Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March in Review

March was a busy month for me as far as reading. I read 18 books! I'm actually surprised and wondering how I managed to get anything else accomplished! But the reality is...I probably didn't get much else done! The weather has been gloomy, and I'm tired of winter...so I didn't have the energy to do much else besides read once my daughter went to bed.

I read several new authors this month (five) and started quite a few new series of books. I'm looking forward to finishing the ones that I've started, or at least continuing on with them! I also rediscovered the library this month, and I've been busy searching for books and making a reserve list there!

My favorites for the month were definitely Fade by Lisa McMann, and City of Bones/City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

I definitely won't get as much reading done in April - it's a very busy month for me. But hopefully I'll manage to sneak a few books in!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Library!

I finally went to the library today! I have lived here for way too long to have never gotten a library card! I finally decided we needed to go in there and get a card. I like to buy books, but there are a lot that I want to read that I just don't want to spend the money on. I used to practically LIVE in the the library in my hometown!

It felt great to be in a library again! I just love seeing all of those books! And they have tons of audio books, cds, and DVDs too. I had jotted down a couple books to look into, so I got my card and then started looking through the shelves! I ended up with four books to start with.

And man...things have changed. I did 'self checkout' with my books and got a printed receipt with my due date. I was in awe. I must be making myself sound old! Or maybe just showing that I really haven't been to the library for a long time!

It was nice to see that you get 28 days when you check out a book, too. At the library I went to growing up, you only got 14. Getting almost a month is definitely nice -- I can get quite a few at a time, and not have to worry about getting downtown to return them too often!

So yes...I was a little giddy about going to the library! And I'm excited to dig into the books I got!

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes is the 2nd book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This is a young adult series. Spoilers to follow, especially if you haven't read the first book!

Here's the synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

As with the first book, I had a hard time putting this down. The tension between Jace and Clary was intense in this book. I kept waiting for them to somehow find out that they aren't brother and sister. Sigh. Lots of twists in this one, and a lot of action. I was afraid there might be several 'main' characters dead after the battle on Valentine's ship! (Luckily they are safe for now!) Of course, Valentine is still out there somewhere. I haven't read any info about the third book yet, but I'm hoping to get it in the next week or two (it's a lot less expensive online, so I have to wait for it to ship!). I'm anxious to find out what happens, and to see how things are wrapped up (it's a trilogy, right?). Now I just have to avoid reading everyone's reviews of the third book - I really hate spoilers!! :)

Rated: 4.5/5

Friday, March 27, 2009

Review: City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments young adult series by Cassandra Clare.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

This book had been on my shelf for awhile, but I just finally picked it up. And, wow. I should have read it a long time ago! This is something that I never would have read a year ago. I mean...demons? But I couldn't put it down! The plot is interesting, and the characters were very real. Well, as real as a demon hunter can be, I guess. The main characters, Clary and Jace are strong, yet vulnerable and flawed. I really liked how the book started, and I liked all of the history of the Shadowhunters. I never knew what to expect next, and have to say I was certainly surprised with how things turned out...

Random question - is Jace pronounced like JC? In my mind I was saying it to rhyme with "chase" the whole time...

I've already started the next book in the series - City of Ashes. I'll have to pick up book 3 which just came out this week...

Ok...seriously? He's her brother? Even though I suspected something at the beginning, I figured I must be wrong when they kissed, so I put it out of my mind. So yes...I was surprised! I wonder what will happen to Clary's mom...and what Valentine will do now that he has the cup...

Rated: 4.5/5

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

I am too lazy to review all of these books separately. I just finished book 7 of this series, and I'm hooked! I've reviewed/summarized a few of the books previously. I think I enjoy each one a little bit more. They are so funny and there is always something interesting going on! Not to mention the amount of attractive men that the main character attracts!

I'm going to be getting book 8 next week when it comes out in paperback! And a new book comes out in May I believe. I'll finally be caught up! I'm also looking forward to getting the first season of True Blood, the show that is based on the books on DVD from Netflix when it comes out in May!

I'd definitely recommend these books! It's an adult series, and very addictive!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reading Dangerously

At the beginning of the year I had decided to do a little 'reading dangerously' challenge for myself. To read 10 books out of my normal comfort zone.

Well...I think I've pretty well accomplished that already. I never thought I'd want to read ANY vampire books...or books about werewolves (the most interest I ever had in a werewolf was the movie Teen Wolf with Michael J Fox...that movie is so funny!). I'd also never had much of an interest in young adult fiction, and now I can't stop reading it!

So I think it's safe to say that I've met and exceeded my goal...although none of these books are now 'dangerous' to me anymore - they're more like 'normal' at this point!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Review: Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

Lord of Misrule is book 5 in the Morganville Vampires series.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn't the only threat.Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.

Not much to say, except that I really enjoyed this book. And she leaves you hanging at the end, of course! I am bummed that I have to wait until June for the next book!

I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy this series, but I really do like it. The relationships between the humans and vampires is so complex, and the story stays interesting, and doesn't seem forced. There is lots of action, and a little romance (young adult romance, of course) too. Good stuff!

I'm thinking about checking out Rachel Caine's other books now...

Rated: 4/5

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Hunger Games Film...?

According to this article...The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will be made into a film, to be released in 2011.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have a very vivid picture of the events of this book in my head...and I'm sure it won't look at all the same on the big screen. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. I was happy at least to see that Collins will be doing the adaptation for the screenplay!

Review: Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

Feast of Fools is book four in the Morganville Vampires series. Can you tell I'm hooked? I was trying to go slow on this series, but I always grab the next book right away!

This will contain lots of spoilers if you haven't read the other books yet!

Amelie's 'father' Mr Bishop is in town. And it's not good. He's the most dangerous vampire that Claire and her friends have ever met. And he has sidekicks.... One is female. And she wants Shane. Claire is not amused! Neither is Shane! (And neither was I!)

Claire's parents move into town...and find out the secrets. At least they finally know! Claire is still working with Myrnin to find the cure for the vampires.

Shane get invited to a ball in honor of Mr Bishop. But it's not exactly an invitation. It's a demand. In fact, Claire is going to be the only one of the roommates not going. But, that wouldn't be any fun, would it?

Myrnin makes me so nervous! Definitely creepy, but lovable at the same time. Never know when he will snap. I love that you never really know which 'side' people are on. Is Oliver on their side? Does Amelie really care about them? Will Michael turn on them eventually, since he's a vampire now?

The relationship between Shane and Claire is very sweet. And real. Shane's a typical guy. Not perfect in any way. I think that's what makes him so endearing.

I already started book 5. I'm bummed that I have to wait until June for book 6!

Rated: 4/5

Waiting on Wednesday - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

'Waiting on Wednesay' was started by Jill at Breaking The Spine. I always see it on other blogs, and decided to participate, since I always have a ton of books that I can't wait to get!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is book 2 in the Hunger Games trilogy. Ever since I finished The Hunger Games (Book 1), I've been dying to read this! It will be available September 1st, 2009. I'm counting down the days!

Here's the summary, from Amazon...
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Have I mentioned that I can't wait??

Reviews and Ratings

Sometimes I think I'm too lenient when reviewing and rating books that I've read.

I look back at a book and wonder...did I really like it that much?? I also think sometimes once the 'novelty' of the book wears off a bit, and I think about it more, I might change my mind a little bit too. I have a hard time rating things low. Usually there is at least one redeeming quality about a book, even if I didn't love everything about it. I see other blogs that have different rating systems, or that rate several different things about it - characters, writing, plot...etc. I think I'm just too lazy to do all of that.

When I look back and see a book that I really loved rated the same as a book that I thought was just ok...I realize that my system is a little off! I guess it's just hard to convey these things through a 5 point rating system. I don't think I've ever rated below a 3. I try to rate each book independently, not compared to any other book too.

Oh well. I'm going to continue to rate out of 5, because I don't feel like starting a new system right now. But just take it all with a grain of salt I guess...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Midnight Alley is the 3rd book in the Morganville Vampires young adult series. I've been pleasantly surprised by these books. They are really quick reads, and quite entertaining. This one was my favorite of the series so far!

This will contain spoilers, so if you haven't read any of the books, be warned!

Claire now has protection. But she had to sign herself over to get it. I was really hoping she wouldn't continue to keep this a secret from her roommates, so I was happy when she finally told them. We meet a new character in this one: Myrnin. Wow. He is quite a complex vampire, and I was biting my nails reading some of the parts with him! Definitely spooky. Claire is working with him to help find a cure - because the vampires are slowly dying...a fact that no one else knows. Claire is conflicted between wanting to help and not wanting anything to do with it. But she doesn't exactly have a choice in the matter.

Meanwhile, Shane is NOT happy that Michael is a vampire, and someone is out to get Michael. Girls are turning up dead by the Glass House, and they aren't sure who's responsible....

I was on the edge of my seat with this one! And she always ends them with a big cliffhanger!!

Rated: 4/5

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Little Reader

Don't mind the random hat...we were sorting through baby clothes and I wanted to see if it fit. Couldn't resist the pictures of my little bookworm!

Review: The Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine

The Dead Girls Dance is the 2nd book in the Morganville Vampires Series. I'm enjoying these more than I expected. I really like the main character Claire, although she does have some pretty bad luck. Shane is really sweet too.

If you haven't read the first book, this will contain spoilers.

Shane's dad is in town, and he wants Shane to help him wipe out the vampires. But Shane isn't too keen on that plan, and neither are his roommates. His dad killed Michael...but Michael isn't really dead. But when a vampire ends up dead, Shane's the one who gets caught and it's up to the roommates to save his life.

This series is different from other young adult vampire series, because of the relationship between the vampires and the humans. Claire and her roommates hate the vampires, so when Michael becomes one, no one knows how to react.

I'm interested to see what happens next. Michael's a vampire, and it looks like Claire is about to pledge herself to the most powerful vampire in town... should be interesting!

Rated: 4/5

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Hunted by PC Cast and Kristin Cast

This book came out this week. It's the 5th installment of the House of Night young adult series.

This one started a little slow for me. I have a hard time getting past the 'teen talk' - as in 'boobies' and 'poopie' - I think the plot is strong enough and it doesn't need any of that. Once I can get past that, I usually tend to enjoy the story.

If you like the series, I think you'll like this one.

I'm over Erik. I'm rooting for Stark now. I wish she would just pick a guy! Now that Stark and Stevie Ray are both red vampyres, I'm wondering if we'll finally find out more about that group. Interested to see where the story will go from here.

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: Club Dead & Dead to The World by Charlaine Harris

Decided to group these together....they are the 3rd and 4th books in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

I'm liking each book a little better than the last. New characters, new situations - I like Sookie more than I did to begin with, and enjoy her romantic woes as well as all of the trouble that seems to find her. I was pretty pissed at Bill in Club Dead. Have to admit, I like Eric a lot! I wasn't so sure about him when he lost his memory - I kind of liked him better in his normal state! And I like Alcide too. These are quick reads and pretty entertaining! I haven't read this type of book for awhile, so it's kind of a nice change.

I know that's not much of a review, but I'm sick so it's all you're getting ;)

Looking forward to the rest of the books, but trying to read others in between them so they 'last' a little longer!
Rated: 4/5

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Review: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…
Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

This book started a little slow for me. I was kind of turned off by the names of some of the characters. (Ever? Haven? Honor?) The story didn't really grab me right away. I didn't find that I particularily cared about Damen...and I didn't really like Ever's friends either. It's hard to care about the story when you don't really care that much about the characters. It did get better though, and I enjoyed the second half of the book more. I did kind of feel like the story had some gaps. But overall I liked how things unfolded. I guess I just didn't feel the same connection to the characters that I'm used to feeling. I'm hoping the next book answers a few questions...(I think it comes out this summer).

Rated: 3.5-4/5

Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas is the 2nd book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie and Bill are still dating, and Sookie is keeping up her end of the deal to Eric to help him by reading people's minds when he needs it. He needs her help in Dallas, so Sookie and Bill head there. Lots of action in this one, as Sookie tries to help find a missing vampire.

I think I liked this one a little more than the first one. Maybe because there was more going on. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Rated: 4/5

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review: Deadly Little Secret - Laurie Faria Stolarz

This was a really quick read - and I enjoyed it quite a bit. After reading it I read some other reviews that pointed out some Twilight similarities...and when I thought about it, I guess there were several. But I never really noticed them when reading. The main thing - there are no vampires. So...that's different! But, some other details are similar. I don't think it took away anything from this, or made me not like it though (since I really didn't notice at the time!!).

Here's a synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben.and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help-but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

I have to admit, that I got a little creeped out at home by myself finishing this one. Also, I suspected EVERYONE to be the 'bad guy' at some point in the book. I wanted to trust Ben, but wasn't sure if I could...

This is the first book in the series, but I haven't heard much more about additional books, so I don't know when to expect the next one.

I was glad that Ben didn't turn out to be the bad guy, but sad that he is leaving. Not sure what will happen to Matt. And even though Spencer turned out to be an ok guy, he seemed kind of creepy the whole time... Interested to see what happens next.

Rated: 4/5

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review: Fade by Lisa McMann

Since I finished Wake (the first book in this series) a couple weeks ago, I'd been anxious to read Fade. I finally got it yesterday afternoon - and stayed up to finish it last night! I should have known that once I started I wouldn't be able to stop!

Here's a synopsis, from Barnes and Noble:
For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.
Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.
Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....

This book picks up where Wake ends, and is just as intense. Janie is finding out more about what she can do when she's sucked into other people's dreams. Some of it good, some of it not so good. She and Cabel are together, but secretly, since they're both working undercover and can't be seen together. The case they're working on is to find out if there is a teacher at their school sleeping with students. Cabel doesn't want Janie involved - doesn't want to risk her getting hurt, and Janie wants to do whatever she can to help with the case.

What more can I say, except: I loved this book! The only downside to it...is that I have to wait until 2010 for the next one!!

I was nervous and sick to my stomach when Janie went to the party with the teachers and other students. And right away I knew it was the meatballs!! Ugh! I was glad nothing worse happened to her. Cabel is...sigh. So sweet. I was heartbroken when he stopped talking to her. I just love the way their relationship is written. So intense, yet so sweet and innocent.

Rated: 5/5

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Review: Glass Houses - Rachel Caine

Does it seem like I'm reading a lot of series of books lately? I guess I am.

Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville Vampires series. This is a young adult series.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Welcome to Morganville, Texas.Just don't stay out after dark. College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

I hadn't heard too much about this series (compared to other young adult vampire series), so I didn't have any real expectations for it. I was surprised to enjoy it quite a bit. The vampires in this book are the 'bad guys' unlike in a lot of the books I've read lately. So that was an interesting twist. There were several other surprises along the way too.

Sometimes I wanted to kick Claire for being so dumb. Bad luck just seemed to follow her no matter what she did. I thought the roommates were all interesting in their own ways. I wonder how some of the other characters will be involved in the future books...

Looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Rated: 3.5-4/5 (I'm so indecisive and bad at rating books!)

Review: Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series. (The series has been made into an HBO show called True Blood.)

Sookie Stackhouse is a small town southern waitress with not much going on in her life. Until she meets Bill, a vampire. And falls in love with him. When women start turning up dead in town, she wonders if falling for a vampire is the smartest idea...

I've heard such good things about this series, and decided to finally start it. It was a switch for me since most of what I've been reading lately has been young adult themed. This is NOT a young adult book. (Not to say it's full of smut either, but there is adult content!).

I am intrigued by the characters, interested to find out more about the vampires (I've heard Eric plays a bigger role in later books), and looking forward to what's coming up. There are currently eight books in the series, with another one coming out this spring.

Rated: 4/5

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Best of February

I read ten books in February. Not too shabby!

My favorite book of the month was definitely Wake by Lisa McMann. I'm so glad I picked that one up! I'm hoping the next book in that series will be on my doorstep tomorrow, I'm anxious to read it.

Every author that I read this month was new to me (except for the first book, which was part of a series that I started in January). I'll definitely be reading more by Sarah Dessen and Lisa McMann!

I have so many books on my shelf waiting to be read in March, and a new book that comes out on the 10th that I can't wait to read. It should be another good month in books!