Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 2/28

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Jinks) and listening to The Fixer Upper (Andrews).

Last week I read Queens of All the Earth (Sternberg), The Lover's Dictionary (Levithan), and The Grimm Legacy (Shulman) and I finished Sizzling Sixteen on audio.
Other reviews posted: Linger (Stiefvater) (audio)

From NetGalley
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Publish Date: April 19, 2011
Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

Priceless (Kick Keswick #2) by Marne Davis Kellogg
Kick Keswick has lived an extraordinary life. She was the power behind the throne at a venerable London auction house and a master jewel thief. (Stealing from those who deserved it, of course.) That changed when she fell in love with Commander Thomas Curtis of Scotland Yard and retired to Provence to live respectably, cushioned in beautiful food and wine. But now, someone is stealing irreplaceable jewels from Paris to Portofino-and using Kick's signature tech-niques. Worse, Thomas has disappeared with her secret cache of precious stones.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February Picks

Favorite Book:

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
It's a weird book.  It's a scary book.  But it's a stick with you book and I really liked it.  Dia Reeves is definitely one of my new favorite authors.

Favorite Audio:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
A lovely, lovely dreaming audio that sucks in the listener.  This is the most interesting series and I am surprised, but delighted that the author is veering off the path and into something surprising.  And the covers are so beautiful.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sizzling Sixteen (audio) by Janet Evanovich

In the sixteenth installment of Stephanie Plum, she is looking for Vinnie after he is kidnapped for some gambling debts. 

I never get bored with Stephanie Plum and her mishaps as the worst, most ineffectual bounty hunter.  Mostly because they just plain make me laugh.  Though there was a bit of forward movement in this book so I think it might get the characters out of the rut that they have been in for quite a few books now.  And Stephanie seems to be getting closer to a decision between Morelli and Ranger. 

This was different too because Vinnie was featured a bit more.  I hope he is featured a bit less from now on because he is really annoying and I didn't like the narrator's voice for him (though it fits).  But Vinnie gets in trouble with the local mob who is in a war with someone much more dangerous and Vinnie has become a target.  So Stephanie decides to rescue him with hilarious results and a little bit of underhandedness.  Lulu is still one of my favorite characters and it was nice to see more of Connie. 

7 hours

Lorelei King is the narrator for this series and I enjoy listening to her voice.  She has become Stephanie Plum to me and I love her other voices for the characters.  She really makes them distinct and fitting for each one.  She has a soothing voice for the narration bits of the book and is never over the top.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Cover Lover
Lazy Girl mini-challenge
Whisper in My Ear

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Something I can't wait to read

The wonderfully funny ladies at Go Fug Yourself wrote a YA novel!  They make me laugh on a daily basis just on their fashion blog so I can't wait to read their book.  And the cover is adorable.  So I suggest checking out their blog if you never have!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2 ) (audio) by Maggie Steifvater

*SPOILERS for Shiver*
Now that Sam is human again, he can live a normal life as a normal boy with Grace.  But Grace is falling seriously ill.  Coupled with that is the problem of the one of the new wolves, Cole, who can't seem to stay a wolf.  Sam begins to see that his problems aren't over just because he is no longer a wolf.

Just like Shiver this book starts off slow.   But about 1/3 of the way in, it gets really good and then I have a hard time walking away from it.  I actually checked out the CDs for my car and the mp3 version from the library, just so I could have it with me.  And I'm glad I did.  Because once the book got going I needed to find out what happened next.

I actually really liked the characters of Cole and Isabel.  They are a great antidote to perfect Grace and Sam.  Grace and Sam are great characters and I do like them, but they are so sweet and perfect and good all the time that the bitter and sarcastic Cole and Isabel are great.  This book alternates the four characters in POV and while that seems like a lot, it works well.  I was surprised and not surprised by the ending and I am curious to see how the whole thing wraps up in Forever.

10 hours 40 minutes
Read by Dan Bittner, Pierce Cravens, Emma Galvin, Jenna Lamia

It sounds harsh, but I really only enjoy these books in audio.  I doubt I could make it through just reading it.  The audio and the narrators really sell the pacing and writing for me.  It's read at a slow, languorous pace that complements the tone of the book and the music is just beautiful.  I enjoyed all the narrators' voices with Sam and Grace's readers carrying over between the books.  They all did a great job.

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
Whisper in My Ear

Monday, February 21, 2011

Music Monday

I saw Music Monday on Lazy Girl Reads and thought that it would be fun to post something.

Last month I reviewed Slice of Cherry, a book I found both amazing and disturbing.  And in my head I found a song that perfectly expresses the nature of the sisters and the book, in a way.  It's from the Mean Girls soundtrack, "Operate" by Peaches.  The video is terrible, but the song is great.

Weekly Round-Up 2/21

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Queens of All the Earth (Sternberg),  Real Live Boyfriends (Lockhart) and The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Jinks).  I'm listening to Sizzling Sixteen (Evanovich).

Last week I read Brilliant (Kellogg) and I listened to Linger (Stiefvater).  Other reviews posted: Savannah Grey (McNish) and The Ring of Solomon (Stroud).

From Netgalley
Publish date: August 9, 2011
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose—hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire—is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes—or be left without any future at all.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

 Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Set initially in a future shanty town in America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she'll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Belated Blogoversary

Somehow I completely missed my blogoversary this year.  It was back on January 28th and it was the 2nd anniversary of this blog.  I can't believe I forgot about it.  Well, I can believe it because I can barely remember yesterday but still.  I'm going to try and do a giveaway soon.

Thanks everyone for following along with me.  I am very happy to have become apart of the book blogging community.  You're all aces in my book.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brilliant (Kick Keswick #1) by Marne Davis Kellogg

Kick works as an executive assistant at an upscale auction house, but she is also a highly skilled jewel thief called the Shamrock Burglar.  When a new owner buys the auction house, Kick falls for his charming ways and begins to contemplate a new life.  But all is not on the up and up as she soon discovers.
I would become like Doris Day.  I made a solemn pledge that as soon as I got out of the reformatory, I'd work smarter.
Incredibly, it never occurred to me to reform.  p.16
I accidentally read the third Kick Keswick book first so I wanted to go back to the beginning.  The interesting thing about this book is that Kick is at the end of her career and most of her heists are glossed over.  There is one featured in this book though and I like seeing Kick in action. I like Kick and don't mind spending the time with her, but I wanted to shake her and make her open her eyes to Own, her new boss, and his obvious charm and obvious motivate.

I found that the plot moved a bit too slowly and I was waiting for the shoe to drop the whole time.  It certainly is not action packed, but it moves at a methodical pace and eventually we get the pay off.  But I enjoyed it and I will be reading the rest of the series.  This is not really a mystery per se, but it is still a fun and delicious crime book.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
350 Page

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ring of Solomon (audio) by Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus is back with another thrilling adventure!  The wisecracking djinni is in service to one of the great Solomon's magicians.  Unfortunately it is to Khaba the Cruel.  Sent to the desert to patrol for bandits for his insubordination,  Bartimaeus meets Asmira, a hereditary guard to the Queen of Sheba, who has been sent to kill Solomon and steal his magical ring. 

First, there was very little chance I wasn't going to like this book.  I am a huge fan of the Bartimaeus books and I was so happy to see that there was another book.  I seriously love Bartimaeus.  He is such a great character and such a great djinni.  I love how they underestimate him because he is only a fourth level djinni, but he is so clever that it is a gross underestimation.  I love how he can't see his own faults and all his boasting.  Oh and all his footnotes! 

This book takes place about 3,000 years before the Amulet of Samarkand and we learn the details of one of Bartimaeus' greatest achievements, one that he boasts of later.  I love when the books start out with Bartimaeus.  I hate waiting for him to appear.  And he starts off with a bang.    The book alternates POV with Asmira so we learn what motivates her and her side of the adventure.  Asmira was a great pair for Bartimaeus, moving him closer to the attitude we see in him in the trilogy.  I loved their adventure together.  And it was great seeing Faqarl and seeing more of his interactions with Bartimaeus and how they really have known each other a long time and makes the events of the trilogy a little more poignant.  I have nothing but good things to say about this book and if you are a fan of the Bartimaeus trilogy, then definitely read this one.  And if you haven't read any of them, then try them!

12 hours 39 minutes

Simon Jones is honestly one of my favorite narrators.  He narrated the trilogy as well as some of the Charlie Bone books and I love listening to him.  He really makes the series even better and I love how he handles the footnotes and Bartimaeus' whole tone.  Jones really adds that something extra to the Bartimaeus books and I recommend listening to this book or any narrated by him.

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures
Whisper in my Ear
What's in a Name

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Savannah Grey (e-book) by Cliff McNish

Savannah has moved around a lot between foster homes, never caring to get to close to someone.  Then she meets Reece and they realize that they have something in common: something in their throats that they wish to protect, a weapon.  As Savannah's power grows and her relationship with Reece progresses, she realizes that the weapon was created to fight a monster of epic proportions.
"Does it feel like you want to take care of what's inside?" he said in a hushed tone  "To guard whatever's in there?  Shield it?"
I sat there, stunned.  p.62 e-ARC

Though this is listed as horror, it is horror-light.  And that is fine by me because I am a scaredy-cat.  I think the alternate chapters on the monster made it less frightening for me.  I am always one to be more afraid of the monsters I can't see and so understanding more of the monster made it easier.  In fact, the monster's story was as intriguing as Savannah's plot if not more so. 

Savannah, as a character, is sort of season one Buffy.  She has plenty of superpowers and plenty of angst though is surprisingly accepting of what is going on in her body.  It is only when her friends are threatened that she freaks out.  I liked her as a character in general though for some reason all the human characters felt a little flat next to the monster.  And the whole "love" relationship is something that will continue to bother me in every book that does the instant falling in love thing.  I realize that there is a generally sound reason behind it in this book, but still, it bothers me.  I was much more interested in Savannah's relationship with her friend Nina and I feel like that could have been something more.  But it is what it is and I liked how Nina was such a loyal friend.

But honestly, it was the ending that made this book for me.  I love it when I am surprised by a book.  It happens so rarely that an author will fall out of line and do something more original and that is what happened in the end.  I was really and truly shocked.  And so that was so awesome.

Provided by NetGalley
Hogwarts: Transfiguration
Off the Shelf

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 2/14 + Happy Valentine's Day

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Brilliant (Kellogg) and The Grimm Legacy (Shulman).  On audio, I'm finishing The Ring of Solomon (Stroud) and then listening to Linger (Stiefvater).

Last week I read Savannah Grey (McNish) and listened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl),
Reviews posted: Bright Young Things (Godbersen) and  Hero at Large (Evanovich).

Infinity: Chronicles of Nick #1 (e-audio) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, read by Holter Graham
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he's next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries.

basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time


Friday, February 11, 2011

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (audio) by Roald Dahl

Charlie wins a Golden Ticket to visit Mr. Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory.

When I started this audio, I thought that I hadn't heard it before but I think this might be the second time I've heard it.  Regardless I always enjoy this book.  It is absurd in the classic Dahl tradition but the absurdity only serves to make a point.  And the point is that children should be loved but never spoiled. 

Charlie is, of, course, the most virtuous boy because he is loved but poor so he never had the oppurunities of the other children.  The Oompa Loompas are quick to point out why the things that happen to the other children have happened and the faults of both child and parent. 

Still, all in all, the book is jolly good fun and I enjoyed it once again or maybe for the first time depending.

3  hours 18 minutes 

Eric Idle is the narrator and he does a terrific job.  He is very fun and carries the light tone of the story along well.  I love listening to his voice and, although he doesn't distinguish voices beyond a normal variation, he is easy to follow and the voices are distinct enough.  This is a fun and entertaining audio book, definitely short enough to get through quickly.

Hogwarts: Charms
Whisper in My Ear

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hero at Large (audio) by Janet Evanovich

Chris Nelson has an unexpected house guest.  After breaking Ken Callahan's arm and then his toe, he moves in with her and her great-aunt and daughter in this romantic comedy.

This is the first Evanovich that I've read that didn't have anything to do with Stephanie Plum.  And this is her first published book if I am not mistaken and it is pure romance so the ending is inevitable.  But it was really fun and I liked all the characters.  The only irritating part was the "problem" that came up between the two main characters that got in the way of their happily ever after.  It was fairly obvious and I thought Chris overreacted way too much when she learned Ken's identity.  It was her own fault for not listening in the first place.  I liked the whole ice skating aspect with Chris as a ice skating coach and how facts about the sport are fitted in.  And I liked that it was a romance without any explicit sex scenes though they were there and the chemistry between Chris and Ken was hot.

7 hours 25 minutes

C.J. Critt actually narrated a few of the Stephanie Plum books that I listened to so I am familiar with her style.  I really like her as a narrator and was glad to listened to her again.  She does an excellent job of adding humor and exasperation to the story and making it more believable. 

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Whisper in my Ear
What's in a Name

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bright Young Things (e-book) by Anna Godbersen

It's the era of bathtub gin and speakeasies and for Cordelia and Letty it's the beginning of the rest of their lives.  After escaping from their small town in Ohio and moving to New York City each purses a dream of her own.  Cordelia seeks out the dad she never know and Letty wants to be a star.  But both find that sometimes life doesn't always go according to plan.
It was possible, but doubtful, that Cordelia fully absorbed the lesson of this moment - that when girls use the brightness of their eyes or the softness of their skin, they have an uncommon advantage in getting what they want.  (p. 57 e-book)
I am a big fan of The Luxe series, just like I am a fan of the Gossip Girl books.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a fun, light read.  So I was delighted to learn that Anna Godbersen was going to do a series in the 1920's, one of my favorite eras.  It was a great setting and I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't a retread of The Luxe, something I was afraid would happen and the characters were distinct and different.  I liked Cordelia the best since she was much stronger and more able.  I thought Letty was a bit too helpless though rightfully so.  It ended on a good cliffhanger so now I am wondering what is going to happen next. 

350 Page

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 2/7

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Savannah Grey (McNish) and I'm listening to The Ring of Solomon (Stroud).

Last week I read Lucy Unstrung (Lazar), Bright Young Things (Godbersen), and Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (Sobol) and listened to Hero at Large (Evanovich).
Other reviews posted: Perfect You (Scott), Bleeding Violet (Reeves), A Crooked Kind of Perfect (Urban).

Paranormalcy (e-audio) by Kiersten White, read by Emily Eiden
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. 

Hero at Large (e-audio) by Janet Evanovich, read by C.J. Critt
It's about a sexy guy who cooks a potholder in spaghetti sauce and charms a single mom and former world-class ice skater with the promise of a ride on his Zamboni. It's got broken bones, giant turkeys, cantankerous cars, and Aunt Edna

Linger (audio) by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Dan Bittner, Pierce Cravens, Emma Galvin, Jenna Lamia
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sleuthing Sundays - Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol

I haven't read Encyclopedia Brown in at least 20 years if not longer.  I forgot the format of the books.  There are about 10 short mysteries in each book and the solutions are in the back of the book and it's up to the reader to figure out how Encyclopedia knew the answer.  I was, admittedly, a cheater back in the day.  This time around the answers were fairly obvious (which is good because how embarrassing for a 32 year not to be able to solve a 10 years logic problem).  But still I liked reading the solutions in the back.

Boy Detective is the first volume of his mysteries and shows how he decided to open his own detective agency and how he bested Sally at a logic problem and that is how she became his partner.  So it was fun relieving something I use to enjoy from my childhood.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar

Lucy is a delightful if confused 13 year old whose mother had her when she was a teenager and now her mother wants to get out and explore the world she missed.  Unfortunately for Lucy that means moving and a lot of changes for her.  But, in general, Lucy handles it well though she doesn't understand really where her mother is coming from.

So Lucy has to move away from her friend and her school and go to a trailer park with her mom and away from her dad and go to public school.  Lucy has always go to a private Catholic school.  She has to deal with the possibility of her parents dating other people and with being bullied at school.  But with a few misadventures here and there, Lucy pulls through the upset in her life and learns that not everything about change is bad.

"No, because we were both weird only children with no social skills."
I don't like him talking like this.  It makes me very uncomfortable, probably because I bet some people would say that I'm a weird only child with no social skills too.
It's time to change the subject.  p. 125
I've been reading a lot of coming of age stories lately (which is not like me at all but anyway) so I was a little afraid to get started on this one.  But this was cute and a bit funny.  I liked quirky little Lucy and her adventures with figuring out her new life.  I understood what her mom wanted in her life, unlike Lucy, but I don't know she went about it in the right way.  I did like how Lucy's dad is obviously not her bio dad and yet that was never addressed since he is her real dad.  I hate it when books make a big show about that.  This was much more assumptive.

Lucy gets into the usual 13 year old trouble especially as she tries to figure out how to stay at the same school.  And to stay friends with her only real friend.  This was a short, sweet book that I recommend if you need a few laughs and a good coming of age story.

Won from Library Thing's Early Reviewers
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Off the Shelf

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bleeding Violet (Portero #1) by Dia Reeves

Hanna runs away to Portero to live with the mother she never knew.  But Portero is a different kind of small town, overrun with monsters, hidden doors and ghosts who will not only haunt you but inhabit you.  Hanna finds more than she bargained for in Portero, not only from the town and her mother but from the boy she falls for.
I kept silent a long while, thinking about everything Wyatt had told me: doorways to other worlds, a mayor with power over the dead, a Key made of bone.  I let it all sink in and found myself smiling.  I was right to have come to Portero, a town more insane than I could ever hope to be. p.112
After reading Slice of Cherry I knew I had to go back and read Dia Reeves' first book set in the town of Portero.  This isn't a traditional series  There is no real order but I think it usually helps to read the first book to get to know the setting better.  While Slice of Cherry was more of a character study featuring less of the town, Bleeding Violet is all about the character of Hanna and the character of Portero.  There is more exploration of the town and how the monsters work and, intriguingly, the character of the Mayor.

While I think Slice of Cherry is scarier for me because of its subject (serial killer sisters), Bleeding Violet doesn't pull any punches when it comes to monsters and gore and head trips.  Portero is not a sleepy small Southern town like Hanna and the reader expects.  Instead it is full of many mysteries.  Hanna does a great job of adapting unlike, say, me who would probably be dead in about 5 seconds.  It helps that she has her dead father around to help and the carved Swan who sometimes comes to life to save her.  And it also helps that she befriends Wyatt, a Mortmaine-initiate.  The Mortmaine protect the town and deal with the monsters.  They are controlled by the Mayor, a shady figure if I ever saw one and who I'd like to know more about.  Is she what she claims to be?  Something more?  It's all very fascinating.  I really recommend any of Reeves' books a chance.  She has some serious talent.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Crooked Kind of Perfect (audio) by Linda Urban

Zoe wanted a piano.  What she got was an organ, a Perfectone D60.  With a mother who is always working and a father who doesn't like to live the house and a boy who follows her home from school and now an organ rather than a piano, Zoe's life is far from perfect.  But soon she learns that might just be okay.

This was a very cute, quirky book.  It was interesting to see how a child deals with having a parent who is afraid of people.  And how she deals with the disappointment of not getting the piano she dreams of and how she, too, is a little quirky because of her parents.  I liked Zoe and thought she handled everything reasonably well, more maturely than some.  While I am sadly not musically abled I liked the story of how music can change your life and how it is incorporated in the lives of so many.

3 hours 17 minutes
Taj Alexandra Ricci is the narrator of this book and I liked her voice.  She had the right tone and zeal for Zoe and I think she does a terrific job.  She has a clear even tone and her voice acting fits right into the story.  She does a great job of bringing the story and Zoe to life.

Hogwarts: Perfect mini-challenge
Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

After Kate's dad quits his job to sell infomerical vitamins, her whole life starts a downward spiral. Her best friend has ditched her to be popular. She's stuck working at her dad's vitamin booth in the mall, her parents are having martial problems and her grandmother has come to visit. And to top it all off, the cute book that Kate loves to hate, seems to have taken an interest in her. Too bad Kate doesn't believe that his interest is genuine.
Right.  I just had to deal with a father who'd rather buy vitamins and play video games than do anything else.  I just had to deal with having my best friend act like I didn't exist.  I just had to deal with having my whole life fall apart...
I would like to see an adult deal with all my problems.  p.34
Let's chalk this one up for a winner.  It was very absorbing and a quick read. I loved the humor and it didn't make me feel old unlike another book I could name.  I really liked it.  There were parts that, as an adult, made me roll my eyes, like the above quote.  But it was such a good book that the little things didn't bother me.

Kate is sort of typical for this type of book.  She is very self-absorbed and complains a lot.  But she is funny and is genuinely going through a hard time so I excuse her. I really liked Will, the love interest.  He was so sweet and funny and they had a good dynamic even though she is typically clueless.  I really could not believe the dad though.  It was just so horrifying, his inability to cope with arguments or unpleasantness, even though he was the biggest cause of it in their family.  I was like wow, seriously wow.  Now that would be a difficult parent to have.  But Kate handled it all really well and I wasn't too surprised by the ending though I had hoped for something else. 

Hogwarts:  Perfect mini-challenge