Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

" Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Airel (The Airel Saga)
By Aaron Patterson
Published By Stonehouse Ink
Release Date August 31, 2011 (paperback)

Summary: All Airel ever wanted to be was normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like sudden mysterious illness. Then there’s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous…and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything she hopes for even now. Airel knew change would be inevitable as life went on. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?

** I Love the cover for this book and the story sounds just as good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review ~ The Gray Wolf Throne

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)
By Cinda Williams Chima
Published By Hyperion
Release Date: August 30, 2011

*Received via netGalley for review

Summary: Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisaana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. 

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough. 

My Thoughts: I've really enjoyed reading this series and this book was no exception. The story picks up right where The Exiled Queen leaves off with  Raisa is trying to make it back to the Fells. The action starts up right away  with little let up through most of the book. You spend a good portion wondering if anyone will be left to fill the Gray Wolf Throne and even if there is will there be anyone left to support/defend  that person.
Most of the questions/complaints I had from book two were addressed in this story. Han finally finds out who Rebecca really is and we find out who Crow really is. I'm still not sure about the story-line with Crow, it just seemed to still be left hanging with no type of closure. I'm sure it will play out in the final book but the use of the character in this story just seemed to be more for springing another surprise on the reader than moving this characters story forward.
While I know this was supposed to be a trilogy and the 3rd book became too long so was split into two books it just seemed incomplete in some ways. Two main problems for me were, the revelation about Dancer and how the book ended. Again I'm sure Dancer's story will become important in the last book it just seemed to be presented and then dropped not to really be mentioned again. The ending left me with a feeling of deja vu and been there done that dread. That being said, I'm really looking forward to book four and finding out who gets the girl and who makes it out of this story alive.

Rating: 4   

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox

This weekly feature is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

The first thing I've been packing is all my books, so I went on a library and netGalley run this week.

Born at Midnight By C.C. Hunter
Witches of East End By Melissa De La Cruz

Thanks to Harlequin and Harlequin Teen
Crave By Melissa Darnell
I also received the first 3 books in the Royal House of Shadows series (don't know why I didn't request the 4th)
Lord of the Vampires By Gena Showalter
Lord of Rage By Jill Monre
Lord of the Wolfyn By Jessica Anderson 

So what did you get? Everyone have a Great Week!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

" Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over atBreaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein 
By Kenneth Oppel
Published By Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 23, 2011

Summary: Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real. 

They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only piques Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. With their friend Elizabeth, Henry and Victor immediately set out to find assistance from a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrad's life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

**This came out yesterday but I thought I would feature it anyways since I just came across it. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review ~ Uncommon Criminals

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)
By Ally Carter
Published By Hyperion

Summary: Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. 

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

My Thoughts: I'm really enjoying this series. Uncommon Criminals picks up a few months after Heist Society. Kat still seems to be running from who she is and taking unnecessary risks while trying to prove something (whether to herself or everyone else). Her relationship with Hale is more evident in this book and is building up nicely. The rest of the crew is ever present and provide comic relief, and a great contrast to Kat, throughout.
I was concerned about how quickly things were happening in this book and was not sure where the story was going. The twist was interesting and led to great back stories of not only the Cleopatra emerald but also Kat's uncles. The simplicity of how they pulled it off in the end never occurred to me but seemed so obvious once I read it. Now to play the waiting game for the third book.

Rating: 4

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow Friday & Blog Hop

Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of course and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!
This weeks question: If you could write yourself a part in any book, what would it be and what role would you play?
A: It would either be The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon or the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. Character wise, I'm not sure, in some of these fantasy books I would not want to be in the middle of all the action I would want to be an observer (kinda like I am now) don't think I would enjoy it as much if I was part of it.

Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This is hosted over at Crazy for Books.

This weeks question: What's the longest book you've ever read?
A: All the Outlander books (see above) are really long. I also remember the Brothers Karamazov being incredibly long (may have just seemed that way).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review ~ Fury

Fury (Fury Trilogy #1)
By Elizabeth Miles
Published By Simon Pulse
expected Release Date August 30, 2011
*received via Simon & Schuster galley grab

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...
Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.
On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.
Em and Chase have been chosen.

My Thoughts: Let me start by saying I don't normally read contemporary YA and this book seemed to have everything that I'm not interested in reading about.  This book is full of  teenagers being teenagers with no real believable consequences for their actions.  I would have no problems with the drinking and driving, random hook ups and even more random professions of love as an excuse to do anything if they were being used to teach something or help someone know how to deal with these types of situations. 
The supernatural elements did not really come into play into almost the end of the book. While we know which characters are the furies through the whole book they act more like the rest of the teens than like a group trying to right perceived wrongs. I also dislike how they were explained to the readers by a character of convenience. Drea has all this research, and a hinted at back story regarding why she would be aware of the  furies, but we are given nothing more than she doesn't want to share and here's some books on the subject.
** This may be a little spoilery

Chases ending fits with the whole eye for an eye story but Em's made less sense and didn't seem to fit the crime. Her having someone taken away from her that she just professed a new found love for a couple of pages earlier does not make you feel any sympathy for her.

Rating: 3 There were some parts that were good but it took me a long time to get into it and the only reason I finished when I did was do to the galley ending soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday and Blog Update

** Just a quick update. We are very much in the process of buying a house. Between inspections, appraisals, packing, and finding things to entertain the little one I'm not finding a lot of time to do reviews. After this whole process is done and we are moved and settled I should be posting more regularly again.

" Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Shadow Kin (The Half-Light City #1)
By M.J. Scott
Published by Roc
expected Release Date: September 6, 2011

Summary: On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...

Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart...

**This book just looked and sounded like a great read and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Review ~ Heist Society

Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
By Ally Carter
Published by Hyperion Book

Summary: When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected. 

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

My Thoughts: It's always a good sign when you finish a book,  in a series, and immediately want to read the next one. That's how I felt when I finished Heist Society (and I already have the 2nd one). This also surprised me as I don't usually read contemporary YA books, they usually have to have some element of fantasy or paranormal in them for me to enjoy them. 
The story was well paced and there were not many lulls that would make you want to put it down. The relationships between Kat and Hale as well as Kat and the rest of her "family" was well done without being over the top. The bad guy was suitably evil and Kat's interactions with him were believable in this setting. I also liked all the art history that is throughout the book.
The down side for me was Nick, he seemed like a throw away character that wasn't really needed in the overall scheme of things.

Rating: 4 (Off to read Uncommon Criminals)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Blood Bound (Unbound #1)
By Rachel Vincent
Published By Mira
expected Release Date: August 23, 2011

Summary: By blood, by word, by magic…

Most can't touch the power. But Liv Warren is special— a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood.
Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one.
But when her friend's daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can't rest until the child is home safe. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.
Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner…every touch…every kiss.
And more blood will be spilled before it's over…

**I've loved both series that I have read from this author and I'm looking forward to starting a new one.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Review ~ Dissolution

Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake #1)
By C.J. Sansom
Published by Pan

Summary: The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's feared vicar general, summons fellow reformer Matthew Shardlake to lead the inquiry. Shardlake and his young protégé uncover evidence of sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason, and when two other murders are revealed, they must move quickly to prevent the killer from striking again.

My Thoughts: I've only started reading about Tudor England in the past year and then it hasn't been the normal books that everyone else has read.  Even without being completely familiar with this time period I still enjoyed this book. The author did an excellent job of creating a mystery, crime novel set in a recognizable historical setting.
I thought Matthew Shardlake's physical deformity added another dimension and really to this character. Rather than just being a straight laced everyday detective he was moody and difficult but at the same time had an understanding for those who would normally be overlooked. The rest of the characters really brought out the time period that this story takes place. From all the different personalities of the monks to the hatred of the townspeople and the King's people.
The only negative I had with this book was the ending. Not the guilty party but what became of them. It was too clean. This book had an almost gritty quality to it and would have been better left with the mystery of what happened to them rather than the sappy sweet ending they were given.

Rating: 4

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review ~ Another Faust

Another Faust
By Daniel Nayeri & Dina Nayeri
Published By Candlewick Press

Summary (Goodreads): On a single night, five children suddenly vanish from their homes in Paris, Glasgow, Rome, and London. Years later, five enigmatic teenagers make an impressive entrance at an exclusive New York holiday party with their strange but beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy. Rumor and intrigue follow the Faust children to the elite Manhattan Marlowe School, where their very presence brings unexplainable misfortune.
Using “gifts” given to them by Madame Vileroy, these mysterious teenagers rise to suspicious heights at Marlowe. Though at first their abilities seem almost childlike in their simplicity, they soon learn that their newfound talents for cheating, stealing, hiding, and lying are far more potent than they had ever imagined — and far more addictive.
Ignoring the side effects of pursuing their individual obsessions, bargaining with the very devil in their midst as they claw their way to the top, these five ambitious teens draw ever nearer to their goals . . . until two of them uncover a secret even more shocking than their own most unforgivable sins. Dialing up the ancient dilemma of indulgence versus redemption, this modern-day retelling of the Faustian bargain story, set in twenty-first-century Manhattan, provides a look into the cutthroat world of high-school competition that is both bitingly funny and scorchingly wicked.

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book. It wasn't horrible but it also wasn't great. I think my problem through most of the book was there were too many voices. Towards the end when it was mostly being told by Bice and Christian was when I was better able to get into it.  Six POVs were just distracting.
The overall story and "what ifs" was intriguing and ultimately what kept me reading. Trying to guess how far these teens were willing to go to get what they want and seeing if once they got it, if it was really what they wanted.

Rating: 3

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review ~ Two Moon Princess

Two Moon Princess
By Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban 
Published by Tanglewood Press

*received via netGalley for review

Summary: To Andrea, the life of a princess is not a dream; it's tedious and stifling. But the certainties of her life, both good and bad, are thrown into chaos when she accidentally travels to an alternative world, from a cave on a forbidden beach in her family's kingdom to the warm and carefree life of Southern California. Then a careless visit to the cave results in terrible consequences: a brewing war between kingdoms, her sister's love for the wrong man, Andrea's own conflicted feelings for an enemy leader, and dark family secrets exposed. Andrea needs to act to resolve problems which she helped to create, and she faces many difficult choices, torn between duty and desire on so many levels. Readers will enjoy the mix of traditional elements of the fantasy genre,with fresh ideas and a look at our culture through the eyes of a stranger.

My Thoughts: While an overall enjoyable read, there were many parts I found myself disliking. I felt it would have been better as a straight fantasy without the mini trip to California. Since most of the story takes place on Andrea's home planet, the drama between sisters, rival kingdoms, and not fitting into the role of the fourth princess, all could have been handled without it. 
I also found I didn't care for the most of the characters. Many had little if any redeeming qualities. From Andrea's mom, who we find out has less of an excuse than her father, to just about every guy in this book. While Andrea was the most in depth character there were times when even her actions made no sense. She flips between this strong, independent to at times whiny with physical outbursts that were out of character. 
I liked the overall feeling of the ending even though the forced banishment kind of took away from the romance of it. 

Rating: 3.5