Books I Wish I Was Reading Right Now

October 15, 2010 2 comments

I’m in the middle of editing a book by one of my husband’s professors, and it’s taking all of my free time.  It’s a super intense project that keeps me up into the wee hours of the morning, so my reading has come to a grinding halt.  If I’m lucky, I get about 20 pages a day.

But that doesn’t stop my library requests from being filled!  Here’s what I’ve checked out but have left in my library bag, neglected.

  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
  • The Clone Codes by Patricia C. McKissack
  • A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Torment by Lauren Kate
  • Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

The last three on the list are new releases, and it’s killing me not being able to pick them up and devour them. Not being able to read as much as I usually do is physically painful for me.

What are the symptoms of withdrawal?  Because I think I might be addicted to books.

Categories: Nonsense

Ratings Now on My Book List

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

For your convenience, I’ve added ratings to My 2010 Book List.  That way, if I haven’t written a review for it, you’ll still (sort of) know what I thought about it.  Eventually, I’d like to make a “Recommendations” page, but it’s WAY at the bottom of my to-do list.

Anyway, happy reading!

Categories: Nonsense

Hero by Mike Lupica

September 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Hero by Mike Lupica on LibraryThing.  It will be released on Nov. 9th.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Fourteen-year-old Billy Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can text message himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Billy. What Billy never knew was that his father was no ordinary man—he was a superhero, battling the world’s evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries. And now it’s Billy’s turn to take on the fight. It’s Billy’s turn to become a hero.

I liked this book, but I didn’t really think it was anything too special.  But the reason I may think that is 1) I’m not a middle-schooler and 2) I’m not a boy.  I think anyone who falls into those categories would really enjoy it.

At times, it really just felt like it was trying to be too Percy Jackson-ish, but with less adventure.  And while it did have some good surprises, I was left mostly disappointed.  The whole teenage hero thing is a good theme, but it fell a little flat for me.

Mike Lupica writes very popular YA sports novels, so I have no doubt that fans of his will like this book.

I just didn’t.  Sorry.

Three stars because although I didn’t personally like it all that much, I know there are a lot of people out there who will.

Radiance by Alyson Noël

September 14, 2010 2 comments

This was the first ARC I got before the actual publishing date.  I received it about two weeks before it was released on Aug. 31.  I was so excited.

I have already read all of The Immortals, Alyson Noël’s first series.  You can see my review of Dark Flame, the latest in the series, here.

Anyway, I got really excited when I heard that there was going to be a series about Riley, Ever’s younger sister.

Here’s the synopsis from Alyson Noël’s website:

Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she’s summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can’t quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he’s never met Riley…

Riley is a great character, especially considering the fact that she’s dead.  When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that Alyson Noël can get you to like a dead girl so much.

Radiance is aimed for a younger audience than The Immortals.  After all, the protagonist is only 12 (although she seems older, most of the time).  Anyway, it’s geared towards middle-schoolers, and is totally appropriate for that age.  It’s interesting, but doesn’t delve into topics that aren’t age-appropriate (such as sex, drinking, drugs, etc.).  And it’s relatively short; less than 200 pages.

While it’s not necessary to have read The Immortals to enjoy Radiance, I would definitely say that it made it a little better for me.  Mostly because I already knew and liked Riley.  But I liked her a lot more after reading this book.

It was really fun to read a book that hadn’t come out yet.  I felt so “in the know.”  It was interesting though, because they make sure you know that the book’s not in its final state and there might be some grammatical errors and blah blah blah.  Well, I noticed a big one right off the bat!

They spelled the author’s name wrong in the page header!  Every single page was like that.  I mean, sheesh, the author’s name is probably the WORST thing for an editor to have missed, don’t you think?  I haven’t seen the final version that’s in stores, but I’m sure it got fixed.

Anyway.

If you’re a fan of The Immortals, or even just a fan of Riley’s (I like her better than her sister, Ever), you’ll like this book.

Four stars for taking a character I already liked and making me like her even more.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

September 10, 2010 5 comments

Last week, Cassandra Clare came to my local library to do a signing as part of her book tour.

The Mortal Instruments (MI) series is at the top of my favorites list, so I had been waiting for this new book, Clockwork Angel.

Clockwork Angel is the first book in a new prequel Shadowhunter series called The Infernal Devices.  It takes place in 1878 in Victorian London, which is (obviously) such a contrast from modern New York City, where MI takes place.

Here’s the synopsis:

Magic is dangerous–but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by–and torn between–two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

(By the way, you can read the first 100 pages here.)

Like I mentioned, I have been waiting for this book for a long time, and when I was in line with it, waiting to get it signed, I had this brief moment of panic when I thought, “What if it’s bad?  What if I don’t like it?”

I don’t know how I could have ever thought that.

I loved this book.  Loved it.  And it quickly earned a place on my favorites list.

I already loved the whole Shadowhunting world, but add witty and clever protagonists and steampunk villains, and what more could I want?

This book was quite funny.  A lot funnier than most of the MI.  Maybe because Tessa is really clever and doesn’t put up with flack from anyone, whereas in MI, all the wit comes from Simon and sometimes Jace.

I really liked the main characters and found them to be believable and lovable.  They’re really easy to like, although Henry is certainly high on my list because of his red hair.

I was happy to find that Tessa, the  main girl in the story, was so different from Clary (although she faces similar conflicts).  Although Will, who is an ancestor of Jace’s, seems so much like Jace at times, you wonder if snarkiness and self-destruction are inherited traits.  I don’t think it’s bad that they’re so alike, because it feels more like they’re supposed to be.  Because they’re two apples from the same crazy Herondale tree.

Meeting Cassandra Clare was awesome.  She was cool and funny and everything I hoped she’d be.  She had hot shoes and purple streaks in her hair that really made me think about dying mine, too.  I felt like a big dork, which I am wont to do when I meet people who are obviously so much cooler than me.  But Cassandra Clare was nice and cool about it.  So, thanks for that, Cassandra Clare.

Thanks for being cool to all the dorks out there who love you.

After that picture, I went home and started reading Clockwork Angel right away. I finished it the next day.

I have no self-control when it comes to books.

Thank goodness that her next book, City of Fallen Angels (MI #4), comes out in 207 days.

Five stars for being totally brill and living up to the hype.  Too bad Clockwork Prince (ID #2) doesn’t come out for another year.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

August 31, 2010 1 comment

This is definitely one of those paranormal/modern fantasy/young adult/romance books that I mentioned in my last review.  I don’t remember how I heard about it, probably just came up on a list like, “If you like Twilight, you might like this” sort of thing.

Anyway, however I found it, I’m really glad I did.  I loved this book!  It had a great premise, a lot of mystery and just enough romance with (of course) a hot boy, to keep the pages turning faster and faster.

Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Sophie is a great YA character.  She’s got the right amount of teenage angst without being whiny (like, say, Ever Bloom!), she cares about her friends and she’s got a lot of courage.  She’s pretty sarcastic and funny, too.  You can’t help but like her (and want to be her friend).

A friend of mine says she likes YA books best when the guy in the them is “hot and rich.”  If that’s you too, then check out Hex Hall, you won’t be disappointed.  Archer Cross (cool name, huh?) is the unavailable (at first) crush of Sophie’s who is always on her side when the kids and teachers give her a hard time.

If you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll be a fan of this book.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Demonglass, which comes out in March 2011.

Four and a half stars for being awesome, but not quite a favorite.  I’m going to have to wait for the rest of the series before I decided that one. 😉

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

August 24, 2010 1 comment

Linger is the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  The first book, Shiver was released last year.  I heard about it from my good friend, Jenni Elyse.  This another one of those paranormal/urban fantasy/young adult/romance (PUFYAR, for short I decided) books that are so HUGE right now.

Here’s the blurb from Maggie’s website:

In 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 Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget.

I don’t want to say too much about this book in case you haven’t read Shiver yet (and I haven’t figured out how to do that cool spoilers thing where you make the text blend in with the background).

The one thing I really want to say about the book is this:  In Shiver, Grace’s parents are totally absentee, couldn’t care less about their daughter, basically adult roommates.  They let her do whatever she wants, expect her to fend for herself, and are rarely home at the same time as her.  Now, in Linger, they’re suddenly in-her-face, high strung, overprotective, and totally forbidding of anything she wants to do– especially be with Sam, the one stable thing in her life? 

I just don’t buy it.  I don’t buy the sudden about-face of her parents.  They lived for sixteen years as one type of parents and then radically change their ways when Grace gets a boyfriend.  I really just can’t believe it.  I had such a hard time believing it that it almost made me angry.

But maybe that’s the point.  Grace doesn’t believe it either, and it makes her mad too.

So maybe Maggie Stiefvater is a genius and got me thinking exactly how she wanted me to.

Who’s to say?

But I really liked Linger.  I thought it was a well-written, well-thought-Shiverout sequel.   was, in itself, a complete story with a definite conclusion, but Linger really explored the ramifications and possible aftermath of the events that took place in Shiver.

That sounds kind of confusing, so I hope you get the gist of what I mean.

Shiver = really good.
Linger = also really good.

So.

If you enjoy a good PUFYAR, this series is for you.  Also, this is one of only two series I’ve read strictly about werewolves.  No vampire, faeries, mermaids, princesses or anything.  The other series is The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, which is also awesome.

Overall, I give Linger four stars for being really good, but not super-amazing-fantastic-bangarang.  (My husband is trying to bring that word back; let me know what you think about it.)

More reviews are hopefully coming soon, but I’m on vacation right now (which is why I missed Fab Five Friday), so…

No promises. 😀