Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Author: Sophie Jordan
Year: 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

After the events of Firelight, Jacinda is forced to leave Will behind and return to the Pride with her family. On top of the heartbreak of leaving Will behind, Jacinda is tormented by the fact that Will's memory was altered and he doesn't even know why she left him. But Jacinda hasn't forgot Will and now she has to decide if she can live without him even though she is back with her Pride where she thought she wanted to be? Life with the Pride isn't easy now either. Before Jacinda was special and important. People revered her and liked her. Now, Jacinda is considered a traitor and, if not for Cassian's protection, her wings might be clipped. Will had promised to never stop looking for Jacinda. But will he even remember that promise? And, if he does, will Jacinda be brave enough to follow her heart.

I liked Vanish much more than Firelight. I felt like Jacinda grew a lot and faced up to her faults. I missed not having as much of Will in the book. Also, reading the actual book instead of listening to the audiobook decreased my frustration as I was able to follow Jacinda's thoughts and words by seeing the punctuation in the book. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sherlock Holmes: Year One: Volume 1

Written by:  Scott Beatty
Illustrated by: Daniel Indro
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Year: 2011

This graphic novel is an origin story of Sherlock Holmes. It includes the introduction to Dr. Watson and a back story as to how they became roommates and partners. It has an interesting mystery that introduces us to Dr. Moriarty (and boy is he evil) and sets up their rivalry quite well. It wasn't a great mind-blowing mystery but still good and I felt like this collection was more of a set up for future graphic novels than anything.

I thought the graphic novel had very good artwork. I didn't like that the characters had purple skin. There is a possibility that was just because I was reading it on my nook and maybe the colors were off.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Author: Sophie Jordan
Year: 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Narrator: Therese Plummer

Jacinda is a draki (otherwise known as a dragon decedent). But not only is she a dragon, Jacinda's a firebreather which makes her an extra special and rare dragon. Her Pride not only wants to own her, they want to control her. She's forced to leave her Pride with her mother and sister and live among the mortals in a barren desert that is slowly killing Jacinda's draki. Jacinda must deny her true nature and pretend to be human. When she meets Will, he becomes her oasis in a desert. Beautiful, kind and sexy, Will feeds her draki and keeps her alive. But Will and his family are hunters. Their family hunts Jacinda's kind and kills them. They are the ultimate starcrossed lovers - a hunter and his prey.

I liked this story a lot. It was different and fun and Jordan writes heartbreaking and hot romance. I did get a bit frustrated. I listened to the audiobook and Jacinda tends to have lots of thoughts about how she should answer questions or about her real feelings and, listening to the audiobook, it was difficult to tell at times whether Jacinda was really saying something or if she was thinking it. So, I'd get really excited thinking she was confessing her feelings and she was just thinking them. That is no fault of the narrator who did an excellent job. I think the way the story is written it doesn't come across well on audiobook. I recommend reading this book instead of listening to it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blood Wounds

Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Year: 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I normally wouldn't have picked this book up but it was written by Susan Beth Pfeffer and I loved her Life As We Knew It books. I recommend those books to just about everybody I come in contact with (so if you haven't read them, go out, get them and read them. They're terrific.) Blood Wounds centers on Willa. Willa is part of a blended family and has two stepsisters who she likes but also envies and resents. Her stepsister's mother pays for them to go to fancy schools, travel and compete in very expensive hobbies; whereas Willa doesn't have the money to do these things. Then, one day, Willa gets word that her biological father (who she hasn't seen since she was a toddler) has killed his current wife and daughters and may be heading to Willa's home to kill her. The story focuses on the ramifications from her father's actions and how it affects Willa and the people she loves. 

I didn't identify with Willa because I've never been in any of her situations but I did root for her. I wanted Willa to find her way through these problems and come out on the good side. I felt for her. In the end, that's what I think the author wanted. There's some hard and raw stuff to deal with in this story and I think that won't appeal to a lot of readers. But I liked it. Pfeffer is very good at fleshing her characters out and making them real. 

Also is very fun to follow on her blog:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leviathan: The Unwritten, Volume 4

Authors: Mike Carey & Peter Gross
Year: 2011
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

This fourth installment of The Unwritten series was probably the most difficult to read. Tom Taylor gets separated from Lizzie and Savoy and travels through multiple stories, faces the great white whale and must figure out how to get back home. I feel like there was a lot I missed in this story so I'm going to have to go over it again before the fifth volume comes out but I did still enjoy it. I love the premise of these comics and how they illustrate how much the stories we read influence our lives. I also love the way the authors define stories through the series. One particular set of scenes in this volume stuck out to me. Our hero, Tommy, is being read a book by his father as a child and they begin discussing happy endings and how, as readers, we expect everyone to live happily ever after. Tommy's father tells Tommy, 

"Nobody ever lives happily ever after, Tom. If that were to happen the story would have to stop. Because it's sustained on the endless agonies and exertions of the hero. . . At the close of each book, we promise him a respite. A moment's peace. And a moment's all it is."

I liked these lines a lot because they remind me that life isn't a happily ever after. We're going to have good days and bad days but neither one is going to last forever. So, when the going gets tough, we need to put on our big girl panties and muddle through it and know that better times are around the corner. Of course, we can't get too complacent in the good times because there are going to be bad days ahead. 

This series also has some of the best and most interesting artwork I've seen. There are all kinds of hidden gems throughout the story. I recommend this series to anybody who's a lover of literature. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Poor Neglected Blog

So, I've been very remiss in updating my blog this summer. Not many excuses except that I've been busy and time has gotten away from me. But, I have been reading! It looks like I've read 22 books since the last time I posted. Woops.  Instead of overwhelming everybody with a comprehensive listing of every book I've read since that time, I'll just go over some of my favorites. I'm going to skip book summaries in this post because it'd just be too long and take up too much of your valuable reading time.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Author:  Z.Z. Packer
Year: 2004

This book had been sitting in my To Be Read stack for a long, long time. I read Z.Z. Packer's short story, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, while in college and loved it. Overall, I loved this collection of short stories. She's got a way of writing that is so down to earth yet beautiful. Terrific stories. I definitely recommend them.

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Year: 2011
Narrator: Wil Wheaton

I loved this book. I was a child of the 80s and this book made me extremely nostalgic for my childhood. The entire book was riddled with references and call outs to all those movies, books and songs that I used to love. I think that a person that's not a huge geek like me might get a bit overwhelmed or bogged down in the story but for those like me, it's tons of fun. Wil Wheaton was a wonderful narrator. I'm thinking of checking out other books he's narrated. 

The Magician King
Author:  Lev Grossman
Year: 2011

Another very good read. This book picked up after the events of The Magicians. It was a lot like Voyage of the Dawn Treader (which was my favorite of the Narnia stories. Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens of Fillory and have been peacefully ruling. In fact, Quentin is a bit bored. So, Quentin finds himself a quest. These are definitely books meant for adults so don't let your kids read them but I like them a lot. Oh, and I was totally unhappy with the ending. I think the first thing I did was start searching the web for the release date of the next book (it's unknown by the way).

Author: Richelle Mead
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Emily Shaffer

This book takes place in the Vampire Academy world. This book focuses on the alchemist, Sydney, that helped Rose in the Vampire Academy stories. Sydney is sent to protect Jill Dragomir. I've heard a lot of people complaining about how they didn't like this book or didn't care for Sydney as a narrator but I liked it. It took me a little longer to warm up to Sydney than it did Rose but I did and I liked her. Plus, I loved getting to see more of Adrian who was one of my favorites from the Vampire Academy books. I'm still not sure how I feel about Emily Shaffer as a narrator. She annoyed me at first but by the time I got most of the way through the book, I was okay with her.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Year: 2005

I got this book as one of the Free Friday reads from Barnes and Noble for my nook and didn't know what to expect. I liked it. 17 year old Ginny receives a package from her recently deceased aunt. The packages contains 13 blue envelopes. Each envelope has instructions for Ginny to follow as she's sent gallivanting over Europe to fulfill assignments for her aunt. This book was not a particularly intelligent read but it was fun. 

Author: Josephine Angelini
Year: 2011

I devoured this book. It took me a couple of chapters to get started but once I did, I didn't set it down all day. It was all about Greek gods and goddesses in today's world. The main character, Helen, is a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. There's love, war and magic. Loved it.

Author: Ally Condie
Year: 2010

This was another book I couldn't put down. It's one of those young adult dystopian novels. I loved Cassia and loved both Xander and Ky. I still can't choose between the two. Maybe the new book, Crossed, that just came out this week will help me make a decision between the two guys. One of my favorite aspects of the book was how much influence the poetry of past generations had on the main character, Cassia. I can totally see a poem meaning that much to me and can't imagine a world where there are only 100 poems. Or a world where people can not write. Definitely recommend this one.

The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Year: 2011
Narrator: Jim Dale

This book left me a little conflicted. Morgenstern created a beautiful world in The Night Circus and painted such vivid pictures of the circus, the tents and the people that I had no problem imaging exactly what it would be like to be at the circus. And I loved the characters. But the actual story seemed to slog along. But, Jim Dale is my absolute favorite narrator and he made the audiobook come alive and, by the time I was halfway through the book, I could not turn the audiobook off. Jim Dale is just amazing. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the book at all if I wasn't listening to it but I would definitely recommend checking it out and giving it a chance - especially the audiobook.

All These Things I Have Done
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Year: 2011

Another great dystopian novel. Loved it. This is in my top books of the year. I loved the main character. Anya was so easy to identify with and sympathize for. In her world chocolate and caffeine are illegal (I'd definitely be on the run). Her family business is chocolate; so, she's considered to be part of a mob like family. Then, Anya falls for the new boy at school who just happens to be the town's new DA's son. I read this book on vacation and spent an entire vacation morning hiding on the  deck of the cruise ship reading it. Plus, the book is absolutely beautiful. 

Girls in White Dresses
Author:  Jennifer Close
Year: 2011

This book was not what I was expecting at all. For some reason, I thought it was going to be one story about a group of college friends. Instead, it was a collection of interweaved short stories about girls who are friends. It was still a good book and I enjoyed the stories a lot. I just had a hard time getting past the book being something different than I thought it was. 

Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
Year: 2011

I loved this book. It's about an extremely dysfunctional family that gathers every summer at a beach house owned by their mother and the complicated relationships that they have and their just trying to reach some kind of understanding with each other. The ending was fantastic and a bit unexpected even though I should have totally known where the book was going.

Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Year:  2010

This might just be the best teen romance I've ever read. Anna was a wonderful character. The dialogue was smart and funny. Etienne was completely lovable. I reread the last 30 pages about ten times once I finished the book. If you like romance at all, read this one.

If I Die
Author: Rachel Vincent
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi

This series just keeps getting better and better. I love Kaylee (and Tod). In this book the tension and suspense as to what was going to happen nearly killed me. I feel like with every book Rachel Vincent keeps upping the consequences and the importance of every event for the characters. I listened to this audiobook on my nightly walks and my walks were two hours long on those nights. I couldn't put the book down and just walked until I was exhausted. For anybody who loves paranormal romances, I definitely recommend this series. It's at the top of the list. And, you have to start with the first book. Don't start here or you're going to be terribly spoiled for the other books. I can't wait to see what happens to Kaylee (and Tod) next.

OK, that's most of the books that I've been reading over the summer (and fall). Now, let's see if I can stay up to date on the blog. Wish me luck!