Friday, May 31, 2013

The Summer I Became a Nerd

Author:  Leah Rae Miller
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Year: 2013
Pages:  258

Goodreads Synopsis:  
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

What a perfect reading choice for Memorial Day weekend. This is such a fun summer romance. I loved Maddie. She reminded me a bit of myself with all the love for nerdy things (although I've never tried to hide who I was). Even more so, I loved Logan. He would have been perfect for me. I enjoyed watching Maggie openly embrace who she is and the things that she loves. Great fun read and perfect for summer.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Author:  Rachel Vincent
Series: Shifters, Book 1
Year: 2007
Publisher:  Mira Books
Pages:  618

Goodreads Summary: 

There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . . 
And I'm one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Let me start this off by saying that I love Rachel Vincent.  Her Soul Screamers series is one of my top ten series. Unfortunately, Stray fell a little short for me. It did pick up about 250 pages from the end and I'm hoping that will spur the story on for the future books. I will keep reading the series because I do  have complete faith in Rachel Vincent to tell me a good story. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Stay Awake: Stories

Author:  Dan Chaon
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Pages: 254

Goodreads Description:
In these haunting, suspenseful stories, lost, fragile, searching characters wander between ordinary life and a psychological shadowland. They have experienced intense love or loss, grief or loneliness, displacement or disconnection—and find themselves in unexpected, dire, and sometimes unfathomable situations.
A father’s life is upended by his son’s night terrors—and disturbing memories of the first wife and child he abandoned; a foster child receives a call from the past and begins to remember his birth mother, whose actions were unthinkable; a divorced woman experiences her own dark version of “empty-nest syndrome”; a young widower is unnerved by the sudden, inexplicable appearances of messages and notes—on dollar bills, inside a magazine, stapled to the side of a tree; and a college dropout begins to suspect that there’s something off, something sinister, in his late parents’ house.
Dan Chaon’s stories feature scattered families, unfulfilled dreamers, anxious souls. They exist in a twilight realm—in a place by the window late at night when the streets are empty and the world appears to be quiet. But you are up, unable to sleep. So you stay awake.

This was a truly wonderful collection of short stories. I was impressed with Dan Chaon's ability to use simple language to tell mesmerizing stories. It was also a pretty varied collection of stories. Some of them were downright scary and others were haunting while others played with my mind. What I really appreciated was a true collection of horror stories of different degrees. I had been looking for something like this and felt that most books that were billed as scary or horror fell short of the mark. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Complete Essex County

Author:  Jeff Lemire
Publication Date:  August 1, 2009
Publisher:  Top Shelf Productions
Pages:  512

Goodreads Synopsis:
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception? Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute to his roots with Essex County, an award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of his hometown, the eccentric farming community of Essex County, Ontario, Canada. In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free. This new edition collects the complete, critically-acclaimed trilogy (Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse) in one deluxe volume! Also included are over 40-pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories.

This was an absolutely terrific graphic novel. It was beautiful and heartfelt. More than once I teared up from the emotions the story brought on. It's easily one of my favorite novels and near the top of my list of favorite graphic novels.  I think Lemire did an excellent job of weaving this intricate storyline where the characters were all connected and their stories tied together yet the stories were separate. It was just beautiful and I recommend it to everyone.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Author:  Ally Condie
Series:  Matched, Book 3
Publication Date:  November 13, 2012
Publisher:  Penguin
Pages:  512

Goodreads Synopsis:
After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

I'm a little confused as to how I felt about this book. I liked it. I really did. But I was left a little disappointed with how the guy that Cassia didn't choose ended up. It's not that I'm disappointed. I just wanted more for the poor fellow. And, he was my favorite. Overall, I was happy with how Condie concluded the series and thought it was very well thought out and organized and was a fun and enjoyable read. I just wanted more for my guy who, in the end, I felt like was the best character of the trio. I also felt like he was the one that was the best rebel. 

I can't wait to see what Condie writes next.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Author:  Elizabeth Norris
Series:  Unraveling, Book 2
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Pages: 479

Goodreads Synopsis:
Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

Loved, loved, loved this book. Janelle is such a wonderful main character. She's strong, smart, and badass. I love the way she cares for her family and friends and will do anything to keep them safe. I was also surprised at how much Norris made me like Taylor Barclay. This is a different YA series. After all, how many of books are there about parallel universes? Although I did read somewhere on the internet that this was just going to be a two books series, I can see where there's potential to keep this series going on forever (Janelle could just keep having adventures in other universes and maybe join the IA).  That would be awesome. I think the author and publishers need to rethink this two book idea.  ;)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Twelve

Author:  Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage, Book 2
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher:  The Random House Publishing Group
Pages:  564

Goodreads Synopsis:
At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.
To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

I took this book to the beach with me. Yeah, I know, not exactly the definition of a "beach read" but it was just what I needed. I ended up spending the entire day with my nose stuck in this book dying to find out what was going to happen with the characters. I loved the way that Cronin recapped what had happened in the prior book. I found this very unique. I was disappointed that he introduced so many new characters. I felt like we had plenty of characters from the first book. In the end, he tied everybody together nicely.  This is one of my favorite series of books and I highly recommend them.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Anansi Boys

Author:  Neil Gaiman
Year:  09/19/2005
Publisher:  Harper Audio
Narrator:  Lenny Henry

Audible Synopsis:

God is dead. Meet the kids.
When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed, before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun, just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times best seller American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny, a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

I really loved this book.  It didn't have the epic-ness of American Gods but it was wasn't quite the same type of tale either. It was much more humorous and narrow in scope. At first I wasn't too sure how I was going to like the story but Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller. Combine that with Lenny Henry's perfect narration, and I was drawn in and hooked. I laughed out loud during this book.  Shed a tear or two. Neil Gaiman is the type of writer that I aspire to be. If you want good storytelling, pick up any of his books. This is a good place to start.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

Author:  John Scalzi
Publication Date: 06/05/2012
Publisher:  Audible, Inc.
Narrator:  Wil Wheaton

Audible Synopsis:
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

I don't think I have ever read a more self-aware book. I laughed so much during this book. A lot of the time, I was laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the story. I loved the way Scalzi brought in just about every science fiction trope that I can think of and worked it into the story. I loved the silliness in the story. I thought it was hilarious (as in private joke hilarious) that Wil Wheaton was reading this story. Really, I just loved this book. It's not  this amazing work of fiction that will go down in history as the greatest story ever. But it is tons of fun. I have never watched the Star Trek series but I have watched science fiction and thought this was so much fun. I have a feeling if I was a Star Trek fan, I would have had even more fun with the story.  If you're a sci-fi fan, I recommend you check this book out.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Author:  Angie Sage
Series:  Septimus Heap, Book 7
Publication Date:  04/17/2013
Publisher:  Harper Audio
Narrator:  Gerard Doyle

Audible Synopsis:
Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are 14 years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle is the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna will soon be Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Darke Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit - a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.

In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus continues to discover who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. Fyre weaves together every character from the series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage's distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time Is Right, anything is possible.

It feels like so many of my favorite series are ending  :(   I was so excited to get this audiobook because I love the world of Septimus Heap. I think Angie Sage has created an unique and creative magical world and her use of language is just terrific.  She has some of the most intelligent humor I've ever seen in a book intended for this age of child. Sage assumes that the person reading her books is intelligent and never talks down to her audience. I love that. This is one of my top audiobooks so far this year. Gerard Doyle does a fantastic job narrating. I loved seeing Septimus and Jenna grow and take charge of their lives (even though they're just 15).  At the end of the day, I was pleased where Sage ended the series (even though I still want more). 

If you haven't started these books, I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Bite Before Christmas

Authors:  Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost
Series:  Argeneau #15.5, Night Huntress  #6.5
Publication Date:  October 25, 2011
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  325

Goodreads Summary:
In Lynsay Sands' "The Gift," Katricia Argeneau knows grey-eyed cop Teddy Brunswick is her life mate. She just needs to convince him they belong together, and being snowbound in a secluded cabin will make this a Christmas neither will forget. 
It's "Home for the Holidays" in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. Cat and Bones may long to wrap presents and set up a tree, but this Christmas, an evil vampire and long-buried family secrets will threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer.

I bought this book in my quest to read all the Night Huntress novellas. I absolutely loved the Cat and Bones story "Home for the Holidays."  I loved seeing Ian get a chance to shine. Maybe Frost will give Ian a love and story in the Night Huntress World novels. That'd be fun. I am never disappointed with a Jeaniene Frost outing and this short story was no exception. It was worth the price of the book alone just for this novella.

As for the Lynsay Sands story, "The Gift," it was just okay. The story was cute and humorous and very romantic but there wasn't any tension in it or any mystery for the couple to solve. It was just a little falling in love story and that fall happened instantly.