of course that's going to happen kind of way" more in the "I hope that happens kind of way." They were prefect for each other.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2) by Holly Black

The new year starts and Cassel is still trying to be relatively good but his family just keeps getting him into more and more trouble. Especially when Phil gets murdered and the feds try and draft Cassel into a special program for worker teens. Lila is still cursed to love him and they were trying to stay away from each other but she's at school with Cassel, which is just more complications.

I really liked this and I'm not entirely sure how to say why. Cassel tries to do the right thing but thinks that he is a bad person, and I think a lot of times as a teenager I kind of felt that way. It's not that you are intentionally trying to hurt anyone or do bad things, it's that you feel like life leaves you between to impossible choices and neither one is a great option.

The mystery is definitely not as easy to solve as I thought it would be. Early into the book I totally thought I had figured out who had killed Phil. I didn't think there was any other choice and was mildly annoyed that it was so easy to figure out. I was wrong and it was a character I hadn't even really thought about because the were not as heavily featured in this book as the previous one (although if I hadn't been so wrapped up in who I thought it was I might have thought about it.)

I still love the world that Cassel lives in. The curseworkers rights movement harkens back to the civil rights movement of the sixties and I think that Holly Black handles it well. The mobsters remind of me of those old fifties movies or Dick Tracey even though it could be related to something newer. Maybe my frame of reference is just screwy.

A lot of things felt like they wrapped up nicely here. It doesn't really need anymore, but I'm still hoping that there will be a third book because I really really enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts

I picked this book up off the shelf over a month ago at this point. When I finally started it I couldn't entirely remember why I picked it up , but I know that I am happy that I did. When Zee starts her new school she can't find anyone who looks interesting until she meets Relly. Relly has his own band and needs a bassist and he thinks Zee is the perfect fit. The four play ghost metal a sound so big you can hear the silence in it. Then Zee finds out that there is more to Relly, herself and their band than meets the eye.

The prose of this book was extremely lyrical and poetic. It just sounded gorgeous and I loved the different places that Zee went to come up with lyrics for the band. I just felt like the whole book had a gorgeous sound to it, which is always appropriate for a book about music.

I loved the twist in the book. I know it was unexpected but I thought that that was what made it work. This is one of the first paranormal books where a lot of explanation about what is going on why people have certain abilities was left out, but to be honest it didn't feel necessary. I didn't miss it the way I normally do. The book felt full all on it's own.

The music was enough for me. I really enjoyed it and honestly I am not entirely sure I can explain why.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Jill loses a major fencing tournament by half a second, and it completely throws her. She goes on vacation to the Bahamas with her family and spends a lot of time trying to figure out if she wants to continue fencing, whether she can handle not winning and if it's worth it. Then she finds a broken piece of a sword, which transports her back in time to Captain Cooper's ship and becomes a member of her pirate crew who is currently embroiled in a feud over the very sword Jill found.


This book was much slower then I thought it would be. I expected that since this was a fantasy/pirate adventure it would mile a minute action, however that wasn't how it was at all, and honestly it worked. There were definitely pockets of adventure but a lot of time was spent on everyday maintenance of the ship and being in Jill's head while she tried to figure out what to do. I would say that this was a historical fiction book with a light touch of magic/fantasy.

I am a sucker for historical detail so I was very interested to learn about Jill's adjustment to being on ship. The kinds of chores that she had to do and how pirate law worked and how pirate raids could actually be kind of nothing sometimes were all really interesting to me. I was glad to find out in the afterward that she did a ton of research.

There was a light romance here as well and I was super excited that a.) it was not a triangle and b.) it wasn't the focus of the story. It was never all about the guy and the romance aspect I think it was more about showing that Jill was more a part of the crew then she thought she was. It's been a while since I've read any YA novel in any genre where the romantic aspects didn't feel like they were taking over the story.

The curse and the supernatural elements of the story were definitely interesting and the story regarding the swords creation and how it seemed to end were also aspects of the story that I really enjoyed. The story of the swords original forging was creepy. The idea of what some people are willing to do for power and to get ahead is generally terrifying to me though so I don't know how much of the credit goes to the story and how much goes to my own mind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May in Review

So I haven't had a chance to read as much as I've wanted to this month and I still lose the thread of posting but I figure it could be worse. Challenge-wise I am pretty much where I was last month but I've been reading a ton on my kindle so I kind of wish I had signed up for the e-books challenge.

Here's this month's books and where they came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read list. All reviews are forthcoming:

1. Excaliber The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee & Sam Hart (Illustrator) (library book)
2. The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinx (e book from netgalley)
3. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan (e book from netgalley)
4. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (ebook from amazon)
5. Tricked by Alex Robinson (library book)
6. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (ebook from netgalley)

What did you read in May?

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie, Jenna and Cal go to England to stay with Sophie's father so that she can learn how to control her powers and make an informed decision about going through the removal. The Eye is still after Sophie and they still seem to be using Archer to do it. Or are they?

I still really like Sophie. She is still sarcastic and fun and watching her learn about her father and what he's like is definitely interesting. He doesn't come across as someone who would keep such a huge secret from Sophie as what she was and I do wish we had gotten some insigth into the decision.

I will say that I am extremely sick of the whole love triangle thing in YA. Archer and Sophie are star-crossed lovers. Does Cal really need to be in love with Sophie? Was it really necessary? I just felt like the whole star corssed lovers thing was enough especially when you include the developing relationship with her dad and the politics of the council. I'm also just kind of over Archer as a whole. He didn't feel as developed in this book as he did in the last and I was honestly just getting sick of him.

The Committee itself came across as interesting and dangerous. There seemed to be an extreme lack of checks and balances in the structure and I could feel both Sophie and her father's frustations with it.

The book ends on a cliffhanger and in a way that almost makes me wonder if it's a complete book or a just a bridge to a third volume. Enough happens that it definitely works as a full book, but I feel like too much happens too. It doesn't feel like it has it's own independent story because none of the plot threads feels entirely resolved (even though one kind of is.) For some reason this whole thing just felt unfinished to me and as of right now I just can't shake that feeling.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stolen: A letter to my captor by Lucy Christopher

It took me a long time to read this book but that had a lot more to do with the other stuff I had going on then the actual content of the book. Gemma was abducted from the Bangkok airport by Ty. Ty loves her and thinks that he is helping her; taking her away from people who aren't looking out for her best interests and a place that is strangling her. This book is a letter to Ty where she recounts their days together and tries to figure out how she feels about him.

The writing style is just gorgeous. Everything sounds just write and kind of beautiful, even the horrible things. The descriptions have almost a poetic quality to them. The landscape is terrible and it's what keeps Gemma in her prison but you can still feel the beauty and stillness of it. How there are hidden gems within the angry desert.

Ty is an interesting character. You know he's wrong but you can't help feeling bad for him. He means well but it's obvious that no he's never really had people with him or taking care of him, so he doesn't realize he's going about everything entirely the wrong way.

It's interesting to see how Gemma's feelings change for Ty over time. She starts out hating him and wanting nothing but to leave. While she never really stops wanting to leave, truthfully I think that she sees him for who he is. Someone that wanted to help her and just went about it the wrong way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abduction! by Peg Kehret

So this is definitely not a book I would normally have read. I read it for work and it's the last of the must reads for work for a little while. I had to read this as part of my job as a teen librarian but I definitely think it skews younger.

Matt lives with his mom and his sister Bonnie. Bonnie meets him everyday right after school and they take the bus home together. Until one day Matt isn't there. The tale that follows is sad and scary but packed with a lot of important information.

None of the charaters is very deep in this book. Everyone is there to tell their part of the story. The story is an important one. It's important to see how Matt was tricked and how many people saw something and didn't really realize what was going on. There is also a good description of the Amber Alert process and what goes into looking for a missing child.

This book is most definitely a cautionary tale for younger kids. There is a lot of good information here and I think that it's a good reminder to adults that children can't always take care of themselves and that even the strongest precautions sometimes aren't enough. It's also a good reminder to children to always be aware of what's going on, to ask for help and to never go with strangers

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

At the start of Scott's first year of high school he is nervous but calm because he has his three best friends with him. Then he finds out his mother is pregnant, his older brother moves back home, his group of friends desintigrates and he finds himself hanging out with totally different people then whom he would have thought of as friends. Over the course of the year he ends up on student council, writing sports reviews for the paper and working on the stage crew for the school musical all trying to get the attention of one girl. All of this is wrapped around the book he is keeping (it's not a diary) with tips and lists for his future siblings high school days.

I really loved this book. It's another one that I had to read for work but I'm super excited about this one (we'll see how we feel after reading multiple times but for now it was pretty damn awesome.) Scott is a funny, smart and entertaining protagonist. He changes a lot both physically and mentally over the course of the year. He becomes stronger and observant. The things he says to both Mouth after what happens (being vague, no spoilers) and his brother are heartfelt, and wise and the kind of things that everyone needs to hear sometimes.

In the beginning of the story he considers himself someone who is always on the sidelines, but over the course of the book you see him stand up for Mouth, Lee and get Wesley's back. But Scott never goes too far, once the fight is over, he assumes it's done. He doesn't run around trying to get revenge or pick on the little guy.

I loved his english clash and vaguely remember having a similar experience once year. His spanish class on the other hand was the stuff of nightmares and had me constantly laughing. The lists and letters he writes his future sibling are great. Mostly they are funny and goofy and just a way to cope with both high school and his mother's pregnancy. But sometimes they also become deeper and the stuff of real meaning you. Although sometimes I did wonder at what point in his life his sibling would get this book and would the name calling be an issue.

All in all it was an enjoyable read and I'm sorry I never got to it sooner.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil

This was another read for work which is why the review is so light. I know I need to read this again so I wasn't willing to go too in depth in case I honestly get sick of it.

Sophie see's a woman in a window at school and drags two of her friends. The women needs help solving a twenty year old mystery that may reunite her with her estranged daughter. In addition to the mystery there are boy problems, a Great Expectations skit and an evil deacon.

This was a cute little mystery. There wasn't anything super exciting about it. If you think about it enough a couple chapters in and you can figure out who dunnit. The girls are sweet and likable as are many of the other characters (except the bad guy of course.)

My one complaint is that there was math. The girls need to solve a series of puzzles and the whole thing leads to some plane geometry. Oh there were vicious vicious flashbacks. I was not happy.

There is also a slightly religious aspect to the entire thing, however it's mostly from a historical perspective and no one's being beat over the head with anything. All of the parts discussed end up being relevent to the story.

Monday, May 2, 2011

March & April in Review

So I've been really really really bad about posting these last two months and at the end of March I didn't even have time to do a review post, so I'm catching up on that now and hopefully I'll be back to posting more then once a week soon.

I knew derby was going to kill me and it definitely did. The league I belong to isn't bouting over July and August because the place where we play gets dangerously hot, so we stacked them a little bit now and in the fall. This means that we've had tons of meetings, trainings and more bouts then usual.

Challenge-wise I haven't done so great either. I had put a bunch of library books on reserve a looooong time ago and didn't realize that they were all being released at more or less the same time so they all came at once and I was just killing myself trying to read them and get them returned sort of, almost, not really even close to on time. (I still have two left to be quite honest.) There were a few things I read just cause the teens kept asking me if I had read them so I kind of figured I better get my butt in gear and read them. Hence my off the shelf challenge and my printz honor/award challenge are a little bit behind right now. My YA historical fiction challenge on the other hand is almost done so YAY.

I also want to mention that for the first time ever I won a book from another blogger. I'm so excited, cause I used to feel that I was the kind of person who never won anything but I've been really lucky lately. I won a copy of Lost and Found: Three by Sean Tan from Presenting Lenore. Hopefully I can review it soon.

Here's this month's books and where they came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read list. Some reviews are forthcoming:

March
1. Jane Goes Batty by Thomas Michael Ford (library book)
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (off the shelf, signed Christmas present from my boss, Printz award)
3. The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle (library book, Pura Belpre award winner)
4. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell (brought it back from ALA Midwinter conference for me)
5. A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness (borrowed from a friend who insisted I read it and I'm glad I did)
6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (library book)
7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (library book)
8. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (library book)
9. Al Capone Shines my Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (library book, read for work)
10. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (library book)
11. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (library book)
12. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (library book, read for work)

April
1. The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Bell (library book, read for work)
2. Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar (library book, read for work)
3. Abduction! by Peg Kehret (library book, read for work)
4. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher (library book, Printz honor book)
5. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (library book)
6. Steel by Carrie Vaughn (library book)
7. Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts (library book)
8. Red Glove by Holly Black (library book)
9. After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn (library book)

Hopefully I'll do better this month. What did you read in March & April?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

This is a great gross out read for tween and young teen boys. Gregor is babysitting his 2 year old sister Boots when they get sucked into Underland, a place below New York City that is settled by humans and some incredible speaking animals including but not limited too giant rats, cockraoches, spiders and bats. At first all Gregor can think of is getting home, but then he realizes his dad is a prisoner of the rats and that he may be able to free him by fulfilling an old prophecy.

This book was a great quick paced adventure. There is tons of cool, guy appealing gross out here (did I mention the talking GIANT cockroaches). There are quick escapes, massive battles and last minute saves. There is also a lot of death, betrayal and sadness here as well. There are also politics and intriuge here as well.

This is one of the first of several books I had to read for work that I know I will be reading inside and out and over and over this summer. Hence the short review, I am trying to avoid burning myself out. As I read it again I may add more to the review. Once the summer's over (and I know it wont confuse me) I think I want to read the rest of the series.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper follows two girsl, Willa and Paxton living in a small town of Walls of Water, North Carolina. Both girls grew up in town, Willa was the class joker (although she hid it until the very end) and Paxton was miss popularity. Willa's family was once part of the town's elite, however in her grandmother's day they moved out and she was working as a maid in her friends homes. Paxton is living in her parents house doing the social butterfly stuff her mom always wanted and restoring the Blue Ridge Madam, the Jackson family home. Willa owns a small store in town and is trying to fit her life into the box that she thinks her family would find appropriate. Neither woman is happy, then a body is unearthed at the Blue Ridge Madam and both girls find a way to break out of the shell's they are in and about their families pasts.

Just like other books by Sarah Addison Allen you get two watch two wonderful characters fall in love an come into their own. Actually three this time because Paxton's brother Colin also figures himself out.

I really liked getting to see Paxton and Waverly develop a friendship. I also liked hearing Paxton's grandmother tell them the story of her and Georgie's past. She did a good job with it. Sometimes when people tell and don't show in books it can get boring but I found the story just as captivating. (Although I did appreciate getting to be shown it too.)

There was less magic in this book then in previous books. There was also just something about the ambiance of this book that was a little different. The magic floating around was less helpful and a little bit more malicious.

I am something of a geek and I was super excited to see Claire Waverly from Garden Spells make an appearance. Just like every other book by Sarah Addison Allen, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself charmed by the characters and locale.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

John has been living on Earth with his Cepan Henri since he was 5 years old. Him and Henri have lived moved all over the United States in an effort to stay hidden. His home planet Lorien was destroyed by the Mogadorians and Alex and eight other children are hidden all across the planet Earth until the powers they are supposed to be developing at puberty make an appearance and they can go after the Mogadorians. The Mogadorians are also on Earth, hunting the nine in number order to get around a protective charm that was placed on the children and to gauge whether or not they can take over the Earth as well. At the opening of the book John has just had to move again and now knows that the first three are dead. They move to a little town called Paradise, Ohio where for the first time John starts making friends.

The best thing this book has going for it is that is action packed. The pace is quick and never stays in one place for long. It's all developing powers, fighting and giant battles. It definitely keeps you entertained.

The background on Lorien and the kind of planet it was and what society was like was interesting. The flashbacks of both the planets destruction and the scraps of John's life were really interesting. I also like learning about how the history of Lorien and the history of Earth have intersected. However I couldn't help but think that some of the things about the planet sounded familiar as if they had been pulled from other stories, books, televisions shows, movies etc.

My other source of contention was the relationship between Sarah and John. It was a sweet relationship, it really was, however we never get to know Sarah. All we know is she's a nice girl and she was on a bad path but straightened herself out via family and photography. Since we don't really get to know her well, it's hard to figure out exactly what it is that John see's in her.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

I'll admit that my review for this is not as thorough as it could be. Mainly because I read this for work and I know I will most likely have to read it at least two more times before the summer ends.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes is the sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts, a 2005 Newbery Honor book. Moose is still living on Alcatraz with his family but now his sister Natalie is finally attending a school that will help her. Moose feels the family's group dynamic changing and life feels just a little bit freer now. Unfortunately Moose gets drawn back into trouble again by Piper, the warden's daughter and by the favor he called in from prisoner #85 Al Capone to get Natalie into school. Will Moose go too far in effort to keep everyone happy?

This sequel was a lot of fun, as it was full of action and all the characters I loved from the previous book. Piper is just as much of a pain as ever using what little power she has to get everyone in trouble so she can get her way. This book we get a little more insight into Piper, we find out what makes her tick and why she feels like she needs to have so much power.

We also find out more about what makes Moose tick. Moose spends a lot of the book analyzing the kind of person he is and the what makes his friends tick. He thinks that there is a lot more gray area where the cons are concerned then there actually is. I was on the edge of my seat watching him and his friends deal with the outcomes caused by those feelings.

I did have to laugh a little bit at the appearance of a love triangle in this book. It seems like authors just can't help themselves anymore. I don't want to give any details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone but I definitely know what couple I want to end up together if Moose's adventures on Alcatraz continue.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

I read this right after I finished Mockingjay and I thought it was such a good pick to read after reading such a heavy serious series. It's light and sweet and just what I needed after reading a trilogy that in a lot of ways just scared the crap out of me. Lily's brother thinks she needs a boyfriend, so he sets up a red moleskin with some challenges at the Strand bookstore in NYC (if you haven't been there you should it's awesome.) Dash finds the notebook and takes the challenge. What ensues is a game of dares al over NYC, involving friends and family and an awesome puppet named Snarly. I really really loved Dash, and was kind of disgruntled with Lily which made this book kind of a mixed bag for me. However I loved Lily's family and how they interacted with each other so that balanced out my unhappiness with her character. Dash is a mellow relatable guy. His parents dragged him through an ugly divorce as a kid so he's looking forward to a nice quiet holiday alone. At the beginning of the book Lily just felt like a stereo type and a goody two shoes. She has no real friends at school but is the captain of the soccer team which keeps her from joining the loser pit. Her family is extremely close and she is not taking her parents being in Fiji over Christmas well. There are a ton of very fun and well developed minor characters including Boomer and Sofia on Dash's side and Lily's aunt, brother and cousins. The best parts of the book are watching how all of the characters affect Lily, how they make her become a fuller more developed person. The dares are funny and interesting and I think that are an interesting way to introduce lots of different characters and parts of the city but the best part is still watching Lily grow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

In this book Katniss has struck a deal with District 13 to become the Mockingjay, the symbol for the rebels. Most of her job consists of doing propos, advertisements for the rebels to play on television throughout Panem. Katniss is reunited with Prim, her mother and Gale but many from her district are dead. Peeta is stuck in the capital and being held by President Snow in an attempt to break Katniss.

This is a very exciting book. I understand why other people like it, but truthfully it just wasn't for me. The last quarter of the book just felt like horrible violent death after horrible violent death. One of the death's particularly bothered me because it almost made me feel like the whole series was for nothing. Katniss had one goal from the very beginning and it felt like too much that she shouldn't achieve it.

I think part of my problem with this book is that it scares me. It reminds me that there are people out there that value life so little that this kind of violence is not impossible.

I did like the ending though because Katniss returns to being the person she always was. She doesn't go on to rule Panem or do anything else crazy. She settles back into obscurity and it's implied that she leads a good life.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

So apparently it has been almost exactly a year since I read the first book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. I really didn't like the first book so I wasn't planning on reading the rest of the trilogy. However my kids at the library kept asking me if I'd read them and what did I think along with other people I know so I finally caved and decided to read the next one. I'm glad I did because I did enjoy it considerably more. In Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta have returned home however their problems are far from over. Katniss' actions have made her a symbol for many people who are unhappy with their lives in Panem. Her actions are the catalyst for an uprising. As punishment her and Peeta along with other previous Games winners are sent back into the ring.

I think the reason I was able to enjoy this book more was because this time at the very least the deaths kind of seemed to serve a greater purpose in the end, which made them a little bit easier to bear. Additionally many of the more brutal deaths in the arena happened out of range of Katniss and her allies and we were spared many of the kinds of details that the last book seemed to thrive on. This made it easier for me to pay more attention to other factors of the book that I weren't enough to carry me through the last book.

Katniss is a strong female character with a deep moral streak which I find gratifying considering the threats and harsh living conditions she has survived through. While I don't always agree with every decision she makes and at times she is a little slow to get to what I consider the important point she is a character that I most definitely respect.

President Snow is definitely a horrifying villain. Seeing the lengths he is willing to go to is the stuff of nightmares; giving people the power to kill or maim for miniscule infractions and punishing as many people as possible in extreme forms. The cat and mouse game he plays with Katniss is the utmost cruelty, especially since uncertainty makes it difficult for her to function in many ways.

The book ends on a cliff hanger however the upside to waiting so long to read it is that I immediately get to start the next book.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop is a witch, but when she was a child her parents were killed and Diana associated it with being a witch so she has tried her best to cut witch craft and magic out of her life. Unfortunately Diana is a powerful witch so magic is not willing to leave her alone. As a historian working on a paper in Oxford, she one day calls up a Ashmole 782, an alchemical text hidden with spells for centuries that may hold the key to any number of things depending on what witch, vampire or daemon you talk to. It's drawing her all kinds of attention from the witches, daemons and vampires she has been trying to avoid; including one Matthew Clairmont, a powerful vampire that she finds herself developing a relationship with.

I really loved this book so much. It was recommended by a friend and even though it took me almost a week to read, I was thrilled with the outcome. The book is sooo rich in detail. Historical details and figures have been intricately woven into an amazing world populated with paranormal creatures. There are references to famous playwrights, musicians, monarchs and popes. It was kind of wonderful to see find out who was human and who wasn't and how the creatures traits were woven into the existing historical figures behaviors.

I also really loved the interplay of genetics in this book. Science can be kind of a turn off because it's not my strong suit and sometimes it just confuses me enough that I can no longer follow the story. However all of the science here makes sense and the explanations are basic enough that I don't feel like I'm lost in it. The science part of the plot was enough to even make my fiance interested in the story. (Not a big paranormal fiction reader). I especially like the idea of science and magic being tied together in such a strong way. I've always thought that the best kinds of magic were probably science that hasn't been explained yet and this book subscribes to that theory in a strong way.

I loved getting to know the characters in this book as well, from Diana and Matthew to Ysabeau and Sophie. While not everyone is obviously likable initially they are all interesting. Reading about them opening up to each other and their origins or even just the long lives they have had the opportunities to lead was one of the things that really kept me going.

Matthew and Diana's relationship at the moment does leave something to be desired, mainly because Matthew is kind of stuck with many of the sensibilities he developed during his life and because of his predatory instinct. Right now Diana is walking a very thin line, trying not to become subservient but being more flexible then she would normally be to accommodate for him. One of the things I love about Diana is how strong and independent she is and I don't want to see her lose that. I also like Matthew chivalrous nature but these habits of his to dominate make me wonder if I am going to continue to like him. I can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy and see what happens and learn more about the world the author has created. (Of course with my luck that wont be for forever.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Again I waited way too long to review a book. Gotta stop doing that. Kit Corrigan has left her family in Rhode Island and moved to New York to try and make it as a Broadway star. The show she's in is a flop and her money's running out fast when Nate Benedict, her ex boyfriend's father and a mob lawyer makes her a deal. Keep an eye on Billy (the ex) and do a couple of favors and she's got a new job and a new place. Billy joined the military along with Kit's brother, the night it all ended because of Billy's temper; but there is still a lot unresolved between Kit and Billy.

Kit is a great characters and I really loved looking at the world through her eyes. She's trying to figure out what to do and is unhappy with herself for taking the easy way out. She is a very strong girl but she doesn't see it yet. I was happy to watch her start to find her strength again at the end of the book.

The book goes back and forth between Kit's early childhood, when her and her brother and sister (they are triplets) were part of the Corrigan three; growing up with her aunt and her father and dance lessons; and the beginning of her relationship with Billy. Along the way we get Billy's history and her aunt and father's history as well.

The plot here is strong and interesting, the characters are extremely well developed, even the minor ones and I thoroughly enjoyed the book but there was one question it raised for me. At what point does a specific time period get relegated to historical fiction. The work takes place in the fifties (not the sock hop Leave it To Beaver, happy suburbia fifties but lives that are grittier and certainly feel more realistic), and while I wasn't alive yet some of my coworkers were. I've wondered about this a lot and have asked around. I find that the answer I tend to get depends on when the person I am talking to was born.

In the end it was more of a feeling that made me consider this book historical fiction. Everything in this book feels very old fashioned. From the descriptions of the more superficial things such as clothes, food and furniture to the more in depth such as social customs, class and behavior. Also the occasional trips to the forties and thirties to get background information on characters and their situations allowed me to rationalize my decision.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle

Fredrika Bremer was a Swedish suffragete that traveled the world writing books. She spent three months in Cuba and while she thought the country was beautiful, she felt it's beauty was very marred by slavery. The story's narration alternates between Fredrika, her translator Cecelia who is a slave and Elena the daughter of the Cecelia's owner.

The story is told in free verse and is absolutely beautiful and lyrical sounding. I think that this really brings home stark contrast of a beautiful country and and a horrible practice. The introspection into each characters thoughts give you a wonderful opportunity to see how Elena and Cecelia are changed by Fredrika's presence. Elena's change is particularly drastic, however it is a change for the better. Elena's eventual longing for freedom really made me feel for her. In many ways she is more trapped than Cecelia is, even though she is a free woman.

I also really appreciated the notes that the author included. Frederika Bremer was a real person and she really did have a translator named Cecelia when she was in Cuba. Elena was made up however I could easily someone being so changed by seeing another woman live with such freedom. All of the thoughts and dreams are made up as well however they really feel like they fit and I really enjoyed the book overall.

Part of the reason I read this was because it was one of this years Pura Belpre Honor books and I've been wondering if I should add that to the list of awards I want to make sure I keep up with. Also one of the kids from my Teen Book Reviewers group read it and wrote a really great review of it and was so totally thrilled by the story that I decided I really wanted to give it a shot. It was a great book but I still haven't made a decision about trying to keep up with the award this year, probably because I'm so behind in my reading right now. Does anyone else follow any specific reading lists or awards?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I had always heard a lot about this book and it was always on my list of things to read. Then this Christmas my department head gave me a signed copy as a present. I decided that it was definitely time to read it yesterday when I wasn't feeling well.

Melinda is starting her freshman year of high school as an outcast. Everyone thinks she called the cops at the big party at the end of the last school year. No one bothered to find out why she would have called the cops, not even her best friend Rachel. Her parents aren't around much either. They are both always working and don't really know much about what's going on in Melinda's life. As the year progresses Melinda speaks less and less. She feels as though her throat is closing and her lips and mouth are always dry.

When I first started reading this book I went online and checked out a couple of reviews. People seem to love or hate this book. There is no in the middle and I think that that is usually a sign of a great book. It illicits strong feelings in everyone who reads it.

For most of this book Melinda is trapped in her own head. She can't deal with what happened to her on top of everyone's perceptions of her actions. She ends up hiding from the world and her parents lack of interest and her fellow students unwillingness to look past the obvious. I really liked how her friendship with Ivy and with her lab partner organically bloomed and the way these friendships and her tree project began to make her come out of her shell and deal with what happened.

I also liked the style the book was written in. I liked the mini headings instead of full on chapters. It felt like a good reflection of how Melinda was living her life, one little piece at a time because anything else was too big to handle.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford

Jane has a lot going on right now. Her book is being turned into a movie in her very own town. She's got a new editor that hates her. Walter's mother is visiting and it turns out she knows more then meets the eye. Add to this the usual worries about "our gloomy friend," a festival and twins and this makes for a very stressful period for Jane.

I have to give Michael Thomas Ford credit. Jane had so many different problems and such craziness going on that the anxiety just roiled off the page for me. (Then again I am an anxious kind of person and I tend to feel that life is way crazier then it should be, so maybe I can just relate.) The feelings of anxiety and all the craziness going on made this book feel a little bit more serious then the last one. However there were still a lot of laughs, a lot of great literary references and I thoroughly enjoy it.

I am wondering if the last one will be much more serious or kind of keep this mix of slightly more serious but still very funny.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Shiela at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. The point is basically to share what you've reading, what you're reading and what you think you're going to read.

Read This Week:
Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle
Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Currently Reading:
A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness

To Be Read:
Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher
The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
An Abundance of Katherine's by John Green

I really only started reading regularly again at the beginning of this week, which is why I hadn't done an It's Monday in a month. I'm finally down to about five boxes to unpack (it's actually been about two weeks since I only had about five boxes left; I really need to just buckle down and unpack them.)

I definitely think that doing this meme was helping me stay focused so I definitely want to stay on top of it and keep participating. Unfortunately I just got a list of books that I need to read for work pretty quickly so I don't know how that will affect the rest of my reading. Looking at my to be read list I definitely think that it's at least two weeks worth and that's without including the 7 extra work books. Wish me luck.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Amelia is sent by her brother to Baltimore to catch a husband. In Baltimore she stays with her cousin Zora. While in Baltimore the two girls quickly gain fame when Amelia begins having visions of the future. Amelia has some trepidation about these visions although she is distracted from it all by Nathaniel an artist she meets at a family party that is below the standing, however she can't seem to keep herself from wanting him.

It took me a long time to figure out how I felt about this book. There were a lot of things about it that drove me crazy. Mainly I felt like certain parts of the plot were just glossed over, and there was one point I'm still kind of confused about regarding Nathaniel, particularly the ending. (I'm not going to go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything for anybody.) Those are the gripes, now onto the good stuff.

I absolutely adored the writing style and ambiance. While it was written in a standard prose style there was something very poetic about the writing. Even the simplest of descriptions sounds absolutely gorgeous. The beauty of the language is just absolutely entrancing. My favorite descriptions were of her visions, particularly the happy ones. When Amelia has a vision, she experiences it as though it were happening to her; the happy scenes are lovely and moving. The sad and painful ones are down right gut wrenching and painful, especially when they are for someone Amelia likes or loves.

The language definitely contributed to the ambiance the book has. (Although I feel like I don't have the right kind of language to describe it.) At the opening of the book we actually start at the end, when Amelia has returned home from her adventures in Baltimore. The despair that she feels over the outcomes can be felt in every word. You feel for Amelia and how for her the sun will never shine again. Then we switch to Baltimore and Amelia's initial arrival. You feel her excitement and nervousness and it's a sharp contrast to the despair the novel opens with. Through out the book we go back and forth and I think this serves to heighten the tension in the novel, because you already know it will go wrong and just how bad it will really be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen follows three girls living in the roaring twenties. Country-cousin Clara is putting on a show of being a goody two shoes while staying with her cousin. She's living in Chicago with her cousin Gloria who is supposed to be planning one of the most important social events of the season, her weading to Sabastian Grey. Lorraine is Gloria's childhood best friend and she is getting very jealous of Gloria. Gloria's fun in the speakeasy, Gloria's upcoming marriange and Gloria's relationship with her cousin Clara.

It took me a while to review this one because I kept getting distracted by other things. I should have reviewed it right away so I could be more specific but cest la vie.

The beginning of this book was just not entertaining to me. It felt like the author was trying to hard. There was too much slang and it didn't all sound right. Some of the descriptions were a little heavy handed too. (The description of her first taste of gin was just a little bit much, I'm not going into specifics cause it was just gross.)

However as it progressed I started to enjoy it more and more. There were lots of little mysteries going on. What was Clara's secret? Who kept spilling Gloria's secrets? I felt like these little mysteries made it more interesting and kept the book going for me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February in Review

So I didn't get much reading done this month because I was trying to get our new place unpacked. I think I'm doing pretty good. I've got about 5 boxes left and a couple of bags that need to be sorted through.

Also the roller derby season started up again this month, so I'm going to start getting super busy with that. I am a nonskating official (the easiest way to explain the job is to say that I work with the refs keeping track of points and penalties) with the local women's flat track derby league. I will also occasionally go help the local mens league out. If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about check this out and hit up Derby News Network and WFTDA. Hopefully those help.

Challenge-wise I think I still did pretty good this month. I read two Printz Award/Honor books and four YA historical fiction books. Four of the books also went towards my off the shelf challenge. Not bad considering I only read eight books total this month.

Here's this month's books and where they came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read list. There is one old review I put up this month because I was reading the sequel so that wont appear on the list, and some reviews are forthcoming:

1. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (off my book shelf, bought from Barnes and Nobles with a gift card the week after Christmas)
2. Secret Society by Tom Dolby (off my book shelf, got it at an SCLA meeting last November)
3. Click by Nick Hornby, et al. (from the library, I just thought the concept was so cool I had to read it)
4. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (from the library, Printz Honor book, so part of my challenge)
5. The Season by Sarah MacLean (off my shelf, brought for me from an SCLA meeting by one of the lovely library ladies I work with)
6. Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (from the library, one of this years Prints Honor Books)
7. Vixen by Jillian Larkin (off my shelf, an arc given to me last year by one of the lovely library ladies I work with)
8. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (e-book from Netgalley books, for review)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop


I saw this a few months ago and I've been meaning to participate for a while now and today I finally remembered on the right day of the week. The Book Blogger Hop is a way for bloggers to connect with each other. It's hosted by Crazy For Books and every week there is a different question to answer. You can look around and see how other bloggers answered. It's a weekly even but you don't have to participate every week.

This weeks question is:

"Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"

No, definitely not. I played around with a bunch of different names when I first started. Then I remembered this junk shop near a pizza place by my college called Cosmic Debris. Every once in a while I would go in and look around and find the most random collection of awesome, the kind of stuff that you know someone totally forgot they owned and you can't imagine them getting rid of it.

When I first started my blog I kind of felt like my brain was cluttered with junk. I read like crazy and sometimes I would just forget what I had read or remember a piece of a plot but not what book it was from. It would drive me nuts. Then I started the blog and it was a place to collect and organize all the debris which was awesome and helpful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

This was another one of this years Printz Honor books, so it's another check off on my list. It also fits into the YA historical fiction challenge that I am participating in on Goodreads.

Sig finds his father frozen to death on the ice. The same day while his sister and step mother go for help a man he's met before as a child that he has no memory of appears in their cabin in Giron. Gunther Wolff claims to have been Einar's business partner and that he and Wolff were cheating prospectors and that Sig and his family ran off with Wolff's half. Sig must figure out what the truth is and whether he should get his father's revolver and try and get out. The story alternates between Sig and Wolff and what really happened ten years ago between Einar and Wolff.

This story felt like it was all about the mood. The tension just built and built as Sig tried to figure out how to escape, what he should do and what could possibly have happened ten years ago. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat wondering what Sig would do. I really liked how the Sig chose to handle the situation in the end. He was true to himself by finding a mid ground between his mother and father and their feelings on the revolver.

I also thought that learning about how Einar and the family survived in Nome in 1900 was interesting. I also liked the quotes between sections; they were interesting and gave both an interesting idea of how the colt revolver has been perceived and a few other interesting elements of the story. I also liked the very ending of the story, which I wont discuss to avoid spoilers. I felt like it gave an interesting sense of realism to the story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Alexandra and her two best friends Ella and Vivi are beginning their first London season. None of the girls are entirely behind this whole meat market arranged marriage type thing. Alexandra is the most uncomfortable with it going so far as to stating she will never be married. Then she starts looking at her brother's friend Gavin,who just became Lord Blackmoor upon his father's untimely death in a whole new light.

This was a cute, light fluffy little read which was really nice during what is becoming a very stressful time in my life. This book really reminds me of some of the Victoria Holt books I used to get from my mother sometimes, which also made it a very nostalgic read for me. Alexandra, her friends and her brother's are all extremely likable. I felt like I could imagine living a big family and having my siblings be wonderful, drive me nuts and then be wonderful again. Some of my favorite parts were Alexandra with her brothers, Blackmoor and other childhood friends. It just felt very comfortable and reminded me of hanging out with my friends.

I think the mystery is what keeps this book from going too light and fluffy. There is a mystery regarding death of the elder Lord Blackmoor and how it intersects with Napolean's attempts at conquering Europe. I had lots of guesses as to who it could be and while I wasn't entirely surprised by the reveal I still really enjoyed the book.

I also want to mention that I was super excited about a reference to novels published by "A Lady". It was an awesome historically accurate reference to Jane Austen that made me smile.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

This is another former Printz book. I'm slowly working my way through them and it's making me super excited. So far this year I have been pretty good at sticking to my goals.

Mattie has big dreams. She wants to go to college and become a writer, but when her mother was dying she made a promise to stay and raise her sisters. Mattie lives a hard life as the daughter of a farmer, and her relationship with her father has become more and more strained. She takes a job at the Glenmore Hotel to help earn money, and a guest Grace Brown dies. Grace gave Mattie her letters to burn and now Mattie again finds herself caught between a promise and what she thinks she should do.

This novel was amazing. It was heartbreaking and moving and lovely. Mattie's voice is very true and I really felt tangled up in her emotions. You can really feel how torn she is between staying and taking care of her family and leaving to go to school. I also thought her infatuation with Royal Loomis was pretty accurate for how teens can get sometimes. It's the kind of relationship you see from the sidelines and in your head your going "noooooo, not him, he's a jerk." He isn't really awful I suppose, more like a product of his circumstance and times but you just know he isn't going to let her be herself.

The details in this book are phenomenal. Everything feels historically accurate and the nothing here is hidden or cleaned up. The horrors of child birth, starvation, people's cruelty and hatred are all shown in minute detail. There is an honesty to the writing that I think everyone should appreciate.

The characters in this book were just phenomenal. I loved Ms. Wilcox, Weaver, and I really liked learning about her father and how his relationship with her mother and his brother were formed. Honestly there is almost too much to talk about with this book. I could really go on and on about all the thinks I liked, but really you should just go read it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford


I just got the sequel to this today through inter library loan and I figured since after I read it I will post a review it might be good to look at my previous review and post it as a refresher of the first book.

This is by far one of the silliest, funniest, most enjoyable books I have read in a while. Jane Austen is alive and well living as a vampire in upstate New York. She owns a book store and has finally succeeeded in getting her last book published (all it took was 200 years).

This book is totally over the top in everyway. Many things happen that are just a little too convenient and there is some triteness, but honestly it is just so rediculously funny that it is totally worth it. The reader can expect cameos from Lord Byron and Charlotte Bronte and the biggest and best laughs of the book come from Charlotte's jealousy of Jane's success. This is not for you if you expect any kind of depth of character or a serious plot. It is a quick read that is good for a laugh and is highly enjoyable. I can't wait for the sequel.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Click

Maggie and Jason's grandfather Gee, a famous photographer passes away. He leaves them each a legacy, a box of sea shells for Maggie and an envelope of signed photos of famous sports stars for Jason. The box and the photos lead Jason and Maggie on adventures and to grow into their own. They also lead to learning more about Gee.

Each of the chapters in this book is written by a different author. At first I was frustrated with it. The jump to the story in the second chapter threw me off, I couldn't figure out where it was going (I think that some of the chapters should have been ordered a little bit differently, it would have made it a little bit smoother). And an age inconsistency between the first and third chapter really annoyed me.

However, all of the stories, inconsistencies and all are beautiful pieces. Each author uses their own style to evoke beauty and emotion. There are stories about when and where the pictures were taken, how the shells were collected and the box made; in addition to stories following Maggie and Jason into adult hood and old age.

Overall I really enjoyed the book but I think that it takes a little while to get into because of all the different styles of writing and the jumpiness felt in the first few stories.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

I hate it when you spend all this time working on a review and then the internet decides it hates you and you lose everything. (Although I am going to keep telling myself that this review is better then my original.)

The Society follows four students from Chadwick Prep, Pheobe, Lauren, Nick and Patch. Phoebe, Laren and Nick are all invited to join the Society, a secret society in New York City that only the fifteen elite are invited to each year. At first the Society seems innocent enough but as time passes things become more and more sinister.

The book opens with a death and then moves back to the beginning of the teens initiation in the society. I was dying to know who had died and I have to tell you, it was not at all who I expected. The pace of the book moves quickly as narration jumps back and forth between each of the four teens. Each of the characters has their own distinct voice even when they sometimes share the same feelings as Lauren and Phoebe sometimes seem to.

My only complaint about the book is that we never really find out much about the Society itself. We just get a few generalities but nothing concrete. I wanted to know more about how the Society worked, especially since it was implied that this beginning was supposed to be the easy part where the initiates were supposed to simply be reaping benefits before the real work began. It sounds like there are even more sinister things going on and this beginning part was fairly sinister. There were also some unanswered questions regarding Patch and his family that are bugging me a little bit. I have heard that the author is writing a sequel and I am hoping that these questions will be answered there.

(Since I wrote this I found out that the sequel came out this month and it's called the Trust. In an effort to keep my checking things out of the library under control I am not requesting it until I return the two library books that I have out.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

At the start of this volume of the Inside Out series, the rebellion is over and the committee has been reformed to help govern inside. Trella is trying to quietly step into the background and allow the committee to do it's job. Unfortunately, the committee isn't quite working out the way it was planned and there is unrest among everyone which gives Outsiders a foot hold in.

In the first book the revolution comes about quickly and with minimal blood shed. I was really glad that in this book the transfer to a new government wasn't smoothed over. I was afraid that it was going to be a book where after the rebellion everything was going to be perfect until the Outsiders came. I was very happy to that author showed how hard it was to bring everyone together and to find a good way to govern inside.

The pacing of the book is quick with action on almost every page. There is one incident after another and it seems impossible to figure out who is doing what. If I hadn't known about the Outsiders from the goodreads blurb, I don't think I would have figured it out.

Trella's temprement adds to the action because she often doesn't stop and think about things but just continues to do what she deems is necessary. Trella is a character that I have grown to love and I really enjoyed reading about her development. She could see the problems caused by the committee and slowly came to the realization that her involvement was important because she was able to help bridge the gap between Uppers and Lowers, both because of who she was and how she saw things.

There are two things that I really wished I had gotten to see though. I would have loved to have gotten some more of the history of Inside when Logan found it and I would have liked to have followed Riley a little bit. I'm not going to explain why because I don't want to give away any spoilers but it would have been interesting to see things from his perspective. However these are really minor issues for me and overall I really enjoyed the read.

(The version I read was ebook provided to me by netgalley for review)

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Monday What Are You Reading?


This meme is hosted by Shiela at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. The point is basically to share what you've reading, what you're reading and what you think you're going to read.

Read This Week:
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Secret Society by Tom Dolby
Click by Nick Hornby
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Currently Reading:
The Season by Sarah MacLean

To Be Read:
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
Vixen by Jillian Larkin

The big move is on Sunday and most of my books are already packed. I did leave myself a few things out thought. I also got behind posting reviews because of the packing so pretty much every review except one is forth coming. (I was only able to read so much because I haven't been able to sleep at night, but that's a whole other story.)

It's my fiances birthday today and I'm trying to throw him a party. Fortunately we have fabulous friends who have pretty much done all the work for me. He's having a rough week so I wanted to do something nice for him. Unfortunately UPS has informed me his present wont arrive til Wednesday (he's a tech geek so I got him an irregular IQ cube (like a rubix cube but not square) and a Universal Gadget wrist charger) and I packed a lot of my baking things already so no bacon cupcakes like I thought. I can't wait til we are in our new apartment and everything is settled down....

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

This book was not what I expected at all. I had read a lot of reviews about it on some blogs I followed and it sounded so interesting but I was totally caught off guard, in a good way.

Hanna's father passed away and she has been living with an aunt. After a big blow out with her aunt, Hanna hitchhikes to Portero, Texas where Rosalee, the mother who abandonned her lives. When Hanna arrives in Portero she finds a hostile town riddled with monster where outsiders are unwelcome. Hanna strikes a bargain with Rosalee, if she can fit in, she can stay.

This book is exactly the kind of character driven work I like Hanna is an interesting protagonist to say the least. She's diagnosed as a manic depressive and she does have some bouts of depression in the book, I found myself wondering if her hallucinations were really hallucinations or a manifestation of her relation to Rosalee and the town of Portero. Especially since these hallucinations allowed her to do things many of the locals couldn't even do. I also loved that Hanna was half white, half black and she owned it. It wasn't a major issue but it was acknowledged and refered to when appropriate. She was also dating a hispanic local, and while Hanna was not loved by his family, her race had nothing to do with it.

The town of Portero was a character into and of itself. It was ominous and hostile and sometimes it was just plain weird. A lot of the time it felt like the town was it's own entity.

The whole book is strange and weird. It's also very violent and graphic, so if that kind of thing bothers you it's best to steer clear. Normally this isn't the kind of thing I comment on but with all the other strangeness in the book it just felt like it was worth mentioning.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

The third volume of the Drake Chronicles revolves around Quinn, another Drake brother and Hunter Wild a student at the Helios Ra High School. Because of her friendship with the Kieran Black she is invited to Helena's coronation and so she begins her involvement with the Drakes.

This book made me the happiest by far, because not only do we get to see the start of another relationship, we also get a close look at the inner workings of Helios Ra and got to do a little bit of catch up with Kieran and Solange, and Lucy and Nick; which is what I was missing from the last Drake Chronicles book. (Although we didn't hear as much from Logan and Isabeau, I wonder if that's a trend, each Drake couple gets a book of privacy?)

There was a ton of mystery and twists and turns in this book and the ending definitely implied that there is more to come because not every issue was resolved, so I am hoping that we will get another book soonish, because I can't wait to see what happens to the Drake family next or to learn more about their world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Harry's father dies and she is sent to Daria. Once in Daria she begins to love the country although she does find herself a bit bored. Then she is abducted by the local king and grows to become a strong commander and legend among his people in her own right.

I finished this book last night and it was completely amazing. This is another book that I wasn't sure what to think about because I had heard that a lot of people weren't happy when it was awarded the Newberry and I think that's because it's high fantasy which doesn't appeal to everyone but I still think people should give it a chance.

The world building in this book was just amazing. From the depictions of the dry, windy desert of Damaria, to the stark differences between the Homelanders' very proper and polite society to Corlath's people's more equal and almost Arabian society, and the haunting descriptions of the evil northerners and their demonic mounts I just felt like I could picture everything that was going on, and imagine it as a place I might want to visit someday.

Reading about how Harry grows from someone who considers herself a misfit for being a bright girl who likes to keep busy to a both physically and mentally strong young woman but becomes a leader in her own right. She is willing to risk anything and everything to do what she thinks is right. Many of the minor characters are fully fleshed out as well, with both Harry's horse and a cat that adopts her having very strong personalities even though they aren't anthropomorphized in any way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January in Review

January has been kicking my butt so far this year on a personal level, especially these last two weeks, so I'm hoping that February will mellow out a little. I've started packing (moving in two weeks, yay), been sick, had various car issues with multiple cars (it's giving me a complex) and all this snow has me wondering how exactly I'm going to get my furniture out of my apartment.

Reading wise January has been a great month I think. So far this year I think I'm doing a pretty good job sticking to my goals and I'm super excited. I've read 20 books this month and half of them were from my book shelf. (Last year I read 10 books off my bookshelf for the entire year so this is hopefully on it's way to a huge improvement, since it's the end of January and I've already gotten that.)

I've also read one book so far for the YA historical fiction challenge and one book for my self mandated Printz Award challenge.

Here's a list of what I've read this month and where it came from, everything is linked to goodreads so you can add it to your to be read shelf. Some of the reviews are forthcoming and some I wont post because they are from before I decided to get back on track with my blog. I am hoping that this year I wont get overwhelmed by summer reading and stop posting in June, if so it might be time to stop:

1. Birds of Prey Vol. 12: Platinum Flats by Tony Bedard (library book)
2.Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate 2) by Gail Cariger (library book, recommended by my boss)
3. Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate 3) by Gail Cariger (library book, recommended by my boss)
4. Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn (library book, Read a review on Steph Su Reads and decided I needed to read it)
5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (audiobook, library, watch the show so I wanted to see how the book was)
6. The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley (off my shelf, think I got this from someone at work)
7. Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan (off my shelf, I think I also got this from someone at work)
8. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (off my shelf, my director brought this back for me from ALA last year, I should not have waited so long to read it)
9. Dream Life by Lauren Mechling (off my shelf, another mysterious one from work)
10. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (off my shelf, got at an SCLA training in November)
11. Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (off my shelf, bought at library book sale last year)
12. The Mermaid's Madness (Princess #2) by Jim C. Hines (off my shelf, bought at Barnes and Noble don't want to admit to how long I let this languish on the shelf)
13. Devoured by Amanda Marrone (off my shelf, got at an SCLA training in November)
14. Insatiable by Meg Cabot (library book)
15. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (library book)
16. Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts (off the shelf, bought at the Strand last April)
17. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell(off the shelf, bought while the movie was still in theaters...)
18. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (off the shelf, bought at library book sale)
19. Out for Blood by Alexyndra Harvey (library book)
20. Outside In by Maria V. Snyder (e-book from netgalley books, for review)