Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Batman: Volume 1: The Court of Owls

Author:  Scott Snyder
Illustrator:  Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion
Year: 2012
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages:  176

Goodreads Summary:
Following his ground-breaking, critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics, writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) alongside artist Greg Capullo (Spawn) begins a new era of The Dark Knight as with the relaunch of Batman, as a part of DC Comics—The New 52! 
After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he's sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime? 

I'm not quite sure what to make of this story. I enjoyed it but I felt lost a good bit of the time. I attribute a lot of that feeling to just not knowing enough about Batman. I felt like there undertones and stories that I missed because I was too uninformed. I did enjoy the mystery and would probably pick up more of these stories.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The X-files Season 10, Volume 1

Author:  Joe Harris
Illustrator:  Michael Walsh
Year:  2013
Publisher:  IDW Publishing
Pages:  104

Goodreads Summary:
For years they investigated the paranormal, pursued the 'monsters of the week,' and sought the truth behind extraterrestrial activity, along with the grand conspiracy surrounding it rooted deep within their own government. But when AGENTS MULDER and SCULLY reunite for a new, ongoing series that ushers THE X-FILES into a new era of technological paranoia, multinational concerns and otherworldly threats, it'll take more than a desire 'to believe' to make it out alive. The X-Files: Season 10 also sees creator Chris Carter return to the fold as Executive Producer!

This graphic novel had all the magic of the TV series. It transported me back in time to the days when Fridays were X-Files nights. All my favorites were there - Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Doggett, The Lone Gunman, the cigarette smoking man. There is also a cool set of drawings depicting the characters in different styles at the end of the graphic novel. My favorite of these has our heroes drawn as the Scooby Doo Gang. What fun! I'm going to preorder volume 2 right now.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Rogue By Any Other Name

Author:  Sarah MacLean

Series:  The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 1
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  386

Goodreads Summary:
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.

I've heard lots of people talking about the Sarah MacLean romance stories, in particular The Rules of Scoundrels series, and it's all been good. When I got the opportunity to read A Rogue By Any Other Name, I jumped on it. And the hype was right.  It is a great romping fun romance. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Week to Be Wicked

Author:  Tessa Dare
Series:  Spindle Cove, Book 2
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  356

Goodreads Summary:
Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove's confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. 
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be...anywhere but Spindle Cove.
These unlikely partners have one week to
• fake an elopement
• convince family and friends they're in "love"
• outrun armed robbers
• survive their worst nightmares
• travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.
What they don't have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.
Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe...just maybe...love.

This was a fun, rip-roaring adventure romance. I loved reading it and want to see more of Minerva and Colin. I loved Minerva's intelligence and I loved Colin for loving her because if it. This was my first book of Tessa Dare's but I shall definitely be reading more. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Skin Walker

Author:  Faith Hunter
Series:  Jane Yellowrock, Book 1
Year: 2009
Publisher:  Audible Frontiers
Narrator:  Khristine Hvam

Goodreads Description:
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind - a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she's been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie's Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who's killing other vamps.

What a novel idea for a vampire novel. I loved the idea of a shapeshifter that hunts vampires. At times, this is story showed real potential but for the most part, I just didn't connect with the story. Really, I didn't connect with Jane Yellowrock which is a real shame because I can see what the books could be. Maybe one day I'll give some of the other stories a try if Audible puts them on sale cheap or if I find them in an used book store cheap but I won't be jumping to read them.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

Author:  Molly Brown
Series:  Half Moon Hollow 2.5
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Audible, Inc.
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi

Goodreads Description:
It's Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi's first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It's taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi's safety. Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there's the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi's peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him. Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?

I haven't been following this series at all. I listened to one of the other novella audiobooks and absolutely loved it. This one wasn't as great as Undead Sublet but I did enjoy it. I kept waiting for the story to get started. This kinda felt like a great, big prologue to the real story. What it did do was whet my appetite for more Molly Harper. I think I'm going to be adding her to my to read list.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Let It Snow

Authors:  John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Year:  2009
Publisher:  Speak
Pages:  352

Goodreads Description:
The weather outside is frightful, but these stories are delightful! When a huge blizzard (that doesn't show signs of stopping) hits, Gracetown is completely snowed in. But even though it's cold outside, things are heating up inside, proving that the holiday season is magical when it comes to love. In three wonderfully (and hilariously!) interconnected tales, YA stars John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson create a must-have collection that captures all the spirit of the holiday season.

I didn't realize when I started reading these books that they were interconnected. Don't know how I missed that detail. When the first story ended, I was pretty upset that there were a lot of loose ends left hanging. As you can imagine, I was very happy when the second story picked up one of those loose ends. The combination of the three stories left me with a happy, warm feeling inside that may have been a bit of the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Spark Unseen

Author: Sharon Cameron
Series: The Dark Unwinding, Book 2
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Pages:  352

Goodreads Summary:

The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron's blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.
When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.
But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust--if anyone--to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.
Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

In the second book of this series, Katharine takes off to Paris with Uncle Tully to hide him from both governments that are trying to use him and, secretly, to search for Lane whom she has been told is dead. Although I loved the change in location, I missed Stranwyne Keep. I did love seeing Katharine embracing her role and never giving up on what she believes. It's a very enchanting series and I am so curious to see where the story goes from here if more books are planned. Does anyone know if there will be a third book?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Dark Unwinding

Author:  Sharon Cameron
Series:  The Dark Unwinding, Book 1
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Pages:  318

Gooodreads Summary:

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.
Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.
As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it.

What a fun story this is. It reads like an old-fashioned historical novel. Then the author threw in mystery, action and romance. I loved Uncle Tully. I liked the way the author portrayed a genius as someone who might be considered better off in a lunatic asylum. Because aren't all geniuses a little crazy in the end? I would have loved a little more romance (or build up in the romance) between Katharine and Lane but maybe that's going to be a slow build in time through the series. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Doctor Sleep: A Novel

Author:  Stephen King
Series:  The Shining, Book 2
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Will Patton

Goodreads Summary:

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

So it's been nearly two decades since I read The Shining. When I first started listening to the audiobook, I was upset at where little Dan Torrence had ended up. But then I got caught up in the story and that, dear readers, is what Stephen King excels at - - telling a story. Before I knew what was happening, I was caught up in Dan's story and his relationship with little Abra Stone. I was terrified for both of them afraid they would fall into the cluthes of the True Knot. This was a masterpiece in storytelling. Will Patten's narration was terrific. I highly recommend this audiobook.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Takedown Twenty

Author: Janet Evanovich
Series:  Stephanie Plum, Book 20
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Random House Audio
Narrator:  Lorelei King

Goodreads Summary:
New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

In this twentieth book in the Stephanie Plum series, we see Stephanie bumble as a bounty hunter, waver between Morelli and Ranger, catch something on fire and destroy a car. Yep, it's the same story as before. There's not anything new here but it is more of the same fun that we've come to love from Stephanie Plum novels. Lorelei King continues to be one of the top narrators out there and makes the books worth listening to. And I think it's the audiobook that makes the difference. I would get frustrated with the physical books but with Lorelei King's narration, the book is a great escape.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Game On

Author:  Tracy Solheim
Series:  Out of Bounds, Book 1
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Berkley
Pages:  304

Goodreads Description:

The only way to win is to score…

With a reputation for fast moves on the gridiron and even faster moves off the field, Shane Devlin was a player in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, his bad-boy persona has made him a risky prospect as a quarterback, and only the Baltimore Blaze are willing to give him a chance. And he’s about to take a hit he never expected.
Working for the Blaze, Carly March knows too well how jocks think—and what they think with—so she’s always made a point of keeping them at arm’s length. But when she shares a kiss with the devilishly handsome Shane, she finds it hard to play by her own rules—and even harder to resist him.
Can a football hero and a business-minded beauty take it all the way? Or will their mutual attraction cost them the big game?

Anytime I'm looking for a good straight up relaxing read, I like to fall back on a romance. And this was one of the best romances I've read in a while. There is a good story here with actual character development. This story isn't all about sex. There were a couple of times in the first half of the book when I knew that normal romances would have fallen into a sex scene yet this one didn't. Don't get me wrong, the sex did come, it was just later on. I really enjoyed this romance and definitely intend on picking up the other books in the series.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just One Year

Author:  Gayle Forman
Series:  Just One Day, Book 2
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Dutton Books
Pages:  323

Goodreads Description:
Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.
Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began....
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .
The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

I don't know if I've said this before but Gayle Forman can write romance with feelings more than any author I've seen. Not only that, she manages to write a romance that makes me love the characters and believe in the power of their love when the characters are rarely together. I loved Willem's story and seeing what he was doing the year after he and Allyson parted and how, like Allyson, he grew and changed and found himself in that year. This is a terrific story with lots of feeling.