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Monday, January 31, 2011

REVIEW: Roadkill by Rob Thurman



New from the national bestselling author of Deathwish

It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...


Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...


Book: Roadkill by Rob Thurman
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros, #5
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

OMG CAL OM NOM NOM. Okay, now that I've gotten that over with, I must tell you that, with Cal, you just can't go wrong. I thought I wouldn't like this book as much as the others, since it's partially narrated by Catch, a.k.a., the biggest loser on earth, but he actually kind of grew on me. Cal's chapters were much longer than Catcher's, anyways, so it wasn't a big deal.

Niko and Robin were as sexy and hilarious and wonderful as ever, and while Ishiah wasn't really in this book, the conversations Robin had on the phone with him were simply beautiful.

***Mild spoiler for previous books (highlight to read)***



Robin and Ishiah are the greatest couple ever. I kind of love them.



***End spoiler***

AND THEY LEFT PROMISE AT HOME. It doesn't get much better than that, guys.

The next book comes out soon, and EVERYONE MUST BUY IT IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE OMG IT IS SOOOO GOOD. And the EPILOGUE. The epilogue is just made of win, but kind of sad and terrible and wonderful. You can't wait to read it, just so you know.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (31)

The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren that I participate in regularly.  All you have to do is post whatever books you've received in the past week, bought or for review, and any cool swag you want to mention.

Won:
You by Charles Benoit

For Review:
 Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Almost done with this one, and I'm absolutely loving it! 39 pages to go :D)


The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta


The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
 *Couldn't find a picture of this cover, but I don't really like the one on the ARC, so no biggie.

Purchased:
Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay (Already finished this one, not quite sure how I feel about it.)


Snake Agent by Liz Williams

Saturday, January 29, 2011

REVIEW: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews


Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.


Book: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels, #3
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (4 Zombies)

The third installment of the Kate Daniels series is even better than the first two, and having read the fourth before writing this review, I can say that they only get better.

Kate is, as usual, a kickass baddie, and Curran is sexybeast. Rawr. The only problem I had with Strikes is that Kate and Curran kept making these dumb excuses not to hook up. I was like, seriously, just get it on already!!! There was no reason for them to act how they did in certain parts, and that was kind of annoying, but not a huge detriment.

Saiman gets more page time in this book than in all the others combined, I'm willing to bet, and I really love that. Saiman is just made of win. He is definitely one of my top 10 characters from this series. Maybe even top 5, if he's willing to stay in his original form more often. Although insecure guys are kind of sexy. Whatever.

Recommended for lovers of badass female warrior women, sexy shape-shifting alpha males, stubbornness from everyone involved, guns, magic, gladiators, sex, kittens, the sun, earth, shoes, ice cream, hyenas, and batman. Yes, most of those were just thrown in there randomly. You'll have to read the book to see which ones. ~evil snicker

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blog Hops (14)

Book Blogger Hop
"What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011?  Why are you anticipating that book?"

I'm gonna have to go with Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey. I mean, gay witches?! How can you go wrong with that. I don't think that there are nearly enough LGBT protagonists in YA, and when you do find them, they're usually in contemporary novels. Now, there is no shortage of gay characters in paranormal YA, but none of them seem to be the main character. They're always the friend, or the sidekick, or the sibling. I'm excited to see a book where they get to be the main focus.














What is/was your favorite subject in school?

 My favorite subject was always English, except for Freshman year of high school when I had Creative Writing, which was by far the best class I've ever taken. Period. Hands down.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DISCUSSION: Uneducated Criticism of YA

Uneducated Criticism of YA



I don't know about you, but I am constantly asked why I don't read "better books," a.k.a., books with adult protagonists. My dad is constantly ragging on me for reading "kid books" instead of whatever he considers real. I get that word a lot: real. What makes a book this enigmatic, mysterious real? According to most of my family and some more vocal Barnes & Noble shoppers, the age of the protagonist is he defining factor.

Just a few weeks ago, I was browsing through the young adult section, looking for a few new releases I needed to pick up, when a middle-aged woman (looking very "important" and wearing one of those really sharp suits) walked up to me and said (BTW, not her exact words. I don't remember exact words from a conversation I had weeks ago.), "Aren't you a bit old for this section?" Mind you, I'm only 16. She then proceeded to explain that she was only there to buy a birthday gift for her 10-year-old daughter.

First off, WTF? What does she know about how old I am, or how old is "too old" for the YA section. There is no too old. If you enjoy a certain type of book, then you read it. That's that. There really isn't much to it. I don't understand why she felt the need to tell me that I was too old for YA, but I was quite offended.

So, for all of you readers, have you been criticized for your reading tastes? Why, and by whom? What was your response? I, personally, had no idea what to say to this woman. I just tell my family members to eat dirt and die when they say anything, but this was just some random stranger. What do you do in that situation? I just shrugged, gave her the evil eye, and walked away.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (31)




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Blood Red Road by Moira Young.
>Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.


I've heard a lot of good buzz about this book (mainly from Brent of The Naughty Book Kitties and Khy of Frenetic Reader) and I know it's a long ways away, but I'm looking forward to its release!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

IntenseDebate

I installed the IntenseDebate commenting system on the blog yesterday, and I was just wondering what you guys' opinions are. Do you like it? Hate it? Are there any problems? Anything you'd like me to edit?

Thanks for your advice, guys, it's really helpful!

Monday, January 24, 2011

REVIEW: Deathwish by Rob Thurman


Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are relieved when their detective agency finally receives Seamus, a vampire who thinks that he's being followed. Things get a little dicey, however, when ((I REMOVED PART OF THIS DESCRIPTION BECAUSE IT SPOILS AN EVENT MORE THAN HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK)). This dark urban fantasy leads you down pitch-back paths that will leave you breathless. ((ALSO, SUMMARY WAS MERCILESSLY EDITED FOR GRAMMAR AND USAGE. LE SIGH.))

Book: Deathwish by Rob Thurman
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros, #4
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

Gah, I am so terrible at writing reviews on time. If I get some things mixed up about Deathwish, it's probably because I've read books 5 and 6 before writing a review of this, which I also happen to have read almost two months ago. I'm a bad person, especially since this is my favorite series, and what kind of good ├╝ber-fan lets a review go unwritten for that long? Oops. But now I shall rectify my wrong-doing and do my best to get the next few books reviewed in a timely(er) fashion. Sigh.

First off, this book is the most introspective so far in this series. That is not to say that the blood and guts and swearing like sailors let up in the slightest, Cal just thinks deeper thoughts while kicking the shit out of thing and having the shit kicked out of him. *Tries not to reference Blackout*

Niko partially-narrates this book, which I really love. I'm so sad that the next book is Cal and Catcher (bleh) and then back to just Cal. Which is not to say that I don't like Cal, I absolutely love him. It was just really awesome to get inside the stoic ninja Niko's head for a little while.

There is only one thing I (continue to) dislike about this series: Promise. I hate that bitch. I don't know what it is, but she just rubs me the wrong way. The good guys (at least, good so far), though, rock. I love Goodfellow and Ishiah (OMG, can we say SMOKIN' HOT?), love Delilah (good guy may be pushing it), love them all. But Promise . . . No. Just no.

If you've read any books in this series so far (and you damned well better have), then I don't have to tell you about the fast-paced plot and awesome writing. At this point, it's just a given.

Gotta love Cal, right?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (30)

The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren that I participate in regularly.  All you have to do is post whatever books you've received in the past week, bought or for review, and any cool swag you want to mention.

For Review:

 

 Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
Taken by the Others by Jess Haines
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Hops (13)


Who do you cheer for?

 I. Hate. Football. That's all there is to it. The only sports I even remotely care about are hockey and tennis. My hockey team is the L.A. Kings, because, duh, I live in L.A. county. For tennis, my favorite players are Novak Djokovic, Nicolai Davydenko, and Andy Roddick. I have no clue how many of those names, if any, I spelled correctly.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Not Judge a Book by Its Cover?

"Don't judge a book by its cover." This is a phrase we've all heard so many times that it's become one of the hard rules of book-lovers. Everyone knows that you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, and I mean this only in the most literal way in terms of this discussion. I'm talking about books, not people, for now.

So we've established that it's bad to judge a book by its cover. But why? No one has ever explained to me why book covers shouldn't factor into my purchasing of books. If the cover of a book is supposed to be the book's visual representation, and I think the cover is horrible, than what will I think of the book inside?

If book covers truly didn't matter, then all books would be bound with plain white covers, the only decoration a title, author name, and possibly praise for the book. So, obviously, covers do matter.

My question to you, dear readers, is this: Should we, both bloggers and readers, judge books by their covers? Also, what are some covers that perfectly (or close to perfectly) represent their books' contents?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (30)




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Hereafter by Tara Hudson.
 Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection ofher past life - or her actual death - she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existense. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowing in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow evern closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world...forever.
This one sounds kind of spooky and very interesting! What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren that I participate in regularly.  All you have to do is post whatever books you've received in the past week, bought or for review, and any cool swag you want to mention.

For Review:
Blackout by Rob Thurman
 I've already read and loved this book, and, IMO, it's the best in the series so far!

Bought:
Daemon Eyes by Camille Bacon-Smith
 I'm really looking forward to reading this one--can't wait to see the father-son dynamic here!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Hops (12)

Book Blogger Hop
 "Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?"

I read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal YA because I love reading about things I don't see happening in real life.











What makes up your non-human family??

 Well, I have a dog (Kizzard), a cat (Tonq), a hedgehog (Biney Prickles), a California desert tortoise (Jellybean), a bearded dragon (Harry), and a little brother (Tustin).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (29)




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, participating bloggers will make a post about a book whose publication they're eagerly awaiting.

This week, I'm featuring Falling Under by Gwen Hayes.
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.


What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

REVIEW: Across the Universe by Beth Revis



A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


Book: Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Genre: Sci-Fi/YA
Series: Across the Universe, #1
Obtained: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

I really enjoyed this 2011 debut novel, especially the sci-fi elements. Sci-fi is not the most popular YA genre, to say the least, but I've loved most of what I've read of it, so it's awesome to see some more. The science fiction element wasn't the most important part of this story, which could have taken place in any fairly isolated setting, but I still loved reading about it.

Elder was a cute, quirky character who really grew throughout the course of the novel. I loved how his character changed as different challenges were thrown his way, and he was definitely my favorite character in the entire book.

Amy wasn't the most unique female lead I've read, but she definitely had her moments. She was interesting to read about, especially her interactions with Elder.

The mystery was absolutely the opposite of what I'd expected. I can't say too much about it without being spoilery, but the person who your gut thinks did it is probably the one (if your gut agrees with mine), even though at first their is like no evidence against said person.

If you're looking for an awesome, fast-paced read, then Across the Universe is something you should check out ASAP!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi with Male Protags

I'm absolutely in love with the Nightside series by Simon R. Green, the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman, Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, etc., and in the YA department, things like The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan and the Curse Workers series by Holly Black (so excited to read my ARC of Book 2 within the next few days!!).

My only problem is that I can't seem to find very many of this type of series. Series, mind you. I don't really like standalones that much, unless they're contemporary YA. I know that none of those series that I listed are Sci-Fi, but I really enjoy what I've recently read of the genre (Song of Scarabaeus, Across the Universe) and I'd like to read some from a male perspective (yes, AtU is half male, but I'd prefer mainly male). If any of you have read Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy, that is pretty much exactly what I'm looking for, except from Finn's POV.

Do any of you know of some good books that I should read with male protags? My preferred age range (of the protag) is about 16-35, but I'm pretty much open to any recommendations at this point, so just throw it all out there.

PS: Brownie points for prominent brother/brother or father/son relationships in any books you rec. Think Supernatural (the tv show). I can't think of any father/son stories to reference. *blogger fail* Maybe Daemon Eyes by Camille Bacon-Smith (I haven't read it, but the summary seems to semi-fit what I'm looking for. I just ordered it online today XD)

Thanks for the help, guys!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (28)

The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren that I participate in regularly.  All you have to do is post whatever books you've received in the past week, bought or for review, and any cool swag you want to mention.

Bought:
Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner
Meridian by Amber Kizer
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi

Won:
Finished copy of Matched by Ally Condie (I already have an ARC)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

REVIEW: Madhouse by Rob Thurman


Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place? But now there's a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they're going to have to earn.

Book: Madhouse by Rob Thurman
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Format: Mass market paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros, #3
Obtained: Purchased
Rating:PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket (5 Zombies)

I absolutely love this series. In fact, I can say with some amount of certainty that it is my absolute favorite. (You probably shouldn't hold me to this since I don't usually pick favorites for a reason, but still.) If you haven't read this series yet, then you definitely should.

Cal is one of the most disgustingly likable main characters ever. In real life, I'm sure there isn't a person on earth who could put up with this lazy smartass, but he's great in a book. His relationship with his brother Niko is awesome and very well-written, and he's just a generally AMAZING character.

The side characters, such as Robin and Delilah, are equally awesome and amazing and great, if not more so, and I'd love to see more of Delilah in further books. (I read plenty of Robin as is, and love every second of it.)

The plot is nice and juicy, very fast-paced, as per usual. I can't think of a single problem I had with it, if any existed. I would have more to say, except that I read the book almost a month before writing this review, which seems to be slightly detrimental. I need to stay on top of this stuff better XD

Highly recommended to absolutely everyone, as long as they aren't afraid of a little/lot of violence and swearing.