Monday, January 30, 2012

Horizon by Sophie Littlefield

Have I mentioned before how good this series is? I believe I mentioned with Rebirth, but it's worth saying again. This series is MIND-BLOWING.

The best part is that her characters don't pretend to be anything they're not. Not heroes, not perfect. They are flawed, which makes them very easy to relate to and understand. Cass is torn by so many things - two men, her daughter, her father, her addiction, her attack... but she knows she is conflicted by these elements, and deals with them in realistic ways. She is not alone, either. There's Dor and Smoke, who both suffer from the need to lead but who still struggle to overcome obstacles from their pasts. It is such well fleshed out characters that really give these novels (and this one in particular) the power to remain in your thoughts even after you finish the book.

The scenes with Beaters (zombies) are brutal and unforgiving in their gore and tension. The world Littlefield has creaked is bleak and scary, and yet she makes sure there are tender and beautiful moments in there as well. I think I physically smiled when Cass comes upon a single California Poppy flower in the midst of her bleak travels.

Horizon makes three books in this series, and I do not if there will be a forth. The ending of this installment is both satisfying and final, but there is still plenty of room to keep going with the story. Which I am totally hoping for. The Aftertime novels will always be high on my list of great zombie apocalypse stories.

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fictional Recipes (1)


1 martini glass full of crisp, purified water
(up to) 3 green olives with pimentos

Spear olives with toothpick and set in martini glass with water. Sip delicately!

I loved this idea every since I first read it in A Series of Unfortunate Events #6 The Ersatz Elevator. The book was not my favorite installment in this series, but this one little gem has stuck with me. As someone who does not drink alcohol, it seemed to be the perfect social party beverage. It looks like a real alcoholic beverage, but goes down a lot smoother! I prefer to add a little bit of olive-brine to the water too, for that touch of added flavor.

“A Martini? Isn’t that an alcoholic beverage?”

— Klaus Baudelaire to Jerome Squalor

Taste Test: Delicious!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 1/25/12

WONDER SHOW by Hannah Barnaby

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step inside Mosco’s Traveling Wonder Show, a menagerie of human curiosities and misfits guaranteed to astound and amaze!

But perhaps the strangest act of Mosco’s display is Portia Remini, a normal among the freaks, on the run from McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, where Mister watches and waits. He said he would always find Portia, that she could never leave.

Free at last, Portia begins a new life on the bally, seeking answers about her father’s disappearance. Will she find him before Mister finds her? It’s a story for the ages, and like everyone who enters the Wonder Show, Portia will never be the same.

Well this one's a no-brainer for me. Circus Book, YAY! Love the cover, and am very curious to get to know Portia and the other freaks.

Release Date: March 20, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

I've now read 6 books from Maria V. Snyder, and I have just loved every single one. My book love started with Poison Study, and continued all through the trilogy. Then she came out with a second trilogy, starting with Storm Glass, but I (embarrassingly!) haven't gotten around to reading it. And then came the two books, Inside Out and Outside In, which I fell into completely. Those books were SO good. So I was looking forward to Touch of Power, even though the cover art is too cheesy for my tastes. It did not disappoint.

Is it possible to get your heart rate up from reading? The first chapter had me biting my nails and sweating from the action and tension. Maria V. Snyder can write action sequences like no other. And fantasy really is her strong suit. Another trait of Snyder's writing that I can look forward to is the strong females. I loved the character of Avry, with her healing touch and wise intellect. She was an incredible woman that never backed down from a fight or doing what was right. And then there was Kerrick, who had plenty of flaws, but also a tender side to him that made him a most interesting character to play opposite Avry. Even the minor characters were completely fleshed out - like Belen and Tohon. Each one of them had specific reasons for doing what they were doing.

I already mentioned how I think the cover art is super cheesy, but it does a good job in representing the story. Can't give away too much, but I sure hope I never run into a Death Lily!

So thank you, Maria V. Snyder! This book was fun, exciting, scary, and soft-hearted, all at once. I can't wait for the next installment in the Fifteen Realms!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fear Street Flashback (24)

Why? Because FEAR STREET was like, my favorite series growing up.

Originally released in November, 1990 and November, 1995.

The thought of gaining a stepsister in high school is plenty terrifying in and of itself. But when Fear Street is involved, it's downright horrifying. In the first book I really enjoyed the ending. You really are convinced that you know who the culprit is, but Stine surprises you in the last chapter. Then in the second book it is still hard to tell who is doing all of these bad things to Emily, and I liked the nervousness of not knowing what was intended to harm or was just an accident. Except I am confused as to why everyone wants to kill Emily. She's is so unassuming and harmless... not popular or mean or anything that warrants the behavior towards her. Perhaps it is just her bad luck to be surrounded by people who are so bad! Both Stepsister stories are great additions to the Fear Street series.

Fear Rating: 2 out of 3 Screams

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 1/18/12


When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother's best friend, "Aunt Sarah," that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn't her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heart breaking and far-reaching of all.

Sounds pretty sad and tragic, no? But at the same time I am drawn to a story like this, most likely because I like the idea of family secrets unraveling slowly. I also like the idea of traveling alone with your boyfriend to California. Will just have to keep a box of tissues close by.

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda

I had a tough time deciding if this book was a deep look into the psyche of human kind, or a fluffy paranormal romance. I think the answer is that it touches upon both.

The romance between Decker (totally dreamy!) and Troy (tortured) is thick and all-consuming. Decker was definitely my favorite pick for Delaney. He was so tender and sweet and they seemed to really get each other, like they truly were soul mates. Troy fed into Delaney's fear and confusion over what was happening to her, but the romance there was more the kind that doesn't last. So Decker makes my list for guys-I-wish-would-jump-out-of-books-and-into-my-real-life.

And then the paranormal element of Delaney being able to sense when someone is going to die was the other half of the story. A well thought-out power, but a drain on the characters. As a credit to Megan Miranda, the characters reacted very realistically to Delaney's accident, and then her twisted recovery. Especially Delaney's parents - it was so nice to see them involved! But for such a short book, I didn't feel like there was any resolution to Delaney understanding her powers, or any true acknowledgement from others about what she could now do.

Fractured is a short but all-consuming book about death, love, and what it means to be alive.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up is the letter that everyone who's every had there heart good and truly broken dreams of writing to their ex. I had heard this in other reviews, but then experienced for myself just how wrong for each other Min and Ed really are. There is no chemistry, nothing in common... I had a hard time understanding why either of them wanted to be with the other. I absolutely loved Daniel Handler's writing, his soft and highly intelligent voice of Min. Each character had a unique way of speaking that really showed their individual characters. The art was cute, with simple lines and easy colors, but wouldn't have worked any other way. So while the actual relationship between Min and Ed was horribly boring and didn't make a lot of sense, this book was still quite entertaining.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 1/11/12

THE NIGHTMARE GARDEN by Caitlin Kittredge

Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn't going to succomb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn't human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.

When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she's ravaged on the world that's about to poison her.

I love love loved the first book, The Iron Thorn. It was dark and alluring and exciting and 100% consuming. This one sounds like it picks up right where the first one left off and slack at all. It will take a lot of effort not to call in sick to work in order to stay home and read this book!

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Inspired to Art (2)

When I recently read Legend, by Marie Lu, I was immediately caught up in the post-apocalyptic world she had created for her characters June and Day. They were both so cool! I was engulfed in the action with no signs of looking up from the pages until the end. But then I stumbled upon a scene that made me literally jump out of my seat and exclaim "I want to make that!" The piece was Day's necklace.

WARNING: This project gives away a major plot point, so if you have not read the book yet, don't scroll down!

So I started with a genuine 25 cent quarter, year 1990, from the United States of America. It was vital that this be from 1990, so the photo is proof.

Then I covered it with basic white Fimo Clay, stuck a silver jump ring in the top, and baked it until hard.
Painted it black and brown to make it look old and authentic to the book, then found some twine for the necklace part.
And voila! Day's necklace! I totally love this simple (yet powerful, if you've read the book) piece of jewelry. I even find myself rubbing it with my fingers when it's around my neck. Thanks for the inspiration, Marie Lu!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Mad Mask by Barry Lyga

Any middle grade boy readers out there? This series is for you!

Though it is not suggested that you read these out of order. The Mad Mask is the second book in the series, and there are tons of references to characters and happenings from the first book. I liked the first book, Archvillain, but unfortunately, this one didn't pack the same punch for me. It had a cute start, and I enjoyed getting back into the head of scheming and dreaming Kyle. But just after the halfway point, I quickly grew bored with the lackluster action and oblivious side characters. There were scenes I found myself craving - like witty banter between Mighty Mike and Kyle - that just never came. And while I could believe in the over-excited plans of Kyle, the Mad mask was much more difficult to swallow. Still, Barry Lyga's writing had me laughing and repeating lines out loud. I hope Kyle's friend Mairi makes a larger appearance in the next book!

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday 1/4/12


When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this—especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends—while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is.

Can't quite put my finger on it, but this book sounds oddly enticing to me. Perhaps the stunning cover is what's driving me to want to read this book. But I have a feeling I will be blown away by the raw truths that are within these pages of Cam's life. Pretty stoked to pick this one up!

Release Date: February 7, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cover Copycat (1)

For all of the hundreds of thousands of stock images out there, it never ceases to amaze me when the same photo shows up on multiple book covers.

At the same time, it always tickles me to discover books with look-a-like covers. The most recent spotting was while I was reading Forgotten by Cat Patrick. Opened up my weekly PW magazine and BAM! The cover girl for The Legacy of Eden sure looks familiar! It's apparent there was some editing done to the Forgotten girl's shirt, and as a result, I think I like the Legacy girl better.

And to be fair, my copy of Forgotten is the UK cover. The US cover changed to the below photo. So perhaps this was not a case of cover copy, but rather a case of different licenses for different countries. The cover designers are forgiven for this case.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!


I've made some changes around here... do you like? Katie from the wonderful KD designs put this all together for me, and I highly recommend her for your blog designs as well!

So back in the saddle with blogging. There may not be as many actual book reviews, but I pledge to keep the blog updated three times a week with as many interesting tidbits as I can muster up.

Total books read in 2011: 216

A few of my favorites were:

I am looking forward to a great year, and thanks for reading!