Monday, December 19, 2011

Halflings

Halflings
by Heather Burch

Nikki's lives a relatively normal life.  She likes school, martial arts, motorcycles, and art; but she doesn't really seem into boys.  Of course, that all changes when three of the most gorgeous boys suddenly enroll at her school and two of them develop an almost unhealthy interest in her.

This comes after she's attacked by hell hounds, but before she finds out exactly what the boys are: halflings.  They are half angel, half man and all Adonis-like in appearance.  One attracts her with his sensitivity and genuine affection, while the second appeals to her danger-loving and butt-kicking side.

As the halflings and their angel mentor try to find out what Nikki is and why she's being attacked by hell hounds and demons, Nikki struggles to find out what her parents are doing hanging around with a man she's never met, but who claims to have known her for years.

Mix that in with a burned out research facility full of the dead bodies of scientists working on genetic manipulation, and there's some real trouble heading Nikki's way.

Final thoughts: Maybe I've just overloaded on supernatural young adult books, but this was just awful.  The writing was poor and kept skipping around like someone with a thumb jammed on the remote control.  One scene would finish up and transfer to the next, only to start up mid-conversation with no real transition.  Nikki is revealed early on to be a Seer, using her artwork to draw the future, but this is only used once and seems to exist only to further the plot as it is NEVER done again.  It's only even mentioned once or twice from that point.  By the end, there's no resolution or explanation to anything.  And let's have yet another Twilight comparison, shall we?  Mace is gorgeous, strong, constantly watching over Nikki (almost like a stalker), enters her house without permission, follows her, saves her life more than once, won't teach her to fight for herself, almost leaves because it would be better for her if he left (but then he changes his mind because she needs him), etc...  Raven is also gorgeous, strong, doesn't feel the need to constantly watch Nikki, but is there when she needs him, he is more "dangerous" and willing to let her do dumb things, and is having problems getting along with Mace because she seems to love him more.  There's a whole list of other problems, especially with the story line, plot structure, and missing information.  I'm soooo not reading the next one.

Rating: 1/5

Friday, December 9, 2011

Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen

Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen
by Donna Gephart

Olivia has always been the master of trivia.  Terrible things await those who interrupt her Jeopardy! time on any given night.  She's as good, or even better, than the adults on the show.  Her only weakness is the dreaded Geography.

Each year, Jeopardy! devotes one week to kids and it's Olivia's last chance to enter before she ages out of the competition.  With the help of her mother, brother, maybe-not-so-evil-almost-stepfather-Neil, and her maybe-not-so-evil-cute-boy-next-door-Tucker, Olivia hopes to train up and get on that show before it's too late.

Of course the one person she desperately wants to help her is the dad who left her family to marry her former best friend's mother and move them across the country to California.  Maybe, just maybe, if she can get on to Jeopardy!, which is filmed in Culver City, CA, maybe she can finally see her dad again and get him to remember his original family.

But, even if she gets there, can she win, get oodles of cash to help her family, and maybe get her dad to remember she exists?

Final thoughts:  Upper-elementary book and it shows.  Officially, Olivia is 12, but seems to have the emotions of an 8-year-old and the extreme trivia knowledge of a 20-year-old who studies trivia 24/7.  Her obliviousness to her dad's treatment of her and her brother is sometimes annoying, like you want to reach through the book and shake her a little while you shout, "He's a gambling addict!  He cares more about the high of winning than he does about YOU!  Neil is the dad you SHOULD have!  Pay attention!!!!"  The book ends a little suddenly and there are a few unresolved issues left hanging, which is frustrating.  Children of divorced parents, especially those struggling through these tough financial times, will appreciate many of Olivia's problems and be able to relate to those.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hades: Lord of the Dead

Hades: Lord of the Dead
by George O'Connor

According to Greek mythology, when you die, you are escorted by Hermes to the River Styx where Charon will then take you on his boat, past Cerebus, and to the other side of the river.  There, you join the masses of dead and wander the Underworld forever under the watchful gaze of Hades.

Above, in the world of the living, Demeter and her daughter are struggling to get along.  Kore just wants to have a little freedom from her mother's control. However, she never thought that the way should would finally escape would be when Hades himself comes to take her down to his world to be his bride.

Now Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, is neglecting her duties as she tries to find her daughter.  But, having renamed herself Persephone and having found a new identity, it's possible that the girl formerly known as Kore doesn't want to be found.

Final thoughts:  O'Connor admits to taking a few liberties with the story on this one, but it's worth it.  Except for a few panels where Kore/Persephone and her mother seem to be speaking in modern teen/mom talk instead of something a little older, and the switching of viewpoints from 2nd to 3rd and back again, I just don't have much to complain about.  This is yet another great tale from O'Connor that makes the Greek myths accessible and extremely visual.  It's one thing to read the words, but it's another to see O'Connor's amazing illustrations.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Intertwined

Intertwined
by Gena Showalter

If there is anyone who could use a few minutes by himself, it's Aden Stone.  Except he's never alone.  Aden has four souls living in his brain.  They've been there as long as he can remember.  None of them know how they got there.
Unfortunately, while the souls can speak inside Aden's mind, Aden can only communicate with them by speaking out loud and this leads to everyone physically around him thinking that he's completely insane.

It doesn't help that each of the souls has a power that can transfer to Aden when needed.  One can travel through time.  One raises the dead.  One can predict the future. And one can possess any human with physical contact.

The future predicting soul has seen a girl who will be Aden's dream and his nightmare.  He's also seen that one of the souls will be freed if the right choices are made. 

So now Aden has to find the girl and make all the right choices to either save himself or destroy himself.

Final thoughts:  UGH!  I swear, I've almost forgotten how to use my Kindle because I've avoided it so much as I've been reading this book.  I tried and tried and tried to finish this thing.  Kindle says I'm at 76%.  But I just can't force myself anymore.  This is a mess.  It starts off with Aden "accidentally" raising the dead when he wanders into a graveyard and then there is the girl he has a physical reaction to whenever she comes near, the vampire, the werewolf, the "powers" that for some reason have to all be demonstrated one after the other, the obligatory and repetitive references to people thinking he's insane (or, at least, highly unstable, which he seems to be), etc...  Plus he's a badass with weapons tucked into his boots, but is a wimp who is constantly worrying more often than not and making horrible choices (lucky for him that his vampire girlfriend can screw with people's memories and cover his mistakes).  There was just too much here trying to cover too much ground and not really getting anything done.  I literally put down the Kindle and ignored it for a week, opened it for an hour of struggling through this, and then closed it for another week.

Ah, Amazon... you have failed me with you recommendation.

Rating: 1/5

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shut Out

Shut Out
by Kody Keplinger

After yet another make-out session with her boyfriend is ruined by the rivalry between the football and soccer teams, Lissa decides she's had enough.  She's sick of the fight coming first.  She's sick of her boyfriend leaving her to do battle.  And she's really sick of people getting hurt.

So she decides to do something about it.

She gets all the girlfriends of soccer and football players together and proposes a radical plan:  a sex strike.

No more sex.  No more nookie.  Not even second base until the guys arrange a truce and stop the tricks, the pranks, and the injuries.

But Lissa didn't count on her boyfriend being a jerk.  

She didn't count on the guys fighting back. 

And she definitely didn't count on Cash Sterling.

Final thoughts:  Cotton candy book.  It's cute, but no great shakes.  Interesting little teen romance that's OK, but not written well in some places.  I was frustrated by some of the inconsistencies and the constant references to the Lysistrata.  It felt a little forced, like the author was saying, "GO OUT AND READ THIS GREEK PLAY!!!"  However, past that, it was still sweet and Chloe, Lissa's best friend, was a fun read.  It was also good to see girls finally TALK about sex in a realistic way.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drink Deep

Drink Deep
by Chloe Neill

It's been two months since the Master of Cadogan House was murdered in front of Merit's eyes.  The House is still devastated.  The vampires are still reeling.  Merit is still alone.

On top of that, a representative from the GP has taken over the running of the House, rationed food and blood, reinstated archaic rules, and prevented the vamps from doing their jobs.

As an added bonus, nature itself seems to have gone completely wonky.  The water has become a black, magical vacuum.  The skies have turned red and is shooting out deadly lightning.  And the supernatural creatures around Chicago are all at a loss for what's wrong.

For Merit, the time for mourning is over, even as her dreams of Ethan have become more vivid and her best friend has all but disappeared as she works to pass her sorceress exams.

The Sentinel also has someone who's interested in her as more than just a friend or partner, even if she's not yet ready for that.

And the bad times just keep on coming...

Final thoughts:  I'm glad I trusted Neill even after the last book.  I was a little nervous walking into this book, but I was rewarded.... mostly.  While in the last book, the writing was tightening up and getting more focused, now it's bare minimum.  I missed the relationship between Merit and Ethan, which, of necessity, had to be lacking, but was really important just because it was key to all of the previous books.  The ending felt really rushed and a little obvious.  This is more of a book to connect the previous one and the next one, so I'm not jumping up and down, but it's still Merit, so I'm still happy to have read it.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Very UnFairy Tale Life

My Very UnFairy Tale Life
by


Sunday, October 9, 2011

If I Die

If I Die
by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee Cavanaugh is used to dealing with death.  She's a bean sidhe, a singer of souls; it's her job to sing souls to the great beyond.

But when death tells Kaylee she's on the list to die in just a few days, that's a bit of a surprise.

To take her mind off of her definite impending death (turns out you can only avoid the Reaper once, and she did that when she was three), she decides that her math teacher has to die, too.

She hasn't suddenly become homicidal; it seems that her new math teacher is also an incubus who has been feeding off the lust of mothers, while working to impregnate their daughters with future incubi.  He also has now set his sights on Emma, Kaylee's best friend.

With the help of Sabine (her frenemy), and Tod (something more than a friend), Kaylee is determined to take down the threat to all high school girls before he can take another life.

Final thoughts:
I spent almost the entire book going saying to myself, "She wouldn't.  She wouldn't!  She so would NOT do that!!!!" and then it was "She did WHAT?!?!"  The books keep getting better.  It's like a supernatural soap opera.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Forever

Forever
by Maggie Stiefvater

When Sam appeared to be cured of his regular winter conversions into a wolf, he and Grace thought they would finally be able to be together.  But even they could not have imagined the horror of Grace suddenly changing.  

Now they must go back to waiting for one of them to become human again so that they can be together once more.

If that isn't enough, another body has been found near Sam's home and this one is the last straw for the true humans in Mercy Falls.  Now the hunt is on... literally.

Now Sam, Cole, and Isabel must work together to protect Grace and the rest of the wolves, while also trying to find a cure.

In this final book of The Wolves of Mercy Falls, everything becomes much more serious and love may not be able to save the day.

Final thoughts:  Wow.  What a wild ending.  I never would have thought it would go the dark direction it did.  Sam went from completely confident in his fate and his love to completely unglued with worry.  I struggled with some of this one, but in the end it was all worth it.  Good, solid, final book.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness

It's the future.  Generations into our future.  Colonists have left our planet for New World to create a haven and a sanctuary away from the wars of men.

But they get more than they bargained for when the Noise comes.

They can hear the thoughts of men.  The thoughts are everywhere.  There's no way to get away from them.

In an effort to end it, the colonists kill off the creatures who were already living there when they arrive, but it doesn't end the Noise.

Over twenty years later, Todd Hewitt is only a month away from becoming the last man of Prentisstown.  All of the women are dead and he was the last baby, so he's the last of the dying settlement to reach manhood.  

However, everything Todd has ever known about his town gets flipped on its side when he and his dog, Manchee, find Quiet.

Now Todd has a new journey to manhood.  One he never expected to take.
Final thoughts:  This was a tough read.  The book was great.  The characters were extremely well drawn.  The suspense was nearly constant.  And that's the problem.  There was a large amount of suspense and very little downtime.  It was also gory, violent, and sometimes downright scary.  I truly felt for the main characters and nearly cried a few times when they faced a few painful events.  It's from another trilogy, but at least this time the other two are already out.  However, I may still have to switch to something else for a while, because this was just hard to read.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Girl Who Could Fly

The Girl Who Could Fly
by Victoria Forester

Piper's parents come from a long line of practical people.  If it always worked before, why change it?

When Piper was born, she was already an impractical baby.  Her parents had long since given up on having children before she was conceived, so her birth was a bit abnormal and caused a lot of talk around town.

Shortly after she was born, she began to float.  She was bumping the ceiling before she crawled on the floor.  She also had ideas and thoughts that were far from practical, and she wasn't ashamed to share them.

Her parents kept her at home (except for church) in order to protect her and keep them all from becoming the talk of the town gossip.

However, when Piper figured out how to control her floating and actually fly with purpose, there wasn't much her parents could do to keep it from becoming headline news.

Now Piper has been offered the chance to go to a private school and meet children just like her.

Could it be too good to be true?

Final thoughts:  The author quote on the cover was written by Stephenie Meyer and describes this book as "the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men."  That seems pretty accurate.  For the most part, it's a slow, rambling story of a country bumpkin with an extraordinary ability and a few moments of action.  The action itself sometimes seems written as if there should be some images to go with it.  It's very relaxed except for hyper moments of action that speed up for a few pages and then slow right back down again.  Cute, but definitely meant for upper elementary students.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Once a Witch

Once a Witch
by Carolyn MacCullough

When Tamsin was born, her grandmother declared that she would become the most powerful witch in the family and should would be a beacon for the family.  But when she turned eight, she had still never performed a spell or done any apparent magic.

It seemed that she had no Talent.  

Her grandmother was wrong.

Now Tamsin does everything she can to avoid her family and their Talents.  She's even headed off to a boarding school to try and have a "normal" life.

However, things all change when Tamsin comes home to help with the family store.  A professor enters and mistakes her for her extremely powerful sister.  He commissions her to find a family relic that he claims had been stolen from his ancestors.

With the help of her childhood friend, Gabriel (who also happens to be extremely cute), Tamsin is determined to prove that even without her own Talent, she can still be important to the family.

But will she really be able to help?  Or will she destroy everything she's been raised to know about her world?

Final thoughts:  Yet another book that had a cool idea, but it never really grabbed me.  And it's another trilogy.  I'm really starting to wonder how long the publishers will continue to push this trend of spreading out perfectly good single novel ideas into long trilogies that don't really need/deserve it.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Angel Burn

Angel Burn
by L.A. Weatherly

Angels are real.

They have wings.  They glow with a kind of heavenly light.  They fly.  And when they touch you, you feel blissed out and blessed.

What angels don't tell you when they touch you is that they are feeding on your soul.  They suck away your life force and leave behind disease and destruction.

If you've been touched by an angel, you don't have long to live and what life you do have may not be that great.

Alex knows this.  He's hunted angels since his mother was killed by one when he was five.  At 17, he's one of the best angel assassins out there and he knows it.  When he's called to kill Willow Fields, it's just another hunt to him.

Until he see her...

She's like nothing he's ever seen before. She's both human and angel, a combination never thought possible before.

And she's on the most wanted list of the angels out there because it's been predicted that she will lead to the destruction of all angels.

Can Alex figure out what's going on and keep Willow alive long enough to stop the coming invasion?

Final thoughts:  Eh.  I've read better. I've read worse.  Weatherly's writing needs a bit of help.  It's all tell instead of show.  "I hate him"  "I hate her"  "Wow! I love him"  "Strange! I love her"  It's also got a bit of Twilight in it with the girl volunteering to put herself in harm's way for the greater good and the guy ordering her not to and telling her he'll die without her.  Could be better.  I'm not eagerly anticipating the second book (of yet ANOTHER trilogy).  I may read it. I may not.  So... eh.

Rating: 3/5

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

I've been missing these because I've been slow to read new stuff recently and didn't want to have week after week of hop links and nothing new.  I HAVE been re-reading books from my teen years, but reviewing those seems wrong since I'm very biased about them.

For more information about the hop, go HERE.

So the question of the week...

“What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

Honestly, if I could get my hands on Chloe Neill's new Chicagoland book or Rachel Vincent's next Soul Screamers book, I'd be in heaven.  Waiting for them is torture!  Plus I may need to re-read them all if I have to wait much longer, which means even less time to read original new stuff.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Abandon

Abandon
by Meg Cabot

She met him when she was seven.  She had just seen her grandfather buried and then watched a bird die in front of her eyes.  He came out of nowhere and brought the bird back to life, but couldn't save her grandfather.  

He amazed her.

At fifteen, she drowned in her own pool trying to save a bird.  He found her in the Underworld and she made her way out and back to life.

Now, at seventeen, after almost two years of problems stemming from coming back from the dead, Pierce has moved to her mother's ancestral town and begun a new life with the same old questions and the same old problems.

Because he hasn't let her go.  He always seems to be there when she needs him most, even if she'd prefer that he leave her alone.

But when she finally seems to get rid of him, she may need him more than ever.

Final thoughts:  I'm so conflicted about this one.  I LOVE Cabot's work, in general, but this was just not up to her normal standards.  The writing was stilted, often with quotes being broken up in strange ways.  "'I hope you're not planning on kicking me,' he said, not even bothering to look up from his book, 'as hard as you did those doors.'" (299)  She also had a tendency to repeatedly say things like "If I had known then about this, then I would have..." or "If they knew what I knew...", often at the end of the chapter.  It was like having mini-cliffhangers that wouldn't be resolved for entire chapters.  The chronology was frustrating with flashbacks showing up out of nowhere and then disappearing.  Pierce wasn't very sympathetic as a character; she was actually whiny and often blamed others for her problems.  Most of the rest of the characters were very one-dimensional and were obviously only there to further specific plot points.  The only person I really liked was John because he seemed the most realistic, even though he had the least believable storyline.  All in all, this was disappointing.  It's also yet another trilogy AND the end just lies there like a hangnail; it's a painful finish that never seems to resolve.  I'll probably read the next book when it comes out, but I'm not going to run right out and get it immediately upon release.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance
by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers, better known as Jenna and Jonah on their nationally syndicated sitcom, have led double lives for the past few years.  In order to get ratings up after their first season, their managers came up with a plan to have them fall in love in real life, or at least pretend to.  So now they plan dates and outings to give the paparazzi a few good pictures for the gossip magazines.  Of course, the fact that they hate each other's guts makes that really difficult for them.

But when the paparazzi find out it's all a sham, Charlie and Fielding, go into hiding together to wait out the storm.  While away, they find out that they have more in common than they thought.

Could it be that the two worst enemies in Hollywood may be the most in love?

Final thoughts:  This started out so good!  It promised to be a great cotton candy book with tons of fluff and no substance.  Unfortunately, the authors pushed their agenda too hard.  It was supposed to be a modern day Much Ado About Nothing so they had the two characters suddenly star in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's version of the play even though they were completely wrong for the characters that they were playing.  It was forced, unbelievable, and often uncomfortable.  The first part of the book was good, but then it became obvious and underwhelming.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus

Nerd Girls: 
The Rise of the Dorkasaurus
by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
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When Maureen, 8th grader and self-proclaimed dork, risks her own reputation to protect an allergy prone girl from becoming an involuntary YouTube sensation, she unwittingly makes a couple of friends and begins a plot to take down the ThreePees (Pretty, Popular, and Perfect).

The ThreePees dominate the talent show every year and are determined to win one more time before heading off to high school.  Maureen and her new pals are determined to take them down.

With the help of her prankster brother, a "department store mom", and a robotic dog, they might even be able to win.

Final thoughts:  Full of stereotypes and constant name-calling, this book just isn't fun.  Maureen spends the whole book talking about justice and wanting vengeance and then never really steps up.  She constantly gives up, actually.  If other circumstances didn't arise to push her, she'd have just given up after the first incident.  She has no redeeming qualities, really, and spends most of the time criticizing her friends and calling them names (though the author tries to make it read like the friends are ok with that).  It's a quick read, but Maureen is a horrible protagonist.  I felt sorry for the other girls who thought that she could "lead" them against the popular group.  And as for that group, there's one character who is supposed to be some kind of comic relief, but she just comes off and truly idiotic and annoying.
Avoid.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Misfit

Misfit
by Jon Skovron

Jael's been moving from town to town her whole life and when she was eight, she found out why: she's a half-breed.  She's the child of a demon mother and a human father.  While she's never met her demoness mother, the demon that tried to attack her in the playground convinces her that what her father tells her is true.
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Now, at 16, Jael's father gives her a necklace left to her by her mother and soon everything changes.  With the help of her demon uncle and a skater who may become more than a friend, Jael must learn to control her powers and believe in her abilities to fight the demon that killed her mother.
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Final thoughts:  Meh.  There were some good ideas, but the author just couldn't seem to pull it all together.  It was a disappointment.  I found myself repeatedly turning the Kindle off (ARC provided by NetGalley), and leaving it off for days at a time.  There were a few decent moments, but not enough to recommend the book as a whole.  The religious aspect was also clever, but I've seen it before, though not often.
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Rating: 2/5

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wisdom's Kiss

Wisdom's Kiss
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

A scheming duchess determined to have the one land left that hasn't succumbed to her machinations.

A young princess heading off to marry the duchess's son and unite the kingdoms.
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An acrobat who falls in love with the young princess before the wedding.

A grandmother who seeks only to keep her kingdom and family safe.

A young orphan with a gift for seeing the future.

A cat who seems to understand more than he should.

All these characters come together to save a kingdom, or tear it apart.

Can witchcraft save the day?

Final thoughts:  This book is told from EIGHT points of view.  It gets a little tiresome changing the P.o.V. every couple of pages.  The story is cute, as is the interweaving of a few fairy tales, but the author seems to be a little too clever for her own good at times.  It gets a little weighed down in cleverness and twists.  It's ok, but not fabulous.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Legacy

Legacy
by Cayla Kluver

For a hundred years, the lands of Hytanica and Cokyri had been at war.  One day, the sky turned blood red and the Cokrian forces disappeared.  And so did the first newborn boy.  As long as the sky bled, baby boys disappeared.  When the sky finally cleared, forty-nine boys had been kidnapped by the Cokyrians.  Forty-eight bodies soon appears outside the walls and the Cokyrians were apparently gone for good.

Sixteen years later, as Princess Alera turns seventeen years old, her homeland is expecting her to marry the man who will become the next king shortly after their wedding.  Her father has his preference, but Alera can't stand the man.  Unfortunately, time is ticking and she has few options.

When a Cokyrian boy shows up who appears to be the forty-ninth kidnapped Hytanican boy, Alera's world flips upside-down and her prospects definitely change.  But not everyone thinks this boy can be trusted.

Final thoughts:  Blech.  This is written so poorly!  It COULD be good, but it spends so much time talking about what people are wearing and how their hair is done.  The writing is stilted and has no flow. It seems formulaic and childish.  For example, "The lovely Lady Hauna... with her demure seventeen-year-old daughters... the sensible Lady Edora had accompanied her vivacious daughter Kalem... the exceedingly proper... brought easily excited... and bubbly Semari had come with the sedate Baroness Alantonya."  One long sentence filled with adjective after adjective about person after person.  Ugh.
Alera's primary suitor is described throughout much of the book as being cruel, overbearing, somewhat violent, condescending, and arrogant, but everyone agrees that he would be a great king.  What?!?!?!  And the land of Hytanica is constantly referred to as being chauvinistic, that women are inferior to men in all things and must defer to men at all times, along with constant references to how Alera can't be left alone with boys her age because it was inappropriate.  The book itself ended unsatisfactorily.  It wasn't a clean break (for yet another trilogy), but it had more of a sputtering finish.  Maybe it was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but it just kind of... ended.  And I really don't care how the story ends.  There are just too many problems with this; I don't plan on reading the sequels.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's been a while so it's definitely time to HOP again.  

This week's question is:

“How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?”

 I don't really have a TBR "pile".  What I have is a number of books that I haven't read interfiled with books that I have read and may even read again.  Plus I have a "stack" of books on my Kindle just waiting to be read.  NetGalley.com is a force of "chaotic good" since it both provides me with free books AND provides me with free books.  In all though, I probably have about 30-40 books that I have never read and need to.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Queen of the Dead

Queen of the Dead
(Ghost and the Goth, Book 2)
by Stacey Kade

Not long ago, Alona Dare was a happy, healthy, first-tier senior looking forward to finishing out her last year of high school with a bang.  Then she got hit by a bus.  There was definitely a bang there.

Now she's the "spirit guide" of Will Killian, goth boy.  He's been able to see ghosts his entire life, whether he wants to or not.  While most of his life, this has been torture, Alona has actually managed to use her spunky, take-no-prisoners attitude, to give Will a break from all the constant talking and requests for help.

But when another girl shows up with a talent to see ghosts, Will gets a little too intrigued for Alona's taste.  As he gets caught up in finding out about the Order and their apparent desires to save humanity from the "echoes" of the dead, Alona goes out on her own to find a way to try and keep her memory alive.

And with Alona, nothing is ever easy.

Final thoughts:  Not as fun as the first book.  This one goes from cotton candy to a dark and gloomy pretty fast.  And it appears that this will be yet another trilogy, if not more.  Teen ghost series?  Eh.  Plus the cover doesn't match the book at all, which is disappointing.
Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ghost and the Goth

The Ghost and the Goth
by Stacey Kade

Alona Dare looks like she has it all together.  She's top of the social food chain, physically perfect, gets whatever she wants, is the envy of every girl, and the object of every boy's affection.

But stepping in front of an oncoming bus ends all that for Alona.

Now she's stuck waking up on the same stretch of road every day at the same time, forced to watch the world go by without ever being able to communicate with the people around her.

That changes when she sees Will Killian see her.

He's been able to see the dead all of his life, but he's spent years trying to hide that fact.  Because the dead talk.. a LOT.  Whenever they find out that Will can hear them, they won't leave him alone and they beg him for favors to help them get to the great beyond.

Now Alona has found him.

He may never find peace again.

Final thoughts: Cotton candy book at its best.  There's nothing really deep and meaningful here, but it's plenty of fun.  Looking forward to the sequel.  (I wonder if the author wrote this on a dare.  I only speculate since every time I read Alona's name, in my head it sounds like All On A Dare.)

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Overprotected

Overprotected
by Jennifer Laurens

Ashlyn is a high society girl who doesn't get to live with the rest of society.  Ever since she was kidnapped by a former nanny who was obsessed with her dad, her dad has been obsessed with her safety.  She's escorted everywhere by a bodyguard, has no moment of peace outside of her own bedroom, and is followed by the stares of others who think she's strange for her security detail.
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Weirded out by her current bodyguard of three years who seems to have developed a bit of an obsession about her, Ashlyn conspires to get him fired.  She's also trying to get rid of the detail altogether since she's nearly 18 and figures she can now be trusted on her own.
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She was wrong.

Not only does her father hire a new guard in record time, but he's the boy who used to torture Ashlyn as a child.  There's no way she'd be in danger of falling in love with him.

Or is there?

Final thoughts:  Blech.  Poorly written tripe.  It's a YA Harlequin with bad characters, shifting time and plot structures, no real story, and a horribly written "romance".  It's obvious almost from minute one what's going to happen all the way through.  Everything is telegraphed way in advance.  You KNOW she will fall in love from Colin the moment she sees him on the street.  You KNOW what will happen near the end of the book with Stuart.  You KNOW how it will all end by the second chapter.  It's awful.  Ashlyn's "hatred" of Colin seems to solely be based on him chasing her with a crab on the beach when she was five and even that, which is sooo important at the start of the story, is ignored halfway in.  Other things bug me like why would a father so extremely concerned with his daughter's safety hire a 21-year-old with NO training (only aspirations to be an FBI agent) instead of hiring a 40-something former cop?  Why would Colin reach for a gun that wasn't there at one point in the story when no one ever mentioned a gun before?  Why would the author telegraph that Ashlyn calling her father "Dad" instead of "Daddy" would be a big deal by saying something to the effect of "I later figured out..."?  Why is the guy on the cover 30 something and the girl obviously in her 20's when she's supposed to be 17 and he's supposed to be 21?  So much more to complain about, but I've wasted enough time on this book already.

Skip it.

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Numbers 2 : The Chaos

Numbers 2 : The Chaos
by Rachel Ward

Fifteen years after his mother made news when it was discovered she could see the dates of people's deaths, Adam is now fighting the same curse, but it's worse for him.  Adam doesn't just see the dates; he sees part of the deaths themselves.  He feels the pain and can usually sense the cause.  After his mother dies of cancer, on a date she knew because Adam told her before he understood what the numbers meant, Adam is alone with his grandmother and the burden of knowing when everyone around him will die.
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When 01012027 starts appearing in the eyes of almost everyone around him, Adam knows he needs to get them out of London fast.  But things are never simple.

Sarah has come into his life.  She has her own visions of fire, death, and her own daughter.  She also sees Adam taking her child through the flames.  She doesn't see him come out.  But even though she fears what he will do with her daughter once he has her, she's inexplicably drawn to him.

Now they must find a way to survive their visions while the rest of the world fights to destroy them and their futures.

Final thoughts:  Just not as good as the first one.  Numbers had the advantage of creating a whole new future and "gift" that I'd never seen before.  While Adam's is slightly different, it's not different enough. It's not really a rehash of the first book, but it's not a solid continuation.  I was often frustrated by the choices made by the characters and just couldn't see where things were going.  The final scenes were unclear and discovering that this is yet another trilogy with an "exciting conclusion" coming, was annoying.  This one could have ended at the first book and I would have felt completely satisfied.  Now the future of the series hangs over me and I've lost the magic I felt about the first one.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Soul to Steal

My Soul to Steal
by Rachel Vincent

Recovering from her boyfriend's betrayal of her body and soul, Kaylee is trying to cope with all of the changes in her life that she's had happen to her over the past year.  She has discovered that she's a bean sidhe (banshee), she sings souls away when they die, her boyfriend is her kind and understands her the way no one else has, and that same boyfriend is recovering from a strong addiction that led him to completely destroy Kay's trust in him.

She could really use a break from all the drama.

Like that's going to happen.

Especially not when her boyfriend's ex comes to town and makes no secret that she's there for Nash.  She wants him back and will do anything to get him.  She's also a mara, a living nightmare.  She can read a person's deepest fears and twist them into nightmares that can haunt souls.

When teachers start dropping dead and the student body turns against each other, Kay thinks she knows who to blame, even when no one else sees it.

Can Kaylee stop the death and destruction before it comes after her?

Final thoughts:  This is a like a supernatural soap opera; it keeps going and going and yet I don't want it to end.  It's feeling a little drawn out, though.  I hope that Vincent isn't one of those authors who just keeps stringing her readers along.  I also hope that Kay opens her eyes and sees Tod in a different light.  Between the books from Kay's side and the one from Tod's, they totally belong together (even if he is undead).  I'm looking forward to the next one coming out this year.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go
by Heather Davis

It's been months since the car accident that killed Rob and nearly killed his girlfriend, Holly.  Now Holly has to live with the guilt and the dirty looks from her classmates who blame her.  She also has the added burden of taking care of her grandfather with Alzheimer's when he moves in.  Her mother works two jobs to support the family, while Holly has to do all the work at home to get her sister to school, her grandfather to his day center and doctors' appointments, and she still has to get good grades in school.

Jason, Rob's best friend, sees Holly struggle and begins to realize that she's in pain.  He knows that the other students are wrong about Holly and he starts to feel like maybe Rob didn't deserve her.  Now he must find a way to convince Holly, and his own friends, that it's OK for the best friend and girlfriend of the dead guy to get together.  It may even be fate.

And then there's Rob.  He's floating around, watching his family and friends struggle with his death, even while he himself must come to terms with what happened.  Luckily, the Alzheimer's that plaguing Holly's grandfather also allows that grandfather to see Rob.  Maybe Rob has a chance to help his friends before he sees "the light".

Or maybe he'll be trapped, helplessly watching, forever... 

Final thoughts:  There are some interesting ideas here, but it just doesn't come together well.  Davis has made the choice to change the viewpoint of each character to help delineate between the three, but she's really just made a mess.  Holly is all first person (I, me, etc...).   Rob is the rarely used second person (you, your).  And Jason is in third person (he, his).  It's extremely confusing to start because the writing style keeps switching and you have to re-set your brain over and over again.  Holly's mother just ticks me off.  I understand that she's struggling to keep the bills paid, but she never fully acknowledges what she's doing to Holly or how poorly she's treating her. Often, as I read Holly, I kept feeling like I was reading about a 12-year-old and not a 17-year-old girl.  Her feelings were immature and childish and just didn't sit well with me.  The ending got a little preachy with the whole accepting life/fate/the future, etc... This is a good book to recommend for those dealing with grief, but it's a little heavy for the casual reader.

Rating: 3/5

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