Friday, April 30, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Review of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Published: March 16, 2010

5 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “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 left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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 say first off, I borrowed this book from the library and I am always extremely thankful when I borrow before buying because sometimes the book I am reading and I just do not click. That is not true in the case of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. I was so impressed with every aspect of this book that I now want to own it. Kimberly Derting has a real knack for telling a story, creating insanely complex and sometimes frightening characters, as well as the lure (of the story). The Body Finder depending on if you read the prologue or not, lures you in with a story of butterflies in your stomach of your first heart stopping crush. For me, this is a great way to get me hooked on a story to see if the two main characters have the same feelings for each other or if it wasn’t meant to be.

Violet and Jay who grew up best friends and share all their secrets, all that fantastically good stuff, are characters who when you read you automatically fall in love with. As readers we get to see these truly realistic characters go through their friendship, hard times, fights that seem like they last forever, and truth within each one of themselves. When I read about Violet and Jay, about their friendship, I think “yea, that’s what a best friend is.” It was just really eye opening and amazing that Kimberly Derting could write the complex details of what a best friendship is. Another thing I want to say about The Body Finder is that it makes your heart stop for many different reasons throughout the book. I guess the mystery of it all almost seems like a thriller sometimes and has you on the edge of your seat, which I dig.

The most impressive thing about The Body Finder though was how Kimberly Derting played out the character of the killer. I started reading this book at 8 pm and was finished at 2 am, so when I went to bed I was still scared shitless of the killer in this story. Kimberly Derting’s writing in the mind of the killer was so profoundly real that I was worried to go to sleep last night. As a criminal justice major part of what I study is getting into the minds of criminals themselves and reading The Body Finder was like reading a description of an actual killer. It was truly extraordinary in the most amazing way because it affected me in such a huge way. Kimberly Derting is one of those authors who can not only research for a story or a book and make it turn out realistically, but she is an author who can bring her characters to life. And like I said The Body Finder had a great affect on me, I was scared, sad, upset, depressed, happy, and even sometimes I did my cheerleader thing and squealed at one of the butterfly moments. Books like The Body Finder are why I read books in the first, easily 5 out of 5 smirks.

To learn more about Kimberly Derting please visit her website, http://www.kimberlyderting.com/.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Review of I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It by Adam Selzer

Published: January 26, 2010

3 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . ."

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .”

I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It brought me back to being in high school and to being incredibly stupid throughout that time. I mean in high school you are suppose to act stupid and think everything is the end of the world (even though it clearly is not). I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It was one of those amazingly stupid books you pick up and then you read it and are really glad you are not that stupid anymore. Basically I gave this book 3 smirks because it reminded me of how far I have come along and how amazingly smart I actually turned out to be (not that I’m bragging or anything, just saying). For instance, the main character Alley acts like a typical high school girl who gets a boyfriend and immediately wants to change her future for him.

Now as adults that sounds beyond stupid and na├»ve to think someone in high school is going to love you for the rest of your life. And sure there are some success stories about high school sweethearts, but nowadays it is almost unheard of. I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It is a book you borrow from the library, read once and in under 3 hours, and think “shit I’m really glad I’m not that stupid” or “gee, it is nice to be mental stable every now and then.” Granted, it was a middle school maybe even high school book, but it truly did show how stupid Alley was at the very end.

Alley even claims that she was stupid, but still claims to love Doug. Whatever she is probably just glad she still has a heartbeat and is not eating brains. Deep down I think Alley knows she was being “one of those girls” (who gets caught up in a relationship and stops think about themselves as an individual and more as a couple). I wouldn’t buy this book because it isn’t worth the money, but I am glad I read it just so I can say I did. I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It will just be one of those books that makes me feel better that I am not in high school and that I would never rearrange my life for a guy, no matter how dreamy and undead he is.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Review of The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Published: March 31, 2009 (paperback)

4 out 5 smirks

Synopsis: “My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost-and the ghost saw me. Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.”

I do not believe I have ever seen as much betrayal in my life as I have seen in The Summoning. Holy shit, it was everywhere you looked. Within characters that you originally trusted because of the mutual background or connections with other characters you love, like Chloe. It seemed that everyone she ever came in contact with had at one point or another somehow betrayed her. The Summoning was a great book which had all the elements I require a book to have in order to keep my attention. There was a whole lot of mystery, action, adventure, supernatural, and some romance. I’m not sure if I would buy this series though, hence why I only gave 4 out of 5 smirks. (The economy sucks and you have to pick and choose things you can and cannot live without. I could live without this book for awhile.)

I really liked how Kelley Armstrong went about telling this story. It was like unraveling bits and pieces here and there, but also giving you clues along the way to help you realize what is right in front of you. Of course what is right in front of you always comes as a complete shock when it is revealed later in the book. Which is another truly great aspect of The Summoning; everything that is revealed within its own time always comes as a shock. Then you think wait all the signs were there, this makes total sense. I also really enjoyed the fact that Kelley Armstrong makes the reader feel what the main character is feeling; I feel that is an important aspect to have in order to make a story truly memorable. At first everything is normal and then everything isn’t so normal. It was like being plucked along with Chloe out of a normal life she desperately wanted to have. I enjoyed The Summoning and cannot wait until I read the next installment; The Awakening.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Raven by Allison Van Diepen

Review of Raven by Allison Van Diepen

Published: February 9, 2010

5 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Zin dances with fire in every step, speaks with a honey-sweet voice, and sees with eyes that can peer into your soul. It's no wonder Nicole is madly in love with him. Their friendship is the only thing that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. But she cannot understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers. Zin carries a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.”

So I absolutely adored Raven, it was just so beautiful. I borrowed this book from the library and am really glad I did. Allison Van Diepen has a way of telling amazing stories without leaving you wanting more, meaning not a series book. I really enjoyed reading Raven because it did not end with more books coming along after it. It was a complex story simply put in the best possible way. It had this truly modern edge to it which is hard to find in books being published today. The chemistry between Nicole and Zin was truly visible; it was like you could see the aura coming off the pages.

I gave Raven 5 smirks because I was smiling by the end of the story. Raven is being in a world of uncertainty, life, death, sorrow, love, healing, growing, and changing; it was purely beautiful. I would read this book if I ever got sad or was upset; it really uplifts ones belief in true love. Borrow it from the library or buy it, it is definitely a book worth reading over and over again. I am personally becoming a fast fan of Allison Van Diepen’s writings; the two books I have read of hers won me over entirely.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Final Exam Stress














Hey! As most of you know I am currently in college trying to finish my degree. I wanted to let you all know I will not be posting as many reviews in the next couple of weeks due to finals. I should be done by the end of April and be able to review consistently throughout the summer. Already I can tell you I am getting excited to review Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast as well as Dead in the Family by Charlene Harris. Among the other books I have been reading, but have yet to review are The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine (very thrilling) and The Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson (brilliantly written, laughter for all).

Anyways I suggest reading those two series because they have not let me down yet. And I would love to give you a specific day when I will be back to reviewing and dazzling you all with my witty comments, but I don’t. After finals I plan on drinking because I haven’t had that type of “relaxing” all semester. I also have not had a break from school since I start college (fall, winter, spring, summer) so I think a little bit of reading, drinking, and Buffy should be the cure for me. I’ll keep trying to put up reviews at least 1 a week, but don’t hold me to it. Good luck to everyone who has tests and/or finals to study for! Cheers!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Oracle of Dating by Allison Van Diepen

Review of The Oracle of Dating by Allison Van Diepen

Publication Date: May 1, 2010

5 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “No one at Kayla’s school knows she’s the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice, given through her own Web site. Kayla doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make her focus on everyone else’s love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating--and she knows just where to find one...”

The Oracle of Dating was a surprisingly witty and laughter filled book. The only reason I decided to read this fabulous book was for the mere purpose of branching out of my supernatural/romance funk books I am happily addicted to. The Oracle of Dating was just so awesomely great that it made me smile throughout the whole thing. I read it in the span of 3 hours, 251 pages not too bad. Allison Van Diepen is an incredibly talented author who can even make a snarky girl like me feel the heartache of a teenage girl who gets a taste of what it is like to be one of her readers. I was very impressed and found out also that Allison Van Diepen has written other books which I am looking into now.

I highly recommend reading The Oracle of Dating and most likely any other books by Allison Van Diepen. For an author to turn me into a high school girl again is obviously worth reading. Since I am normally a dark soul and look for supernatural books to satisfy my hunger for books, I find the more I think about it the more I think branching could really change my reading habits for the better. Of course 5 out of 5 smirks were given to this book because it made me remember what it was like to be in high school again. It was a great book and I highly suggest buying it when it comes out just to take a trip down memory lane or even relate to it if you are still in high school. Either way it is an amazing story about friends, family, dating, life, gossip, and guys. For more information about this author please visit, http://www.allisonvandiepen.com/index.htm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Review of Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, Book 3)

Published: October 2, 2007

3 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Claire Danvers's college town may be run by vampires but a truce between the living and the dead made things relatively safe. For a while. Now people are turning up dead, a psycho is stalking her, and an ancient bloodsucker has proposed private mentoring. To what end, Claire will find out. And it's giving night school a whole new meaning.”

Rachel Caine is very consistent in my book. I enjoy reading her books, but personally they are not books that I would buy to re-read over and over again, like others. I will say though, I am always left on a cliff hanger of some kind when it comes to reading the Morganville Vampire Series. And cliff hangers are always good in my book. Midnight Alley was a lot more about the vampires and Claire herself than anyone else. Midnight Alley showed the readers how much Claire herself has changed and what her limits are when it comes to choosing between the vampires who protect her to the humans who try to keep her safe.

Midnight Alley was all around a crazy vampire adventure, like I’m sure the rest of the Morganville Vampire Series books will be. There is always an aspect I really enjoyed out of a book whether it’s the cover art, or how an author writes or specific genres that flow into the book. Midnight Alley’s one thing I really enjoyed was the fact that we get to see more of Shane and Claire together. This book shows how they are as individuals and how they are as a couple. I really liked that aspect of the book because it was secretly what I wanted to see more of. The dynamic within the house itself changes for the roommates, since Michael changed, Shane’s dad turned out to be crazy, Eve’s brother being released from jail, and Claire being protected by the badass vampire Amelia. All in all Midnight Alley had more mystery and more in depth webs the roommates in the house will have to weave out of if they ever want to leave Morganville.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine

Review of The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, Book 2)

Published: April 3, 2007

3 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose.”

The Dead Girls’ Dance was consistent with the first book of the Morganville Vampire Series. I mean, as far as the whole action/romance/mystery thing goes it was good. I wouldn’t buy the book though because I don’t plan on re-reading it, but that is not to say that I do not believe it was a good book because it was. We get to know the characters more and their dynamics become more prudent and intertwined with each other. Michael, Shane, Eve, and Claire all make up 4 totally different personalities in the Glass House, but they are blend together to create this solid bond between each other.

I really enjoyed The Dead Girls’ Dance because it actually showed in Morganville there are other things to fear other than darkness and vampires. Humans are an issue as well, because they are not all ultimately good, some are just as evil maybe even more so than vampires in Morganville. In this book we get a glimpse of both vampires and humans at their best and at their worse painting a truly complicated picture for Morganville itself. 3 out of 5 smirks because it was good and I had to read it, but wouldn’t buy it. Now I’m off the read Midnight Alley (book 3).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Review of Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (Books 1) by James Patterson

Published: April 1, 2007

4 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids—only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time...like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs. Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare—this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb—now her betrayed and greatest enemy—that her purpose is save the world—but can she?” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

Well, I have never before read any books by James Patterson until now. The Maximum Ride Series is going to prove to be a wonderful series; I can feel it in my bones. Originally, I had no idea that this series even existed until one fateful day at the local Barnes and Noble. I was there with a friend and we over heard this frantic dad talking on his cell phone to his daughter looking for all the books in the series. He was like, “Ok I have the first three and what other? Fang? I don’t see it anywhere.” Being a helpful, devoted person I am, I grabbed the book he was looking for and gave it to, where in turn he said “oh thank you, who knew talking loudly on the phone could be beneficial?” This was the encounter that spiked my interest in the Maximum Ride Series.

I gave The Angel Experiment 4 out of 5 smirks because it was really good and I bought it, but it wasn’t quite a 5. I’m hoping that the next book involves romance which is one thing I really enjoy in a book, besides the action and violent parts. I don’t have to tell you James Patterson is a talented author, but I do have to tell you that what he did with these kids in this book was incredibly heartwarming. Kids (ages 6-14) who knew nothing of a normal family and made their own little misfit family instead. Max, Fang, Iggy, Gassman, Nudge, and Angel make up the team or family who all has one very important thing in common. They are all on the run from scientists who created them to be born with wings.

The Angel Experiment gives you a great foundation for the each of the characters to show their strengths and weaknesses, and I can feel the build up for the next book just after reading this one. The Angel Experiment only really lacked one thing which was romance, I mean we get to see at least a hint of it but it is very subtle. I think Mr. Patterson is doing great build up for what will be for sure a story of attraction and love along with action, adventure, supernatural, mystery, violence, and of course bombs. It is definitely a series worth trying out. I really enjoyed all parts of The Angel Experiment; I read it in a day which is usually what happens when I am hooked on a book. I guess you just have to read it to understand what it is about the book that makes it undyingly original to the very core. Simply put, it’s a beautiful story about beautiful characters just trying to find a sense of belonging.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Review of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires, Book 1)

Published: October 3, 2006

3 out 5 smirks

Synopsis: “College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.”

Morganville Vampire Series is something I think people need to read. I was surprised as ever that I enjoyed the first book of this series, Glass Houses, and I’m looking forward to reading the others that follow. I had heard through friends that the first book was not as enjoyable as the rest of the series, and I am here to tell you I will find out if it is true. I am really glad I decided to borrow these books from the library because at least for, Glass Houses, I will never read again. That is not to say Glass Houses was not good because it was. It just wasn’t a book I am dying to own. Hence the only 3 smirks. If you haven’t noticed a pattern 4-5 smirks are books I want or do own, where as 3 smirks means it was a good book and I’m glad I read it but don’t have the urge to buy it.

I really enjoyed the way Glass Houses ended with roommates screaming all at once. I thought it was very vampire book worthy. The one thing I truly enjoyed though was the four main characters of the book, although the story is told through Claire, the new roommate, you really got a glimpse of what it is like going off to college and building your own family. It had a homey feel to it, a togetherness and protection of each other that would just chemistry within the characters. There was also a lot of mystery surrounding the whole experience as if we only saw what Claire saw until she saw it, very good way of writing (I really admire that about Rachel Caine). It also didn’t suck that there are two hot boys living in this “glass house” if you will, I mean seriously the tension between the four characters as individual couples was so animated, it was fabulous.

As you all know, I am in college so I get to read maybe 2 books a week if I’m lucky. I’ve read about 4 or more this week and am beat, so I will leave you with this tid bit. Rachel Caine is a fantastic author and I look forward to reading the next two Morganville Vampire Series books. Read them or don’t, at this point I am so exhausted I don’t care, but a word to the wise “reading is fundamental.” Take the time to read this book at the very least and indulge in the world of college mixed with bloodsucking fiends or rather go back to those days or look forward to them or if you are like me you are still mixed up in them. Either way this book is worth reading.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Review of Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block

Published: September 22, 2009

4 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “People pity me, but mostly they feel envy. I have all the luxury and freedom a girl my age could want.

Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the brooding, magnetic Jared--she cannot say. What if it's something more...

Something to do with the sudden tear in her perfect nails. The heat she feels when she's with Jared. The blood rushing once again to her cheeks and throughout her veins.

For Charlotte is a vampire, witness to almost a century's worth of death and destruction. But not since she was a human girl has mortality touched her.
In what way will you be transformed?
Until now.”

Wow is all I can say for this book. Pretty Dead is a story line which is new (a good thing) and fresh. I only gave it 4 smirks because I would not re-read this book over and over again, like I would books I give 5 smirks or more to. Everything about Pretty Dead is elegant and beautiful. Francesca Lia Block writes this beautifully flowing story about a vampire who just wants to be human again and everything she has been throughout her once human life, to her vampire life. And ultimately talks about the three people who, Charlotte, has loved within the last 50 years (William, Jared, and Emily). Charlotte’s story is one about betrayal, jealousy, guilt, pain, heart ache, death, and love. Definitely something to pick up and read.

And the cover art is so magnificent, purely luring and gorgeous. It is one of many reasons why I picked up the book to read and I am so glad I did. Even though I would not re-read this book again I would say reading it makes everything seem brighter. I also loved the fact that it was a great story but it wasn’t filled with unnecessary content thus only making the book 195 pages. It was easy to read but it was elegant in its delivery. The local libraries will surely have it, put it on hold and take your time in reading Charlotte’s story.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Review of Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Published: March 9, 2010

5 out 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at their hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything . . . but can it survive what's to come?”

I am beyond pissed off at this point. I gave Hourglass 5 smirks because it was really good, so good I cried 4 times, but that does not mean I am not angry with how the story line turned. I really wish I could vent about it, but that would give too much away and be unfair to the readers who read this blog and therefore go on to read this book. Claudia Gray keep up with the constant surprises, throwing me down when I was up, pulling me forward when I wanted to go back, and overall just ripping my heart from my chest. I guess what I can say, if you thought Romeo and Juliet was a heart sickening love story, wait till you read about Bianca and Lucas.

I cannot believe where this book ended either, completely and totally unfair. I am now stuck with waiting another year for the next book to come out. The ending was so heart wrenching and terrible that I may actually try and find Claudia Gray and shake some sense into her. The one good merit she has is that there is another book and she can correct what she did in Hourglass. Not that anything was wrong with Hourglass, it was brilliant, but every once in awhile I would appreciate at least one happy thought before you end a book. This blogger is already miserable enough and could use some good cheer. Here’s hoping the next installment of this heart breaking, surprisingly great series comes in the form of happiness and butterflies. Evernight Series, I suggest you read it.

Need by Carrie Jones

Review of Need by Carrie Jones

Published: December 8, 2009 (paperback)

1 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Zara collects phobias the way other girls collect Facebook friends. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.
Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.” (
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Need/Carrie-Jones/e/9781599903385).

Well despite how I always seem to read books I love and write about them, I thought I should show you guys there are books out there I cannot stand. Need by Carrie Jones being one of them. This is not to say I do not respect Carrie Jones as an author because frankly anyone who works hard and gets published has been very successful. This book however, was not my cup of tea; actually it wasn’t my cup of anything. It was just so predictably bad, I thought I might fall asleep and seriously wanted to so I could get rid of my headache from reading it.

Zara, main character, just bugs the shit out of me. I mean seriously, a main character who doesn’t want to hurt people who are attacking her? WTF? Some might think this characteristic is endearing, but frankly I think it’s annoying as hell to be inside Zara’s mind and have to listen to her whine about every single thing. Geeze, even writing about it makes my head swell in irritation. And just the whole how we trap pixies thing was just absurd, I mean seriously, forks? They aren’t even iron, who eats with iron forks? Don’t answer that because I do not want to know. I mean I get the were animals in the book, I truly do and I even kind of like them but forks as weapons??? That is the equivalent of me throwing a sock at an intruder in my house. I would have more luck throwing one of my books.

The one great thing about this book is in fact the cover, very beautiful and ties amazingly well with the story line. This is why I gave 1 smirk instead of none. Like I said, I respect Carrie Jones and the fact that she works hard, but not all books are going to reach everyone. This book fell incredibly short for me and I am really glad that I did not buy it. Actually that is this posts lesson! If you are unsure of a book, do not purchase it, borrow or rent from the library. Better safe than sorry. With the economy the way it is, 9 bucks can really come in handy and shouldn’t be wasted on something you aren’t going to love.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Review of Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Published: March 2009

5 out 5 smirks

Synopsis: Stargazer returns to Bianca's story a few months later. Both she and Lucas will stop at nothing to see each other again—even if it means living a life of secrets and lies. But even as Bianca finds herself torn between two worlds, she soon discovers they aren't the only ones keeping secrets. Will powerful forces within Evernight Academy keep her from deciding her own fate, or claim her forever?” (http://www.claudiagray.com/books.htm)

Stargazer is the second book in the Evernight Series by Claudia Gray. I admitted to being pleasantly surprised and shaken up so much by Gray’s storyline that multiple times I screamed, “WTF?” Well what I can say about Stargazer is at least Claudia Gray is consistent on totally dropping you into a pit of snakes after happily frolicking with bunnies. I mean holy shit! I was getting into a comfortable groove with the storyline and then BAM! Bianca is frozen by a wraith and getting hunted. I mean clearly 5 smirks is being given because I cannot get a handle on this author. Which is what makes reading this series the best thing since The Hunger Games Trilogy.

I don’t want to say much about the Evernight Series in general because that would be giving too much away. The surprises that jerked me upright and threw me on the ground were so important to how the story is told that I would be upset if someone told me about it. I will say though in Stargazer we get to see more about the characters rather than just Bianca and Lucas. We get to fall in love with the different personalities the characters bring to the story as well as realize the important role the characters play in each other’s lives. I read this book in about 8 hours, it was so good I just couldn’t put it down or go to sleep without realizing what happened in the end. Of course, Stargazer isn’t the end and there is yet another book out there to be read and boy, did Stargazer leave you on one hell of a cliff hanger. Claudia Gray is just as good at cliff hangers as Suzanne Collins.

I hope and I also fear that the next book Hourglass will not be the last book of this series. I hope because I’m in love with the characters and I fear because I do not think I can wait a year until I can read the next installment. There is one thing that I want to tell you all about Bianca that makes her unnervingly innocent and probably always will be. Bianca is for lack of a better term a stargazer and as long as she’s looking up she’s at peace and at home. I’m envious of that connection she has to something so open to everyone in this world; it makes you think about the connections you, yourself, have to the simplest of things that make you who you are and calm you down. Read it and don’t ask questions about it until you have read it. Having someone spoil the surprises for you, makes reading the book useless. Be smart and patient, you won’t regret it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Review of The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Published: August 2010

6 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.”

Wow, this book truly lives up to the first. I loved The Iron King so much after I borrowed it from someone to read, I immediately went out to get my very own copy. Reading IK is like being at home in this adventurous world, where things do go bump in the night and threats loom behind every tree or computer. The Iron Daughter made me ache to have a solid copy in front of me, because it too was like going home. I felt close to the characters, feeling their emotions, their struggles, and was in the action with them. And the one character who surprised me utterly and won my heart was Ironhorse, I loved him. Meeting him in Ik was a very different experience of what ID was about, and I came to the realization half way through the book that if I ever needed a protector or someone to think was so outrageously gallant it was funny, Ironhorse is my man or horse (depending on the form he chooses to take).

I truly just let myself drown in The Iron Daughter and barely realized I read it in one day. I was memorized by the love triangle, by Ash, by Puck, and how the mystery of who was behind what in the book was finally revealed. And the ending to it was perfect, just perfect. I cannot wait for The Iron Queen to come out so I can find out what happens with Meaghan, Ash, The Nevernever, Puck, and all the fey creatures. Julie Kagawa’s ability to write a book that speaks to my heart and makes my bad days always shine is why 5 out 5 smirks just wasn’t enough, it had to be 6.

Side note, if you have not read The Iron King (Book 1) yet, I have no idea what the hell you are waiting for. It’s the perfect book, it’s paperback, small enough to travel, and has every aspect that could appeal to anyone.

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Review of Evernight by Claudia Gray

Published: February 10, 2009

5 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “Bianca has been uprooted from her happy, uneventful life to start anew at an elite boarding school where her parents will now be professors. Even though Bianca doesn't feel that she is the Evernight type—rich, beautiful, or gifted—she knows that her parents feel this is best for her. She and Lucas Ross share a special connection from the moment they meet and he, like Bianca and a few others, is an outsider. He is a rebel who is on a mission to discover the secret behind Evernight Academy. As the weeks progress, their relationship heats up. What they don't realize, however, is that they each harbor a great secret that could divide them forever. Can their love survive the truth?”

Evernight was such a face slapping book that it was obvious I had to give it 5 smirks. There were more than a few times where information was dropped like a bomb while reading it that I literally screamed, WTF????? And that is exactly what I loved about it. It spun me in one direction one page and a hundred pages from that I was stunned into a swearing fit when I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Talk about unpredictable, Claudia Gray just takes the rug right out from under you as soon as you think this is just another great academy book.

I was just blown away by how Claudia Gray took this story and make it so endearing and desirable to readers. I had heard great things about this series before I picked up the book, even passed it in the bookstore once or twice (and as we all have learned if I go to a bookstore and always pick up a book but never buy it, I will most likely end up liking it). It was a much needed change from the predictable books out there, I thought I had this book all figured out and it turns out I had no clue. Over three-hundred pages of deliciously snarky, witty, romantic goodness and I’m still smiling and waiting anxiously for tomorrow. Hoping beyond hope the library will call and let me know I can pick up the rest of the books in this series.

If you want to be taken by surprise, drawn into mythology, mystery, excitement, deception, romance, predators, and prey, this book is something that should be on your to do list like a year ago. I don’t want to give anything away because if I did, you wouldn’t have the same jaw dropping experience I did while reading it. And what kind of book review would I be if I just robbed you of that pleasure. You should also warn anyone you live with that you might be swearing or screaming WTF, but not to worry you are just reading an empowering book that takes over your senses because you can’t believe what is happening.

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Review of Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Published: 2007

4 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis: “When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.

The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated “blue bloods” of American society. The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries.

But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food -- and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead . . . drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn’t know what to think. Could those vampire legends really be true?” (
http://bluebloodsbooks.com/includes/bluebloods-synopsis.html)

Every time I would go into a bookstore I would pass these amazingly beautifully covered books, I would always stop and admire and read the back to see if there books were worth purchasing. Finally, for Easter I received the first book of The Blue Bloods Series, cleverly titled Blue Bloods. The only problem I had with Blue Bloods was that the point of view shifted between a lot of characters within the same chapter, which normally I would find exciting and helpful but the way it was done was confusing. One minute you’re inside a main character’s head and then they are talking to someone and all of a sudden you’re in their head too. After about the fifth chapter though, it was easy to get use the style of the writing and the flow of it all.

All in all I loved the book, 4 smirks is pretty close to perfect for grading on scale at least on my scale it is. I really enjoyed the history Melissa De La Cruz put into the book and how she created this wonderful world of what vampires truly are and how they truly exist. It was a good escape from the traditional vampire mythology and loved the way the author took you on a different route and weaved history into it all. Very clever and I admire that about Melissa De La Cruz. The one thing that really changed my mind about reading the first book of this series was in the first few pages. Normally authors like to quote poems or from other books but this author took even me by surprised and quoted from a Muse song, which I found truly inspiring.

You can always tell a lot about someone by the music they listen to, they shows they watch, the movies they love, and ultimately what’s on their book shelves. I think it is safe to say that if Melissa De La Cruz was just someone who happened to live in my hometown we would get along famously. Back to the book, which I stayed up all night reading because I could not put it down and now I have to go to class. Anyways, Blue Bloods has every element in it that makes a good book, mystery, adventure, secrets, weird Twin relationships, romance, preppy kids from NYC, and of course a savor in the bunch. I cannot wait to read the second book of this series and might have to take a detour before going to my class. Read the first book and if you don’t like no harm, no foul, but remember I didn’t think I was going to like it either and it totally sucked me in.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Under My Skin by Judith Graves

Review of Under My Skin by Judith Graves

Published: March 27, 2010

4 out of 5 smirks

Synopsis:
“Redgrave had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets, missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Redgrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn - in fact, she's lethal. But she can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding - human Alec. And then it all goes bad.
A normal life? Now that's the real fairytale”.

Under My Skin was a surprising book to me. At first I was reluctant to read it because it involves werewolves (not a fan), and the whole angle seems over played lately. However, after being part of a chat with Judith Graves I found out she was a huge Buffy fan. Naturally after this tad bit of information I decided to read Under My Skin (us Buffy fans have to stick together). This book surprised me in all the best ways and it truly was a delight to read a book with the familiar taste of Whedonism that rolls off the tongue so nicely.

4 smirks were given because I couldn’t give it 5 based on the cover art, it totally deceives the reader into not wanting to pick the book up. Other than that though, this book really shined with the amazing out casted characters standing together to help protect a town and one of their own. Love triangle of course, with Eryn, Wade, and Alec, have to love it. Wade, hot vampire and Alec, not really sure what he is, and Eryn of course is half wolfen. Very nice set up in Under My Skin, to lead to the second book which I hope will involve more scenes with Eryn and each of the contenders for her heart. A book just isn’t a book without male infused filled jealousy.

Under My Skin made me laugh mostly which is always a good way to read a book, I didn’t get emotionally tied to it like I do other books. I suppose that is because there was no big upset scene where the main character was heartbroken or on the edge of death. So I will keep a watchful eye on this author and continue to read her Skin Series as it progresses. And folks, don’t be deceived by the cover art, the book has its merits.