Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (4): Books I feel everyone has read but me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish.

So, it's been a while since I've done this meme, but decided to get back 
into the swing of things. This weeks topic was surprisingly easy to come up with.

  1. Life of Pi- I swear, everyone, their mom, and their grandmother has read this book, but not yet me.
  2. Nightshade- I've heard lots of rave reviews and I started it, but only got like 15 pages in. I'll try again eventually, promise.
  3. Across the Universe- sounds good, but....
  4. The Thief- this one seems to be a classic and sounds like something I would like, it just never manages to make it too far onto my TBR
  5. The Name of the Wind- the was the new book in epic fantasy a while back. The second one has even come out....I really need to read this, but I'm kind of waiting for a long overnight flight and to buy it in paperback.
  6. Nevermore- another one that I've heard really good things about, got about 15 pages in and just haven't gotten back to it yet
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making- coolest title and the coolest reviews
  8. Sisterhood of the traveling pants- I've seen some of the movies, and I know that doesn't count, but yeah
  9. The Mortal Instruments- k, confession, I got about 3/4 of the way through the first in the series and couldn't handle it at the time. Things probably improve but....
  10. Waterfall- another one that I've nothing but good things about...and I even own a kindle copy, but about 10 pages in...
What do we learn from this list? I'm kind of a finicky reader. I really have to be in the mood for some certain books or else it's like walking through molasses for me, and that's not why I read. I wait until I can't stand the suspense anymore and then read it like there's no tomorrow. Not the healthiest of habits where my sleep is concerned, but you understand.

How about you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Alloy of Law Giveaways & sneak peek chapters

Not sure how many of you out there are hard core fantasy fans, but I just had to share the wealth. Brandon Sanderson's 4th Mistborn book comes out November 8th, but you might not have to wait that long. Here are the goods:

  • Goodreads has a giveaway open until Oct 7th, found here.
  • The official Brandon Sanderson fan site is hosting a HUGE giveaway here (you do need to sign up as a member, but I was willing).
  • And for the grand finale you don't have to wait until November to read the prologue and the first 6 chapters as they are available on Tor's website and on Amazon!

Hope these made your day as much as they made mine!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (13)

(this adorable picture is borrowed from Anna @ Anna Reads)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the epic Story Siren. Here bloggers can share with others the awesome books that they received for review, bought, or borrowed.

I recently purchased A LOT of books so will do them in groups. 
Seriously guys, kindle 'one-click' purchase is not helping my wallet!
But I have read some AMAZING books, so can't wait to share them with you!

The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire with the first being Rosemary and Rue. For those of you who LOVE the Mercy Thompson series, this is THE series for you! I will be reviewing it shortly and expound more there, but seriously, if you haven't read this series, you are MISSING OUT!

I've seen the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, the first being Spider's Bite, around for quite a while, but just never took the plunge though I had purchased the first one a while ago. I read it and didn't look back! For fans of the Kate Daniels series Gin has your hard, snarky and killing outside (she is an assassin) but your gentle and loving inside. SO GOOD! Reviews coming soon ^__^

Rounding off my purchases for the past few weeks we have a small obsession with settings in Eastern Europe.
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell I have seen around but didn't buy until I read the ecstatic impression by Small Review....and she's not over-exaggerating! Review for this one coming soon as well!

 Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith is the continuation of a series starting with Steel and Coronets. Pretty good so far but I haven't gotten to the action depicted on the cover yet!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers- trained assassins and forbidden love? Sign me up! 

Slayers by C.J. Hill- I really wish dragons excited...then I could ride one. Wouldn't that be great? Love stories about dragons so excited to give this one a try.

Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White- ancient family, good vs evil, cute guys, great warriors, sounds pretty intriguing if you ask me!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors: Stone Arch Fairy Tales Volume 2 by Donald B. Lemke

Overall Impression:  1/2

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: Aug 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)Five of the world's greatest fairy tales are retold in the popular and attractive graphic novel format. Beautiful, bold illustrations give these timeless tales a modern edge. The stories include Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Princess and the Pea, Snow White, and Thumbelina.

My Review: I mainly read this to look at the illustrations and in that respect I was satisfied. The styles of animation were varied and seemed to go along with the stories well. The stories themselves, however, were too simplistic for my tastes and only covered the bare minimum. I did appreciate, however, at the end of each story it told some of the background of when it started, first came into print, about the person who created, etc. and I found that to be quite enlightening. 

Overall, not something I'll come back to, but it was a decent enough read for a Saturday afternoon. The illustrations are what brought this up from a 'Did Not Finish.'

Review: 68 Knots by Michael Robert Evans

Overall impression: 

Source: Netgalley and library

Publication Date: Oct 2007

Short synopsis (Goodreads)This edgy novel about a diverse group of teens who commandeer a sailboat and support themselves by pirating during one summer full of adventure and discovery, is also a subtle yet powerful novel of awakening, of coming to grips individually with the issues they face as they are on the cusp of adulthood. Written with restraint and authenticity, this powerful debut will appeal to older YA readers.

My Review: Even though this book took me a little while to get used to and to finish, overall it was 4 stars. At first it was a little difficult for me get a handle on the point of views changing with now warning. About every 5 paragraphs or so it changes perspective and I wasn't used to this style of writing. After the first 50 pages or so I didn't notice it any longer and it became the most obvious way of making sure the story was told in a full of a way as possible.

Again, it took me a little while to get used to the crew and to tell them all apart, but by the end I felt that I had spent the fun, dangerous, and enlightening summer along with the rest of them. What first drew me to this book was the fact that I myself have been sailing on a schooner before and reading the experience of these kids doing the same thing was nostalgic and invigorating at the same time. None of them were perfect but they all were able to grow and learn more about themselves and about how to interact with others. Not sure if I would have had the same guts to do the things that they did, but it was great to read about.

One kind of irrational fear I had that kind of prevented me from reading this book was that someone was going to die. Not a minor character, mind you, but one of the main kids. I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say that no one does. I hate it when books are unnecessarily morose and such, trying to be 'realistic'. This book achieved that realism through the characters, their choices and decisions, and how they eventually spend their summer. It was a read that I wasn't expecting to like as much as I did, but am now glad I read it through. It gains momentum and I recommend it to those who have sailed before, who want to sail eventually, and for those  who want a good read.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Debut author, Support your library

Publication Date: March 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school. 

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

My Review: This was a good book. I liked it. Not a re-read by any means, but good. It was a little predictable but kept me engaged nonetheless. The characters were a little flat, but had their good moments. 

One of the things that made Caitlyn real for me was the eye twitch she developed after traveling and when under stress. Made her more real. Raphael was good, but there could have been more substance. My heart did race a few times thinking about ghosts, but overall it was a happy ending (that came a little too easily) but a feel good read overall.

I do really like the cover though. It catches the idea of the book perfectly!

A short review, I know, but no need to pontificate if the point is gotten across.

Review: Cybele's Secret (Wildwood #2) by Juliet Marillier

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Support your library

Publication Date: Sept. 2008

Short synopsis (Goodreads)Scholarly eighteen-year-old Paula and her merchant father journey from Transylvania to Istanbul to buy an ancient pagan artifact rumored to be charmed, but others, including a handsome Portuguese pirate and an envoy from the magical Wildwood, want to acquire the item as well.

My Review: Paula was an easy character to relate to. She was sensible but still had desires and dreams. I actually liked this one a little bit better than the previous in the series, Wildwood Dancing. The covers of these books add a really nice whimsicality to the stories and fit perfectly.

I’m a sucker for love stories and while this one claims to have a love triangle…but you can tell who she’s going to end up with. All the same it had good chemistry and build up. Obviously there will be another one, the thing all of the sisters were all working towards didn’t happen and plus, the littlest sister needs a chance. I'm looking forward to re-entering this world and seeing what happens next (and who falls in love with whom!).

It wasn’t anything too complicated but it was still a fun read. The fact that it was realistically (to my un-scholarly eye) set in old Constantinople was the perfect icing on the cake. 

Excuse + Review: Borrower of the Night (Vicky Bliss #1) by Elizabeth Peters

K guys and gals, I've been kind of incommunicado lately as I've been reading....like TONS! I recently discovered some kick butt series and have kind of been obsessing. My wallet/credit card is considerably lighter/ farther in debt...however you want to look at it. But lots of good things to share!!!

However, I kind of need to review dump as I've been hording more than a few and want to progress my pile along. Here we go!

Overall Impression 1/2

Source: Library

Challenges: Support your library

Publication Date: Sept 2000

Short synopsis (Goodreads)A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to art historian Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long-forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place . . . or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

My Review: After getting hooked into the FRIGGIN' AMAZING world of Amelia Peabody I had high hopes for this series also by Elizabeth Peters. I shouldn't have gotten so excited.

After the hilarious dry humor and wit of Amelia, Vicky was too light and modern, not enough substance to her as a character or to the story line as a whole. I've heard that the series gets better as time goes on (as in a better guy shows up...hey, romantic tension is one way to keep me interested) so I will eventually try the next book in the series, but for now, this one was a forced finish and not very suspenseful at all.

Not to say it didn't have it's good moments, but after reading the fun filled life of Amelia Peabody, this book just couldn't compare. If you are new to Elizabeth Peters maybe if you try this series first and build up to the Amelia Peabody books you will be better served. 


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