Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: River Marked by Patricia Briggs

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series is one series I cannot get enough of! River Marked is the 6th book in the series and hubs and I both have been waiting impatiently since we finished the last book, Silver Borne. I'm excited we'll meet other coyote shifters; I've wondered why we haven't before. I'm looking forward to seeing how her relationship with Adam grows and changes, and I missed Stephan in Silver Borne so I'm hoping he'll have a role here. For some reason I thought it was going to be on the shelves in January, but no, it's not out until March 1 *sob*!!! March is too far away!!!

From Goodreads:
Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Release date: March 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0441019730
ISBN-13: 978-0441019731

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: With Good Behavior by Jennifer Lane

From the Publisher's website:
In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

The premise of this story caught my attention: Two ex-cons meeting at the parole officer's office and falling in love. It started out interestingly enough - I liked the parole officer and the hero and heroine seemed like they had interesting stories: she's an ex-psychiatrist who had an affair with a patient, he's an ex-naval officer who did some sort of crime.

From there, however, things went downhill. The characters were inconsistent and unbelievable. Grant is a former Naval officer but he seems very simple-minded and child-like; I couldn't figure out how he made it so far in the Navy. Sophie seems smart and dedicated but then does something she knows she should not do - date a fellow parolee, despite the fact that her parole officer, psychiatrist, and roommate tell her she shouldn't. It seems to me that this was basically how she ended up in jail in the first place. These two just kept making one bad decision after another - things like drinking tequila before driving a tour boat cruise around Chicago's harbor. Once Grant's brother came into the picture as the patient Sophie had an affair with and we get his thoughts and reactions to Sophie's incarceration, I decided this was not the book for me and put it down.

(This is a case of me wondering if I'm reading the same book everyone else is, as With Good Behavior has gotten great ratings on Goodreads.)

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 713 KB
Publisher: Omnific Publishing; 1st edition
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-936305-26-1

My Rating:

I received this e-book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Favorite Reads of 2010

I can't believe 2011 is almost here! It seems like just yesterday I was trying out my new kindle and dreaming of all the new books I was going to read on it :)

2010 is the first year I've (mostly) kept track of my reading. I read approximately 195 books (my list has a few blank spots I'm not sure about, lol), and all in all it was a great year of reading. Here are a few of my favorites (they were not necessarily published in 2010, that's just the year I read them in!):


Alice Clayton's Redhead series:
OMG if you haven't read them yet, what are you waiting for?!?
Witty, funny, awesome.

Deirdre Martin's New York Blades hockey series:
Between Deirdre Martin and Rachel Gibson I'm such a hockey fan,
never mind I've never actually seen a game!!

Rachel Gibson's Chinooks hockey series:
Two words: Yum, yum!!

And One Last Thing... by Molly Harper:
I love her "Nice Girls Don't" series and had high hopes for
her first contemporary - I was not disappointed, it was
laugh-out-loud funny!

Paranormal Romance:

Shift/Alpha by Rachel Vincent:
I have loved this series from the beginning,
and the end did not disappoint. One of my all-time
fave PNR series.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs:
This series just keeps getting better and better...

Lydia Dare's Werewolf series:
Overall I really enjoy this series - these wolves are sexy alphas and the ladies
are no shrinking violets! I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

Crimson Moon by JA Saare:
I know, I know: her other novel, Dead, Undead, or Somewhere In Between
seems to be the fave out in bloglandia, but I liked Crimson Moon better.

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews:
I thought On the Edge (book 1) was pretty good,
but Bayou Moon blew me away! Abso-freakin'-lutely amazing!

Urban Fantasy:

Carolyn Crane's Disillusionist series:
Words cannot describe how awesome these books are!
They ramp up my already abnormal social paranoia and
make me think about song lyrics in elevators :)

Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series:
It took me a bit to get into it, but I have succumbed to Terrible fever!
I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews:
Awesome - totally, amazingly awesome!
She gave me all I wanted in this book and more!

Sci Fi:
Gini Koch's Alien series:
Who knew I even liked alien romance?
I never would have guessed it, but I do!

Young Adult:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater:
Loved this book - it grabbed me and held on tightly.
A fabulous read.

Perfect Chemistry/Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles:
Loved these books - I'm such a fan of the bad boy/good girl storyline
and Ms. Elkeles writes it so well!


Dirty by Megan Hart:
I love this book. 'Nuff said.

Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas:
I loved this book - it was so fucked up that I just
couldn't look away (trust me that's a compliment).

Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning:
This book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase
"banging out a song". So. Freakin'. Hot.

In looking over this list, I see didn't rate them all 5 stars. For whatever reason, though, they stayed with me and when I reviewed the list these are the ones I paused at and thought "yeah...." I also noticed no historical romance made the list (except Lydia Dare's werewolf books) - I haven't been able to get into a historical romance in months.

I joined several challenges this year: Vampire Reading Challenge, Erotic Reading Challenge, JD Robb In Death Challenge, Contemporary Romance Challenge, New Author Challenge, and M/M Challenge. I failed the JD Robb challenge miserably. I read the first two books and just couldn't continue. I just couldn't get into them; it was an effort to finish book 2 so I just gave up. I did finish and surpass my other challenges, but somewhere along the way (before June, I think), I quit keeping track and marking my posts with the appropriate challenge. So for 2011 I'm not joining any challenges because they're apparently too much for me to keep up with.

2011 has some great books coming up and I'm looking forward to reading as many as I can:

Wishing you all health, happiness, and fabulous reading for 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Discussion with ALPHA Reader: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

From the author's website:
Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle’s death.

And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

Several months ago, I read two reviews by Danielle at ALPHA Reader that piqued my interest: Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son, both by Melina Marchetta. (Her reviews are here and here)

I don't remember how it came about, but she sent me Saving Francesca, which I loved (my review here). I tried to get my hands on the follow-up, The Piper's Son, but it's not available in the US until March 2011, so Danielle graciously sent me her copy.

All I can say is: Wow, freakin' fantastic! I really liked The Piper's Son - I was so involved in Tom's life, it was hard to separate and put the book down. I had a few questions about the book, and they turned into a joint squeefest between Danielle and myself. Once we'd gone back and forth, we both realized how long it was - there is so much in this book to talk about!

Book Addict: First of all, I love the cover! I don't know why but it speaks to me. Also, the graphics at each chapter - I know it's superficial, but I feel like they emphasize how much of a mess Tom's life is. And he certainly is a mess. His mother and sister moved out b/c his father is an alcoholic. Then his father left. He's living in some crappy apartment with "not really" friends, until he comes home from an evening in the hospital and sees his stuff all over the lawn. He turns to his aunt for shelter.

ALPHA Reader: Funny you should mention the cover-art. . . Naomi over at inkcrush recently posted the Aussie/US cover comparisons and revealed that the cover is actually a photo of Australian musician, Pete Murray. It’s a cast-off photo from his album photo-shoot. And it’s quite funny because now that I think about it Pete Murrary is sort of how I pictured Tom. . . that very manly Aussie bloke, with a tender heart underneath it all. A lot of Pete Murrary’s songs could be a soundtrack to ‘The Piper’s Son’ too, like his song ‘So Beautiful’ (about Tara Finke?)

‘So Beautiful’ lyrics:
God my fingers burn,
Now when I think of touching your hair
You have changed so much that I don't know,
If I can call you, and tell you I care
And I would love to bring you down,
Plant your feet back on the ground

BA: Oh, wow, I checked out the covers and I definitely like the Aussie cover better! I’m not familiar with Pete Murray but looking at the pics I could see Tom as a young Pete Murray. And yes, that song totally fits his relationship with Tara.

BA: His Aunt Georgie is...I don't know what to say about her. On the one hand, she's a mess too. She can't get past the deaths of her brother and father. She can't get past the fact that her significant other had a fling while they were "on a break" that resulted in a child. She seems otherwise normal, but the relationship with Sam was painful to read.

AR: I was very sceptical about Georgie when I first started reading. Marchetta has never written from an ‘adult’ perspective, yet Georgia is 42 and I really didn’t know how she fit into a young adult book. . . I should really learn to have more faith in Ms. Marchetta. By the end of the book I was thinking that Georgie was an inspired and brilliant character. Yes, she’s 42, but she doesn’t have her life together. . . in fact, her life is as much in shambles as Tom’s. I think Georgie is a sort of sign-post for Marchetta’s young audience, a hint that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean getting wiser. . . and that’s okay. Mistakes are going to be made, it’s how you correct them that matters.

BA: I can tell you from reading this book as a 40-year-old woman that was one of the things I did like about how Georgie was written is that she wasn’t perfect and put together and had a wonderful life. My life is not like that and I resent when authors suggest that at some point in your 20’s everything just clicks and you get your HEA.

AR: I think both Tom and Georgie are living in the fallout of their mistakes. Georgia had a one-night-stand with her ex that resulted in her getting pregnant. At any time over the last few months she could have had an abortion, discussed adoption etc, etc. But instead Georgie just sort of lets things fester. She doesn’t broach the subject with her family or with Sam. She sort of hopes that ignoring the problem will make it go away until she’s eight-months along and has to start getting proactive and making decisions.

Tom, meanwhile, has pulled farther and farther away from his friends until he wakes up one day and realizes that he has all but lost them. He could have picked up the phone, or accepted their kindness, but instead he chose to ignore and distance himself. And when the book begins, he suddenly finds that he needs the support of those friends he let fall by the wayside.

BA: I was so surprised to read that he had pulled away from his friends. In Saving Francesca, the kids seemed to be there for each other, and I wanted to know where things had gone wrong.
I found lack of communication to be a constant through the book. I did find it a bit frustrating at times. Tom’s Mom/Dad, Tom/his Father, Georgie/Sam, Tom/Tara – come on people – talk to each other!!!

AR: The lack of communication and general ‘walking on eggshells’ was hard for me to read. I hate awkward silences, and given half a chance I will address the elephant in the room. . . but you’re right, this is a book full of what’s not said. And it’s made all the more frustrating because we get Tom and Georgie’s inner monologues, but never the satisfaction of having them *say* what they *think*. Grr! But to be honest, that’s more realistic. It’s actually very rare for people to wear their heart on their sleeve and deliver long, revealing diatribes. . . still, frustrating!

Both Georgie and Tom are procrastinators and avoiders, and Marchetta explores what happens to both of them when they have to wake up and take responsibility for their actions.

BA: This aspect of the story made me a bit crazy – I wanted to shake them both and say “open your eyes and your mouth and do something!”

AR: Georgie and Sam’s relationship was painful. I found myself squirming in my seat throughout their tension-filled scenes. Most of my discomfort was simply because Georgie *thought* things but never said them. Grr! Throughout the book Georgie wants to ask Sam about the woman he had an affair with. . . she wants to ask him if he wants their baby. But she doesn’t. Although, all that built-up tension made for a great release and monologue from Sam (page 275: “Ask me if getting you pregnant has felt like the best thing that’s happened to me since my son was born?”)

BA: Oh! That monologue from Sam brought tears to my eyes – it was so moving.

AR: As frustrating as Sam and Georgie were. . . I felt like Marchetta offered up a very rich and fulfilling storyline for them. Dare I say, Georgie could have had a book all to herself? I loved how complicated their history was – because Sam had a son from cheating on Georgie, he can’t offer her a completely honest “I’m sorry” and “I regret” for his cheating. Wow. That right there is enough emotional tension to fill a contemporary romance book! I sort of hope that Georgie’s presence in ‘Piper’s’ is an indication that Marchetta may go into adult books one day. . .

BA: Georgie was a little too passive for me to be in love with her; it seemed to me she let things happen instead of making them happen. I was frustrated by that.

BA: I don't know if this book was written with an Australian audience in mind or just set in Australia, either way, I loved it! Honestly, at first it felt a bit disjointed and I was wondering if it was actually set in England and I just thought it was set in Australia...I figured it out eventually :) I think that was because of the family obsession with his uncle's death. Tom's dead grandfather and uncle were a huge part of the story - the family didn't get a body back for either death and therefore didn't have real closure. I see in your review where their lives were turned into "before London" and "after London", and I can kind of relate to that, as here in N.O. things are "before Katrina" and "after Katrina".

AR: I think it’s great that you were unsure about the setting! Because that is a theme in all of Marchetta’s books – multiculturalism. Australia is a melting pot – it’s a cliché, but true. My family is Austrian and English, I’m third generation Aussie. Marchetta herself is proud of her Italian heritage. . . and in fact, her first novel ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ is all about a young girl coping with being third generation Italian and juggling her Nonna (grandma’s) traditions and her want to break free.

And then there’s the fact that Australian’s are prone to ‘walkabout’. We have such close ties to England that it’s very common for Aussie’s to take jobs in the UK and live there for a few years. We have so many English ex-pats living in Australia, and so many families were founded by ‘Ten Pound Poms’ (which refers to the influx of British people who moved to Australia after WWII. . . for the price of ten pounds passage). And that’s also why Australia was really rocked by the London bombings, because England is so much a part of us. . .

I think that’s a very true comparison between London and Katrina. I think Marchetta makes the point, throughout the book, that a nation is brought together by tragedy. . . in the past decade we’ve experienced such huge historic events and nations have banded together around them. Just look at the New Zealand mining disaster. . . it becomes a country’s mourning, a shared heartache. I loved that Marchetta explored that with both Vietnam and London, and illustrated the repercussions these historic events have on current generations.

BA: I didn't know any of that history about Australia. American's think of ourselves as living in the"Melting Pot", but I see that Australia is like that too.

BA: Back to Tom - I love him. Maybe because I'm the mother of a teenage son? I want to take him home with me and feed him and give him a stable home life. He's a good kid - evidenced by the fact that he takes the job at the Diner to pay for the money his roommates stole. He’s got a lot of issues to work though though; I was glad to see Frankie and Josephine (from Saving Francesca) in this book.

AR: I don’t know how she did it, but Marchetta kept Tom endearing. There were a few times there when he could have come across as an idiotic no-hoper. But I was always rooting for Tom. I always knew that he wasn’t living up to his potential and that there was a heart of gold underneath that slacker facade. I think it was his caring for Georgie, and his secret heartache for Tara Finke and the fact that you could see he was affected by his dad’s leaving and alcoholism, even when he tried to hide it. God love him, Tom was adorable.

BA: Tom is such a tarnished hero. I loved that even though he managed to get himself into a bad situation, he was able to accept help where it was offered, work hard even when he didn’t visualize a positive outcome, and come out on top.

BA: Tara Finke - what can I say about Tara? Aaaarrggghhh - I have a lot to say about her but can't find the words.

AR: I love that Tara didn’t take any of Tom’s crap. Yes, he was going through a hard time, but that didn’t excuse his behaviour towards her and his friends. . . and she never let him forget it. She kept him on his toes. You could see why he fell so hard for her, and why all those nameless one-night-stands couldn’t hold a candle to what he had with Tara. I also loved the way that Francesca kept feeding Tom information about Tara and her Brazilian boyfriend. LOL! Way to be a wing-woman, Francesca.

BA: You know, he kind of had her on a pedestal, and until he realized that he was worthy of being loved he wasn’t ready for her. Unlike his family, Tara made him express himself and I love her for that. The e-mails back and forth were wonderful, as Tom opened up more and let her see inside himself. And yes, even though Tom kept messing with Francesca and Will, Francesca didn’t lose faith and was an awesome wing-woman!

BA: The Piper’s Son was dark at the beginning but as Tom worked through things it got lighter, more witty and hopeful.

AR: I think of that Stereophonics album, ‘You Gotta Go There to Come Back’. That’s what Marchetta does with ‘Piper’s Son’ – she goes to the dark places, she lets her characters hit rock bottom. . . so that their redemption is all the sweeter. She is master at this, and I love her for it.

BA: Oh, yes, I noted that the Piper's Son was a reference to Tom's dad's gift of oration. I have mixed feelings on that. I didn't care for his dad much.

AR: I appreciated that his dad was like Tom and Georgie, in that he had made mistakes and when we meet him he is living in the fall-out and trying to regroup. But it was frustrating. . . my heart broke when Tom went to the AA meeting, and learnt of the trigger that made his dad get sober (he couldn’t remember Tom’s name when a stranger asked him who was in the picture in his wallet. OMIGOD! I cried so hard!).

BA: See, whether Tom forgives his father or not, I couldn’t forgive him. I think that’s a testament to Ms. Marchetta’s superb writing that she brings out such strong reactions in me as a reader.

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
U.S. Release Date: March 8, 2011
ISBN-10: 0763647586
ISBN-13: 978-0763647582

Thank you Danielle for stopping by, and also for introducing me to Ms. Marchetta's work - she's a fabulous writer and I'm looking forward to reading more!

My Rating:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn

From Goodreads:
When Evie Walker goes home to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she stands to inherit. Hidden behind the old basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again. The magic of the storeroom prevents access to any who are not intended to use the items. But just because it has never been done does not mean it cannot be done. And there are certainly those who will give anything to find a way in.

Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, protecting the past and the future even as the present unravels around them. Old heroes and notorious villains alike will rise to fight on her side or to undermine her most desperate gambits. At stake is the fate of the world, and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse.

First, I must give a shout-out to Dana from Reading Amidst the Chaos for sending me this book (her review here); she knew how much I was looking forward to reading it and kindly offered me her copy. Thank you Dana!!!

I am a huge fan of Ms. Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. I knew, however, that Discord's Apple was going to be nothing like her Kitty series, and that's important to know before diving in. Knowing that didn't stop me from being confused at the beginning though...I eventually did find my groove and enjoyed the book. I had no idea it involved Greek mythology or that it was dystopian; I'm not sure why but I wrongly thought it was going to be a ghost story.

There are actually 4 stories taking place:

Evie, the main protagonist, who has come home to care for her ailing father. She's a comic book writer; she writes a military-themed comic called Eagle Eye Commandos that has a female heroine, Tracker, who embodies what Evie wants to be. As her father is dying, the pull of the basement becomes stronger in Evie. When a woman comes to her and asks Evie if she has something in the basement for her, Evie knows the answer is no. She does not know it is the goddess Hera, who has been searching for the apple of discord, and Hera does not intend to let it go.

Tracker's story runs through the book as well. There has been some sort of political upheaval in the world (Evie's mother was killed during this time) and Evie's comic is related to current events. Things like checkpoints and town militias are in full effect but as the reader we don't know exactly what happened. As political machinations happen in her world, Evie must change the comic to reflect what's going on in the world and, more subtly, changes in Evie's life.

Alex/Sinon is an immortal mortal (he can't die but he is human, not magic). He's come to the storeroom to see if he can find something to kill himself with. He ends up staying to watch over Evie and protect her from Hera, who has come to claim Discord's Apple. His story of Troy and the events to follow was interesting.

The fourth storyline is the story of the basement itself. Starting with present day, we get brief glimpses of her ancestors who watched over the storeroom until finally we are gifted with the identity of the original guardian.

At first I was a bit confused by the different storylines and the mythology, but as I continued to read I became more and more curious to find out what happened next. Evie ends up with some impressive allies in her fight to keep the apple away from Hera. I enjoyed Evie's story, Alex/Sinon's story, and the basement's story. I kind of felt like Tracker's story was filler. Also, Evie's illustrator, Bruce, appeared a few times and he felt out of place - especially when he abrubtly exited the story; he also felt like superfluous filling.

All in all I liked Discord's Apple. It was short and I didn't get answers to all the questions I was hoping to have answered, but the ending was satisfying and left me with a smile.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition
Release Date: July 6, 2010
ISBN-10: 0765325543
ISBN-13: 978-0765325549

My Rating:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guest Review: Stronger Than Sin by Caridad Pineiro

Please say hi to Natasha from My Disorganized Ramblings! She was gracious enough to stop by and review Stronger Than Sin by Caridad Pineiro:

From Goodreads:
Dr. Liliana Carrera nearly lost her life to Wardwell scientists. She won't let them harm other innocent victims, like her new patient, Jesse Bradford. The former pro athlete had the best hands in the NFL . . . until an injury forced him to undergo Wardwell's experimental gene therapy. Now Jesse's gorgeous body is superhuman-but his strength comes at a price.

With Wardwell threatening his family, Jesse can't tell Liliana all he knows. Yet he can't resist her compassion . . . or her healing, erotic touch. As their passion flares, Jesse's body becomes dangerous and volatile. For evil men are plotting to change the face of humanity-and will destroy whoever stands in their way.

"Love. Despair. Need. Promise." Caridad Pineiro writes, and I think that sums up much of this book. Liliana is a doctor who has a real affinity for her patients. She hates their suffering and pain. She really truly does want to make them better. She is compassionate and honest. Jesse is an ex-NFL player, who had a horrible injury and was offered a chance. That chance ended up making him into a genetically mutated being., for lack of a better word. Jesse and Liliana meet when Liliana is recruited from the FBI to help make Jesse better. They have a mutual lust going on for each other but with the secrets and the evil men working against them, they have to do whatever they can to be together and fix Jesse.

This is the second book in the series, and I would highly suggest reading Sins of the Flesh first. I feel that it gave much more back ground information about the gene experiments that were being conducted, as well as more back ground information about what the Wardwell scientists were up to. Some of that information was missing with Stronger than Sin. Having previously read SotF, I was able to understand more of what was going on.

This book was a very quick read, and is an example of Ms. Pineiro's fascinating imagination. I do definitely recommend Stronger than Sin, especially if you have read Sins of the Flesh, or if you enjoy a well thought out science fiction/fantasy romance (I wouldn't really call it a paranormal).

Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: November 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0446543845
ISBN-13: 978-0446543842

Natasha's Rating:

Thanks so much, Natasha, for stopping by!!

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads:
Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules.

She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?

This is the sixth and final installment in Ms. Mead's Vampire Academy Series. I have been anticipating this book for months. I have to say that, while I enjoyed it, I was a little disappointed.

The plot was interesting: Rose is in jail, falsely accused of murdering the Queen. The Moroi are anxious for a quick trial, which means they think Rose is guilty. Her friends bust her out of prison and she's on the run with Dimitri - they're supposed to stay at a safe location, but nothing works out like it should when Rose is involved. They end up chasing clues about a possible sibling for Lissa while running from the Guardians, finding an unusual colony of vampires and humans together, and searching for the real killer. Meanwhile, Rose's friends are trying to find the killer and distracting the Court from searching for Rose and Dimitri.

The storyline was full of action and stuff was happening left and right. My complaint is that kick-ass Rose seemed almost passive in this book. I felt like she spent most of the story out of it - watching Lissa through their spirit bond. I don't particularly care for Lissa, never have, and for that reason I had a hard time with Last Sacrifice. I also wanted more of Rose/Adrian or Rose/Dimitri. The interaction wasn't there - she only saw Adrian through her Spirit Dreams, and she and Dimitri spent most of their time trying not to notice each other. I was pleased that Rose did make a choice, it wasn't done for her, and her reasons were solid.

The ending was good, but quick. It felt like the book was go!go!go! and then wrapped up in the last 10 pages or so.

Ms. Mead says on her site that there will be a spin-off series that takes place in the VA world; I'm looking forward to it.

Reading level: Young Adult
496 pages
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill
Release Date:
December 7, 2010
ISBN-10: 1595143068
ISBN-13: 978-1595143068

My Rating:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sourcebooks Celebrate's Jane Austen's Birthday!

Thursday, December 16th is Jane Austen’s 235th birthday!

Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format:

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday*:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

*Available wherever eBooks are sold.

Yay! I love Jane Austen's stories and also Austen-inspired books, I'll definitely be taking advantage of this offer :)

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winner (and new Winners!)

First, the winner of Shelley Workinger's signed ARC of Solid:


Also, the two ARCs of Jennifer Haymore's books went unclaimed. The new winner is:
Historical Romance Junkie Rita!!!

(Ladies, please e-mail me at bookaddictpatti at cox dot net with your mailing address)

One more unclaimed prize:
E-book copies of Alice Clayton's Redhead Series:
Stella (Ex Libris)!!!
(Stella, send me your e-mail addy bookaddictpatti at cox dot net)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do Nice Bloggers Finish Last?

I've seen comments around the blogosphere about how when a blogger only puts up good reviews they're not really trustworthy as far as book recs go. I don't know if I fall into that "nice blogger" category or not. I mean, yes, I'm nice, and I'm a blogger, but I hope I'm not one of those bloggers no one trusts a recommendation from.

Here's my thing: I started blogging to talk about books - books I like. Who wants to talk about a book they hate? (Trust me, there are a few authors and/or books I just can't do, but unless I've been specifically asked to review them, or it was a "OMG you're not going to believe this", I just skip the review.)

My husband tells me I'm too nice on the blog, and wants me to get down and dirty with the reviews ('cause he's evil like that). That's just not me. I think I did one snarky review waaaayyy back (this time last year?) when I was still new to blogging, and even though I did it as more of a "holy smokes I wish someone would have told me that's in this book" than anything else, I still feel badly about it (although I still won't read her books!). I think I've done one or two DNF reviews, and a couple of 1 or 2 stars, but usually if it's less than 3 stars I don't want to talk about it - why continue to torture myself?

So, unless I start chugging from that there bottle of Sweet Bitch (I currently have two bottles in the house *winks*), I'll probably continue to gush about the books I love and sweep the duds under the carpet. I'll still put 1 or 2 stars on Goodreads, but probably won't put a review (if it's a requested review I am honest however).

What about you? How do you review? Every book you read? Only the ones you like? A mixed bag?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I know, I know, this is another dystopian novel, of which I claim to not like, but this one sounds soooo good! I've been glomming YA for awhile and this one is calling to me! (Plus, Danielle at ALPHA Reader recommended it, and she hasn't steered me wrong yet!)

From Goodreads:
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.

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 11, 2011
ISBN-10: 1595143971
ISBN-13: 978-1595143976

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

From Goodreads:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I have been looking forward to Matched for several months - I'd seen some fabulous reviews and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I bought and started reading it the day it was released:

As the story opens, Cassia is on her way to her Matching ceremony. She's nervous but excited and her childhood friend Xander is also being Matched tonight, so together they've been going over what they think will happen for the last few weeks. As the ceremony progresses and other teens are seeing their Matches, Cassia's turn finally comes - and they announce her Match is from within their city - Xander! They're both excited, as they've been friends for so long and like each other very much. When Cassia gets home, out of curiosity she views the chip they were given at the ceremony and Xander's face comes up, then disappears, to be replaced by another face - someone else from their town that she also knows - Ky Markham.

No one else knows what Cassia saw, and she's not going to tell anyone, especially not Xander. An official meets with her and tells her it's a glitch, she's not meant for Ky as he's an aberration - he'll never be matched. She knew Ky was adopted, which is almost unheard of, but not that he'd be an aberration - a classification put upon him to atone for the actions of his father. The official allows Cassia to talk to her grandfather about it, as he is turning 80 the next day and will therefore die tomorrow. Her grandfather has secrets too, one of which he reveals to Cassia, and she doesn't know what to do about it.

As the days go by, Cassia and Ky are thrown together more and more during their hiking activities, she grows more intrigued and impassioned about Ky. She shares her grandfather's secret, and he shares forbidden secrets with her. She's falling for Ky, but she can't disappoint her family and Xander, can she?

As a general rule I'm not a fan of dystopian stories, but the love story aspect of this book appealed to me. MATCHED is a well-written and engaging book; the world building was interesting and I want to know more - how did society come to this? Who are the people in charge? What goes on in the other areas that are not urban? But I also liked the romance aspect of the story; reading Cassia fall for Ky when she knows it's forbidden, Ky sharing his forbidden history and knowledge, and Cassia's gradual understanding that perhaps she's not living in a Utopia as she originally thought.

The cliffhanger ending definitely left me wanting more - I've already added the next book, Crossed (November 1, 2011), to my wishlist.

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 369 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: November 30, 2010
ISBN-10: 0525423648
ISBN-13: 978-0525423645

My Rating: