Sunday, January 30, 2011

Books Read in January 2011

Here's my list of books read for January 2011. It's a short list this month, due to circumstances beyond my control. After a painful and frustrating battle with our school district, my son - who just turned 16 & has Aspergers - dropped out of school. I spent the last two weeks running around with him. The end result - he's enrolled in college as a non-matriculating student. So, good and bad, hopefully the good wins out. But it made for a very scattered, stressed me & that meant reading fell by the way-side. Still, I read some good books this month.

Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter ****
Immortal by Lauren Burd *
Firewalker by Allyson James ***
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins (see blurb)
Demon Underground by S.J. Wright ****
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking ****
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning ******
Firespell by Chloe Neill ***
Crossed by J.F. Lewis ****

6 Stars Book (yes, you read that right)
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning - I love this series (as I've mentioned before). From the first sentence of the first book it takes you on an epic journey. Mac, the main character, will grow on you. And Jericho Barrons (yum) - well, he is just dark and badass with a vulnerable side. This last book wraps the story up beautifully. Some people might not be happy with certain revelations, but they all made sense to me. Wonderful.

4 Stars
Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter - 3rd book in her Jane Yellowrock series. Jane is a shape shifter, only she's very unique in that Beast, her cat form, is actually a separate soul. This book deals with werewolves who have been driven out of town by Leo, Jane's vampire boss. A pending treaty with shape shifters. And Rick, Jane's boyfriend, has disappeared. It's action packed, beginning to end. If you like books with strong female leads, you'll like this series. Jane is tough. And Beast is fascinating.

Demon Underground by S.L. Wright - 2nd book in the series about Allay, a bartender who tried to save a woman being attacked only to be turned into a demon. The demons in this have names that relate to how they came to be & what they feed on. And no, demons aren't good in this book. But some of them are likeable. Allay is unique in that she retained her human nature. This makes all the other demons want her (and not in a good way). This book picks up where the last left off, so I'm trying not to throw in spoilers. But suffice it to say, Allay's in a whole boatload of trouble because of her abilities. And Theo Ram (her sex interest) isn't helping matters. Very unique, well thought out world. Excellent.

Crossed by J.F. Lewis - 3rd book in series. These books crack me up. Eric is a vampire - he owns a strip club, he kills indiscriminately (except for kids), he's a womanizer - and he ought to be thoroughly unlikeable, but he's written with such affection and humor that I can't help but like him. In fact, I like every last character in the story. I love Talbot. And Greta (she's scary funny). And Fang the 'Stang. Very unique story. Probably not for everyone but I definitely enjoyed it.

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking - This is a zombie apocalypse tale and I've already blogged about it because I enjoyed it so much. Definitely a good read.

3 Stars
Firewalker by Allyson James - 2nd book in series. Janet is a stormwalker. Her mother is a goddess from beneath. Her boyfriend Mick is a...well, I'm not going to tell you what he is because that's revealed in the first book. This book deals with both Mick's problems, and Janet's growing powers. I enjoyed this book until near the end where Janet's personality started to grate on my nerves. It might not have been her so much as me. I'd still recommend this series.

Firespell by Chloe Neill - 1st in series (Hexbound is next in my pile). I'll save the review until I've read both.

1 Star
Immortal by Lauren Burd - This was an eReader story. The basic premise of the story was okay. The characters were interesting. The idea was there. The problem was the story was inconsistent and jumpy. It just needed more development and explanation for why characters did what they did. I felt like it was incomplete.

Not Rated
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins - I didn't rate this one because I didn't finish it. I fully intend to go back and read it. (I managed 3 chapters before I put it aside.) I don't know why. I just couldn't finish it. It was well written, the characters were well developed, the world was well thought out. I just couldn't get into it. (Did I mention my month was bizarre & stressful? I think it was me.) I'll go back & read it & rate it then.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I'm on page 366 of Shadowfever, the final installment in Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. I started it yesterday at noon. (Read from 12-4, 10-12 last night & 8-1 today.) At this rate, I'll easily be finished sometime tonight. I am forcing FORCING myself to take a break!

Can I say WOW?!

How do I talk about a series without giving away a single detail? I honestly think this is one of those rare series where even giving up the smallest detail is a sin. These books have been carefully laid out from the first sentence of Darkfever to lead to this last book (and I'm sure the last page of Shadowfever). Each piece laid like giant ever-changing puzzle with unique pieces that don't seem to go together until you set them in place and say 'Aaah. Of course! That makes sense.' And then the puzzle shifts and you realize that you're wrong once again. They are all now falling into place, one after another, to create a breathtaking thing of beauty.

MacKayla (Mac) is a vapid, seriously dislikeable fru fru girl at the start. A sunny ridiculous little thing whose world is brought to a complete standstill by the death of her sister. And when she kick starts it again (by going to Ireland to solve her sister's murder), she is forced to grow up. Because her pretty little sunshine and candy cane world is a very very dark place and not at all what she thought it was. And with each horrific step into the darkness, she grows and evolves.

At the center of it all is Jericho Barrons (okay, at this point, I have to say Barrons is the ultimate fuck-me-please male character). He's ruthless, sensual, overbearing, sexy and holy hell - I can't get enough of him. But he's not what he seems. (Then again, no one is.)

And that's all I'm going to say about this series. Because you have to read it to understand. The words flow like water from beginning. Karen Marie Moning is a masterful story teller. Secrets are woven into each piece of the story, hints of what's to come, but done with such clever mastery that it isn't until later you realize the importance of it. God, I love it.

So, get thee to a bookstore. Invest in this series. I kid you not - I own it in e-Reader, paperback and hardcover form. Paperback for general reading. Hardcover because I want that permanent undamaged copy (the paperbacks are looking a little beat). And e-Reader because I can now carry the entire series with me everywhere I go to read passages at my leisure. Its that F*ing phenomenal.

Now, excuse me while I go read.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Wow. Two posts in one day.

This one's important.


There are 6 Borders within 40 minutes of me - Attleboro, Mansfield, Wareham, Braintree, Dedham and Kingston. That doesn't take into account the Borders Expresses (there are 4 of those). I frequent all of them, some more than others because they're bigger. Yes, I have the Borders Rewards Plus card because of the sheer amount of books my family reads. I have a teen manga junkie & Borders has the best selection...or they did. Until they stopped paying their bills.

There are 2 Barnes & Nobles within 40 mins. of me - Braintree and Hingham. The Hingham store is closest and bigger than most of the Borders (with the exception of Attleboro and Dedham). I occasionally drive to the B&N in Burlington, which is the 4th biggest bookstore in the country - but its over an hour's drive without traffic. Can I say I'm not a big fan of B&N?

I prefer to shop at Borders. Why? I don't know. The people? The atmosphere? I just like their store better even tho up until recently I paid more for books there (the Plus Program made it about equal.)

Yesterday Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever was released. I couldn't get to a bookstore between running to the registry, grocery shopping and my son's tutoring. In fact, the rest of the week is a series of days where I'll be running from place to place with my son. This morning, though, I had a small window of time - an hour - to run out and get the book. Time enough to run to Borders (I also wanted several other books that have been released since the 4th including My Soul to Steal/Rachel Vincent, Unearthly/Cynthia Hand, Taken by the Others/Jess Haynes, A Brush of Darkness/Allison Pang, Pack of Lies/Laura Anne Gilman & Allison Hewitt is Trapped/Madeleine Roux). So, I made the 20 min. (because I was doing 80 on the highway - its really more like 30 mins.) drive to the nearest Borders only to discover THEY DON'T HAVE SHADOWFEVER! WTF!?!! In fact, they don't have any of the new releases for this month. NONE of the Borders around me have them. WHY? Because Borders doesn't pay its F*ING bills!

PAY YOUR F*ING BILLS BORDERS! (Yes, I'm seriously shouting this. I'm a book junkie unable to get my fix. What do you expect?!)

So, a little over an hour later, I'm back home with 1 1/2 gallons of gas less in the car (Hello? that's $4.50 worth of freaking gas!) and NO BOOKS. And I am PISSED.

I want my damn books. Damn it. Sh*t. Motherf*rs.
That's all. Rant over. I'm shopping at Barnes & Noble until Borders gets its act together...

e-Reader books are often surprisingly good....

I'm loving my e-Reader.

Every couple of weeks, I go on Amazon and have a download party of books under $5. Seriously. The number of books that fall under Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi, Paranormal Romance, Horror & Paranormal Mystery is astronomical. A lot of them!!!

You would think with this low cost (and FREE) books - some that aren't even available as paper books - there would be something wrong with them....that they would be poorly written... that they couldn't hold up...(I certainly thought that). Well, guess what? You would be wrong.

I just finished a book by Amanda Hocking called Hollowland. (This one is available in paperback.) It cost me 99 cents. And I loved it! It read like an epic zombie apocalypse movie and was so good I was able to visualize it in my head (I love that). I'd like to see it as a movie. It was gruesome and sweet and surprisingly entertaining. I read it in about 5 hrs. And even though I knew how it was going to end from the beginning (Remy is a girl on a mission), I was okay with that. In fact, it was good enough, I might have to buy the paperback to add to my real library.

I think that's what I like best about my e-Reader. I can now buy books that I wouldn't normally buy and try them out for short money. I would have never bought this book in a bookstore. Now I will. And the author? She hopefully reaps the rewards of that. And maybe she'll write a sequel? (Hint hint Amanda Hocking - I want more of these characters!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jennifer Rardin short stories....

Just a quick little heads up for lovers of Jennifer Rardin's Jaz Parks series. They're releasing a bunch of her short stories for kindle on April 1st!

I only hope they also release her serial short stories where she gave readers a vote on where the story should go. Those are just too crazy and worth publication.

I so miss her. Her blog was one of the bright spots in my days...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it SNOW!!!

My power is on. My power is oooon!! Wooooot!!

There are thing you know when you live in New England. When they predict a major snowstorm you should make sure:

(a) you have excess batteries for everything
(b) you have water and dry foods like Frosted Flakes
(c) your grill has gas for cooking
(d) all of your electronics are fully charged
(e) your laundry is done
(f) you have one shovel INSIDE
(g) that every faucet is dripping, so the pipes don't freeze
(h) your snowblower has gas & is working (bad husband, did not do this - dig dig husband dig dig)

We lost power at 4 am last night. And got it back 10 1/2 hours later. By the time it kicked back on the house was a chilly 57 degrees. Yay us. We're on the older power grid that they got up and running. Because the 20,000 other people in our town may not have power until FRIDAY!

When I ran out to get the mail (yes, the mail lady delivered & actually running involved preparing with multiple layers of warm clothes & big ass kicking winter boots - 'cause its still snowing & it's freaking cold out there), trudged through snow that was knee deep, heavy & wet, climbed the snow pile at the edge of the road and had to jump down 4 1/2 FEET (yes, feet!) into the road. Um, eek?! I had to chisel footholds and climb to get back over it. I do not like my rural mailbox.

And I just have to say, a techno-savvy kid who's addicted to his computer & electronics? NOT fun to be around when there's no ready source of recharging. lol.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2011

Today was a huge day for releases in Urban Fantasy. On my sheet of new releases for today, I have 22 books listed - and I must have 10 of them. (My husband is not going to be happy...)

In addition, Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever comes out on 1/18. I'm deeply in lust with Barrons (I so love dark mysterious men). And there are 5 more releases in January I have to have beyond that. And that's just January! (That's 16 books I can't live without.)

February brings 18 more will die without them books including the next Rachel Caine Outcast Season book, Kim Harrison's Pale Demon & Adrian Phoenix's Etched in Bone. (I love LOVE Dante.)

I am going to be seriously broke. I need a library for my library!
God, I love books.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

If I Only Had $100 - 2010

I tried to come up with clever categories to go over the best of 2010. But between my son, a snow storm that buried us, a canceled & rescheduled trip home, etc., etc. (yes, yes, I hear the violins) I just didn't have time. So....I decided to do something simple. If I only had $100* to spend on books to add to my shelves from all the books I read in 2010, these books would be it:

Unholy Ghosts, Unholy Magic, City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
White Cat by Holly Black
Beneath the Skin by Adrian Phoenix
Roadkill by Rob Thurman
Linger by Maggie Steifvater
Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
Heaven's Spite by Lilith Saintcrow

(*This is assuming that each book can be bought for roughly $7 - yes, I know my math is fuzzy! argh!)

This is also assuming you already own the series of the books listed here. If not, cough up the money & buy the series.