Welcome To My Blog

Welcome to my blog! I invite you to enter into the splendiferous world of the library where I will share my knowledge and love of books I have read, as well as send out praise to the authors of these treasures. Most of the books reviewed on my site will be Teen or YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy, though every now and then I'll throw in an adult book just to shake things up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox

I know I have been MIA again lately and I apologize, it has been a rough last couple of weeks for me as most of you who know me already know.  I would love to rant and vent right now and tell you all about my troubles, but this blog is not about me and I don't want to drive away the few followers I have.  
Instead I am going to tell you the books I have gotten in the last few weeks, some of which I have already devoured and posted reviews of.  (I'm playing catch-up tonight and posting as much as I can for you!)  I will say that it has been a great couple of weeks for me reading-wise.  I have SCORED at both of my libraries, as well as the one in Fort Dodge.  Here is what I have brought home!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just a Quick Note


I just wanted to write this note quick to answer a question that I have been asked a lot lately.  A few of my followers not only read this blog, but are also my friends on GoodReads, Shelfari, or We Read (on facebook).  They have noticed that I have had Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev and Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler in my "currently reading" pile for longer than it should have taken me to read them.  They want to know what it is that is making me take so long with these two books.  Is there something about them that is hard to get into?   Are they super long?  Are the dull or uninteresting?

The answers to all of those is this:

No there is not a darn thing wrong with either of these books.  In fact, it is the complete opposite.  I adore Lisa Mantchev's books.  I found Eyes Like Stars to be the greatest read in a bubble bath, let your relaxed mind fill with the brilliant images that she so beautifully writes in explicit details.  In fact, I loved it so much, that I was sad when I finished it and agonized by the wait for Perchance to Dream, which wasn't released for months after finishing Eyes Like Stars.  
So when I received my Librarian's ARC of Perchance to Dream, I vowed that I would not finish it before the third book was either released or I had a Librarian's ARC in my hands.  So I have not let myself read more than a few pages or (once in a while) chapters before I force myself to put it down again.  I will be finishing it sometime this summer, as So Silver Bright is set to be release September 13, 2011.

As for Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler, most of you have read my review of her brilliant and emotional novel, Hunger, the first in her Horsemen of the Apocalypse series.  This novel was such an original, unique, and emotionally gut-wrenching masterpiece, truly a book that every teenage girl should read to show the dark side of eating disorders.  I cannot say enough great things about this novel, and with that in mind, could not wait to get my hands on Rage, the second book in this hard-hitting series.  
Once I got Rage from Netgalley, I started reading immediately, devouring the first few chapters so quickly that I had to stop myself.  I knew that I was going to immediately want the third book, Loss, which doesn't come out until 2012.  
So as much as it pains me, I have put this book down for a couple of months.  I would love to be able to read a couple of pages or chapters like I am doing with Perchance to Dream, but I believe that with this brilliant a writer, this amazing of a story, and this horribly long time before the next book, I just can't trust myself not to devour it in one sitting and be left with this hole inside of me that only the rest of the series can fill.

So that, ladies and gentleman, is why I  have had those two books on my "currently reading" list for a heck of a lot longer than it should have taken me to read them.  I hope that this answer not only satisfies your curiosity, but piques your intrigue enough to make you check these two books (and their respective series) out and maybe find the joy and wonder in them that I have.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

From GoodReads: Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now. 
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, when I picked up the first book in the Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called, it took me almost a month to get into.  I thought it was too slow, too adult (for me I mean, I don't like a lot of adult books because I find that they have way too much sex, swearing, or needless violence and gore), and just plain dull.  I forced myself through it, but had no intentions of reading the rest of the series.  
I then got another series by Patricia Briggs in at my library, the Alpha and Omega series.  I took this one home hoping and praying that it would be better than Moon Called.  It definitely was.  I devoured the two books that are out in that series and was DYING for more!!  So I knew if I wanted more from Patricia Briggs, I had to go back and read the rest of Mercy's series.  
I got book two, Blood Bound, and was sucked into it immediately.  I stopped reading after a couple of chapters just so that I could run to my library and get the rest of the series that was out.  In a matter of days I had read Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, and Bone Crossed.  I waited in agony for the release of Silver Borne, not waiting for my library book supplier to send it to me, but searching it out on release day.  After reading it in a mere couple of hours, I started the torturous wait for River Marked.  
The week before it was set to be released we received a box of books at the library.  In that box, much to my hearts content, was River Marked.  I think I scared half the people in the library when I screamed in delight. I raced home to start my favorite book-reading ritual of putting my kids to bed, filling the bathtub with bubbles, turning off my cell phone, and sinking into the world inside the pages.  
It took me about a day to read River Marked, only because I had to force myself to go to bed that night AND get up and go to work the next day. (Oh how I wanted to call in sick so I could stay in bed and read this book!)  I will start out by saying that a lot of the characters that you would normally find in a Mercy Thompson book were absent through most of the book.  While you got to see them a little in the beginning and at the end, the majority of the story involves only Mercy and Adam Hauptman (her boyfriend/fiance/pack leader).  But despite the missing characters and the change of scenery (not once in this book is Mercy working at her garage!), this book brought in a whole new element.  River Marked dives further into Mercy's indian heritage than any of the previous books.  It brings in brand new characters, evolves old relationships to new levels, and introduces a bad guy that we have never seen the likes of before.  It was a little slow at first, but it starts building your anticipation and emotions from the get-go, ending with your adrenaline pumping, your palms sweaty, and your heart racing with each page.  Once again, Patricia Briggs has outdone herself, creating yet another brilliant rollercoaster ride in River Marked, the sixth book in the Mercy Thompson series.  And while I don't recommend this series for younger teens or middle schoolers, older teens and adults will love this series, it's ramshackle cast of characters as well as  the action and adventure of these heart-pounding stories that make this series a must read in my opinion.

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

From GoodReads: The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

It was about two years ago, I was still pretty new to being a librarian, when we received a box of teen books from our book supplier.  In that box was Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr.  The cover was intoxicating, drawing me to it like a moth to a flame.  I took it home that night and within mere hours had devoured ever page.  It was only after I read Ink Exchange that I found out it was part of a series, the second book in the series to be exact.  I immediately had my library director order Wicked Lovely and when it arrived, I devoured it also.  
I waited (impatiently) for Fragile Eternity followed by Radiant Shadows.  I became an uber-fan of Melissa Marr, joining her fan forum, Rath and Ruins, traveling over 6 hours to go to one of her signings, and have since bought almost every anthology that she has a story in.  Needless to say, I was heartbroken when I learned that Darkest Mercy would be the final book in this series.  I was terrified that she would end the series with some things unfinished, too many questions left unanswered.  I worried that she would kill off many of the characters I had fallen in love with over the years.  Darkest Mercy, I was afraid, was going to be a huge let-down and leave me highly upset.
I was shopping in Wal-Mart the weekend before Darkest Mercy was set to be released, and I wandered into the book section as I always do.   As I walked the aisle browsing the covers and titles of the same books that had been there the last few times I was there, I saw a cover that was familiar to me peeking out from behind another book.  I moved the book in front to see what had caught my eye.  Low and behold to my shocked and awe-struck eyes was a copy of Darkest Mercy.  Of course, it went straight into my cart, into my car, and home with me.  I went straight to my bathroom when I got home, started a bubble bath, and got in the tub with the book.  I lay in that tub for three hours (adding more hot water when necessary of course) and read the entire book from cover to cover.  
It is with great joy and relief that I tell you now that I was wrong to be worried, stupid to have ever doubted Melissa Marr's ability to write a brilliant story, and I am completely, utterly, ridiculously speechless with Darkest Mercy.  Not only did Melissa Marr tied up every single loose-end, but she filled this story with absolutely brilliant scenes full of action, adventure, emotion, adrenaline, and heart-wrenching  details, down to the very last page.  I am in awe of how she put in twists and surprises that not only did I never see coming, but I couldn't believe were happening even as I read it.  
Melissa Marr is truly one of the most brilliant, original, unique, thought-provoking, and addictive writers I have ever had the pleasure to not only read, but also meet.  I can tell you that, without a doubt, her books are some of the best out there and you should DEFINITELY get your butt out there and get them if you haven't already.  I also recommend that you go to one of Melissa Marr's signings to meet her, she  is honestly one the the most entertaining, honest, and caring authors out there and deserves all the support and adoration that her fans feel for her and her work.  Give her a chance if you haven't already, you won't be disappointed I assure you. 

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegowski

From GoodReads: Generations ago, angel Remiel chose to renounce heaven and live on Earth. He found a place among ordinary humans by converting himself into Boston P.I. Remy Chandler, but he can never tell anyone who he was or that he still has angelic powers. Remy can will himself invisible, speak and understand any foreign language (including any animal language), and hear the thoughts of others. All these secret powers come in handy for a private investigator, especially when the Angel of Death goes missing and he's assigned to find him. 
As he gets deeper into the investigation, he realizes this is not a missing persons case but a conspiracy to destroy the human race and only Remy has the powers to stop the forces of evil.

I'm not sure why I picked this book to read, I saw it when I was browsing books on Amazon and decided to get it from a nearby library and try it out.  I have always like the Dresden series by Jim Butcher and was hoping that this was something kind of similar.  
While it wasn't too similar to Dresden to feel like a copy, it was similar enough in the dectective/investigation sense that I enjoyed it.  Where Dresden has its wizards, magic, and Bob, Remy Chandler's character has angels, investigations, and Marlowe.  Marlowe is by far the best supporting character in this series.  He is Remy Chandler's dog, who Remy can understand and talk to, tugging at your heart with his love for Remy and his wife, Madeline.  While I thought that story felt a little rushed in spots, I wasn't let down by A Kiss Before the Apocalypse and look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

From GoodReads: The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.
As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

Kimberly Derting's debut novel, The Bodyfinder, was such an amazing, brilliant, orginal, unique book that I had ENORMOUSLY high hopes for Desires of the Dead, the second novel in this series.  The Bodyfinder was such an original concept, had wonderfully realistic and relatable characters, and was such a great mystery that I never saw who the bad guy was coming.  
I went into Desires of the Dead expecting it to be as-good, if not better, than The Bodyfinder.  Unfortunately, even though the characters were still amazing and the story was still brilliant, I felt that she all but hit us over the head with who the bad guy was going to be.  I didn't have that same oh my gosh moment that I had at the end of The Bodyfinder.  I just felt like I knew who it was the whole time.  And that really left me with a feeling of being let down and disappointment.  I don't know if Kimberly Derting is planning a third book in this series, but if she is, I will definitely read it hoping for the greatness that she had in The Bodyfinder.  I can't say that I hated Desires of the Dead, but I can't say it was even in the same league with The Bodyfinder.  I pray that she will not be a one-it-wonder letting me down more and more with every book like a few authors I have read.  I have to believe that Kimberly Derting will come back next time with a story that will make me eat my words from this review and have me back kneeling at her feet screaming "We're not worthy" Wayne's World-style.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

From GoodReads: Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. 
Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. 
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

I went into The Dark Divine with no expectations or even knowing what it would be about.  I picked this book out because the cover drew me in.  (I'm completely a cover-picker when it comes to books and authors I haven't heard of before.  While most people think that is horrible and wrong, I can honestly say that I have yet to pick a bad book out when cover-picking.) 
I started this book and immediately wanted to put it down.  I just didn't get where it was going, I didn't understand what the big deal was about Daniel, and I didn't like that there was a big secret that I wasn't being told.  But I ran a hot bubble bath and forced myself to keep reading.  In the warm embrace of my tub I read for two hours, not only finishing the book, but enjoying every minute of it.  Once I got further in to the story I was rewarded with bits and pieces of the secret, enough to tease me and make me want more.  I started to really connect with the characters, feeling what Grace was going through and longing for her to find the answers for us both.  My only complaint about this book was that I didn't have the second book, The Lost Saint, to start immediately after.  I can't wait to see where this story heads in book two.  Bree Despain really caught my attention and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston

From GoodReads: "I don't love Sonny Flannery."
That's the lie Kelley Winslow told to protect the boy she loves from a power he doesn't know he possesses. Devastated, Sonny retreats—to a haven for Lost Fae that's hidden deep underneath New York City.
But Kelley's not about to let things end in heartbreak. To get Sonny back, she's got to find out who's after his magick—and how to use her own. She's got to uncover who's recruiting Janus Guards to murderously hunt innocent Faerie. She's got to help rebuild the shattered theater company she called family. And she's got to do it all without getting dangerously distracted by the Fennrys Wolf, whose legendary heart of stone seems to melt whenever he's around Kelley.
The intrigue and romance that began with Wondrous strange andDarklight come to a stormy head in Tempestuous, the breathtaking conclusion to Lesley Livingston's ravishing urban Faerie trilogy.

When I first picked up Wondrous Strange almost a year ago, I was just coming off of reading Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series and doubted anything could be as good.  I was completely surprised when I loved Wondrous Strange just as much, but in a completely different way.  I loved the Shakespeare that Lesley Livingston brought into this story, I loved the scenery of Central Park (somewhere I have never been, but could totally visualize through her amazingly descriptive writing), and most of all I fell in love with ever single character.  I got Dark Light and expected it to let me down.  There was no way she was going to write a second book that could compete with the awesomeness that was Wondrous Strange, but once again, she rocked my world.  Darklight was even more brilliant than Wondrous Strange.  I devoured it and have read it several times since.  
Now Tempestuous comes along, and I again stupidly thought that there was no way it could get better than Darklight.  And for the third time, I was wrong.  Tempestuous brought in more action, more adventure, more chaotic emotions, and a rollercoaster ride of who's the bad guy all the way to the end.  And while Darklight is still my absolute favorite, Tempestuous did not let me down or leave me hanging in anyway.  I can't wait to see what surprises and brilliant visual creations Lesley Livingston has up her sleeve next. She is a BRILLIANT, AMAZING, and VISUALLY STUNNING writer and I know that anything she writes will be gold.

Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

From GoodReads: Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.
When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

I wish I could say that I loved this book, I had my hopes up really high going in, only to be brought crashing down partway in.  I thought the begininning started out really strong and I was reall excited to see where it was going to go.  But then about halfway through it just seemed to lose steam, it started to drag on, and it lost some of it's magic, some of it's uniqueness.  I was expecting something (I honestly was expecting a book about witches and magic, not alchemy and fae) and I just felt like, even though some elements were fresh and unique, a lot of elements had been done too many times before.  I can say that I will read the next book in this series, if only to find out what secrets the alchemists are hiding from Donna and to see if Xan gets his wings back.

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

From GoodReads: Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things she lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that, with these artifacts, she can reexperience - and even change - moments from her life.
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life - and death.

I absolutely loved the concept of this book and the direction in which Amy Huntley tried to take it.  Unfortunately, I found it lacking, though I can't really put my finger on what it was lacking.  I really tried to like this book, it was like every chapter was a story in itself.  But I found parts of it confusing at the beginning, like I was never told what was actually going on and I had to figure out the puzzle without all the pieces.  So I have to say that this book wasn't great for me, however, I look forward to reading more by Amy Huntley, I think she has the potential to take her ideas and create magic with them.

The Revealers by Amanda Marrone

From GoodReads: Jules has a rebellious streak, a massive crush on Connor, and the abilities of a Revealer witch. By day, she and her coven friends seem like typical high school seniors. By night, they have the power to make werewolves, vampires, and ghosts reveal themselves, so they can destroy them. It's not exactly cheerleading, but at least the girls know they're doing the world some good. 
One by one, Jules's friends turn eighteen and are initiated into the coven's inner circle. And one by one, they are getting completely freaked out. Jules is the youngest, and though her friends are too scared tell her what's going on, something's clearly not right. As her birthday approaches, Jules realizes she's got to find out what's behind the shadows of her coven before it's too late to save her friends...and herself. But what she discovers may be too powerful for even the toughest witches to defeat.

This book, like Low Red Moon, was a quick, instant gratification read.  I finished it in just a couple of hours and once again, did not really see the ending or the bad guy coming.  I thought it was an original, well-written story with very real, easy-to-like characters.  I am not sure if this book is a stand-alone or if this will be a series, but I hope it will be a series.  I want to know what is next for these characters and I look forward to reading more from Amanda Marrone.

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

From GoodReads: The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilightand as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin.

I went into this book not really knowing what it was about or even hearing any reviews of it.  The cover just jumped out at me at the library and so I took it home and read it.  It had a really good pace to it and I finished it in only a couple of hours.  While the characters and storyline has been done before, I still enjoyed this book.  I hate a book that I can guess the ending or the bad guy before they are revealed, and I am happy to say that I did not see who the bad guy was coming.  All in all I would say that this was a good book for someone who wants a quick read with instant gratification.  

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

From GoodReads: Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?

I have to say, I was really disappointed in this book.  I wasn't loving the characters, I found them to not have the depth or the life I was looking for in them.  But the worst part was this secret that was talked about constantly through the book, though you don't find out what it is exactly until the end.  Nancy really built up this secret so that the whole book really depended on it to be a great secret, and I found the secret to be weak and didn't live up to the standard that she wanted it to.  I have read other books by Nancy Werlin and love her writing, but this book was a FAIL for me.

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

From GoodReads: Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she
meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It started out really exciting and I thought "this book is going to rock", but then it really started to slow down, then drag, and just when I was about to give up on it, Cate Tiernan throws this huge curveball that I was hoping she would and barreled 90 miles and hour to the finish.  Now granted, I was not impressed with the ending, but that was only because she leaves you hanging and dying for the next book.  If the second book is as much of a rollercoaster as the end of this one, we're all in for a treat.  

Elijah's Coin by Steve O'Brien

From GoodReads:In every heart there exists the potential for good and for evil. The question is which we'll choose. Without the right principles and guidance, a traumatic experience can lead one down a barren path. If our view of the world is dark, then further experience will tend to reinforce that view, leading to more pessimism and fruitless or even destructive behavior. How does one break out of this cycle of negativity?
That question is at the heart of Elijah's Coin, a thoughtful fable about one young man's descent into a life of crime... until he discovers an unlikely mentor, who begins to teach him a new philosophy of life. It's a philosophy not so much of words as of deeds. The lessons, therefore, prove to be indirect and not fully understood until they are lived. The point is not to state what you believe but to become what you believe. In doing so, you will come to lead a fulfilling and prosperous life. You'll find that life is not about you but about others and that generosity is repaid in kind.
Elijah's Coin asks readers to reflect even as they are entertained by a fast-moving, suspenseful story. Ultimately, the book confronts the reader with the possibility — and the opportunity &mdash of inner change. Learn the message, then pay it forward.

I think that the description from GoodReads really sums up what this book is about nicely.  I had a hard time not getting emotional during this book.  I really felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish.  Tom was a wonderful, well-written character.  I know that a lot of reviewers have said that this book was "preachy" but I found that, when remembering my own adolescence, that I could have really used this book when I was a teen.  My hat goes of to Steve O'Brien for a great story that, in my opinion, has a chance at becoming a classic teen book for generations to come.