Thursday, June 28, 2012

Something About You (FBI / US Attorney, # 1) by Julie James

Something About You (FBI / US Attorney, # 1)
Good Reads Summary
Something About You by Julie James

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago- and for nearly ruining his career.

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes- and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Note to self, when in sucky mood, rom/com, funny sexy reads is where the remedy lies. I laughed.  A LOT, so I appreciated this though it’s be no means my absolute-favorite-romantic read-ever (because the distinction of which goes to a Nora Roberts book with the cartoonist living in an old light tower. What’s was the title again? I remember that and I ending up all giggly and laughing over how prickly the guy was and how sexy their sexy times were. But its title eludes me. Huh, So much for favorite reads.)

On Something About You. I enjoyed both Jack and Cameron. Her for taking no crap, asking the right stuff and, then doing something about it; him for being hot and riding a motor cycle. Superficial, I know… but there’s really not that much to the guy. He could be an ass, he was an ass, in fact; but he’s a sexy ass. Plus, he could be a funny ass time and again too.

The first half was much better than the second where things were more funny than sexy. I needed something fun and this was precisely that. This has been on my TBR for what might be almost two years, and I’m glad that I picked it up now mainly because most of what I’ve been reading either take themselves too seriously or have got no zing to get me excited. This doesn’t take itself seriously, though formulaic at points, at least it entertained me particularly with her and the Tom and Jerry comparisons. Favorite bit though was with the twins and the bachelorette party. Oh, boy did I laugh! Second half was not as much fun though. Too many moments of him being a jerk; too many I love you’s and too little funny moments.

On the whole, I liked this. The banter between the two… the animosity that develops into something else. I also liked their links to other people. Her with Amy and Cameron; him with Wilkins… both added more to them because they’re funny even when not in each others presence. Obviously the suspense part of the story is not the focus, I mean half the time we’re told who did what, why and how, solving whatever mystery there could have been, but the chemistry! Oi!






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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker, #2) by Paolo Bacigalupi


 Good`Reads Summary

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ship Breakers was a bit slow and took a while before I was anything more than just flipping pages; only much later, after the people in it had themselves wrapped around me, did I give a fig. Reading DROWNED CITIES was a little bit like that, only better.  Things went fast, that for sure. There’s a girl and there’s and boy; and they each have each other; there’s a doctor who’s too good to be true… and when things start happening and someone’s about to die, I was split between her keep your head down philosophy and the Doctor’s more kind world view.

The people in this one are so much more than you think they are; they’re certainly more than what they gave each other credit: Mahlia and Mouse, the Doctor and Tool. Then the fact that they had enemies of the conventional kind in those who didn’t trust her; and in those she couldn’t trust. One in particular called for more specific consideration; the same one who was considering her right back. Then there’s one who’s bat shit crazy, terrifying in his particular brand of it.

Is it a boy book? Perhaps. There’s certainly more off the cuff blood being shed, limbs being hacked off, and skin being branded than what I’ve come across of late. But what it really is, is conflict and what that does to people as well as what that has them do. Never is this more obvious than with Mouse. It’s him in it that added a touch of frightening. I was frightened for him. Initially, he’s second fiddle to Mahlia who’s personality just jumped out at you from the page. He’s the good kid, doing what’s right, smoothing things out for her; otherwise, it would all have been rough and fighting and confrontations with her.

Mostly it’s Mahlia being loyal, sticking her head out though initially reluctant to do so then turning a leaf and being all in all because of a boy and not once in the romantic sense (And I love this book all them more for that last fact.) This was a lot about knowing who’s yours and doing what’s called for… for her at least, because time again there’s someone insisting (herself at first) that it’s best to keep your head down and not make waves.

All that’s made even more interesting with Tool in the mix; he added that something extra for me. His thoughts, his words… were that extra something making this more than a girl trying to get by. With him in the picture, things felt more uncertain.  From her point of view, hell, from anyone’s point of view, he’s a violent, volatile variable. But more, it being indefinable why he is where he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing.

This read so much more interesting than the first; I got pulled into the story much more quickly. With it offering a lot of things to mull over with a girl who keeps her head down and a boy who doesn’t; food for thought on doing what’s right versus doing what’s safe. I loved it; I even admit to getting teary over one or two moments in it.


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Defiance (Defiance, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Familiar territory is what greets you once you start; a little bit of Demon Trappers then a touch of Blood Red Road, especially with mention of crazy blood thirsty power crazy leaders and what sounds, funnily enough, like a killer worm…  only better given the same spewing fire!  Still, I feel as though I’ve been here before; that I’ve met these people before. Only later in the story did things get slightly original, but at least there was a second half that had me sitting up and paying attention.

On the first half that had me experiencing a teensy case of déjà vu. Where Logan’s concerned, Rachel is the reluctant type, unwilling to go back to where she was; the one who’s once burned twice shy. Then where everyone else is concerned, she’s daddy’s little girl except actually quite the weapon. The guy does a lot of typically YA male lead things, too. He’s the one finding a balance; he’s the one trying to live up to what’s expected of him. As I’ve said, I knew these people… at least I’ve read their types before.

Thankfully, there is more to them that’s eventually revealed. Thank God! Rachel isn’t dystopia-Riley and neither Logan, Beck’s. All these are revealed in the second half. No longer the sad girl and the poor boy, they both show their strengths, him in his analytical inventing ways; her in everything her daddy’s trained her to be. What’s interesting is that both of them are actually such strong characters, but it’s a strength that’s barely touched in the first half where she’s more the hot head and going off half cocked and he’s barely even there.

They’re not completely one-dimensional even if they did start out that way. Rachel especially in the second half was particularly interesting. Her dealing with things and not dealing with things were the more interesting moments; I caught a glimpse of something more than the hot head, ‘let-me-at-em’ girl.

Personally, Logan was just so-so. His character felt a lot like Bruce Wayne, hero with a dark past you’re not quite sure of. Logan is Bruce because he’s always so ‘super’ in everything he does. Super smart, super strong and super analytical… but it’s the last that grated on me. All that worst case/best case scenarios could get (and did get) old for me. Then, there’s my gripe on things being too conveniently solved with him around; but of course him being smarter than the rest of them made things slightly easier to swallow. Of course the highlight of me comparing him to some super hero or other was when something like this happens:



Even I have to admit that that was pretty cool.

Thanks Edelweiss!
3.5/5







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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Call Me Irresistible: A Novel
Good Reads Summary
 
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

R.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .

Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.

Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.

One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.

But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What's the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's a  4.5 for now, simply because I.Can't.Stop.Grinning!

Fun times this… even if some of it felt recycled with a female lead having fallen on hard time in a close knit community of the weird and the out there. Of a self-made man who’s a lot of the times analytical and not as emotional as she (or so she thought.) They see the other, eventually see into each other, needle each other then rip each other apart.

I enjoyed the two of them immensely. She’s her issues with him, with the town and with herself; only she’s more vocal about the first two than the last. As to the last? She’s the self declared bad girl though she really is not as bad as others think she is. Her issues stem from being slightly less ambitious than the rest of her over achieving family. And only get worse once she’s cut off from them. I had fun with her; I laughed with her, and yes, even sometimes laughed at her; but a lot of the times, I got angry on her behalf. Now, Ted is the typical SEP lead: rich, handsome, but good… just not with her. And it’s that side of him (the way he was with her) that made him only more the  puzzle to her and more an attraction.

I found it funny her descriptions of him. She’d heard him perfect even before the trees parted just so, allowing the light to trickle through and highlight him with a halo. Or even before the birds seemed to sing and trill when he’d make an entrance. Oh, boy! Those descriptions had me laughing. so. hard. She’s so funny in describing things that way, because sometimes she was right: He is a good guy… sometimes too much of the good guy so that when she mocked him with that sudden exclamation of “Stigmata!” my cheeks hurt from grinning too much. What's got me feeling all light hearted over them is how hilarious the two could be that starting off on the wrong foot bit, then her with her loyalty and her out-there ways; him and what she perceived as his maybe robotic manner.When things went as things normally do in SEP novels, I felt more. Him treating her like crap, and her giving as good as she got were both absofreakinglutely hilarious but later, much later, sexy.

Still, my favorite thing about her and this is her sense of humor. But I also love her pride because, yes, she’s another one of those types: the down on her luck, but one for the challenge (but still prone to questioning herself) types. She’s not perfect mind you, but I like her.

There’s also that little bonus for me. It having been a couple of years since I last read an SEP, seeing those old characters again was nice.

***
See, I feel very positively for this that I'm typing this out on this minuscule QWERTY pad on my phone! Decent review in a bit, just give me some time to get over how gushy I'm feeling right now :)




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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Wool-Omnibus-Cover.jpg
Good Reads Summary
Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey

This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.


My Thoughts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

  On WOOL 1

  On WOOL 2: PROPER GAUGE

On WOOL 3: CASTING OFF

Juliette. If book one’s end laid me out then book two had me heart slightly broken over the more personal story of a woman coming to grips with who she was and what had come to pass, this one… this one, had my heart pumping then my blood boiling.

No longer dealing in the hypothetical’s. Here there’s a more concrete thing, establishing that that creepy feeling did in fact have basis. What’s better? She’s more or less pinpointed its source. So, no imaginary badness here; no baseless paranoia because Juliette’s too calculated and organized in her thinking, she saw people and things in ways she understood them,

  “People were like machines. They broke down. They rattled. They could burn you or maim you if you weren’t careful.”


That in mind, it was her as narrator that kept me even more interested; certainly, both Holston and Jahns’s stories were quiet and heartbreaking, but its Juliette’s part of it that’s less quiet, more strong and more too the point.  Her story offers a turning point in Wool. The groundwork in Wool 1 and 2 had her sprinting through things quickly… all the while dragging me along with to follow (helpless  unwilling to get left behind.)

Her seeing what others had seen before her and then deciding what’s to be done fueled the action. Here too is a more present antagonistic source. It’s this last one who had me wondering:  another of those doing what they thought right? Or another too used to stasis, unwilling to allow for change? So with what was could be a face and name to go with the paranoia and fear felt, I was pleasantly surprised by the change in pace here: Beginning with one woman wavering on what her duty was then the same piecing things together and then finally her coming to grips with what might have been going on. Things really did go by much lightning quick, with so many more victims… but also with only more questions coming about. Plus there’s a connection made that’s unexpected but welcome; a bit of sweetness in all that’ was terrifying. This might just be my favorite in the Wool bunch so far.

--------
On WOOL 4: UNRAVELING:
  “There was a terrifying world around her, one she could be dimly aware of if she concentrated hard enough, a world she knew but could no longer see.”
And I thought book three was exciting.  I love how each book is told by someone else thereby adding more to the experience. Lukas was that twenty something year old man who’d piqued both my and book’s three's narrator's curiosity. He's out of place but obviously there was more to him. So, where the first one confused me then shocked me, and where the second and the third had me pumped, this fourth touches a little on the sweet. Emphasis on 'a little,' though because the goings-on in this one, the discoveries that one or two of them made were so out there, but not too out there, making the same all the more scary.

Here is where things got PASSIONATE; the people, FIERY. Every one of them, doing what they thought was right. Him for a person he barely knew; the rest of them for what’s been done to her but also for what they couldn’t do for her (and others like her,)

"And tell me, where will you be, Knox of Mechanical, when the bombs fly? When these men and women who look up to us are facing their gravest test, where will you be?”

“You know where I’ll---” he started to answer.

“Damn straight,” McLain said, releasing his arm. “And you‘d better well know that I’ll see you there…”
Then of course all that paled in comparison to what Chapter 17 had done to me. Roughly thereafter, it was all I could do to keep from screaming, Holy Mind Fuck Batman! Everything said had a grain of truth in it, and it was terrifying!

--------
On WOOL 5: STRANDED

It’s been a long time coming but yes, how it all came together in the end has me all fan-girl happy, in a ZOMG!! kind of way.

5/5





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Friday, June 22, 2012

Wool 2: Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey

Wool 2: Proper Gauge  

Good Reads Summary
 Wool 2: Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey

A cleaning has been performed, and now the silo is without a sheriff. With only one good candidate available, Mayor Jahns and Deputy Mames set off for the Down Deep to recruit her in person. Along the way, they discover much about each other, troubling news about this candidate, and stumble upon fractured alliances that could spell the doom of a silo they've worked long years to protect.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A slightly more personal tale than the first, so a bit slower as a result. Still, it’s no less shocking in how it ends.  Like Holston’s there are moments that touch on the past. But it’s a past that’s more specific to her, more personal. The mayor and her history contrasted to her duty and the many years she’s had to do what she’d had to do, paint a woman who’s strong but worn:
  The days pile up and weigh small decisions down, don’t they…? I’m talking about days becoming weeks becoming months becoming years---”
Her journey from top to bottom that allows for more clarity as to what the silo really was. Who was where, what was what and why things were arranged the way they were. Basically? We’re given a clearer picture of the place… and also a clearer picture that something wasn’t right.. 

Admittedly, it’s slower in pace. This trip down the silo as well as her trip though her memories, and though not as compelling as WOOL, were both still interesting where the most interesting moment was her meeting Juliette for the first time. There’s realization that they’re so obviously similar in how sure they both were over the rightness of where they were and what they were doing.

And for all that, it is still pressure filled because you know something was coming upon them… and you wait … and wait… and wait… so that when that thing finally did happen, it's not quite the sucker punch that the first one was, but you’re still left, laid out… because you know exactly who they were and what’s been lost. Yes, even with my knowing what was coming, I still felt little prepared.
[Better to join a ghost than be haunted by them… (hide spoiler)]
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool
Good Reads Summary
Wool by Hugh Howey

They live beneath the earth in a prison of their own making. There is a view of the outside world, a spoiled and rotten world, their forefathers left behind. But this view fades over time, ruined by the toxic airs that kill any who brave them.

So they leave it to the criminals, those who break the rules, and who are sent to cleaning. Why do they do it, these people condemned to death? Sheriff Holston has always wondered. Now he is about to find out.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

    My life is too tight…
My skin is too tight.
The walls are too tight
 
This is why I love GR! Books that I’d not have even look twice at come to my attention. Wool is a short, short read but it’s its ending that packs a wallop. The back and forth between three years past and then his present read both compelling… if at first a little unclear.

His memories of Allison on her wanting the inconsiderable, then him coming to a similar point were equal parts confusing and intriguing. Then those little tidbits that painted a world constrained of lotteries and the  grave offense… had the place feeling even more tiny.

But, I kid you not when I say that that ending was wholly unexpected…

...like a kick to the gut.







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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)
Good Reads Summary 
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5/5

"Nice blouse, Sage," he told me dead pan.
"It really brings out the khaki in your pants.

Adrian’s back! I’d worried that I’d gotten too old for his antics… when in fact it was his antics that were the main highlights in this one. Him aside, this took forever to pick up. (Truth? The only time I was truly into it at all was when Adrian was in it.) Still, I found myself nodding along with Sydney’s observations of him. At one point, he’s brave and defensive, later he’s stubborn and held back. I got why he was the way he was, but Lord help me! Our girl was a bit slow on the up take. For such a smart girl, boy could she be dense sometimes!

It’s all Sydney this time around. I liked seeing more of her… if only because her life is so complicated! For one, there was a lot her internal back and forth on the vampire and human divide (which could get and did get frustrating…) At least things were made clearer. It’s the personal side that amped up her turmoil some; her being drawn to them, her continued exposure to them proved things were not the black and white she’d been trained to work with. Her connection (friendship with? affection for?) Jill, Eddie… all made their set up a tad stickier. Then if you consider the side drama of Eddie/Jill, Jill/Micah, as well as (view spoiler)[Angeline/Eddie (hide spoiler)] well… you can only imagine how human these supernatural’s lives could be in her eyes!

Never a moments peace... when one layers on the complication of humans handling magic. Events in Bloodlines had left her shaken and only more dead set on her view of magic being outside what humans ought to handle. Of course, circumstance and people around her keep pushing things to the other way. What's even more interesting? Her non-vampire interactions, that's what! There’s greater time spent with her as a girl who’s not used to being just a girl. Not the alchemist, duty bound to watch out for everyone and keep everyone out of trouble, here there’s of her as just the girl/student. It’s these bits that were all at once interesting, hilarious but a little frustrating too! Why?  It’s just so obvious how little she knew outside being an Alchemist.

But, it’s that ending again has me equal parts frustrated and excited! How come there are always those people (view spoiler)[ADRIAN!!!
 (hide spoiler)]
who cannot catch a break? Mead certainly loves dangling us over a cliff’s edge, doesn’t she?

Want. Next. one. NOW!

3.5/5





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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blazing the Trail (Dragon Diaries #3) by Deborah Cooke

Blazing the Trail (The Dragon Diaries, #3)
Good Reads Summary
Blazing the Trail by Deborah Cooke

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Zoë Sorensson’s love life is heating up. Cute, loyal, and understanding, wolf shifter Derek is pretty much the perfect guy. He likes Zoë, and he knows what it’s like to have to keep a secret. Yet, Zoë can’t help but wish it was rebel rocker Jared asking her to the Valentine’s dance instead. But Jared’s too busy playing hot and cold with her heart, calling Zoë his dragon girl one minute and then taking special interest in her best friend the next.

Zoë is just about ready to breathe fire, especially once she uncovers a new threat that targets her friends. Although Zoë thought the Mages were defeated, they’re back and have invoked an old spell to give them new power—they plan to eliminate all shape shifters on the night of the big dance. Now, Zoë must lead an alliance of young shifters to battle the Mages and figure out exactly what—and who—she wants, before it all goes up in smoke…


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot of trusting and doubting in this one: trusting people you’d think to not to trust; then doubting certain others who don’t deserve it. I could imagine just how frustrating things were going for her! Still, most of that was canceled out by how quick the story went. Going from one predicament to another certainly left the girl bagged. Imagine girl dragon, juggling time to save the world from power hungry mages and her school work!

I suppose it is good that it wasn’t all dragon shifter drama. The boy drama could get painfully contrived at times. Her having to choose between the predictably good one and the one who made her heart stutter: cute, but been there and done that. The school drama of bullies and mean girls, or of a guidance councilor who’s too enthusiastic for her own good (and at times strangely blind to some aspects too,) livened things up some more. Then of course her parents’ glaringly obvious absence in the picture: it’s an absence that allowed for so many things to take place. It’s also an absence that’s in stark contrast to the goings on in the first two books. Plenty of things didn’t add up on that end… BUT, the amount of excitement was not bad. Or how about those puzzles to solve? Yes, there’s a lot of those too. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot more bumbling this time around.

I liked and liked this for the same reasons I liked/disliked the first two installments; even though a lot of the scenarios were painfully obvious and despite the fact that plenty of the solutions were a bit too easy to put together.(so easy in fact, it was a wonder why they’d not put it together sooner,) these were things I could let slide because this one like the first two were fun and easy reads.





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Monday, June 18, 2012

Winging It (Dragon Diaries #2) by Deborah Cooke

Winging It (The Dragon Diaries, #2)Winging It (The Dragon Diaries, #2)

Good Reads Summary
Winging It by Deborah Cooke

Zoë Sorensson yearns to come into her powers as the only female dragon shifter. But being part of two worlds is more complicated than she expected. It’s bad enough that she’s the target of the Mages’ plan to eliminate all shifters—she also has to hide her true nature from her best friend Megan, a human. For her sixteenth birthday, all Zoë wants is one normal day, including a tattoo and a chance to see hot rocker Jared.

Instead, the Pyr throw her a birthday party but ban Megan from attendance, putting Zoë in a tight spot. Things get even worse when Zoe is invited to the popular kids’ Halloween party and Megan’s left out. Zoë knows the party is a trap laid by the host, an apprentice Mage. When Megan gets a last-minute invite, Zoë must save the day—and her best friend—without revealing her fire-breathing secrets . . .


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Ok, me likening FLYING BLIND one to Jacinda’s and Sophie’s stories was jumping the gun because WINGING IT alters course slightly by introducing a host of characters who are similarly situated to her and her ilk, as well as by introducing a teensy tiny *not*prophecy  with Zoe at its focus. Sure, it’s still funny and young… but it got all kinds of kick ass out of the blue.

Thunderbirds, dude. Thunderbirds! When they’re first introduced in book one, they were just that extra little bit that complicated matters more. Here, the mess that’s created has them sort of in the center. Only it wasn’t just them, given the addition of wolf shifters and cat shifters! So her world’s growing and just to amp up things even more, there’s more specifics in the magic and spell-singing thrown into the mix!

Still, while it is fun and quick, I confess I thought a lot of the goings on could be so frustratingly obvious(?) There’s a lot of going into things despite knowing their chances were slim. A lot of waving the red flag in front of the bull, if that makes sense.  Also, the boy drama! Lots and lots of boy drama. I was totally on board with her and Isabelle on their boys-are-clueless spiel.  I still liked this though; it’s an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours without me having to roll my eyes (all the time) after each passage.


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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries, #1) by Deborah Cooke

Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries, #1)Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries #1)

Good Reads Summary
Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke

The next generation of shape-shifting dragons from the popular author of the Dragonfire novels.

Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal, except she's been told she's destined for great things. Zoë's the one female dragon shapeshifter of her kind. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr and her powers are AWOL, so she's sent to a Pyr boot camp.

Zoë quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line-unless Zoë and her friends can work together and save their own kind.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zoe is a combination of Jacinda and Sophie. Where Jacinda’s tale is a little bit more of the romantic kind with her dragon hunter and star crossed lovers’ tale, Zoe is not quiet that. She felt much younger for one; it’s her youth that had her prone to the most awkward of exchanges in the boy/girl department. It’s also these boy/girl moments that allowed for a lot of the Sophie-esque moments to crop up. So there was snark, but there was pining too. I liked that.

I dove into Flying Blind unaware of it being a spin off of the more adult Dragonfire series. I’m assuming plenty of the old characters showed up, but it’s of no moment.  A lot of this felt young and fun. Her dealing with her parents, her affection for them and her frustration with was plain to see. Then those moments with her bonding with her BFF, or even that aspect of a would-be unrequited love on her end had me enjoying the story more. The meat of story though is her coming into her own, figuring out who she was and what she could do.

I enjoyed this one… even if there were moments that frustrated me. It’s a young book; she’s a young girl. These two are made even more obvious given what she’s made to deal with: of people turning on certain people, or of her being unable to get a grip on what she must, or even of the deluge of hot hot hot boys paying attention her, or of the drama of having the one who counted not doing so, on account of a hotter older girl’s presence.

One part that’s still sticking is Jared’s role in this. I like the idea of it being more than a dragon shifter series; that she and her kind are a part of a bigger more magical/fantasy based world… even if a lot of the magical isn’t as emphasized. I like the hints of magic that’s introduced through spell singers and mages; those things made it even more interesting

It’s young, it’s fun… and I’m reading the next one now.


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Saturday, June 16, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars
Good Reads Summary
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

That ending was too neat and too perfect considering what could have happened. There were all those hints of things darker and more sinister things; things that you pick up on even if they’re not completely spelled out.

I liked...

You know that theirs is a world post something, but you have to piece it all together. Eventually you come away with a picture of people divided among the Luddites who’ve taken it upon themselves to take care of humanity, the Reduced who the former “cares” for and then the Posts (Post Reductionists,) who’re a new kind altogether. But there’s also this slow shift toward something else, toward possibilities that some want and that others fear. I enjoyed connecting the dots; I was intrigued by how vague aspects of it were with things never really being too specific in presentation. Maybe, we know the when, but definitely not the where. Maybe we know the how it is now, but not the why (at least not exactly.) There’s the need to pick through the details and figure out what’s relevant to why they were the way they were.

I'm split on...

But for all that’s that piecing together, a lot of For Darkness Shows the Stars really is a Jane Austen sci-fi (author’s words, not mine.) Because even with the backdrop of genetic tinkering and being God-sworn to care for others in mind, most of the book is just this girl who read too good to be true. One who knows her place and knows her duties. One who wants things but has resigned herself to her lot. All this would not have bothered me so, had she snapped back at least once or twice; but she simply kept taking and taking (and taking.) Making her seem more the victim, the one that things happened to, instead of the one who made things happen. She’s too sad a figure to be angry at - it would have been like kicking a puppy.

Sometimes, I even liked the whole star crossed love that was going on, from her end at least (but not necessarily from his.) More often than not though, it was this same aspect that had me feeling (too) sad for her. Would she forever be the poor little misunderstood rich Luddite girl? All these feeling held true for me, at least initially~ because eventually she reveals a side herself that’s more than the girl regretting her choice; it’s that non-pining version that I enjoyed so much more.  I respected the girl who did what she had to, the girl who kept things together.

Um... nope..

Often though she was just such a sad (sad, sad, sad) figure where he was concerned. Truly, he’s barely in this at all (really, it’s her memories of him that she’s still in love with) but when he was present there’s this unwillingness to bend on his part that all at once made sense but also made their situation only more impossible. I could have been more sympathetic to them, but factor in his rigidity, and his barely there presence…well, I could just feel myself getting angrier

But my biggest issue with this (as my intro to all this points,) is that last third which felt too much like a hodge-podge mix of everything happening at once… then ending with a resolution that felt too neat, too perfect especially if one considers the dark and sticky things that were raised. Her cousin’s role in it as well as the Reduced/Posts day to day is all remarked upon, but there’s not much in terms of actual confrontation. Things being resolved at a distance took something away from this for me.

Perhaps this too neat, too perfect ending fits this Jane Austen-y sci-fi, but I just imagined more. When one is initially consumed by picking through people’s attitudes and a pair of kids’ back-and-forth correspondence, all the while building up this world that’s dark and different but new and trying to go on... I really just thought there’d be more than what I got.

I was feeling a 4 for the (vague) intriguing world that I just needed to make a complete picture of in my mind BUT it’s a 2 for the “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…” moments

So, 3.5/5

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys #2) by Abbi Glines

The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2)
Good Reads Summary
The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines

He may have given her up without a fight, but Sawyer Vincent is far from over losing the girl he’s loved all of his life. Instead of giving up his best friend and the girl he thought he’d spend forever with, he gave Ashton and his brother Beau his blessing. However, adjusting to seeing Ashton wrapped up in Beau’s arms isn’t easy. Complicating everything even more, Ashton’s cousin Lana is in town for the summer. Sweet, kind, soft-spoken Lana, who gets under his skin. Just being near her makes him forget all about Ashton and his broken heart. Lana is everything he wanted Ashton to be except she isn’t Ashton. She lacks the backbone to stand up for herself and confidence that Ashton wears like a crown.

Lana McDaniel has lived her life in her cousin's shadow. While Lana struggled with her grades no matter how hard she tried, her mother praised Ashton's intelligence. She hadn’t been blessed with Ashton’s blond hair and flawless skin, but that didn't keep her mother from lamenting her naturally red hair and freckles. But none of that would have mattered if Ashton hadn’t always had Sawyer Vincent wrapped around her finger -- the only boy Lana wanted. Once Ashton let Sawyer go, Lana had been so sure that he’d move on. Determined to make Sawyer finally see her, she'd talked her mother into letting her spend the summer with Ashton. But Sawyer is still in love with Ashton, and Lana isn’t going to be anyone's rebound girl. No matter how yummy Sawyer Vincent’s kisses taste.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5of 5 stars

wow. Wow. WOW. Score one for Abbi Glines! I feel like I’ve finally been let in on a big secret. I  REALLY liked this one despite it being far from perfect given one or two (hell, more than a couple) of eye roll inducing moments due to some awkwardly phrased preachy ‘go you/go us speeches!’

A mixed bag of like/dislike...

There’s a marked improvement in the characters and even the drama offered up. The characters for instance are not one track/one dimensional good boy/bad girl or good girl/bad girl types. I’m talking Sawyer, folks. Here’s an alpha type that I did not see coming, this straight laced former boyfriend to the preacher’s daughter shed his good boy prince ways quickly. I liked loved this about him, eve if moments had me wanting to slap him silly. Those moments of him looking back wanting to move on, contrasted to those moments of him scheming made him less the good guy that Ash painted him to be and more… likely. Yes, definitely not the complete good guy after all.

Even Beau’s singular ‘protect Ash’ mode paled in comparison to Sawyer’s being an ass, trying new stuff, attempting to move on, and then later fumbling time and time (and time) again. It’s him I enjoyed the most because again he no longer is just a good guy. It was the fumbling that grounded him some and made him simultaneously more likeable and unlikeable.

Lana too lived up to what I liked about her in Vincent Boys. In VB #1, she was the only voice of reason. Ash made her out to be too stick-in-the-mud, but when Lana called her cousin out, making her pick a boy to let the other go, I felt, no, I KNEW there was something to the girl.  Finally, here was a female lead that didn’t have my eyes rolling (too much!) Yes, even with her using terms like ‘um… private parts/ down there’ that felt kind of inauthentic given her being eighteen and all. But, at least she’s not led down the same path other Glines girls had gone before. She’s not oblivious to her charms, just slightly insecure when she’d liken herself to her cousin. What’s made her more interesting is how she worked with what she had. Then went after what she wanted.

Yes, there were wishy-washy moments of her and her baggage, but it’s a drama that I dug, if you get what I mean. Her feelings on being second best then her eventually making some hard decisions (although a bit half cocked…) all made sense. I admit I feared it was going to get over the top, with the bawling and the crying and the running away, and though all these things did happen, I wasn’t bothered (much.)



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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fitz by Mich Cochrane

Fitz
Fitz by Mick Cochrane

A father, a son, and a gun. This could make for an interesting day..

Sometimes Fitz would look at himself in the mirror, an expression of pathetic eagerness on his face. He was a dog in the pound, wanting to be adopted. He'd smile. What father wouldn't want this boy?

Fifteen-year-old Fitzgerald—Fitz, to his friends—has just learned that his father, whom he's never met, who supports him but is not a part of his life, is living nearby. Fitz begins to follow him, watch him, study him, and on an otherwise ordinary May morning, he executes a plan to force his father, at gunpoint, to be with him.

Over the course of one spring day, Fitz and his father become real to one another. Fitz learns about his father, why he's chosen to remain distant and what really happened between him and Fitz's mother. And his father learns what sort of boy his son has grown up to become.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


  “Fifteen year old Fitz kidnaps the father he has never known, taking him from at gun point, in an attempt to address his bewildering mix of resentment and yearning.”


Intriguing as that sounds, I had this slight fear that I would get a boy too wrapped up in his own thing, too self absorbed and too aware of what he didn’t have. He was and he wasn’t.  It was that start and the end that got me to react the strongest, but the in- between was totally different. Fitz put it best with his ‘what’s after hate?’ It was exactly that question that had me continuing. Frankly, my feelings went from intrigued and curious then settled on my usual “so-what- now feelings” mode that I’ve been on for the longest time, but I really wanted to know what would follow that volatile beginning.

Once done, my usual middle feelings of ok came around, but the longer I considered it the more I liked it. Though “like” might not be the right word.

This is about how Fitz wants what he doesn’t have. It's also about how he finds why that’s the case. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it certainly wasn’t what he was expecting. Because the story he unearthed with him holding that gun could be described as a little “everyday.” In fact, even him taking his father at gunpoint, was something I thought would go off with a bit more volatility, urgency; something that would grab by my gut, I suppose. But here? I skated through it given how everything was happening so quietly, so ordinarily so quietly ordinary(?). Even his back story that's discovered, felt commonplace. So commonplace, in fact, that it’s what made Fitz’s story sadder… more sad than merited.

The reactions he got out of the other were both obvious and not-so obvious because Curtis was afraid and resigned then later even ballsy in getting things done. Overall, however, the progression I can only describe as a little mundane… almost as if it’s everyday that someone (a) takes another at gunpoint and (b) that the other  taken at gunpoint. But it’s Curtis side of the story that was less than obvious, it's what niggled at me. Never mind the may be slightly imbalanced boy with the gun. Never mind the same boy’s propensity towards picturing his thoughts real and wanting his daddy. It was CURTIS’s revelations that were equal parts sad and selfish. There’s an honesty to the guy in admitting he came up short. But admitting something and doing something about it are two wholly different things. (view spoiler)[I did respect the fact that he’s the balls enough to gripe that he was not the only one to come up short… because hey, it was true!! (hide spoiler)]

So their actions, even if extreme, were understandable, but still selfish and misguided.  This is true both for his mother (with her idea of each doing what’s best for all,) and for his father (with being satisfied in doing what he’d been doing for forever -or not doing as was his case.) And yes even for Fitz, this slightly imbalanced boy with a wanting that’s so big that he acts to the extreme.

The start of his story was intriguing, but the progression from there put an emphasis on events that were a bit ‘every day.’ And I may sound contrary, but that end still had me feeling shortchanged. I expected something more. Why that’s the case is a wonder even to me because only in the beginning were things volatile… then thereafter things went quietly, ordinarily by. (yes, I am not blind to my overuse of adverbs in this one.)

While not my favorite, this was definitely interesting.
THANK YOU NETGALLEY!
2??? or 3??? of 5


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys) by Abbi Glines

The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)
Good Reads Summary
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from. 

Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he's tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?.... Hell Yeah.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


So far I’ve read two contemporaries by Abbi Glines. In both instances, I’ve been less than impressed. From positively loathing Breeze #1 to not quite loathing its sequel, one would probably wonder why I even bother with other stuff by her.  It’s simple I keep hoping that something of hers is going to click for me like her stuff has clicked for others. It didn’t pan out that way for me with Vincent Boys. See, this was like revisiting those aforementioned titles; consequently, a lot of been there and done that moments.

Characters…

The girl in the middle: Ash. She’s another one of those oblivious ones, like how Low is in not being quite sure about she’s what got to offer... yet surrounded by boys who love her all the same! There's an attempt to change things up a little by making her less the innocent one, rather more the bad girl reformed type. Though to be perfectly honest, I never really did buy into the drama she was selling.

She, I thought, was just another girl unaware of what she had going for her BUT a little too aware of her faults. Her faults? There were many, but not as bad as she seemed to think them. There’s a lot of making mole hills into mountains. If that weren’t frustrating enough… there were also those contrary moments when she’d let vital matters slide by.

The love interests. (Yep, that’s plural for you. But, isn’t always anyway?) I like that I didn’t really like either of her options initially. One is just too good to be true while the other is simply too bad for his own good. They made things interesting as best friends who really were polar opposites. They’re linked by blood, this is true but by little else. Unless, we count that commonly held love for Ash (as usual, I didn’t really grasp why they loved her so much; she’s just too meh. Still, they did make things more interesting when a different side of both came out.

Plot wise…

There really isn’t that many new things here. She’s trying too hard, and both boys know it. When things fall the way they do, she makes a couple of realizations about herself and the boys in her life. It’s agreed that one isn’t as bad as he makes himself out to be. And that the other isn’t actually so far from perfect.

The boys too make realizations like this about her. Where the pedestal one holds her on, crumbles for good reason; the other just sees all the more clearly, that they’re made for each other. It was so very dramatic. But thankfully, it less so with them facing up to the consequences of their actions. It’s the same fact that allowed me to read on. I really respect that there was minimum of running around and denying stuff; instead there’s facing up and dealing with. There’s also side drama that’s exclusive of the girl. Though had I thought about the major spoiler that the sequel’s title was, I wouldn’t have rolled my eyes as much. I’m still reading Vincent Brothers though. Why? despite this being sometimes being eye-roll worthy, it was a quick read. And though more frustrating than it was fun, it's really not that much of a complicated love story.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The First Days (As the World Dies: Zombie trilogy #1) by Rhiannon Frater

The First Days (As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #1)
Good Reads Summary
The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies trilogy is an internet sensation. The first two books, The First Days and Fighting to Survive, have won the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel from Mail Order Zombie. The First Days was named one of the Best Zombie Books of the Decade by the Harrisburg Book ExaminerAmericanHorrorBlog calls Rhiannon Frater "a writer to watch."

The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde.

Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town.  There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form. 

Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
“Tiny fingers. So small. So very, very small. The fingers pressed under the front door of her home were so very small. She couldn’t stop staring at those baby fingers straining frantically to reach her as she stood shivering on the porch.”

This is more like it! It’s got the right tone from the get. And I loved it; I scared myself silly… but I loved that too. It’s scary, and most everyone in it screwed up… but not so totally screwed so that I couldn’t rally behind them. Then there’s the simplicity in writing. I was at odds with myself in this respect. On one hand, it’s quick and easy to get into. On the other, it was too simple that at times there was those rare moment of things feeling too ‘one thing follows the other…’ choppy and just too likely. But with characters like Katie and Jenni, well, I got over it.

They’re not simple character’s, that’s for sure. Jenni especially, is so far from perfect. She’s more all over the place, in fact. It’s that last aspect that drew to her but had me wondering about her all the more. Her history’s clear and some of the things she did made sense because of it… but a lot of the time, she was doing things that were just plain crazy. But maybe that’s OK too because their world’s crazy, right? Then there’s the other half of the pair: Katie. She’s the strong one, the one who plods on. And like everyone else, she’s grieving too but where Jenni is more free because of what’s happened, Katie’s held back. This difference and the other big differences between them made them matching up so well even more of a surprise.

The writing is simple that story just flows (you do get over the dialogue, I swear you do.) But not a thing this was easy. Those new connections made were complicated and intriguing at first. There were even a couple of unlikely love-at-first’s (and I hated it not being called what it was from the beginning.) But what better was the little complicated emotions from everyone not just from Jenni, (because this girl was one ball of messed up reactions/ emotion,) but from everyone else as well. Take Nerit and Ralph, deciding on what they did because it’s what was familiar. Or those other survivors who were not so quick to follow the company line of “it’s me or you,’ but more cautious and maybe hopeful. It’ was a hopefulness that’s so at odds with their current reality that I was at once relieved. As in ‘yes there are still some who could think that way!’ Even if it’s a type of thinking that would likely get them and the rest killed.

So yes, this one has me: sad, relieved, frustrated and excited over a zombie book. And, for all that gore near the start, in middle... hell all through out, that ending's a bit too neat for my taste, but at least I know there are two more to follow.




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Monday, June 11, 2012

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

Raising Stony Mayhall
Good Reads Summary

Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory


In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.

The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret — until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world


My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Well, this was different. The content, ambitious with the zombies, 'the differently living.' Where was the blood? The gore? Or even the hero/heroine I’d root for? Instead of the latter, first I got something to gawk at, then I got something(s) to mull over. It’s definitely different. A whole alternative to the zombie world I love is offered.

Despite that (because of that?) I couldn’t connect. See? I love the chase. The ‘get the hell out of there, you idiot!’ moments. The first part had little of me feeling that way; the second part even fewer. Initially, it’s him getting used to his family. While his being part of that unit had me recalling Z in Warm Bodies, in that I saw how different he was from them, here I was never completely invested; intrigued maybe but not anything beyond that.

So where Z’s the feeling were all wrapped up in what he remembered, Stony’s the feelings /thoughts were all wrapped up together. He’s a thinking kind of zombie, a contemplative one… sometimes overly so. It’s this that set him apart from what I’d come to expect, all of his kind actually were up to some level like him. But I wanted more gore, but I got The Thinker instead.  Just not my thing, I suppose. At least with Z, there’s the fact that he was the anomaly... and not the norm. So the first part really shows him trying to be connected to them all, and they to him… the latter portions is him trying to figure out what his and his kinds place really is. So there’s only more contemplation, and while interesting and thought provoking and yes, different… all these things weren’t things I was expecting. As a result there was this gaping disconnect between me and him. Plus, it got plodded along with him thinking and thinking and thinking.

It’s not a bad book... but perhaps it’s just not my thing. Then that ending… um… you see it coming. Starting all different, then progressing the way it did ‘deep,’ sometimes political, maybe even philosophical… and then to end that way… well, ’Huh.’




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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass#1) by Sarah J. Mass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Good Reads Summary
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one how while they’re both looking at the same girl; they’re seeing something totally different. Where Dorian sees this girl who’s scarred and wounded, Chaol sees this assassin, this danger.  Then I loved how both their versions are actually true. But I enjoyed these people. Not one of them was perfectly good or perfectly bad, just capable of doing both.

I liked the little bonuses that painted a clearer picture of her. Her friendship with Nehemia for one, was curious from the beginning. They find themselves in the same position and connect on that level, but she’s not quite sure about what trusting the other. Then her connection to both the Prince and the King’s Guard. Boy, what a flirt! But what fun she could be too!  She’s definitely NOT what I’d picture to be an assassin. The start has her weak and a victim… little by little her sass shows through. And I enjoyed her more and more. It’s with the little changes in her that the others warmed up to her.

I found it amusing this killer, this Queen of the Underworld who could be so fond of frivolous, of the sometimes frilly things like royal balls and pretty gowns. It made her story less grave I suppose, making her just a girl.  But I enjoyed her wit too, with her warring need to stay under the radar but wanting to be known for who she had been. Because from flirty funny girl, she’d turn a leaf then be tough and skilled and killer. Not simple, not once.

I love the options she’s given. Like in Clock Work Angel where there were two viable options. Here it’s the same with Dorian and Chaol neither being completely good  because of some things they do some. There’s Dorian, the epitome the handsome prince… who’s absolutely full of himself, but not just that. Sure, he’s the handsome chiseled jaw type, but there’s more to him than that. Like him straining against the direction his father, the King was going.  Or him being unable to be what he wants because he’d rather not be the center of too much attention from his father. Then Chaol, who’s serious and distant and aloof and there fore more alluring. I LOVED this character! That guard wanting to keep the distance but being needlessly drawn in still

And then between the two there’s this bond, best friend/brothers thing that made things a tad more complicated. There’s the fact that they know each other well enough to balance out the behavior of the other, call the other out regarding what they both want but backing off, stepping back when needed

But there’s so much more I wanted to know.  Like who the hell is Sam? And who the hell is Arobbyn? I need more of her history. I needed to know more of her; it seems the road to becoming who she was was not easy and I’d love a look into her history. Or the Guard’s history for the matter him abdicating things to be a soldier. Then, Nehemia with her secret and ability to tap into something that’s been purged from their current world. I loved all  the mentions of magic and the Wyrd.  Or the King and the Duke… Suffice to say, I expect a lot from books that follow.

Love. love. love

4/5





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Saturday, June 9, 2012

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)
Good Reads Summary
 
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Chronicles.

Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?

When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind…

(UK summary)

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Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

(US summary)


My Thoughts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Original.

It’s so absolutely different from anything else out there; I was so impressed by how good it was. The whole idea of dominant and recessive souls and settling was so new to me What’s better? It’s not that hard to figure out... but not lacking in explanation either. It’s clear what the crux of the matter is: their feeling abnormal because of what they were, and other people fearing the same. I got it, and I was hooked with each page. There was a lot of things I’d never come across before, and I loved every moment of it: from the oddness of Hally/Lissa, to the their feelings for their dad and her mom, to their feelings for Ryan/Devon.

Not once is it simple.

Not of the characters are typical YA. And while Addie’s the dominant one, we know more about Eva than we do her, and I liked that attack to the story because it made their even more different. How Eva feels the lack of control, the silence of her voice. But what’s even more surprising is it’s not often that you’d feel that much negativity from the latter. And when the negativity did come out, it was all the more loud.  Theirs was a complicated relationship but still very typical of siblings (well, mine at least.) Them wanting the other to be happy, but feeling slightly unhappy for themselves, if that makes sense. Then the whole, “bearing it together.” What other choice did they have? And they were so much closer for it. Fascinating these two, I thought.

Things become even more complicated later on with the Ryan in the picture. How exactly was that going to work? It’s a question that’s voiced once or twice when the possibility of a THEM came up. I like that. That questions were asked, questions made were those that made sense and that the story wasn’t bogged down by any lovey-love concerns.

4/5

thank you edelweiss!







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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Renfield Syndrome (Rhiannon's Law#2) by J.A. Saare

The Renfield Syndrome (Rhiannon's Law, #2)
Good Reads Summary
The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This one almost broke the “I love you, UF/PNR’ streak I've been having of late. A string of complaints were running through my head up until 63%. Prior that, just about everything wasn’t working for me:

Seriously, that cliffy had me thinking something else, something bigger, something that would up the ante was coming. Instead I got more of the same old same old. Wait, maybe it’d be fairer to say it went places I didn’t think it would go:

Did we really, seriously have to go there? I mean, I know we started with the idea of bad ass vampires and an even more bad ass necromancer, but Lycae? Really? Was completing that tried/tested opposition really necessary? It felt so down the beaten path for me; haven’t we all been there and done that? And beside that tried/tested formula, did we really have to suffer some more love unrequited?

Carter. What to say, what to say?  How about an ‘Eew.’ Yes, that about sums it up for me. I. Didn’t. Like. It.  Specifically? How his miniscule part in it all was handled… on his end specifically. It all felt glossed over. No remorse from him; as for her,  a bit incomplete despite the shooting and the blood, because for all that, all I got was her fallback response of ‘fuck me sideways.’

It could have gone the ways of never-ending change in bed partners, (ala Anita in those vampire books.) I exaggerate. But, it could have been like that. (view spoiler)[it's just that those jumps from one partner to another felt so out of character, considering the change in circumstance took place conceptually in but a few days. (hide spoiler)]
Despite all that, I’m so glad to have pushed through. If at first I was predicting ‘great groundwork, but not so great execution,’ things turned around in totally unexpected ways somewhere around the time I hit 41%, then 63% then 84%.

It’s that last 20% that I’m in love with. By that point more than one person had reacted both predictably and then not quite predictably. It’s for those same reactions that the tension shot up to almost unbearable limits. I like how those little things I was familiar with were taken and allowed to progress in totally unexpected ways. Sure, Rhianon’s was more of a bleeding heart in this one, but she could also be so much more blood thirsty than I ever thought she could be. So many facets of her came out in this one. Heck, even the typically overly lovey-dovey love interest revealed more of himself… but who could blame him, eh? Wait, that right, Rhiannon could.  I need book three. NOW

3.5/5


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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On the Edge (The Edge, #1) by Ilona Andrews

On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
Good Reads Summary
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Semi-conventional romance notwithstanding, I loved how creative and engaging the world was. But, conventional how exactly?  They start off with a misunderstanding proceed to rubbing each other the wrong way and then go on to rubbing each other “the right” way. And I loved them despite all that.

The OK...

Declan is a throwback to those soldiers of fortune male leads in paperback romances: tough, there, and… tough. Rose is also another standard revisited: the female lead whose once or twice (or a gazillion times burned;)the one who has a hard time trusting others, keeping everyone, save a select few, at a distance.  She’s the one who’s good and sweet but with a sad past… except for her “sweet” definitely doesn’t apply. She’s just too wrapped up in the day to day and tends to be prickly, so there was this unsurprising tendency on her part to jump the gun. Result? Alternate moments of the hilarious and sexy.

The Awesome...

They’re both tough and strong… and getting to a them was half the battle. In the meantime, there’s was all this fascinating talk on the Weird, the Broken and living on Edge. Fun times! I loved it a smidge more because of her painting this frontier-esque kind of setting to where they lived, everyone keeping to themselves and still knowing the other’s business. Close knit but not tied down, you know? Then there’s her little family of Jack and Georgie and Grandma ~ all unique in their own right. The first two were delightful, injecting the sweet, fun kid moments, balancing out aforementioned romantic aspect in Rose’s life.

Don't let the romantic bit fool you, there's a solid fantasy world here, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. That said, it's William’s story that's next, right?

3/5






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Monday, June 4, 2012

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law #1)

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between (Rhiannon's Law #1)
Good Reads Summary
Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare
One bad corpse can ruin your whole day.

No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy.

She left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her—until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire, Disco, knows her secret. When he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, Rhiannon discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.

But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.


My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bad, cliffhanger. Bad, bad, bad!
I’ve been on this UF/PNR kick a week now, so I cannot help making comparisons. I will say it’s a quick read, but it’s got a lot of the same old, same old. You know? Woman with sad/scarred past, keeping everyone/everything at a distance. Then there’s that other character who’s equal parts hot and terrifying. Ever hear of these types? It’s the second one who shoves passed the former’s boundaries. And it’s the shoving that gets her terrified all the more, as well as all the more prickly and tough and distant. All interesting things but nothing new, IMO.

To be frank, the development of their love connection missed me. I had to page back a couple of times thinking I must have missed something, for him to be feeling so strongly for her. Perhaps I had been reading on autopilot and missed the laying of their ground works, so to speak.

That romance aside, I did enjoy the more ‘urban’ element to this. Her world is still a rough one as expected and there’s this underlying toughness to everyone in it. Take, her 27th law,

  “When you're working in a gentlemen’s club and one of your dancers takes off their heels, alert the big guns; an ass kicking is on the menu.”


Fun! But scary, too. Or take the surprising and curious additions of others around her: Goose, for one. I mean with a name like Goose, who wouldn’t be curious, right?

That angle on selling vamp blood as drugs threw me for a Sookie flashback, but there’s more to the story with this or that demon showing up.  And it’s that last twist as well as that cliffhanger that’s got me split… do I want to read on? Oh, hell… who am I kidding? That cliffy has me thinking that Ms. Saare’s just about to take things a gazillion notches up, so I for one am not going to miss it.

3/5



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