Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick Reviews

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I haven't had time to review anything I've been reading. It's so hard to catch up once you fall behind! So I thought I'd just give a quick little review of each of them so I feel like I'm back on schedule!

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris - this is the 8th book in the Sookie Stackhouse (adult) series. This one wasn't as exciting to me, not as much action as some of the others. It was still enjoyable, and I'm very much looking forward to the new book coming out in May!! Rated: 4/5

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz - this is the first book in a young adult series. The first half was pretty slow for me, but it did pick up. The basic plot is that the main character is a witch, and she is seeing her roommate's death in her dreams. She is trying to save her, without knowing what's really going to happen, or who's responsible. There are more books in this series, and I'll check them out. Rated: 3.5/5

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning - Another adult series...the first book. I had heard good things, and wasn't disappointed. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series! Mac finds out that her sister has been murdered in Ireland and is determined to find the killer. When she arrives, she finds that she doesn't know anything about who she really is. She's sucked into a world of Fae, vampires, and other supernatural beings, and finds that she has some extraordinary talents of her own. Lots of intriguing characters in this one, and the ending left me hanging! Rated: 4/5

The Dark by Marianne Curly - This is the second book in the (young adult) Guardians of Time Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book, and liked this one too, but not quite as much. The book is told in alternating points of view. The first book is told by Ethan and Isabel, and this one is told by Isable and Arkarian. I found that I missed Ethan's point of view. I am now reading the third book, and it is narrated by two other characters. It's nice to see these characters a little closer, but I miss the original story-tellers I guess. I do like the concept and plot, and this one added a little romance to the mix too. Rated: 4/5

Ok, I feel much better getting those quick reviews done. Hopefully in a few weeks things will calm down a bit and I'll have more time to commit to reading, blogging, and reading blogs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad book blogger lately. I'm a couple reviews behind, and haven't contributed much of anything else for quite awhile! I haven't even had much time to read and comment on other blogs lately!

It's a very busy spring for us - my sister is getting married, my daughter is having her first birthday...along with all of the other day to day things that happen in life! So between bridal showers, photo appointments, dress alterations, and birthday parties, I feel like I'm constantly on the go lately! I'm sure I'll catch back up eventually. I'm still reading, but just haven't had as much time! Such is life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass is the third book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare. Spoilers ahead, don't read if you haven't read the first two books!

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

I was so excited to get this book, since I loved the first two! It didn't disappoint. The characters are great, the plot is exciting, and the tension between Clary and Jace is amazing. There are a few new characters in this one, and it was awesome to see everything fall into place and all the pieces of the story come together. Even though I was pretty busy while reading this book, I still had a hard time putting it down to face my adult responsibilities!

Can I just say HALLELUJAH...Jace and Clary are NOT siblings. I figured this had to happen, but I was VERY happy that the truth finally came out. Even though I suspected a few things before they happened, I still thought it was a great book.

I'm very sad to see this series come to an end!!

Rated: 5/5

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review: The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

This is the first novel by Jillian Cantor. It's a young adult novel. I didn't know a lot about the story before reading it, but had heard from a few people that it was good, so I picked it up at the library.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Abigail Reed and her younger sister, Becky, are always at each other's throats. Their mother calls them the September Sisters, because their birthdays are only a day apart, and pretends that they're best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

I thought this was really well-written from the perspective of a young girl. It was extremely hard for me to read at times. As the mother of a little girl, there were moments when I just had to stop thinking about the abduction of Becky. I was just too painful for me to think about something like that happening to my own daughter. Also, having two sisters myself, the sister relationship was very real for me. I have a younger sister and an older sister, and the way Cantor described the relationship between the sisters was right on, at least in my experience. I found myself in tears many times throughout the book, but I couldn't put it down, as much as I wanted and needed to at times. It's one of those books that really makes you think about what might happen to your own life, or your family, if faced with the same situations.

All around, a great story.

Rated: 4.5/5

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This was the second book I've read by Sarah Dessen, and I loved it. So much of what I've been reading lately has been paranormal or fantasy, so it was nice to get back to a good old fashioned book about humans! This is a young adult novel.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-asdishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it….

I immediately felt connected to Macy. I loved her character. I think most people can find something in common with her, in some way. I really liked the relationship between her and Wes. Her insecurities, and the game that they always played. I admit to having a crush on him as well...he was so likeable! I did find myself with tears in my eyes several times while reading the book, but that's a good thing.

I think this would be a great read for any teenage girl trying to find some meaning in their life, whether they've gone through a tragedy or not.

I am not always a 'happy ending' kind of girl, but I have to admit I was extremely happy with how this book ended. I would have been sad with any other conclusion!

Rated: 4.5/5

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Review: The Named by Marianne Curley

The Named is the first book in the Guardians of Time young adult series by Marianne Curley.

I picked up this book on a whim, not really knowing what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Ethan lives a secret life as a Guardian of the Named. Under the guidance of Arkarian, his mentor, and with the help of Isabel, his unlikely but highly capable apprentice, Ethan has become a valued member of this other-worldly corps. As the only defense against the evil Order of Chaos, the Named travel through time to prevent the Order from altering history and thereby gaining power in the present and the future.
As the threat from the Order intensifies, secrets of the past are revealed and villains and heroes are exposed. This gripping fantasy is set in modern times, but is infused with intrigue from the past, super-natural characters and surprising plot twists.

I thought this story was really interesting. Time travel isn't something that I've read a lot about, but one of my very favorite books is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The whole concept is so intriguing, and this book didn't disappoint. The story is instense immediately, and keeps that pace the whole way through. There were definitely moments when I was a little scared...and wished I hadn't been reading right before trying to go to sleep!

The characters are complex, and things aren't always what they seem. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds in the next two books!

I'm very interested to see if any sort of relationship happens between Arkanian and Isabel. Also wondering how Matt will do as Ethan's Apprentice, and what will happen with Rochelle. Lots of questions to be answered!

Rated: 4/5

Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Wondrous Strange is the first novel by Lesley Livingston.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.
Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.
This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.
Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.
Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

When I started this one, I wondered if it was going to end up being too 'out there' for me. I'm new to the fantasy and paranormal world of books (although I'm loving them). But, I got sucked into this one pretty quickly. I am a big Shakespeare fan, and loved the weaving of his work into this story. I thought the relationship between Sonny and Kelley was really sweet. I liked that she was tough, but still vulnerable. And he was the same way.

The ending was left so that there COULD be a follow up book - does anyone know if there will be?

I think the only thing that bugged me a little bit about this one was how quickly Kelley seemed to believe the fact that she was who Sonny told her she was. I guess she had seen some things going on that made her suspicious, but I'm pretty sure if someone told me I was a Faerie Princess, it would take me quite awhile to get a grasp on it! Maybe that's just me!

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would love to read more by this author. Plus, she's Canadian, which earns me points with my husband and his family (all Canadian). :)

Rated: 4/5

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Review: Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine

Heat Stroke is the 2nd book in the Weather Wardens series by Rachel Caine. If you haven't read this one or the first book, don't read any further!

This one started off a little slow for me, but the action of the 2nd half made up for it! Joanne is now a Djinn, and David is trying to teach her the ropes. What she doesn't know is what he had to go through to create her. He is losing strength to keep her strong, and there is so much more that she isn't aware of...

Again, at times there was so much going on that I wondered if I was really comprehending it all. A little of it might have been over my head, but I did enjoy the story and I was surprised at how it ended...although I did wonder how long she'd be able to survive as a Djinn (I think there are 7 or 8 books in this series). It will be interesting to see how she handles being a human again, with David still as a Djinn. The ending definitely leaves you hanging!

Rated: 3.5/5

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Love Affair with the Library

Oh library, how I love thee!

I'm so sad I haven't been taking advantage of the library until now. Everything about it is great! It's so easy to reserve a book! I can easily check to see how many people are ahead of me for a certain book. I can have them hold a book for me that's available right now, so that I can just run in and pick it up instead of searching for it (always a good thing when you have a young child that doesn't like to sit still in the stroller unless it's moving!)

They even have a drive up book return!

The only thing I could find wrong with it was that I had to pay to park if I went before 5 on weekdays. But, today I found out that if you are parked in the ramps for less than an hour, it's free! Sweet!

Today I picked up eight (yes, eight!) books that were on hold for me. I was surprised so many of them became available so quickly! So, here's the list...guess I know what I'll be reading this month!

The Named (Book 1-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The Dark (Book 2-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The Key (Book 3-Guardians of Time Trilogy) - Marianne Curley
The September Sisters - Jillian Cantor
Graceling - Kristin Cashore
The Abstinence Teacher - Tom Perrotta
Wondrous Strange - Lesley Livingston
Blue is For Nightmares - Laurie Faria Stolarz

And I still have 2 others that I picked up last week:
Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning
The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

I also still need to read the 8th Sookie Stackhouse book, and City of Glass. I ordered both of those, and should get them either tomorrow or Monday.

I'm going to be a busy girl...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Review: Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

Ill Wind is the first book in the Weather Wardens series by Rachel Caine. I decided to try this book out, because I'd read Caine's young adult Morganville Vampires series and enjoyed it.

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life... Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast...

This book was a lot different than the Morganville Vampires books, but I enjoyed it. At times, I think some of it was a little over my head. I'm relatively new to fantasy books, so I think that has something to do with it. There was a lot of information in this book, and I think there could have been a bit more character and relationship development, but that may come as I get further into the series. I'm definitely interested enough to keep reading, and I've seen a few reviews that said the books get better as the series goes on.

I was really surprised by the ending of the book, and looking forward to finding out what happens to Joanne as a Djinn! Definitely glad David will still be around! (Well, I hope so anyway!)

Rated: 3.5/5