Thursday, October 7, 2010

clockwork angel

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Hear that? That is the sound of time you could be spending reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I will admit, I had low expectations for Clockwork Angel. I had previously read City of Bones, which I enjoyed but was not blown away or anything. I haven't yet continued on with The Mortal Instruments books. After reading Clockwork Angel, I really feel that Clare has come into her own as a writer. I felt this book, on the whole, was much more tighter than City of Bones. It held my attention hostage.

We open with our intrepid heroine, Tessa Gray making the journey from New York to dreary London. Upon arrival in London, Tessa steps into the Victorian equivalent of a sketchy van with Free Candy spray painted across the side. The Dark Sisters basically hand Tessa a letter written by her ne'r do well brother, Nate. Tessa is all, NATE we shall be reunited and one happy family again, and climbs into the carriage of the Dark Sisters. Clearly, we cannot trust ugly elderly women. Only trust the kind which looks as though they would knit you a sweater while you suck some Werthers butterscotch candy.(An aside: when I am an old woman do not trust me, as I will scream at you to get off my lawn in all my crotchety glory). Right-o. Tessa, at the hands of these women learns she can magically transform into another person. She, of course, does not take her capture/hostage situation lying down. Instead, she fights it tooth and nail. If you read the back cover, obvs, you know Tessa escapes. Of course this is when the story gets good.

I mean, omfg, there is magic galore, and mystical creatures and SHADOWHUNTERS. Of course, the more I learn about the Clave, the more I want to do a little jig in happiness. It's because I love the lore. It's so interesting. I actually quite like this rag-tag group of Shadow Hunters more than I do the ones in the Mortal Instruments. There is Jessamine, who is full of spunk. She's badass, but doesn't really want to be badass. Her character is a reflection of gender attitudes of the Victorian Era, where of course women have to be ladies, and they can't exactly do cool things like go out and fight demons if they want to land a rich hubby. Of course, this is upper class womens as all the poor ladies are just chillin out in a bobbin factory somewhere. However, in contrast to Jessamine is Charlotee Branwell who is in charge of the institute. Charlotte is made of win. She's a warrior. She is intelligent. She is a leader. She's basically the type of woman I want to be when I grow up. Aside from wearing a dress and being married, she sort of subverts the gender roles of the era. Mmmhmm. Oh, oh, oh. I should mention the boys.

There are boys. They of course form the two sides, whereas Tessa is the hypotenuse of the love triangle. While I am a bit bored with love triangles in general, this one is sort of fun. There is Jem who is from Shanghai which is full of corruption and danger and such. Also, JEM is PoC. So cool right? And he is all gentle and such. He's patient with WISDOM. Then, as you may gather from Twitter, is Will. Will is like pretty much every bad boy ever. He's kind of a jerk with a sad past. I do sort of feel bad for him, but not really. My pity jar is nearly empty. I won't elaborate on the boys, but I bet you can guess my 'team'. Yep, it's Jessamine, I think they should totes make out while Katy Perry soulfully sings I Kissed A Girl in the background.

Finally, there are flesh en-capsuled robots. I am not sure if this convinces you of the ultimate win residing inside Clockwork Angel, but it should. Also, do robots in Victorian Ages equal steampunk element? I am not exactly sure what Steampunk is, besides punks evaporating in steam, but from what I gather, it has to do with machinery in the Victorian era.

Here are some quotes I felt resonated with me:
"Whether you are physically," he said, "male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy-all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside." - pg. 283 (ARC copy).

This! What is on the inside does matter, kids!

"If there was one thing Tessa hated, it was being told that there were things she couldn't understand. Because she was young, because she was a girl--for any of a thousand reasons that never seemed to make any real sense." pg. 96 (ARC copy)

Sing it, sister.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

It's over. The trilogy is finished. There will now need to be a new series that will have people waiting impatiently from year to year for the next installment. *Sigh*

MOCKINGJAY begins with Katniss shuffling through the ashy remains of District 12. Having survived her second Hunger Games, she has recovered enough from her injuries to visit the little that is left of her former home. Her concussion-ravaged brain is still trying to make sense of all that has happened.

When she is returned to the safety of District 13, Katniss must be gradually reintroduced to those from District 12 who survived, and she must find her place in her new surroundings. Her mother and Prim are busy every day caring for patients in the hospital, and Gale continues his recovery and slowly begins to work for the rebel cause in District 13. Katniss fills her days ignoring her district required schedule as she wanders from one isolated hiding place to the next.

It doesn't take long for 13's leaders to make it clear that they plan to be the ones to lead the rebels to victory against the Capitol and President Snow. Katniss is once more expected to be the symbol for that victory. She knows their goal is to make her the Mockingjay, but she hesitates to step forward immediately. Does she want the responsibility? Is she ready for what will most likely be her final living act?

When Katniss finally accepts the role of Mockingjay, she does so with stipulations, two of which are that Peeta and the other Hunger Games survivors must be rescued and she must be the one to end the life of President Snow. Her demands are met and the preparations begin. What follows is non-stop action filled with violence, torture, attacks, and destruction.

After reading THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE, I should have guessed that author Suzanne Collins would not make things easy for Katniss and her friends. She filled this last book with twists and turns as well as her usual direct, "in your face" moments that had me gasping through the first two books. Without including any spoilers, I'll say I found the ending acceptable and on-course with what I expected from both Collins and her characters. This is definitely a series that will be enjoyed by readers for years to come.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Hollow (The Hollow #1) by Jessica Verday

Hummmmm... I have mixed feelings about this book. I do like it, but I don't love it. Not yet. I guess there are going to be at least two more books, which is good. I can sort out my feelings then, plus there are so many unanswered questions. I'll save that for the end of this review, for those people who haven't read it yet.

If anything, this book has great quality of writing. Jessica Verday's beautiful way of detailing every day things or emotions was unique. I think I've read a fair amount of books to know when an author has come up with a new way of describing heart-break or the simple motion of the wind blowing in the trees, or the land-scape... etc.

There were some slow parts for me though, however that was when Verday would add a small twist or interesting detail, which keep me wanting to read. I loved the idea of building a story around the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the town. I'm ready to move there right now.

The writing quality in a book is important to me, but next to that, the characters are what make me read through anything if I love them enough. Unfortunately, for some reason I didn't connect to Abby and Caspian. That really sucks, because I want to. That's why I'm hoping that a foundation was started in this book and in the next, I will find a draw to them. I just can't quite put my finger on what was missing for me.

If you haven't read the book then don't read past this sentence:

First off, some of my unanswered questions. I really hope that Verday lets us find out why Kristen died? And, who D is? Plus, why can Abby see Caspian and the others, and why was Caspian drawn to the Hollow? Was it because of Abby? Also, what was so important about that day at the library, that Caspian was able to touch Abby, but not on other days?

Hummm, so many things to ponder. I hope we don't have to wait too long for the next book to be released.

Wasn't that part at the end totally heart-breaking, when Caspian said he didn't love Abby. I thought I was going to die myself. It wasn't until close to the end, where I did start to feel some connection between the characters, that's why I'm hoping it will develop more in the next books.

I've never read a book about ghost before, maybe that's where some of my mixed feelings come from. My usual venue is vampire, werewolves, or witches. Why not ghost too... Anyway, I'm so torn because I do want something more to happen between Abby and Caspian. Isn't that morbid and gross (not what you're thinking though), I'm talking about a love story... Besides, it is a book and anything can happen in books. Anything. Okay, I seriously need to change the subject or stop this review, before I totally embarrass myself more.

Anyhoo, I look forward to the next book and what is to come....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I enjoyed this first installment of CON. Sherrilyn Kenyon has convinced me with her talent. She was able to keep me wrapped up in the world she created for Nick. Be it adult romance or young adult fantasy, she's built a solid foundation with intriguing creatures.

Nick is a 14 years old and dirt poor. His Mom is a stripper and they eat substituted food like powdered eggs. I am not sure if Nick feels bad about his home situation because his his attitude is so acidic at times. I'll sting you, before you burn me.

When the inevitable paranormal antics ensue, Nick's seems almost blase'. To be fair Sherrilyn Kenyon writes the scenes with an air of humor. Revealing the enemy as something of interest instead of crap your pants horror. Nick's reaction is very 21st century teen. His crush on Nekoda will be something to look out for.

The plot of Infinity varies from Nick being introduced to Kyrian, to him fighting supernatural creatures and having NO idea there are others right beside him fighting along with him. Ash makes an appearance for all you DH fans =D

In all it is worth investing in this series if your a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon/Dark Hunters. It is fun seeing the Dark Hunters from Nick's POV, because its all new to him. Also non-Dark Hunter fans you don't have to read the Dark Hunters series to enjoy CON but I highly recommend you get intimate with Kyrian and Ash at the very least, and any other main characters introduced in the CON series. WARNING: The Dark Hunters series in meant for adults and has adult content.

*********************************PLOT/SPOILER ALERT*******************
Nick himself is a powerful being that even Ash is concerned about. The reason there will be 10 books in this series, I'm guessing, is because Nick has 10 lessons to learn to hone his skills. 'Uncle Ambrose' warns him about holding a grudge. Remember what happens between Ash and Nick? I was getting chills when Ambrose was trying hard to break that hold over Nick's heart to want revenge for what happened to Nick at 14

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Body Finder (Body Finder, #1)

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
Let me begin by saying this is first and foremost a young adult romance. Spiced with a paranormal edge and some suspense that concerns a serial killer Kimberly Derting does a wonderful job blending three genres. I read this book within one day and lent it to my son's girlfriend, who is nineteen, and she scarfed it up immediately. She now has given it to her mom who is reading and enjoying it as I write this review.

Violet can find dead bodies. She didn't ask for this 'gift'. She is confused and scared at times with this benefaction. She is an only child and her father and mother each have a separate way when they deal with this issue. At this point I will include that it was refreshing to read that she had two parents...not separated, divorced, or dead as so many other stories would have. Somewhat oblivious I don't think most parents would allow some of the situations to incur between the two teens that this story allowed but that is what makes it young adult fiction.

Jay has known Violet since they were young children. Always there for each other they have had a deep friendship, something that is unusual between a boy and girl. Now that they are growing up things are changing. On the brink of adulthood, honest conversation about their feelings now becomes difficult. Stilted at times, they assume that each can read what the other is thinking. Because of this a few poor choices are made and there are some hurt feelings.

I don't want to give away the plot because I want to encourage you to read this story. Nothing too deep, take it for what it is: a romance between two best friends on the brink of adulthood. You won't find graphic details about the murders or explicit sex. That is not what this narrative is about. Though I hate to compare it to the Twilight series by S. Meyer, if you didn't like that style of book you probably won't like this. Sometimes a bit 'wordy', I felt this gave the story an advantage. I ended the the story with an "Ahhhhhhh..." and enjoyed it immensely.

Aimed at the teen/girl audience Violet and Jay's relationship has passion and desire, the chemistry is present. There is the typical high school angst and if you are looking for some deep mystery or a shocking chiller look elsewhere. For the older audience if you are afraid to invest the money, take it out from the library. I am looking forward to Ms. Derting's next book DESIRES OF THE DEAD due out in March of 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)

Mary lives in a village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

The Unconsecrated fill the forest, moaning, trying to get into the village, to devour and make more of their own by a single bite, which will spread the infection. They don't give up. They want to feed.

The Sisterhood holds the secrets of the village, from before the Return. No one knows the truth, except them.

The Guardians protect the village, and make sure the fence holds back the Unconsecrated. The fence is the only barrier between the village and the Forest.

But then, once Mary is forced into the Sisterhood, she learns things that she wishes she hadn't. There is the one section of the fence, which is forbidden; but, it leads somewhere... Mary knows it. But where does it lead?

Mary must choose between her village and what may or may not exist beyond that one gate.

I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked as soon as I started. Mary was a great character. She was strong, and always wanted more than what she had. She kind of reminded me of myself (only a little, though!).

The only thing I didn't like in the story was the ending, only because I wanted to know more! It left me hanging a little, so I don't really know what will happen to Mary.

When THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH comes out in March 2009, I recommend it to everyone. You'll enjoy it. I hope Carrie Ryan writes more books, too - her writing was

Huger Games

I started this book thinking the idea was preposterous: a government choosing to squelch rebellion by forcing its citizens to give up their children as contenders in the ultimate reality show of death to the last survivor. Yeah right, and yet it reminded me a lot of the absurdity of the Nazi party. I realized I believed a government could be this arrogant and wrathful. When people are pitted against each other instead of turning on the establishment they often fight each other within the failed system, fighting for that elusive top spot or ignoring the pain of others grateful to escape tragedy themselves.

I soon found myself intensely involved in the Hunger Games and hoping for a certain outcome that would certainly bring about the death of many children but save our brave little heroine. Once you're in, what option do you have but to play and survive? Collins did an amazing job of taking an unbelievable and predictable storyline and making it believable and unpredictable. Complete with an impossible love interest, twists in the arena to keep you guessing, and both sympathy and hatred for the other characters, the book is hard to put down. I stayed up late to reach the conclusion that would seem obvious but was still evasive when I could conceive many alternate endings. In some ways the story reminded me of Lord of the Flies, but without as frustrating of a dues ex machina ending.

I found it interesting that even in this life and death situation, the kids refused to do anything that would displease the capitol and make them look rebellious or unwilling to play, or worse emotional and disturbed by death. They did not bond with each other, help each other, or ever want to be indebted by anyone's kindness. Sad that the gravest error would be vulnerability of spirit because the tough ones are the ones to survive. There is obviously a lot of death hashed out, but only a handful experienced by our narrator. What could have been a gruesome story was handled very tactfully but nonetheless the subject matter is not appropriate for younger children.

My one compliant about the novel would be the overuse of fragments. As a grammar freak, I'll let powerful fragments go. On occasion. As a literary device. But you throw five and six back to back. Just for effect. And all I'm doing is counting. How many are going by before we're back to complete sentences. There were a few paragraphs with way too many. But that's just a style difference. And the story is worth it. A good tale and a thinker.

Even after I closed this book, I found myself mulling over the statements about society, our gruesome need for reality TV, how much a community will let others suffer as long as they are safe, and the strength of the human spirit when backed up against the wall. I enjoyed Katniss' emotionally detached character, Peeta's vulnerable goodness, and Rue's small but fighting spirit. Now I want to learn more about Gale. A good strong female protagonist and a great set up for the sequel which I will be reading. How will the capital be brought down? Who will Katniss chose? Can she stand by and let another gruesome show go by training the tributes from her village without action? I'm intrigued