Monday, April 29, 2013

Ship Breaker

Author:  Paolo Bacigalupi
Series:  Ship Breaker, Book 1
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher:  Little, Brown
Pages:  326

Goodreads Summary:
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life...
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

This is definitely one of my favorite dystopias. I found it original. The world is fascinating and I wanted to know more about the ship breaking itself but I also loved the other part of the story where we got glimpses as to what America is like after the "city killers." I thought Nailer was a very likable and believable main character. Bacigalupi also did a wonderful job of developing the side characters. This is my first time reading Bacigalupi but I am positive I'll be picking up more of his stuff soon. I hear The Wind Up Girl is amazing and I think it might be in my future soon.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Author:  Jennifer Rush
Series:  Altered, Book 1
Publication Date: 01/01/2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown
Pages:  323

Goodreads Summary:
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was very different and intriguing. I was dying to know the boys' secret and history and how they became a part of the project. Anna was a very sympathetic narrator. I wanted things to work out for her. The story never lagged. I was hooked from the first chapter and when it ended, I wanted more. Rush surprised me quite a bit with the twist at the end. If you like conspiracy theory stories, jump all over this one.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition

Author:  Neil Gaiman
Publication Date:  06/21/2011
Publisher:  Harper Audio
Narrators: Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones

Audible Synopsis:
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now, discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author's preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
A storm is coming....
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing - an epic war for the very soul of America - and that he is standing squarely in its path.

This is a modern epic fantasy. It took me two tries to get going on this audiobook. For some reason, the first time I tried to listen, I never could get into the story. Then, a year later, I tried again and this time I loved it! Now, I have to admit that I'd have been much happier if Neil Gaiman had narrated the story himself as he's probably one of my favorite narrators. I had a hard time getting used to the full cast especially as I felt there were some odd interjections. 

As for the story itself, it was so creative. I loved figuring out who the gods were in the original incarnations. I liked the twists and I really felt for Shadow. I also got super excited at the part that took place in Rock City (seeing as how that's my hometown area). That made it feel like the story came to me. 

Neil Gaiman is definitely at the top of my favorite writers list. Read anything by him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Author:  F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publication Date:  04/09/2013
Publisher:  Audible, Inc.
Narrator:  Jake Gyllenhaal

Audible Synopsis:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.
After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy’s life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters’ fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.
This special audio edition joins the upcoming film - as well as many other movie, radio, theater, and even video-game adaptations - as a fitting tribute to the cultural significance of Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic, widely regarded as one of the greatest stories ever told.
I'd read this book about fifteen years ago and, truth be told, I'd forgotten a lot of what the story was about. But that ending had stuck in my head. I tend to think that I probably didn't recognize this book for the work of art that it is. With age and experience, I can see the genius of Fitzgerald and recognize the nuances that I think I missed in my younger days. I bought this audiobook for two reasons (1) the movie is coming out soon and I wanted a refresher on the story; and, (2) It's narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal. I wasn't overly impressed by Jake Gyllenhaal's narration. I thought it was adequate but he didn't bring that magic to the story that great narrators do i.e. Colin Firth in The End of the Affair. If you've never read this book, I'd say listen to this audiobook. It's well worth the listen even if the narration isn't out of the park.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

With All My Soul

Author:  Rachel Vincent
Series:  Soul Screamers, Book 7
Publication Date:  March 26, 2013
Publisher:  Harlequin Enterprises
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi

Goodreads Summary:
What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...
After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.
But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

How bittersweet.  I've absolutely loved this book series. I can't remember a series that pulled at my heartstrings and made me cry, laugh, and feel so much - - especially on audiobook. I've loved Kaylee and her group of misfit friends - - even Sabine and Sophie.  I'm so sad to see them go.  When I got down to the last two hours of this audiobook, I found  myself treasuring every minute knowing that this was the last time I was going to get a new book in this series for the first time. And Rachel Vincent did not disappoint. There was action, laughter, love, betrayal, death  - - everything that makes a great book. And can I just say that Tod is the perfect guy. Well, except for that whole being dead thing. 

If you haven't read these books, I recommend you go start the series now. Or pick up the books on Audible because Amanda Ronconi does a perfect job narrating them.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Author:  Cherie Priest
Series:  The Clockwork Century, Book 1
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Pages:  414

Goodreads Summary:
Cherie Priest's much-anticipated steampunk debut has finally arrived in the form of a paperback original. Its plot features the sort of calibrated suspense that readers of her Four and Twenty Blackbirds would expect. Boneshaker derives its title from the Bone-Shaking Drill Engine, a device designed to give Russian prospectors a leg up in the race for Klondike gold. Unfortunately, there was one hitch: On its trial run, the Boneshaker went haywire and, long story short, turned much of Seattle into a city of the dead. Now, 16 years later, a teenage boy decides to find out what is behind that mysterious wall. Can his mother save him in time? Zombie lit of the first order.

So, this steampunk zombie book was a rollicking adventure and I enjoyed every minute of it. I kinda went in to it blind. I knew that it was a popular steampunk book and since I was wanting to read more steampunk, I just bought it. Imagine my surprise when zombies showed up in the story!  But that's OK because it was a great story. I liked the alternative history. I loved Briar Wilkes. I thought she was a very strong woman and I'd like to see more of her story and what happened to her after this book.  I'll definitely be picking up the rest of the series.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dark Triumph

Author:  Robin LaFevers
Series:  His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Pages: 385

Goodreads Summary:
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.
But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Grave Mercy was one of my top ten books last year and I really didn't think there was any way that Dark Triumph was going to live up to it - - especially when I saw that it was switching from Ismae and Duval to Sybella. I wanted more Ismae and Duval. But about thirty pages into this book, I was so into Sybella's story, I didn't care what was going on with Ismae (although I was very happy to see her in this book). Sybella was such a damaged character and it was so great seeing her redemption and her love story. I absolutely loved it. LaFevers had my heart breaking in sorrow for Sybella one moment and exploding with happiness the next. Obviously, Dark Triumph will be one of my top ten books this year. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Wound

Authors:  Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Series:  The Unwritten, Volume 7
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Vertigo  Comics
Pages:  144

Goodreads Synopsis:
The War of Words is over, but the real world and fictional world are both in turmoil, and the damage seems to be spreading. When a rash of mysterious disappearances catches the eye of young detective Didge Patterson, it becomes apparent that the cult known as The Church of Tommy is involved. Can Tommy heal "The Wound" before the real and fictional worlds crumble?

This is my favorite graphic novel series. I can't get over the attention to detail and the way the authors are able to work in the meaning of stories to readers and life into this work of art. I'm curious as to where they're going with the story but I'm in for the long haul. For now, here's a quote that I really liked in this edition:

. . . the stories about us are stronger than we are. And more durable. When you think about  yourself - - about your real, true self - - it's not the face in the mirror that comes into your mind. It's the story of you.  How you got here. Where you're going. All the moments that make you who you area. But that's not all, religion, philosophy, politics and science - - they're all stories. With the whole universe as the hero. And we listen, and if we like what we're hearing, we accept it. We believe.
In the meantime, I'm anxiously awaiting publication of volume 8.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author:  Jennifer E. Smith
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Pages:  404

Goodreads Synopsis:

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 
Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

This is a fun little book. It's very reminiscent of You've Got Mail. It has that light and fun flavor to it.  It doesn't have that extra magic that The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight does but it was still fun and well worth the read. I spent a Saturday afternoon sitting in the sun on the back porch reading this book and it was a perfect afternoon. I will definitely be reading everything by Jennifer E. Smith in the future.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twice Tempted

Author:  Jeaniene Frost
Series:  Night Prince, Book 2
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  360

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges...

Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.

I loved this book. I felt like Frost brought both Vlad and Leila's characters a long way in this book. On top of that, the romance was so good. Vlad opens up to Leila and we get to see a softer side. Probably my favorite thing about the book (and most any Frost book) is the humor in unexpected places.  There was one particular line where Leila was comparing herself to Gollum that had me laughing out loud. It was kinda subtle at first and then it hit me and it was the most hilarious line. I want more Vlad and Leila but I'm ready to get back to Cat and Bones. I miss them. In the meantime, if you haven't started this series - start it now! Especially if you're any kind of paranormal romance fan.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Author:  Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Series:  Retrieval Artist, Book 9
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Audible Frontiers
Narrator:  Jay Snyder

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Moon, shaken by the Anniversary Day tragedies, deals with devastation. The Earth Alliance believes another attack imminent, but no one knows where or when it will strike. Just like no one knows who ordered the attacks in the first place.

The Moon’s chief security office, Noelle DeRicci, does her best to hold the United Domes government together. But Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, dissatisfied with the investigation into the Anniversary Day events, begins an investigation of his own. He builds a coalition of shady operatives, off-the-books detectives, and his own daughter, Talia, in a race against time. A race, he quickly learns, that implicates organizations he trusts - and people he loves.

This is one of my favorite audiobook series. Rusch is an expert at weaving a science fiction story. I love every character in these books. It's one of those that I don't mind that she switches points of view constantly. And I always want more when the books are over. I highly recommend the Retrieval Artist series to anybody that loves good science fiction. Also, Jay Snyder is the perfect narrator for this series.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Promise of Stardust

Author:  Pricille Sibley
Year:  2013
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pages:  399

Goodreads Synopsis:
Filled with grace, sensitivity and compassion, The Promise of Stardust is an emotionally resonant and thought-provoking tale that raises profound questions about life and death, faith and medicine, and illuminates the power of love to divide and heal a family in the wake of unexpected tragedy
"In this brave novel, a family making choices about death with dignity finds themselves in uncomfortable opposition...explores with compassion and insight, how political and personal needs align and shift."
-Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer's Daughters
Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything-except the baby they've always wanted.
When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing-a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.
But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court-armed with Elle's living will.
Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.

I somehow managed to not see anything on this book anywhere - on any blogs, amazon, goodreads - anywhere. Then, I was in Target and it was their featured book club book. I picked it up and read the back and was intrigued. I enjoy Jodi Picoult books a lot and this sounded like her. I'm very glad I picked it up.  Pricelle Sibley doesn't write with all the polish and flair that Picoult does but this was a very well thought out and written story. I loved Matt and his determination to save his and Elle's baby. I appreciated the tension with her family and their differing views. Plus, I was curious the entire time as to whether or not the baby would live. I just kept reading and thinking, "I've got to read fast so that I can find out what happens." 

This book raises some interesting moral issues. They're not as heart-wrenching as most of the issues in Picoult's stories but it was still intriguing. I wondered what I'd do in that position and how hard I'd fight for the unborn child. I felt like there were things that Sibley could have done to twist that emotional knife in the heart just a little bit more but overall, this was a well-thought out and written book.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Rise of Nine

Author: Pittacus Lore
Series:  Lorien Legacies, Book 3
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Harper

Goodreads Summary:

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.
Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .
I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others--including John.
But so are they.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.Number Two in England.And Number Three in Kenya. They caught me in New York--but I escaped. I am Number Six. They want to finish what they started.
But they'll have to fight us first.

This book was nonstop action from beginning to end. I am really impressed with how well the author manages to keep things going with the group being in different places and then bring them together seamlessly. I was so worried for the members of the Garde and kept my fingers crossed that they were going to survive the book. I highly recommend these books. If you watched the movie I Am Number Four and didn't like it, don't hold it against the series. They're quick, fun and exciting reads.