Monday, January 30, 2012

Top 10 Fantasy Books for Book Club Picks (TTT #11)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by


This week's list topic is...

 
TOP 10 FANTASY BOOKS FOR BOOK CLUB PICKS

  • Sorry, this time I could only come up with 9 books.
  • These are all just MY opinion. So many others would quality for sure...
     
1. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I've always thought this series would be great for a book club discussion. It probably already has been discussed many times, but I never participate in book clubs, so I wouldn't know. I love all the political themes as they are definitely important for our day and age.

2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

It's so well-written and bound to be a timeless classic, how could it not make a great book club pick? I loved the first book for its narrative voice and classical author influence, besides the great storytelling.

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This classic definitely gets classroom discussion already, so of course there is much to discuss in a book club. Themes like man's relationship with God, the ethics of science, man's responsibility to his own invented abominations, etc. etc. 

4. (and by extension) This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This prequel takes on pretty much the same themes as the original, but stars a more responsible Victor Frankenstein. He trades in his avoidance of personal accountability for a growing obsession with playing God. That is a weighty theme in and of itself. 

5. Iron Druid Chronicles series by Kevin Hearne

There are a lot of social and religious issues within each of these books, and people have already had a field day with them. It's easy to pick up on a lot of its intense themes and discuss them at length, even though one would hardly imagine these books could contain anything but pure fun. A nice perk...

6. The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I think because these books are historical, they naturally lend themselves to gender role discussion and the topic of old fashioned misogyny. Since the main character is a marriageable 16-year-old female, we modern day folks have to tolerate the disparity between how much freedom women have earned during the 20th century, and how very much further they had to go during the late Victorian era. 

7. Vampire Empire trilogy by Clay & Susan Griffith

Issues of prejudice play out in full force in this series as humans and vampires struggle with each other over dominance of the world's land masses. Main character Adele grows up with all sorts of prejudices against vampires, and learns through a close relationship with one that they are not all the beastly blood suckers she heard about. She grows as a character as she overcomes her preconceived notions.
  
8. Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Ohba

I've also always thought this Japanese manga series would make a fabulous book club, if not classroom, discussion pick for its obvious MacBethan themes. Light Yagami is the poster child for psychopathic serial killers being the absolute LAST people you'd ever imagine. It's truly frightening, and for those who love to discuss such a character would have more than a little fodder to work with.

 9. Bleach manga series by Tite Kubo

Another Japanese manga series that has surprising depth to it once you get past the first arc or two (which takes a while). Contained within are themes of man's struggle with the self and his devilish impulses, the dual nature of man, the bad inherent in all good people and societies, and man's struggle to contain his baser instincts for battle and destruction. Who knew all that was in Bleach? (It's LONG. That's why...)


These are my kind of fantasy book club discussion picks. What are yours?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop! (Jan. 27th to Jan. 31st)


Young Adult Giveaway Hop
(Jan. 27th to 31st)

I'm so excited to be participating in this massive giveaway HOP this month, hosted by the fabulous bloggers mentioned up that way /\. This hop will run from Friday, January 27th through Tuesday, January 31st, 11:59pm. 

Go here to see a list of all the other blogs participating in this hop: [link]

I've decided to giveaway ONE of 12 different YA books of YOUR CHOICE that I read and enjoyed during the year of 2011 (so, last year). Here are the deets:

  • Open internationally (wherever Book Depository ships).
  • You'll get 1 entry if you follow my blog via GFC.
  • You'll get 1 extra entry if you follow me on Twitter. 
  • You'll get 1 extra entry if you friend me on Goodreads.com.  

Here are the YA books I'm giving away!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa                               The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa                            The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare                           Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel                    Switched by Amanda Hocking
Beastly by Alex Flinn                                             Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater                                   Soul Screamers, Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent

Here is the Rafflecopter form where you can sign-up:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
by Tahereh Mafi 

Genre: Dystopia/Fantasy
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Source: purchased hardcover
Age Rating: 15+

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
  
My Review 

I'm having a hard time figuring out what I want to write about this one. There were many good things about it in that the writing was very impressive and innovative. I like that I could read it quickly because it's composed of short sentences, which gives the effect of frantic, quick movement. The strike-throughs didn't bother me at all because they're just asides (something I do all the time when I write by using parentheses, like right now). But, this doesn't mean I loved this book. I wanted to very much so, even expected to, but I didn't.

For so much of it, I thought I was reading a thinly veiled romance novel disguised as a dystopian fantasy. Thankfully, it redeemed itself by actually being about a rebellion against the dystopian government that makes up the backdrop of the story. I should have felt so relieved at that point, but I didn't because it suddenly became a crack at retelling the X-Men comic books series by Marvel. That's okay if the intended readership is mostly unfamiliar with that comic book, but I doubt those who are familiar will be terribly impressed. 

I think if the characters with special abilities, including Juliette, had abilities I'd rarely ever seen used before, or never had seen before (and, I've seen almost everything), then I would have been happier, but everyone had an X-Men mutant ability that had been thought up several decades ago already. So, I can't really feel impressed about that.

And, as for the romance, it felt rushed. I didn't get a chance to develop interest in the characters before romance was shoved down my throat. Adam was a nice character, but he was just too into Juliette in an unrealistic way. Same for Warner. Maybe Warner is weirdly obsessed because he's crazy, and that's believable, but Adam was too conveniently the perfect boyfriend without a flaw. Conversely, Warner was very flawed, and was totally neat-o at first, but when he lost all control of himself, I just lost interest. I love great villain characters, but that boy needs to enroll in Villain Training School to learn to get a grip. Great villains don't break character, nor do they ever let their guards down so easily.

Ultimately, this book was not the right one for me, even though it is immaculately written. But, great writing doesn't cut it when you don't have a particularly original premise, nor a particularly unusual story to tell. Not to mention, you simply run out of steam at the end, winding down the story in a boring, uninteresting way that doesn't make me want to read any sequel novels. It certainly has an audience who does and will continue to love and cherish it, but, unfortunately, I deviate too far outside of those boundaries.

My score: 3.5 stars out of 5. (I liked it, but not overly-so.)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 Books I'll Never Read (TTT #10)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by


This week's list topic is...

 
TOP TEN BOOKS I'LL NEVER READ

  

1. Twilight (Twilight, #1) by Stephenie Meyer 

This list asks for it, so I'm going to have to be honest and say that I did actually start this book, but I just couldn't finish it. This was a few years back when my sister-in-law couldn't stop raving about it, so I took her word and decided to read it. Once I got a little way in, I really couldn't understand WHY she liked this book. It completely fell flat for me. Plus, scores of other people were obsessing over it and I felt like I missed something. I had to drop it because it bored me to death and Bella seemed about as emotionally mature as a baby monkey. Edward was in no way attractive to me. I needed things to happen, but nothing happened, so I just gave up. I still don't understand all the raving reviews from people I know are not idiots. What gives, people?


*Note: I'm just being facetious, so please don't take offense to my silly tone here!

2. New Moon (Twilight, #2) by Stephenie Meyer
  
Well, Twilight failed miserably to impress, so naturally, I will never read the second book.

3. Eclipse (Twilight, #3) by Stephenie Meyer

Nor the third one.

4. Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) by Stephenie Meyer

And, definitely not the fourth one. (I even heard Twilight fans dumped the series because they hated this one, in record numbers.)

5. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

This is one I started last year, but just couldn't finish it. What. The. Hell. I only wish I could gab to other bloggers about this one because it will blow your mind by how completely NUTS it is! I think it's too hard for me, a 21st century American female to get where this author was coming from, it being about 11th century Japanese royalty. Was this author from another planet? Seriously, this book is about a man who isn't allowed to inherit his emperor father's throne, so he goes around and casually falls in love with and rapes, yes rapes, everything in a skirt! Not. Joking. She could be married, she could even be a young boy (at least it seemed like he raped a young boy). I had to stop reading this piece of utter weirdness because you simply cannot bemoan your crappy life, as Genji did, and not see that you've caused it all by raping everything in sight!

6. Evermore (The Immortals, #1) by Alyson Noel

I've heard too many negative reviews from people about this series, that it's too much like Twilight, or that it simply sucks, so I figure I don't really need to read it. I'm not all that interested in it, and too many people have said to just not read it. Fine by me.

7. Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1) by Becca Fitzpatrick

I heard that the main male character is pretty awful in this series, so I'm not wanting to take a chance on this one. Again, a lot of negative attention has steered me away from this series, and my intuition does not beckon me to it, else I'd ignore all the negative attention. 

8. Halo (Halo, #1) by Alexandra Adornetto

Another one with lots of bad publicity, and a child writer, at that. People have said this one was just plain silly and fail, so I'm not interested in it. 

9. Ulysses by James Joyce

This is one that got mocked quite a bit in my English classes back in my college days, so I've learned it's one that defies comprehension even amongst PhD-level literary folks. Needless to say, I won't be getting my hands on this one anytime ever. 

10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Here's one I don't even think I could stomach because of the highly inappropriate relationship that makes up the main plot: a grown man has an on-going illicit affair with a 12-year-old girl. And, I'm even more horrified that the girl is supposedly super manipulative towards the man. It sounds like a way to offset the blame where it clearly deserves to be pointed. Sorry—I'm just not interested in this one, either.


And, there you have it, folks. I've probably offended at least half of you, right? I'm sorry about that. What books do you absolutely refuse to ever read?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Recommendations: TGIF at GReads! (1)



TGIF at GReads! is a weekly bookish meme hosted by

Every week book blogger participants answer a different book-related question and share in the meme-y fun with other book bloggers.


This Friday's (1/19/2012) Question:



Recommend It: Which book from the last 10 you've read 
would you recommend to a friend?

______________________

Well, I'd have to say that I would rec Hounded [my review] by Kevin Hearne because this entire series of books (Iron Druid Chronicles) is just the most stinkin' funniest I've read probably ever. This book is the first, so people need to start here, but I liked Hexed and Hammered (books 2 & 3) even better.

As I know people who are too sensitive to read a book with a lot of swearing and implied adult situations (like my older sister), I have to rec something suitable for them. Thus, I'd go with the book I'm currently reading, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. But, this is book 2 in The Infernal Devices series, so then I'd have to recommend starting with book 1, Clockwork Angel. [my review]

I'm absolutely loving this book, but I know I wouldn't if I didn't already love the characters. You have to love them first, or this book wouldn't be so great.

So there you have it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne


Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)
by Kevin Hearne 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mythology
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: July 5, 2011
Source: purchased paperback
Age Rating: 17+

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself... 
 
My Review



Ugh! Death by ravaging cliffhanger! After that one, I'm smarting a bit. I usually find it easy to wait for the next anticipated book in a series, even if it's a year before it will come out. But, this time I'm wasted at the intense presence of this cliffhanger. Beware the cliffhanger of DOOM...



Now, on to my actual review of this book. This installment is so fan-freaking-tastic that I don't feel like I can assemble the right words together. I'm also severely tired, as I have only just finished reading it, and it's 1:30 in the morning (this was written 1 ½ weeks ago). Atticus is gearing up to help pick a fight with a certain thunder god—Tall, Blond and Lightning himself. Yeah, we really get a good idea of what Thor, the Norse god of thunder and lightning, is really like, and it is not good. He has wronged far too many people and he needs to be taken down.



If you'll recall in Book 2, or not if you haven't read it yet, Atticus agreed to join his fabulously handsome and old-fashionedly quirky lawyer that I'm in love with, Leif Helgarson, on a mission to take revenge on Thor, who more rightly ought to be regarded as the god of douchebags. Leif has assembled a team of immortal dudes who are all sporting murderous rage against that lightning/hammer guy, too. I love how through the tales each of them tell each other around a campfire—good ol' male bonding—we learn their origin stories, not just how they were wronged by Thor and how awful he is.



My favorite character has been Leif since book 2, and we really get a vivid picture of who he is, how he became a vampire, and how old he is (very old), amongst other juicy tidbits. Leif fans will adore this one, although may find the ending to be a bit hard to swallow. But, I'm super happy with all the background info on him, and his strengthening friendship with Atticus. It's beautiful, man!



Anyway, again, I laughed so hard I nearly pooped a cow (I won't say this expression the Irish way because I am not in anyway Irish, and that would make me look foolish. Although, I've probably already managed that just now). I didn't hurt myself this time, at least, but Atticus reached new levels of funneh, and his questions to Leif about the secrets of vampirehood were just so friggin' hilarious, it made the whole book worth reading right there!



But, seriously, this book does everything—makes you laugh out loud (lolcat style), makes you cry (especially at Gunnar's and Leif's tales, if not at them directly when they battle the gods), and makes you gasp in horror at the Star Wars Force-infused cliffhanger that threatens to choke you like Darth Vader's death grip. You will fall in love with this series if you haven't already, and if you're already there, you will fall that much more in love with it. It's the best one, so far. With all this in mind, you have been warned....



My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (Wish I could award it more!) 

 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) 
by J.K. Rowling 

Genre: Adventure/Magic
Reading Grade: Middle Grade
Publication Date: October 1, 1999
Source: purchased paperback
Age Rating: all ages

A mysterious letter, delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid, wrenches Harry from his dreary, Muggle-ridden existence: "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Of course, Uncle Vernon yells most unpleasantly, "I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!" Soon enough, however, Harry finds himself at Hogwarts with his owl Hedwig... and that's where the real adventure--humorous, haunting, and suspenseful—begins. 

My Review



I finally read my first Harry Potter book—I know. That took me a while, to say the least. Join the rest of the literate world, Cathy—right? Well, now I have. I bought this book on a whim at Wal-Mart one day, long ago, but never got around to reading it. I really am not all that into Middle Grade fiction, so this never had much appeal to me. But, now that I've read it, I do see what all the fuss is about. This really is an amazing story like nothing else out there.



Whoever is reading this review has almost certainly read this book by now, so I'm not going to write this review the same old way I normally write them. It's not meant to get anyone to read this book. I'm just going to give my opinions on what I know IS definitely a crowd already familiar with it.



This is my opinion on why this book is a classic, and will stay that way for a long time to come: this exact narrative voice, this exact way of telling this story, and this exact mixture of these particular characters can never be duplicated. It is like eating The Colonel's country fried chicken, and loving it, but coming up empty on trying to duplicate his recipe for his succulent chicken. Only this author, J.K. Rowling, can do what she has done in this modern era. The only other author like her that even comes close is Charles Dickens (who surpasses her, in my opinion), and he's long dead. (By the way, I detected the Dickens influence in this book.)



When you're not only the first to do something, but you're the only one who can do it, then nobody ever forgets you and what you did. This is what makes this novel so lasting and probably the best-selling book in human history (excepting, perhaps, the Bible, which has a 2,000-year head start). Rowling is a fascinating iconic celebrity to me—she's much more interesting than any British Royal. She has an incredible gift that no one else has even had for more than 100 years. It's like she's a sort of reincarnated writing spirit in the form of a human avatar.



Anyway, I won't say this is my favorite book now because that wouldn't be true. I happen to have a lot of favorites, anyway, but I will be filing this one under the stack of my many favorites now. I figure this book is so great that, if I were a small child right now, I am positive it would be my most favorite book in the whole world. Certainly, if I had children, I'd make them be all up in this business, and I'm sure they'd want to be. What a wonderful way to bond with your children!



For all its amazingness, I award it extra points (referencing the awarding of points to the Hogwarts Houses, if you didn't quite get that). It is a magical fantasy world for children and adults of all ages to escape into. I want to move into the Griffyndor dormitories, and I hate dormitories. That has to account for something. But, I find that I can't connect with the book the way I need to in order for it to be an ultimate favorite. It might be my age, or my problem with not completely loving Middle Grade fiction—I don't know. But, it is the best Middle Grade fiction that exists in the entire world, so you'll probably never read better than the early Harry Potter books.



And, I do intend to read the rest of the books in the series, for sure. Hopefully, I'll connect better with the later YA sequels....



My score: 4.5 out of 5 stars. (I really liked it. Pure magic.)


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: Hexed by Kevin Hearne


Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles, #2)
by Kevin Hearne 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mythology
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Random House online store
Age Rating: 17+

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex. 
 
My Review

Okay, I'm pretty sure I cracked a rib laughing through this one, since I can feel the pain in my right side. This book went to epic levels of hilarity, and I could not—NOT put it down. That, for me, is saying a lot, because I usually have no trouble putting a book down and doing other stuff. But, not with Hexed. Atticus put a binding spell on my copy, so when I started to read it, I could only get about 10 feet from it before I found myself right back at the bookshelf I keep it on. It was the weirdest thing ever!

I say this only because I am completely convinced that Atticus is real, and so are all the other amazing characters in this series. Kevin Hearne does a brilliant job of giving each of his important characters detailed little nuances that all real people have—for example, Atticus loves omelets for breakfast and whole wheat toast with orange marmalade. Oberon loves steak (of course, what dog doesn't?). It's things like this that make me believe that they both actually live in the Tempe, Arizona area and that if only I'd drive over there, I might find Atticus' house, and run into his super hot vampire attorney, the famous Leif Helgarson!

Uh, oh... Here comes a long spiel (or squeal?) on how much I love the vampire Leif Helgarson, the famous vampire who isn't famous—or, at least everybody in the book seems to know who he is, yet Atticus can't figure out why, since the man himself claims he is not famous. He is the reason my rib is busted because he's just so ridiculously hilarious, I couldn't not laugh hard enough to crack it. I found myself obsessively reading this book because I just wanted to find out more about Leif… 

Here is he is in a nutshell: Imagine an English butler trying to talk like any typical college frat boy. Now, make sure he's pronouncing everything the way an English butler would, very stuffy-sounding and proper, but using all those hip and cool phrases, like “I'm chill, how 'bout you?” or “Throw down!” when he wants to start a fight. But, of course, he's not even using the correct slang, and saying these phrases more like, “I am cold,” or “Throw up!” Now, you have the most epic vampire in fictional existence trying to be cool, and that fella's name is Leif Helgarson. Leif is the raddest, baddest vampire dude ever, and he makes Dracula look like the mosquito of undead bloodsuckers. (He hates Dracula, by the way.)

If you're a nerd like me, and you want to read a fun and funny book filled with forever quotable quotes and quips, then look no further, folks. <— (This sentence has two sets of literary alliteration—go me!) This book is for y'all. If you want to read about crazy, wacky characters and all their antics, and how all the gods and goddesses in every mythology from world history are able to converge together in the same 10-mile radius, and, well, not get along with each other (as you would imagine they would not), then read the Iron Druid Chronicles. I just barely squeezed in reading these before the year ended, but they are already my favorite reads of the entire year of 2011. Mr. Hearne cannot write these books fast enough!

 My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (A-mazing!)


P.S. That is Alexander Skarsgaard from the True Blood TV series, as an FYI.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (1/10/2012)



"Teaser Tuesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Anyone can play along, just do the following:
 
·Grab your current read
·
Open to a random page
·
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
·
Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others.
 
Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles.
 
 
This week's Teaser:
 
 
 "That, my dear, would be a waste." ... He tips my chin up with one finger. "Besides, it'd be a shame to lose such a pretty face."

-from page 55 of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. 
 

Wow, what a great villain character! Finally one I can sink my teeth into amongst this world of YA literature.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Fallen by Traci L. Slatton


Fallen
by Traci L. Slatton 

Genre: Apocalypse/Fantasy/Romance
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
Source: from publisher (paperback)
Age Rating: 17+

As chaos descends on a crippled Earth, survivors are tormented by strange psychic gifts. In this time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test. One woman with mysterious healing power guides seven children to safety. Charismatic Arthur offers her a haven. Slowly Emma falls for him. But at the moment of their sweetest love, his devastating secret is revealed, and they are lost to each other. Will Emma stay with him?
The first in a romantic trilogy set during the end times. 
 
My Review

Here's an adult romance title that suffers from having a really good story to tell, but it is ruined by its intolerable main characters. And, it doesn't take long to see just how awful they really are, as you need only read into the book a few pages to see the main character, Emma, offering to prostitute herself to a man she barely meets in order to live in his camp with eight needy kids-in-tow. No, she is not already a prostitute, so, yes, this is very random and unnecessary behavior on her part. What's worse is that Arthur, the great “hero” in this story, decides to take her for a test drive before even asking for her name. What a love story this will be, right? <rolls eyes>

No, this isn't erotica, although with this type of set-up at the beginning, you'd think that's exactly what you were getting. Add up all the stupid things these two main characters do, who are supposedly in love with each other, and you get a book that makes me want to recycle it so it can be reborn into something better one day.

This review gets a wee bit SPOILERY, just so you know...

Emma leads Arthur on, even after he's clearly fallen in love with her, but she's still married to her husband from before the Apocalypse. I can't really sympathize with such an overt adulteress. Arthur rapes Emma in one scene, and is very controlling of Emma and won't let her do anything without his permission first. Controlling, much? When Arthur finally finds out about Emma still being married, he demands she divorce her husband. She wants to officially break it off with her husband, and Arthur agrees so long as she does it over the radio. But, she wants to see him in person, which could take ten years. Unreasonable much? I'm feeling the love, I really am.

These two characters are in their thirties, yet have the combined emotional maturity of one twelve-year-old. This is rather sad, and extra sad when you consider that this story has so much potential. It's actually a really good story with an interesting plot development and concept. There is this mysterious mist that has gone around all over the planet and it kills everything made of metal properties, including people (because people have metal in them, too). It's well-thought out and has great world-building. But, I hate these two characters so much, I could care less about them and their experiences.

*I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My score: 2.5 out of 5 stars. (I did not like it.)


Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Friday #3 (1/6/2012)


"Follow Friday" is a social bookish meme hosted by


 The Question:

Go count the number of unread books on your shelf. 
How many?

54

Some people are going to groan under the strain of this question, but I really welcome it! I have massive blogger guilt over having so many unread books, and I'm relieved to see now that I don't have as many unread physical books as I imagined. 

But, I do have MANY more books on my Kindle that I haven't read yet, so this number is not really accurate. If I had to count all of those unread ebooks I have on my Kindle, I'd pass because I'd need a few hours to count them all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne


Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1)
by Kevin Hearne 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mythology 
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Source: Book Depository
Age Rating: 17+

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil. 

My Review

Can I just say that this is pretty much exactly the type of urban fantasy I prefer to read? I will, anyway. I LOVE this! It hits the nail on the head in terms of the characters, the plot, the humor, the fantasy aspect, and the urban-ness of it all. It is perfection... 

Atticus is that type of male protagonist that I usually fall very hard for, so I'm already a dead fish in a barrel for him. Or, to put it in Oberon's terms, Atticus' dog, I'm a juicy steak that landed on the floor right at his paws. I'm easily bowled over by these sarcastic, sexy heroes of urban fantasy. They are cool and relaxed, but will kick major bootay when necessary. They usually are not normal human beings, and for Atticus, that means he is an 2,100-year-old Druid who has a pretty clever way of staying perpetually twenty-one (give me some of that stuff!).

The entire story is told through Atticus' point-of-view, so we get a huge dose of his wit and wisdom, which comes in spades. He's always ready with a clever quip, and a remarkable way of humiliating the over-confident characters who think they're uber smart. But, he's not even close to being the only amazing character in this novel because it is chock-full of crazy, amazing characters.

Atticus owns probably literature's finest, funniest, most adorable pooch in Oberon, his Irish wolfhound. He has been able to establish a telepathic link with him, and over time, Oberon picked up on how to understand and think in English, thus allowing them to communicate with each other. These lines are some of the best and most hilarious parts of the story. How about the part where Atticus is yakking about something that has to do with ancient Druids, and Oberon very kindly admits, <I have no idea what you're talking about.> Nevermind, says Atticus in response.

One of Atticus' biggest problems is with the local witch coven, as their kind have proven to him many centuries earlier that witches can never be trusted. As one witch happened to forget that the SPCA stands for preventing the cruelty towards animals, mistaking it for a society dedicated to the cruelty of animals, Atticus says to Oberon, “See? Witches.” <I see what you mean now,> thinks Oberon, <She'd probably give me a sausage and it would have broccoli in it.>

Atticus finds he has to deal with all sorts of unwanted trouble because his old enemy, a faerie by the name of Anghus Og, the Celtic god of love, wants the sword Fragarach, which is one of the most powerful swords in the world. Addy spends the whole of the novel being chased by, and fighting off, the local police, other inhumane faeries, Fir Bolgs, which are these mean giants, and some seriously witchy witches all within his miles of his home. One of Hounded's many strengths is how it blends mundane reality with the paranormal in a very realistic way.

Thank goodness he has the raddest lawyers ever to help him out in more ways than to simply comprehend the fine print: not only are they tough-as-nails with the cops, keeping them in line, but his day attorney is a werewolf and his night attorney is a vampire (a hot Icelandic guy with white hair who speaks in iambic pentameter), so they can kick butt, too. Epic, and they do their heroic thing in only the way awesome lawyers can—Larry H. Parker's got nothing on these guys.

There's really no romance, but that doesn't mean Addy has no romantic interest in anyone. He's a guy, essentially a human guy at that, so we find out what goes through his mind every time an attractive female shows up. But, he's partial to the pretty red-headed barmaid named Granuaile, and they form a certain interesting alliance with each other. It's just the perfect sort of alliance for them that allows for a possible future romance, although does not guarantee it (but, how could it not?), thus making me want to see if it'll ever happen in future novels.

I think if you want to read something hilarious, super fun, and has plenty of action, then this is the perfect book for you (it certainly is for me!). I've already started reading the next installment, as I cannot even hope to put my mind to anything else. I'm completely addicted! It is one of the best books I read all last year.

My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (I LOVED this!)


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