04. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse #4) by Jackie Morse Kessler, read by Angie, on 05/03/2013

Death…the final rider of the apocalypse. Breath is the story of Death, but also the story of life. Death has never been like the other riders. He isn’t human even though he takes a human shape. He doesn’t feel things like we do, but today he is feeling like the end is near. He is ready to say goodbye to the world and the world needs to get ready to say goodbye. The other riders are concerned of course. What happens when Death dies? He is the source of all life not just death so can the world continue without him? This is also the story of Xander, a young man in love and ready to start his life. Or is he?

This series is a great one. I love that it tells a different kind of story. It makes you think and it is fun to read. I have enjoyed each and everyone of these books. I really enjoyed that we got Death’s backstory in this book. He has been a fascinating character throughout the series, but one we hardly knew. Now that we know him, he is just as fascinating. I liked that this book resolved all the other Horsemen storylines. We do know what happened to them in the end.

Xander’s story is a little confusing. You have no idea what is really going on until the very end. You keep getting hints and flashes of things, but it doesn’t all tie together. I loved his interactions with Death and how that turned out though.

The ending? What happened here? I am not going to spoil it, but it does leave you with big question marks.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy

Trapped: Iron Druid Chronicles # 5 by Kevin Hearne , read by Tammy, on 04/09/2013

trappedThe further adventures of druid, Atticus O’Sullivan, his apprentice Granuaile and faithful wolfhound, Oberon. For twelve years Atticus has been training Granuaile and the world believes he has died. Now that he has to come out into the open to bind Granuaile to the earth and complete her training as a druid a whole host of supernatural beings are upset that he’s still alive.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead, read by Leslie, on 04/21/2013

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

As former Alchemist Marcus Finch pushes Alchemist Sydney Sage to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

I love companion series, they make the original series so much fuller and you get to see more of that world!  Sydney begins to realize that she no longer embraces the Alchemist rules like she used to, the more she is with the Moroi and dhamphirs she is assigned to.  Finding out you have been lied to can also be unappealing to someone with the brains to figure it all out.  A good continuation of the Alchemist side of the story.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller/Suspense · Tags:

Fallen Rogue by Amy Rench, read by Kira, on 04/30/2013

Harper Kane Olympic Swimmer gets caught up shady government operations, when her microbiologist brother Bobby is killed after he develops a serum that gives people psi-onic powers.  Now the government that funded these experiments wants her dead, and they send in their best op Rome Lucian.  Unfortunately, for the government, Rome realizes something is fishy, and decides to aid Harper.

TFallen Roguehis was a fun quick read.  However, the plotting could be more credible, with less coincidences.  Like why would Bobby be shot, the very day, the very minute, Harper arrives for a visit?

26. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins, read by Angie, on 04/26/2013

School Spirits is Rachel Hawkins spin off series from Hex Hall. This book centers around Izzy Brannick who we met in the Hex Hall series. Izzy is one of the last of a long line of Brannicks who fight monsters, except it is now just her mom and her. They are now working for the Prodigium Council tracking down monsters instead of just killing them. A case leads them to Ideal, Mississippi and Izzy’s first stint in high school. She quickly becomes friends with the teen’s in the Paranormal Management Society (PMS–horrible acronym). They are interested in a ghost named Mary who is supposedly haunting the school. She has been a ghost for over a hundred years, but has recently amped up her activity. Izzy, along with Romy (peculiar girl extraordinaire) and dreamy Dex (who may or may not be magic) have to figure out what Mary is doing before she hurts anyone else.

I love the Hex Hall series. They are fun and witty and entertaining. I think this is going to be another fun series to follow. The banter between Izzy and Dex was wonderful. I also enjoyed the ghost storyline, mainly because it didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I am intrigued by this new focus on the Brannicks and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes.

I received a copy of this from the publishers on Netgalley.com and thoroughly enjoyed it.

26. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Spellbinding by Maya Gold, read by Angie, on 04/26/2013

Abby is doing school project on her family tree and discovers that she is a descendant of Sarah Good, one of the accused witches at Salem. This discovery coincides with the strange dreams and blinding headaches she has been having. While researching in Salem, Abby meets dreamy Rem who seems to know a lot about her and can talk to her in her head. Back at school she is crushing on dreamy Travis, the popular, athletic, heart of gold senior who just happens to be dating the world’s meanest and worst person Megan. Abby’s research uncovers a book of spells which she just has to try; a love spell on Travis works like magic. Soon Abby is caught between Travis and Remy and an evil circle of witches who want to unleash revenge on Salem on prom night of course.

I found this book entertaining, but very cliche. It reads like your typical teen paranormal B movie. Everyone is pretty one-dimensional and predictable. The idea is intriguing, a girl descendant of the Salem witches coming into her power; however, the execution was not that great. For one thing, I found Abby fairly unlikable once she started practicing magic. She was all about self-gain and revenge, which doesn’t make a very good heroine. I found the circle of witches thing ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous. They wait hundreds of years so they can have witches of all four elements (earth, air, fire, water) so they can do a big spell and bring revenge on Salem, even though the people in Salem today have nothing to do with the original witch hunts. It seemed so contrived like the author really just needed more paranormal activity. I won’t spoil it, but the ending was definitely made for a movie…contrived and cliche. I feel like this has been done before and better.

I received this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

17. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books

Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson, read by Angie, on 04/15/2013

Sunny’s best friend and cousin Shiri commits suicide. Her family does not know how to cope with it. Sunny’s hippy parents seem lost and the tension between her Aunt Miri and Uncle Raymond just keeps getting worse. In the wake of the tragedy, Sunny starts experiencing weird flashes where she hears voices. It turns out she is hearing the thoughts of others and she learns Shiri had the same power/affliction from her journal. With this power, Sunny learns what her friends really think of her and that her Uncle Raymond is abusive. She finds a new group of friends but they just seem to want to exploit her powers. It doesn’t seem like anyone is on Sunny’s side.

I felt like this book had two different personalities. On one hand it was a moving story about a family coming to terms with a tragedy. How do you cope with your loved one taking their own life? You start questioning everything and you discover things you never knew. On the other hand it is about a girl with a secret power to hear thoughts. She has to learn to handle her power and she has to figure out who she can trust with the knowledge. I really thought the suicide storyline was the stronger story. I am intrigued by how the family copes with the tragedy and everything that came about because of it. I thought the underhearing, as Sunny calls it, was a bit of a stretch. We are given no reason for Sunny getting this power. Did she inherit it from Shiri when she died? How did Shiri get it? Why did it seem to come about during the late teens? Why does no one else have secret powers? If this was a world where the paranormal was more normal I think this part of the story might have been more believable. As it is, it seems like the author kind of thought “hey paranormal is really hot right now, I should throw it in my book”. I really liked the realistic aspects of the story and I think the author should have stuck to that.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

14. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocolyptic, Fiction, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Light (Gone #6) by Michael Grant, read by Angie, on 04/13/2013

Michael Grant, you have sucked me into your world of the FAYZ for the last time and I leave as bloody and broken as everyone else. This series has been addicting and depressing and amazing. I am sad to see it end, but I devoured every page racing towards the end.

Grant pulls no punches in this last installment (as if he ever as). Life is brutal in the FAYZ. Sure the barrier is clear now, but you still can’t cross over. You can see your parents on the other side eating their doughnuts and Carl’s Jr. even while you are starving. The Darkness is now a little girl named Gaia, but she is just as powerful and evil as ever. Little Pete, the only thing Gaia fears, is a disembodied spirit. And everyone else is just trying to survive and wondering about life after. The endgame is here and no one will walk away unscathed.

This is a brutal and brilliant series. I have loved every minute of it as I have despised the characters and cheered them on. The FAYZ has always been about good versus evil and what you are willing to do to survive. In this book the characters start wondering what will happen when the dome falls? What will the outside world think of them? Will anyone be able to understand just what went on in the FAYZ? Who will be blamed for it? This series was a wild ride and the ending was a double loopty-loop with a steep drop. I may have screamed all the way down but I loved every minute of it.

13. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

Concealed by Sang Kromah, read by Angie, on 04/12/2013

Bijou and her grandmother have just moved to Sykesville. Bijou starts school for the first time after being homeschooled her entire life. At school she meets dreamy Sebastian and his twin Amina. Bijou and her grandmother have moved a lot; they never seem to settle in one place. And Bijou is not your ordinary girl. She can sometimes feel what others are feeling and everyone is scared to look into her eyes. Turns out she has a reason to feel different. She is the “chosen one” of prophecy. She is part djinn and supposedly the savior (or sacrifce) that will restore the powers of the djinn. Sebastian and Amina are her protectors and djinn as well. Weird things start happening at school with a teacher and mean girl Mandy. Then the djinn arrive and Bijou has to figure out what is really going on.

I almost gave up on this book. The plot was just all over the place. I found the idea of the djinn interesting, but I think this book could have really used some editing and maybe a plot outline. The characters were all over the place; I could never figure out if they were on the same side or enemies or what. One minute they were one and the next another. It was like everyone in the book had a split personality. And the djinn prophecy didn’t always make sense. It seemed like things changed every once in a while to fit whatever scene was taking place. Sometimes the djinn had powers and sometimes they were powerless. Sometimes Bijou acted like she knew what the heck was going on and others she was completely clueless (about the same things). And then there was the love triangle (or square). Bijou/Sebastian/Niko/Mandy. This was just ridiculous! I almost always hate love triangles and this one ranks at the bottom of my list (or the top of the most hated). The whole story was one convoluted mess.

I received a copy of this book on netgalley.com.

09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires #13) by Rachel Caine, read by Angie, on 04/08/2013

They have defeated Bishop, they have defeated the humans, and they have defeated the draug, so what is left? Vampires of course. In this installment of the Morganville series the big bad is a vampire. Naomi is back and she is wrecking havoc on Morganville. She is using her special powers of persuasion to force people and vampires to do as she wishes. And of course, no one knows she is behind it. This causes all kinds of havoc as humans are required to carry identification cards and vampires are free to hunt. Amelie is under Oliver’s influence and doesn’t seem to have the interests of the town in mind. Michael and Eve’s marriage is causing all kinds of problems from both the humans and the vampires. It is a sad day in Morganville when Myrnin is the most logical member of the town.

I like the Morganville series; it is one of the few series that I have read so many books in. However, I do feel like the series has run its course. There is only so many more disasters that can happen to one small Texas town. This book is told in multiple viewpoints, which only worked part of the time. I thought having Oliver’s viewpoint spoiled the surprise of who the big bad was and I thought the rest were just a bit superfluous. These books are really about Claire and I think hers is the strongest viewpoint. We’ll have to see what happens in future books after the events of Bitter Blood. Could be interesting.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags:

Ever After by Kim Harrison, read by Leslie, on 03/30/2013

Ever After (The Hollows, #11)

When Rachel sets off a chain of events that could lead to the end of the world – demonic and human–she must use her gifts to save those closest to her while preventing an apocalypse.

This is the closest that Rachel has come to being killed off, so far.  In this latest installment of The Hollows series, it’s a little more fast-paced in the action department. It’s also the closest that Rachel and Trent have come to finally admitting they might be right for each other.  Although I hated that 2 characters met their end in this book, I’m sure it will add something to the next one.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Leslie, Paranormal · Tags: ,

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison, read by Leslie, on 03/18/2013

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)

When she discovers that a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons and needs her blood, former witch-turned-day-walking-demon Rachel Morgan, a bounty hunter, faces her toughest adversary yet –humanity.

Kim Harrison spins a perfect story of a world, post-tomatoes!  I love her Hollows series and I am not looking forward to the day when she finishes tying all the threads together.  Rachel goes from being a rather inept witch to finding out she is really a demon and along the way, makes a family of the most unfamily like assortment, from witches, vampires (both dead and alive), elves, fairies, pixies, demons and any other mythical creature you can think of.  I love the way she has Jenks use Tinkerbell (of Disney fame) to color his cursing.  Rachel comes one step closer to being comfortable in her demon skin in this book.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Teen Books

Buried by Gerilyn Marin, read by Angie, on 04/02/2013

Fane’s Cove is a strange town. There are all kinds of paranormal happenings in the town and the people just accept them. In fact, the same people have lived in the town forever; families don’t seem to leave Fane’s Cove. Cae is part of one of those families and she has a gift. She has a bit of the sight passed down from her grandma. Gray Addison is an anomaly. His family has moved to Fane’s Cove. Cae is drawn to Gray and his quest to find his family history. His family is from Fane’s Cove, but all records of them have been lost. Cae and Gray uncover a buried secret about Jack Addison, Gray’s ancestor, and his connection to the town and its strange history.

This was a fun story. I like the paranormal/ghost/demon aspect of the book, but I was especially intrigued by the hidden history of the town. I enjoyed Cae and Gray’s quest to discover his family history. I also enjoyed their relationship; starts off antagonistic, becomes flirty, develops into something more. My only quibble with the book was the ending. I really hate cliffhangers, especially huge cliffhangers like this one, but it does open the book up for a series.

I received a copy of this book on Netgalley.com.

31. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance · Tags: , ,

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard, read by Angie, on 03/31/2013

On her 17th birthday Victoria receives a music box and an amulet that belonged to her grandmother. In the music box is a journal of her ancestor Brigid. Brigid was a witch and her blood contained powerful magic, magic which has been passed down to Tori. With the magic comes a familiar, Leto the cat, who helps teach her magic. Tori is drawn to a mysterious boy she sees on her high school campus. Christian is cultured and beautiful and surrounded by mystery. Turns out he is a vampire. Tori and Christian soon find themselves falling into forbidden love. But there love cannot be. There is an ancient prophecy about La Sang Noir, which seems to be about Tori and her magic blood. Christian’s twin brother Lucian discovers Tori’s existence and wants her magic and her blood.

This is so obviously a Twilight ripoff. Innocent girl with a vampire lusting after her. Her blood smells so sweet it is hard to resist. At least Tori has powers and isn’t the limp dishrag Bella was. But there is still the love you/can’t have/must have you/can’t live without back and forth between Tori and Christian that gets old really quickly. There is also a lot shoved into this book. It is like Howard took everything paranormal she could think of and threw it into the book. We have witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, fairies, seerers, a prophecy, a vampire council, and a magic talking cat. Seriously, I don’t think she left anything out except zombies. Not all of these things are fully explored or necessary. I think the story would have been better off with a tighter plot and less extra stuff. Not that it isn’t entertaining. There is a lot of action and adventure. They travel from New York to Paris and back. The magic is fun and exciting, although I think Tori became proficient way faster than possible. At times it seemed like she just always knew how to do the spells. Of course there is a love triangle which turns deadly (how could there not be). Overall, not a bad read but definitely not original or new.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com.

30. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocolyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Bloodring book 1 Thorn St. Croix series by Faith Hunter, read by Kira, on 03/29/2013

BloodRing

Thorn is living in the end of times, though an its ambigous end of times, seraphs and demons are still fighting in a post-apocalyptic-ice-age.  Thorn is part of a new species, neomages, who are able to bend leftover creation energy to their will.  Specifically she is a stone mage, and since mages present a threat to both humans and seraphs they are confined to luxurious Enclaves.  Thorn is passing for a human, working as a jeweler, in a remote icy town.  When her ex-husband Lucas is kidnapped and her friends are threatened, she risks revealing her true identity in order to save her adopted family.

 

BloodRing isblodring a fastpaced page turner.  Lush imagery and really interesting world-building (especially the magic-working of the gems) add to the tale.  Though the book does NOT end on a cliff-hanger, it fails to wrap up a number of the mysteries.  Who is the Amethyst Mistress?  Why did Lucas haul all that amethyst back to the store/house for his ex-wife? did he really cheat on Thorn voluntarily and what is his latest wife up to?

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Paranormal, Teen Books

The Archived by Victoria Schwab, read by Courtney, on 03/16/2013

Mac and her family have just moved into the Coronado, an aging LA hotel-turned-apartment building. Mac is not particularly thrilled about it. The move was precipitated by the death of her little brother and Mac’s not ready to let him go yet. This unwillingness to let him go is beginning to severely interfere with her secret job as a Keeper for the Archive. The Archive isn’t an ordinary repository; it is a place where the lives of the dead are stored. These are called Histories. Each History has his or her own coffin-shaped shelf. Each History is physically similar to its former living state. Trained by her late grandfather, Mac was the youngest Keeper in history. Most Histories are calm and remain in the Archives, but a few “wake up” and escape into a sort-of-purgatory called the Narrows. It is here that Mac must apprehend these escaped Histories, who typically become increasingly distressed and violent the longer they are “awake”, and return them to the Archive. Mac’s pretty good at her job, but things start going awry shortly after her arrival at the Coronado. For one thing, there’s another Keeper on the premises. And Mac might have a tiny crush on him. This, however, becomes eclipsed by the volume of work skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. It’s normal for a few Histories to wake up now and then, but multiple instances every day? And then there’s the strange boy lurking in the Narrows whose presence makes no sense. And the mysteries of the hotel itself….Mac’s got her plate pretty full. Assuming she survives her work.
Fascinating concept, but not as well-realized as I had hoped. This is, however, the first book in a series, so there’s necessarily a lot of world-building going on. Very little of the book takes place outside the Coronado, so it begins to feel a little limited at times in spite of the “real world” setting. Still an interesting examination of the nature of death and grief with a distinctly supernatural twist.

25. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders, read by Angie, on 03/24/2013

The Spoffard family inherits an old chocolate shop from their late great-uncle. But it isn’t just any chocolate shop and twins Lily and Oz soon find out. They have been summoned to the house by a magical, immortal talking cat and rat who work for a secret agency called SMU, the Secret Ministry of the Unexplained. They recruit Oz and Lily, because of their magical family background, and their neighbor Caydon, because he is a witch, to help stop an evil, immortal genius Isadore Spoffard. Isadore was one of the triplet Spoffard brothers. He turned evil and killed his other two brothers in 1938. Now he has an evil plot to sell his immortality chocolate to terrorists. But first he needs the chocolate molds belonging to his brothers. What follows is pure craziness. There are ghosts and goblins, an elephant ghost, secret agents everywhere, and madcap adventures. Through it all the Spoffard parents are completely clueless and unaware of what their children are doing.

I like books with magic, but I am not sure what to think about this one. On one hand I found the idea of a secret agency working to solve paranormal mysteries fun. They were very James Bond/MI6 in their set up and their adventures. On the other hand I wish this book was a little more thought out. It seemed slapped together at times; like maybe Saunders thought hey wouldn’t it be cool if the cat lost all its hair here or why not have a chocolate barrier that makes rats mutate and die. Interesting ideas that didn’t always fit smoothly into the story. I also found it completely unbelievable how obtuse the parents where. Their kids are basically taken away for days at a time and their are told they are at camps and such. Camps the parents had no prior knowledge of and gave no permission for their children to attend??? I think kids might like this one more than I did, but to me it was just an ok read.

24. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Two Graves by Douglas Preston & Lee Child, read by Tracy, on 01/09/2013

It is a satisfying ending to this exciting and action packed trilogy about FBI Special Agent Pendergast’s search for his wife Helen.

18. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, read by Kira, on 03/17/2013

Neverwhere1Neverwhere_Brazil_paperback_1258043916Neverwhere_Hungary Another Awesome novel by Gaiman!   Richard Mayhew leads a boring negligible life, pushed around at work and by his fiance named Jessica.  Then, though he and Jessica are running late for a critical dinner, he stops to help a bleeding unconscious street urchin, named Door, a resident of DownBelowLondon.  His involvement with this underworlder leads him to slip through the cracks and become invisible/nonexistent to the in the London Above world.  He returns to London Below , seeks out the girl Door, and persuades her to let him accompany her on her search for her parents’ killers.

Gaiman excels at worldbuilding and tangible atmosphere.  There is a steam-punk feel to this novel, though it was published in 2003, well before the steampunk craze.

 

I just love this author.

neverwhere5Neverwhere_PolandRadio Times 96-09-07-13-24-25 Neverwhereneverwhere2Yes there is a vampire character in the book, named Lamia.Neverwhere_Russia_1258589941

17. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, read by Angie, on 03/17/2013

Chloe and Ruby are sisters. They are basically on their own. Their mother is a drunk and their fathers have abandoned them. Ruby is charismatic and beautiful and people love her. She can do whatever she wants whenever she wants and she can get the people of the town to do things for her. Chloe looks up to her older sister Ruby and will do anything she asks. One night Ruby asks Chloe to swim the reservoir in their town. During the swim Chloe discovers a dead body in a boat. This so traumatizes her that she moves away and lives with her father for two years. Then Ruby comes and gets her; Ruby wants her back. Back in the town and under Ruby’s influence it is like the events of that night never happen. London, the dead girl, is alive and if not well at least present. Ruby’s hold on the town and its people seems stronger than ever, but something strange is happening and it involves the reservoir. Ruby has always told stories about the town of Olive and how its people held on even when the government built the damn and flooded the reservoir. She tells of how the people of Olive are still there, waiting at the bottom of the deepest part of the reservoir. Now there seems to be something about the reservoir that Ruby isn’t telling Chloe and it involves London.

This was a beautifully written book. The language is almost lyrical. However, I had no idea what was going on throughout most of the book and my questions were not answered at the end. How does Ruby have such influence? It is like she controls everything within the town borders, but this is never explained. I am not sure I trust Chloe’s explanations of anything that happens either. Something just seems off about the whole thing. The town of Olive? Does it still exist at the bottom of the reservoir? What exactly are its people if it does? What really happened to London? To Ruby? Is it magic, paranormal, aliens? I really have no idea. I couldn’t put this book down, mainly because I couldn’t figure it out, but it was a very frustrating read. Nothing really made sense and nothing was ultimately explained.