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Thursday, May 31, 2012

REVIEW: Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman

Now you see it… Now you don’t… Now you’re history.

There are demons in the world, Monsters. Creatures that would steal your soul. You might hide under your covers at night and pretend all’s right with the world, but you know. Even if you don’t want to admit it…

Las Vegas bar owner Trixa Iktomi deals in information. And in a city where unholy creatures roam the neon night, information can mean life or death. Not that she has anything personal against demons. They can be sexy as hell, and they’re great for getting the latest gossip. But they also steal human souls and thrive on chaos. So occasionally Trixa and her friends have to teach them manners.

When Trixa learns of a powerful artifact known as the Light of Life, she knows she’s hit the jackpot. Both sides-angel and demon-would give anything for it. But first she had to find it. And as Heaven and Hell ready for an apocalyptic throw-down, Trixa must decide where her true loyalty lies-and what she’s ready to fight for. Because in her world, if you line up on the wrong side, you pay with more than your life…

Book: Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Trickster, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

It's really hard to say anything but how much I loved this book without getting too spoiler-y, but I'll try to get at least a few paragraphs down. I read this series after Thurman's Cal Leandros series, which is probably my absolute favorite ever even though I don't have favorites, and it's both similar and very different. Trixa kind of reminds me of Cal in the earlier books, in that she doesn't cross any lines, but she isn't afraid to get her hands dirty either, but the tone of the book is much lighter than the Cal books. At first, this kind of threw me off, but then I really got into it and grew to love this book separately from the author's other works.

While Trixa was the main character, and a quite good one at that, my favorite characters by far were Zeke and Griffin, some of her closest friends. And, yes, I realize that that was another favorite. Their relationship was so adorable and sometimes startling, and I couldn't help but love them.

If you want to find out what's so spoiler-y about absolutely everything in this book, then run to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy ASAP.

P.S.: Make sure to avoid the zombie outbreak in Miami.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (59)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent.

 I died on a Thursday-killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school...  Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend. But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life....

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

REVIEW: A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin

For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day. It is the day on which he returns to life.

Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home.

Except that it's no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable...despite his body never being found.

He doesn't have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

Book: A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
Release Date: April 6, 2009
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Matthew Swift, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

A Madness of Angels took me quite some time to read because it's one of those books that has no urgency to it, but not in a bad way. It was a really good book, which is why I gave it four out of five zombies, but it was very slow and deliberate, taking lots of page time to describe feelings and people, and especially London, which was almost its own character.

Matthew Swift is my favorite kind of character, one who is absolutely batshit insane. Of course, for someone who's been gruesomely murdered and then come back from the dead not entirely himself, he's holding it together surprisingly well. For a normal human being, though, he's just plain crazy.

I think that if you don't mind the slow, descriptive writing that is usually found in hard fantasy, then A Madness of Angels is a very provocative, interesting book that's well worth a read.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading Update

Book Clipart Images

Reading Update

Last week in books:
  • I finally finished Black Heart by Holly Black, which really picked up at the end. I think it was a fitting ending for the series, but I'm really gonna miss these books. Can't wait for Black's next series!
  • On a whim, I picked up a review book from my pile, Balkan Magic by Emigh Cannaday, which is kind of slow, but gets good just often enough to hold my attention and keep me from giving up on it. And it's long, too.
This week in books:
  • Finish Balkan Magic by Emigh Cannaday
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Wishful thinking:
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately? Also, happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Many Facets of My Nerdom

The Many Facets of My Nerdom (in Very Little Detail Because I Don't Want to be Boring)

1. Comics
Comics are the first thing that most people accuse me of being a nerd over. I have piles of them in my room, and I read them all the time. I'm a Marvel girl at heart, but I'll throw in a few DC comics, too, like Red Hood, Batman & Robin, The Flash, Justice League Dark, and I, Vampire. The fact that these are only a small percentage of the comics I read on a regular basis is sad . . . and expensive. Probably my favorite comic right now is Scarlet Spider, because Kaine is pretty awesome (and, well, just plain pretty, if we're being honest here). And, yes, I am reading the AVX event, and loving it. And I know that girls aren't supposed to like plot-what-plot type stuff, I actually prefer AVX: VS to the main event comic.

2. Books
As most of you know, primarily due to the fact that you're reading this on my book review blog which is coming up on its second birthday next week, I'm kind of a huge bookworm. I read everything from Literary Fiction to Urban Fantasy to Sci-Fi to YA, and even the occasional Paranormal Romance. My brain is overflowing with bookish acronyms. My dream career is either an author or an astrophysicist.

3. TV
I have a confession to make. I watch, during the fall season, an average of about 20 shows on a weekly basis. That's almost an entire day out of every week devoted solely to television, and then you should add in that I'm constantly watching old shows that friends or the internet bring to my attention, or getting caught up on shows that are still running. Yikes. I can (and do) talk for hours on end about HBO's interpretations of Jaqen and Ygritte, and whether or not Sherlocke is gay. I seriously analyze these things, guys, with help from the plethora of psychology and communications classes I've taken over the course of my college career. I'm kind of an addict. And a browncoat for life.

4. Movies
I don't get to go to the movies as often as I'd like because I don't drive and no one who would drive me likes movies as much as I do, but as soon as I get my license this summer, I'm going to be at my local theater every Friday catching as many new flicks as possible, the more sci-fi the better. I even keep a movie journal with my ticket stubs taped into it next to my reviews of the movies, which will never see the light of day.

5. Gaming
While I consider myself somewhat of a fledgling gamer girl, I'm a huge nut for Pokemon games, and I've been playing them on my Gameboy Advance SP since I was about nine years old. I love playing RPGs, and my favorite non-Gameboy games are Xenosaga I, II, and III and the Final Fantasy franchise.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

REVIEW: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago…

As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace—a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom—for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel—and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing—grimspace—and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime…

Book: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Sirantha Jax, #1
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

I don't quite remember what I was expecting when I started reading Grimspace, but what I do remember is how much it exceeded my expectations, which were high enough to begin with. I really, really loved this book.

Jax, the main character, was harsh and abrasive and damaged, and I loved every bit of it. She was very realistic in that gritty way that only sci-fi books seem able to achieve, and she wasn't afraid to save a knight in distress every once in a while, but at the same time, she also wasn't afraid to be the one who needed saving sometimes. I've read a lot of books with "feminist" protagonists who were really just women who did nothing but be badass and save their love interests all the time, but I think that any time one person is the only one doing any saving, there is a distinct lack of equality. One of my favorite things about Grimspace is that Jax and March have a very equal relationship, which is what I believe true feminism should be. (Also, the entire time I was writing this paragraph, I couldn't stop thinking about Castle and Beckett arguing over how many times they've saved the other's life.)

I also loved how Grimspace really delved into how space exploration would affect not only humans, but other species and their planets. It was really interesting to see how humans interacted with aliens and how the cultures combined and interacted, and also very scary because humans aren't always the most considerate species.

Anyone interested in sci-fi should definitely check out this series. I can't wait to get to the other books. I know that I say this a lot at the end of my reviews, but I've read a lot of books over the course of my not-so-long life, and I know what I'm interested in and what appeals to me, so I usually pick books that I end up liking because I know my tastes :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (59)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Water by Shauna Granger.
 Book Three in The Elemental Series

Shayna's first surfing session of the summer is interrupted by the screams of a mother who has lost her little boy in the water. Without regard to her own safety, Shayna swims out, rescues the boy, but must escape the clutches of something far worse than she could have ever imagined – mermaids.

Compelled to answer the sirens' call, the boys of Shayna's town are drawn to the sea, but when they return are afflicted by an unknown illness, a sickness which is draining them of their life force. Unable to tell anyone about the mermaids, Shayna and her friends are forced to solve the mystery before it's too late, and in doing so, Shayna will finally have to face the full force of her powers. Whether she’s ready or not, she will have to face her true nature.
What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

REVIEW: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher


Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, takes on a case as a favor to his friend Thomas-a vampire of dubious integrity-only to become the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders.

Book: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Release Date: August 3, 2004
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Dresden Files, #6
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (3 Zombies)

I always love Harry Dresden books, but for some reason I had a lot of trouble getting into this one. It may be because of the fact that I was just getting over a huge reading slump when I read Blood Rites, but it just didn't seem as good as the past Dresden Files books that I've read.

I think that Harry himself was a big part of what made this book more difficult for me. He can be a huge moron sometimes, and he's always mentioning how chivalrous he is and how he just loves to save a nice damsel in distress every once in a while, and it got really annoying and over the top in Blood Rites.

The actual plot, which involved curses a-plenty, secret siblings, Thomas the sexy vampire, and porn stars, was awesome, as usual, I just couldn't get as into it because of my problems with Harry. I'm hoping that he can just get laid soon and get this mopey phase over with, because I liked him a lot better when he was getting some from Susan. (That sounds really insensitive, looking back. Oh, well.)

I'm still looking forward to getting caught up on this series, but Blood Rites definitely wasn't my favorite Dresden Files book so far. Have any of you, dear readers, gone further in this series than me? If so, what did you think? Do the books get better, or am I wasting my time?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reading Update

Book Clipart Images

Reading Update

Last week in books:
  • Started reading Black Heart by Holly Black, which has gotten off to a really good start, but I'm not that far into it yet.
This week in books:
  • Finish Black Heart by Holly Black
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Wishful thinking:
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (58)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young.
 Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is.

After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose affect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates.

Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?
What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

REVIEW: Dead Streets by Tim Waggoner

The return of Matt Richter. Private Eye. Zombie.


You've got to keep your head to survive in the teeming undead city known as Nekropolis. It's a pity crazed genius Victor Baron couldn't manage that. Now everyone wants a piece of him.

Zombie detective Matt Richter and his glamorous she-vampire companion Devona are back on the case, with another wild and wonderful investigation.

Book: Dead Streets by Tim Waggoner
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Series: Matt Richter, #2
Obtained: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket3/4 (3.75 Zombies)

I loved the first book in this series so much, and I really wanted to love Dead Streets, too, but there was just something missing that the first book nailed. It wasn't that I didn't like the book, it just didn't have that spark that was so present in Nekropolis.

I think that a lot of what put me off of Dead Streets was the romantic aspects. I expected some romantic tension and a lot of horror and dark humor, but what I got was a whole lot of mushy romance that didn't quite feel like it belonged in this type of book. I really don't like Devona, the love interest, so her huge amount of involvement was an equally huge detractor from my enjoyment of the book.

The setting of Nekropolis was just as ghoulishly fun as always, which was a much needed contrast to the our favorite zombie's booooring love life, and that was mostly what earned the book the almost four zombie rating, along with Matt who I love love love.

At times, Dead Streets seemed to drag, but every once in a while it would pick up and let me know that it was definitely the sequel to the fast-paced, morbidly hilarious Nekropolis, and that is why I still have hope for the third book in the series. That, and Matt Richter is just one hella sexy zombie man.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reading Update

Book Clipart Images

Reading Update

Last week in books:
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. This was, hands down, the best zombie book I've ever read, and also one of the few books I've liked that could be considered literary fiction. It was really insanely good, and everyone should read it.
This week in books:
  • Black Heart by Holly Black
  • Partials by Dan Wells
Wishful thinking:
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I'd like to be caught up on all the Shadowhunters books before City of Lost Souls comes out on the 15th.

That's all for this week. What are you planning on reading? Any good books you've read lately?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

REVIEW: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies 

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Book: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Literary Fiction
Series: Standalone
Obtained: Bought
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

Warm Bodies was a total impulse buy because I was in a bookstore and I had some spare cash, so I didn't really expect it to be very good. Most books that I buy based off the cover alone aren't. Surprisingly though, Warm Bodies was one of the best books I've read this year, if not the best period. I couldn't believe how amazing it was, and I haven't stopped recommending it to anyone who'll listen since I finished reading it.

R, the main character, is a zombie, which is pretty weird. At first, he really is a zombie in more ways than one, but when he meets Julie, he starts to act more human. R was sweet, adorable, and one of the most unforgettable characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about, not to mention the sexiest zombie I've heard of. If nothing else, R really made the book sparkle. He didn't have to be a trash-talking badass to make me fall in love with him, and for once the nice guy didn't finish last.

The post-post-apocalyptic world that Warm Bodies was set in was a very effective social commentary on the world as it is today, and our ultra-consumerist culture, and it worked really well with the characters who were placed in this dark, depressing version of the USA. So many things were exactly the same even after everything that had happened; no one had woken up and decided that things weren't working the way they were. It was amazing how happy and hopeful the tone of the book was with such a bleak world, but it still pulled it off.

I would recommend Warm Bodies to absolutely anyone who can read, for the amazing characters, the beautiful writing, the literary value, and for what it says about humanity as a whole. If you listen to any of my recommendations, let this be the one, because this is a truly wonderful book that everyone should read.