June 27, 2012

Book #68 - Born Wicked (Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)

Born Wicked, Jessica Spotswood
330 pages
urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Started 6/18/12
Finished 6/20/12

I got Born Wicked and four other books from the library at the same time. I was undecided as to which one to read first, so I asked my 6-year-old daughter to pick for me. She picked this book (because the girl on the cover was really pretty). It would seem my girl is sucked in by beautiful covers, just like her mom. But, in this case, it really would be ok to judge a book by its cover. Born Wicked was a nice surprise. I thought it was a modern witch tale. I  was wrong.

Cate and her three sisters are without their mother, and their father works all the time. They are three young witches that live in a society in which being a witch will get you killed. So, they practice in secret when they can and put on a facade for everyone else. Cate is nearly of age where she will be required to either choose a husband or join the Sisterhood (sort of like a nunnery, but not as strict or religious). She thinks she knows what she wants to do, but then events are put into motion that challenge their entire way of life.

I was a bit confused in the beginning as to what time period we were in. Eventually, it was mentioned that it was sometime in 1899. Although the story takes place in Maine, there are other elements that are not based in fact. It was a wonderful thing, combining the real with the fantasy. And, Spotswood does it in such a way that the lines are really blurred.

I loved the character of Cate. She's a headstrong girl of 16 desperately trying to keep her family together and safe in the face of some very real danger. Most of the time, she's the modicum of propriety, even when she's seething and screaming inside. There are times when she loses her cool, but most of the time she sucks it up and deals with her precocious littlest sister and her moody middle sister just like a woman much older than her would've.

I can't wait for the continuation of Cate's story.

June 25, 2012

Book #67 - My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2)

My Soul to Save, Rachel Vincent
279 pages
urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Started 6/11/12
Finished 6/18/12

I wanted to turn my attention back to the Soul Screamers series after a bit of a break from it. I really enjoyed the first book in the series - it was something a little different from what I was used to. Unfortunately, I felt that the second installment fell a little short.

Kaylee and Nash witness a singer drop dead on stage, but Kaylee's urge to scream isn't engaged. This tells them that something nefarious is afoot. Turns out, the singer, and scores of others, have sold their souls to the devil, in a manner of speaking. And, Kaylee, Nash and Tod try to help get them back, at great personal risk.

In a word, I was bored. Sad, right? Hard to believe after I enjoyed the first book so much. I think the problem was, there was no shock value anymore. No secrets to unravel. Everything was learned in the first book. We found out exactly what Kaylee, Nash and Tod were, what they could do and what happens when they do it. So, there's nothing exciting to be revealed any longer. I felt that the conflict introduced was not a big deal, either. I want to see our heroes lives hanging in the balance. I want to see them fight for love and life and limb. No get attacked by an overgrown weed and grounded by an overprotective parent.

I hear the series gets better as it goes. I trust my biliophile buds when it comes to their literary recommendations, so I will pick up the third in the series eventually. But, there are a lot of other really fantastic books to read first. Stay tuned!

June 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine to give we read-a-holic bloggers some real estate to devote to books we're pining away for.
If I could have a bookish boyfriend, Patch would definitely be at the top of my list. This is one angel that I have fallen in love with over the course of the first three books in the Hush Hush series - Hush Hush, Crescendo, and Silence. And, Nora ranks up there with my other favorite strong female characters like Rose (Vampire Academy) and Meghan (Iron Fey). And, Patch and Nora's story is about to come to a close.

Finale (Hush Hush #4)
By:  Becca Fitzgerald
Due Out:  October 23, 2012

Patch and Nora have been through a lot together. They've given up so much to be together, and the crap still keeps flying in their direction. It's frustrating! But, I can't believe that all their drama and roadblocks and sacrifices are for naught. I have complete faith in Ms. Fitzgerald that she will write a "Finale" to Patch and Nora's story that will see them together and happy. I need my happily ever after! And, I only have to wait four more months to get it. 

Book #66 - All U Can Eat

All U Can Eat, Emma Holly
301 pages
Erotica, romance
Started 6/8/12
Finished 6/11/12

I would imagine that when tourists roll into the town of Six Palms, they immediately smell sand, surf and sex. 'Cause it appears that everyone in the town is having lots of it with just about everyone. Over the course of this 300-page book, Frankie has sex with five different guys, including one she met only 10 hours before, an on-duty cop, and both of the towns' mechanics. At the same time. On top of that, it's uncovered through the course of a murder investigation (oh wait - there was a murder? Right! That's supposed to be the main story here. It sorta got lost among all the wild monkey sex.) that practically everyone who's anyone (including the mayor's wife, the top real estate saleswoman, and the rich charity worker) is having sex videos made of themselves.

With everything going on in Whoresville, a.k.a. Six Palms, I kinda had a hard time controlling my eye-rolling impulse. I think it's hard to write a good ER story and not have it read like cheesy porn on a page. Some have been successful (hello - Fifty Shades, anyone?); many have not. I think a lot of the secret is controlling the language and making the encounters sexy and not slutty - something that's possible as long as there aren't kittens and roosters weeping and sheathing all over the place. 

June 18, 2012

Book #65 - Stargazer (Evernight #2)

Stargazer (Evernight #2), Claudia Gray
329 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 6/5/12
Finished 6/7/12

You know what happened to the curious cat? Well, curiosity also killed this bibliophile's desire to finish this series. Let me back up a minute.

I was only halfway happy with Evernight. There were a lot of things about it that bothered me. But, I have this sickness. It's called I-Must-Finish-All-Books-In-A-Series-itis. It's a really annoying affliction. Especially when the first book in the series isn't all that great. It was because of my disease that I picked up Stargazer from the library. And, surprise, surprise - I liked this one a lot more.

Bianca is back for her second year at school, sans her secret vampire hunter boyfriend Logan. She quickly starts setting up secret trysts with him, but the stress of all the secrecy starts to take its toll on her. In addition, ghosts - wraiths - appear to be tormenting Bianca, but she doesn't know why. When she finds out why, everything changes, and the end is surprising and explosive.

There was so much more drama, romance and action. Stargazer was everything that Evernight should have been, but wasn't. And, I was excited to learn that there were two additional books in the series. Back to my cat analogy.

I was bad. I read some spoilers on Goodreads. I know, I know - I shouldn't complain about something that I made a choice about. But, I read some stuff about the next two books that really, really makes me mad. Really disappoints me. So, I'm fighting my urge and abandoning the Evernight series for good. I'd rather go out on a high note. And, Stagazer was it.  

June 14, 2012

Book #64 - Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1)

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1), Jennifer Estep
3350 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 6/4/12
Finished 6/5/12

I LOVE mythology. Especially Greek mythology. I love it so much that, when I was a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to choose either an extra study hall or double up on English classes. I ditched the study hall and took a class on Greek mythology. Crazy, I know. So, it stands to reason that the books steeped in mythology are going to be awesome. I always hope anyway.

Gwen Frost is a new student at Mythos Academy, a school for kids with mythological backgrounds. In this school, you will find Valkyries, Spartans, Amazons - all descendants of Gods and Goddesses. And then there's Gwen. She's a gypsy. The only one at Mythos. All the others have special God-like powers - super strength, speed, skill with weapons - you get the idea. Gwen sees things when she touches people and objects. She sees the history of what she touches. Not quite as cool as those who can turn a chemistry textbook into a lethal weapon. Yet, somehow she becomes embroiled in a centuries-old battle between good and evil. While she tries to figure out herself and her role in all this, she becomes reluctant friends with a mean-girl Valkyrie and maybe more than friends with a bad-boy Spartan.

After my disappointment with The Goddess Test, I was really looking for a good mythology book. And, YAY! I finally found one! I thought Gwen was broody and complex and inherently good. I really loved watching her relationship with Daphne develop. I have to say, it was a nice change to see the proverbial mean girl actually turn out to be a pretty okay person. And, I have to believe that there's more to come for Gwen and Logan in future Mythos books. Cause, that was my only big complaint with Touch of Frost. I wanted so much MORE from them! I can't wait to see what develops. 

June 11, 2012

Book #63 - Dreaming Awake (Falling Under #2)

Dreaming Awake (Falling Under #2), Gwen Hayes
336 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 6/1/12
Finished 6/4/12

Argh. My must-read-series-in-order-itis is followed closely behind by my must-read-all-books-in-the-series-phobia. Oh, my bookish sicknesses. They cause me to read books like Dreaming Awake. The follow-up to its equally lackluster companion, Falling Under.

Theia is now partly a demon - sort of. And, she has returned to town after being gone for more than a month to try and resume a normal life. Problem number one with this book. Theia walks into her house after having been presumed to be a runaway, and her dad barely registers her presence. No dad would ever act that way - not even hers.

So, Theia returns to school, even though she's so hopelessly behind now, she knows she can't complete the year. What kid do you know that goes to school even when she really doesn't have to? And, then she finds out that Mara is "dating" her dad. After she sucks his soul and renders him comatose, she decides to put an end to Mara's influence once and for all, hoping that when she does that, that she and Haden can truly be together, finally.

There are just a whole lot of things about this series that just read really ridiculous to me. Under is a place you can only get to in your dreams. Unless you're awake and know how to get there. And, one would assume it's hard to get there, and only special people can go. But, Theia brings her BFFs there for visits on occasion.

And, don't even get me started on the whole bit about how demons (like Haden) can't have sex with virgins (like Theia), or they will turn evil. Really? REALLY?? I'd really like some crackers with that cheese, please.

Do yourself a favor and bypass the Falling Under series. You're not missing too much. 

June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine to give we read-a-holic bloggers some real estate to devote to books we're pining away for.

I have to make a confession. I'm not much of a high fantasy fan. I've tried a few, and not been able to finish them. Even very popular fantasy books among my fellow book review bloggers, like Graceling, didn't really shiver my timbers, you know? Well, a year ago, I read The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima, and I really loved the series. I also fell a bit in love with the author herself, and sought out other works by her. It was then that I discovered The Seven Realms series.

The Crimson Crown (The Seven Realms #4)
By:  Cinda Williams Chima
Due Out:  October 23, 2012

This series REALLY has got it all - a reluctant princess, forbidden love, good vs. evil, magic, political intrigue, assassination plots - and I cannot wait to see how it all ends. This is the last book in the series, and the action and suspense has ramped up through the first three books so that it's at a fevered pitch now. How mean of Ms. Williams Chima to leave us all hanging like that - for A YEAR! I can't wait to get my happy ending - it can't come soon enough.

May Book Report

Oh my, but this was a GREAT month for good books! We had two 5-star books, three 4.5-star books, and three brand news ones that I was able to read almost immediately. It was very exciting! Let's break it down.

Books Read - 11
Books Read To Date - 62
Total Pages Read - 24,138
Favorite Book of the Month - Obsidian

Among all those good books this month, you'd think it would be hard to pick a favorite. It actually was pretty easy. Over the month of May, I've developed a thing for Jennifer L. Armentrout. I read three of them, plus a novella, and I'm eagerly anticipating all the sequels coming up. My favorite book of hers that I've read was Obsidian. It was such a fantastic story! It was my first alien book, and I was skeptical at first, but was won over almost immediately. I now find myself recommending all of her books to all my bookish friends. Have you read Jennifer L. Armentrout's books yet???

June 5, 2012

Book #62 - Taken at Dusk (Shadow Falls #3)

Taken at Dusk (Shadow Falls #3), C. C. Hunter
380 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 5/27/12
Finished 5/29/12

As sad as it made me to say it, I started out being pretty disappointed with the third Shadow Falls installment. One of my biggest complaints with Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2) was that there was no forward movement in the plot arc. It felt very stagnant - like the characters didn't really grow or develop much. And, while I still love the characters, I want them to have some epiphanies or something, you know?

Unfortunately, at least for the first half of Taken at Dusk, it was just more of the same! Kylie was STILL trying to figure out what boy she should be with, STILL trying to figure out what she is, STILL angry with her dad/stepdad, and STILL trying to figure out ghosts and their problems. Argh!

Luckily, the saving grace was an interesting ghost this time and some cool twists at the end. Also, perhaps I've been a little disenfranchised because, in my humble opinion, Kylie has chosen (I use that word loosely - it's obvious she has feelings for both) the wrong boy. At the end, though, I see a glimmer of hope. That glimmer is what will carry me though to the fourth and final book. That and the hope that Kylie will, for the love of all that is holy, find out what she is, finally!

June 4, 2012

Book #61 - How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #1)

How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #1), Molly Harper
371 pages
paranormal romance, urban fantasy
Started 5/25/12
Finished 5/27/12

With a title like that, how could I resist? The compelling title, together with some solid recommendations from some friends who are partial to were books sealed the deal for me. I had to give it a shot - and I'm so glad I did!

Mo was raised by hippy dippy parents, and now that she's 30 and old enough to set out on her own, she can't wait to get as far away from them and po-dunk Alabama as her crappy new-to-her truck can take her. That ends up being Grundy, Alaska, home to big bears, hairy men and a bunch of wolves. Mo finds a new home and a new family in a grungy diner and the backwoods people that hang out there. And, she finds a new life with Cooper, the naked werewolf who shows up on her front stoop with a bear trap on his leg. Who knew?

Harper is one witty chick. The writing is sharp and hysterical at times. This isn't a "funny" book, though. I thought that was what it was (hello - the title?). There are some poignant moments and plenty of serious ones. But, for the most part, it's kept pretty light. Mo's banter with her friends and restaurant patrons made me smile a lot, and in some cases, laugh out loud.

My only complaint is that Mo seems to accept the plausibility of werewolves a little too readily. A sorta-friend-sorta-more-than-that finds his way to your doorstep with a bear trap on his leg. He tells you he's a werewolf; you even see him change. I don't know about you, but I'd be mildly freaked out. No - not mildly. I'd be pooping my pants. Mo? She's all, "Ohhh-kay. So, you're NOT free on the full moon, then?" I would've liked a little more freak out.

I think I'd like to check out the second book. It is about Cooper's sister Maggie (who starts out a major biotch and ends up pretty cool in the end). And, if it's infused with Harper's sense of humor, it's bound to be a good read too.