Friday, July 31, 2009

Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Book 1) by Gena Showalter

Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Book 1) by Gena Showalter

A thorougly enjoyable read! Usually I try to read a series in order, but I've read the two YA books in this series - Red Handed and Black Listed - and enjoyed them, so I finally decided to go back and start the series from the beginning.

This book
is definitely NOT Young Adult! There are some pretty steamy sex scenes and a lot of violence, so I think it's very interesting to see a series that mixes genres this way.

In this book, the main character is Mia Snow who works for A.I.R. - a group who is dedicated to hunting aliens who have commited a crime. She's part of a group who is investigating the murder of several men, and during the investigation, she discovers a lot more than just who the murderer is!

I can't wait to read the next one - and luckily I have it here :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

The only complaint I have about this book is that it's really short! Because it's written in verse, it's a really quick read. Still, Ms. Schroeder manages to pack a lot into it.

The book deals with a young girl, Ava, whose boyfriend, Jackson, has died. She
is devastated, as she believed him to be her soulmate, and also blames herself for his death. And then he begins to visit her - she can't feel him or see him, but she knows he's there.

As the book progresses, Ava deals with her grief, her guilt, and her confusion about the "haunting." Her inner turmoil is dealt with very well, but that's really all. There's no room for any character development, the death of Jackson is briefly described, and there's really not much of a plot.

Even so, the book succeeds for what it has set out to do, and I definitely recommend it.

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Wow!!! I could NOT put this book down - thank you to Lori
LORI'S READING CORNER for sharing her ARC with me!!

This is the 3rd book in the series with Archie and Gretchen, and it's a great addition. It picks up 2 months after the 2nd book ends, with Gretchen on the loose and Archie in a mental hospital.

When some bodies are discovered, the police suspect that Gretchen is back to her old ways and Archie is pulled into the investigation, and back into Gretchen's reach.

Definitely a must-read!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love Stories in This Town

Love Stories in This Town
Love Stories in This Town

This is a beautiful collection of stories. The first half are stand-alone stories of different women at different stages in life. One woman has lost her husband in the 9-11 tragedy. Another woman must choose between the life she knows and the unknown one with her boyfriend.

The 2nd half is a collection of "Lola" stories, and they are wonderful. Each story is like a snapshot of a different time in Lola's life. One story is from her mother-in-law's perspective, which gives a whole new dimension to Lola's story.

I love Amanda Eyre Ward's writing! Her novels How To Be Lost and Forgive Me are two of my favorites, and Sleep Toward Heaven will be moved much farther up my TBR pile!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell

I've been anxiously waiting for this book! I love the Art Lover's Mysteries written by Hailey Lind, who is actually
a collaboration between Julie Goodson-Lawes and Carolyn J. Lawes. (BTW, I am absolutely THRILLED to read on their website that there WILL be another addition to this series!!!!!!! Arsenic and Old Paint will apparently be published in 2010.)

Anyway, as for this book... I loved it. It's more paranormal than cozy mystery, but if you're a fan of either genre, you should love this one too. The main character, Lily Ivory, is a witch who has finally settled into a community that she wants to stay in for a while. She has a vintage clothing store (Aunt Clara's Closet), some new friends, and of course, a mystery to solve and a demon to banish.

I can't wait for the next one in this series!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Untamed (House of Night Novels) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Untamed (House of Night Novels) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Book Four in the House of Night series - and another great addition! I think this one, though, is a bit darker than the first three in the series. As Zoey's power grows, it seems her battles get bigger. I love how she finds unusual allies in this book - but I don't want to say too much and give it away!

If you're reading this series, you'll love this one. And if you're not, you should!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

I listened to the first book in this series, Crank, and to be honest, I didn't really care for it that much. It could have been the narrator, or just that I'm not as big a fan of audiobooks as I am printed ones :)

Still, I decided to go ahead and read the second. I checked it out from the library, and it sat unread until it was due back. A few weeks later, I checked it out again and this time, I READ it! And I'm so glad I did!!

I really enjoyed it. The "verse" style was a little hard to get used to right at first, but I quickly got used to it, and began to really appreciate it. Very unique and easy to read.

As for the story, it is just heartbreaking - for Kristina, the young girl who is addicted to crank, her mother, her son, her siblings. As someone who has an addict in her family, I know all to well how painful it is to watch someone destroy so much of their life. These books are from Kristina's point of view, and it's hard sometimes to like her when she's doing such horrible things.

I highly recommend this series! And I look forward to the next book in the series!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel by Yoko Ogawa

It's not often that a book moves me the way this one did. After devouring most of it yesterday, even staying up late in the night, I finally finished it this morning, with tears streaming down my face.

This is a beautifully written novel (written by Ms. Ogawa in Japanese and translated by Stephen Snyder). It's a simple story of a woman who is the housekeeper for a mathematical genius - one who survived a tragic accident almost 20 years before leaving him with a short-term memory that lasts only 80 minutes. Each day, she must re-introduce herself when she comes to work. The Professor lives with notes clipped to his clothes, reminders to help him live. When he meets her son, he insists that she bring him with her every day. Nicknamed Root, the son and the Professor develop a fascinating relationship, sharing a love of math and baseball.

I could go on and on describing this book, its loveliness, and its love in every single page. Instead I will just say, please please read this book.

Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer

Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer

From the back of book: Louise Shaffer brings to life three generations of Italian American women in this stunning novel of surprises, secrets, and serendipity. A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family's mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.

Review to come...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich

Sadly, this book is not getting the rave reviews that earlier Stephanie Plum books have gotten. When I first started this series, I would laugh out loud, read late into the night, and pass the book along immediately to a friend.

The first thing I noticed about this book is that it's short - oh, it tries to bulk up by using larger print and wider margins, but I read it in one day - and not because I couldn't put it down.

I really really want to love this series as much as ever, and in some ways, I still do. Stephanie and Lula and Grandma are hilarious, Morelli and Ranger are sexy. But the things that had me rolling on the floor just aren't there anymore - or at least not as much. Stephanie's failed attempts to capture her FTA are funny, but sometimes the way she would actually succeed are funnier. The cars getting blown up used to be funny - now it's just recycled. She's breaking up and making up with Morelli and hot for Ranger... Nothing's new, and that's the saddest part of all.

Maybe the next installment will bring new life to Stephanie.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

From Amazon /
Publishers Weekly
An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous ways—from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliché, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collection—each chapter its own story with its own narrative technique—Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I just can decide whether I really loved this book or am annoyed with it! On one hand, I could not put the book down - I had to keep reading to find out what Sarah would do next, what was going on with her friends and family, etc. But the book just jumped around too much - one chapter might be about the summer before college, then the next would be 10 years after college, and then back again to a friend's perspective from during college! I had a hard time keeping track of the timeline throughout the book.

Still... there's no denying that Sarah's story is compelling. And throughout the book, the one connecting thread is that she was a Camellia (the group of women who were debutantes, daughters of debutantes...) and this keeps her grounded and connected in ways she didn't always realize. She may have left home and her Southern roots, but she couldn't escape the Camellias.

Unlike most books, this one doesn't end with everything all wrapped up and tidy. You still don't know how much more Sarah will struggle, but you do at least feel that she's grown and will make more mature decisions with her life - which I guess is all any of us can hope for in our own lives.

Overall, this is a solid 4 stars, possibly even 4 1 /2 for the great writing that kept me reading late in the night.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders sees ghosts - and more... After having a terrifying episode in her school, she's sent to Lyle House - a home for troubled teens. While she's there, though, she begins to uncover sinister acts and makes friends with some of the other kids who seem to have other supernatural talents. As they become closer, they realize that they might be in danger.

Chloe and the other characters were well-written, but I'm hoping they will be more fleshed-out in the next book. This book seems to be mostly about setting things up for the rest of the series. I'm not sure how many books are planned - the next one, The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong, is available (and I'm very anxious to read it!).

Overall, this was a very good book, just obviously unfinished.

Next up:

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch