Monday, December 31, 2007

Be Still My Vampire Heart by Kerrelyn Sparks





3 in the Love at Stake series

Synopsis

One look at her was enough to stop his heart.......

If it was still beating. Angus MacKay has been undead for almost five hundred years and it's not often something, or someone, surprises him. Until Emma Wallace. The sight of this luscious agent from the CIA's elite Stake-Out team was enough to stop Angus in his tracks. But then he discovers that she's a vampire slayer, intent on killing the "monsters" who killed her parents. And it's Angus's job to stop her.

The only good vampire is a dead vampire. It's been Emma's motto since she committed her life to the destruction of these things. Now Angus MacKay wants to convince her differently.

Sure, he's a sexy Highland warrior who seems to have stepped off the cover of a romance novel, complete with brogue, kilt, and sword, but he's also one of them. And it's her job to kill him.

The war is on, but will it end in the destruction of one or both of them . . . or in total surrender to a passion for the ages?

~~~

My Opinion

Another great book in the 'Love At Stake' series. If you are looking for some great romantic vampire fluff this is a good bet.

The characters are great and it ties in with the last two books in the series, while at the same time, having the ability to stand on it's own.

Great storyline, great ending, all around great read!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel by Joe Hill




From the Publisher
Sooner or later, the dead catch up . . .

Judas Coyne was a collector. The bizarre, the uncanny, the grotesque. A cookbook for cannibals. A used hangman’s noose. A snuff film. Many of these objects were gifts from the black-clad fans who made his metal band a legend and made him rich.

But not all. When his personal assistant told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, Jude knew he had to have it for his private collection, didn’t think twice. He should have. Jude has spent a lifetime evading ghosts -- of an abusive father, of the bandmates he betrayed, of Anna, the suicidal girl he loved and abandoned. But this spirit is different. This one means to chase him to the edge of sanity.

His new acquisition -- delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box -- is the restless soul of Anna’s vengeful stepdaddy. Craddock McDermott swore he would settle with Jude for ruining his daughter’s life. Soon, everywhere Jude turns, Craddock is there: behind the bedroom door; in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang; outside his window; on his widescreen TV. Waiting -- with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand.

If ever there was a case of caveat emptor, this is it . . .


My Opinion

What a fantastic ghost story. It has been a while since I have read a really good ghost story and this one was just what I needed.

Jude is a fading rock star who has not lead a very decent life. Marybeth is his most recent young bed warmer. As horrible as Jude appears to be, I really grew to like him and found myself rooting for him and Marybeth from the beginning. The beginning being when Jude buys a ghost off an Internet auction site. Having spent his life with a healthy interest in the occult and supernatural he does not hesitate to buy the ghost, but when the heart-shaped box with the old suit that the ghost is supposed to be attached to arrives, it brings with it what will ultimately be the ride of Jude's life.

With plenty of twist and turns this book is a non-stop action ride. I picked it up and could not put in down. Finished it in 24 hours, which is saying a lot! Well worth a read and you can see where Joe Hill gets his writing influence from his dad. Looking forward to more by this author.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

#74 -- In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes




From the Publisher
In the Forests of the Night is a lush, moody tale of vampires, witches, and shape-shifters. It’s the story of how one female vampire comes to terms with her inner nature and reclaims her rightful powers. From the first few pages, readers will feel themselves transported into this haunting world that rests just on the edge of our own.
Readers will also be interested to learn that this exciting debut novel was written by a teenager herself. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes found out that In the Forests of the Night was accepted by Delacorte Press on her 14th birthday! We caught up with this busy young author to find out the story behind the story.

My Opinion
Excellent book by a great young author. In this book we meet Rachel/Risika who has been a vampire for 300 years. The story jumps back and forth from the present, back 300 years when Rachel was changed. But the transition is smooth and works well to let us get to know Risika (as she is now known). We get a glimpse into a world where vampires can change shape, instantly transport and kill with just their minds. This is a dark story but a very powerful one. Well written and completely enjoyable. I really am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Among the Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Shadow Children #3)




From the Publisher
What does it mean to save yourself?
Nina Idi – a third child in a society where families are allowed only two children – has been betrayed by the boy she loved, and arrested by the Population Police for exposing other alleged third children. Angry and confused, Nina knows only one thing for sure: She is innocent of the charges. But now she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life: Get three other prisoners to admit they are shadow children and be spared herself, or refuse to cooperate and be killed.

The options are clear. The choice, Nina discovers, is not….

My Opinion
Another good read in the Shadow Children Series.

This book centers around Nina, who was arrested in the last book. She is imprisoned as a traitor who has betrayed the Third Children along with Jason.

Now she is forced to befriend and betray three other Third Children in order to save her own life. But how can she betray them, when like her, they have done nothing wrong besides be born.

This book follows Nina as she and the group of three other children manage to escape from the prison and head back to Hendricks school, where Nina thinks that they will be safe.

But nothing is as it seems and Nina soon wonders who is lying to who.

Friday, August 17, 2007

#72 -- Among the Impostors (Shadow Children #2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix



From the Publisher

OUT OF HIDING. INTO DANGER.

Luke Garner is an illegal third child. All his life has been spent in hiding. Now, for the first time, Luke is living among others. He has assumed a deceased boy’s identity and is attending Hendricks School for Boys, a windowless building with cruel classmates and oblivious teachers. Luke knows he has to blend in, but he lives in constant fear that his behavior will betray him.

Then one day Luke discovers a door to the outside. He knows that beyond the walls of Hendricks lie the secrets he is desperate to uncover. What he doesn’t know is whom he can trust – and where the answers to his questions may lead him…

My Opinion
This was another good book in the Shadow Children Series. After the events of the first book, when Luke’s friend Jen is killed trying to lead a rally to denounce the fact that third children are illegal, Luke is offered the opportunity to have a fake id and leave home. He accepts, knowing that he can not spend the rest of his life hiding out in the attic of his parents house. He is given the identity of a Baron boy who was killed in an accident and sent to Hendricks school for boys.

Luke tries to adjust to his new identity. He tries to fit in with the other boys, but after spending the first 12 years of his life hiding, it is overwhelming to be surrounded by so many other boys all the time. So one day when he discovers a door leading outside and he sneaks out. He discovers a spot in the woods near the school where he can be alone and visits it frequently. Until one day he discovers that he is not the only one sneaking out. There is a group of other boys who sneak out and meet in the woods. A group of other third children like himself. Luke discovers the meaning of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, but he also discovers a way to make a difference in the lives of other third children.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

#71 -- Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix



From the Publisher
Luke has never been to school. He’s never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend’s house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He’s lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family’s farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl’s face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he’s met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows—does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?

My Opinion
This was a fantastic start to this series.

In a not to distance future, overpopulation and years of droughts have devastated the world’s food supply. The Government has taken over and declared that it is illegal for any one family to have more than 2 children.

When they start building new homes near Luke’s house he has to go into hiding because he is a third child. His parents are poor farmers and are terrified that Luke will be discovered and taken from them, so he is forced to stay in the attic and has limited interaction with his family. One day while peeking out of the attic vents he sees a face in one of the new house’s windows that should not be there. Another Third Child like himself, could it be? He decides that he has to find out and one day after weeks of planning and waiting he sneaks out and over to the neighbor’s house. To his surprise he discovers another Third like himself, a girl named Jen. Jen lives a very different life than Luke as her family are Barons, one of the elite in the new world order, but she still has to hide as it is illegal for even Barons to have more than 2 children.

What follows is a growing friendship between shy, timid Luke and outgoing, determined Jen. As Jen plans a Rally for all of the Shadow Children that she has befriended via an Internet chat room, Luke becomes concerned for her safety. What will happen when Jen leads a march on the President’s House with other Shadow children, demanding that they be allowed to come out of hiding?

This is really a very scary and sad story about a not so unbelievable future. I look forward to continuing the series.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

#70 -- Replay by Ken Grimwood



From the Publisher
Jeff Winston, forty-three, didn’t know he was a replayer until he died and woke up twenty-five years younger in his college dorm room; he lived another life. And died again. And lived again and died again – in a continuous twenty-five-year cycle—each time starting from scratch at the age of eighteen to reclaim lost loves, remedy past mistakes, or make a fortune in the stock market. A novel of gripping adventure, romance, and fascinating speculation on the nature of time, Replay asks the question: “What if you could live your life over again?”

My Opinion

This book came highly recommended and I was not disappointed.

Jeff Winston is a 43 year old man who dies of a sudden heart attack, to wake up moments later as his 18 year old self with all of his memories of his previous life, including his painful death, intact. As it becomes obvious to him that he has his entire life to live over again he ponders the how & why of what has happened. He uses his knowledge of the future to place some well timed bets that make him wealthy and he lives his life over again, much differently than the first time. Right up to that moment 43 years later when he dies again, and wakes up again as his 18 year old self.

As he is faced with the possibility of a never ending cycle of lives he ponders those questions that we have all faced. If you had it all to do over again with the knowledge of what was going to happen how would you do it. Would you change your life? Would you try to stop tragedies that you know the world was going to face?

During his second or third cycle of life he encounters another person who replays, Pamela. As they meet and compare notes about there lives and the puzzle of their replays, they begin to fall in love.
They develop an enduring love that carries them through a cycle to be remembered and sought out in the next cycle. Each cycle is different. They use their knowledge of the future to try to affect change, but it is not always successful.

Unfortunately in their search for answers they become aware that their cycles are becoming shorter each time. Before they know it they are losing years of the cycle and coming back later and later into their lives. What will happen when they have no more time left between cycles? When they face that last cycle that they will not return from?

It is a very thought provoking book. What would you do if you could do it all over again?

This is a great video about this book. Take a few moments to watch it --

#69 -- He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot by Stephanie Rowe



From the Publisher
Her heart may be in the right place...but her soul belongs to Satan. Being Satan's most infamous minion is the only life Becca Gibbs has ever known. But now she's restless, sick and tired of stealing souls, and ready to break free on her own. Unfortunately, this gig isn't like any other job. Its first rule: Walk out on the Devil-and kiss your life good-bye.
Nick Rawlings is the last of the Markku, a race of fighters that broke from Hell to pull for the good. When his sister goes missing, and her ransom is the death of Satan, Nick's more than willing to take on the fight. The first step? Getting the devil's sexy right-hand helper on his side. The second? Well, if he can take his eyes-and hands-off of her, he's sure he'll think of it...



My Opinion
I absolutely love these books by Rowe. They are such fun quick reads and the characters are fabulous.

This book centers around Becca who we have met before in the two previous Rowe books. Becca is a Rivka. Is in fact Satan's right hand Rivka. But she hates her job. Hates her life really since she does not have one of her own. She lives off of Satan's life force and has to obey his commands. But she does her best to thwart Satan as often as she can and she has spent the last 100 years trying to figure out how to break free of him.

Nick Rawlings is the last of the Markku, the first servants of Satan who managed to break free and live there own lives amongst Mortals. He is also half healer, so he has the ability to feel the emotions of others as well as share his emotions with others.

When his younger sister is trapped in a Hell blister with a time limit on her life, he seeks out Becca, Satan's best Rivka, to try to convince her to help him kill Satan. Of course if Becca allows him to kill Satan then she dies too! Unless she can use Nick to figure out how to break free, since he is the last of the Markku.

Since they each have their own agendas and need to use each other to accomplish them, they work together. Of course that starts the sparks flying and when you combine sex with intermingled emotions, boy do the sparks fly!! lol

It is a fun adventure as they try to break Nick's little sister out of the Hell blister while trying to keep Becca alive and set her free. There is also the introduction of a new character, Paige, Becca's new apprentice. She is quite annoying at first but she does tend to grow on you. Good thing too since the next installment in this series centers on her, 'Sex & The Immortal Bad Boy'.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

#68 -- Desire After Dark by Amanda Ashley



From the Publisher
Sexy vampires, dangerous devotion, unparalleled romance, no one does desire after dark like bestselling author Amanda Ashley. Now, in her enthralling new novel, she explores a passion as smoldering as it is risky… Vicki Cavendish knows she should be careful. After all, there’s a killer loose in town—one who drains women of blood, women with red hair and green eyes just like her. She knows she should tell police about the dark, gorgeous man who comes into the diner every night, the one who makes her feel a longing she’s never felt before. The last thing she should do is invite the beautiful stranger into her house…
Cursed to an eternity of darkness, Antonio Battista has wandered the earth, satisfying his hunger with countless women, letting none find a place in his heart. But Victoria Cavendish is different. Finally, he has found a woman to love, a woman who accepts him for what he is—a woman who wants him as much as he wants her…which is why he should leave. But Antonio is a vampire, not a saint. What is his, he’ll fight to keep and protect. And Victoria Cavendish needs protecting…from the remorseless enemy who would make her his prey…and from Antonio’s own uncontrollable hunger…

My Opinion
Well I don’t know where to start. I enjoyed this book. It was romance through and through. The problem that I had was that I had gone out and picked up the two books that preceded this one since I am anal about reading books in order. I really enjoyed both of them—‘Shades of Gray’ & ‘After Sundown’. While those two books were very much tied together and had wonderful characters, this book, which is very loosely tied to the first two and could be read as a stand alone, had characters that to me were not as interesting. The plot also was pretty much the same as the previous two books, but with new characters, so it was like reading the same story over again, but with the names changed.

Don’t get me wrong. If I run across any more of Amanda Ashley’s books I will probably read them. They are good romances. But I probably won’t actively seek them out as I understand that most of them are just the same plot, different characters. While the plot was great the first time around with ‘Shades of Gray’ and still interesting since the characters were really likeable in ‘After Sundown’, by the time I got to ‘Desire After Dark’, I had had my fill.

There were several elements to the story that just did not make sense. One example is when Vicki is going to rescue Antonio from Falco. She just so happens to run into a guy who not only sells her a gun but spends an hour training her to shoot it. While they are in an empty lot practicing they just so happen to run into a group of 4, what I would describe as hoodlums, who volunteer to go with Vicki and help her out. They don’t know her, have no clue what she is going to do, but they go along for the ride. Pretty far fetched. There are a few instances like that where you just go, wait a minute, what is going on here! But put that aside and the story is okay. Lady Katherine is a fun character and we do get to revisit Edward Ramsey a bit. Worth an afternoon to read, but nothing fantastic~

Monday, August 6, 2007

#67 After Sundown by Amanda Ashley



From the Publisher
Edward Ramsey has spent his live hunting vampires. Now he is one of them. Yet Edward’s human conscience – and his heart- compel him to save beautiful Kelly Anderson, and soon their growing love is his reason for living. And as the ancient, stunning and merciless vampire Khira seeks supremacy among Los Angeles’ undead, Edward and his former nemesis Grigori Chiavari, once Khira’s lover, must unite to stop her – before the city, and everything they cherish, is in her power…..

My Opinion
Another excellent book in this trilogy. This book, although published 5 years after it’s prequel ‘Shades of Gray’, takes up right where that one left off.

Edward Ramsey has been turned into a vampire, in an attempt to save his life. Turned into a creature that he was born and raised to hunt, to despise. How does a vampire hunter, dedicated to destroying what he has always thought of as evil beings, deal with the fact the he is now one of those creatures? That is one of the things that I love about this series of books. We see a completely different POV. We see the struggle of a newly made vampire, who despises what he has become, struggle to adapt to his new life. With the help of Grigori, the vampire who gave him the Dark Gift, Edward tries to accept his new life. It is not until he meets Kelly, another lost human soul, and begins to fall in love with her that he begins to accept what he has become and embrace his new life. Just as it seems that things will be good, Khira moves into town. Khira is the ancient, evil vampire who turned Grigori 200 years ago. She is the oldest vampire and as such terrorizes the other vampires who live in her newly claimed territory. When she comes after Grigori & Edward, they must once again join forces to try to stop her. With the help of an old friend of Edward’s, Tom Duncan, another vampire hunter, the group battles Khira, in an attempt to not only save their lives, but the lives of the innocent victims that Khira enjoys preying on.

Excellent book and I am looking forward to starting the next on the trilogy.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

#66 -- Shades of Gray by Amanda Ashley



From the Publisher
Bound by chains, the vampire had slept for 100 years, locked in pain and hunger, until the scent of one woman’s blood recalled him to life. Lost in darkness, Grigori finds new sustenance in the light of Marisa’s love, and new purpose in his life. Only he can protect her from the evil that stalks the night. Grigori vows to show Marisa that not all the undead are monsters, and that somewhere between the black and white of damnation and desire lay infinite shades of gray.

My Opinion
I guess that I am a romantic at heart, because I really enjoyed this book. I picked this book up because I have Ashley’s ‘Desire After Dark’ on my TBR mountain and after looking through her books it seems that ‘Shades of Gray’ is the first book in a trilogy that ends with Desire. So being anal about reading books in order I had to find the first two in the trilogy to read prior to reading Desire. Glad I did too, because I loved this book.

The characters are fantastic. I was really drawn into their lives. Grigori is a Vampyre who has been roaming the earth for 200 years, trying to exact revenge on the ancient vampire who destroyed his family. Edward is a vampire-hunter from a family of hunters, who has forged an uneasy alliance with Grigori, in order to destroy the one vampire, who as of yet, has been too powerful for him to destroy. Marissa is the woman who’s blood reawakens Grigori & Edward’s enemy from a deep sleep. She is also the woman who both men are falling in love with as they try to protect her from that enemy, Alexi, while they attempt to hunt him down and destroy him.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is that the characters are realistic. The author is very detailed in showing us their lives, struggles, fears, and hopes.

Totally enjoyable book, and I am thrilled to say that I have the next in the trilogy, ‘After Sundown’, to start on first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

#65 The Good Guy by Dean Koontz




From the Publisher
Timothy Carrier, having a beer after work at his friend’s tavern, enjoys drawing eccentric customers into amusing conversations. But the jittery man who sits next to him tonight has mistaken Tim for someone very different—and passes to him a manila envelope full of cash.

“Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she’s gone.”

The stranger walks out, leaving a photo of the pretty woman marked for death, and her address. But things are about to get worse. In minutes another stranger sits next to Tim. This one is a cold-blooded killer who believes Tim is the man who has hired him.

Thinking fast, Tim says, “I’ve had a change of heart. You get ten thousand—for doing nothing. Call it a no-kill fee.” He keeps the photo and gives the money to the hired killer. And when Tim secretly follows the man out of the tavern, he gets a further shock: the hired killer is a cop.

Suddenly, Tim Carrier, an ordinary guy, is at the center of a mystery of extraordinary proportions, the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer far more powerful than any cop…and as relentless as evil incarnate. But first Tim must discover within himself the capacity for selflessness, endurance, and courage that can turn even an ordinary man into a hero, inner resources that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be The Good Guy.

My Opinion
This was another book in a string of books by Koontz that tends to follow the same path. Reminiscent of ‘The Husband’ this book is about a man, who is unknowingly dragged into a circumstance that he would rahter have no part of but handles brilliantly. Tim Carrier is just another guy having a drink in a friend’s bar when he is approached by a man and mistakenly identified as a hit-man. Then a few moments later as he is trying to digest what is has just happened to him, he is mistakenly identified by the real hit-man as the person who has contacted him about a job. This sets Tim on a path of intrigue and danger that a normal mason would be ill equipped to handle. But then Tim is so much more than he appears to be at first glance.

I like how Koontz introduced us to the main characters with very little information about them, and throughout the book adds a few more details at a time, until finally we see who Tim and Linda really are. I enjoyed the book and really liked the way that everything was tied together in the end.

An enjoyable read, by one of my favorite authors, even if he does seem to have mellowed a bit with age. I enjoyed his earlier books that had elements of supernatural, but these books recently, that are basically thrillers, are okay.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

#64 -- Brother Odd by Dean Koontz




From the Publisher
Loop me in, odd one. The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her. For this was a favorite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love, and Stormy is dead, gone forever from this world. In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature

Through two New York Times bestselling novels Odd Thomas has established himself as one of the most beloved and unique fictional heroes of our time. Now, wielding all the power and magic of a master storyteller at the pinnacle of his craft, Dean Koontz follows Odd into a singular new world where he hopes to make a fresh beginning—but where he will meet an adversary as old and inexorable as time itself.

St. Bartholomew’s Abbey sits in majestic solitude amid the wild peaks of California’s high Sierra, a haven for children otherwise abandoned, and a sanctuary for those seeking insight. Odd Thomas has come here to learn to live fully again, and among the eccentric monks, their other guests, and the nuns and young students of the attached convent school, he has begun to find his way. The silent spirits of the dead who visited him in his earlier life are mercifully absent, save for the bell-ringing Brother Constantine and Odd’s steady companion, the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

But trouble has a way of finding Odd Thomas, and it slinks back onto his path in the form of the sinister bodachs he has met previously, the black shades who herald death and disaster, and who come late one December night to hover above the abbey’s most precious charges. For Odd is about toface an enemy who eclipses any he has yet encountered, as he embarks on a journey of mystery, wonder, and sheer suspense that surpasses all that has come before.

My Opinion
I liked this story of Odd Thomas better than the last book. I really enjoy Odd's personality. He is a humble hero, with a wonderful, yet simple, sense of humor. I love the way he interacts with people as well as with the spirits of those who are attracted to him after death.

A lot of this book is about his interaction with the residents, the nuns, brothers, children, guests, and spirits at the Sanctuary where he has retreated after his horrible experiences in the last book. While he is trying to shelter in this out of reach world, he again encounters the horrible bodachs that always fortell of tragedy, suffering and death. He has to try to figure out what is coming and how to stop it. With the help of a few trusted and quite memorable characters, Odd find himself once again in the role of a savior and hero.

The ending of the book makes it quite clear that Koontz is not finished telling us about the adventures of Odd Thomas and I for one look forward to more of Odd's tales.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hidden Treasures West of Mars Summer Reading Contest


It's time for the Hidden Treasures West of Mars Summer Reading Contest!



The rules are simple:

1. Find a book that's a Hidden Treasure. That means a book that hasn't made it to a best-seller list anywhere that you can find. A suggested reading list is available at WestofMars.com. Feel free to find your own treasure, though.
2. The book MUST be from a royalty-paying publisher. If in doubt, ask.
3. Read it.
4. Post a review somewhere on the Internet between July 15 and August 15.
5. Sign the Mr. Linky at West of Mars Blog. Include the permalink for your review.
6. Yes, you can use a Hidden Treasure book that fulfills another contest or reading challenge.
7. Yes, you can review more than one book.
8. If, for some reason, you don't want to win a prize, let Susan know.
9. If you have suggestions for the Hidden Treasures Suggested Reading List, or a prize for the winners, drop Susan an e-mail, susan@westofmars.com .
10. Prizes will be awarded August 20. Winners will be contacted and winning list will be posted no later than 22 August; be sure to have a way for us to contact you.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

#63 -- Shade's Children by Garth Nix



From the Publisher
The Key to Survival Rests in the Hands of Shade's Children

In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machinelike creature whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade — once a man, but now more like the machines he fights — recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power — and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become ...

My Opinion
This was a fantastic book!! Kind of made me think of a junior version of 'Battlestar Galactica', which is one of my favorite television shows.

The book takes place in a futuristic setting. One day all of the people over the age of 14 just disappear leaving behind nothing but children. Shortly after the adults disappear the children are rounded up and taken to dormitories where they are raised until their 14th birthday at which time they are taken away by creatures, to the Meat Factory. The Meat Factory is a holding area where the children are help until their brains and bodies are used to create more creatures, whose sole purpose is to participate in horrible war games for the enjoyment of 'overlords'. These overlords think of the children as nothing more than animals and treat them as such.

While most children are resigned to the fact that they will be taken away when on their 'Sad Birthday', some manage to escape, and try to stay alive, constantly running from the various creatures who hunt them down.

This book follows a group of 4 of those survivors who are taken in by 'Shade', a computer program that holds the consciousness of an adult man left over from before the Change. Shade shelters and trains the children to survive against the creatures, while at the same time, using them to gather information so that he can 'set things right'. His ultimate goal is to defeat the overlords and return the world back to the way it was before. But at what price?

This book is non stop action and I had a very hard time putting it down once I started it. What a fantastic storyteller Garth Nix is and I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the near future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

#62 -- Mammoth by John Varley



From the Publisher
An intact wooly mammoth is discovered frozen in Canada. Huddled next to the huge creature is the mummified body of a Stone Age man around 12,000 years old. And he is wearing a wristwatch.

My Opinion
I love a good time travel book and this one has all the ingredients for one. It does get a little bogged down and side tracked about mid way through the book, but overall it is a good read.
Howard Christian is a very rich man who buys whatever he wants, and at the moment he wants to breed a Woolly Mammoth, so he hires a team to find and excavate a frozen Mammoth, so that he can have the DNA extracted to create a elephant/mammoth hybrid. When the crew discovers a caveman's body frozen next to the carcass wearing a very modern wristwatch, Howard's obsession takes a turn. A metal briefcase lying next to the caveman has to be a time machine, so Howard goes about hiring the best of the best to figure out how to make it work, which is Matt Wright, the smartest mathematician around.
In the meantime, Howard continues his quest to breed the Mammoth by hiring Susan Morgan, an elephant trainer, to help care for the elephant that has been artificially inseminated with the elephant/mammoth embryo.
Working next door to each other in a warehouse on their separate projects, Susan and Matt meet and fall in love. When an accident sends the two of them back in time, to the Ice Age, and then home again, with half a dozen living, breathing Mammoths accidentally transported forward in time, their lives change forever.
Who was the caveman found next to the Woolly Mammoth and how does it relate to Matt & Susan's jaunt back in time?
This really is a good story, with a fantastic, ending that brings the whole thing together and makes you wonder? Is time travel possible?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

#61 -- Resurrection Dreams by Richard Laymon




FROM THE PUBLISHER
A man discovers he has the ability to bring people back from the dead, and he's determined to work his magic on the girl of his dreams--but first he'll have to kill her.


My Opinion
One thing I can say for Laymon, he can be counted on to deliver if you are looking for sick & twisted.

Melvin Dobbs is the kind of guy that no one likes and everyone likes to pick on and for good reason. Melvin's obsession is to resurrect the dead. After a high school stunt to resurrect a dead cheerleader backfires, Melvin is sent away to an institution where he is 'cured' of his obsession, or so he says.

Vicki was the only girl in high school who ever stood up for Melvin. Now she is back in Elsworth after completing her medical school and residency, to practice medicine in her hometown. But along with her education she brings nightmares of Melvin 'resurrecting' the dead cheerleader. She knows that she is going to have to face Melvin again, but she never dreams that she will become the driving force behind his obsession.

Melvin is determined to prove that he is 'Melvin the Magnificent' and bring back someone from the dead. The lack of cadavers to experiment on does not stop him either. He just creates his own. After many tries he is finally successful in resurrecting a nurse that he has murdered. The ensuing horror that comes with his success is a sick and twisted ride through the imagination of Laymon.

A good zombie story, with interesting characters. I quite enjoyed it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#60 -- Homebody by Orson Scott Card



From the Publisher
Damaged Houses
A master craftsman, Don Lark could fix everything except what mattered, his own soul. After tragedy claimed the one thing he loved, he began looking for dilapidated houses to buy, renovate, and resell at a profit--giving these empty shells the second chance at life he denied himself.
Damaged Souls
Then in a quiet Southern town, Lark finds his biggest challenge: a squalid yet sturdy mansion that has suffered decades of abuse at the hands of greedy landlords and transient tenants. While two charming old neighbor ladies ply him with delicious cooking, they offer dire warnings about the house's evil past. But there is something about this building that pushes Lark on, even as its enchantments grow increasingly ominous. Will finishing the house offer Lark redemption, or unleash the darkest forces of damnation upon him?

My Opinion
Well I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in this one. I suppose because I started the book expecting to read a horror book, and I had high hopes because of the author, maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment from the beginning.

What we have is a tame ghost story that is really more of a love story than anything. It is about the pain of loss, and trying to do the right thing.

The book is well written, although there were some things that just seemed to be extra padding and unnecessary for the story. Kind of like a movie that still needs to be edited.

But the plot was good and the characters were interesting. Don Lark is a man who has lost everything. When his baby girl dies due to the negligence of her mother, his ex-wife, he is devastated. He deals with his loss by isolating himself. The way that he goes about isolating himself is by purchasing old run down houses and restoring them into beautiful homes, which he then sells. When he purchased the Bellamy house and moves in to begin renovations, he encounters a couple of odd old ladies who live next door and warn him that the house is no good and needs to be destroyed. He also comes across a homeless girl who seems to have taken up residence in the old house and has no where else to go. So he let's her stay as he lives in and works on the old house. These characters all come together as the history of the old house unfolds and Don learns that some houses have their own power.

The first 2/3 of the book is really getting to know Don, while the action happens in the last 1/3 of the the book. There are times when the story drags, but overall it is well written and a solid story.

Monday, July 16, 2007

#59 -- Lullabye by Particia Wallace




*From the Publisher*
Eight-year-old Bronwyn knew she wasn't like other girls. She didn't have a mother. At least, not a real one. Her mother had been in a coma at the hospital for as long as Bronwyn could remember. She couldn't feel any pain, her father said, it was just like sleeping--only she never woke up.....

But on visiting days, when Bronwyn sat with her mother, she knew it wasn't true that she couldn't feel anything. Her mother was angry. Angry at the nurses and doctors for the way they treated her. Angry at her own helplessness.

But soon, very soon, she would be helpless no longer. And then she would show them all the true meaning of suffering.

*My Opinion*
While this book is listed as horror on the spine, I would not really call it horror. It is however a good book that keeps you involved and reading. The book centers around the English family. Deborah went into a coma while 8 months pregnant with her child. Her deeply devoted husband can not stand the thought of losing her and moves her to a long term care facility where he makes a life for himself and his daughter while still holding out hope that his wife will one day wake up. AT 8 years old, Bronwyn doesn't have a mother like the other kids do. Her mother lays comatose in a hospital bed. The horror part of the book comes when people in the hospital start to die. People who have been caring for Deborah English as she lay in a coma. But really that is just a small part of the story. What the books is really about is how a family deals with life when a loved one is in a coma. How a child grows up knowing that she has a mother, but not really having one. How a man who loves his wife more than anything else in the world deals with the fact that she is gone and he has to go on with life.

While the deaths themselves are somewhat horrific, the climax of the book is really quite tame. Overall a good read as long as you are not expecting a lot of true horror.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

#58 -- Grave Peril: Dresden Files #3 by Jim Butcher



*Publishers Weekly*
Wizard Harry Dresden stars in the third installment of the Dresden Files (following Fool Moon), a haunting, fantastical novel that begins almost as innocently as those of another famous literary wizard named Harry. In the opening scene, Dresden and his knight friend, Michael, battle the ghost of a woman who is terrorizing a local hospital's maternity ward. From there, the novel quickly evolves into an unorthodox tale spiced with sexual innuendo and subtle humor (Dresden carries his ghost-hunting gear in an old Scooby-Doo lunch box). Due to the weakened barrier between the spirit world which Butcher refers to as "the nevernever" and the actual world, obsessive and violent ghosts are on the loose in modern-day Chicago, and they seem to be targeting Dresden and Michael. Horny vampires and possessive demons join the mix as Dresden journeys into the spirit world to hunt down the villains who are terrorizing him and his friends.

*My Opinion*
Wow!! These Dresden Files books just keep getting better. This one is non-stop action, you barely get a chance to catch your breath. Harry has to deal with the Nightmare, an evil that attacks in your dreams. It seems to be targeting Harry and those who are close to him. The plot is multi-layered and keeps you involved. I loved the character of Michael and his feisty wife Charity. Not sure that I like the direction of Harry and Susan's relationship and all I can say about the ending is YIKES!! Absolutely fantastic book!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

#57 -- Lie to Me by David Martin




Library Journal
Certainly not for the squeamish, this taut, gripping, and bloody thriller details the mad ravings of a warped personality. After seven years in prison, Philip confronts someone from his past, tortures her wealthy husband, and demands money. The following day, when the woman reports her husband's gory ``suicide,'' policeman Theodore Camel, astute but just marking time, suspects something more. As the plot alternates between the ex-con's depraved psychosexual fantasies and Camel's perseverance, tension takes hold, shaking the reader with the possible reality of it all. Scary.

My Opinion

Excellent book. While the story is sick and twisted and definitely not for the squeamish it has a great plot and is very fast moving. I did not want to put it down once I started. While I was able to figure out some of the plot, other things took me completely by surprise. Excellent SS book!!! I will be looking for more books by this author.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

#56 -- Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins



*From the Publisher*
A turning point is exactly what Lucy Loverling does NOT want. Everything is changing around her, and suddenly she has to make all sorts of decisions. Everyone else knows who and what she wants to be except her. Izzie has become friends with the glamorous Nesta, and Lucy isn't certain she likes a threesome. Nesta and Izzie look sixteen, but Lucy, at fourteen, can still pass for a twelve-year-old.
But then one day Lucy sees the most wonderful boy crossing the street, and things do start to change -- in all areas of her life...

*My Opinion*
This was a quick, fun teen read. If I come across any more in the series I will definitely pick them up. Since I am American it was fun reading a book about a teen from England. The slang and such was a lot of fun to figure out.

#55 -- Must Love Dragons by Stephanie Rowe



*From the Publisher*
*Single Female Dragon seeks love and good times in the big city.*
Theresa Nichols is a red-blooded young woman-trapped in a red-hot dragon's body. Until the chance for a real-live date with her cyber boy toy Zeke sends her running to Satan to strike a deal. After all, when you've gone without sex for over two hundred years, a night of good lovin' is worth your eternal soul, right?
*Single Male, ex-Dragon Slayer, seeks fiery sex goddess.*
Zeke Siccardi is a private detective trying to live a normal life-and outrun his dragon-slaying past. Not easy to do when his sexy online paramour turns out to be a dragon with a contract out on her life. Now Zeke has to protect a woman he was born to kill. But for the love of a fire-breathing sexpot, how hard could it be?

*My Opinion*
I enjoyed this second book of Rowe's almost as much as I did the first.
This book centers on Theresa, Justine's Dragon best friend who we met in 'Date Me Baby, One More Time'. Yes it is a bit far fetched at times, but if you can let yourself go and enjoy the wonderful characters that Rowe brings into the stories it is well worth the read. Looking forward to reading the next one as well.

#54 -- Entertain the End (Everworld #12) by KA Applegate




*From the Publisher*
Finally, the answers to all the mysteries start to fall into place in the last volume of K.A. Applegate¹s best-selling young adult series. David, April, Christopher, and Jalil will now learn the truth.

*My Opinion*
Fantastic ending to a great series of books. I really enjoyed this series.
While this last book ties up a lot of loose ends and brings about a great ending, there is a little shimmer of a hope that Applegate could one day decide to revisit EverWorld. There is plenty left to write about and I for one would welcome more of this series.

#53 -- Mystify The Magician (Everworld #11) by KA Applegate



*From the Publisher*
David, Christopher, April, Jalil and Senna managed to escape Neptune's deadly clutches and have washed ashore...in Eire. It's ancient Ireland, complete with giants, leprechauns, a band of gods and goddesses and druids. Senna chooses this haunting location to unleash a power-hungry scheme that gets everyone in far more danger than Senna had ever imagined.


*My Opinion*
This is the best of the EverWorld books yet. I ended up sitting up very late (or early) finishing it because I could not put it down.

After escaping Neptune the teens wash up on the shores of Ireland. Into a village where they live by Merlin's example. In peace with the rest of Ireland and have already adopted the 'telegraph' that the teens had introduced the Fairies to earlier. This is also where Senna's awful plan comes to life and the teens are in a battle for their lives with their own kind. I really hate for this series to end, I have enjoyed it so much. But alas all good things come to an end, so I will be starting on the last book tonight.

#52 -- Understand The Unknown (Everworld #10) by KA Applegate



*From the Publisher*
There are some things that you know you'll never do. And though you may dream of riding a winged horse, or speaking to a dragon, you pretty much know it isn't gonna happen. Unless, of course, you find yourself in Everworld. David, Christopher, April, and Jalil are in Everworld. And even though they've found Senna, the person they thought would be their ticket home, Everworld holds onto all of them even tighter than before. Now they have to find out why.

But not before another encounter with the surreal. David and the others have been called back to Olympus to help the gods battle Ka Anor, and the fastest way to get there is by boat. Unfortunately, Neptune, ruler of Everworld's sea, doesn't like trespassers. Now David and his friends are about to discover the lost city of Atlantis...



*My Opinion*
Love this series of books. In this one the teens are taken prisoner by Neptune while trying to cross the ocean to reach Mt. Olympus. They also discover Atlantis which is run by another 'real' world person, the first one they have met since arriving in EverWorld.

Friday, July 6, 2007

#51 -- Inside The Illusion (Everworld, No. 9) by K.A. Applegate



From the Publisher
Senna. She is the reason David, Christopher, April, and Jalil even know about Everworld. She is the one who they’ve been chasing all over this strange parallel world to get some answers. To show them how to get home again. To get back to the real world.

So now it’s her turn to tell her side of the story. To explain why she dragged her friends into a world of winged horses and wizards. A place that once only existed in their imaginations. Now it’s her turn to explain Everworld….

My Opinion
Finally we get to hear from the witch herself, Senna. The kids finally make it to EverWorld Egypt and encounter another dangerous god, Sobek, Amazons, and Senna’s real mother. We also learn about Senna. How she came to be what she is and what she plans to do. Great addition to the series.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

#50 -- Brave the Betrayal (Everworld #8) by KA Applegate



From the Publisher
Jalil, David, Christopher, and April have definitely made some mistakes since they’ve been trapped in Everworld. You have to admit, it’s got to be pretty tough not to screw up when you find yourself in a place that makes absolutely no sense. So, it’s pretty understandable that Jalil and the others wouldn’t think twice about trading a chemistry book for an unbelievably sharp knife. For protection. After all, the Coo-Hatch seemed harmless enough. Just another group of transplanted aliens who managed to end up in Everworld.

Now it seems those same aliens are combining the textbook information with their own technology to create horrific new weapons. And guess who they plan to use them on…

My Opinion
With a detour through and Africa created by the gods the teens are heading to Egypt to find Senna’s real mother, a witch herself. While in Africa they run into a demigod who demands a sacrifice be made to his gods. When April & Jalil refuse to sacrifice anything, his wrath is horrible.

A side note on this one—there is a lot more on the topic of the kids in the ‘real’ world in this book. How being in EverWorld and then crossing over into the real world when they sleep is affecting them in both worlds and how they are somehow becoming less in the real world and more in EverWorld.

#49 -- Gateway to the Gods (Everworld #7) by KA Applegate



*From the Publisher*
David, Christopher, Jalil and April have finally found allies in Everworld who stand half a chance against the evil Ka-Anor. They've joined forces with the mighty Greek Gods to defend against the Hetwan's latest attack.

*My Opinion*
Another great one! In this book the teens are on Mt. Olympus and must help the gods to fight the invasion of the Hetwan since they have no clue how to defend themselves. David leads the mortal forces in the battle to save EverWorld from Ka Anor.

Monday, July 2, 2007

#48 -- Fear the Fantastic by KA Applegate (EverWorld #6)



*From the Publisher*
As Christopher and his friends continue to survive in Everworld until they can find a way back to their own world, they find themselves witnessing the Hetwans preparing to defeat Greek lands and battling the repulsive and dangerous Ka Anor, who is planning to invade Mount Olympus.

*My Opinion*
Another great EverWorld adventure. In this book told by Christopher, the teens escape Fairy Land with their lives and some added riches. They cross into the land of Ka Anor though, the Eater of Gods. The one who has created all of the problems that EverWorld and the kids now face. He is the reason that Loki wants to open a gateway to the Real World. In this book they have to battle the Hetwan, a bug-like alien species who serve Ka Anor. They also meet one of the original Gods from Olympus and must try to help save him from being killed by Ka Anor.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

#47 -- Discover the Destroyer by KA Applegate (EverWorld #5)



*From the Publisher*
Welcome to the land where all of your dreams and nightmares are very real-and often deadly.

*My Opinion*
Another great book added to the series. In this book told by Christopher, the group heads to Fairy Land to try to retrieve items that the Fairies have stolen from 'Nidhoggr' the Granddaddy of the Dragons. They have 6 days to complete the task or they die. How bad can fairies be after all they have been through?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I have been Tagged!

Just checking out Amberkatze's really great blog and see that she tagged me. Oh Boy!! I've not been tagged since I was a kid. LOL

Rules

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth full sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence to your blog.
5. Don’t search around for the coolest book you have, use the one that is really next to you.
6. Tag five people to do this.





Well the book that is closest to me is not one I am reading, but it will have to do--

' All the rest is up to them.'

I will have to tag some Obsessers as well -- SandDanz, Nimrodiel, EllyMae, Cheesygiraffe & Karendawn.

Friday, June 29, 2007

#46 -- Realm of the Reaper by KA Applegate (EverWorld #4)



Things have become very weird, since April, Jalil, David and Christopher ended up in Everworld. They've been haunted by trolls and untameable Vikings, fought the Aztecs and then encountered Merlin and saw their first dragon.

*My Opinion*

This is the fourth book in the series and I am quite enjoying them. Each book is told from a different character's POV and this one is told by Jaliil, the brains of the group who also happens to suffer from OCD. He is the one who does not seem to have an obvious connection to Senna, who is the one who drew the teens into EverWorld.

In this book the teens encounter yet another of Loki's children, Hel. She is as bad as her name implies and they are in for a fight for their lives, like nothing they have encountered yet.

This is a fantastic series, especially if you were ever interested in Mythology. I am so happy that I have the entire series and don't have to stop between books!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

#45 -- Enter the Enchanted by KA Applegate (EverWorld #3)



*From the Publisher*
In a parallel universe where mythology is real and wild imaginings are ordinary, four friends still haven't found Senna--or their way out of Everworld. They are about to encounter Merlin, one of the most powerful inhabitants of Everworld. He might know where to find Senna, but he has his own agenda.

*My Opinion*
Another great book in the series. In this book the story is told by April, the only girl in the group of 4 teens pulled into EverWorld. We also meet Merlin, Galahad, and dragons. The goal of the teens also changes. No longer is the goal to escape EverWorld, it is now to save it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

#44 -- Land of Loss by KA Applegate (Everworld #2)



*Synopsis*
David's life was pretty normal. School. Friends. Girlfriend. Actually, Senna was probably the oddest aspect of his life. She was beautiful. Smart. But there was something very different about her. Something strange.
And on the day it began, everything happened so quickly. One moment, Senna was with him. Kissing him. Holding his hand. The next she was swallowed up by the earth, her screams echoing from far, far away. David couldn't just let go. Neither could the others. His friends--and hers. So, they followed. And found themselves in a wold they never could have imagined.

Now they have to find Senna and get home without losing their lives. Or their minds. Or both...

Is Senna good or evil or some combination of the two? David, Christopher, Jalil, and April may die trying to find out.

*My Opinion*
The second book in the series and just as good as the first. This one takes up exactly where the first left off only instead of being told by David, the want to be hero, this one is told by Christopher, the class clown of the group. It is kind of interesting to hear the story continue but from a different POV. It is my understanding from my dd, who has read up to #9, that each of the books is told by a different character. Should make it interesting. I am going to go right on with the series as I have enjoyed it so much.

#43 -- Search for Senna by K.A. Applegate



From the Publisher
In the dark past, Zeus and Odin, Huitzilopoctli and Ra, and the other gods of myth decided to abandon the real world. They created another universe, where magic rules, where all the mystery and terror of these capricious immortals holds sway. It is a place where Vikings still sail in the name of Thor, where the Aztecs still make human sacrifices to Huitzilopoctli, and where Merlin still weaves his subtle webs.
For a thousand years and more, Everworld has existed apart from the real world. But now Everworld is in trouble. The cozy universe created by Earth's ancient immortals has been invaded by the creatures of myths that are no part of human tradition. The gods are under attack, divided and terrified. And in this moment of supreme danger, Loki, Norse god of evil, reaches across the barrier between Everworld and the real world to seize a new power: Senna Wales.

Senna carries with her four ordinary high school kids from the Midwest: David, the insecure hero and Senna's love; Christopher, the joker Senna spurned, who hides his own anger and bigotry beneath a glib veneer; Jalil, cold, calculating, and so devoted to rationality he can't even acknowledge his own strange tie to Senna; and April, Senna's half sister — actress, flirt, and Senna's most dangerous enemy.

*My Opinion*
Great start to what looks to be a great series. I could not put it down once I started it. In this first book of the series, we are introduced to the main characters as they are drawn into this strange new world by following Senna, a mysterious friend/sister/acquaintance, that one one really knows. As the teens are trying to figure out what is going on they are also trying to deal with a world nothing like theirs. A world full of dangerous Gods, Vikings, and danger.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

#42 -- Undead and Uneasy by MaryJanice Davidson




*From the Publisher*
Weddings are never easy. But when you're Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor, they can become downright deadly...

In the days leading up to The Big Day, Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor seems to have a full house and the wedding guests have yet to arrive. Along with her human buddies, there's a ghost, a werewolf, and a Fiend crashing at her place. And though her fianc┼Ż, Vampire King Eric Sinclair, conveniently disappears when the conversation turns to seating charts and flower arrangements, he does manage to make his oh-so-sexy presence known at other moments.

Cold feet are no surprise, especially with an undead groom. But when Sinclair truly goes missing-and not just to avoid wedding preparations-along with most of her friends and loved ones, Betsy is frantic. Alone and afraid for the fate of everyone she loves, Betsy can't trust anyone as she tries to find them and whoever is behind all the disappearances. And what happens next will shake the foundation of the vampire world forever.

*My Opinion*
Loved this installment of the Undead series. After the disappointment of Undead & Unpopular I really enjoyed this book. Betsy is not nearly as shallow in this book but still is Betsy. lol MJD ties up a lot of loose ends and gives us a fun chapter in the life of Betsy the Vampire Queen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

#40 -- Drive-By by Lynne Ewing




From the Publisher
"Jimmy always told me there were only two kinds of gangbangers: Those who were dead and those who were going to die. Joining a gang doesn't make sense to Jimmy..."
Jimmy is dead now -- gunned down in front of his little sister, Mina, and his brother, Tito. And Tito is left wondering: Was Jimmy in a gang after all? Ice Breaker Joe and Lamar think so. They say Jimmy was skimming their drug money. And if the missing cash isn't returned, Tito may have to pay -- with his life.Some people go to the crossroads, but Tito's crossroads laid themselves down in front of him. His brother Jimmy sprawls on the sidewalk at his feet. Shot in a drive by. Now a gang claims that Jimmy was their Ace Man. They say Tito must take his place and resolve some unfinished business. They give him a gun. "You need protection. It's not safe on the street." What path will be choose at the crossroads? He knows one leads to safety and one to death . . . but which is which?

1997 Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Readers (ALA)
1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
1999 Arizona Young Readers’ Award

My Opinion
Read this today and quite enjoyed it. It is about the aftermath of a drive by shooting. When a boy's older brother is shot and killed in a drive-by and the police say that his brother was involved in a gang, his brother does not believe it. He tries to deal with the death of his brother while also trying to take care of his single mother and young sister. Considering that this is book is written for younger readers, it gives a very insightful view into the life of inner-city kids and what they have to deal with every day.

#40 -- Indigo by Alice Hoffman





From the Publisher
13 year-old Martha Glimmer is convinced this is the worst time of her life. Her mother died, she grew 7 inches, and she has to put up with a woman who plys Martha's lonely father with food and opinions about how 13 year-old girls should behave. Martha longs to leave Oak Grove and travel. Martha's best friend Trevor and his brother Eli also want to leave Oak Grove. Nicknamed Trout and Eel because of the thin webbing between their fingers and toes, they long to see the ocean. Together, Martha, Trout, and Eel are going to find the true meaning of home -- in very unexpected places.


My Opinion
Both of my daughters read this (13 & 11 years old) and they both told me that I should read it. I did and I really enjoyed it. Really gets across the idea of the true meaning of friendship, family and love. I quite enjoyed it and I look forward to reading some of Alice Hoffman's adult novels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

#39 -- Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge Edited by Nancy Holder



From the Publisher
In this knockout anthology, today’s most important writers of speculative fiction cruise the abnormal elements of society and find a new wave of underground disorder, poignant horror, dirty kisses, and necessary anarchy.

Including never-before published stories by:

Neil Gaiman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Kathe Koja, David J. Schow, Bentley Little, Poppy Z. Brite, Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, Melanie Tem, Tanith Lee, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Lea Silhol, Freda Warrington, Elizabeth Massie, Brett Alexander Savory, Katherine Ramsland, Yvonne Navarro, Thomas S. Roche, Michael Marano, John Shirley, Brian Hodge, and Elizabeth Engstrom

...all at their most brilliant and most outrageous.

Here are dangerous games between lovers, howls from the dark, voyeurs and their victims, disturbed wishes and bitter dreams. Unflinching, uncommon, and underground, these tales vibrate with new life.

My Opinion
Like all anthologies this had good stories and not so good stories. For the most part though the stories were quite good. I enjoyed the fact that we got an introduction to each author. Overall a very worthwhile read.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

#38 of 2007 -- X-Rated Bloodsuckers by Mario Acevedo




From the Publisher

Felix has survived Operation Iraqi Freedom, being turned into a vampire, and a ravenous horde of nymphomaniacs. Now he faces his toughest task ever—navigating the corrupt world of Los Angeles politics to solve the murder of a distinguished young surgeon turned porn star. But both human and vampire alike have reasons to want the secret to stay buried. . .

My Opinion

While I did not enjoy this one as much as his previous book, Nymphos of Rocky Flats, it was still a good read. It is more of a detective story than a vampire story. There was one notable new character introduced, Coyote, who I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to see more of in future books. I think that this author is finding himself and has a good thing going with Felix Gomez, Vampire & Private Eye!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

#37 -- All together Dead by Charlaine Harris




From the Publisher
Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit.

The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she’ll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

My Opinion

WOW!! What an excellent read. I think that the Southern Vampires Series just keeps getting better. In this one Sookie joins a group of vamps representing Louisiana at a Vampire Summit, where trials, weddings, and other vampire business is planned. She goes as an employee of the Vampire Queen of Louisiana who’s lands have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as well as having had a lot of personal problems.

In the midst of the summit all kinds of things go wrong, as the usually do and Sookie has to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together, while at the same time trying to juggle a budding new relationship with Quinn, the WereTiger, deal with her bond with Eric, and try to deal with her hatred of Bill, her first love. Add to all of this a plot to attack the vamps while they are all gathered together in one place and you get a non-stop roller coaster ride that you don’t want to end. I totally enjoyed it and can not wait till her next book in the series comes out as this one leaves a whole lot of loose ends to deal with.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

#36 -- Hush by Mark Nykanen




From the Publisher
Art therapist Celia Griswold works at a center for severely emotionally disturbed children in rural Oregon, encouraging them to express their feelings through drawing. When seven-year-old Davy Boyce, an “elective” mute, is brought in by his strange, threatening stepfather, Chet, Celia senses that something is very wrong with the boy – his behavior is violent and his drawings suggest abuse. She tries to communicate her concerns to Chet, but she finds herself suddenly fearful. What starts as a simple puzzle in an ordinary woman’s life becomes a harrowing cat-and-mouse game. As Chet realizes that Davy’s drawings may reveal more truth than is acceptable, he begins to stalk Celia.

My Opinion

This is a very intense psychological thriller. The last 100 pages are non stop action and it is an excellent read. I will be looking for more books by this author.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

#35 -- Fool Moon: Dresden Files #2 by Jim Butcher





From the Publisher
Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work—magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses—and the first two don’t count…

My Opinion

Excellent!! I enjoyed this one even more than the first one in the series. Harry Dresden and werewolves, what more could you ask for.

Non stop action and lots of excitement. We learn a little more about Harry and see more interaction between him and Murphy. Looking forward to reading more!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

#34 -- Mort by Terry Pratchett



From the Publisher
Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestseller in England, where they have catapulted him into the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse—especially since being, well, dead isn’t compulsory. As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

My Opinion

This has been my favorite DiscWorld book so far. I loved ‘Death’. He is a fantastic character and this book was all about him. His apprentice ‘Mort’ is also a very likeable character. I am hoping that I get to read more about these characters as I follow the Reading Guide order of books.

I really look forward to reading more DiscWorld books as I love Pratchett's style and have fallen in love with the characters of the Disc. Fantastic series of books!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

#33 -- Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett



FROM THE PUBLISHER
The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-born baby’s sex…

My Opinion

Another great DiscWorld novel. In this book we meet several new characters. First is Granny Weatherwax a witch who is really good at heart and takes on the task of teaching the first female wizard in the history of DiscWorld. When a powerful wizard makes the mistake of passing his powers on to the eighth son of an eighth son, right before dying, only to find out that the son is a daughter, Granny takes on the task of teaching the child witchcraft, since women are not wizards. Needless to say that Esk, the 9 year old female wizard has other plans. lol

Overall a wonderful, engrossing story. I love Esk and hope that we see much more of her as she grows up as well as Granny Weahterwax who single handedly changes the ways of Wizards.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

#32 -- The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett



From the Back Cover

Six months ago, Rincewind was a perfectly ordinary failed wizard. Them he met Twoflower, the Discworld’s first tourist, was employed at an outrageous salary as his guide, and has since spent most of his time being shot at, terrorized, chased and hanging from high places with no hope of salvation or, as is now the case, plunging from high places.

A lot more could be said about why these two are dropping out of the world, and why Twoflower’s Luggage, last seen desperately trying to follow him on hundreds of little legs, is no ordinary suitcase, but such questions take time and could be more trouble than they’re worth. For example, it is said that someone once asked the famous philosopher Ly Tin Weedle “Why are you here?” and the reply took three years.

What is far more important is an event happening way overhead, far above A’Tuin, the elephants and the rapidly-expiring wizard. The very fabric of time and space is about to be put through the wringer.

Now read on…

My Opinion

Another great DiscWorld novel featuring the ‘wizard’ Rincewind and his friend TwoFlower. This is the second Discworld book that I have read, the first being ‘The Color of Magic’. This book takes right up where the last lets off, with Rincewind falling off the Disc. This book has a much more solid storyline and the characters are fabulous. I look forward to many more hours reading about the adventures to be found on DiscWorld.

Monday, May 28, 2007

#31 -- The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett



From the Publisher

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestsellers in England, where they have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett's maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins--with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

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I have decided that since Summer vacation has officially begun for me that I am going to read this as part of a couple of challenges. I have collected quite a few DiscWorld books and it is time that I start reading them. So for caligula03's Beach Blanket Bonanza Challenge & A 43things goal read all the Discworld novels I am currently reading this book!

My Opinion

What an introduction to DiscWorld! This was a fun book and great introduction to the DiscWorld series. While at times the story is a bit disjointed, overall it was a fun read. I enjoyed meeting the main characters. Loved Rincewind and TwoFlower as well as Death. They are very likeable characters and you want to read more about their exploits. The ending was quite a 'cliff hanger' LOL!!! Now I just have decided where in the DiscWorld series to go next!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

#30 -- Blood Games by Richard Laymon





From the Publisher
A group of four former college friends hold a reunion at an abandoned summer camp, only to find they're sharing the camp with a maniac.

Publishers Weekly
Like so much of his mid-career work, it's a middling effort, and it's also a mixed bag-nearly literally, as it offers a present-day scenario interspersed with flashbacks that are, in effect, standalone short stories. In the present, five young alumni of Belmore University are on their annual get-together; this year, the choice of what to do has fallen to Helen, a horror buff, who arranges for the group to camp out at a deserted backwoods lodge where guests were slaughtered by locals several years back. In time, the group encounter various townsfolk, including a witch, whom they must fight for their lives, resulting in a characteristic Laymon bloodbath. The action here is fast but predictable. Of greater interest are the flashbacks, showing first how the gang got together, then detailing their various exploits-taking revenge on some frat guys by setting fire to their house, on a cruel dean by trashing her office, on a nasty homeowner on Halloween by destroying his living room; seducing a young male surfer during a foggy nighttime trip along the California coast, etc. It's in these scenes that Laymon displays some, but not much, of the surreal nightmarish sensibility that hallmarked his great later work (The Traveling Vampire Show, etc.). Overall, then, this is brisk but routine entertainment from the controversial author, who died in 2001.

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Great book. This is the third Laymon book that I have read and probably my favorite so far. Not a lot of blood and gore as some of his books are prone to, but a good solid story that makes you want to keep reading. The book jumps back and forth between present day and the past when the five friends were in college. It tells the story of how the girls met and became friends. They were always 'adventuresome' and made a pact when they graduated that they would meet for a week once a year to go on an adventure together. Only this adventure is more than they planned. Excellent read!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

#29 -- Mysteria by various authors





The Barnes & Noble Review
The dramas of Wisteria Lane are nothing compared to those in the small town of Mysteria, a refuge for faeries, demons, werewolves, and more. This magical town is the setting for four original stories of paranormal love and seduction by MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, P. C. Cast, and Gena Showalter.

In this lively anthology, unusual problem meets unusual solution. Harmony Faithfull is the failed new minister in town in Susan Grant’s “Mortal in Mysteria.” Then a naked demon lands in her garden and attracts not just Harmony but all the faithful. MaryJanice Davidson’s “Alone Wolf” stars Cole Jones, literally a lone wolf in search of a home, who falls for the local realtor, Charlene Houtenan, and the first (haunted) house he sees. A lovesick witch, Genevieve, and the object of her desire, the very crazy-making Hunter Knight, are the fated couple in Gena Showalter’s “The Witches of Mysteria and the Dead Who Love Them.” When Hunter succumbs to her love potion number13, he finds a love worth dying for. In “Candy Cox and the Big Bad (Were)Wolf” by P. C. Cast, a burned-out high school teacher who has had it with marriage after five failures finds unexpected magic with a former student, hunky werewolf Justin Woods. Ginger Curwen

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I really enjoyed this book. The idea—a town created as a haven for supernatural beings by a demon who suddenly wants to do good, is a wonderful idea. All of the storied take place in Mysteria and are intermingled enough to keep them interesting. The first story tells the tale of Damon, the demon who created Mysteria and then was punished by Satan by being turned into a mortal man and being banished to Mysteria. All of the stories are romances with just a little bit of paranormal thrown in. My least favorite story was the one by MJD. It was very disjointed and a bit odd. But overall, all 4 stories were fun to read and I definitely look forward to more stories from Mysteria.