Friday, March 29, 2013


Splintered (Splintered, #1)
Today's post is on 'Splintered' by A. G. Howard. It is 377 pages long. It is published by Amulet books which is an imprint of Abrams books. The cover has a pretty blond girl looking at the reader with vines, flowers, and bugs all around her. The intended reader is YA. There is nothing in this book to raise the YA rating; there are some kisses between the main characters but nothing too graphic. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Alyssa Gardner hears the thoughts of plants and animals. She hides her delusions for now, but she knows her fate: she will end up like her mother, in an institution. Madness has run in her family ever since Alice Liddell told Lewis Carroll her strange dreams.
But perhaps she's not mad. And perhaps Carroll's stories aren't as whimsical as they seem.
To break the curse of insanity, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole and right the wrongs of the real Wonderland, a place full of strange beings with dark agendas, a twisted fun-house reflection of Alice's childish tales. Alyssa beings her real-world crush- the protective Jeb- with her, but once her journey begins, she's torn between his solidity and the enchanting, dangerous magic of Morpheus, her guide to Wonderland. But no one in Wonderland is who they seem to be- not even Alyssa herself...

Review- This is a interesting sequel to Alice in Wonderland. It is and is not a retelling because is does change somethings about the original story but all the changes are believable to the story and as the reader I had no trouble seeing the changes and moving on with the story. I wanted to like book more than I do. It is not bad. The writing is good but not great. The characters are interesting but I do not think that they are unique. The plot could have been more but in the end it is just okay. I think part of the problem is nothing is a surprise to me. Maybe I have just read so much that I can guess what is happening in the background or maybe the author just dropped too many clues but from start to finish I was not surprised by this story. The only real interesting and unexpected thing in the story is the other love interest Morpheus who was the caterpillar. That part of his character was unique but other than that nothing. I do not want to turn anyone off from reading this because I know many fellow readers who would truly enjoy this book but sadly I am not one.

Three stars out of five. I get nothing for my review. I borrowed this ARC from a children's librarian to read and review. This book came out in January.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Obsidian (Lux, #1)
Today's post is on 'Obsidian' by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It is book one in the Lux series. It is 379 pages long including three chapters told from Daemon the male leads point of view and the first two chapters of the second novel Opal. It is published by Entangled Publishing. The cover the two main characters with Daemon looking at the reader and Kat, the female lead, with her arms around his neck.; there is lighting in the background telling that a storm is coming. There is some sexuality with a hot make-out scene that leaves both Daemon and Kat topless, some language, and some action scenes but that is it. The intended reader is YA but I am not YA and I have not been YA for many years and this is a great story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy Internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worth. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out if this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is.

Review- When I was a YA there was a really great TV show called Roswell. It is about aliens living in Roswell New Mexico. It was fun, the story was interesting, and the aliens were hot. Having watched, loved, and bought Roswell I can tell so did Armentrout. Daemon is a mix of the two main male characters from that show and Kat is Maria from it. The story is interesting. The passion between them is real and fun to read about. The writing is very good, the pacing is believable, and the bad guys are bad. The only part that felt forced to me was with the only human boy who shows interest in Kat. I saw the whole coming from the first time they talked but it did give Daemon a chance to be heroic so I guess it worked. It is a good first novel, the scene is now set and I am so glad that I have the second book and that the third one is coming out soon. Kat is interesting and fun, she loves books, and is a book review blogger. I think that Armentrout is giving us reviewers out here a wink but I like that about her. Kat talks about how important books are to her and why. I felt that gave her a special something that connects the reader to her in a special way. The three chapters at the end told from Daemon' point-of-view are funny. It is easy to go from Kat to Daemon and I enjoyed reading his thoughts, it was a nice change of pace.

I give this one Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this from my local library.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Spark (Elemental, #2)
Today's post is on 'Spark' by Brigid Kemmerer; it is the second in her Elemental Series. It is published by Kteen Books which is an imprint of Kensinton Publishing. It is 358 pages long including a songlist and a sneak peek of the third novel Spirit. On the cover it has four young men on with one centered, two faded out, and one behind him not faded out. The intended reader is Young Adult but I am a 'normal' adult and I enjoyed this. There are some kissing scenes and a little hinted groping but nothing the normal teenager knows about. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.
Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't.
Gabriel has always has his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it.
And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.
Gabriel can't let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that's right at his heels. But there are some risks he can't help taking.
The fuse is lit...

Review- I really like this series. I read the first one in about two days and in this one in three; and I have something like a life... I guess. The writing is good, the dialog is better in this one than the first, but the plot is a little slower. I think that because Kemmerer is building character instead of plot and it shows in the story. Gabriel is very interesting and he grows over the course of the story. At the start he is just trying to get his life back to normal after the events of Storm but that is just not going to happen. Layne is the kind of girl who is just not noticed and she noticed that Gabriel is not just a jock but he is in trouble too. Through their interactions both characters grow. The villain comes in a little late into the story but I am willing to forgive it because I really enjoyed the romance between Gabriel and Layne. I am looking forward to the next one in the series but the wait until June of this year is a little long but what do I know.

I give this four and half stars out of five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Storm (Elemental, #1)
Today's post is on 'Storm' by Brigid Kemmerer. It is the first book in The Elemental Series. It is published by KTeen which is the YA imprint of Kensington Publishing. It is 407 pages long including a bonus novella and part of the first chapter for the second book Spark. The intended reader is YA but anyone can read this and enjoy. The cover, it is blue because it is about the brother who can control water, has four young men on it with three faded out but one in sharp focus. There is some language and some kissing but nothing too graphic. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys- all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her.
Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water- just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.
And now that she know the truth, so is Becca.
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks that she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming...

Review- First thing to get out of the way, this is not another teen aged love triangle. It has its moments but Becca picks Chris in the and series moves on to the next brother Gabriel and I have to say I really liked that. I, for one, am tried of reading about the girl stuck between the two guys and just not able to choose. That is not this book. Kemmerer does have the triangle thing going to a little while but then she moves on. The writing is good, the characters are not whiny or too stupid, they are teens trying to handle big things in life without any real adults to guide them. The eldest brother is about about twenty-four and the other adults who would know how to control their elemental powers are afraid of the Merrick brothers because of their power levels. I wish this series was written when I was a teen because I was looking for it. The romance between Becca and Chris is important but nothing more than a few kisses happen so no fear there. This series is about not being afraid of yourself and finding someone who isn't either.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review. I borrowed this from my local library.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Janus Affair

The Janus Affair (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2)
Today's post is on 'The Janis Affair' by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris. It is the second book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. It is 416 pages long and is published by Harper Voyager which is an imprint of HarperCollins. The cover has the two main characters Eliza and Wellington flying in an airship battle. The intended reader is adult but YA can read it because there is nothing but violence in it. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!
Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lighting. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance... with each case going inexplicable unexamined by the Crown.
The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books... and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

Review- This book picks up some months after the first book but no time is lost in getting the new plot going. It starts with a bang and that carries all the way to the end. More character development goes on but I would have been disappointed if it had not. We learn more about Wellington's father and what he was taught and we learn why Eliza had to leave New Zealand. The plot can be a little heavy handed but the characters make up for it. We still do not know who the villain really is  or what is in the restricted area but we are coming closer to it. The only thing I'm worried about is how fast Books and Braun maybe moving. I like the playful banter and longing but I am willing to trust Pip and Tee to see where it take us. The death toll is higher in this one rather than the first book but the deaths are not unnecessary. I cannot wait for the next one in the series because Eliza and Wellington are going to traveling and I have always enjoyed books with travel in them.

I give this one Four and a half stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review. I bought my copy from my local bookstore and it has been signed by both authors who were guest at Dragon*Con 2012.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jack: Secret Histories

Jack: Secret Histories
Today's post is on 'Jack: Secret Histories' by F. Paul Wilson. It is 304 pages including a reading order for all his books at the end. It is published by TOR. The cover has two boys in silhouette with a bone arm out reached to them. It also has the opening line of the book on the cover which is 'They discovered the body on a rainy afternoon...'. The intended reader is young men but it is part of Wilson's Secret History of the World Series so anyone who likes/reads that will get something out of this book. There is some language, as the two of the main characters are fourteen year old boys but nothing really, there is no sex, and no gore. Some fighting but nothing too extreme. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Ever come across a situation that simply wasn't right- where someone was getting the dirty end of the stick and you wished you could make things right but didn't know how? Fourteen-year-old Jack knows how, Or, rather, he's learning how. He's discovering that he has a knack for fixing things. Not bikes or toys or appliances- situations...
Here's how it all starts: Jack and his best friends, Weezy and Eddie, discover a rotting corpse- the victim of ritual murder- in the fabled New Jersey Pine Barrens. Beside the body is an ancient artifact carved with strange designs. What is its secret? What is the secret of the corpse? What other mysteries  hide in the dark, timeless Pine Barrens? And who doesn't want them revealed?
Jack's town, the surrounding Barrens, his friends, even Jack himself... they all have.. secret histories.

Review- This is a good strong YA. I enjoyed reading it, it was a very quick read. Wilson does not change his writing style just because he is writing a YA book and I think that is very good. It helps this book fit into the the larger world of his Secret History nicely. Also when the young adults grow into just regular adults they will have a author ready for them to continue reading. This is Wilson's first YA book so there are some things that just do not quite fit like that Jack is more emotionally  mature that a normal fourteen-year-old would be. He is very aware of his place in the world and of others around him. He is honest but the reader can see where Jack is going to be when he becomes an adult. There is nothing in this book that should stop anyone from reading this. The murders do not happen on camera, the body is not described so the reader can full in details themselves mostly. The language is age appropriate. The very mild supernatural elements are just interesting and not scary at all. All in all I think that Wilson played it safe with this book.

I give this book Four stars out of Five. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Prisoner's Dilemma

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3)
Today's post is on 'The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Prisoner's Dilemma' by Trenton Lee Steward and illustrations by Diana Sudka. It is 391 pages long with each chapter having the charming illustrations like all the other books in the series. It is published by Little, Brown and Company which is an imprint of Hachette Book  Company. The cover has the children on a bus climbing, riding, and directing as usual. The intended reader is children over the age of eight but really anyone can read this series and this book and have a wonderful time. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dusk jacket- If You Fail, All Is Lost. Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other. When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger.
Is This The End Of The Mysterious Benedict Society?

Review- Like all the other books in the series, I really enjoyed reading this book. The children are just as charming, the writing is just as good, and the plot is fun with just the right amount of danger in it. The only thing I am worried about is where Steward can go from here. In the end the bad guy is not only in prison but he maybe reforming. Mr. Benedict's long searched for cure has come to him. The end is a good end but I do not want this series to just have three volumes, not counting the prequel about Mr. Benedict. This series is wonderful and deserves more stories from this world. Steward is a wonderful writer, who can balance bad guys with riddles, and having the children in scary places but never scaring the reader because we know that they will get out of it. The interesting twist with Constance being able to read minds is not overdone but just right amount of interesting and fun.  Other than thinking Steward may have written himself into a corner I have nothing bad to say about this book. Read it because you will have a wonderful time.

 I give this one Four and a half stars our of Five. I get nothing for my review; I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
Today's post is on 'Fire' by Kristin Cashore and it is a companion to Graceling her first novel. It is 461 pages long. It is published by Dial which is an imprint of Penguin Group Inc. The cover is a lovely red with a bow and arrow on; the lettering are in a gold to stand out from the red but also to hint at the main character. The intended reader is YA. There be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

Review- This is a good next volume in the Graceling series. I know that it says a companion to Graceling but I think it is more of a prequel to Graceling. I think that because Cashore gives the reader the needed information about the world so you could read this one first then Graceling then Bitterblue. I enjoyed the differences in this book from Graceling like in the Dells people are not born Gracelings. That means that everyone who is not a monster is just a normal person. Monsters are not Gracelings. How people know a Graceling is that they have two different colored eyes but Monsters look very different from others. Like there is a monster kitten and he is green with gold stripes. Fire is very beautiful, so beautiful in fact, that people can and do lose control of themselves around her. There is some sexuality in this book but unlike the other books I do not have a problem with it in this one. It maybe because Fire is more self-aware than either Bitterblue or Katsa. She is very honest with herself and the world around her. The villain in both Graceling and Bitterblue is Leck, which is impressive because Leck is dead in Bitterblue and he does not come back from the grave, and the reader gets to see him as a child who is already a monster. Fire is not the real monster in this book, Leck is. Because Fire is not trying to harm people, she just wants to help or be left alone. Leck enjoys causing pain, it is an interesting part of the book when they are interacting. If you have not read this series I would start with Fire then Graceling then Bitterblue.

I give this one Four stars out of Five. I get nothing from my review and I borrowed this book from my library.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Devil In The White City

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Today’s non-fiction review is on “The Devil In The White City” by Erik Larson. It is 447 pages long including notes, index, and credits. The cover has a picture of the white city from across a lake. The intended reader is anyone who likes history and who wants to know more about the first known serial killer in America. There is talk of sex, there is language, drinking, murder, and some talk of the torture that Holmes did to his victims; you are warned. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Review- This book is wonderful and so interesting. The writing is strong, the pacing is a little slow at the start but then it just goes. Larson is putting together all the different threads that made both the World’s Fair and Holmes’s murders. It is told in four parts with separate chapters following Burnham and Company building the fair to Holmes as he moves and hunts. Larson has it full of notes, dairy entries, newspaper stories. I want to learn more about this time and the people that I have meet because of this book. It would be easy for the reader to be overwhelmed with all the information given to us over the book but Larson does not do that. He gives it to us in small, manageable doses, with reminders of who people are as the book moves along. The subject matter is strong so if you are not into murders or serial killers do not read this. Holmes is the first serial killer that is known so the notes from different people about him are little unnerving but I think that Larson handles this well and I did not feel overwhelmed by the accounts.

I give this one Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and this was given to me as a gift.