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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

This book blog meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine .

I have been waiting for this book for months! I'm so excited that it's almost here.

Title: Friday Night Bites
Author: Chloe Neill
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: 10/06/09
The story of a young heiress's initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues...

Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they're enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.

So now it's up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn't want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge...

Edit: There was a copy out early at the Borders down the street from me, but it looked like it got in a fight with the other books on the way out of the box and I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Hopefully there will be less beat up copies on Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Rampant
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 08/25/09
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns...

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student... an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

Plot: 5 Stars
Unicorns are an underrated supernatural creature in the urban fantasy genre, especially evil ones. This book had me hooked the moment it told me that unicorns were dangerous. It was so ridiculous, it was awesome. I didn't think I'd be able to take this book seriously, but after only a couple chapters, I knew I'd never think of unicorns as cute and harmless again.

Maybe it's because I'm twenty-two, maybe not, but I thought the author handled the subject of sex quite well in this novel. Too often in YA the subject is either really vague and practically skipped over, or everyone is doing it with everyone. But this novel did neither. Although I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone under fifteen because of the frankness in regards to sex, I do understand that teens are well aware of the subject even earlier than that.

Pace: 5 Stars
There was never a dull moment throughout this book. Whether the girls were researching, bickering, training, or out fighting, I was always completely sucked in.

Characters: 5 Stars
I absolutely loved all of the girls that were training to be unicorn hunters. There were times when I couldn't completely keep them all straight, but their personalities definitely came through. I loved Astrid's cousin Philippa, and I probably connected with her most because she was a tad older than the rest of the girls and in college. The author also did a very good job describing the different species of unicorns. These evils beasts definitely came to life.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
The cover has all the basics needed for this story: a blond teenage girl, a weapon, and a unicorn. But I was slightly disappointed. For such an original take on a supernatural creature that doesn't get much press in urban fantasy, I just wish the cover could've had a bit more oomph.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Teaser Tuesday (1)

This weekly book blog meme is hosted by Misb at Should be Reading.

Here are the rules:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
- Share the title & author too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

Since I'm in between books and don't know what I'm going to read next, I'm gonna grab a new release from today that I just bought and use that.

Title: Covet
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release date: 09/29/09 (today)

"Let go of my goddamn arm!" the punk yelled.
"Make. Me."
-- pg. 122

Now I'm curious to know what's going on. I think I may have just teased myself into my next read. Lol.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Madness (1)

I don't know who hosts this blogging event, but I found out about it from Fantastic Book Review.

So here are all of the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance novels that are being released tomorrow (it's a pretty big release day):

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
Queene of Light by Jennifer Armintrout
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
Cursed to Death by L.A. Banks
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Dawnbreaker by Jocelynn Drake
Darker Angels by M.L.N. Hanover
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Demon Princess: Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen
Covet by J.R. Ward

Book Blog Meme Questions

Ok, I've been looking around on the crazy amount of book bogs I follow to try to find all of the Memes that are posted throughout the week. I thought there was one for every day, but so far i've only found these:

Sunday: In My Mailbox hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

Monday: Monday Madness (can't find who hosts this one)

Tuesday: Teaser Tuesday hosted by Misb at Should by Reading

Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Friday: Friday Finds hosted by Misb at Should be Reading

Now, I know I don't have that many followers right now, but I was hoping you guys could help me figure out if there is one for Thursday or Saturday.

If there isn't one for Saturday, I was thinking about starting my own called Saturday Series Spotlight where I blog about a well established series I think followers of the blog would enjoy. I know it took me a while to start reading Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series because the titles seemed a little cheesy and the covers didn't appeal to me that much. I eventually tried them and love them, but had the series been spoltlighted on a blog I follow, I probably would've gotten into them sooner. Anyway, do you think this sounds like a cool idea?

Or does it sound like something another blog is already hosting? Maybe this is already happening and I just can't find who hosts it...

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 08/01/09
the cold.

Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

the heat.

Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.

the shiver.

For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Same must fight to stay human–and Grace must fight to keep him–even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Plot: 5 Stars
Werewolves are my favorite supernatural creature, so I had to read this book. And I was not disappointed. I found the author's twist on the werewolf very refreshing. Although I normally don't care for stories in which the moon does not control a werewolf, there were other factors controlling them in it's place that were very unique and interesting.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
There were a few moments that felt a little slow and repetitive, but nothing really got in the way of the flow of the story. I also liked the dual perspective between Grace and Sam's point of views. It helped me understand more than I would have with only one of those perspectives.

Characters: 5 Stars
All of the characters in Shiver were well developed. I loved both Grace and Sam, and really felt for them as the events in the book transpired. I also felt like I knew the wolves, even the ones that were never in their human form during the story.

Cover: 5 Stars
The cover is both beautiful and mysterious, and makes you want to know exactly what the book is about. And what I liked even more than the cover, was that the text in the actual book was a dark blue (instead of the normal black) to match the cover. It was subtle, but a very cool detail.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

My Bookshelves

I currently have two bookselves in my room. A larger on that I keep my hardcovers and trade paperback in, and a smaller one that I keep my mass market paperbacks in.

Here's the larger one:

And here's the smaller one:

I currently have at least twenty mass market paperback that don't fit, as you can see. And around fifteen hardcovers and trade paperbacks stacked on top that don't fit in the other bookshelf. And there is also a nice sized pile at my girlfriend's apartment.

I have read about one third of my books (a couple multiple times). That means that around two thirds of those books haven't been read yet. I have not sorted these into a TBR pile and an already read pile. They're all in order: alphabetical by author, then alphabetical by series, then in order within series. Except for the piles that don't fit. They're mostly just in order of how I bought them. I really need to go to Ikea or something and buy three or four huge bookshelves so I'll never need any more, but that'll end up being close to a whole paycheck, so I'm holding off for now.

And here's a picture of my little cat, Rupert, checking out all of the books:

(Robot painting done by a local artist in Jacksonville. E-mail me if you're interested in his contact information i.e. his myspace.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

I know I just made an In My Mailbox post on Friday, but I just finished a book buying binge and wanted to get in the habit of making these posts on Sundays. And as soon as I find my digital camera, I'll be including pictures of my acquisitions every week.

From the library:

Title: Hunger Games
Author: Suzanna Collins
Genre: Young Adult
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.

Title: Staying Dead
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Manhattan's night life just got weirder . . .
It starts as a simple job -- but simple jobs, when you're dealing with the magical world, often end up anything but.

As a Retriever, Wren Valere specializes in finding things gone missing -- and then bringing them back, no questions asked. Normally her job is stimulating, challenging and only a little bit dangerous. But every once in a while . . .

Case in point: A cornerstone containing a spell is stolen and there's a magical complication. (Isn't there always?) Wren's unique abilities aren't enough to lay this particular case to rest, so she turns to some friends: a demon (minor), a mage who has lost his mind, and a few others, including Sergei, her business partner (and maybe a bit more?).

Sometimes what a woman has to do to get the job done is enough to give even Wren nightmares...

Title: Dead is a State of Mind
Author: Marlene Perez
Genre: Young Adult
Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the psychic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom- shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case!

There’s a gorgeous new guy at Nightshade High: Duke Sherrad, a fortune-teller claiming to have descended from Gypsies. Even though she’s psychic herself, Daisy is skeptical of Duke’s powers. But when a teacher who was the subject of one of his predictions ends up dead, she begins to wonder if Duke is the real deal after all.
Maybe if Daisy can track down the teacher’s killer, she can find out the truth. The only trouble is, all signs point to the murderer being of the furry persuasion. Is Daisy any match for a werewolf? Maybe she is... in more ways than she bargained for!


Title: Queene of Light
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Genre: Paranormal Romance
An unimagined destiny an undeniable passion.

In a time not long from now, the veil between fantasy and reality is ripped asunder creatures of myth and fairytale spill into the mortal world. Enchanted yet horrified, humans force the magical beings Underground, to colonize the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath their glittering cities.

But even magic folk cannot dwell in harmony and soon two Worlds emerge: the Lightworld, home to faeries, dragons and dwarves; and the Darkworld, where vampires, werewolves, angels and demons lurk.

Now, in the dank and shadowy place between Lightworld and Darkworld, a transformation is about to begin...

Ayla, a half-faery, half-human assassin is stalked by Malachi, a Death Angel tasked with harvesting mortal souls. They clash. Immortality evaporates, forging a bond neither may survive. And in the face of unbridled ambitions and untested loyalties, an ominous prophecy is revealed that will shake the Worlds.

Title: On the Edge
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
The Broken is a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale.

The Weird is a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny.

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, the place between both worlds. A perilous existence indeed, made even more so by a flood of magic-hungry creatures bent on absolute destruction.

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

Title: Give Up the Ghost
Author: Megan Crewe
Genre: Young Adult
Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody…and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad—and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance...

Edit: I found my camera, so now I have a picture of the books.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Title: Mark of the Demon
Author: Diana Rowland
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 06/23/09
Cop and conjurer of demons, she's a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill....

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head...

Plot: 5 Stars
This novel kept me guessing from beginning to end. Just when I thought I may have possibly figured something out, I was completely wrong, but in a good way. I like when the plot twists are surprising. I also enjoyed how well the author's experience as a law enforcement officer came through. She balanced it perfectly: the police procedural was detailed and specific, without being cumbersome.

Pace: 4 Stars
Although the novel flowed really well for the most part, there were a few scenes that felt a little slower paced than the rest of the novel. The ending, which could have easily been very confusing if faster paced, played out perfectly.

Characters: 5 Stars
I loved the main character, Kara. She had all of the qualities you want in a tough UF heroine without the whining many heroines tend towards. And besides the characters, I loved how much detail we were given about each type of demon.

Cover: 4 Stars
I like the color and font choices for the cover. I also like the abstract design overlayed over the cover image. I'm just not the biggest fan of cover models without faces. But since the charm around the model's neck is takes some of the focus off of the model's lack of face, I can forgive the cover artist a little.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Tynga's Blogiversary Giveaway

To celebrate her three month Blogiversary, Tynga is having a special giveaway. The winner of the giveaway will win a book chosen by Tynga off of their wishlist. There will be two winners if she reaches 50 entries, and three winners if she reaches 100 entries.

For the contest, she has chosen five quotes from her book reviews. Readers are asked to guess which reviews these quotes are taken from.

Visit Tynga's Special Giveaway Post for more information and rules.

Friday, September 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

I don't have a picture this week, so I'm just going to list the books this week.

From the library:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Stray by Rachel Vincent

Dark Hunger by Rita Herron (won in a contest)

Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Title: Wondrous Strange
Author: Lesley Livingston
Genre: YA
Published: 12/23/08 (hardcover); 09/22/09 (paperback)
Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

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.

Plot: 4 Stars
I loved how the author took things from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and stories of The Wild Hunt to come up with a tale all her own. In a time where YA Faerie novels are filled with many of the same themes, the author was able to integrate theater and make it her own.

Pace: 4 Stars
I loved how the chapters alternated between Kelley and Sonny's POV without distorting or confusing the timeline of the novel. The only slight complaint I have is that the last couple of chapters were a little rushed and confusing for me.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
Most of the characters were wonderful in their own way, but a few antagonists were slightly one-dimensional. And I had trouble keeping track of some of the members of the Janus Guard that had smaller parts to play. Hopefully they'll continue to play a roll in the sequel so we can learn more about them.

Cover: 5 Stars
Maybe I'm just a sucker for the color blue, but I loved this cover. I also thought they were spot on in choosing a cover model after reading Kelley's description.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library for my own enjoyment.

Review: Ash by Malinda Lo

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Genre: YA
Published: 09/01/09
Cinderella retold

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

Plot: 4 Stars
I thought going into this novel that there would be no surprises since it's a retelling of a classic tale, but I was completely wrong. Although the twists and turns were a little more subtle than many books I've read, they were definitely present. As a bisexual woman, I found myself completely enthralled by the two directions in which Ash was being torn.

Pace: 3.5 Stars
The first half of the book moved a little too slow and was slightly confusing. I was unsure of where the novel was set or what time period it was, but by the second half, I found myself getting pulled further into the story and ignoring my analytical mind that was still wondering about the minor details.

Characters: 5 Stars
There were no one-dimensional characters in this novel. I found that I loved the majority of the characters, and those I didn't love, I loved to hate. There were no major characters that didn't spur some sort of emotion from me, and that made them all wonderful.

Cover: 4 Stars
Although the composition, font choices, and image choice work really well in their simplicity, there's just a tad too much black.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.