Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review ~ The Archived

The Archived (The Archived #1)
by Victoria Schwab
published by Hyperion
genre: YA, Fantasy, 

Summary (Goodreads): Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

My Thoughts: Another enjoyable read from Victoria Schwab. I really liked her first book The Near Witch and I liked this one even more. It was a darker, unique take on what happens after death and those who care for them.
Characters: MacKenzie has been learning to be a keeper since she was very young. I don't often like so many flashbacks during a story but the parts with her Da were some of my favorites. The transition form the lessons she was being taught in the flashback and what was happening in present day were well done.
Wes was another favorite. Some have said he's the love interest but I never felt that. I could see something happening in the future but this not a case where the girl meets boy and loses all sense of self. Wes brought plenty of humour and levity to what could have been a straight dark, emotional book with no let up.
Overall, this is a great enjoyably unique read. One of the better starts to a series in awhile and I look forward to being immersed in this world again.

Rating: 5

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review ~ The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3)
by Rick Riordan
published by Hyperion
genre: MG/YA, Fantasy, Mythology

Summary (Goodreads): Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

My Thoughts: This book is told from four different POVs, Percy, Annabeth, Leo, and Piper. I don't mind getting the story from all sides, especially when the group seemed to split up a lot so you were only getting one to two POVs from each story line. That said, I didn't really care for Piper. It seemed to slow the story down whenever it came to her chapters. This stems more from not caring about her and Jason's relationship than anything. It seemed to come across as whining more often than not. It did not bring the book down and I'm sure others will not have a problem with it, it just did not work for me.
Even though I like the mix of the different myths (Greek vs Roman) character wise Percy and Annabeth are  still my favorites., with Leo moving way up on the list. Annabeth's quest to find something that the Roman's stole from her mother was the highlight for me. Following her as she had to take on all of this by herself when she has spent most of her life in a group being taken care of was a great show of character growth. We also got to see this with Percy and Jason realizing that they did not always have to be the leaders and things turned out better when they worked together.
Overall this was another great story from Rick Riordan that ended with just as many questions as it did answers. Looking forward to the next book to see how Percy and Annabeth get out of the trouble they found themselves in at the end of the book.

Rating: 5

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 2/25/2013

Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina (#3 in Alex Morrow)
Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan (#3 in Darkest London )
Molly Moon and the Monster Music by Georgia Byng (#6 in Molly Moon)
The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory (#4 in Return of the Highlanders)
Fragments by Dan Wells (#2 in Partials )
Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian (#11 in Midnight Breed)
Heart of the Demon by Cynthia Garner (#3 in Warriors of the Rift)
Eternal Vows by Rochelle Alers (#2 in Hideaway Wedding)
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt (#5 in Maiden Lane)
Precocia: The Sixth Circle of Heck by Dale E Basye (#6 in Heck)
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimée Carter (#3 in Goddess Test)
Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands (#18 in Argeneau Vampires)
Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke (#18 in Hannah Swensen Mysteries)
Forbidden Sister by V. C. Andrews (#1 in Forbidden Sister)
Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow (#20 in Kate Shugak)
Black City by Christina Henry (#5 in Black Wings)
Perfect Timing by Catherine Anderson (#12 in Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan)
Night Resurrected by Joss Ware (#6 in Envy Chronicles )
The Golden Age of Death by Amber Benson (#5 in Calliope Reaper-Jones)
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (#2 in Shades of London)
The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri (#15 in Inspector Montalbano)
The Earl is Mine by Kieran Kramer (#2 in House of Brady)
Immortally Embraced by Angie Fox (#2 in Monster Mash)
How to Seduce an Angel in 10 Days by Saranna DeWylde (#3 in 10 Days )
Dusk with a Dangerous Duke by Alexandra Hawkins (#6 in Lords of Vice)
The Last Debutante by Julia London (#5 in Secrets of Hadley Green)
Dead Letter Day by Eileen Rendahl (#3 in Messenger)
Dualed by Elsie Chapman (#1 in Dualed)
Calculated in Death by J. D. Robb (#45 in In Death)
Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter (#2 in Angels of the Dark )
The Best Man by Kristan Higgins (#1 in Blue Heron)
Scent to Kill by Chrystle Fiedler (#2 in Natural Remedies Mystery)
Three Sisters by Susan Mallery (#2 in Blackberry Island)
Never Too Far by Abbi Glines (#2 in Too Far)
Heart of Ice by P J Parrish (#11 in Louis Kincaid Mysteries)
Rules of Crime by L J Sellers (#7 in Detective Wade Jackson Mystery)
The Conquest of Lady Cassandra by Madeline Hunter (#2  Fairbourne Quartet )
The Dog King by John Scalzi (#7 in The Human Division)
All I Ever Wanted by Francis Ray (#8 in Grayson Friends)
Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen (#2 in Nightwatchers)
A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle (#4 in Fraternitas Aureae Crucis)
Keeper of the Flame by Bianca D'Arc (#4 Sons of Draconia (Dragon Knights II))
One Night with a Cowboy by Cat Johnson (#1 in Oklahoma Nights)
Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent (#1 in Lady of Ashes Historical Mysteries)
Fade to Black by Francis Knight (#1 in Rojan Dizon)
Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes (#1 in Alice Quentin)
Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols (#1 in Stargazer)
The Day is Dark by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (#4 in Thora Gudmundsdottir)
The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery by Tony Abbott (#4 in Goofballs)
A White Wind Blew by James Markert (#2 in Waverly Hills)
The Magician's Tower by Shawn Thomas Odyssey (#2 in Wizard of Dark Street)
Hostile Shores by Dewey Lambdin (#19 in Alan Lewrie)
Pulse by Patrick Carman (#1 in Pulse)
Reality Check by Kelli London (#2 in Charly's Epic Fiascos)
The Wrigley Riddle by David A Kelly (#6 in Ballpark Mysteries)
Traitor in the Shipyard by Kathleen Ernst (#7 in American Girls: Caroline)
Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy (#2 in Murder Notebooks)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not Your Standard Bookshelves

I always love seeing different and unique bookcases. I also love the mix of artistry and practicality. These are just a few that I've come across.

Mandala Bookshelf from


Read Your Bookcase by Saporiti

Handmade Stacked Teacups on Esty

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 2/18/2013

*Links go to Goodreads

Fuse by Julianna Baggott (#2 in Pure)
Eternal Vows by Rochelle Alers (#2 in Hideaway Wedding)
Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal (#2 in Makana Mystery)
Neferet's Curse by Kristin Cast, P C Cast (#3 in House of Night Novellas)
Mind Games by Kiersten White (#1 in Mind Games)
Jealousy by Jessica Burkhart (#17 in Canterwood Crest)
Domino Falls by Tananarive Due (#2 in Devil's Wake)
The Libertine by Saskia Walker (#3 in Taskill Witches )
Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer (#2 in Merlin's Immortals)
Dead Suite by Wendy Roberts (#4 in Ghost Dusters)
The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill (#9 in Dr. Siri Paiboun)
The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie (#15 in Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James)
Turning Point by Tiffany A. Snow (#3 in Kathleen Turner )
Mountain Echoes by C E Murphy (#8 in Walker Papers)
The Back Channel by John Scalzi (#6 in The Human Division)
Winter's Thaw by Mari Carr (#1 in Compass Girls)
The Accidental Prince by Michelle Willingham (#4 in Accidental)
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri (#1 in Shattered Kingdoms)
The Canticle of Whispers by David Whitley (#3 in Agora Trilogy)
Elsewhens by Melanie Rawn (#2 in Glass Thorns)
Targets of Revenge by Jeffrey S Stephens (#3 in Jordan Sandor)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review ~ The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (League of Princes #1)
by Christopher Healey 
Illustrated by Todd Harris
published by Waldon Pond Press
genre: MG, Fairy Tales, Fantasy

Summary (Goodreads): Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this fairy tale retelling. It changes what we know of some very popular old stories and mixes it with what could have come next. I'll also add that the illustrations added to the story and helped bring it to life.
All the Princes had their high and low points. You couldn't help but feel bad for them and how they got the short end in their respective stories. I also liked how Duncan and his "luck" happened upon his Princess and yet theirs was the only story that seemed to be working out.
My favorite princess has always been Briar Rose and they made her evil in this story. I can't say I still liked her but the original is still my favorite.
Overall, this is a great book if you like fairy tales or if you're looking for a story that is more from the male POV (always looking for books for my son).

Rating: 4

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum #1)
by A.A. Aguirre
published by Ace
expected release date: April 30, 2013
genre: Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy

Summary (Goodreads): Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.

Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic—and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.

Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered—her body charred to cinders—Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it’s clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…

**I always love a good steampunk and this one looks promising.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 2/11/2013

**All links go to Goodreads

The Daylight War by Peter V Brett (#3 in Demon Cycle)
The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe (#2 in Fallen World )
Chamber Music by Tom Benn (#2 in Bane)
Hit Me by Lawrence Block (#5 in John Keller Mysteries)
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (#3 in Bloodlines)
Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman (#28 in Alex Delaware)
Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons (#2 in Article 5 )
The Mirrored Shard by Caitlin Kittredge (#3 in Iron Codex)
The Water Witch by Juliet Dark, Carol Goodman (#2 in Fairwick Chronicles)
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (#1 in Dance of Shadows )
A Cast of Shadows by Hailey Edwards (#2.5 in Araneae Nation )
Sever by Lauren DeStefano (#3 in Chemical Garden)
The Night Ranger by Alex Berenson (#7 in John Wells)
Tales From the Clarke by John Scalzi (#5 in The Human Division)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (#1 in Pivot Point)
Tattooed & Taken by Stormy Glenn (#2 in Special Operations)
Undone by the Duke by Michelle Willingham (#1 in Secrets in Silk)
Wolf Nip by Vivian Arend (#6 in Granite Lake Wolves)
Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun by Liz Kessler (#5 in Emily Windsnap)
The Traitors' Pit by V M Whitworth (#2 in Wulfgar's World)
Revel by Maurissa Guibord (#1 in Revel)
A Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood (#2 in Bliss Bakery Trilogy)
Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer (#2 in Arcadia Trilogy)
Cloneward Bound by M E Castle (#2 in Clone Chronicles)
Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith (#1 in Feral)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review ~ Sapphire Blue

Sapphire Blue (Edelstein Trilogy #2)
by Kerstin Gier
translated by Anthea Bell
published by Henry Holt and Co
genre: YA, Fantasy

Summary (Goodreads): Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

My Thoughts: I'm still not sure... I'm now thinking this is one of those trilogies that you just need to wait until all three books are out and read them together. I liked the book but still feel like there are too many unanswered questions.
Gwen's normal-ness is still something that I enjoy but I really wanted her to stand up for herself. Especially when she was getting lessons from her cousin and the evil instructor. While her thoughts on the subject were good, she never verbalized them out loud. This kind of made her seem a little weaker. At the same time she had her moments when you couldn't help but root for her.
Loved the new sidekick, Xemerius. He's a cute little gargoyle who brought the humor to the story. We also get a nice dose of Lesley and James as well as Gwen's grandfather. Gideon is still up in the air. I kept waiting for Gwen to just slap him and was glad when she confronted him towards the end and has a better understanding of where she stands with him.
Overall, This was another good book in the series but I will be reading both book one and two right before three just to see if they read better that way.

Rating: 4

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review ~ Changes

Changes (The Dresden Files #12)
by Jim Butcher
published by Roc
genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mystery

Summary (Goodreads): Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...

He's fighting to save his child.

My Thoughts: I'll start by saying, I waited to read this until book 13 was out. All the review from when this came out were talking about the cliffhanger ending and I did not want to have to wait. I'll be reading Side Jobs this month and then Ghost Story next month. A much better wait time.
This is one of my favorite series. When I started reading I looked at DH and said "I forgot how much I enjoy reading these books".  I don't think I can give it a bigger endorsement than that, but I'll try.
The action begins pretty much from the start. We find out that Dresden's daughter (which he did not know about) has been kidnapped, which brings Susan and her little minion back into the picture. I've always been a Murphy fan so I did not care for Susan much. I didn't hate her as a character she just was not my favorite.
Harry seems to get on board with this pretty quick (which was necessary) and starts looking for help. Arianna, deranged princess, of the Red Court is also in town under the guise of a truce with the White Council. She also has her fingers in other pies, including the IA of the police dept. which limits what help is coming from that corner.
Overall there were a lot of revelations and monumental decisions made throughout this book. It lived up to its title. From Harry's choice to get more power to Susan's ultimate choice to end the threat to her daughter, it cannot help but impact the series going forward.
The cliffhanger...I was so worried about it going in that by the time it happened my only thought was "Harry can get out of this". Of course it won't be that easy and it is another change to the norm but I'm very interested to see how Mr Butcher continues on.

Rating: 4  

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Releases ~ week of 2/4/2013

A Howl for the Highlander by Terry Spear (#10 in Heart of the Wolf)
Hunting Daylight by Piper Maitland (#2 in Acquainted with the Night )
House Rules by Chloe Neill (#7 in Chicagoland Vampires)
The Queen Is Dead by Kate Locke (#2 in Immortal Empire)
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (#1 in The Finishing School )
Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas (#4 in Friday Harbor)
One Hot Murder by Lorraine Bartlett (#3 in Victoria Square Mystery)
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (#2 in Shatter Me)
A Duke Never Yields by Juliana Gray (#3 in Affairs by Moonlight )
Beautiful Creatures: The Manga by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (#1 in Beautiful Creatures: Manga)
The Trap Door by Lisa McMann (#3 in Infinity Ring )
Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter (#3 in Heist Society )
Going Under by Lauren Dane (#3 in Bound By Magic)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (#2 in Lunar Chronicles)
To Brie or Not To Brie by Avery Aames (#4 in Cheese Shop Mystery)
Hot Ticket by Olivia Cunning (#3 in Sinners on Tour)
Hip Check by Deirdre Martin (#11 in New York Blades)
Wildcat by Cheryl Brooks (#9 in Cat Star Chronicles)
Town in a Pumpkin Bash by B B Haywood (#4 in Candy Holliday Mystery)
Under the Gun by Hannah Jayne (#4 in Underworld Detection Agency)
A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry (#2 in Troy Chance)
Veiled Revenge by Ellen Byerrum (#9 in Crime of Fashion)
Blood Therapy by Lynda Hilburn (#3 in Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist)
The Good Daughter by Jane Porter (#2 in Brennan Sisters Trilogy)
Every Trick in the Book by Lucy Arlington (#2 in Novel Idea Mystery)
Homeland by Cory Doctorow (#2 in Little Brother)
Lost to the Gray by Amanda Bonilla (#3.5 in Shaede Assassin )
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie (#1 in Chance Sisters)
Unbreakable by Alison Kent (#2 in Dalton Gang)
Lady Eve's Indiscretion by Grace Burrowes (#4 in The Duke's Daughters, #8 in Windham , )
Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E Brunstetter (#1 in Discovery)
Undercover Wolf by Linda O. Johnston (#7 in Alpha Force)
Oodles of Poodles by Linda O. Johnston (#4 in Pet Rescue Mystery)
Cross My Heart, Hope to Die by Sara Shepard (#5 in Lying Game)
Big Nate Flips Out by Lincoln Peirce (#15 in Big Nate)
India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy by Carol K Carr (#3 in Madam of Espionage)
Wait Until Dark by M. L. Buchman (#3 in Night Stalkers)
Sword-Bound by Jennifer Roberson (#7 in Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del))
Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly (#1 in County Cork Mysteries)
All Natural Murder by Staci McLaughlin (#2 in Blossom Valley Mysteries)
Knot What It Seams by Elizabeth Spann Craig (#2  Southern Quilting Mystery )
Valkyrie Symptoms by Ingrid Paulson (#2 in Valkyrie)
Alexis Gets Frosted by Coco Simon (#12 in Cupcake Diaries)
The King Next Door by Maureen Child (#12 in Kings of California)
The Earl in My Bed by Sophie Jordan (#2.5 in Forgotten Princesses )
Rush by Maya Banks (#1 in Breathless)
Low Down and Dirty by Vickie M Stringer (#4 in Dirty Red)
Detection Mission by Margaret Daley (#1 in Texas K-9 Unit)
A Voice in the Wilderness by John Scalzi (#4 in The Human Division)
Guardian Ranger by Cynthia Eden (#2 in Shadow Agents)
Bear Is Broken by Lachlan Smith (#1 in Leo Maxwell Mysteries)
Midnight Alias by Elle Kennedy (#2 in Killer Instincts)
Deadly Stakes by J A Jance (#8 in Alison Reynolds)
The Golden Calf by Helene Tursten (#5 in Inspector Huss)
Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein (#1 in Erica Donato)
The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis (#1 in Seven Wonders)
Giving Up the Ghost by Phoebe Rivers (#6 in Saranormal)
Play Makers by Mike Lupica (#2 in Game Changers)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee 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!

Q. What is the first thing you would do if you woke up to find yourself in your favorite book?  via @GizmosReviews

A. Honestly, while it sounds cool, I would freak out. being surrounded by supernatural creatures while I'm just me just sounds like a bad combination