Thursday, January 30, 2014

Morganville Vampires Series Book #9: Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

 Well, I predicted back in book 7’s review that eventually Rachel Caine would have to write the perfect book in this series, and she finally did. After what happened in Kiss of Death, I was a little reluctant to read this book, but my motto is, once I start a series I have to finish it.

So, Ghost Town… Claire and company are back in Morganville and things are…well, they’re not really normal. Ever since Amelie’s new rules that allow humans to protect themselves from vampire attack, the vampires are getting a little testy and the humans are…they’re finally acting out. They like the power that has been given to them, but they want more.

Claire though isn’t too aware of this because she has things of her own to deal with. Obviously she has a hot boyfriend whose attempts at wooing her are always good for some nice fluffy moments, and then she’s still working with Myrinn to rebuild the town’s computer system – the one responsible for keeping Morganville residents in the town, wiping people’s memories if they leave, and the portals that are scattered throughout the town.

Myrinn. You know, in the 5 reviews I’ve done about this series, I don’t think I’ve ever really discussed this guy at length, and I really should. I think that I’m like a lot of readers of this series when it comes to this character. It’s a love/hate relationship. There are times where his antics and his clothing choices make me grin, but sometimes when he loses his sanity and tries to kill Claire – at least once every book – I kind of start to hate him, even though I should know that he doesn’t really know better. Considering what happened to his last assistant, I’m still not sure if the reason he’s being nice to Claire is because he wants the same thing from her, or if he’s just genuinely being nice to her.

Anyway, Claire does finally get the new machine up in running – after a five-day stint with no sleep – and everything should be back to normal, well, as normal as things can be in Morganville. But it’s not. People are starting to forget. People are starting to think that it’s three years ago.

I’ll admit the memory wipe was a nice touch, all the way up until Shane forgot who Claire was. The moment he woke up and didn’t recognize her and thought that he had a one-night stand with her, seriously broke my heart.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This book had the bite that the last one was missing and was written so well that even I – the one who wanted Claire’s parents to get killed off – was rooting for her dad to make it.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic only.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1-800-WHERE-R-YOU series Book #1: When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot

Side note: What is with me reading a Meg Cabot book after reading intense books? So weird…

As with all of Meg Cabot’s books, I’ve read this series before, but it’s been a few years since I have. Right, so… When Lightning Strikes is the first book in a series about a girl named Jessica Mastrani who on her way home from school one day gets struck by lightning. She doesn’t think too much of it, until the next morning when she knows the location of two missing kids.

Yes, that’s right. A girl gets struck by lightning and after seeing pictures of people – such as the missing kids on the back of a milk carton – and some sleep she knows where those people are. Now, she doesn’t freak out about this…too much. Jess instead does the right thing, and calls the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU hotline and reports the locations of these kids. Obviously, because she keeps doing this, people start to get interested on how exactly she knows this and the FBI gets involved.

Now, I’ve probably already said this about Meg Cabot’s writing, but she creates her characters so well that those characters that you’re supposed to hate you really do come to hate them and want to slap the crap out of them – yikes…I’m a real violent person apparently.

…Right, anyway, there were only two complaints with this book. One, the character of Rob Wilkes – aka Jess’s love interest – as much as I love him and ‘awed’ at the kisses and stuff…I’m just annoyed that he can’t date her because he’s on probation and she’s sixteen while he’s eighteen. What is with Cabot writing male characters that the female character can’t have? I mean, The Mediator Series – Suze can’t have Jesse because he’s a ghost, The Princess Diaries – Mia can’t have Michael because first he’s Lily’s brother and then because he becomes this big engineer, etc. After a while, it kind of gets annoying, but damn if it doesn’t make for one hell of an interesting plot. Now, the second one isn’t just an issue with this book, but with a lot of the Young Adult fiction genre. The parents in this book were so freaking annoying, and this isn’t just a problem with this book as I’ve said. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s young adult fiction, which mostly deals with teenagers, and teens for some reason always have problems with their parents… But, yikes, I can’t tell you how often I’ve come across parents in a book that I was just like – seriously? Just…no…

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Great story, great characters, and amazing set up for future books.

Bookshelf worthy? As I’ve said before with Meg Cabot, yes. Love her writing and since this isn’t my first time reading this series, definitely.

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

So, after the crazy ending in The Boleyn King, I had a feeling that the next book was going to be intense…and man, did this book not disappoint.

The Boleyn Deceit takes place a few months after the events in King. William is trying his best to keep his feelings towards Minuette a secret as he tries to figure out a way out of the peace treaty and engagement to France. Minuette and Dominic are trying to keep their romance a secret from their best friend. And Elizabeth, well, Elizabeth is just a hot mess of her own. She’s still in love with Robert Dudley, even though he’s married and a traitor – not that she knows that – and she is craving her chance to rule ever since William made her regent while he was fighting the war in France last year.

Like I said, intense.

Can I just say that Andersen’s character development is amazing? Because it really is. The way she writes these characters makes me believe that some of these people really existed – William, Minuette, etc. – and makes me really loathe some of them too. Take Lord Rochford, Eleanor, and Robert, I mean…I really, really wanted to slap the hell out of them during this book. Lord Rochford because you can obviously tell that he doesn’t care for the fact that he no longer can control the king and his interference into William’s personal affairs is honestly none of his business. Eleanor because…actually, I’m not quite sure why I wanted to slap her, considering that I’m totally against William and Minuette anyway, but I don’t know the way she behaves as if she knows him just because she was his lover and bared him a daughter just annoyed me. And Robert, well, he was just a complete and utter douche. I was so happy when Elizabeth finally realized everything that he had done and slapped him.

As for Dominic and Minuette, well…. I have to say that I was excited when Dominic finally lost his good sense and married her. The only thing I was disappointed with though was that after all the buildup of sexual frustration between these two, when they finally get married and undressed…

It’s the next day.

Talk about a total let down.

So, now that Dominic and Minuette are husband and wife, what are they going to do about William? They know that if they tell him it would be seen as a betrayal, not only as their king but as their friend as well. But the couple gets a reprieve when Elizabeth sends a note to Minuette…he has small pox and the situation is dire.

Another crazy cliffhanger ending makes me really really want the third and final book in this series and I can’t believe I have to wait ‘til… July!!

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The second book in this trilogy did not disappoint, the games people play at court continue to grow.

Bookshelf worthy? Just like the first one, definitely.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

Confession: I hated history in high school, but I love historical fiction, especially anything to do with the Boleyn family. So, when I came across this book last year at the bookstore, I instantly picked it up and read the summary. And holy crap, I fell in love.

The Boleyn King is basically a what-if story. What if instead of losing her last baby, Anne Boleyn carried to term and gave birth to a son? What would have happened?

Answer: a whole hell of a lot of things.

Now, here’s my summary. The Boleyn King centers on King Henry IX who is called William, his sister Elizabeth, their friend Dominic, and Genevieve – called Minuette – who was born the same day as William. The book begins on their seventeenth birthday and her return to court. Like with any book that deals with a king, there is much intrigue with court life and those who play games to raise their standings.

This book was quick paced and well written. I loved reading about the plots surrounding William’s court, and how Minuette was trying to unravel them. It was especially entertaining as she tried to figure out her feelings towards William and Dominic. The aftermath of Anne Boleyn’s death was the real turning point in this book when William starts to realize that the friendship that he has with Minuette might be more than he originally thought.

There were only a few minor issues that I had with this book. Now, it’s been a while since I read The Other Boleyn Girl but I could have sworn that Mary – Henry and Mary Boleyn’s daughter – wasn’t that much older than Elizabeth – Henry and Anne Boleyn’s daughter – but in the book they make mention that Mary is thirty-seven, while Elizabeth is nineteen. Whoa! And again with the love triangles! As much as it makes for intriguing reading, it drives me insane, especially because it is between Minuette, William, and Dominic. All three of them are friends! There is no way that this can end happily.

And speaking of endings! The Boleyn King ends with such a cliffhanger that I was really glad that I also checked out the sequel.

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Writing was great, the characters were great, and the plot was greatly executed.

Bookshelf worthy? If you were a fan of historical fiction and the Boleyns like I am, I would definitely add this to your collection. If it weren’t for the fact that my bookshelves are already overflowing, I’d get it myself.

Morganville Vampires Series Book #8 Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

Okay, so with Ada gone, Bishop dead, and Morganville at peace – for the moment – what could possibly go wrong in book 8?

Well, as it turns out not much. Oh, sure, there was the deal that Claire made with Marley and his band of rogue vampires – where she had to get them out within a month or else Eve, Shane, and her would become their personal blood bank – but even that was dealt with within the first twenty or so pages. Michael and the gang are given permission to leave Morganville so that way Michael can go to Dallas for his studio time. If they’re not in Morganville, Marley can’t attack them.

But, holy crap! They get to leave Morganville!

I have to admit that I figured that Caine was going to pull this stunt after the last book because there were only so many secrets that Morganville could hold, it was about time these characters got to see the world outside the little town. But even though they leave Morganville there is still drama – obviously. It turns out that the world outside Morganville is almost as bad. Within twenty-four hours of leaving, they manage to piss off a gang, get escorted out of town by the sheriff, befriend a local motel owner, Eve’s car gets burned – RIP – and to put icing on the cake are accused of murder.

Sheesh, can’t these guys go through one book without ending up behind bars? Or becoming personal blood bags to the evil vamps? Gah.

Anyway, as much as I love this series, I’ll admit that this book wasn’t one of the best. It had so much potential to be good, but I don’t know the execution was lacking. I mean, these guys finally leave the world of Morganville behind, shouldn’t they also leave the vamps behind too? Also can we take a moment to assess Eve? I mean she is the strong bad ass Goth who is always good for a sarcastic laugh. But in this book, she wasn’t herself. Yeah, I get that her and Michael were still having issues with their relationship, but to make her have complete and utter breakdowns – three times – was just so not Eve. And when did she go back to work for Oliver at Common Grounds?

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Still a good book, just lacking the usual bite that Caine usually offers.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic only.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Morganville Vampires Series Book #7: Fade Out by Rachel Caine

So remember in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Ron says to Harry, “Follow the spiders? Why did it have to follow the spiders? Why couldn’t it be follow the butterflies?” I felt for Ron then, and I really related to that quote while reading Fade Out.

Spiders, Rachel Caine? Because the town of vampires wasn’t scary enough, you had to throw in spiders the size of Chihuahuas? I personally believe that this book should have come with a disclaimer in the introduction: Arachnophobes beware. Gah.

Anyway, book 7 – seriously SEVEN – takes place a few months after book 6. The town is recovering nicely from Bishop’s take over. Vampires are protecting those that have signed up for Protection, Amelie has allowed humans to be armed and attack vampires in self-defense, and Claire is living at her parents’ house until she turns eighteen – sort of.

I thought that this book was going to be boring. I mean, c’mon, big bad Bishop is dead. Everything has been restored in Morganville, and the book opens with Eve being excited about being cast in the town’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Yawn.

But then… ooh. UV bomb – can Claire get through one book without being maimed in some way? – Ada acting up and trying to kill Claire, Amelie becoming suicidal, plots to overthrow her, and my favorite, Eve’s new bestie Kim shows up and Claire gets jealous. Honestly, did I say boring? I meant, exciting!

I won’t bore with the same things I’ve been saying since book 4; action packed, twists that you don’t expect, etc. But I will complain about two things: one, there wasn’t enough Monica in this book. She literally had three scenes and one of them wasn’t very Monica-esque. She hugs Claire! I mean, honestly, that isn’t Monica’s character at all. Second: Eve and Michael’s relationship. It got a little rocky near the end of this book because Eve finally realizes that Michael isn’t human anymore. Um…excuse me, but he turned vamp six books ago already. You’re just now realizing that your boyfriend is one of the undead? Seriously? Jeez. C’mon, Eve, I thought you were smarter than that.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. One day, Caine will write the perfect book in this series. I hope.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic only.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Here’s the thing that I love about Meg Cabot’s writing. She very rarely pulls punches that you don’t see coming, and after reading really heavy YA fiction, reading her work is such a relief. Her characters are witty and written in such a way that you can’t help but relate to them in some way.

Queen of Babble’s heroine Lizzie – not Liz – is one such character. She’s a recent college grad – sort of except for a 50-page thesis that she still has to complete – who is on her way to England for the first time ever to spend some time with her soul mate Andrew. She has all these fantasies of how her time in England is going to be spent. And once she gets there…

Well, what fun would it be if things in her fantasies actually turned out in real life? No fun at all. She quickly realizes that Andrew isn’t who she thought he was and she runs. Lucky for her, her best friends Shari and Chaz are also in Europe – in France – and she flees to spend the rest of her vacation with them. But, of course, due to her really bad day she has a little bit of a breakdown on the train and spills everything that has happened to her very nice seatmate.

Who turns out to be the owner of the ch√Ęteau her friends are staying at. Oh, boy…

I loved this book, except for the ending. For some reason, even though there was a gradual build up to what happened, I felt that the ending was rushed a bit. It’s like, okay, you’ve spent over 300 pages describing the relationship and then it’s like wham, bam, thank you ma’am. The End. I mean, honestly, I understand that it set it up perfectly for the next book, but c’mon.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The ending still bugs me, but I still loved the writing and the characters.

Bookshelf worthy? I’m a huge fan of Meg Cabot’s and if I had the room I would own everything she comes out with – except her middle school Allie Rules series – but alas, I don’t have the room.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Morganville Vampires Series Book #6: Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

One word about this book: FINALLY!

I’m not sure how much I can say without giving too much away – not that’s really stopped me before – but I have to say that this book was probably my favorite so far of the series. The twists, which one would think would have gotten old by book six of a series, twisted into areas that I still didn’t expect them to. The action was non-stop, and even when you did get a reprieve I took a deep breath with my characters and enjoyed it because I knew that it wasn’t going to last.

I’ve read some of the reviews for this series before I started it, and a lot people complained that there wasn’t a lot of character development and that was a big reason they didn’t like it. I have to disagree. The character development in these books is just fantastic. I sort of envy Caine’s ability to develop these characters over an arc of books like she does. I can barely do it over fifteen chaptered stories.

Anyway, the characters are just fantastic. My favorites for development are Richard and Monica Morell. Richard has really grown from the burly cop with the crazy family to someone the town of Morganville including Claire and her friends can trust. The moment near the end when Richard hands Claire a knife and then pats her on the shoulder was just so fantastic – it really showed his growth as a character. And as for Monica, I’ll admit when the book started and she went back to her evil bitch ways I was really pissed off. I thought Caine would have kept her as she was at the end of book 5 considering everything that she had been through. However, there was a reprieve when Monica softened after Claire asked about her mother. Just wow fantastic.

As for Claire’s parents, is it sad that I’m rooting for a vampire to kill them? I mean, honestly, the town is going to shit and they’re going to screw up their escape attempt because they wanted to chastise their daughter about having sex with Shane. Arresting him? Honestly? Please, kill them off, PLEASE?

Finally, there’s Claire and Shane’s relationship. I’ll admit when the book started I was going to be annoyed because hello. Shane was in prison, so obviously there wasn’t going to be too much Shane/Claire fluff until he was broken out of prison and knowing the way that Caine worked she was probably going to save his breakout until the end. But when she did have Shane get broken out of jail – sort of – I was excited, especially because Claire was seventeen. And man, did she not disappoint, which is odd considering this was a YA.

Final review: 4 out of 5 reviews. By book 6 you would think an author couldn’t pull any punches, but wow, were there some deep ones.

Bookshelf worthy? I’ve sort of changed my mind about this series. Why it’s not a physical bookshelf worthy, I would definitely consider getting them as a digital edition – especially since I’ve been reading them through the digital library anyway.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Usually I am very wary of Young Adult fiction that has a lot of hype. I mean, most of the time I’m really lucky and I agree with the masses that this book was really good – i.e. the Divergent series, The Fault in Our Stars, etc. – but eventually, I know that my streak has got to run out eventually.

But Fangirl was not the case.

I don’t usually get so involved with a book that I forget to eat or sleep, but with Fangirl I almost did, if it wasn’t for the fact that my parents were there to remind me to eat dinner, and my subconscious was there screaming at me to sleep. The book was that good.

The story revolves around an eighteen-year-old girl named Cather who is just starting college, has a twin sister named Wren, and has obsession with writing Simon Snow fanfiction. Now, from what I gathered from reading the Simon Snow excerpts that Rowell wrote before some of the chapters, the Simon Snow series looks almost like the Harry Potter series, but with a few different twists. However, the excerpts made me curious. I would really like it if Rowell actually wrote the Simon Snow series. I even tweeted her about it – and she responded!
 So, I don’t know what I should take from the smiley face, but hopefully – maybe?

Anyway, I really loved the characters in this book, they were written so well that even though there were some I was supposed to hate – Nick, Professor Piper – I couldn’t because they were written so well. I especially loved the character of Cather, she reminded me of myself so much that there were times I had to close the book and wonder if I would have handled some of the situations the way she did. Answer? Definitely.

I’m not even sure what else to say about this book that hasn’t already been said. I mean, sheesh. I could keep going on and on about the plot, but I would probably give too much away. So…

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Excellent writing! Excellent characters! The only thing is I really, really want a sequel to see how she deals with her sophomore year. But at the same time it’s perfect as a stand-alone.

Bookshelf worthy? Yes, yes, and um yeah, YES! In fact, I’m trying to figure out a way to put it on my own shelf…it might be a tight fit but…

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nightshade Prequels: Rift and Rise by Andrea Cremer

Usually, I hate when an author writes a prequel series to one of their other series. Why? Because most of the time, I have already read the original series so I know what happens and/or who those characters are, and sometimes – not all the time – the authors create plot holes by writing the prequels that aren’t answered in either series. However, when it came to Rift and Rise by Andrea Cremer I was thoroughly impressed.

The Nightshade prequels take place in the 1400s Scotland and followed a girl named Ember Morrow – a girl who like most in fiction that takes place in this time period – who isn’t too happy with the station that she has to fill and wants to change her fate. She is given that chance because of a debt her father has to pay that dates back to her birth. As the first chapter unfolds, the reader learns that the debt is to a society called Conatus that her childhood friend – Alistair – belongs to and that Ember longs to join as a member of their elusive Guard.

I’ll skip the rest of the summary by saying that despite her father’s wishes and the debt that he needs to pay to these people, he is furious when Ember chooses to become a member of their Guard and causes quite the commotion about it. However, it doesn’t matter, because Ember’s choice has already decided her fate. Alistair is quite excited that she joins their ranks, but for a different reason than she thinks – one that he brings to her attention late one night in her chambers, much to her astonishment.

I have to admit that although I love Ember’s stubbornness, I absolutely hated how daft she was in matters of love. I mean, considering the time period, it’s understandable, but c’mon Ember! Obviously, the boy who you’ve known since you were children who also teased you about marrying you is in love with you. However, I was definitely shocked about the way that he went about confessing his affections. Side note about the whole Alistair and Ember thing – was I the only one who thought that he reminded me of Prince Diamond/Demando from the Sailor Moon series, or have I been reading too much SM fanfiction lately?

Anyway, I’ll admit that for about the first 200 pages or so I was really chugging along with this book, waiting for it to pick up, and when it finally did I read through the rest of it like I was binging on my favorite TV show. I absolutely adored not only the camaraderie between Ember and Barrow, but also the slow way that the two of them fell for each other. Not to mention the penultimate scene where Barrow and Ember kiss in the rain! I was grinning so hard, that I was drawing attention from other people – that’s what I get for reading that scene in a Barnes & Noble.

The only thing that annoyed me about Rift was the interlude scenes that dealt with the sisters Eira and Ciran, at first their scenes didn’t really make any sense since there wasn’t really too much of an introduction to their characters until Ember really became involved with Guard, but as their scenes continued I kind of understood their scenes, especially when Eira’s ultimate goals were revealed.

Now, as for Rise…I guess, it’s a credit to Cremer for writing such great villains that I was literally shaking with anger as I read this book, but after the amazing beginnings that she had in Rift, I think Rise was sort of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, the writing and plot were fantastic because you got to see how the Elemental Cross, the Rift and the Guardians were born. But at the same time…I was just disappointed.

I was expecting more from the wedding than what Cremer delivered. Obviously, when Ember discovered what Alistair was up to in the catacombs and he found out about it, I knew that meant the battle would be changed, but I somehow wasn’t expecting what happened to happen. For one thing, I didn’t understand why Alistair had Ryn attack Ember and take her two fingers. Sure I got the wedding band finger kind of, but why two fingers? And then, the fact that Alistair wasn’t killed, sort of left the book with no real resolution. I’m half expecting Cremer to announce that there is going to be a third prequel considering the original trilogy.

Final rating – Rift: 5 out of 5 stars. The writing and characters in this book were fantastic. Rise: 4 out of 5 stars. Although the writing and characters were fantastic in this book, the ending wasn’t satisfying and doesn’t feel like it’s over.

Bookshelf worthy? Like the original Nightshade trilogy, I’m saying yes. This book series is definitely really good, maybe even better than the original.

Morganville Vampires Series Book #5: Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

You would think, after reading four volumes in this series, I would know to expect the unexpected when it comes to plot points in these books and to expect a cliffhanger at the end of the novel. You would think that, but for some stupid reason, as I read and finished Lord of Misrule I literally had my jaw drop open a few times, and threw my hands in the air when it finished with a cliffhanger.

Now, honestly, I was expecting something completely different from what Lord of Misrule actually offered and I’m glad that it did. I was expecting for a boring, bloody war between Amelie and her father Bishop and even though, yeah, the war was bloody, it was definitely far from boring.

Vampires walking around like zombies in the sun! Oliver admitting to the fact that he has the disease! Monica finally, finally getting what was coming to her! Monica’s father succumbing not to a vampire attack, but to a heart attack! Tornadoes! And just in case that wasn’t enough, crazy psycho magic that makes Claire – out of all the characters – side with the wrong side.

This book should not have been titled Lord of Misrule – although I do get the reference – instead it should have been called Morganville: Clusterfuck time. I mean, honestly, I didn’t think I could handle anything else Rachel Caine would have thrown at me. It was getting very hard to breathe while reading this book because I was holding it as I continued reading.

I got to admit though, as crazy as the events in this book caught, Caine still stuck true to her usual writing style. Just when you think you can’t take any more of the tension from Claire and the others situation, she throws in her usual sarcastic wit. Take for example the scene when Claire rescues Monica from the human mob and Eve and Shane realize that she has to stay with them:
“Yeah? Well, I can’t,” Eve said. She glared at Monica, who glared right back. “Claire, you have to stop picking up strays. You don’t know where they’ve been.”
“You’re one to talk about diseases,” Monica shot back, “seeing as how you’re one big, walking social one.”
“That’s not pit, kettle – that’s more like cauldron, kettle. Witch.”
“You want to go play with your new friends back there?” Shane snapped. “The really pale ones with the taste for plasma? Because believe me. I’ll drop your skanky butt right in their nest if you don’t shut up, Monica.”
“You don’t scare me, Collins!”
Hannah rolled her eyes and racked her shotgun. “How about me?”
That ended the entire argument.
I was on the floor with this one for a little bit.

As much as I loved the turmoil in this book there were a few things that annoyed me. The first thing, is when everyone in the Glass House is getting ready to start the war for Amelie against her father, and Shane and Claire are saying their good-byes. She gets really annoyed with him that he didn’t tell her those three little words even though he’s going out to man the Blood Mobile and something bad could happen to him. As much as I love Claire, she picks the worst time to gripe on the fact that Shane hasn’t said those three little words yet. I mean, honestly, the town is going to hell in a hand basket and instead of enjoying the time she has left with him until he goes out on what could be a suicide mission, she over thinks the fact that he hasn’t said “I love you,” yet. C’mon Claire! I thought you were better than that!

The other thing has to deal with Claire’s parents. After some of the craziness has died down, she goes to visit them and her father brings up the fact that he would feel better about all of this if Claire moved back home with them. Claire originally thought that the whole protectiveness thing was because of a spell that Bishop put on them, but after her father tells her this, she wonders if it’s because it’s just a natural parental instinct.

I’m not going lie, besides Monica, the other characters that I can’t stand in this book series are Claire’s parents. They are absolutely horrible creatures. When Claire thinks this though, I completely lost it. How can it be a parental instinct to have her at home to keep her safe when they haven’t wanted to keep her safe before? When she was dealing with the whole bullying thing with Monica? I mean, they thought Monica was a nice person even though they knew that she had pushed their daughter down the stairs and had one of her friends splash acid on her? I mean, honestly, if I could, I would have slapped their faces.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely better than the previous three novels, and I was really excited to find out what happens next.

Bookshelf worthy? As I said with the last book, this series is just too long to actually purchase them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nightshade Trilogy #3: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Quick summary of the series: Calla Nightshade is an alpha wolf, created by people call the Keepers to keep the peace. She is destined to be wed to another alpha wolf – Ren – uniting their two packs. She is questioning this destiny when a new student – Shay – enrolls in her school and he intrigues her. Through interesting events, Calla and Shay fall for each other, but she is still meant to wed Ren, who isn’t too happy about this new student and how close he has become to her. Eventually, she chooses Shay over Ren and runs from her destiny. While on the run, the Searchers capture Shay and Calla and they reveal that everything Calla thought to be true, isn’t.

Being completely honest here, there were a lot of time lapses between when I read Nightshade – the first book in the series – Wolfsbane – the second book in the series – and the final book Bloodrose. Between Nightshade and Wolfsbane it was nine months and between Wolfsbane and Bloodrose it was four months. So my memories of the plot line and characters are a little hazy, hence why the summary of the first two books is quite vague.

Anyway, Bloodrose takes place right where Wolfsbane left off with Calla going after Ren. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but as much as I love writing love triangles and reading about love triangles – the drama, the angst, the heartbreak – ever since reading Clockwork Princess I can’t reading about them anymore. Mostly because of how the love triangle was handled in that book, no other can compare. But, I have to admit this love triangle is intriguing. I’ll admit that during Nightshade, I couldn’t stand Ren; I was rooting for Shay for the previous novels. But, in the opening scenes of Bloodrose, I sort of changed my mind.

Ren, even though he has his faults, was actually the better fit for Calla, and as the events in Bloodrose continued, I couldn’t help but strengthen my belief. Shay being this mystical Scion has to find the other three pieces of the Elemental Cross, a weapon that will be able to defeat the Keepers and his uncle – the mystical Harbinger. While collecting these pieces, Calla starts to realize that the Cross might be changing Shay and that because of his duties as the Scion he might not belong in her world.

Reading this realization and her inner turmoil about it, I was thinking that maybe Cremer was going to give me what I wanted. Maybe Calla was going to end up with Ren, but as quickly as the doubt is placed, it’s taken away and she declares – right before the final battle – that she is going to choose Shay. Grumble, grumble. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was already so emotionally involved with these characters I would have stopped reading, but damn it I wanted to know what happened!

And near the end, I really wished I had stopped reading.

Love triangles are supposed to be about the girl – or guy, I guess – choosing between her two suitors, not having to default to one because the other person died. I was so, so annoyed with Cremer for killing off Ren that I barely took in anything from the final battle. When the anger haze finally started to dissipate, I got pissed off again.

For the battle to finally end, Shay had to lock the Rift, which would reverse all the magic that the Keepers did. Meaning that Calla and her other wolf pals would revert to just wolves. Wait, wait, wait, are you telling me that after killing off the competition for Shay, Calla loses her happy ending with him anyway because she will only be a wolf? What kind of…

So, okay, there was an epilogue where you get to see that Shay and Calla do get their happy ending, but as wolves, but I don’t know. The ending was sorely lacking.

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Other than the horrible ending, and the bad outcome of the love triangle, Andrea Cremer’s writing is amazing.

Bookshelf worthy? Definitely. After reading so many vampire books, it’s great to read a good werewolf series.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Morganville Vampire Series Book #4 Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

Since this is book #4 of a series – the first three I haven’t reviewed before – let me summarize quickly what this series is about. Sixteen-year-old Claire Danvers is super smart, she’s bound to go to MIT or Cal Tech, but her parents are too protective and instead send her to a college in Morganville. The problem? There’s a secret that the whole town of Morganville seems to be keeping, and Claire is out of the loop…until due to some intense bullying circumstances she is introduced to the problem because she moves out of the dorms and into the Glass House where her roommates quickly inform her about what the hell is going on.

Turns out Morganville is run by vampires. Michael is a ghost (until book two), Shane’s dad is a vampire hunter, and Eve’s brother is pretty much a psycho. Oh, and the vampire in charge of the whole operation – the Founder Amelie? – has taken an interest in Claire.

So, my major complaint with books 2 and 3 of this series was that the cuteness and familiarity of Shane and Claire’s hang out sessions, were very few and far between. It didn’t help either that Shane was either captured or in the hospital with a stab wound, but c’mon Rachel Caine! That was what really drew me into the books was the flirtations between Shane and Claire. Also, book 3 was sort of lacking with a climax; if I didn’t know any better I would have thought it was one of those odd novellas that I can’t stand.

Because of my issues with Book 3 – Midnight Alley – I was a little hesitant to read book 4, but all my issues were addressed.

Feast of Fools takes place right where Midnight Alley left off. Claire’s parents bringing in three vampires – one who claims to be Amelie’s father – and demands to see his daughter. Without ruining too much, I was really glad that this character of Bishop was brought in, especially one of his comrades Ysandre. She brings in drama to Claire and Shane’s relationship that was sorely lacking in the other two books. Also, things were sorely lacking, like Shane and Claire’s cuteness comes back in this book too! Their video-game sessions and even their hanging out in Shane’s room, make up for the lack of fluff in the previous novels.

The only thing that I still don’t like about Caine’s novels is the constant cliffhangers! As a person who writes her own fiction – fanfiction yes, but still – I can get behind a good cliffhanger, but there is such a thing as just too many cliffhangers. Eventually the tactic gets old, and four books in, it has.

Final rating: Four out of five stars.

Bookshelf worthy? Well, no and that’s only because this series is really long – 15 books – and I don’t know, I think there are better books out there. However, if you won the lottery and have tons of bookshelves and room isn’t a concern, than yeah, I’d get them. Otherwise…rent these from the library.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The All-American Girl series by Meg Cabot

Okay, so here it goes, my first official review for this blog. I need to start off by saying that I love Meg Cabot as an author and that I previously have read these books before – once back in 2002 when All-American Girl first came out, and again in 2006 when the sequel Ready or Not came out. But the third time is the charm and it’s been a few years since I’ve read them.

So, All-American Girl is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Samantha Madison – who is of no relation to James Madison – who is an artist and is mourning for her generation. After a misfortunate accident where her sister Lucy rats her out about selling celebrity portraits, her parents sign her up for art classes and that is where the fun begins. While skipping her second class, she stops an assassination attempt on the president’s life and is swept into the role of America’s National Hero.

The sequel – Ready or Not – takes place about a year later and has Samantha dealing with a major issue for most teenage girls. She’s been dating *spoiler alert* David, the president’s son, and she thinks that he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship – sex!

I’ll admit that even though the premise of the first book was a little far-fetched, I loved the character of Samantha Madison. She’s a very relatable character, with a few character flaws – hey, no character can be completely perfect, even in Young Adult fiction – but that’s what makes her seems so realistic. She jumps to conclusions all the time, which mostly turn out to be wrong, and I felt for her when she realizes the error of her ways. The scene in Ready or Not when she realizes that David didn’t invite her up to Camp David to have sex was one of these things. I had to close the book for a few minutes, because I felt her embarrassment.

There were only two drawbacks with these books and both of them occurred in the sequel.
The first: while hilarious in the first book, Sam’s Top 10 lists were a little bit boring in the sequel. Personally, I missed Sam’s wit, there were just too many facts.

The second: inconsistent name. Lucy’s boyfriend – Jack’s – last name changed from the first novel to the second. In the first novel, Jack’s last name was Ryder – as in Flynn? – while in the second his last name was Slater. This wasn’t too much of an issue for me, because I actually found the name change hilarious. In Cabot’s Mediator series, there is a character named Jack Slater. Given, he’s eight, but I was laughing the whole time I was reading Ready or Not, thinking that he grew up a few years.
All in all, both books are great, a typical Meg Cabot read, and since I already own a few of her novels, if I had the shelf room I would definitely pick these up and add them to my collection.