Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reading Stack #7

I finished and reviewed two books this week, which is really good for me. I think I am going to put Everneath down for awhile and come back to it. I have started reading Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu about hoarding. I am addicted to watching all the Hoarders shows, so I am interested to read about the subject. I also want to try reading Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs, which I checked out from Overdrive. I have a few other books I am picking up and reading pieces of to see if I want to add them to the pile, but for now I will stick with these two.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

This is the third and final book in the Hex Hall series. If you have not read any of the other books, this definitely has spoilers for those.

Sophie awakens from the Itneris near the home of her enemies, the Brannicks. First she meets Izzy Brannick, who looks no more than eleven. Izzy and her sister Finley take Sophie to their home, where she is reunited with her mother and learns the truth about her mother's past. Her mom is actually a Brannick who accidently fell in love with her demon father. The Brannicks are not as dangerous as the Casnoffs made them out to be, in fact Izzy, her mother, and her sister are the only ones left. While Sophie wonders what happened to Archer and Cal, both wizards, and Jenna her vampire roomate, and her dad, the Brannicks make plans to attack the Casnoffs. When Sophie learns everyone is ok, she is reunited with Archer, Cal, and Jenna back at Hex Hall, where they learn the Casnoffs plan to create a whole race of demon warriors using the former students. It is up to Sophie to stop the Casnoffs, something she may have to do without her powers. With her friends by her side, she is willing to face down the Casnoffs and save all Prodigium. With a bittersweet ending, Spell Bound ends the series with the same humor as the first two along with characters who have matured and grown into their powers. A must read for fans of the series and an interest take on what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.

I like Rachel Hawkins' take on the supernatural, making a demon and a vampire the heroes, while two witches plot to take over the Prodigium world. I love Sophie's humor no matter what the situation and her loyalty to her friends.

Favorite Character: Sophie and Jenna. I love their relationship and snarky humor. Even when they should be mad at each other, they just explode into laughter. They are willing to sacrifice for each other and have an unconditional friendship. Both are strong and loyal.

Favorite Quote: "People are so rarely villains in their own minds." "I tried to give her my best "I Am A Demon Princess" look, which was quite the challenge, seeing as how my hair was hanging in my face and my nose was running."

I thought this was a good ending to the series and I enjoyed watching the characters mature. The humor and friendship in the book is excellent. I give it 4.5 bars of chocolate!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goddess Hunt and Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

I decided to review Goddess Hunt and Goddess Interrupted together, since Goddess Hunt is a short novella. In Goddess Hunt, we are given insight into Kate's six months apart from Henry. She and James are in Athens, Greece in the countryside and James pretends to be lost. However, he is just checking up on Castor and Pollux or Casey and Lux as they go by now. The twins are running from the rest of the council, because they don't want to be separated, which would mean Castor is sent back to the Underworld and Pollux would be punished. Kate wants to do everything in her power to keep the twins together, even if it means challenging the rest of the council. James purposely gets the twins into trouble to show Kate the not so nice side of the council and what being part of the council would really mean. I liked that in the novella the story is told from both Kate and Henry's point of view, since Henry must make the decision about Castor. I think the Goddess Legacy out this summer will also include multiple points of view and Aimee does a great job alternating between povs and giving each character their own personality and speaking style. I enjoyed the novella and think it does add to the series by showing Kate's interactions with James and also a different side of the council. I give it 5 bars of chocolate!

I received an e-arc for this book, which I was glad to have.
Goddess Interrupted picks up at the end of Kate's six months leave with her wondering how her marriage with Henry will be and if she is up for being Queen of the Underworld. James and Kate return to Eden Manor and James transports her into the Underworld. Immediately on entering it and being reunited with Ava and her mother, Kate blacks out and sees Henry, Walter, and Phillip arguing with Calliope about their father. Kate learns this is her gift, to see others in the present even if they are miles away from her. When Kate finally sees Henry right before her coronation, he is distant and aloof, and this, along with all the reminders of Persephone that Kate sees in the Underworld, causes her to hesitate when asked if she accepts her role as queen. A titan attacks during the ceremony and targets Kate, which shows Calliope's aiding the Titans in revenge.  After Henry and his brothers are captured, shortly after this attack and Kate has a vision showing Calliope and Cronus holding Henry and his brothers hostage at the gate to the Underworld. Realizing only Henry, who is unconscious, and one other person are the ones who can open this gate and know its location, Kate, Ava, and James head to find the one person who can help and the one person Kate does not want to meet, Persephone, Henry's first wife. The fate of the world could rest in Persephone's hands and Kate must face the truth of Henry's true feelings in order to stop the Titans.

Goddess Interrupted is just as wonderful as the Goddess Test. More of the backstory of Henry and Persephone is told, including why Henry and James often do not get along. Aimee Carter provides her own twist to the Greek gods giving them personalities that blend with the original myths while creating unique attributes that are fresh and interesting. She uses the jealousies and rivalries that existed and also shows the more human side of the gods. Henry and Kate's romance seems realistic as Kate and Henry both must deal with his past feelings for Persephone if they are to have a future together. Suspenseful, romantic, and full of excitement, Goddess Interrupted is impossible to put down all the way up to the surprise at the end. I lost a few hours sleep, because I could not stop reading.

Favorite Character: Kate often second guesses herself and Henry and her doubts seem so real. She does not just say I am immortal, so I am perfect, but still has her flaws and self-doubt. She is extremely loyal and courageous and willing to sacrifice for her friends, but not willing to take second place to anyone.

Favorite Quote: "I will do to you what you have done to me, and I will take what you love most from you while you are helpless to stop me." I will not tell what this means, but it should make you want to read to find out.

Of course, this is 5 bars of chocolate! It is one of my top reads so far this year and I cannot wait for The Goddess Inheritance! At least we have the Goddess Legacy this summer!

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Clarity and her family have psychic powers; Clare can touch an object and see the past, her brother, Perry can communicate with the dead, and her mother can read thoughts. This makes for a strong business in her tourist town, that is until a tourist turns up dead. When Clare finds out her brother was the last person to see the victim, Clare tries to protect him and find the real killer. Protecting Perry means teaming up with her ex-boyfriend Justin, the mayor's son Stephen, and the new police chief's hot son, Gabriel. Clare has certain feelings for all these boys, but she puts these aside to try to find the killer, by using her psychic ability. As the killer strikes again and her brother becomes the number one suspect, Clare puts herself in greater danger and may become the killer's next victim.
Even though this has supernatural elements, it is more of a mystery suspense. The quick pace and backstories of the characters are exciting and grip the reader from the start. All the characters were well-developed and Harrington did not neglect her secondary characters. The romances felt real and were complicated, in a good and interesting way. I liked the setting and Harrington's insights on what it is like to be a townie in a tourist town. The mystery was great and I did not find it predictable. I would recommend this to people, even if they don't like supernatural books, because of the great suspense.
Favorite Character: Clare was a strong female lead and complex. She tries to take care of their mom, who was abandoned by Clare's father and she is very protective of her brother. She feels the strain of her powers, especially when they alert her to her boyfriend's cheating, but she does not hide the fact that she has a power. She embraces her strengths and weaknesses.
Favorite Quote: "Yeah, I was Clare Fern, tough psychic chick, member of the freak family. But if they stripped all those labels off, people might be shocked to find a normal girl beneath." I think this expresses the character of Clare perfectly.
I really enjoyed this book and plowed quickly through it. It was nice to read a supernatural book that was more about suspense and mystery than just super powers. I give this 4.5 bars of chocolate!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reading Stack #6

On my stack right now I still have Everneath, but have also added Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins and Clarity by Kim Harrington. I am almost halfway through Clarity and really enjoying the characters. I also hope to read Goddess Hunt and review that and Goddess Interrupted together.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Sirens are mythical creatures that are finally being explored in YA supernatural novels. Tricia Rayburn has the Undercurrent series and sirens are mentioned briefly in other series. Ripple adds an interesting new twist to the story of sirens. Lexi finds out she is a siren on her 16th birthday, when she accidentally kills her crush Stephen, the brother of her best friend, Sienna. Exonerated, Lexi lives with the guilt for two years, cutting herself off from everyone. She swims in an abandoned lake, so that no one will hear her song and be lured into the water. Things change when Cole, Stephen's best friend, tries to thaw out Lexi's ice queen routine. Lexi is even able to patch things with Sienna.  As her romance with Cole deepens, a new boy comes to town, Erik, who tells her he can lift her curse if she will lift his. Lexi feels she must keep her secrets, which could prove deadly.
I read Ripple fairly quickly for my usual speed and loved Hubbard's writing style. Her characters are well-formed and believable, as is the romance in the story. I like how she described Lexi's transformation, with glowing skin and blue iridescent scales, but keep with the idea of a beautiful woman. Instead of beauty being a good thing, Hubbard shows how it can be a curse.
Favorite Quote: "Not even a murder attempt is enough to ruin my hair."
Favorite Characters: Lexi is a strong female and believable. She grieves, she loves, and is loyal. She would die for her friends and she fights her curse as best she can. Cole is a great love interest for Lexi and the relationship they have is completely believable. They both grieve the loss of their friend and they both are very cautious in the beginning of their relationship, because of this loss.
The ending is somewhat bitter sweet, but it is believable. This is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I loved the characters and their interactions and I liked how Lexi's siren abilities are presented. 5 bars of chocolate!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber

I really like Ellen Schreiber's writing style and quick pace. In this series, Celeste has fallen in love with Brandon Maddox, a Westsider, while she is an Eastsider. If only their differences were limited to geographic location in their town of Legend's Run. Brandon after a bite from a wolf, is now a werewolf. Because of his lycan condition, Celeste and Brandon keep their relationship a secret from her best friends. Only her former boyfriend, Nash, knows the truth, not just about their secret relationship, but also Brandon's werewolf condition. Nash, who still likes Celeste, wants to protect her from Brandon and holds Brandon's secret over Celeste's head to try to keep the two apart. To complicate matters, Dr. Meadows, the town psychic and paranormal expert, wants to find the werewolf and again makes a dire prediction about Celeste's future that could have consequences for the two boys vying for her attention.
I like the setup of the story and I like that Schreiber included Brandon's father, a scientist, into the story. The only thing that bothered me about the book, was being repeatedly told that Nast was Celeste's first crush and first boyfriend. It seemed like that was on every other page, but really it is only a tiny concern. I do like the Vampire Kisses series better than this one, but I love how Celeste seems to have a group of people who care about her, whereas Raven has a very select few around her. I wish that some of the characters from the first book had more time in this one. Juliette and Celeste's parents are either absent or barely mentioned. Dr. Meadows only has three short scenes and Mr. Worthington only has one. I really like Mr. Worthington from the first book and hoped to hear more about the legend of the werewolf from him.
Favorite Character: I like Brandon, Celeste, and Nash. Celeste seems like a really caring person, willing to take risks for her friends and those she loves. She really thinks about how the consequences of her decisions can affect others. Nash and Brandon are well-developed and both have likeable characteristics. Nash particularly shows a lot of growth in this second book of the series.
Favorite Quote: "Friendship is as important to you as love." Even though that is part of one of the girl's fortunes, I think that is something important to remember, especially during the teen years, that our friends are as important as our significant others.
I give this 4 bars of chocolate. It is a quick read and has some interesting moments.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reading Stack #5

I finally finished Die for Me and am about halfway through Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber. I added Ripple by Mandy Hubbard to my stack last Friday, and am a third of the way in it. I also want to get started on Everneath by Brodi Ashton, because the reviews of this are really good. I had to take a break from listening to Behemoth, because I received another audio to review, but I hope to restart it this weekend. I need to start reading books other than just fantasy, so I am going to try to find some books in a genre that is outside my usual comfort reading zone. If anyone has an suggestions on realistic fiction or any other genres, feel free to comment.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Kate and her sister Georgia have just lost their parents in a car accident, when Georgia decides they should move to Paris to live with their grandparents. Both sisters are fluent in French and have spent summers in Paris prior to the move. Kate retreats into books and even goes so far as to delete her email account to cut herself off from her former friends. Georgia on the other hand parties with new friends and rarely stays home. Kate finally begins to rejoin the world when she meets the mysterious Vincent. She is attracted to him at first sight and when she sees him rescue a suicidal jumper, she begins falling for him. Vincent is considerate and practically perfect, but he has a dangerous secret, which Kate stumbles upon when she finds him dead on his bed. Technically he is and he isn't dead, he is a revenant. As a revenant he rescues people from death, sometimes dying again, only to wake after three days. Vincent is not the only revenant, but has a whole "family" of those like him, including twins Charlotte and Charles, charming artist Jules, and athletic Ambrose. The revenants live with Jean Baptiste and Gaspard who have been revenants for two hundred and one hundred and a half years respectively. Kate learns not only are there good revenants, but also evil ones, who live only to kill others. Kate must decide if her love for Vincent is worth the risk or if she should walk away.
First I will start with what I like about this book. I love the setting and Amy Plum really brings the city to life, describing the little cafes and scenery better than a guide book. I love the little history she gives of the characters, especially the parts about the French Resistance during World War II.
The romance part is where I had problems. Vincent seems just too perfect, always showering Kate with gifts, stopping their passion from heating up, and willing to sacrifice his happiness for her. Kate spends a little too much time telling us how perfect he is and how chiseled and spectacular he looks. I do have to remember that is how we are when young, but Kate seems just willing to throw away her safety and sanity for Vincent.
However, Kate is my favorite character. I would love to see more of the secondary characters, but they just were not fleshed out enough in this one. Kate is a strong person, she has been through a horrible loss and she does question her attraction to Vincent. She takes her family into consideration and when she doesn't tell them the truth, she pays a price.
Favorite Quotes: "The reason my boyfriend hates yours is because Vincent's a good zombie and Lucien's a bad zombie?"
Line that made me laugh: "Is danger an aphrodisiac?"
This one is really hard to rate, because I really liked parts of it, but it took me a really long time to read it. I do want to read the sequel though. I am going to give it 3.5 bars of chocolate, because I did enjoy the history in the book.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Behind in Reading

I am really behind now on my reading. However, the library will be open tomorrow finally! We have been closed 7 weeks, moving stuff into the new building and getting everything operational. I am still reading Die for Me and have less than 100 pages left. I am not for sure how I feel about it yet, hopefully the end will be good. I am still reading Ellen Schreiber's book and I have started Ripple and really like both of those. I hope to finish Die for Me this week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Kendra tries hard to use her witching powers to benefit humanity, but sometimes this backfires. In Bewitching, we finally get the backstory on Kendra who we first met in Beastly. Kendra finds out she is a witch, when she saves her brother from the plague back in the 1600s. In a take on Hansel and Gretel, Kendra learns from a witch how to develop her powers before the witch attempts to turn Kendra and her brother into gingerbread children. The main story follows Emma and Lisette in a twist on Cinderella. Emma in this case is the stepsister, but the character most in need of Kendra's help. Lisette is beautiful on the outside, but has a poisonous personality. Lisette takes everything from Emma, but possibly with Kendra's help, Emma can win a bit of herself back from Lisette. Interspersed between the main story is two other cases of Kendra's charity, both of which did not work quite according to plan. As usual Flinn's twists on the fairytales are wonderful and enpowering. The end of Emma's and Lisette's tale is inspiring as Emma learns not to settle for second best. I won't say more, so as not to give the end away, but I think it is one of my favorite endings. Flinn's tales of Kendra are magical and will keep the reader entranced up until the last page. This is possibly my favorite of hers.
Favorite Character: Of course, Kendra is great. She is an individual and refuses to conform to what society deems desirable. She tries so hard to help others, but in the end realizes they must help themselves. I also loved Emma, she is strong, smart, and also kind. She learns to love herself and gains back her self-confidence.
Favorite Quote: "Now what are you going to do about it, Emma? Burn me at the stake? Organize a boycott of all the Harry Potter books because they gave me ideas?" "We all stereotype, I guess. I don't usually expect to see pretty girls at a party reading Voltaire."
I absolutely loved this book. Of course 5 bars of chocolate for his one! Hopefully there will be more books with Kendra.