Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Neferet’s Curse – P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

 Neferet's Curse (House of Night Novellas, #3)
The White City, 1893:  In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World’s Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling in her youthful beauty and the excitement around her.  But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be Lady of Wheiler House.  Her father, a powerful bank president, is at the center of an important social hub for the booming young city, and he need Emily to do everything her mother would have – to be a good hostess and make sure the mansion runs smoothly.

As Emily uneasily tries to replace her mother, she also longs for more…for love and a life of her own.  When a handsome young man notices her at one of her father’s parties, it seems that her hopes may finally be coming true.  Until her father forbids her to see him – or any other man – and starts revealing a darkly violent side that even he can’t understand.

At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampire and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal.  But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This story is about when Neferet was a 16-year-old human and her name was Emily.  Her mother dies in childbirth and she is left to take care of the house and her father.  Her father is not very kind to her.  The book was a quick read.  I feel like I understand Neferet a little more and also having just finished reading Revealed I feel like I really know her.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Revealed – P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

 Revealed (House of Night, #11)
Drastically altered after her fall at the end of Hidden, Neferet is not more dangerous than ever—and her quest for vengeance will wreak havoc on humans, as well as Zoey and her friends.  Chaos is loosed in Tulsa and the House of Night is blamed.  Can Zoey stop Neferet in time to keep her anger from escalating to full-on war?  Or will someone else have to step in to take the fall?

2/5 stars (it was ok)
I feel like this series should have ended a couple of books ago.  Seems like things are just dragging out.  This book is told from several points of view, Neferet, Aphrodite, Zoey & Kalona.  Since Neferet is immortal she is not dead but comes back.  But really she doesn’t do much in this book.  Seems like this one is just a set-up for the next book.  If I hadn’t read 10 other books already I probably wouldn’t have read this one.  I really do home the next book is the final book.  I am more than ready to be done with this series.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Hemlock Grove – Brian McGreevy

Hemlock Grove – Brian McGreevy
 Hemlock Grove
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel Mill.  A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.
Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel-where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place.  Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf.  Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all,  Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

3/5 stars (liked it)

This book was actually pretty good.  My sister-in-law told me I needed to watch the Netflix show Hemlock Grove and when I looked into it I found out it’s based on a book.  So of course I needed to read the book first.  This book follows the adults as well as the teenagers.  There are some interesting characters in this book such as the whole Godfrey family (Norman, Olivia, Letha, Shelley & Roman) and the Rumancek family (pretty much Peter).  Someone or something is killing in Hemlock Grove.  Of course everyone thinks it’s Peter since everyone believes he’s a werewolf.  Peter and Roman (who is not quite normal) team up to find out who is killing.  The killer actually surprised me.  Great writing and I love the cover.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Book Review: Dreamland – Sarah Dessen

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real.  Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known.  He’s magnetic.  He’s compelling.  He’s dangerous.  Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else—her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life.  But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

3/5 stars (liked it)
This is my first book that I have every read by Sarah Dessen.  I always hear how great her books are and I am not disappointed.  This book took a very unexpected turn.  This story is about Cailtin and how her life changes so much after her sister Cassandra runs away from home at the age of 19.  Even though Cassandra is not in the book, she is a huge presence  in Cailtin’s life.  Caitlin uses a journal she has to “write” to Cassandra about what is going on with her life.  Overall an easy read and a good book.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Book Club: Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion.  This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place.  Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert sets out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book is divided into three parts.  Her fist stop is in Italy.  After she tells you the reasons she went on this year-long journey you meet many interesting people in Italy.  Just reading about all the things she ate made me really want to go there.  Her next stop was in India, where she practiced a lot of meditation and yoga.  Actually sounded really relaxing and calming there.  Last place she visited was the island of Bali in Indonesia.  This is where she met a medicine man in a previous journey there and he’s the one that told her she would come back to study with him.  This last part was the most interesting to me.  She meets the Medicine Man, a Healer Woman and a Brazilian hottie.  I like that at the very end she gives us a little update on what happened.  I felt at times this book dragged a lot and gave me too much history of places and backgrounds on people.  Overall interesting book.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do.  And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her…

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney.  As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once.  Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret.  Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend.  Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

5/5 stars (it was amazing)
Okay I didn’t think this series could get better but then it did!  This book is from Adrian’s point of view and Sydney’s point of view.  They got together at the end of last book and nothing is holding them back in this one.  Well except that they have to keep their very physical relationship a secret.  Sydney learns more about being a witch and Adrian becomes a better Adrian.  We also get to see some of our favorite people like Eddie, Jill & Angeline.  Also at the school is Zoe, Sydney’s little sister.  So much happened in this book!  Then ending was great and I really wish that I had the next book in my hand!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review: Princesses Behaving Badly – Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

 Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after.  But real princesses didn’t always get happy endings.  Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power—and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets.  Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy.  Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal.  Princess Olga of Kiev slaughtered her way to sainthood while Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back.  Princesses Behaving Badly offers true tales of all these princesses and dozens more, in a fascinating read that’s perfect for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.

2/5 stars (it was OK)

I was given this book by Quirk books for a review.  I was really looking forward to this book but was a little disappointed.  Although interesting, I felt like there was just too many stories in this book.  It was basically fact after fact in each page.  I would have rather had the author focus on the lives of a handful of women and write more about them.  I really liked the cover and artwork for each story.  I also like how there were sections such as Warriors, Schemers, Floozies (just to name a few) that really made it interesting.  Overall the book was okay.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review: Daylighters - Rachel Caine

 Daylighters (Morganville Vampires, # 15)
While Morganville, Texas, is often a troubled town, Claire Danvers and her friends are looking forward to coming home.  But the Morganville they return to isn’t the one they know; it’s become a different place—a deadly one…

Something drastic has happened in Morganville while Claire and her friends were away.  The town looks cleaner and happier than they’ve ever seen it before, but when their incoming group is arrested and separated—vampires from humans—they realize that the changes definitely aren’t for the better.

It seem that an organization called the Daylight Foundation has offered the population of Morganville something they’ve never had: hope of a vampire-free future.  And while it sounds like salvation—even for the vampires themselves—the truth is far more sinister and deadly.

Now, Claire, Shane and Eve need to find a way to break their friends out of Daylighter custody, before the vampires of Morganville meet their untimely end…

4/5 stars (really liked it)

It’s sad to see this series ending but I think that Rachel Caine did a great job putting an end to it.  After everything that Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael have gone through it was good to see where they ended up.  I like how this book was full of many characters we know and newer ones that we had met before.  I would love to see where these characters are in five years.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: The 100 – Kass Morgan

The 100 (The Hundred, #1)
In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth’s toxic atmosphere.  No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again.  But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland…before it’s too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to re-colonize Earth.  After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they’ve only seen form space.  Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community.  But they’re haunted by their past and uncertain about the future.  To survive, they must learn to trust – and even love – again.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book is told from four points of view.  Earth has been unlivable for nearly 300 years and there is a group of humans on a ship that is close to Earth.  They decide to send 100 Juvenille criminals in a shuttle to see if Earth is safe for them to return.  Bellamy has a sister Octavia that is aboard the shuttle and he does everything in his power to get on the ship to be there to protect his sister.  Glass is aboard the ship but as a commotion occurs, caused by Bellamy she escapes the shuttle and back into the ship.  Clarke is also aboard the shuttle as well as her ex-boyfriend Wells, whom did something in order to be sent there with her.  So the story takes place on Earth with the 100, which turns to less because of the shuttle crashing and other circumstances.  Also the food supply is low and they still don’t know how toxic Earth really is.  Glass is aboard the ship still and has to hide.  As the book progresses we find out more about each character and what they did to be confined (aka sent to prison).  Also how the society aboard the ship works and how there is an elite class, middle and lower class and they live in different sections of the ship.  The ending really made me want to read more and I hope there is a sequel.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris

After Dead:  What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse (Sookie Stackhouse, #13.5)
Dead Ever After maked the end of the Sookie Stackhouse series—novels that garnered millions of fans and spawned the hit HBO television show True Blood.  It also stoked a hunger that will never die…a hunger to know what happened next.
With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs.  You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens.
This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after….

2/5 stars (it was OK)
This is an alphabetical listing of every character that survived in the Sookie Stackhouse universe.  I think I would rather have had an actual story months or years later and see where my favorite characters were.  I mean the only characters I really cared about where Sookie, Sam, Eric, Bill, Pam and Jason.  The book is very short and some of the characters I didn't’ even remember.

Book Review: Allegiant – Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) 
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal.  So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready.  Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind.  Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless.  Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves.  And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Told form a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The last book in the Divergent Series.  This book answers many questions I had, such as where did the Factions come from and is there other cities out there.  I must say that I am actually happy with what the author did in this book.  Although sad since there were a few deaths I am glad she did not give it a typical happy ending that some books give.  I really like the Epilogue that takes place 2 years later.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Book Club: The Leftovers – Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers
What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us think it was the Rapture?  Would some of us fall apart?  Would others go on just as we did before the world turned upside down?
That’s what the confused citizens of tidy suburban Mapleton have to figure out.  Kevin Garvey, the mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, even as his own family has atomized in the wake of what’s become known as the Sudden Departure:  Kevin’s wife, Laurie, has left to join a homegrown cult, the Guilty Remnant; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropped out of college to follow a shady “prophet” named Holy Wayne and join his Healing Hug Movement.  Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, is still with him, opaque and drifting since October 14th.  Kevin yearns to connect with her, even as he is distracted by a new relationship with Nora Durst, the saddest woman in Mapleton, trying to cope with the disappearance of her entire family. 
With heart, intelligence, and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles of ordinary people, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, loss, and connection.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book follows several characters in the years that follow what is being called “The Rapture”, which is basically the sudden disappearance of many people.  A man named Kevin, who is also mayor of a small town Mapleton.  Although he did not lose anyone in The Rapture his family is never the same.  His son Tom drops out of college and joins a man called Holy Wayne.  His daughter Jill, who is still in High School, makes friends with kids that are not great influences and parties quite a bit.  His wife, Laurie joins a cult called Guilty Remnant.  This cult takes a vow of silence.  Also being followed in this book is a woman named Nora.  She lost her husband and two kids.  All of these people grieve the lost of someone, a family member, a friend or a person from their past in many different ways.  I actually ended up liking this book and saw the changes in each character.  Although the end just seemed a little rushed and just kind of ends.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: The House of Hades – Rick Riordan

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)
At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld.  The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death.  If they can fight their way through Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea.  But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice.  If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die.  They have no time.  In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood.  The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book starts out right where the last one left off.  Percy and Annabeth have just fallen into Tartarus and must survive and make it to the Doors of Death.  Leo, Hazel, Frank, Jason, Piper and Nico are on the Argo II with the statue of Athena and must also make it to the Doors of Death.  It seems that in this book a lot of the characters overcame an obstacle or faced a fear.  Nico faced one of his biggest fears and had an unexpected person witness it.  Frank also faced a big obstacle.  I like how the book was told in several points of view so you really got an idea of what was going on all around.  We even find out some surprising things about Coach Hedge.  I did miss the lack of Grover and Tyson in this book and hope they are in the next book more.  Seems like a lot of the major battles will be fought in the next book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: The Fall of Five – Pittacus Lore

The Fall of Five (Lorien Legacies, #4)
I thought things would change when I found the others.  We would stop running.  We would fight the Mogadorians.  And we would win.

But I was wrong.  Even though we have come together, we barely escaped from the Mogadorians with our lives.  And now we’re in hiding, trying to figure out our next move.

The six of us are powerful—but we’re not yet strong enough to take on their entire army.  We haven’t discovered the full extent of our Legacies.  We haven’t learned to work together.  And there’s still so much that we don’t know about the Elders or their plan for us.  Time is running out, and there’s only one thing we know for certain:  We need to find Number Five before they do.

The caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
I am Number Four.  I was supposed to be next.
But I’m still alive.

This battle is far from over.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The book is told from three different point of views; John Smith (aka Number Four), Marina (Number Seven, the one that was in Spain) & Sam Goode (the human from Paradise).  I actually really liked all three points of views as they were not all always together so it was a good way to find out what was going on with everyone.  I had read The Lost Files #4-6 and I’m glad I had read it ahead of time.  In that book we met Adam, a Mogadorian working for the Garde and he ended up freeing Malcolm and Sam Goode.  Although he is mostly absent in the book I was hoping he would meet up with the Garde and work with them.  Nine is as cocky as ever but I love that guy.  Sarah has stepped it up and is training so she can be some help.  Ella is having nightmares/visions of a horrible future.  I think this is by far my favorite book in the series.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Review: The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)
If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets.  Some he keeps from others.  Some he keeps from himself.
One secret:  Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.
And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.
Ronan is one of the raven boys –a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy.  The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town.  But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.
Of The Raven Boys, Enterntainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.”  Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This story picks up right where The Raven Boys left off.  Even though this book is full of many characters I felt like I got to know them all.  From all the boys from Aglionby Academy, a new mysterious man Mr. Gray, the women at 300 Fox Way and of course Blue, I really felt like I got to know them and they were all interesting.  We learn more about Ronan, his brothers and his family and why his father was killed.  We also learn more about Adam and what exactly happened to him in the last book.  And of course Blue, who is afraid to kiss any boy for fear she will kill him.  There’s also Noah, who is very mysterious but very likeable.  I can’t wait to see where the next book will go.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Book Club: The Year of Pleasures – Elizabeth Berg

The Year of Pleasures
Betta Nolan moves to a small town after the death of her husband to try to begin anew.  Pursuing a dream of a different kind of life, she is determined to find pleasure in her simple daily routines.  Among those who help her in both expected and unexpected ways are the ten-year-old boy next door, three wild women friends from her college days, a twenty-year-old who is struggling to find his place in the world, and a handsome man who is ready for love.

In this rich and deeply satisfying novel, a resilient woman embarks upon an unforgettable journey of adventure, self-discovery, and renewal and comes to appreciate the solace found in ordinary pleasures.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book is about how Betta deals with the death of her husband John.  She ends up selling her beloved home in Boston and just driving and finds a home in a small town in Illinois.  Something that John and she had always talked about doing.  While in this town she meets some interesting people such as the realtor that sells her her home, a young man who is trying to find love and rent a room, a 10 year old boy that helps her with household chores and she gets in touch with her old college roommates.  Through all these people Betta learns to do the things she loves and find her place in the world.  I liked the book, it was short and I felt like it left off in a good place.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator.  Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling.  He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story:  His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier.  The police ruled it as a suicide, but John refuses to believe that.  The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike.  You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The book starts out with Cormoran Strike just breaking up with his girlfriend Charlotte.  His private investigator business is not doing well; he owes money and has no place to live.  Also introduced is a woman named Robin, recently engaged and looking for a job.  She becomes Cormoran’s assistant.  He being a private person who doesn’t want anyone to know who that he is the son of a famous Rock legend or the fact that he lost his leg and Robin who respects his privacy but at the same time knows how to find information.  The case that Strike gets involves a model named Lulu Landry.  Her brother John Bristow cannot accept that police believe it was a suicide and wants Cormoran to find out the truth.  Through his investigative skills as well as Robin’s help he finds out whether or not it was a suicide and what was happening in Lulu’s life those last few days.  This book kept me guessing until the very end.  I will definitely be reading another book involving Cormoran.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Infinityglass – Myra McEntire

Infinityglass (Hourglass, #3)
From the moment the Hourglass group violated the rules of the space-time continuum to rescue a murdered love one, time has been in flux.  People from other centuries slide into our time, intruding into our space, threatening our world.

Frantically seeking a way to turn back the tide, the Hourglass begins to search for the legendary Infinityglass, tracking it to the city of New Orleans, a place where the past rests easily with the present.

Quiet, reliable Dune, the group’s favorite geek, is selected to travel to the Crescent City and somehow retrieve the renowned object.

But there’s a problem.

Because the Infinitiyglass is not an object, it’s a person.

A beautiful, headstrong dancer named Hallie, a girl so enticing Dune can’t take his eyes off her.

And time is not on her side.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I did not like the voices of Dune or Hallie at first but grew to like them.  I also though that the POV changed too often that sometimes I didn’t even realize it had changed.  But overall a nice conclusion to the series.  Plus we did find out about the other characters and what happens after the concluding events.  I did not like this one as much as the second book and really think the author could have done more and explained some things better.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees
Set in South Carolina in 1964.  The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.  When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free.  They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past.  Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna.  This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I felt really sorry for Lily, all her life she has felt responsible for her mother’s death, her father T. Ray is not a very good father and he treats her very badly.  I can very much see how she would take Rosaleen away with her and leave T. Ray behind.  In Tiburon she says with three Beekeeping Sisters, August is the oldest and very motherly and takes Lily and Rosaleen in right away.  June is very stubborn and dislikes Lily from the beginning.  May is very troubled and sensitive to other people’s feelings and she becomes friends with Rosaleen.  I really enjoyed this book and all the characters in them.  Throughout this book I saw how Lily grew from a scared girl to a strong woman and how she learned about her mother’s past.  Also how she learned that people are the same no matter what color their skin is.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: Around the Next Corner – Elizabeth Wrenn

Around the Next Corner
For Deena Munger, the transformation to under-appreciated housewife was subtle and gradual.  She loved her family dearly, but Deena was starting to wonder:  When did I disappear?  And how come I never even noticed?

Then one day she stuns her family by volunteering to raise a puppy for K-9 Eyes for the Blind.  Suddenly the stability of Deena’s life is turned upside down.  And, it turns out; this rambunctious, impulsive ball of fur could actually be the damage control she needs to save her family, her marriage, and her self…

3/5 stars (liked it)
I started off not really liking Deena.  She’s a housewife but really is not happy with her life or her marriage and she does not treat her husband that well.  But then we meet Heloise, the puppy she will be raising for K-9 Eyes for the Blind and I begin to like her a lot more.  Her kids are bratty teenagers and I hope when my kids are that age they treat me with more respect.  But by the end of the book I like Deena, Heloise and all the other characters in the book.  Loved the epilogue and how it wrapped up things.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: Shadow of the Mark – Leigh Fallon

Shadow of the Mark (Carrier, #2)
Their love could destroy them all.

Through the ages, Marked Ones have harnessed the powers of the four elements:  Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.  Much about the elements is shrouded in mystery, but one thing is certain:  A relationship between two Marked Ones has the potential to cause widespread devastation.

Megan and Adam—Air and Water—are determined to defy the risks.

But the power that swirls inside Megan is growing in twisted ways.  And the closer she is to Adam, the closer Megan comes to unleashing a dark force that could spell destruction for the entire Marked line.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I liked this second book better than the first one.  I think that is the case with a lot of series book; the first one has a lot of character development and introducing the reader to the world.  This one stars off where the last one left off.  Adam and Megan are “forbidden” from having a relationship, but they don’t listen to that.  They just hope that something in the scrolls can allow them to be together.  But every time they are physical bad things happen.  This book explains a lot of things about the Order, the Knox and the Marked ones of the past.  I’m curious to see where the next book will lead.  This book also introduced a couple of new characters as well as had more of previous characters.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: The Shade of the Moon - Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)
The riveting conclusion to the Life As We Knew It Series.

It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved.  His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in Sexton, the well-protected enclave he entered with his stepmother, Lisa, and her son, Gabe, using the three safe-town passes they were given.  But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can jeopardize his life and that of his sister, Miranda, who lives outside the walls of Sexton.  When everything he values is at stake, can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

3/5 stars (liked it)
I loved the first book, liked the second one a little less and the third one I liked.  This one started off very slowly and with Jon as narrator.  I barely remembered Jon from the previous books and I did not like him at all in this one at the beginning of the book.  He was a spoiled brat of a Claver.  But then he met Sarah, who opened up a new way of thinking for him.  Teaching him that Clavers and Grubbers are people and they shouldn’t be treated differently.  This book did show what kinds of things people will do to other people and how even when the world is ending there is still the rich privileged people.  By the end of the book Jon was a more likable person and he redeemed himself.  I did like the ending of the book.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Book Review: The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season
The year is 2059.  Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underground of Scion London.  Her job:  to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds.  For Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant—and under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes forever.  Attacked, kidnapped, and drugged, Paige is transported to Oxford—a city kept secret for two hundred years, governed by an otherworldly race called the Rephaim who seek to control clairvoyants for their own purposes.  Paige is assigned to the care of Warden, a powerful Rephaite.  He is her captor.  Her trainer.  Her natural enemy.  But if she wants to regain her freedom, she will have to get close to him, to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine, a young woman discovering her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her.  It also introduces an extraordinary young writer with huge ambition and a teeming imagination.  Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The book started off a little confusing because I had to learn about this new society and all the different types of clairvoyants.  Once I got past that I got really invested in the main character Paige.  She gets captured and brought to Oxford; a city that everyone thought did not exist.  This city is inhabited by a race called the Rephaim and they capture clairvoyants to use for their own purpose.  A Reph named Warden, who is to train her, chooses Paige.  Through the book we learn about Paige’s past and also we learn about Warden and his past as well as how Oxford came about and an uprising that happened before.  This book was very interested and I will definitely continue with the series.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Trying out posting from phone

Got the new Samsung Galaxy phone about a month ago.  I'm still discovering all the things I can do with it, this includes posting from my phone.  I don't know how I lived without such a fancy shmancy phone.

Book Club: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she’s directed, her mother gets described as a “tap-dancing child abuser.”  Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda.  Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding.  All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”  As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.

2/5 stars (it was ok)
I thought the book started off a little bit slow.  I really did not care for the characters Sidda and Vivi Walker, even at the end I wasn’t that attached to them.  I liked the other Ya-ya characters and I think Teensy was my favorite.  The scrapbook sounded very interesting.  Overall it was an okay book.  I would have rather only follow Vivi’s story and not even had Sidda in it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: I Am Number Four: The Lost Files – Secret Histories – Pittacus Lore

Secret Histories (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files, #4-6)
I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Secret Histories is a collection of three action-packed novellas that share stories the Mogadorians don’t want you to know about the inner working of their regime as well as how they engineered the attack on Lorien.  Originally published as e-novellas, now, for the first time ever, they are together in one print volume.

You already know the truth about the Garde and the Mogadorian invasion, yet there is still so much to learn.  The stories in Secret Histories will help you get the answers you seek, but they will not help you stop the coming war.  Only the Garde can save our planet.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The first novella follows Adam (a Mogadorian) and One, a continuation from the Lost Files #3.  This picks up right where that left off with Adam in the ravine.  You see how One has changed his way of thinking and has put him on the Garde’s side.  The second story follows a young Sandor in Lorien and the last days.  It shows what life was like on Lorien and how the Mogarodians attacked the planet and how the Garde children were able to escape.  The last story continues where the first one ends, again with Adam and how he really kicks some Mogadorian butt and helps out the Garde.  This book got me very excited to The Fall of Five.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review: The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

The Gargoyle
On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges into a ravine.  The driver survives the crash, but his injuries confine him to a hospital burn unit.  There the mysterious Marianne Engel, a sculptress of grotesques, enters his life.  She insists they were lovers in medieval Germany, when he was a mercenary and she was a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal.  As she spins the story of their past lives together, the man’s disbelief falters; soon, even the impossible can no longer be dismissed.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The beginning of this book is not for the weak of stomach.  It starts out right away with the narrator having a horrible car accident that burns him severely.  Then goes on to the hospital and his recovery, which involves so many things on his skin that are described in detail.  He doesn’t meet Marianne for a while into the book and when she is introduced her characters fascinated me.  She told many stories about how they met in Medieval Germany and even has stories of people she knew a long time ago.  All of the stories that are very interesting.  You see the narrator turn into a whole new person, not just physically but mentally.  He was such a selfish, cocky person before his accident.  I even loved the dog in this story, Bougatsa and the role he plays in all of this.  I think the most interesting thing of all is that I got done reading this book and then realized that we never found out the narrators name.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Love, Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli

Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2)
Love, Stargirl picks up a year after Stargirl ends and reveals the new life of the beloved character who moved away so suddenly at the end of Stargirl.  The novel takes the form of “the world’s longest letter,” in diary form, going from date to date through a little more than a year’s time.  In her writing, Stargirl mixes memories of her bittersweet time in Mica, Arizona, with involvements with new people in her life.

In Love, Stargirl, we hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and – of course – love.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I liked this follow up book but not as much as the first one.  Although it was nice to see where Stargirl moved to and how she was affected by the way things went with Leo.  It was her first love and she even tried to change who she was for it.  But in the end she knew she would never be happy except to be herself.  This book is filled with very interesting characters and some other non-common names.  I like that this was from Stargirl’s point of view.  I almost wish there was a 5 years after follow up to see where Leo and Stargirl are and if they will ever find each other again.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Book Review: Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl (Stargirl, #1)
From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum "Stargirl." She captures Leo Borlock's heart with one smile.  She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer.  The students of Mica High are enchanted.  Until they are not.  Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her - normal.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did.  The book is written in the point of view of Leo, which I did not like at first because I really wanted to know what was going through Stargirl's mind.  But in the end I was glad that the book was in his point of view.  Stargirl is the most caring but not normal girl and was very hard for people to accept her.  I really think that we need more people like her in the world.  She was a very brave person to not conform to "normal" and to be herself and care about everyone.  I am planning to read the next book about her.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
Deep in the heart of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Diana Bishop—a young scholar and the descendant of witches—unearths an enchanted alchemical manuscript.  Wanting nothing to do with sorcery, she banishes the book to the stacks.  But her discovery has set a fantastical underworld stirring, and soon a horde of daemons, witches, and other creatures descends upon the library.  Among them is the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire with a keen interest in the book.  Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a mesmerizing and addictive tale of passion and obsession that reveals the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
At first I was not too crazy about this book, it starts off slow.  Introducing Diana, a reluctant witch that finds a manuscript.  Also we meet Matthew a very old vampire that is also interested in the manuscript.  But as we learn more and more about Diana’s past and her ancestors and Matthew’s long life as a vampire the book gets more and more interesting.  There is also a bit of history and I’m normally not one that likes reading about history but this book made it interesting.  I could not put the book down the last 100 pages and now I wish that the next book was in my hand so I could continue it.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Book Review: 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts – Doogie Horner

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts
We’re all familiar with the classic Halloween ghost – you cut two eyeholes out of a bed sheet and BOO!  You’ve created a simple, ready-to-go costume.  But what if these friendly haunts walked—erm, floated—among us in real life?  If we encountered them on a day-to-day basis, how would they look?  Writer, designer, and stand-up comedian Doogie Horner explores every sort of spook in 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts.

Inside 100 Ghosts, haunts come in every shape and size imaginable.  In addition to your “classic” bed sheet with eyes, you’ll find new faces, like mustached, no-nonsense “Undercover Cop,” a fuzzy Muppet, and Marilyn Monroe prettily posed above that famous air vent.  You’ll encounter a threadbare “Homemade” ghost with button eyes and patches, a nervous ghost with a literal knot in his stomach, and a ravenous ghost slurping down a bowl of spaghetti (where does it go?!).

100 Ghosts is a whimsical, haunting collection that shows that ghosts, like their human counterparts, can come in all different shapes, sizes, and personalities.  This fun book is a delightful gift for adults, kids, and anyone in need of a friendly fright.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I received this as an advance read from Quirk books.  I read this book in one sitting and found the pictures really silly and creative.  I also had my husband read it and my 9-year-old son read it.  I think my 9-year-old son got the biggest kick out of it.  This is a book that I will leave sitting out on my coffee table for guest to leaf through.  I think one of my favorite ghost was “Harry Potter” ghost.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Club: The Last Communist Virgin – Wang Ping

The Last Communist Virgin
From the restaurants of New York’s Chinatown to the retail emporium of Bergdorf Goodman, and from remote Chinese military outposts to the streets of Beijing, these stories open a window into the rapid transformations of an ancient culture.  As the characters struggle to find their way, a young girl discovers love amidst a sea of angry Red Guards, émigrés navigate New York’s relentless rat race, and an old man returns to a Beijing he doesn’t recognize on a mission to restore his son-in-law’s flagging honor.  In the heatrending finale, the origins of humanity and its reckless dash toward an apocalyptic future are distilled into a love store with far-reaching implications.

1/5 stars (did not like)
Too many characters and the transition between characters was not well done.  I ended up not really caring about what happened to each character.  Also the only thing they all had in common was that they either currently lived in China or came to the U.S. from China.  I would rather have had a story about one family rather than all these that were not related to eachother.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: Daughters of the Witching Hill – Mary Sharratt

In “Daughters of the Witching Hill”, Mary Sharratt brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching novel of strong women, family, and betrayal inspired by the 1612 Pendle witch trials.

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow lives with her children in a crumbling old tower in Pendle Forest.  Drawing on Catholic ritual, medicinal herbs, and guidance from her spirit-friend Tibb, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future in exchange for food and drink.  As she ages, she instructs her best friend, Anne, and her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft.  Though Anne ultimately turns to dark magic, Alizon intends to use her craft for good.  But when a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate tricks her into accusing her family and neighbors of witchcraft.  Suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights as friends and loved ones turn on one another and the novel draws to an inevitable conclusion.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
The subject of witches, and especially witch trials that took place in the early 1600s really fascinate me.  This book starts out with Bess Southerns as a young woman learning the craft and getting her own familiar, Tibb.  She then goes on to teach her daughter Liza about being a healer but it is not a path for her daughter.  Then her daughter has a daughter named Alizon who Bess believes will take over for her once she is old.  The story is then told from Alizon’s point of view.  Her struggles and denial in being chosen.  The last third of the book was where everything came together.  Alizon, Bess, Annie & Anne are all accused of witchcraft.  The magistrate tricks all of them to accuse each other.  I loved the ending of this book as well as the writing style of the author.  I will definitely be checking out any other books written by her.

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...