Monday, September 30, 2013

Gameboard of the Gods

Author: Richelle Mead
Series:  Age of X, Book 1
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Dutton Adult
Pages:  448

Goodreads Description:
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

I'm still having a hard time getting together my thoughts on this book. It's literally taken me months to read this book. I've put it down several times and not picked it back up. Finally, I picked it up yesterday and said, I'm going to finish this book. And once I got past the halfway book, it was easy to finish. But a book shouldn't take me that long to get in to. Normally, a Richelle Mead book doesn't take me that long to get in to. That's what disappoints me most because I am literally counting down the days until the next Bloodlines book comes out and when it does come out I won't be able to put it down. But this book doesn't have that magic. Maybe she just needs a little time to get the world set up  and put together because it does seem like she's putting together a pretty extensive backstory and world. I am curious to see what's going to happen and will read the second book but I won't be waiting on pins and needles for it like I am the Bloodlines series.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chew, Volume One: Taster's Choice

Author:  John Layman
Illustrator: Rob Guillory
Year: 2009
Publisher: Image Comics
Pages: 128

Goodreads Description:

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.

This was such an interesting comic. It was fun and clever and witty. I can't wait to read more of the series and see where it goes and what happens with Tony Chu. I just wonder what was going on in the heads of the writer(s) to come up with the idea of a person who can bite into food and get psychic impression from the food and know where it's been and know about the people and things that have come into contact with it. Amazing. It sounds like something from the TV show Fringe. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Throne of Fire

Author:  Rick Riordan
Series:  The Kane Chronicles, Book 2
Year: 2001
Publisher:  Hyperion Books
Pages:  452

Goodreads Description:
Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven't given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.
And now their most threatening enemy yet - the chaos snake Apophis - is rising. If they don't prevent him from breaking free in a few days' time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it's a typical week for the Kane family.
To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.
First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?
Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride.

I was highly disappointed in the beginning of this book. It just started off way too slowly and was just disappointing. Towards the middle and the end the book picked up and redeemed itself but overall, the Kane Chronicle books just do not have that magic that the Percy Jackson books and even the Heroes of Olympus books have. And I really don't understand why. I like the characters well enough and some of the characters I even love. There's that magical spark that's missing with the characters. Maybe when the series overlap, it'll carryover.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On the Jellicoe Road

Author:  Melina Marchetta
Year: 2009
Publisher:  Belinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
Narrator: Rebecca Macauley

Audible Description:
Taylor Markham is now a senior at the Jellicoe School, and has been made leader of the boarders. She is responsible for keeping the upper hand in the territory wars with the townies, and the cadets who camp on the edge of the school's property over summer. She has to keep her students safe and the territories enforced and to deal with Jonah Griggs - the leader of the cadets and someone she'd rather forget. But what she needs to do, more than anything, is unravel the mystery of her past and find her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road six years before. The only connection to her past, Hannah, the woman who found her, has now disappeared, too, and he only clue Taylor has about Hannah and her mother's past is a partially written manuscript about a group of five kids from the Jellicoe School, 20 years ago.

Wow. So it took me a little bit of time to get into this book. I'm a southern girl with my own accent issues and this is obviously an Australian book with it's own accent issues so getting used to the accent took me a while. Then the book just jumps between alternating storylines and it takes some getting used to but once I did, I was hooked. I was glued to the story and could not put it down. I was at work, listening to the story and crying and thinking I needed to turn it off because I was crying at work and then thinking "forget that, I've got to know what happens." This is an absolutely beautiful story about friendship and the bonds that are formed in the lowest moments of our lives and I loved it. I can definitely see why it won the Printz Award.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Returned

Author:  Jason Mott
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Audible, Inc.
Narrator:  Tom Stechschulte

Audible Description:
"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."
Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds healed through the grace of time.... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep - flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.
All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargraves find themselves at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.
With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

I listened to both this book and the three short story prequels that went along with it. The prequels really intrigued me. I loved them and could wait to get more. We got a little bit of that feeling in The Returned but it was drug out a lot more and the story got fleshed out a lot. I thought the characters of Harold and Lucille were well developed. In truth, I think that what The Returned is - a story about characters because there's not a lot of plot. But what characters they are. I enjoyed it a lot. 

Tom Stechschulte is a great  narrator. I don't recall ever listening to any of his work before but I think he was terrific here and he will be a definite selling point on future audiobooks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Underwater Welder

Author:  Jeff Lemire
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Top Shelf Productions
Pages: 212

Goodreads Description:
As an underwater welder on an oilrig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. Then one night, deep in the icy solitude of the ocean floor, something unexplainable happens. Jack has a mysterious and supernatural encounter that will change the course of his life forever.
Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending mystery, The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.

In the introduction to The Underwater Welder, Damon Lindelof describes the story as an episode of the Twilight Zone and that is probably the best description possible. I must admit, I am enchanted by Jeff Lemire. Essex County was one of the best graphic novels I've read and now this "little" graphic novel was extremely powerful. Before I read any of his work, I heard him being talked about as a graphic novel "god" so when I finally read him, I was surprised at what I got. Both of these works have been deep, insightful and moving. They're insights into humanity, not superheroes. I highly recommend picking up The Underwater Welder and Essex County (which is awesome).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The 5th Wave

Author:  Rick Yancey
Series:  The 5th Wave, Book 1
Year: 2013
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages:  457

Goodreads Description:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

50 pages into The 5th Wave and I was hooked. At first, Cassie seemed a little over dramatic with her inner dialogue of being the last human on earth but then things started happening. About 1/3 of the way through the book Yancey started this point-of-view shifting thing that threw me off but ended up being a brilliant move. I loved getting to see the other characters and I had no clue who to trust and who not to trust. I even started to doubt whether or not Cassie was human or not human.  I also didn't rest on the faith that a certain person was a main character so they wouldn't get killed. I honestly believed Yancey would kill any character at any time (except Cassie). I loved having a good alien invasion book! I can't wait to get more.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Author:  S.R. Johannes
Series:  Nature of Grace, Book 1
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Coleman & Stott
Pages:  305

Goodreads Description:
16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

This story is completely different than anything out there that I've read out there on the market right now. First it's about wilderness survival. Secondly, it's about a girl who's mostly concerned with finding her father, not falling in love (even when she manages to find a hot English boy in the Smokies). Grace is strong and smart and refuses to give up on finding her dad even when every person in her life is telling her she should back down and let her father go. I was really surprised at how much this story sucked me end. It was well written and very believable. I recommend anybody looking for a real adventure novel to check this one out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Never Too Far

Author:  Abbi Glines
Series:  Too Far Trilogy, Book 2
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Abbi Glines
Pages: 200

Goodreads Description:
He had held a secret that destroyed her world.

Everything she had known was no longer true.

Blaire couldn’t stop loving him but she knew she could never forgive him.
Now, she was back home and learning to live again. Moving on with life… until something happened to send her world spinning once again.
What do you do when the one person you can never trust again is the one that you need to trust so desperately?

You lie, hide, avoid, and pray that your sins never find you out.

I really wasn't expecting the turn this book took. Both Blaire and Rush grew up so much in book two and it was much more serious than the previous book and I loved it. It felt so real and not at all childish or young. I enjoyed this book leaps and bounds more than Fallen Too Far. Abbi Glines will definitely be my go to author for fun, relaxing, happy-making reads.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fallen Too Far

Author:  Abbi Glines
Series:  Too Far Trilogy, Book 1
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Abbi Glines
Pages:  188

Goodreads Description:
To want what you’re not supposed to have…
She is only nineteen.
She is his new stepfather’s daughter.

She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.

But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.
Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…
Blaire just may have fallen too far.

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and I'm afraid I waited a little too long to write the review on it as my feelings on it aren't fresh. I do remember thinking at first that the dialogue felt a little off too me. Or maybe awkward is a better word. But by halfway through the story, I didn't care. I loved Blaire and wanted things to work out for her. I didn't know Rush too well and wasn't sure if he was the right one for her (because there seemed to be some pretty awesome guys down there in Florida) but I wanted Blaire to come out on top. By the end of the story, I was a little bit in love with Rush. But the real burning question at the end of Fallen Too Far is what was with that ending?