Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Club - June

Breath, Eyes, Memory
An unforgettable novel that shimmers with the wonder and terror of its author's native Haiti. Set in the island's impoverished villages and in New York's Haitian community, this is the story of Sophie Caco, who was conceived in an act of violence, abandoned by her mother and then summoned to America. In New York, Sophie discovers that Haiti imposes harsh rules on its own.

I started reading this book and thinking of my own childhood.  I grew up (until I was 9 years old) in another country and was raised by my grandmother.  I always knew who my mother was and had a picture of her but always thought of my grandma as my mother.  Then one day a letter and a ticket came saying I was leaving my home to come to America.  So I really identified with Sophie and knew exactly how she felt leaving the only home she ever knew.  At the beginning we meet Sophie in Haiti and she is 12 years old.  Then it jumps to her being 18 years old in New York.  Then it jumps again until she is 20 years old and visiting Haiti.  I thought it was a good story and showed life in Haiti.  I also thought it jumped around too much and would have liked to see Sophie's story a little more, maybe have the book be longer.

The book for August is The Canterbury Papers - Judith Healey

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Golden Lily - Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)
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.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
Back in the Vampire Academy Series when we were first introduced to Sydney Sage I didn't think her character was that interesting.  Sure the idea of Alchemists was intriguing and I could see a potential there but once the spin off series came out and I read it I realized how interesting Sydney is.  I thought this book was better than Bloodlines and Sydney has changed quite a bit from the first book.  I loved that we got a little romance from her and also got to see some characters we loved like Dimitri, Sonya, Adrian & Angelique.  I loved the ending which actually makes me wish I didn't have so long to wait until the next book comes out.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Julie and Romeo Get Lucky - Jeanne Ray

Julie and Romeo Get Lucky
Julie Roseman and Romeo Cacciamani know a thing or two about good fortune. For generations, their families were rival florists and bitter enemies. Then Julie and Romeo met by chance, just as each became single again. Even more miraculous, they fell in love.

Three years later, Julie and Romeo are still blissfully happy. They don't often get a quiet moment alone, and rarely manage a night - quiet or otherwise - in the same bed, but Julie feels blessed by what they do have: true love, wonderful jobs, and houses packed to the rafters with family. RomeO's ninety-three-year-old mother, his son Alan, Alan's wife and their three children live with him; Julie's daughter Sandy and her family - including Sandy's Willy Wonka-obsessed daughter, Sarah, and their cat - live with her. The odds of Julie and Romeo getting a few days of peace together seem about as likely as winning the lottery.

But their wish comes true - with a twist - when an injury puts Romeo flat on his back in Julie's room. Spending days in bed may sound heavenly, but with Romeo on pain pills, initially as comatose as Juliet in her tomb, the reality is less romantic. Then Julie's other daughter, Nora, drops her own crisis on her mother's doorstep. Now Julie has to figure out how to run two flower shops, take care of an ever-expanding household, nurse her beloved Romeo back to health, tackle Sarah's fixation with lottery tickets, and keep her daughters from regressing into full-scale teenage bickering. And Lady Luck has one more surprise in store...

3/5 stars (liked it)
This is a sequel to Julie and Romeo which I read back in early 2009.  Just a book that caught my eye and picked up at the library when I was between books (something that rarely happens nowadays).  This book picks up 3 years after the first one.  Julie and Romeo are in love, each has their children and grandchildren living with them.  Romeo throws his back out and has to stay in Julie's bed to heal and she has to tend to him.  On top of that she has to take her of her pregnant daughter, who's on bed rest.  I thought this book was a nice little wrap up/follow up story and I liked how it ended. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: The Help - Kathryn Stockett

The Help
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for nearly six months (borrowed it from a friend) and I finally got around to reading it.  Didn't seem like the type of book I normally read but I'm pretty open minded and will read outside of my comfort zone and I'm so glad I did.  I actually ended up really enjoying this book.  This book did not feel like the first book that Kathryn Stockett had written.  I thought it was well written.  I could distinctly tell which character I was reading without looking at the top of the chapters.  The author was able to give each character a voice that I could tell apart from the other.  I ended up really liking Aibileen & Minny the best out of all the characters.  The main character Skeeter grew on me.  I love how some of the secrets (such as what Minny did which I laughed when I read it) were not giving away right away but built up.  I really did enjoy it. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith

Indiana, 1818. In a one-room cabin, nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his mother's bedside.

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, young Lincoln sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for almost two-hundred years - until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln. Now, using the journal as a guide, Seth reconstructs the true life story of America's greatest president. For the first time ever, he reveals the hidden history behind the Civil War - and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I was very intrigued by the name of the book and the back cover (showing Abe holding a severed vampire head).  I'm a big vampire book person and so another intriguing factor.  What I liked about this book is that I actually learned some things about Abe that I did not know before.  Aside from the fictional part involving Vampires, this is a story about our 16th president.  I love how the author incorporated story telling with little excerpts from the lost journals of Abraham Lincoln.  I also liked the vampire character Henry that shows up periodically throughout the book.  Although I knew that Abe was assassinated I was a little surprised at the manner in which the events take place.  Also the very last chapter was surprising and I do not want to give anything away.  Overall it was an interesting book, easy to read and even had some pictures that were interesting in it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Ascend - Amanda Hocking

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself.  If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe.  But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?
The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end. 
Everything has been leading to this moment.  The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
Wendy sure learns to kick some series butt!  Also love all the other characters in this story.  I was not too crazy about Willa and Matt at first but I've grown to like them both.  Same goes with Duncan, her tracker/bodyguard.  Also Loki reminds me a little bit of Jace (Mortal Instruments - Cassandra Clare), good looking bad boy.  The ending is great and I love who she ends up with and who the other characters end up with.  The extra story at the end was great because we got to see what happens 1.5 years later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Torn - Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This one picks up right where the last one left off.  I love that we get to know Loki a lot more in this book.  He has a strong attraction to Wendy and her to him but she will not admit it to herself.  Wendy also must learn how to harness her powers so that she is able to protect herself and her kingdom.  Her mother may be dying and she will soon become queen.  We find out more about her family history and what makes her so special and why the Vittra want her so badly.  The little bonus story at the end takes place during the engagement dinner and it's the point of view of Finn, Loki and the groom.  These books are easy to read and well written.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: Switched - Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I borrowed the trilogy from a friend and I'm so glad I did.  The book is well written and from the point of view of Wendy, who seems very human even though she's a Troll.  Not a Troll like we've come to know them but they basically look human and have special abilities.  She is a Changelling who was switched with a human to be raised by a human family.  So she always believed she was human until she finds out she's a Troll and from a tribe called Trylle.  We learn about Trylle society at the same time that she does so we never get the whole picture since she has a lot of questions and not all get answered.  There is also another tribe called the Vittra and this book includes a short story in the back where we meet some of them.  I thought it was a great book and quickly dove into the second one.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Book Review: Black Dawn - Rachel Caine

Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires, #12)
In Last Breath, the rain brought a new and dire threat to Morganville and its vampires... their ancient enemies, the draug. Now, the vampires are fighting a losing war, and it will fall to the residents of the Glass House: Michael, Eve, Shane and Claire, to take the fight to an enemy who threatens to destroy the town, forever.

Lovers of Morganville, rejoice: Black Dawn takes the intrigue, romance and nail-biting suspense of the series to its highest level yet!

5/5 stars (it was amazing)
Every time I read a book in the Morganville Vampire Series I wonder how Rachel Caine will keep me interested and keep me wanting to read more.  She does it every time.  Black Dawn does not disappoint.  There is plenty of Myrnin (my favorite character).  As much as I love Shane/Claire I think I would love to see Myrnin/Claire.  Oliver is becoming a much more interesting character and I am not liking Amelie as much as I had before.  This books starts right where the last on left off.  The Draug are there and the Vampires reluctantly join forces with the Humans to fight them.  Michael & Eve are still a little rocky because of the fact that Michael bit her and couldn't stop.  We get a little more of Richard, Hannah and Monica.  Also Miranda and Jason make an appearance!  Also two deaths that I was surprised about.  Overall a great book!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Book Review: A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin
A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I liked this one better than the first book.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I already knew most of the characters, although a couple more get introduced.  I thought the Comet would be a bigger deal than it was but it was only really mentioned a few times at the beginning that once I got to the end of the book I had forgotten about it.  A character dies, whose death was a very big surprise for me and I actually had to go back and re-read to make sure I had read right.  I still love Dany's story and Arya's.  I've also found that Sansa has gotten more interesting in this book. The book ends with not much resolution, which makes me want to read the book even more.  Overall I really enjoyed this book.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

2/5 stars (it was okay)
Out of curiosity to see what all the fuss was about I finally picked up this book.  I start reading and realize this seems awfully familiar so I did a little research on the internet and found out that the story is based on a Twilight Fanfic and that I had read it already.  Knowing it was a Twilight Fanfic I could see which characters were Bella (Anastasia), Edward (Christian) & Jacob (Jose).  Anastasia works at a Hardware story owned by a good buddy of her's family who likes her (aka Mike).  Oh and don't get me started on Anastasia's "Inner Goddess" that is constantly talking to her and always being refered to "Inner Goddess" in just about every other page.  The writing felt like a fanfiction and I found a few grammatical errors.  As far as the smuttiness of the story I didn't feel it was that bad.  I've read The Black Dagger Brotherhood (a well written great series) and that is pretty smutty.  But one thing is Chrisitan Grey is one sick bastard and needs immediate professional help.  I will most like try reading the next one just to see if it gets any better.

Book Review: Blood Fury - JR Ward

Blood Fury - JR Ward A vampire aristocrat, Peyton is well aware of his duty to his bloodline: mate with an appropriate female of his cl...