Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Read: December 16-24, 2012
read in: too  a few days over the course of 9 days
pages: 211

The Lover's Dictionary

I found this little book in the library one of the last times I was in there. I really just stumbled upon it while skimming over the shelves and thought it had an interesting cover. So I pulled the book off the shelf and skimmed the jacket. Flipping through the pages I thought this really looked like something I'd like to read. The book has an unique format in the style of dictionary entries. Each page has an entry, some run over into two pages, that contain a word and an accompanying story or moment that encapsulates the author's interpretation of what that particular word meant in relation to his relationship. I liked lines and phrases here and there throughout the book and will likely pick up something else by the author one day. He has an way of looking at situations and describes them in ways that I find intriguing.

One of my favorite lines I found within the entry in the following entry:

punctuation v. "the key to a successful relationship isn't just in the words, it's in the punctuation. When you're in love with someone, a well-placed question mark can be the difference between bliss and disaster, and a deeply respected period or a cleverly inserted ellipsis can prevent all kinda of exclamations."

All in all it was a very quick read and I'm a little embarrassed it took me quite a few days to finish. I would only read for about 10-20 minutes of time each time I read so in all fairness it really only took a matter of hours to read not days. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Hollow (The Hollow #1) by Jessica Verday

Read: September 25- October 4, 2012
read in 9 days (FAR TOO LONG!)
pages: 509

Book blurb:
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

Once again I was sucked into a book by a gorgeous cover. But hey I fully admit I browse for covers and for titles that intrigue me enough to pull the thing off the shelf!! The story sounded like there would be a decent amount of suspense what with this big secret Abbey discovers her friend Kristen has been hiding. Now that Kristen is gone you would expect to find Abbey on a hunt to find out what this secret was and why her friend was keeping it from her. At least that is what the author alludes to in the blurb AND the trailer of the book. THAT however is not really what happens. 

So what happens? Not a lot. Which is a big reason why it took so dang long to read this book. There is nothing much going on, and for just over 500 pages that is really FRUSTRATING!! There is no build up in tension, no huge climax and no real conflict. I was also disappointed to be so annoyed with the Abbey character since the entire book is in her head and told in her point of view. She meets this stranger Caspian and literally becomes obsessed. He never once mentions they should become boyfriend/girlfriend but Abbey convinces herself that they are. I think it was a far stretch in her grieving process if that can be used as any kind of justification as to why she comes to this conclusion. It does however explain why she is an emotional wreck for the entire length of the novel.

I didn't keep any notes whatsoever on this novel as I've been doing pretty religiously since I've started writing these reviews regularly. I don't have anything great to highlight in the novel but I don't have anything all that negative to say either. Well if I could highlight one thing it would be the fact that Abbey made perfumes. THAT was very fascinating and I really wish the author would have went into that more. I really like when a novel can introduce me to something completely different and unique, something I've never thought of and strike a new interest for me. This was the one thing that caught me.

This is the first book in the series, but after being so frustrated while reading this novel and not developing any partial feelings to the characters I will not be continuing on. And this is not one of those oh, maybe....maybe once I've had time apart from the novel I'll change my mind should I stumble upon it in the library. Nope. Definitely not. I'm done here no matter what this secret may be that Kristen had. She can keep it I don't want to know.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2) by Kady Cross

Read: September 22-24, 2012
read in 3 days
pages: 416

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

I don't know if its because I JUST finished this book or if was a little more than that but I enjoyed this story much more than the one in The Girl in the Steel Corset. Part of it could be that I was already invested in these characters and was already rooting for them. I really liked these characters especially going into this novel. It took a good chunk of the last book for me to really want to stick with these characters and this story. I admit what got me was the relationship or the potential for a relationship between Finley and Griffin. I just had to see how this was going to play out so I picked up the next book. Luckily though Kady Cross does tease throughout this WHOLE book I was satisfied with where things seem to be going.

This novel gives the reader much more action than the first novel. I remember thinking the last novel things moved very quickly to a climax and an ending, but these wasn't quite enough build up. This one however was a bit more drawn out over the course of the novel which is what kept be interested aside from the maybe or maybe not relationships.

So the gang heads to NY to try to break Jasper Renn free after his being arrested by bounty hunters for murder charges at the end of the first novel. The gang wonders if they can believe the story or is the story wrong and they can truly trust their friend Jasper. In order to work their way in to getting Jasper, Finley comes up with a plan to join the ranks of Reno Dalton's gang of criminals. While her plan is crazy, one she does not consult with an overprotective Griffin, he later realizes the plan just might work. They are on a mission to stop Dalton in whatever his criminal goal may be and as the novel progresses they have countless run ins with him and a particularly annoying Miss Astor-Prynn who is determined to snag Griffin as her husband. In many chance meetings with Finley Miss Astor-Prynn attemps to be Finley in her place, or the place that Miss Astor-Prynn believes her to be in which is below her on the social ladder. This whole debacle between Astor-Prynn, Finley and Griffin was one of my favorites in the novel. Well that and Finley's hog tying a man dressed in her unmentionables! Love her bad ass attitude and that she takes zero crap from ANYONE Griffin included!

I won't give anything else away, and I don't really think I gave away too much as it is, BUT if you happen to read this novel let me know what you think about Mei. I'm still a little up in the air and I'm not sure if I really feel all that sympathetic towards her. Since we don't get much back story or anything on her in terms of why she acts the way she does, or at least has been acting I'm just not sure why she was compelled to act the way she did. I kinda wish Finley and her would have had another go around honestly and maybe we could have learned a bit more about her. But alas that did not happen.

I will for sure be picking up the next book in the series. I'm bummed I have to wait til next year but maybe it won't be too terribly long. I'm even more excited now to see where things go with this little gang. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a little romance, steampunk themes and a good adventure. Oh and if you read the first book and were only so so on it this one may win you over!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The First Night by M.S. Fowle

Read: September 9-22
read in
pages: 71

The First Night (The First, #1)

Book blurb:
Alex was just twelve years old when she learned monsters are real. Now, nearly ten years later, she and her team of fighters are locked in a secret war with Odin, the ancient faction of wealthy elites genetically engineering these monsters – the Chimeras. But Alex never knew why Chimeras were created… until she meets Zeke. He is Odin's true target, him and his kind. They are of legends and myths. They are the First. But are they friend or foe? There's only one thing Alex knows for sure… don't ever call them vampires.

Not a bad start to a little series. This provides a good bit of action and an interesting take on vampires and their predators the Chimera. The novel follows a gang of young adults who have come together on a mission to rid the world of these evil creatures. Each individuals family has been destroyed in one way or another by these creatures and they are out to seek revenge as well as prevent any further harm. It has become a race against production and evolution as the Chimera are being mass produced more are becoming more evolved in their skill.

The story is told from the point of view of Alex the leader of the urban gang out to destroy the Chimera. Her chance encounter with Zeke during battle one night against the Chimera forges an unlikely alliance that proves useful to both. Through conversations with Zeke, Alex learns that the term "vampire" is a foul term that he and his group find "disrespectful and offensive". He explains that they prefer to be known as "the First" because they feel "vampire" tarnishes their honor. After learning that they share the common goal of eliminating the world of Chimera Alex beings to wonder if there could be potential in joining forces to accomplish their goals. While things are not tied up in the end of this novella there is a set up for the story to continue in the next book.

Overall the story is fairly short and a pretty good quick read. I enjoyed the story and will be continuing the series. I lucked out and bought book one when it was free on Amazon free on Kindle. So after starting book one I snagged the next three which so happened to also be free. If you are tired of the same old thing in urban fantasy, but enjoy a story with vampires this series may interest you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Read: September 13-20, 2012
read in a week
pages: 340

The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers #1)

I have been wanting to read this book for a really long time now. I read the bonus short story Retro Demonology and was hooked. There was a lot of action with Riley, the young apprentice, and I was so sure I would love the novel as well. I was disappointed that I did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping to.

Book blurb:
It’s the year 2018, and with human society seriously disrupted by the economic upheavals of the previous decade, Lucifer has increased the number of demons in all major cities. Atlanta is no exception. Fortunately, humans are protected by Demon Trappers, who work to keep homes and streets safe from the things that go bump in the night. Seventeen-year-old Riley, only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing attraction to fellow Trapper apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving citizens from Grade One Hellspawn. Business as usual, really, for a demon-trapping teen. When a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood, she realizes that she’s caught in the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell.

I really expected to get sucked into this series but even now as I read that above blurb it really does nolt give any idea of what the actual plot line of THIS book is. The blurb covers what happens in the bonus short story, which in reality was the first couple chapters of this book. A bit misleading really. If you are expecting adventures in trapping demons, well this might not be the book for you.

So the book is set in a future time, granted it is only 2018 but the descriptions seem possible if you are pessimistic in your current world view, for instance the gas prices well prices of everything has sky rocketed and people literally don't drive all that much. A lot of places seem to be abandoned and converted to other uses, for instance a parking lot has been converted to a market, Riley's home is an old hotel, and the kids attend school in old grocery stores and Starbucks buildings. The kids attend school not every day but once a week either morning, afternoon or evenings for like 4 hours. A half hour block for each subject with only one teacher for all subjects. The demons could be really cool but they really only get blah as they get bigger. The smaller demons are the cooler ones. I especially liked the little Klepto's who went around stealing pretty shiny items. Those were cute and they were not particularly harmful.

I expected there to be some scenes like the one in the short story of Riley capturing demons, but the couple of times that there was some trapping going on it was pretty tame and things weren't really keeping my attention all that well. The one big climax came out of no where. I'm not sure why it happened the way it did. There was absolutely no build up or tension. And my biggest gripe is there is no hint of any resolution at the end of this book. You would literally need to pick up the next book to figure out where things may go from here. It seemed rushed, like oh we need an ending and then I'm going to add another chapter  but explain nothing about how it will progress the story further. 

I got a bit disgruntled when just over half way through I started seeing typos. Things like missing words "a" "the" and "that". Words that would have helped make the sentences make more sense. I had to work at a couple sentences to figure out what the author meant. Also the kicker for me was the word keyed as "keep" but as I read the sentence I knew the tense should have been "kept". No matter how many times I read that sentence "keep" never once made sense in there. I also saw some missing quotation marks. I felt the last half of the novel just got sloppy in both story and in editing.

I'm not sure I can recommend this to any one. Its a great creative premise it just was not pulled off very well. I will not be continuing the series. It was sad because I bought this book and checked out the next two books from the library expecting to enjoy the first so much I would need the next two. I was sadly mistaken and returned them to the library first thing this morning. It was a fairly short book and to be honest it should not have taken me this long to read it. I had plenty of time I just lacked interest in the story and characters.

My best advice is : READER BEWARE

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Read: September 9-11, 2012
read in 3 days
pages: 292

Book blurb:
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

I stumbled across this book buried in the young adult section in the library. The copy I read has the cover pictured above and looked a little older like the picture looked a little faded. It was published in 2009, so its about 4 years old now. When I started looking for the image above though I saw there is a gorgeous new cover that is being printed with the newer release. 


Viola! Now that cover would have caught my attention a bit more than just the title intriguing me. I think this new cover would have helped make it a display book more than just stuck in the shelf with only its spine available to see. Either way after skimming the jacket cover the story did catch my attention and I decided to check it out. Which I'm glad I did because I enjoyed the book.

At first the book is a little slow and it took a bit to catch my attention, but once it did I did not want to put it down. Tamsin is a likable enough character. She has spent her whole life believing she has no Talent while her family is full of Talent. She wants nothing more than to disappear into the crowd of ordinary people and leave her family life behind. We meet the young professor at the book store with Tamsin and while initially he seems harmless enough as her grandmother warns her "things are not always what they seem." Her family is known to find missing things and offer other "magical" solutions to the small town she affectionately refers to as "Hellcrater". Rather than admit she is not Talented and won't be able to help the professor the reader can understand that she wants to show her family she can be useful in spite of their treating her as though she were an outcast and failure. 

Once Tamsin agrees to search for the missing family heirloom I was pulled into the story and didn't want to put the book down for anything.  The book has a good mystery to it surrounding the family and their magic as well as a sweet love story twined in nicely as well. The focus of the book was more on the magic of the witches and I liked that each witch had their own Talent no two were alike. While the focus was the magic and finding the heirloom I found myself wanting to learn more about this love story the is also trying to develop. Maybe with the next book things will be examined further and I'm looking forward to picking it up to see where things lead. This book ends with some closure to the heirloom events while also opening things up for the story to continue.

I don't really have a lot to say about the novel which seems weird. But I feel it was really short and if I were to talk about too much that happens I'd be giving the story away and I don't want to do that. I'd recommend the book for someone looking for a urban fantasy with a touch of mystery, time traveling and a sweet love story entwined into a quick little read.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) by Kate Locke

Read: September 3-7, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 354

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire, #1)

Book Blurb:
The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

For starters, I knew nothing about this book. I was quite surprised to see that it was recently published and even more surprised to see I got it so quickly from the library. Made me wonder a little about whether there was any hype over wanting to read this book or not and if not then maybe it was not so good. Well after a little digging around I find out that Kate Locke is a pseudonym, one of a few apparently, of Kady Cross....aka Kathryn Smith oh yeah and also Kate Cross.  Dang it! If I had known all this I wouldn't have read THIS book next. I just finished the book The Girl in the Steel Corset which is by Kady Cross. I thought that one was ok, but I like to get a break from the same author and switch things up a bit. I was a little mislead. I try not to read too much about a book before I start it because I don't like spoilers and I'm always afraid a review could sway my opinion and cause me to miss out on a book I would have otherwise enjoyed. They have before. So that aside I did start reading this one anyways. I was already 30+ pages when I discovered the pseudonym thing and for me I'd rather keep me going than to just drop it.

There are three things that I didn't particularly care for and I'll just get those out there and move on to what I liked and what kept me reading. The first thing that annoyed me to no end was the constant use of "bloody", "bollocks", and "fang me". I understand "fang me" was used rather than the F word which was creative BUT not as often as it was repeated. I understand also that the book is set in London and there are going to be other phrases they use that we here in America do not, but it is painfully clear that the author is not British in her overuse of the words. I also noticed early in the novel there are some spellings that are obviously intended to be British but they just fall away and you never see them again. That was strange and not consistent. The other thing that bothered me was more for understanding the plot. I had no clue what the heck was going on or how these classes of people came to be. We have Vampires, Werewolves, Goblins, and Humans. You also have these halvies running around that can be part Vampire and Human or part Werewolf part Human. Very odd. Humans are the minority in this society as somehow the Aristocracy is completely full of nothing but Werewolves and Vampires. Something to do with the plague causing these mutations, but why it is that only the Aristocracy are Vamps and Weres is beyond me. I did appreciate that Author Note at the beginning that gives you the run down on the time and place historically. That was helpful. I think though that the Author's Note should have mentioned the fact that there is a very handy little GLOSSARY and UNDERSTANDING THE ARISTOCRACY section in the back of the book!!! How do you NOT tell your reader?? I'm the reader who never reads the end first and I don't flip through so I'd never be looking at the end for something I need to know in the BEGINNING!! Lastly the other annoyance was that this book is billed as steampunk. This is not steampunk. This is urban fantasy on steroids. There are so many underworld creatures that it is a bit much to keep all of the goings on straight until you get really vested in the story. There are some gadgets that I guess the author was going for steampunk but the story is set in the 20th century and all the gadgets we see are common place just named something different and somehow they work slightly different. Not quite what I think or expect of steampunk. I expect some gadgets I really don't have an idea as to what they are or how they work! So once I resigned myself to the fact that I was not reading steampunk but in fact urban fantasy I was a little more on board. I was bummed as I was wanting to read steampunk but got urban fantasy.

All right that is all out there. Now this was not a terrible book. I did not hate the book. I did enjoy it honestly I did despite what I disliked. There is a fairly interesting story going on here. The main character can be a bit obnoxious at times she is only 21 or so and is a bit on the immature side. Very quick to respond emotionally especially where her family is concerned. If not for the family we honestly would not have a story. What kept me reading though was the introduction of the character Vexation "Vex" MacLaughlin aka Vex or the MacLaughlin. Now I've never been one to favor a wolf character; I've always preferred the Vampires. But THIS Alpha Were has something that I can't describe. He kinda won me over. HE was what kept me reading. I read this to the end, despite wanting to throw it across the room because of all the times I read "bloody", "bollocks, and "FANG ME", I continued to read to see how much Vex would appear and what his role was in this story. The name is weird I will say that....Vexation....yeah but Vex was a good way to shorten it. Almost seemed like Vex was picked first and then it was like oh crap I need a FULL NAME! How about Vexation cause that may sound mysterious. Whatever either way the name works for the character.

On the whole there is a lot going on so I can definitely see where this is going to be a series. IF I should read any further it would be to see if my favorite character Vex remains a part of the story. That's what kept me here, that would be what could draw me in again. Since this is the first in the series and was just released it may be awhile before I can expect another. At this point I'm undecided.  I'm on the fence looking over thinking hmm would it be worth the jump or remain where I am.

I'd recommend the book to someone who enjoys urban fantasy with a kick ass, no wait kick arse according to the book, heroine with an interesting twist to how Vampires and Werewolves come to be and a dash of steamy romance, then by all means pick this up. OH and please read the back material! Trust me it will all make much more sense!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross

Read: August 27- September1, 2012
read in 6 days
pages: 476

The Girl in the Steel Corset 

Book Blurb:
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one... except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her and says she's special, says she's one of them . The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets, against the wises of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in-until a criminal mastermind known as Machinist threatens to tear the group apart...

I was really looking forward to reading this novel and was glad to have found it at the library when I went looking to pick it up. So I found this copy that has the The Strange Case of Finley Jayne included and picked it up. I thought about re-reading the 78 page prequel, but since I read it back in November I didn't think I would need to. Turns out I did not. I do remember enjoying the prequel though and thinking this series couldn't be to be too bad because I thought the Finley character was a pretty tough chick. I found this novel proved she wasn't super soft but she did have a soft side so it was a nice compliment. As it turns out there is a reason she is balanced but at the same time unable to completely control this darker side of her personality.

So this novel finds Finley Jayne at least initially on the run from her former employer due to an altercation with Lord Felix, the son of her boss. This was no problem as she makes short order of teaching the young man a nice lesson on how you SHOULD NOT treat a lady no matter her station in life. While on the run, she is plowed down by the handsome Griffin King who fears he is the cause of her injuries. He decides to have his buddy take her back to his home and have her looked over by their friend Emily who so happens to be a handy live in doctor of sorts. 

After Finley finds herself in Griffin's home, and his finding out just how she came to be on the run, Griffin decides he just may be able to help Finley get her two personalities under control. For some time Finley has been noticing these shifts in her personality that seems to be a bit of Jekyll and Hyde is sparked by her anger or fear giving her an inhuman strength that luckily saves her life. This strength is what allowed her to overcome Lord Felix and is what causes her to be unsure of her actions on the nights the darker personality takes control of her body. While Finley is intrigued by the two parts of herself she would like to be in control of the two parts, and Griffin promises to help her do just that. The only issue I take with this premise is it seems a bit unbelievable that after only one session with Griffin Finley finds she has better control while she had zero prior to the session. It seems that a few sessions would have been a bit more believable. But I kind of let that go and didn't let that bother me much.

There is an arcing story line and an actual mystery they are working to solve. I admit I figured out the connection prior to the characters discovery which was fine, but I would have liked a little more of a twist and mystery to the plot. There are the four young adults, Griffin, Sam, Emily and Finley, and are later joined by Griffin's pal Jasper, that make up this motley group of people with these unique powers that can not be exposed to the outside world. There is a man working to expose the truth and the group works to stop him. In doing so another tie is found to the man that makes Griffin especially interested in making sure the man's plans do not come to fruition. A few action scenes are nice in the novel and build up some needed tension for the story.

Overall this novel isn't bad. It is billed as a steampunk novel, and I agree there are elements of that to be seen. Set in London in 1897 and plenty of steam power being used and a little play in the Aether. Another staple is the presence of automatons and random little gadgets which is pretty cool. I enjoyed the little descriptions of the style of dress of both the women and the men. I liked the characters enough to consider reading further in the series and hope to see a little more of the character Jack Dandy. I found him interesting and would like to see a little more about him. I was a little disgruntled to find that I have to get the next book if I want to see just where one story line is going. I hate a tease like that in a series especially when it is something that has been toyed with for 400+ pages and even somewhat mentioned at the end only to be left hanging with a hint that something may happen in the next novel. Just give me a little closure or some idea that things are going where I want them to. Luckily the next book is already published so I'm not going to have to wait any longer than the length of time it takes the library to get the book to me. Otherwise I'd be at the mercy of the publishing world to get my answer. Hopefully I get a satisfactory answer with the next book.

I would recommend the story if you are looking for a little romance and a little bit of steampunk. I think the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, are better in these areas, but while I'm waiting for the Clockwork Princess to be published Kady Cross' books will suffice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet Dreams are Made of This.....

So I went to the annual YMCA book fair last weekend and I always love going because I find so many books I remember from my childhood and from my teen years. I especially love finding the old teen romance books that are what had me so interested in reading when I was around 12. I remember devouring one of these IN A DAY over the summer! I've not read any of these in years but I think I will have to revisit them just because I'm curious. 

Now I admit I'm bummed because to save space I did let go of all the ones I originally had and have since been unable to locate all of those same titles, but I have since found a few of them in the past couple of sales at the YMCA. I'm not sure who here in St. Louis still has them and how they wind up finding their way back into the sale each year, but I think it is awesome!

The photo below was the few I found last year. I really should have known about the adult romance table last year! I think I might have found more!

I am always able to find them scattered in little clusters among the young adult tables. THIS year however I happened to glance across the paperback romance books and lo and behold I find a big chunk! I was super excited and grabbed all I could find as I scoured the romance section. Future reference....check ADULT romance section as well as YOUNG ADULT! 

So I thought I would share a snap shot of my loot from this year and I'm interested in what books got other people reading as kids/young adults? For me it was these Sweet Dreams, Wildfire, and Silhouette romances that started it; I then later branched into the Baby Sitter Club much to my librarians chagrin I might add! She hated those books and always encouraged me and my friends to check out ANYTHING else but those darn books!

 The photo below is from this year. I got a lot more this year especially after finding them in the adult section. I had three from young adult the rest were in the wrong area!

Anyone else read these or recognize them? I am a child of the 80's so these are dated but they were sweet little innocent reads and I adored them!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mirage (Winterhaven #2) by Kristi Cook

Read: August 22-26, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 384

Mirage by Kristi Cook

The second installment in the Winterhaven series takes up at the beginning of senior year for the same cast of characters we met in the first book and one new introduction: Tyler. The intervening summertime is summarized that Violet had spent the summer taking care of her Gran who had suffered a stroke. After arranging for a care taker to stay with Gran and Lupe Violet feels a bit more at ease when returning to school. She returns to school anticipating the return of Aidan as the two have been separated for the whole summer. After last years fiasco with Julius Violet is hoping for a much calmer year. And from my reading and feel of the novel things are relatively calm and there really is no action or tension that builds over the course of this novel. I didn't feel a sense of urgency or a real climax that was in need of being solved as the first book had.

Violet still has her visions to deal with but lucks out when a certain handsome teacher offers to help her as he has similar psychic abilities himself. He works with Violet and helps her to recall her visions so that she can begin to make sense of them and get details so that she might alter the endings. The main vision she comes back to time and time again is a vision of Aidan attacking her childhood friend Whiteny. While this is troubling I just didn't see it as a strong tension builder. The only events that could be seen as tension building, and its a bit of a stretch at that, may be the struggles Aidan has with working towards a cure, and even that is only peripheral because Violet does not work with Aidan in the lab. 

Violet also has the discovery of a little more information about her Sabbat origin to deal with. The information is vague and seemingly sketchy. She refuses to accept her destiny because she feels her free will is what will allow her to make up her own mind. When confronted with the chance to explore the meaning of the information however she runs rather than confronts the issue. It is her fate however and she must one day face it.

The climax that is given in the book is wrapped up way too quickly and I don't feel that was a very satisfactory ending. I don't like when books end just pages after the climax. Not that things were wrapped up in a tight little bow either. It was kind of a jilted ending and ends with Violet vowing to herself to make sense of things between her and Aidan as well as to understand her status as a Sabbat. It was not much of a conclusion and was very open ended.

I'd recommend it I suppose to anyone who read the first one and was curious to see where things were going. I may pick up the next book, but I'm not completely committed at this point. You can check the review for Haven as well in my blog.

I found the book trailer and I'll link it here. I don't really care much for it but its all that I found.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dolmarehn - Book Two of the Otherworld Trilogy by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

Read: August 18-21, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 235

Dolmarehn (The Otherworld Trilogy, #2)

Book Blurb:

"Do you trust me Meghan?"

His voice was soft, almost pleading. I swallowed and tried hard to discern his expression in the dark. The paltry amount of light reaching this far into the small cavern glinted off his eyes, giving him the appearance of a demon trying to tempt me into something evil.

"Yes," I answered, my own voice a mere whisper, "I trust you."


He gave my hand a quick squeeze, and then I was pulled forward into the icy abyss that loomed before us. . .

A year ago, Meghan Elam learned that she was Faelorehn, a being of the Otherworld. Immortal. Now she must juggle her life in the mortal world wiht the one she has started to build in the Otherworld. However, keeping her identity secret from her friends and family while trying to avoid a wrathful Celtic goddess is no easy task.

With the help of  the intriguing Cade MacRoich, Meghan will learn that not only does she come from a place full of magic and wonder but that she, too, is far more powerful than she ever thought possible.

This is the second installment in the Otherworld series by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. I had forgotten how much I get caught up in this series! I just love these characters! When I sat down with this book.....IT ALL CAME BACK TO ME. I was hooked once again and was regretful every time I had to put this book down.

This book picks up where we left Meghan after Faelorehn. She has been healing and recouping over the summer after her run in with the Morrigan. While Meghan has been healing she has been a bit reclusive and Cade has been MIA, which has caused her to become a little obsessive over him. But hey lets face it I would obsess over him too!

Meghan gains more exposure to the Fae part of her origin thanks to Cade when he finally makes an appearance. He gifts her with a Merlin for her birthday so that she has her own spirit guide and he can then take Fergus with him back to Elie. She learns to care for the little bird and the bird becomes her protector.  Meghan goes to Eile on three occasions over the course of the novel and Meghan begins to learn more about herself, her magic and her origins. She also learns a little bit more about the mysterious Cade. I admit I fell in love with Cade. I didn't think I could like him any more than I already did after Faelorehn, but what do you know I was wrong.

In terms of pacing, while the last book worked to set things up this novel has a lot more action and a lot more going on. We learn a lot more about the characters and their world of Eile.The bulk of the action takes place in the Otherworld while the mortal world is relatively calm. Don't mistake me, I don't consider Meghans encounters with the fae creatures in the mortal world to be calm by any means, but the amount of action between the Otherworld and the mortal world are very different. Well I'm not giving out the details because I want to leave that to the reader to discover, but the ending left me anxious and waiting impatiently for the last installment in the series. I can't wait to join these characters again and to see just where things are going to go.

For a recap on the series you can visit my review of Faelorehn.
To purchase Faelorehn you can visit and/or
To purchase Dolmarehn you can visit and/or

And don't forget to stop over and visit Jenna's site HERE, and learn more about the author herself in an interview HERE.

F in Exams: The Best Totally Wrong Test Answers edited by Richard Benson

Read: August 17, 2012
read in 30-45 minutes

This book was incredibly funny! I'm so glad to have stumbled upon this little gem. It took maybe 30-45 minutes to read over the course of my breaks at work. I didn't want to put it down every time I sat down to read it. I was asked so many times what I was reading that had me laughing out loud so hard. I had to share a few of the funnier ones with coworkers who were passing by. These test questions cover a variety of subjects and some of the answers were so close to being right while others only came similar in sound but were no where near correct. While others were so far off the answer was just ridiculous!

I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for a good laugh, which honestly is at a strangers expense, but at least you don't know who the person is and you'll never have to face them! I'd recommend this to college students because it would be a great stress relief during exam time. It would emphasize the importance of studying too!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Read: August 9-15, 2012
read in a week
pages: 327

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)

Sookie is coming to realize that her life is not entirely as she desires it to be. Her relationship with Eric is strained and has been for the last couple of books. They love each other but Eric has so many obligations in his vampire world that he hardly has time to make the relationship function outside the confines of the bedroom. Not that I am complaining because reading this series it has become a staple for there to be a good romp in the bedroom. But lately Harris' novels are lacking in that department. So I will complain a little. This one for instance has one scene and it fails terribly. It was glossed over, we see no heat or any of the passion. All we get is Sookie commenting that she left her trouble behind for a good 15 minutes. 15 minutes?! Really? That's it?? Oh come on. I know that Viking has more than 15 minutes in him!! That was a huge let down after the previous scenes with Eric.

While I know originally I was going to stop reading these novels since they have been weak and trailing downward quickly, but I was in the library and while I kept looking when I was in there, the book was never on the shelf. One time I happened upon it and thought what the heck I'll continue. I've been this far with this series this year I may as well see it through. Because I am curious as to where this will end with Sookie. I can see that the relationship with Eric has run its course and needs to be put to bed....well or to death. Jeez there is just no good way to say it, so lets just move on shall we? I'd actually been considering Bill once again despite the crap he pulled just because I remember how happy she was with him. But there is the betrayal. So not sure that will ever happen again or if anything beyond a fling would be possible or IF the two should get together again or not. 

With this novel though there are some changes in Sookie and her view on her life. She can see all these mostly stable and functioning relationships around her and she realizes she does not have that. She also sees that continuing down her path she will never have children and its starting to weigh on her after seeing Tara and J.B.'s twins. So it is likely Sookie may be changing direction. I'd like to see her with Sam honestly. Especially after this novel. I won't give away the details, but I will say I had tears in my eyes and was ready to throw the book across the room if the scene didn't pan out the way I'd wanted. Luckily there was a quick shift and things righted themselves. Thank goodness and I was glad to end on a high note. Well a higher note considering the rest of the novel. There are some definite twists here that I did not see coming, and it was an entertaining read.

On the whole I'd say if you are sticking with the series to see the end, well then do so. I don't think as a loyal reader you will be disappointed. You'll likely see what I mean when I say I am disappointed and I am not almost equally (though I've not actually sat down to tally it). There are just some things I'd like to have seen done a little differently, but it is easy to see that there are some loose ends being tied up here and we are looking at a finale of some sort soon. Its been quite a ride and I'm glad I've read the series. I've really come to enjoy reading about these characters even though they tend to be a bit out dated.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Signspotting 2: More Absurd and Amazing Signs from Around the World by Doug Lansky

Read: August 10, 2012
read in under a half hour
pages: 160

Signspotting 2 : More Absurd and Amazing Signs from Around the World

The second installment of the Signspotting books. I enjoyed the second book a bit more than the first. I found more signs in the second book that made me laugh more than the first. This book, like the first, also includes more translation issues and will leave you wondering once again, where was the editor or at the very least the person who signed off on the approval of the signs prior to their being made. And also sometimes its just all about location location location!

Signspotting: Absurd and Amusing Signs from Around the World by Doug Lansky

Read: August 10, 2012
read in under a half hour
pages: 208

Signspotting: Absurd and Amusing Signs from Around the World

Clever little book full of signs from street to advertisements to warnings and even businesses. These are signs that have been spotted all over the world so some of the humor comes from simply translating the words to English, or the inability to find English on a sign that states "INFORMATION" yet contains no legible words for those who understand the word "INFORMATION".  Some signs are funny and slightly humorous while others were a good laugh out loud. Some were so ridiculous you wonder where the heck the editor was prior to the sign being printed. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Taming Your Pet Monster : An Operational Guide by Scott Gordon

Read: July 22, 2012
read in 10 minutes maybe
pages: 68

Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide

Cute little picture book about owning a pet monster. I enjoyed the pictures of the monsters more than the writing. The idea of a pet monster with an operational guide was a funny topic so I thought for free on amazon I could check it out. Course at the time I read it I didn't own the kindle fire and read it on the computer, but I'm sure kindle fire owners would be able to appreciate the full color photos throughout the book more than the regular kindle readers. Which is why I'm glad I opted to read this on my computer.

Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist #3) by Rick Yancey

Read: July 28- August 9, 2012
read in little less than 13 days
pages: 558

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist, #3)

I can't begin to write a review that is going to do this book justice. This is the third installment in the Monstrumologist series and they just get better and better as the series continues. I love the characters Will Henry and even the harsh Pellinore Warthrope and enjoy following them alone their journeys of discovery. The author has a magnificent grasp of the SHOW not TELL aspect of writing. There were so many times when I was reading this novel that I thought ugh I could have done without that description! But honestly that just added to the story telling and made things more real and believable.  While the field of aberrant biology, the study of monsters, may not exist in OUR reality, within THIS world it very much DOES!

This installment follows Will Henry and the Doctor to the Isle of Blood, where they are in search of the magnificum. What is the magnificum? To be honest in the end I'm not able to explain it, but I at least somewhat understand it! Although this novel felt less action filled than the prior novels, there is still alot going on that adds to the overall arch of the story. I'm hoping against all odds that despite the fact that this seems to be lesser known than other series out there that somehow the author continues to get the approval to write the rest of this story.

I liked the development of the characters as well as the gradual introduction of elements concerning Will Henry's life. The novels are construed as Will Henry's journals about his adventures as the Doctor's apprentice, and this was the first point that I started to wonder more about this little boy and what happens to him as he gets older. I'm really looking forward to the next book and hoping to learn even more about this brave young boy.

I highly recommend this book for anyone out there looking for a great, surprising, and at times shocking read. There is at times a little gore involved, but what do you expect from an author who does so well with the SHOW don't TELL way of writing? The parts where the gore is involved makes you feel as though you are literally there alongside the Doctor and Will Henry.

I'm so glad I stumbled upon these books a couple years ago. There is so much going on that you really have to start at book one, and trust me if you do you will be hooked. I was and continue to be surprised how hooked I get each time I pick up the next book. Hopefully this piqued enough interest that you go find book one and give it a read!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Read: August 2-7, 2012
read in 6 days
pages: 272

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

I heard about this memoir on NPR when Anna Quindlen was interviewed a while back. I have read a couple of her novels, Blessings and Rise and Shine, and thought I'd like to read her memoir as well. I'm on a memoir kick lately. Its interesting to see other peoples point of view on life.

I didn't know too much about Quindlen prior to reading this memoir other than the fact that she once wrote an OP column and had some novels out there as well. I remember reading her novels and thinking they were ok, I didn't get super excited over them, but this one I did look forward to reading. Once I started reading it read really quickly. The book is broken down into essays that touch on a vaierty of topics with a good deal of focus in each how topic has changed as she has aged. The essays provide her an outlet to reflect on her life and through those essays she shares the wisdom she has gained. Overall the book was very honest and thoughtful. She did a good job of highlighting the generational change of where women were once able to work, where they currently are working and is optimistic that the limit has not been reached yet. Despite the recession and given how few opportunities are available to everyone right now, the essays were inspiring to keep pushing forward to see just where we as women will one day be.

I especially enjoyed the essay on Solitude and found a couple quotes I liked:

"By the time you've lived for fifty or sixty years, you are better armored to embrace things about yourself that are true, even if you might think the world sees them as odd, eccentric."

"Solitude is an acceptable form of selfishness."

I really liked the essay because she focuses on the differences between being alone by choice and being lonely. I liked the confirmation I found after reading that I myself am not alone in needing to recharge my batteries and spend some needed time alone in this overly social bombarded world. One of my favorite things about reading memoirs is that they confirm our own actions and feelings. They make us feel less alone in the world knowing there are others out there who do the same as we do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Haven (Winterhaven #1) by Kristi Cook

Read: July 25-28, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 401

When I started the book I'm not quite sure what I was expecting. Girl is given the option to either live with her Gran to stay in the same school OR move to NY and attend a boarding school. Hmm which option to choose? Obviously the boarding school. Once getting to said boarding school Violet meets a mysterious boy who later plays a big role in her new life. After meeting her roommate Violet is suddenly surrounded by an amazing group of friends which is unlike her past. She has always struggled to keep everyone at a distance because she has these visions or premonitions that tend to be about the people she loves. The kicker is they always come true, and they are never wrong. On the second day of school however Violet learns she is not the freak she has always thought she was. Turns out the boarding school is a school FOR teenagers with psychic "gifts". They are told to sign an agreement that they will not use their "gifts" to cheat or to expose themselves to outsiders. So having these magical abilities and attending a boarding school where they learn to use these abilities and where these abilities will be beneficial in life....I start thinking this sounds a bit to me like the whole Harry Potter deal. Not completely I agree, but the going to school away from home and finally feeling as though you fit in...yeah that whole vibe is here too.

Comparisons do not end there!

Remember the mysterious boy I mentioned? Let's see how to describe him....I would say he is super smart, gorgeous and also a loner. He has never given much attention to anyone, but enter Violet and suddenly Aidan is interested. They get put together thanks to some workings of the school and soon tension and a relationship start forming. For instance he starts saving her from little run ins around the school and becomes over protective. Sound familiar? Oh yeah it goes one further.....he has more than psychic abilities....hes also vampire. Yes he is a bit like the Cullen boy in that regard. At least her Kristi Cook plays around with the vampire traits and everything is not exactly the same.

As we need for there to be a story at all there is a conflict that begins and must be resolved within the last 20-30 pages while also creating a relationship between Violet and Aidan while still leaving room for an additional overall story arc that will allow the novel to become not a stand alone, but a SERIES! Of course its a series. We don't seem to write stand alone novels anymore!

Now will I pick up said series further? Yes I will. Why? Well for the same reason I continued the novel despite its glaringly similar elements....I liked the characters. I wasn't overwhelmingly annoyed with Violet as I am with another character who shall remain nameless. So would I recommend it? Yes. IF you don't mind the similarities and find the characters likable. Give it 30 pages or so. If you don't hate it continue it. That's what I did anyways.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

Read: July 11-24, 2012
read in 14 days
pages: 613

An exquisite journey with twists and turns that keep the reader intrigued and guessing just how all these pieces are going to fit together in the end. Felix J. Palma has crafted a beautiful written story set in 19th century London with genuine characters you really care about.

There are three parts to this novel and each part deals with a slightly different set of characters. The opening story is of Andrew Harrington and his beloved Marie Kelly. The story is one of heartache and lost love. Andrew wants nothing more than to escape the life he has been living the last 8 years. With the help of his cousin and the crafty, creative H.G. Wells Andrew finds the solace he is seeking. 

The second part is the story of Claire Haggerty and Captain Derek Shackleton. Claire is a woman who feels she does not belong in her time and longs to break out. She doesn't want to marry the "dandies" that are courting her. She longs for a love that is of another time and seeks it by traveling to the year 2000 via Gilliam Murray's Time Travel. Her antics cause a snowball of events that entangle H.G. Wells yet again. Once again his creativeness comes in handy. My favorite thing about this part of the book was the letters that are written. I love when letters are part of a story and these work very well in allowing the reader to get to know Claire while she does not appear too often in person in the story. I won't divulge the information in these letters, but the letter writing is what kept me reading by this point. The novel is quite long, BUT it is worth it.

The last part of the story made me wonder. I'm not entirely sure even now how it works with the rest of the novel. I understand parts and why they needed to be there, but I almost feel as though it was dream like because it was so surreal feeling. If someone else reads this or has read it let me know what you think is going on! 

The point of view works very well because the use of an omniscient narrator allows the reader to be privy to information they otherwise would have no access to. With that being said I think there is something with this narrator that makes the last section feel dream like. Being omniscient, we as the reader learn so much through the narrators observations that the characters don't learn until much later. Or at least I was able to figure out things before the characters come to their conclusions. 

Overall I think the novel is a great piece of work and I look forward to the next book in the series, Map of the Sky. I understand it has been published in Spanish already and is being translated. So this is exciting. I think this translation was great and I only found ONE typo so that was fabulous! 

Another key thing that I loved about the book is the setting and the historical parts of the novel. We meet so many characters from another time such as H.G. Wells and his wife, Jack the Ripper, John Merrick a.k.a. the Elephant Man and the characters and their individual stories are worked into the novel perfectly. I enjoyed reading about the characters and confirming the facts on line in my own research as I read along.

One of my favorite quotes that I thought was just beautiful was:

"Like a coat wearing thin at the elbows, night was beginning to unravel at one of the farthest edges of the sky, its opaqueness gradually diluting into an even paler blue, until a hazy light slowly began to reveal the contours of the world."

I encourage anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction novel with a twist to pick up this novel. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Look for the next novel The Map of the Sky in September 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self edited by Joseph Galliano

Read: July 22-23, 2012
read in a  few hours
pages: 134

This was a very quick read. I'm not entirely sure what I really expected from it. I guess maybe some interesting insight into people who are now well known accomplished people. I enjoyed a few letters more than others, but overall it is an ok read. I think aside from getting an insight into these well known people and to see what kind of advice or wisdom they would like to have known then is the fact that this is written in letter form. I always like to read letters in books and this was a really great set up.

I enjoyed the letters by J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Cassandra Peterson a.k.a. Elvira, Rose McGowan, James Belushi, Moon Zapp, Jenna Elfman, Michelle Rodriguez, ugh ok I'm not listing anymore...that was a lot of name dropping for sure. Either way the letters accomplish what I hope was their goal in that there are small nuggets of genuine insight that these people wish they could impart to their younger self.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid-Year Favorites!!!

The year is half over and I'm working towards my goal of reading 85 books this year. I'm excited to see that so far according to Goodreads challenge tracker I am currently on track. Very good news since last year I missed my 75 books. Last year didn't end typically though so I have to take that into consideration. THIS year is looking much better. I haven't hit my lull at all. Do you ever have a lull? I am so used to having a weekend or two throughout the course of the year where I just get BLAH and can't focus on ANYTHING! Luckily that has yet to slow me down.

So looking back over the, well at this writing anyways, 45 books I've read so far this year I thought I could recap some of my favorite books and ask what are some of your favorite books you've read so far this year. I have to admit not all of mine are current releases, so I may not have anything that anyone else has read this year, but it is still fun to compare. We may even inspire the other to read one of our favorites!

Without further ado....The List!
(in no particular order!)

Really cool! I just stumbled upon the writer Heather Dixon's site and found a Q&A for her novel Entwined, which so happens to be on my list of favorites this year. So you can hop over there and check out her blog and some Q&A's about the novel.

Author's Book Blurb:
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

This novel is a sort of retelling of the Grimm's tale 12 Dancing Princesses. So fair warning.....LOTS OF DANCING. Now don't say I didn't warn you!! 

Check out my review here.

Author's Book Blurb:
ChimeBefore Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Have you heard of SARK? I had not until I stumbled across the most colorful book I've ever found in the non-fiction section. When I first picked it up I knew I needed to check it out. The coolest thing about this author's books is that she writes these books BY HAND! In multiple markers, pens and different colors. And wonderful little drawings that make the book so much more fun to read! This was quite a little book of inspiration and I encourage others to read it. While it is inspiring the reader to be a writer I think anyone could be inspired by it not just people looking for encouragement to write.

Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do ItAuthor's book blurb:
Write and share what’s in your heart! Let SARK show you how. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper is your non-judgmental witness, resoundingly supportive friend, and practical guide to the craft of writing and storytelling. For anyone who knows that a writer lives within them but doesn’t know how or where to start; for writers who need new ways to work past their blocks and be reinspired; for anyone who loves SARK’s wise words and art, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper will help start the ink flowing and keep it going.

The coolest thing though I discovered that if you can't get your hands on her book very easily you CAN visit her website and get a taste of what I'm talking about.

Author's book blurb:
Faelorehn - Book One of the Otherworld TrilogyI never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .

Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.

Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.

Author's book blurb:
A Thirty-Something GirlLife has been anything but kind, and everything that can go wrong has. At an age when life should be coming together, and questions should start to be answered, Hope finds herself feeling very alone and terribly confused. As her life spirals out of control, she realizes she needs help. And she needs it quickly.

With the love and support of some dear friends, Hope slowly begins to find her true self, and along the way, she meets someone. Someone who makes her feel like living to see another day might just be worth it.

But with happiness, comes pain. Pain from a past that simply won't be forgotten. Walking a dangerously fine line between joy and utter despair, Hope wonders if happy endings really do exist. And if they do, is there one waiting for her?

Author's book blurb:
Wastes of Space (Wastes Series, #1)In the early 21st century, the Cold War between the American and Chinese Empires slogs on in a stalemate. There's a ceasefire in effect, but the peace is artificial—secretly enforced by an alien blockade that surrounds the planet. Earth is caught in a territory struggle between two warring factions: the Empire and the Resistance. Lacking harvestable talents, both groups classify Earthlings as Wasters. 

Hidden among the Wasters is an alien girl with the power of moving spaceships. She teams up with Rake, a drug-addicted ex-Astronaut, to join an intergalactic war that Earth did not know existed, but first Rake has to realize he's travelling with an alien to begin with.

Author's book blurb:
ImpossibleLucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil?

A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin.Inspired by the classic folk ballad "Scarborough Fair," this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.

That is quite a varied collection thus far this year. Now the rest that I've read I've enjoyed as well, but these are a few that stand out in my mind as favorites. What are some of your favorites so far this year?