Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1-800-WHERE-R-YOU Series Book #5: Missing You by Meg Cabot

I know I said in the last review of this series that Sanctuary was my favorite, but I think I changed my mind. I’ve only read Missing You once and even then it was in bits and pieces every time I went to the bookstore – back then my local library sucked with getting the new releases. So after eight years, I finally had the chance to read it again and OMG. This one was definitely my favorite.

It’s been two years since the events of Sanctuary and Jess is different. She finally caved into Dr. Krantz’s pleading and went to work for the government. The only problem is that she was actually in the war zones and saw things that a 17/18 year old shouldn’t see. She comes back with nightmares, her powers gone, and according to Rob – broken. Speaking of one of my favorite male characters, Rob and Jess have broken up thanks to a misunderstanding that she saw when she came back from the war. She hasn’t seen him since…until he shows up at her apartment door in New York.

Turns out his sister – half-sister: same father different mom – is missing and even though he’s heard that Jess doesn’t have her powers anymore he’s hoping that she’ll at least try to help. Shockingly, the next day, she knows exactly where his sister is only she’s not missing. She ran away to be with her older – he’s 27 and she’s 15 – boyfriend. Who also turns out to be the son of one of the new major developers in the community. Yikes.

Like I said, this book was amazing. I love Jess’s non-violent attitude and her interactions with Rob are just a complete hoot. You finally get to see what happened after Jess introduced Rob to her folks as her boyfriend – mom gave a speech about statutory rape that made him run – and why Rob was put on probation – I would crack up about it, but considering when he told her I was still in shock. You also get to see Jess and her mom have that blowout that I’ve been dying for since book 1. I’m sorry, but moms in YA books just drive me completely bonkers. The only thing I would have wished is that you got to see Rob on his bike more. I was really disappointed that he traded up for a truck.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Great conclusion to an awesome series.

Bookshelf worthy? Seriously, I need more bookshelves.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

I’m going to come out and say this before I start this review: I love Ann Brashares’ writing. I loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and I loved The Last Summer (of You and Me). She lost me a little on her other time travel/past lives novel My Name is Memory, so I was sort of skeptical about this book, but like with a lot of books, I gave it one hundred pages before making my final decision.

The crazy thing is? I was so deep into this book that I didn’t even notice when the one hundred pages passed.

This story is about a girl named Prenna who is an immigrant, but she isn’t from another country. She’s from another time. In this time, the world has been savaged by plague. Prenna and the others’ mission is to save the world from this plague, but they have twelve rules that they have to abide by while completing the mission. The one rule that Prenna is having a problem with has to deal with getting involved with someone from this time. There’s a boy – Ethan – who has been her friend/whatever for a while now and she feels like he knows her better than anyone else does.

But when a homeless man tells her that her people aren’t doing anything to change the future and that an event is coming up that will doom them all if it’s not stopped, she starts to question everything that she’s come to know in the last four years. She fights her own people and goes off with Ethan to try and save the world.

This book was ridiculously fast paced. Seriously, like I said above, I was really surprised at how fast one hundred pages went. The Here and Now gives the reader no time to breathe as it goes from one event to the next. Like the homeless man that alerts Prenna to what her people are really up to with the glasses and the medicine? He dies, but after he dies it’s revealed that he’s Prenna’s father. Wait. What? Yeah, that’s what I thought! I really had to go back and read that scene twice and yet I still didn’t catch it.

Prenna’s relationship with Ethan is hot, it’s kind of awesome that he’s been imagining being with her for the last four years. I was just disappointed that after everything they went through, they can’t actually be together because of the threat of the plague. I felt that it was a big let down.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Still didn’t really care for the time travel aspect of this book – I still can’t get my head around the logistics of it. Still this book was much better than My Name is Memory.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your public library!

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

In preparation for reading this book, I read all six novels by Jane Austen so that way I knew what these ladies were talking about during the book. Turns out? I didn’t really need to.

The Jane Austen Book Club is barely about the book club, it’s more about the members of the book club. A good 75% of the 288 pages (actually 260 since my digital copy included the readers guide) were mostly the member’s back-story and what caused them to be who they are. Shockingly, the movie was actually better than the book.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. It would have been nice to see the characters actually talk about the books that they were reading more. I mean, even the chapter where they are supposed to talk about Pride & Prejudice is basically just about the library benefit. They don’t discuss the book AT ALL.

Bookshelf worthy? No, save yourself and go read something else. Like, the six novels by Jane Austen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Artemis Fowl Series Book #7: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

So just in case time travel, demons, Opal clones, and Mrs. Fowl finding out everything her dear son has been up to for the last six years wasn’t enough, Eoin Colfer throws a new curve ball for the readers. Artemis Fowl, the criminal mastermind at fifteen years old, has finally gone mad. He has OCD, multiple personality disorder, and numerous other psychoses that all add up to the rare fairy disease – The Atlantis Complex.

This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because as he’s presenting his new idea to save the world to his friends – Foaly and Holly – they realize what’s going on with him and are going to try to fix him. The only problem? There’s another plan going on that Artemis and the gang get caught up in, and his Atlantis Complex has to take a back seat as they try a figure out who is behind this plot and what the endgame ultimately is.

It’s not Opal like they all think – thankfully, there’s only so many times you can use that particular villain without it getting boring. This time around the villain is a familiar face, in fact he worked with Opal in book 2 during the goblin uprising. Yeah, that’s right, the villain in this book is Turnball Root – Julius Root’s brother. This guy…I wanted to like him, because he was trying to get out of jail for a good cause, to return to his wife who is desperately in love. He ruins it though when it’s revealed that Turnball used a compulsion rune to make her love him. That’s just so wrong.

This book was good – just not as good as the last two have been. I’ll admit the Atlantis Complex for Artemis was quite comical, especially when he gets shocked by Holly and his other personality Orion comes out. I wish there would have been more Orion, he was the romantic that Artemis never seems to be.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The comedy was still present in this book. The characters were fantastic – especially Juliet’s memory of the People coming back. The only thing I didn’t like was how easy the characters seemed to make it out of their sticky situations. How many more times can we get out of this unscathed? A good question indeed.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your public library!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Entwined by Heather Dixon

So a few years ago, the big thing was vampires and werewolves. Then came zombies. Now, the big thing seems to be the retelling of fairy tales. Entwined is the retelling of ‘The 12 Dancing Princesses.’ I’ll be honest that I never read that fairy tale when I was a kid.

So in this book you have eleven princesses, all sisters and named after flowers alphabetically. The twelfth princess is born within the first chapter, but takes their mother – the queen – away. They immediately enter a period of mourning that is supposed to last a year. But the princesses have a love for dancing and they can’t seem to quit. So when they find a magical passageway in their room that leads to a ballroom where they can dance with no judgment from their father, it seems to be fate.

But it’s not. It turns out that the guardian of this magical dance floor – Mr. Keeper – has a task for the girls to complete in exchange for using his ballroom. He is in the ballroom because of a spell, and he needs them to find the magical object that is binding him there.

This book was okay. It had a really slow start, and sometimes the different princesses’ personalities drove me a little bit nuts. I mean, they’re trying to entertain all these gentlemen, but instead they chase them away with their practical jokes. And I agreed with Mr. Keeper near the end when they called them ‘too trusting.’ I mean, c’mon! There’s a magical ballroom in a secret passageway in your room, and you just start dancing right away? You don’t even question what it’s doing there? Or who the hell this Mr. Keeper is? I’ll give points to Azalea for being wary of him from the start…but GAH! Her search for the magical object drove me insane.
Azalea: Maybe it’s the sugar teeth?
Me: It’s the handkerchief!
Azalea: It’s not the sugar teeth. Maybe it’s the sword?
Me: It’s the handkerchief!
Azalea: It’s not the sword. Oh, my sister’s went to the ballroom. I have to go after them! …Oh, is that mother? Mother, I’ll place the handkerchief on the your face. Oh, dear why is it melting your face?
Me: Because that’s not your mother, and holy crap! It’s the HANDKERCHIEF!


Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. I liked the way Azalea, Mr. Branford, and the King developed over the course of the book. But I’m still curious as to what exactly happened with the King’s bullet wound that was supposed to kill him, but didn’t.

Bookshelf worthy? If you love retellings about fairy tales, then yes. Otherwise rent it from your library!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Morganville Vampires Series Book #14: Fall of Night by Rachel Caine

At the end of the last book, Claire told Amelie that she was finally taking her up on her offer to leave for MIT and that she wanted her to allow Shane to leave too if he wanted. When this book starts, Claire is actually doing it. She’s leaving Morganville in the pre-dawn to go and achieve her dream.

But Shane isn’t going with her. Claire hasn’t 100% forgiven him yet for believing that she would cheat on him with Michael, and she really wants to try and do this on her own. She wants to make sure that their relationship can survive them being apart.

The best laid plans… Shane follows Claire to Boston, and watches her just to make sure that she will be all right. The crazy thing is, Shane isn’t the only stalker that Claire has to deal with. Her roommate – and BFF from high school – Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend Derrick has been stalking her for ages. And that’s just the start of the craziness outside of Morganville.

Claire’s independent study professor – Irene Anderson – is a former resident of Morganville and Myrinn’s former assistant too. She helps Claire with her project – the device she was working on in the last book that can, in theory, take a vampire emotion and neutralize it. A weapon like that could be dangerous, and as the book goes on it does.

Turns out Irene is one of those anti-vampire residents of Morganville. In fact, she was the reason that the vampires didn’t find a cure for their disease quicker. But she isn’t alone. Some organization, called The Daylight Foundation, has been helping her with her research.

This is another book that drove me absolutely crazy at the end. It was a great book – Claire outside of Morganville, trying to fit in, hating her roommate, missing Shane – but then it turned into a total WTF moment. What exactly is the Daylight Foundation? No answer is really given and just when you think that it won’t matter, Claire and the gang go back to Morganville and don’t exactly get welcomed back with open arms.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The plot was good. I just wished that Claire could have been in Boston without so much drama for a little longer. And what the hell is the Daylight Foundation???

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your local library!

Morganville Vampires Series Book #13: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

The draug are gone and Morganville is on it’s way back to becoming what it once was. But not in a good way. Now that Amelie has no enemies left, she believes she is top of the food chain and she reintegrates the old rule of Morganville.

Vampires get free reign and one free hunt every year.

Things have changed and Claire and the Glass House gang are trying to keep the humans from declaring all out war. But it’s getting hard especially when the humans start coming after them.

So, this book drove me absolutely nuts. I mean, seriously. You would think that Amelie would realize that it was because of the humans that she was able to survive the attack of the draug. You would also think that the human residents of Morganville would rally around Eve and Michael because Michael used to be one of them, and he hasn’t really changed all that much – except for the whole vampire thing. But he isn’t like the other vamps.

Then the whole Naomi thing was just so frustrating. I mean, you would think that considering these vampires know what she is capable of and that she is from Amelie’s bloodline that she would try to make a play for the throne. Especially because she already tried when the draug were attacking in the last book. That’s why Oliver made an attempt to kill her…but didn’t succeed. It turns out, the reason that Amelie is going back to the old ways of Morganville is because Oliver – who is being controlled by Naomi – has been whispering in her ear.

The sickest thing is that Oliver isn’t the only one who was being controlled. Hannah gets controlled, and Michael too when he goes out to find Captain Obvious. I literally threw the book across the room when Naomi took control of Michael and told him to break up with Eve. And the way he made Eve – who was in the hospital – believe that things were over between them… GAH. I seriously sat in shock for a few minutes.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved the plot. I loved being disgusted with characters and their actions. I loved Claire’s ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude after everything settled. The only thing that made me nervous about the ending was the fact that she hadn’t quite forgiven Shane for his actions during the whole Michael under Naomi’s control thing.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your local library!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Morganville Vampires Series Book #12: Black Dawn by Rachel Caine

At the end of the last book, Claire and her friends were dealing with the affects of what the master draug – a water based vampire race that the other vamps are afraid of – had done their fellow vampire friends including the Founder Amelie. She was bitten by Magnus and is slowly becoming a draug. The race is on to kill Magnus before it is too late.

Just in case that wasn’t enough, Black Dawn also deals with Eve and Michael’s toxic relationship and how they’re dealing with the fallout from his attack on her at the end of the last book. They both know that he didn’t mean it, because he had been fed on by draug for days, but they both realize what he’s capable of now. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Their just now realizing what Michael is capable of? Are you serious? He’s a freaking vampire! How could you not be aware of what Michael can do? This plot line of the Morganville books has been bugging me for a while. Sometimes it makes for a good laugh or ‘aw’ moments, but there are others where I can’t help but be like – you live with him, you sleep with him, and you seriously forget what he is?

Shane, Claire, and Myrinn also have their own drama as well. Claire is pissed off at Myrinn again because not only did he make her leave Shane behind during a mission – the draug were going to feed and kill him, but surprise he’s still alive – but he also used her as bait to lure Magnus to the Glass House. While Shane was captured though, the draug forced him to dream about the perfect life he’s always wanted but can never achieve. After he’s dragged out of the pool, he’s still dealing with what he saw and…man. Shane sometimes really needs a clue.

Miranda – Eve’s psychic friend who’s always helped the gang as much as she can – dies while helping Claire run from Magnus. Richard Morell – the mayor and only redeeming member of the Morell family – dies too. There aren’t a lot of humans that the gang can turn to to help them anymore. Sure, there’s Hannah the police chief but after what happened to Richard – who she was apparently in love with, who knew? – she might not be too keen to help them anytime soon.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This book was good, really, it’s just that I’m getting tired of Amelie and Oliver’s game of power, Monica’s bitchiness, and Shane’s ‘I’m not good’ routine. However, it is going to be interesting to see what Amelie does now that she’s been to the brink of…whatever…and came back.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or support your local library!

Monday, April 14, 2014

1-800-WHERE-R-YOU Series Book #4: Sanctuary by Meg Cabot

So out of all the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU books, I always liked this one the best. Not only because the drama intensifies – a hate group who kills and kidnaps kids – but because instead of waiting 100 some pages to show up, Rob is present from the second chapter on.

Oh, and did I happen to mention he’s gotten over the fact that Jess and him shouldn’t be together because of his probation? …Well, okay, not really but he’s dealing with it better than he has in the past three books – he even calls Jess his girlfriend at one point and gets annoyed that she hasn’t introduced him yet to her parents. But hey, let’s focus on the hate group The True Americans, who are responsible for all of the trouble in this book.

Right. So, this white supremacist hate group believe that the whites are the supreme race and that any other race is a disgrace to the country and must be taken care of. That’s why they killed Nate Thompkins – a black kid who moved into the neighborhood recently – burned down the synagogue and kidnapped a Jewish boy (who’s name escapes me at the moment) and are about to kill him when Rob and Jess show up on the scene to rescue him.

But like with most plans in books, something goes wrong.

As usual, I love Meg Cabot’s writing style, it’s quick and witty and she writes those villains so well that you’re rooting for the protagonist to overcome… or in Jess’s case punch him in the nose. I just feel that this book, considering for the longest time was the last one in the series, could have been a little bit longer. Like what happened at the end? How did Jess’s parents take it when she introduced Rob as her boyfriend?

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Loved the characters as always, and finally got some more Rob/Jess action that made me smile with glee. Just wished that the book had been a little bit longer.

Bookshelf worthy? Seriously I need a bigger room so I can get more bookshelves.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

So in the Blue Bloods series, Melissa de la Cruz created a world where vampires were actually angels of heaven who had fallen. In Witches of East End, she creates a world with witches and their origin stories aren’t revealed to near the end of the book. When I read their origin stories I was kind of shocked because I didn’t really see it coming.

Anyway, so in the town of East End there lives this family of witches; there’s Joanna, the mother, who’s power deals with life, Ingrid, one of Joanna’s daughters, who’s power deals with healing, and Freya, who’s power deals with love. When the book begins, it’s Freya’s engagement party. She’s marrying this guy named Bran Gardiner who met her at a party where she accidentally showed him her boobs. Freya is frantic because she’s met Bran’s brother, Killian, and there’s an attraction there that she can’t find in herself to deny. In fact at her engagement party she and Killian do the deed in the bathroom and that’s just the start of their affair.

Although I really wanted their relationship to be a major plot line in this book, it really isn’t. The major plot line has to deal with the witches and the power that they wield. Apparently, thanks to the Salem Witch Trials, the girls can’t practice their magic or else they will face consequences from the Council. But after centuries of not practicing, the girls start to anyway. Freya makes love potions. Ingrid has mini practice from her job at the library, where she removes silver colored tumors from women who can’t conceive, creates knots to keep men faithful, and anything else that her patients bring to her. Joanna can bring people back from the dead if she decides that it wasn’t their time to go yet.

But something odd is going on in East End. It starts with the silver masses that Ingrid takes out of her friend Tabitha, which somehow start showing up in the ocean. Then a customer that was served one of Freya’s potions goes missing, and the mayor of the town kills himself. All these things are apparently connected, and some begin to point fingers at the witches.

I won’t give away what happens, but whoa! Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t see the witches’ origin stories coming! I shouldn’t have expected anything less from this author though.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. There were some parts that dragged and the ending felt a little rushed, but otherwise, I really liked these characters – especially Killian – and I loved the cameo appearance by Mimi Force. Talk about a good tie in.

Bookshelf worthy? If only I had the room…

Monday, April 7, 2014

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Remy Starr thinks she has everything figured out when it comes to love. She has it down to a science. But the summer she graduates from high school everything she thinks she knows about it is put to the test.

It starts – like they all do – with a chance meeting. Remy is meeting with her future step-dad about the wedding preparations (it’s her mother’s fifth wedding) when a guy bumps her into the wall inflaming her temper and starting a roller coaster ride. The guy is Dexter and he’s in a band, more specifically the band that plays for her mother’s wedding reception. It’s not the only time that these two bump into each other and because they are thrown together so many times, Remy finally caves in.

To me, Remy is a combination of characters. She’s partly Colie from Keeping the Moon and she’s also a bit of Haley from the Someone Like You/That Summer movie How to Deal. She’s very critical and cynical of love – blame her mother’s multiple failed marriages. Not to mention she also has it in her mind that because it’s the summer before she goes off to college – she got into Stanford – she needs to leave with no attachments.

You would think, because she’s already broken so many of her rules when it comes to boys and her life, that she would see that just one more needs to be broken when it comes to Dexter. But then again, if she did that, we wouldn’t have much of a book, would we?

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved that Scarlett Thomas – Haley’s best friend from Someone Like You – makes a cameo appearance, it was nice to see her doing so well after having Grace. Remy is another one of my favorite characters, because she knows she’s a bitch and she’s okay with it – most of the time. I also loved that her mom was a romance novelist who was working on a new book – even if it made me feel guilty for not writing my own stuff.

Bookshelf worthy? I’ve read this book so many times that I finally bought my own copy.

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

So, after the disaster that was Fast Women, Maybe This Time was a breath of fresh air…sort of.

Andie Miller was married ten years ago to North Archer, when the book begins she is about to visit him to return all his alimony checks that he has sent her over the last decade. She figures that to finally move on from that part of her life, she needs to do this. What she doesn’t expect is to be roped into a job. It turns out that North is the guardian to two kids who are living in a house that is out of town. The kids were being taken care of by their aunt – who died – and then some nannies, but the kids seemed to have run them out. The kids – Carter and Alice – seem to have some ‘problems.’ North asks Andie to go to the house and look after the kids for a month and try to convince them to move to the house he has set up for them in Columbus. She accepts the job – it pays 10 grand, eliminating all her debt – and goes to the house not knowing what she’s really getting herself into.

The house that the kids are staying in is really old, like brought over from England two hundred years ago old. There is a history behind the house, and along with it are ghosts who are haunting the kids. One – Miss J – has taken a liking to Alice, which is why the kids can’t leave. Their aunt May tried to take them out of the house and died because of it. But May is also haunting the house, taking an interest in Andie.

After some crazy s̩ances, another death, a power hungry news reporter and a few exorcisms Рyou finally think that everything is going to be okay.

Ha-ha. Not.

May, who seems really nice at the beginning, just a curious ghost turns out to be a total bitch. She’s been in love with North for years, but he would never come to the house to visit her even though she was taking care of his charges. She died at nineteen so she feels that her life was cut too short, and since North never loved her but loves Andie, she decides to possess her body. Thankfully, Alice, Carter, and North realize what’s going on and exorcise her too. But damn. This was definitely a weird romance novel.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Plot was interesting, not your normal romance/mystery novel. The characters had some pop to them. But that ending…what the actual hell? Not the best book to read either during a windstorm.

Bookshelf worthy? Electronic or rent from your public library.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie

Possible ways that I wanted to start this book review:
  • “Pity Party table for every character in this book.”
  • “If only this book was about women who drove fast cars, because then I would have hoped they would have driven over a cliff.”
How I’m actually going to start this review – Jennifer Crusie may be one of my favorite authors, but I think I found one of her worst books. This book took me three days to read and drove me insane with hate the whole way.

I’m not even going to go into the plot of the story too much, I’m going to just talk about the characters without last names because dude, I’m not going to even try to spell them. So:

Nell – basically she’s supposed to be the main character of the story. She just divorced her husband Tim, who she also used to work for. When the book begins she’s trying to get a new job at a private investigator firm that has had better days. She’s strong willed and stubborn, but her biggest character flaw is that she always compromises against the controlling men in her life. Annoying.

Suze – is the ‘young child bride’ (she’s 32) who is married to Jack and doesn’t want to be alone. She gets a job working for the same PI firm that Nell works for, but when her husband finds out she quits to make him happy, which in the end doesn’t really matter because she leaves her husband anyway because – SHOCKER – he cheated on her.

Gabe – the head of the PI firm and stubborn as a mule. I’m not sure what exactly it is that Nell sees in him, because he is so controlling and tells her on multiple occasions that she is only a secretary and that she needs to do what she is told. He is an ass and gah. I didn’t like his character at all.

Riley – shockingly I thought he was going to be the one redeeming character in this book because of how well he took care of Nell at the beginning, but shockingly he became an ass too. He’s Gabe’s partner/cousin and at one of the scenes where he’s trying to reassure Suze about her marriage ending he basically guilt trips her into realizing that it was her fault that Jack cheated on her. What kind of guy does that?

There are more characters that are somewhat pivotal to the plotline, especially when it comes to the reveal of the murder mystery, but they all just suck. At one point near the end of the book, Nell’s apartment goes up in flames and I kind of wished that this book had too.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. I was rooting for all the characters to die in this book, because they were just so – poor me, wahh – throughout the whole novel. This is not Jennifer Crusie at all.

Bookshelf worthy? No. I don’t even recommend renting it from your library. Save yourself the 359 pages of fury.