Tuesday, August 31, 2010


By:  Andrew Xia Fukuda

From Goodreads:  A loner in his all-white high school, Chinese-born Xing (pronounced “Shing”) is a wallflower longing for acceptance. His isolation is intensified by his increasingly awkward and undeniable crush on his only friend, the beautiful and brilliant Naomi Lee. Xing’s quiet adolescent existence is rattled when a series of disappearances rock his high school and fear ripples through the blue collar community in which he lives. Amidst the chaos surrounding him, only Xing, alone on the sidelines of life, takes notice of some peculiar sightings around town. He begins to investigate with the hope that if he can help put an end to the disappearances, he will finally win the acceptance for which he has longed. However, as Xing draws closer to unveiling the identity of the abductor, he senses a noose of suspicion tightening around his own neck. While Xing races to solve the mystery and clear his name, Crossing hurtles readers towards a chilling climax.

I had read a little blurb about this book on Goodreads and it sounded interesting so I set out to find it.  Couldn't find it anywhere locally.  Bookstores, libraries, nowhere.  Bizarre!  I talked to the librarian about an interlibrary loan and she said it was too new?  Uh ok.  So she said they would put in a request to purchase it.  Eventually, they got it in.   You needed to know all that right?  I'm disclosing where I got the book!

Overall, I liked the book.  I thought it a little weird.  I kinda thought it would be a little more of a murder mystery and it wasn't really.  I thought Xing would really be actively trying to solve the crime based on the summary, but that wasn't exactly true.  It was more of an awkward teen stumbling over the criminal kinda thing.

I had a lot of issues with the topics of racism against Asians in this book.  It was overkill I thought.  However, I'm not Asian and I don't know what they deal with on a daily basis.  I thought there was way too much focus on Seung-Hui Cho and the Virginia Tech massacre.  I felt like it it was detrimental in two ways.  Seung-Hui Cho is Korean and the main character is Chinese.  If you're writing a book fussing at white people about racism and lumping all Asians together, don't do it yourself.  Secondly, it only mentioned Columbine once.  If you're going to constantly reference school shootings there are a lot to pick from and if you use several, you date your book so much.  By sticking with Virginia Tech so much it puts your book in just one time period.  That's just my opinion anyway.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Poe Shadow

By:  Matthew Pearl

From Goodreads:  "Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe's family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a crusade to salvage Poe's." "As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe's demise, he discovers that the writer's last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are ignoring. Just when Poe's death seems destined to remain a mystery, inspiration strikes Quentin - in the form of Poe's own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe's death: the real-life model for Poe's brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection." Quentin soon finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving international political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe's final hours. In order to unchain his imperiled fate from Poe's, Quentin must himself turn master investigator.

Edgar Allen Poe fans will find this book interesting.  I found all the history of Baltimore to be quite fascinating and the events surrounding Poe's death to be rather intriguing.  It made me want to go out and reread all of Poe's work to see if I agreed with the author.

I did not really like the main character that much.  He was kind of weak.  I really didn't like the way he treated his fiancee.  He got a spine towards the end of the book, but for me it was a little too late.  However, if you can look past that little annoyance and focus on the rest of the story I think it's worth it.  I did like some of the other characters.  I loved Bonjour.  She cracked me up.

I listened to the audiobook of this book and I thought the reader did a very good job.  Various parts of this book took place in France and he adapted his accent quite well.  There was music in this one too and I don't like when there's music in audiobooks, but it was only at the end of the each book, so I guess it wasn't too bad.

In other Edgar Allen Poe news, John Cusack will be playing the famed author in an upcoming movie called Raven that sounds pretty interesting.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burning Up

4 Stars for the book, but 5 for Meljean's Here There Be Monsters.

In order:

Nalini's Whisper of Sin. Eh... fair to middling. Trying to do too much in too little space. And one of my least favorite schticks made an appearance. The family door mat. While our heroine wasn't overwhelmingly door matty; she was too close to the line for me. Close families don't try to run each other as a sign of affection. Let me repeat this: love does not equal control. Stop it, stop it now. But it's the Psy-Changeling world and therefore a must read. 2 Stars

Knight's Blood & Roses. Angela's Jane's Warlord has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf. I've bought this book 3 times. Mass market, trade (it appeared there with 2 other stories) and once more for my Kindle. She can be brilliant. Unfortunately I haven't seen much of that at all from her lately. Same old same old, but with no soul. No spark! Just words on a page and nothing compelling. I'd venture to say she's also got some Daddy Issues. Which is fine, I know exactly where the bodies are buried in my psyche too. But I'm worried she's drained her creativity well dry. I really really hope I'm wrong and can post a glowing "she's back!" review for whatever she writes next. Two stars.

Kantra's Shifting Sea. Now Kantra's been on my radar for a while, but this is the first of her work that I've read. I will be reading more. Solid, and a very satisfying short. And me likely very much soldiers home from the Napoleonic Wars. 3-1/2 Stars

Meljean is a freaking genius. I was cool to her first 3 full length Guardian books but I've always really enjoyed her short stories. And Here There Be Monsters... I'd pay the cover price for Burning Up if this was the only story in there. She had to do a fair bit of world building, but she handled it so very well. I was torn between reading faster to find out happens next and reading slower and re-reading to savor every word. One tiny little complaint (and that's because I always find something to bitch about) I wish we could've been a little bit more in Eben's head to find out why he fell so hard and so fast for Ivy. I'll re-read, maybe it's there and I'll find it the second time around. I'm absolutely drooling in anticipation for The Iron Duke. READ THIS STORY. READ IT NOW. Ok, maybe wait until the week before Iron Duke releases so you won't be as impatient as I am for it. Oh and screw the Duke, I'm waiting for more Lady Corsair.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blog Hoppin

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question pertains to rating systems.  I don't use a rating system.  I feel too restricted by it.  Every now and then I'm tempted by it, but then when I'm trying to rate a book on goodreads I'm reminded why I don't use it.

Parajunkee asks what the first book we remember reading.  Hmmm...I remember reading some Berenstein Bear books when I was young, but surely before that I was reading something else, but I can't specifically remember reading anything else...maybe Dick and Jane...

Thursday, August 26, 2010


By:  Suzanne Collins

I don't really want to get really deep into this because I understand not everyone has read their book all the way through and Amazon has made a little boo boo with their automatics apparently and not every even has their book yet. 

Basically if you've read the first two books you understand that the rebellion is going now.  This is a war book.  The things that happen in war happen in this book.  It's not pretty, it's not happy.

Putting that aside, I don't know that I was particularly thrilled with this book.  I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I don't think this was it.  However, it is what it is and I can't change that so I'm not going to be a whiner. 

I don't want to give any spoilers either but I thought at the end the part with Buttercup was so heartwrenching!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

While Galileo Preys

By:  Joshua Corin


That the message discovered atop an elementary school in downtown Atlanta. Across the street, the bodies of fourteen innocent men and women, each quickly and cleanly murdered. The sniper Galileo is on the loose. He can end a human life from hundreds of yards away. And he has just begun.

Where others see puzzles, Esme Stuart sees patterns, and these outside-the-box inductive skills made her one of the FBI's top field operatives. When she worked for the Bureau. But she turned her back on that dark abyss eight years ago to start a family and live a normal life. She now has a husband and a daughter and a Long Island house to call her own.

But as Galileo's murders escalate, her beleaguered old boss needs the help of his former protégé. But is Esme willing to jeopardize her new perfect life - which she has certainly earned...

The whole time I was reaing this book I was thinking it would make an excellent movie.  A kind of violent and bloody movie, but a really intriguing movie regardless.  It was jam packed with all kinds of action.  It was a really cool story with a scary twist at the end.

I really liked the characters in this book.  I thought Tom was really interesting.  If Clint Eastwood was about 20 years younger I think he would be perfect for the role.  I could see him throwing on a leather jacket and climbing on a motorcycle!  As a working mom, I really felt for Esme being so torn between the two things she felt like she should be doing.

This book is being published Sept 1.  I'd definitely recommend it if you like murder mysteries, political mysteries, serial killer mysteries, anything along those lines. 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest exchange which I have provided.  I was not compensated in any other way.**

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gods in Alabama

By:  Joshilyn Jackson

Summary:  When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, she would stop fornicating with every boy who crossed her path, and she'd never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the "fourth rack of Hell"). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found.

Ten years later, Arlene has kept her promises, but an old school-mate has recently turned up asking questions. And now Arlene's African American beau has given her a tough ultimatum: introduce him to her family, or he's gone. As she prepares to confront guilt, discrimination, and a decade of deception, Arlene is about to discover just how far she will go to find redemption - and love.

 I listened to the audiobook for Gods in Alabama and I loved it!  I found myself cracking up laughing about so much of it.  The story itself isn't funny, its sad and tragic, but Joshilyn Jackson has a way of writing and describing things that's just hilarious.  My favorite part was when her boyfriend, Burr, met her family for the first time and her mother is marvelling over how he doesn't talk like a black man and his reaction to that.  I was howling laughing.

All the characters were wonderful and believeable.  I really liked Arlene.  She was a crazy good time.  I would have liked to have gotten a little background on how she and Burr got together, but that's not really a huge deal.  I know it was through his mother, but it wasn't really explained further than that. 

The audiobook reader was really good.  I think she had the whole Alabama thing down really well.  The only thing I didn't like about it was it had random background music for dramatic effect that I thought was really distracting and kinda cheesy.  The first time I heard it I was looking around my car like "what the hell is that??"  I didn't like it!

I will most definitely be going back and reading everything Joshilyn Jackson has written.  Backseat Saints is up next because it's kinda like a spin off of Gods in Alabama. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010


By:  Artist Arthur

Goodreads Summary:  When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.

But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?

First off that summary is rather misleading, but that's summary on every website including the author's.  I don't think Krystal is really desperate to hang on to Ricky, I don't think she's very close to him at all.  Secondly, it leads you to believe there are a bunch of people with powers and that's not really true either. 

Secondly, I really did NOT like Krystal the main character.  She was a hardcore snotty brat for about 3/4 of the book.  Some of it wasn't her fault, but her attitude was her fault and I really didn't like her attitude.  I hated the way she reacted to people she didn't even know.  In the end it did turn around, she calmed down and got a little happier and I expect that in the subsequent books I expect her disposition won't be quite so bad.

Putting those two things aside, I did find myself interested in the story and in finding out whodunit.  The ending was interesting enough that I would probably pick up the next book in the series, Mystify, which is coming out February of next year.

**I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have done.  I was in no other way compensated.**

Friday, August 20, 2010

John Belushi Is Dead - Review and Giveaway

By:  Kathy Charles

Goodreads Summary:  Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.

Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.

I adored this book!  I adored Hilda.  Maybe it's because I've always been a little weird about dead people and killers and I could relate to Hilda and Benji with that morbid fascination a little bit.  The book as a whole is dark and kind of twisted, but I think it has to be.  Like the alcoholic, any addict has to hit rock bottom before they can be helped whatever that bottom is and the characters reach their bottoms with their unhealthy addictions to celebrities and their deaths.

Benji was the character you were supposed to love to hate I think.  The real star of the show, I think was Hank.  Hank is a crotchety old man that Hilda becomes friends with.  I love their relationship.  It made me want to go out and find a Hank to be friends with so I could hear some stories. 

I was quite impressed with the writer.  This is her debut novel and I couldn't find fault with it at all.  In fact, along with an good story, assuming they're true and due to her Acknowledgements I'd believe they were, all the Hollywood tidbits were really quite interesting.

I'm going to giveaway my review copy of this book.  It's very gently read.  Just leave a comment below with a valid comment and I'll draw a name next Friday.

**I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have provided.  I was in no other way compensated.**

Follow Friday

This week the feature is


Shoot, I forgot to grab the Crazy for Book icon and for some reason I'm having a lot of trouble getting her website to load.  Anyway, her question was how many blogs do you follow?  I knew it was a lot.  I followed a lot of other blogs not related to books, but relating to other hobbies.  I checked on my Google Reader...


Thursday, August 19, 2010


By:  Alex Flinn

Summary from author site:  I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

I listened to the audiobook for this one because it was listed as a freebie on Audiobook Fans.  First impression was that it was a lot better than I expected.

Basically this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in present day New York City.  I imagine that would have presented quite a lot of challenges!  Kyle Kingsbury is a horrible jerk in the beginning of the book.  A witch puts the spell on him because of a cruel prank he was going to pull on her/a classmate.  The little twist that makes the whole story a little more interesting is that Kyle's dad is very famous and very rich.  The need for secrecy about the whole thing is a lot more pressing and their methods for going about it are quite lavish since there is an endless supply of money.

I don't want to say who Beauty ends up being because that would kind of be a spoiler, since quite a lot of the story is devoted to him looking for and giving up on ever finding her.  I did like their relationship though.  I liked how the author managed to work difficulties with parent/child relationships across the socio-economic statuses  (Another YA book with absent parents...amazing how they work that in!).  I really liked how Kyle/Adrian came to develop such a love of books through his Beauty and his time in hidden away. 

In terms of the audiobook, I thought it was fairly good.  I think the reader was maybe reading for a younger target audience than say me, an adult.  A lot of it kinda came off cheeseball.  I didn't like the way he characterized Kendra.  He made her sound like a valley girl.  I don't know what the heck was going on with Will's speech pattern, but it was odd and kind of off putting.  He was blind, blind people can talk normally.  However, other than the cheeseball moments and those two characters it was pretty good.  Several sections of the book was done in chat room dialogue and that couldn't have been easy to translate into audiobook, but it was easy to follow along. 

Overall, I liked it and it was free and that's always good (I just checked and unfortunately it's not available as a freebie anymore, sorry!) and it was short (and that's fantastic after The Passage).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


By:  Caragh O'Brien

From Goodreads:  After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.

Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.
Overall, I really liked this book.  I thought the story was very unique.  It was horribly creepy and I pray nothing like this ever comes to pass, but it was a very interesting read.  I would have read it in one sitting if I could have. 
Gaia was a wonderful character.  She was a very strong female lead, but she was never mean or indifferent.  She was a very caring person.  She was a midwife at 16!  Once again, in YA fiction the parents are absent, but in this story its for much different reasons than usual, they're imprisoned for suspected treason. 
The writer had a very good way of creating the setting.  It was futuristic, but at the same time much simpler, which I would think would be hard to convey, but it was very vivid. 
The one negative about this book I have is all the genetics discussions.  They have a small population and there's a bit of inbreeding going on in the "elite" levels so they're having some genetic issues.  Some of the dialogue about genetics and DNA and breeding was starting to get a little too complex for me and I found myself getting confused and just skimming over those parts.
For the dystopian fan, this one is worth the read!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catching Fire

By:  Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads:  Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

I picked up Catching Fire this week in my efforts to get caught up with this series before Mockingjay comes out later this month.  Some of y'all might have heard about that.  Just like with Hunger Games I was immediately caught up in the story.  Thank goodness my kids are old enough to fend for themselves (and my husband took them swimming most of the day) because I read this book cover to cover in one afternoon. 

Katniss continues to frustrate the daylights out of me.  What's wrong with that girl??  At least she understands she doesn't deserve Peeta.  I know there are a lot of people out there picking teams, Team Peeta/Team Gale.  I'm not on either team.  If Katniss hasn't gotten her act together yet, I don't think she will!  I lean towards Peeta though.  Gale had his chance and didn't take it.

Is it just me or do these book make anyone else want to start staging protests and rebelling against the government?  To any shady government agency that might be monitoring my blog:  I'm just kidding!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fade to Midnight

by: Shannon McKenna

from Goodreads:

Davy…Connor…Sean… Three brothers who have conquered their demons, but they’ve never forgotten their long lost brother, Kev, whom they believed ...more Davy…Connor…Sean… Three brothers who have conquered their demons, but they’ve never forgotten their long lost brother, Kev, whom they believed to be dead. When the McCloud brothers discover Kev is alive, they won’t rest until they find him...

Beaten and tortured almost to death, Kev Larsen was found eighteen years earlier in a warehouse alley. He survived his brutal ordeal, but his memories before that night were completely erased. When he nearly dies from trying to save someone from drowning, the brain surgery he has to save his life triggers fragmented, terrifying memories. With only these memories and the name of his torturer to guide him, Kev is determined to unlock the secrets to his past.

Edie Parrish has always been good at not letting anyone get too close to her. If someone were to learn of her unusual gift, her life would be immediately jeopardized. But when Kev Larsen discovers who she really is, Edie has only one choice: to trust him. And soon, Edie can’t resist her consuming desire for him—even though she knows she’ll have to pay a price for it.

Now Kev and Edie must race against time and place their faith in each other to stop a deadly legacy..

This is the 7th book in the McCloud series. If you haven't read the series, I do not recommend starting with this one. There is too much back story missing from Fade to Midnight and new readers will be lost. I would say to at least read EDGE OF MIDNIGHT first. This will give you enough background to understand what is going on. I really enjoyed Kev's story. It was heartbreaking to discover what had happened to him 18 years before. The romance between Kev and Edie was very believable to me. Though, I have heard it wasn't to some. They had been dreaming of each other for years, so to me the instant attraction made sense. It was also refreshing to see Ms. McKenna turn the tables and have the girl be the one in turmoil about relationship and not the guy. The "whodunit" was pretty well laid out and not much of a mystery. A pretty good read in all. My only regret for this book is that author didn't do more of a reunion with the brothers. It was too rushed and felt unresolved. I hope we will get a better resolution in the next book. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Dracula, My Love

By:  Syrie James

From Goodreads:  Many have read and loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But questions remain. What is the true story of Dracula’s origin? What if Mina could not bring herself to record the true story of their scandalous affair—until now?

In Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker, Syrie James explores these questions and more. A vibrant dramatization, told from Mina’s point of view, brings to life the crucial parts of Stoker’s story while showcasing Mina’s sexual awakening and evolution as a woman, and revealing a secret that could destroy her life. Torn between two men—a loving husband and a dangerous lover—Mina struggles to hang on to the deep love she’s found within her marriage, even as she is inexorably drawn to Dracula himself—the vampire that everyone she knows is determined to destroy.

I won this book from Jennifer at Book Club Girl.  I thought it was fairly good.  The story itself was interesting.  The writing was good.  It had the unfortunate problem of making me fall asleep every time I started reading it.  As a consequence it took me like 3 weeks to read it.  I had to force myself to read the last 100 pages and I felt kind of bad about that because there wasn't anything really wrong with the book.  I just don't think it was my cup of tea I guess.  I don't want to deter anyone from reading it though, because it really was pretty interesting to look at the Dracula story from a different angle.  I kinda felt like Dracula was a bit of a player.  I wanted to fuss at Mina at times and tell her to not believe him that he probably tells that stuff to all the girls....what did she think he told Lucy?? 

Syrie James will be on Blog Talk Radio tonight at 7:00 pm ET.  Should be fun!  Check it out!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Friday Routine

Book Blogger HopEvery week Jennifer at Crazy for Book's asks a question of the blog hoppers.  This week's question comes from Michelle of Michelle's Book Blog.  She asks:  How many books are on your To Be Read Shelf?  Well, having a shelf would imply some amount of organization in that regard.  I'm not really, or at all.  I keep the book I have to read in bins next to my bed.  Currently I'd guess I have around 30 or so, about a dozen are urgent.  Oh and on my Kindle...there's probably about 100...eek!!  I take advantage of the free books way too often. 

  On Follow Friday today's featured blog is

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Passage

By:  Justin Cronin

From Goodreads:  "It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born."

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of negative reviews about this book.  I don't get it.  I LOVED THIS BOOK!  I will say that I didn't read the book, I listened to the audiobook.  Maybe that's where the difference comes in.  The audiobook was one of best I've ever listened to.  Scott Brick was absolutely wonderful.   I will say that listening to the audiobook is a test of endurance though, it's almost 37 hrs. long.   I was still disappointed when it was over even after listening to it for about 3 weeks. 

Usually I'm not thrilled about books being made into movies, but the movies rights have been purchased for this book and I'm excited about that.  I think this would make a fantastic movie, maybe even two.   I understand Ridley Scott is supposed to be directing the movie and I could give him a few pointers on casting I think.  Chris Cooper for Wolgast, maybe Dakota Fanning for the grown up Amy (Elle Fanning for little Amy?), Ellen Page for Sarah, Matthew Gray Gubler for Michael/Circuit, Kenneth Mitchell for Hollis....I have a whole list in my head LOL

I really liked the way this book was structured.  I thought the division of the books was effective in keeping the story well organized.  I liked the reading of the journals.  It was good to hear the story from a different voice (literally on the audiobook).  Cronin has a wonderful way with words and vocabulary.  I find so many books are dumbed down, easy words and easy sentences, and this one didn't have this feeling but it was still easy to understand.  That's good writing!

The one disappointment I had with this book was the ending.  I was sad it ended yes, but I didn't like the way it ended.  It was so abrupt and unresolved.  However, I didn't realize when I started this book it's the first in a trilogy.  I found that out today.  Oh happy day!  The next book, The Twelve, is due out in 2012.  That's a long time to wait! 

I had so many questions....what was in the barn with Mouse and Theo?  Will we ever find out?  What IS Peter??  Why did Amy destroy the vials???  Wouldn't it have saved the world?  Didn't she know that?  Now it's just going to be her (and the other)...What the hell happened in New Mexico?  I don't want to wait for the next book!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Forgotten: Seventeen and Homeless

By:  Melody Carlson

From Goodreads:  With absent parents, overdue rent, and no one to turn to, Adele is forced into the hard, cold world of homelessness. While striving to maintain the pretense of a “normal” life, Adele attempts to finish high school, all the while concealing her secret. But is she strong enough to keep up the act?

Forgotten will propel teen readers into a world where promises are broken, life is not fair, and challenges seem unbearable, while still offering assurance that solid faith, loyal friends, and a persistent spirit will prevail.

I thought Forgotten was rather good.  I liked that it was written from Adele's point of view.  I thought this book was a fairly realistic look at what happens when there aren't any responsible adults in a teenager's life.  So many YA books have absent or flaky parents or guardians and life is usually peachy keen anyway.  I think this book illustrates the realities of what happens when you really have to take care of yourself.

I was really pleased with Adele's character from a moral standpoint.  She had plenty of opportunities and reasons to steal or do drugs or become a prostitute and she did none of these things. 

The one thing I didn't like about this book was the ending.  Her parents were never mentioned in the ending which didn't make sense to me.  It seemed like a preachy cop out.  Other than that, the rest of the book was quite compelling.  I found myself very intrigued by the whole story wondering what Adele was going to do.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Never Wave Goodbye

By:  Doug Magee

From Goodreads:  After passing the bittersweet parental milestone of putting her daughter, Sarah on the bus to sleep-away camp for the first time, Lena Trainor plans to spend the next two weeks fixing all the problems in her marriage. But when a second bus arrives to pick up Sarah for camp, no one seems to know anything about the first bus or its driver.

Sarah and three other children have been kidnapped, and within hours of the crime the parents receive an email demanding $1,000,000. When the specifics of the delivery terms throw suspicion on the parents of two of the abducted children, some of the parents begin to turn on each other, exposing fault lines in already strained marriages and forging new alliances. While the kidnapped children are living their parents' worst nightmare, the police are trying to sort the lies from the truth in conflicting stories and alibis that seem to be constantly changing.

Deftly weaving the emotional story that pits the parents of the missing campers against the police—and each other—with the fate of the kidnapped children hanging in the balance, Never Wave Goodbye will keep readers holding their breath until the last page.

I thought Never Wave Goodbye was ok.  It was good, but not super fantastic.  The writing was adequate, it was good for a first novel. 

The characters seemed realistic.  The problems that the adults had seemed like problems that I suppose the average group of adults would have.  The kids seemed to be better written though to me.  Their actions and reactions seemed a bit more natural.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the reasoning behind the kidnapping.  A straight up ransom would have been a lot better to me.  Even if it was a kidnap for hire by the first party we find out about, that would be a stretch, but again would have made more sense to me.  As it was written it got way too convoluted and I really can't believe that the parties involved really would have agreed to what was being proposed. 

I thought it was going pretty well until the last third of the book and then I started getting disappointed in it.  I think my overall grade would probably have to end up being a C+.  I would read future writings by this author in hopes that they would be an improvement.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fever Dream

By:  Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

From Goodreads:  At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning-and dreadful-discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle-her only protection from the beast-had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?

I read this because I read pretty much everything written by Preston and Child together and individually.   I was particularly interested in this book because it featured Aloysius Pendergast.  I love that guy! 

Fever Dream had appearances by what's left of the old cast of characters.  Vincent D'Agosta and his girlfriend Laura Hayward were prominent in this book.  Constance Green featured in a little sideline story that I thought was a little strange and didn't make much sense, but I couldn't remember too much of the details of her past before her time in the monastery.  I think a quick reread of the books that feature her might be in order.

This story was a little different than the others, there were no monsters or anything of a supernatural nature.  There weren't any grand archeological explorations or anything like that.  There was an  investigation of John James Audubon, hence the birds on the cover.  That was the only historical aspect of this book and it was sort of secondary, not the really interesting anthropological history we usually get.  It didn't detract from the story, but it was just a little different that the past books.

I really enjoyed reading this book because much of it was set in Baton Rouge and Port Allen, Louisiana.  That was kind of fun to read.  I live and work in the Baton Rouge area.  The only local inaccuracy that bothered me was the basement.  I don't know anyone around here that has a basement.  They flood. 

Overall, I was very happy with this book.  It started off a little slow, I was getting a little nervous thinking I wasn't going to like it, but around 200 pages into it I realized that I wasn't going to be able to put the book down! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blog Hoppin

Book Blogger HopThis week's question is:  Do you listen to music when you read?  If so, what do you listen to?   I don't listen to music when I read.  There are far too many distractions in our house already.  There's usually all kinds of noise around, I don't need to throw additional music into the mix.  If I were to listen to music when I read, it'd probably be classical because then I wouldn't have a desire to sing along with it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

An Observation

I've been on a bit of a Post-Apocalyptic kick lately.  Not intentionally!  I've noticed in these books I've read and movies I've watched how important the surviving books were.  Not e-readers, because you more than likely can't recharge those unless you're Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli.  It made me want to horde books!  More than I already do, of course.

Hex Hall

By:  Rachel Hawkins

From Goodreads:  Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

I thought Hex Hall was pretty good, not super awesome, but good.  I liked Sophie, she was a decent character, not too whiny or full of teen angst.  I liked Jenna.  She was a fun character, even though she was sad and moody most of the time.   I didn't like Elodie or the relationship that she had with Sophie.  The evolution of their relationship didn't seem realistic to me, but maybe I'm looking at that from personal experience. 

I thought the story line was fairly interesting and the ending twist was kind of a surprise.  I did like that this book was lighter than say Hush Hush or Twilight, not nearly so dark as either of those.  Obviously this is going to be the start of a series. I'd be likely to pick up the next book in the series to see what happens next.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hunger Games

By:  Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads:  In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I'm kinda late to the party on this one.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get Catching Fire sometime in the next couple of weeks.  I know I'm going to want to read the next two books ASAP.  I was absolutely sucked right into Hunger Games.  The story was so enthralling, I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. 

I understand that the the movie rights have been bought and I can see how it would make a really good action/adventure/scifi type movie, but topic is kinda morbid eh?  This is a YA book, aimed towards teens, but it makes you wonder how they'd make the movie so that it wouldn't be rated R.

I've been on a post-apocalyptic kick lately...this, The Passage, and I watched The Book of Eli and The Road.  I need to read something happier.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hush Hush

By:  Becca Fitzpatrick

From the author's website:  For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

I was kind of skeptical about this book.  I don't know why, because it turned out to be quite good.  Angels are joining the vampires and werewolves in popular YA fiction.  This was one of the Angel books. 

I liked the characters, I thought they were mostly believeable.  However, once again another YA book with a pretty much absent parent.  I guess that's part of the fantasy?

I really liked the story and the writing was very good.  I would have read it all in one sitting if I could have stayed away!  I'm ready for Crescendo!