Literati's Literary List

literati_rain66 Friday, December 31, 2010
Well. Here it is, New Year's Eve. My reading goal this year was only fifty books, and I exceeded my goal, so that's exciting. Normally my goal is 100 or more, but I made an exception this year because I had my second son, Logan, in April. I knew that 100 books was unrealistic with a new baby. Although I didn't get as much reading done as I normally do, it was a fantastic, memorable year.

Anyhow, this is a list of all the books I read cover-to-cover for the first time in 2010.

1. Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris (Jan 4th)
2. Glass Houses - Rachel Caine (Jan 7th)
3. Splendor - Anna Godbersen (Jan 10th)
4. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Jan 13th)
5. The Hollow - Jessica Verday (Jan 18th)
6. The Splendor Falls - Rosemary Clement-Moore (Jan 19th)
7. The Dead Girls' Dance - Rachel Caine (Jan 21)
8. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead (Jan 22)
9. Frostbite - Richelle Mead (Jan 26)
10. Lover Unbound - J. R. Ward (Jan 30)
11. Rogue - Rachel Vincent (Feb 1)
12. Pride - Rachel Vincent (Feb 5th)
13. Lover Enshrined - J. R. Ward (Feb 7)
14. Fallen - Lauren Kate (Feb 12)
15. Skin Game - Ava Gray (Feb 14)
16. First Drop of Crimson - Jeaniene Frost (Feb 19)
17. Shift - Rachel Vincent (Feb. 21)
18. Midnight Alley - Rachel Caine (Feb 22)
19. As You Wish - Jackson Pearce (Feb 23)
20. Zombie Queen of Newbury High - Amanda Ashby (Feb 24)
21. Angels' Blood - Nalini Singh (March 3)
22. The Dark Divine - Bree Despain (March 5)
23. Anxious Hearts ARC - Tucker Shaw (March 6)
24. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (March 7)
25. Moon Called - Patricia Briggs (March 9)
26. Unshapely Things - Mark Del Franco (March 11)
27. Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead (March 11)
28. Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine (March 13)
29. Divine By Mistake - P. C. Cast (March 19th)
30. Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione (March 21)
31. Blood Oath ARC - Christopher Farnsworth (March 23)
32. Lord of Misrule - Rachel Caine (March 25)
33. Blood Promise - Richelle Mead (March 27)
34. Old Magic - Marianne Curley (March 28)
35. Fire - Kristin Cashore (March 30)
36. Firespell - Chloe Niell (April 2nd)
37. All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris (April 4th)
38. Never Cry Werewolf - Heather Davis (April 4th)
39. The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting (April 21st)
40. Archangel's Kiss - Nalini Singh (May 5th)
41. Blue Diablo - Anne Aguirre (May 9th)
42. The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong (May 11th)
43. Unquiet Dreams - Mark Del Franco (May 15th)
44. The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong (May 17th)
45. Hell Fire - Anne Aguirre (May 19th)
46. The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan (May 25th)
47. Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews (June 1st)
48. Spirit Bound - Richelle Mead (June 5th)
49. Girl Parts ARC - John M. Cusick (June 6th)
50. Glimmerglass - Jenna Black (June 9th)
51. Son of the Shadows - Juliet Marillier (June 13th)
52. You ARC- Charles Benoit (June 19th)
53. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa (June 24th)
54. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare (June 28th)
55. White Cat - Holly Black (June 29th)
56. Dead Beautiful ARC- Yvonne Woon (July 4th)
57. Sisters Red - Jackson Pearce (July 7th)
58. Raised By Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes (July 9th)
59. Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles (July 12th)
60. Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins (July 13th)
61. Bruiser ARC - Neal Shusterman (July 16th)
62. Stork ARC - Wendy Delsol
63. Prophecy of the Sisters - Michelle Zink
64. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare (July 29th)
65. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver (August 5th)
66. The Secret to Lying  ARC- Todd Mitchell (August 14th)
67. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare (August 23rd)
68. The Duff ARC - Kody Keplinger (August 26th)
69. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (September 3rd)
70. Clockwork Angel ARC- Cassandra Clare (September 10th)
71. Firelight ARC- Sophie Jordan (September 12th)
72. Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs (September 24th)
73. The Big Crunch ARC - Pete Hautman (September 26th)
74. Hurricane Mia - Donna Marie Seim (September 30th)
75. Alpha - Rachel Vincent (October 5th)
75. Sea - Heidi R. Kling (October 9th)
76. First Grave on the Right ARC- Darynda Jones (October 14th)
77. The School for Dangerous Girls - Eliot Schrefer (October 23rd)
78. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong (October 29th)
79. Carpe Corpus - Rachel Caine (November 13th)
80. Bayou Moon - Ilona Andrews (November 24th)
81. Darkest Mercy ARC - Melissa Marr
82. Strings Attached ARC - Judy Blundell (November 25th)
83. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters ARC- Natalie Standiford
84. The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott
85. The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan
86. The Altar of Bones ARC- Philip Carter
87. Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead

Really Ravishing Review (The Altar of Bones)

literati_rain66 Tuesday, December 28, 2010 ,
Altar of BonesReview of The Altar of Bones, by Philip Carter. 

Quickie: A fast-paced new thriller. Loved the conspiracy, it was devilish!

Full: Zoe Dmitroff is on the run. She's got a postcard of riddles, a letter from her recently murdered grandmother, and no idea what she's looking for or running from. She's left her entire life behind- her precious kitties and her career defending abused and neglected wives- to puzzle out her grandmother's cryptic clues and discover her own ancestry.

Ry O'Malley is waiting. He's out for blood, but he must unravel the threads surrounding his priestly brother's murder and follow his father's sordid history back until he uncovers the truth and sets things right.

But what is The Altar of Bones? Nobody really seems to know- but everyone wants it. In fact, they want it so badly they're willing to kill for it. And they do. Could it be just a hidden altar made of bones and that's all? Or is it something more? Is it even an altar? Or is it what some folks believe- a fountain of youth. Ry and Zoe have to find out the secret of the altar before they're both killed and the secret's either lost forever or lands in the wrong hands.

What an interesting book. There is a lot of action- I mean a lot. I really loved most of the suspense and edge-of-your-seat action, but there were a few times when I had to put the book down because I was simply exhausted from it all. One car chase in particular would have been a sight to see on the big-screen, but felt too long in a book. I lost my steam in that one. I actually sighed and thought, "Okay, I get it. You're being chased, can we move on?" Other than that though, I did enjoy the suspense and mystery surrounding the conspiracy. And what a conspiracy! I can't say much without spoiling, but I can say that I never saw that one coming. It was a fascinating choice.

Ry and Zoe are adorable. I loved them both from the start. Their romance was intense and believable, but didn't get in the way of the mystery. It developed naturally and slowly, as it should.

A little predictable at times, but that wasn't necessarily bad. It would be a great movie for sure.

All in all, I enjoyed reading The Altar of Bones.

4 out of 5 stars.

Wonderfully Wintery Winners!

literati_rain66 Friday, December 24, 2010
And we have a winner! Or two, as the case may be.

Adult Winner (The Altar of Bones) - SiNn

YA Winner (Strings Attached) - Jennifer (pinkpeonyblossoms)

Winners will be receiving an email from me momentarily. Prizes will be shipped after Christmas.

Congrats to the winners, and a big thanks to everyone who entered!

Merry Midwinter Marvels

literati_rain66 Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another giveaway hop! Hosted by the lovely Inspired Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

To Enter:
*Leave a comment on this post.
*Include your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
*Include your most treasured winter memory in the comment. (I love reading them!)
*Must be a follower of this blog (it's simple and painless, I promise)
*Must indicate your preferred choice, adult or YA

US & Canada only.

Giveaway runs from 12:01 AM December 21st - 11:59 PM December 22nd.

What you get:

Altar of Bones
Adult Prize- An ARC of The Altar of Bones, by Philip Carter


Strings Attached
YA Prize- An ARC of Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell

My Magnificent Mailbox #22

literati_rain66 Sunday, December 19, 2010
In My Mailbox is a weekly Meme brought to you by The Story Siren

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
Kenny & the Dragon, by Toni DiTerlizzi
What I Saw And How I Lied, by Judy Blundell
ARC of Monster Slayers, by Lukas Ritter
ARC of Unveiled, by Courtney Milan
ARC of Tiger's Curse, by Colleen Houck

Really Ravishing Review (The Lost Hero)

literati_rain66 Friday, December 17, 2010 , ,
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost HeroReview of The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan. 

Quickie: Fantastic! A must-read for fans of the Percy Jackson series, to be sure.

Full: I know, I know. There's no Percy. I've heard more than a few people say they weren't sure if the wanted to read this new series since Percy wasn't the main character. To those people I say- Read it! Jason, Leo, and Piper are lovable new characters that I was instantly attached to. Plus... I'm quite sure we will be seeing Percy very soon.

Jason is a student at the Wilderness School, a dumping ground for troublesome kids. He's got a girlfriend, Piper, and a hyper-active best friend named Leo. The problem? He doesn't remember how he got there, how he came to be Piper's boyfriend, or anything else- anything at all. His memory is entirely erased.

All three of them have shady pasts, Leo lost his mother to a fire that he was blamed for, Piper is amazingly good at getting people to hand over their BMW's, and Jason, well, Jason doesn't know exactly what he's done.

On a class field trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason and his friends are attacked by storm spirits, their Coach suddenly sprouts goat legs, and they are swept up into a world entirely new to them- the world of half-bloods, demi-gods and monsters. They are taken to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn about their parents and Jason struggles to uncover his past. While there, they discover that Zeus has locked up Mount Olympus and the gods aren't speaking to anybody, not even their children. This is a big problem though, because even though the Titans were defeated by Percy and his gang, there is an older evil threatening to rise up and demolish the world. Jason and his friends must find this evil, conquer it, and survive... in four days!

As a general rule, I don't like amnesia as a plot. It feels like a cop-out. But in this case, it completely worked, had a purpose, and made the story very interesting. It was also a convenient way to re-introduce the reader to the demi-god world. (Or introduce for the first time, whatever the case may be)

It was so nice to see some of my old favorite characters (Annabeth, Chiron, Clarisse, and others make appearances) in the familiar, comfortable world of Camp Half-Blood. It was fun getting to see it all again from a fresh perspective and to see all the things that changed as a result of Percy and his actions. Very cool.

The Lost Hero's heroes (hehe) are in their mid-teens, which gives it the vibe of a YA, not a mid-grade. Truthfully though, I liked that. I like when a series grows with its' audience. (Harry Potter, for example.) There was more focus on potential romances than in the Percy series, where the romance didn't really come in until the last few books.

I loved the new mythology plot that Riordan added to The Lost Hero. When I first learned that there was going to be a new series set in the same world but with new characters I was stoked. Then I thought about it, and I started wondering if it was really going to be all that good. After all, what more could happen? Would new characters really be all that was needed?? I didn't think so, and I was a little hesitant to read this new series. But lo and behold; a new line of mythology! Yes! That's exactly what was needed to keep things interesting. I really liked how Riordan introduced the Roman mythology. It really was a brilliant way to liven things up and keep the story moving.

The characters were, as I said before, lovable. Piper is Cherokee, and her father is a famous movie-star. Piper loves her father, but hardly gets the time of day from him with his busy schedule and travel. She steals things, or convinces people to give them to her, as a way to get attention (negative attention is still attention) from her father. She is/was Jason's girlfriend, but learns that their whole relationship, all those good memories were just a trick of the Mist. So what's real? Her feelings for him are real. But what are they based on? False memories? Or the present?

Leo is ADHD and is always pulling random bits of junk out of his pockets and fiddling with them. He often feels like the third-wheel to the maybe-possibly-kind-of romance that Piper and Jason have going on. He's spunky, fun, and trying desperately to come to grips with his past.

Jason, of course, doesn't know who he is. Apparently, he has a girlfriend. But what about the life he left behind? Was there a girl in that life? Would he be doing something wrong by liking Piper? And the big question- Why is he here? Who put him here and how?

If you are one of those people who - like me - had some doubts about this new series, I hope you can see that they are unnecessary. The Lost Hero was everything a Percy fan could hope for in a new branch of the same story. Give it a try.

5 out of 5 stars.

Only One Opinion (The Unwritten Rule)

literati_rain66 Monday, December 13, 2010 ,
The Unwritten RuleReview of The Unwritten Rule, by Elizabeth Scott. 

Quickie: Not a bad story, wasn't pleased with the babbly-writing though.

Full: Sarah likes Ryan. Brianna is Sarah's best friend. Ryan and Brianna are dating. Ryan likes Sarah back. Ouch.

The plot is a simple one, but it's very real and fraught with emotion and pain. Sarah has liked Ryan since the 8th grade, but somehow her best friend Brianna ended up dating him. If I had to classify Sarah and Brianna's friendship, I'd call it "The Garden" kind of friendship. Sarah is the gardner, never seen, but always there to tend and support The Rose, aka Brianna. Brianna just eats up the attention. What I loathed about their friendship though, is how Brianna is constantly slamming Sarah, and Sarah just takes it. I was pretty mad at both of them through the whole thing. I sided with Sarah, of course, because even though I sympathized with Brianna about her cold-hearted parents, it wasn't an excuse for her to treat Sarah like dirt.

And poor Sarah. She tried so hard to be there and support Brianna, even when she was desperately in love with Brianna's boyfriend. I can't even imagine it. Watching them kiss, being forced to tag along as the third wheel, the whole time wishing he was hers. Brianna treated them both horribly. She was just playing with Ryan, she obviously didn't care a bit about him.

And Ryan, what was the deal with him? He liked Sarah for forever... but went out with Brianna because it was easier? Because Brianna showed an interest? Please. That's a mega-lame excuse. "Oh, well, I've liked you since we first met, but your best friend flirted with me, so I decided to date her and make out with her instead. Sorry for not even trying." Lame!!

Brianna was a horrible, horrible friend all around. She acted like Sarah was her personal assistant, not her best friend. Yeah, I get that they've shared some good times. But telling your friend she "might get a freshman guy"to go out with her because she's not hot and no other guy would notice her- That's so uncool. Her parental situation was awful. I felt for her there and I didn't want her to lose Sarah's friendship, because clearly she really needed somebody to love her. But she went about it in the worst way possible.

Sarah was sweet and supportive and was really torn up about the whole situation. I didn't really see what she saw in Ryan, but hey. That wasn't really the point. He was nice enough, and I liked their conversations, but his weak personality didn't appeal to me at all.

My biggest beef was the rambly writing. In some places it worked, but there were a lot of spots where some clear and concise writing could have really improved it. I understand that it was an emotion-based book, but does the entire thing have to read like a run-on sentence?

I didn't not like it. But it doesn't compare to other books I've given four stars to, so I'm giving it-

3 1/2 stars out of 5.

My Magnificent Mailbox #21

literati_rain66 Sunday, December 12, 2010
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Armos Daragon, by Bryan Perro
ARC of The Year of Past Things, by M. A. Harper
ARC of Bitter Melon, by Cara Chow
ARC of Pushing Past the Night, by Mario Calabresi
ARC of The Altar of Bones, by Philip Carter

Only One Opinion (Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters)

literati_rain66 Thursday, December 9, 2010 ,
Review of Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, by Natalie Standiford.

Confessions Of The Sullivan Sisters Quickie: Interesting idea, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Full: First off, let me say that I found the plot idea fascinating. An old aristocrat grandmother demands confessions from her grandchildren in order to put them back in the will... and nobody knows exactly which confession she's looking for. The Sullivan parents were difficult and amusing to read. Difficult because they really weren't very stellar parents, and amusing for the same reason.

Norrie is the first sister we read of, and she's the oldest girl in the family of six children. I liked Norrie. She tried really hard to be responsible, but love has a way of making itself the sole priority in a girl's life. I was rooting for Norrie and her love the whole time.

Next up is Jane, the firecracker of the group. In Norrie's point of view, I wasn't all that fond of Jane. Her rebellious nature was shocking and annoying at time. But reading from Jane's point of view, I thought she was awesome. A little too crazy for me to want to be her bestie, but fun to read.

Sassy was the sweet, sensitive younger sister. The one who cried the most and internalized everyone else's problems. I had a hard time understanding her confessions, and I just didn't see how she could blame herself for her transgressions. She was a sweetheart though.

My biggest problem, and the reason I give this book 3 stars, was the ending. For so much buildup the ending lacked the climatic peak that I enjoy. It was like a balloon that you puff and puff to blow up, but instead of tying it off you let it go and it just deflates back into a shriveled piece of rubber. Bleh. It had potential, but I didn't feel like it was as good as it could have been.

So, while it was amusing and interesting, I have to give it-

3 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Strings Attached)

literati_rain66 Thursday, November 25, 2010 , ,
Review of Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell. Hardcover publication March 2011.

Quickie: Strings Attached caught me by surprise. It was a treat to read.

Full: I'll admit, Strings Attached wasn't in my 'priority' pile. But then I saw a Tweet from Literaticat, saying she enjoyed it. My interest was peaked, so I decided to pick it up. I went in cold turkey, which is more fun in my opinion. Wow. What a gem.

Normally I read books with paranormal elements, but it's refreshing to read things that are in the "normal world".

Kit Corrigan is an aspiring actress, singer, and dancer from Providence, Rhode Island. She packs her bags and heads to the city- the only city where her big dreams can come true in the 1950's- New York. She's rooming with an atrocious girl and her atrocious mother, scraping by and working in a no-name show and trying to find her big break.

Opportunity comes knocking in an unlikely form- Kit's ex-boyfriend's father. Billy, the ex, is away in the army. His father Nate is a well-known lawyer in Providence, with clients in New York as well.  He finds Kit at her theatre and offers her an apartment, free of charge, if only she'll write a letter to Billy and try to get him to come home for Thanksgiving. You see Billy and his father aren't exactly on speaking terms, and Kit is the only way that Nate has any chance of seeing his boy.

The deal seems harmless enough, and she really does need a better place to stay, so she reluctantly agrees. Quickly, Kit discovers that one little deal can lead to more, bigger, complicated deals that she can't say no to. You can't say no to the man who houses you, dresses you, and gets you one of the best jobs in town now can you? Not without losing it all anyway.

Suddenly Kit finds herself stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Nate's suspicious favors slowly increasing in danger and Kit with no other options. Plot threads cross and join and split and marry in a nail-biting ride. Skeletons come out of many closets, some from Kit's own family and many, many secrets are revealed in this delicious tale of life and troubles in the 1950's.

I loved Kit and her family. They were flawed, but honest and loving. They were all such rich, believable characters. I absolutely loved going back in time to be with them, to observe their lives and share their feelings. It never ceases to fascinate me how much I love reading historical fiction. The past is as much a mystery to me as the future or author created worlds. I've not been there, so it's new and exciting.

At first I thought the title was kind of meh, but after reading the book it made total sense and I thought it was perfect. The cover could be better, in my opinion. It didn't pull me in, or give any indication as to what the book may be like. It's pretty, but not my favorite. (Not criticizing the photographer or designer, just saying it didn't work for me) (Although on my copy you definitely cannot see the blue behind her; I think it's a curtain. If it's on the final copy, I approve. My copy, she just blends into a black background.)

Strings Attached was very well built and the suspense was doled out expertly. I wasn't in agony as to what would happen next, but I couldn't stop thinking about the story, I dreamed about the characters and put myself in the story-dream. I stayed up way too late reading it, and definitely neglected some house chores to sneak off and read. To me, that's the mark of a great book.

I'm well and truly impressed with Judy Blundell's work, and though I haven't read What I Saw And How I Lied, I now plan to.

4 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Bayou Moon)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, November 24, 2010 , ,
Bayou Moon (The Edge, Book 2)Review of Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews. 

Quickie: Better than On The Edge, in my opinion. (And I loved On The Edge) Brilliant.

Full: I think I may have to make an "Ilona Andrews" label here on the blog, because it's getting harder and harder to fit Andrews' books into genres. Not that I'm complaining, because their books break out of traditional genre cliches and slash and parry into the new. (I say 'their' because the Ilona Andrews pen name is for a married couple; Ilona and Andrew Gordon.)

Bayou Moon is the second book in The Edge series. It's not a "sequel", but "a novel of the Edge". You do see some characters from On The Edge, but it's mostly a brand new story. And it's marvelous.

We start out with William, a poor lost soul who thinks he isn't worth anything. It's an understandable feeling for him, since he's a changeling, and in Adrianglia they abhor and fear changelings. Mothers are permitted to give up their changeling baby, surrender them to the government. They are sent to orphanages until they are old enough to go to Hawk's Academy, where they are taught to kill. Because after all, that's all a changeling could possibly be good for, right? (insert maternal heartache here) He longs for companionship, for friends, for a family, but knows that his reality won't allow for all that. His reality is killing. It's what he was raised to do, and he's darn good at it. The best.

William (I keep wanting to type Squilliam Fancyson. Stinkin' Spongebob!) has been hired by The Mirror - Adrianglia's secret service of sorts- to hunt down a certain important article and kill the man who has it. This leads to even more interesting people, like The Hand. They are referred to as "the freaks", and generally I would dislike that, but for The Hand it's fitting and true. They are modified people, some modified so much that they are no longer human. They have tentacles and cilia and freakish super powers that make them terrifying and unpredictable. The leader of The Hand is Spider, who is of course the man William must hunt and kill.

On the way to Spider, William meets Cerise. Cerise is searching for her parents, who have been traded by her family's rivals, the Sheeriles, to The Hand for the deed to her grandfather's house. She doesn't know why The Hand would have an interest in her parents, but as the leader of the family in her father's absence, she must find them and save them. At the same time of course, the feud between her family and the Sheeriles has rekindled and they must fight for their land and pride.

Cerise lives in the Mire, where exiles have been cast and everyone is poor. It's dangerous land and one wrong move could result in your death. Families are large, and they fight tooth and nail for everything they have.

With their courses twined, Cerise and William share a perilous journey with uncertain consequences. Along the way, a romance buds. I loved, loved, loved the romance in Bayou Moon. It was real. They didn't bat their eyelashes and instantly want to get hitched and live happily ever after. They didn't even get along when they first met. They were suspicious of each other, and they goaded each other and laughed when the other fell. It was awesome. The more they got to know one another, the more they realized that "Hey, this person is really cool. Oh, and hey, I'm really impressed with his/her fighting abilities, magic, and perseverance. And would you look at that, they look quite nice when he/she is fighting... No! Must not think that!! But he/she is really funny, and what did he/she mean by ___??"

I loved it. It wasn't rushed, it wasn't forced, it was awesome.

How was the world, you ask? Divine, I say. With all of Ilona Andrews' books, you have to pay attention and let the world build itself in your head. Once it's there, it's fantastical. No important detail is overlooked, and the world is so very complete. Most books with big new worlds, I get the idea but there are blank spots on my picture. Not so in Bayou Moon. I felt like I could be transported there in real life and already know what I was facing and where to go. That's some massive talent right there.

The Hands freaks might be number one on my awesome list. I could imagine them so well, and they creeped me out utterly. The genius behind all these characters and world ideas... I'm still geeking out over it all.

I feel like I've written a book on this book... so I'll stop now. But if any of you Bayou Moon fans want somebody to geek with, I'm ready and willing!

For those of you who haven't read it and think it sounds like something you might like- GO. Read. Now.

5 of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #20

literati_rain66 Sunday, November 14, 2010
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From the library:
The Writing Habit, by David Huddle
Writing Romances, by Janet Daily, Jude Deveraux, Kathleen Eagle, Jo Beverly
Reading Like A Writer, by Francine Prose

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Prelude to a Scandal, by Delilah Marvelle
ARC of Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell
ARC of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
ARC of Precious and Fragile Things, by Megan Hart
ARC of Night Road, by Kristin Hannah

Fish! (A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results), by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen

Really Ravishing Review (Carpe Corpus)

literati_rain66 Saturday, November 13, 2010 ,
Review of Carpe Corpus, by Rachel Caine. (Morganville Vampires #6)
Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires, Book 6)

Spoiler Alert!: This is the 6th book in the series, so spoilers from the previous 5 books are highly likely!!

Quickie: Enjoyed it!

Full: Honestly, this would have been a satisfactory ending to the series for me. The book ended with hope, and I liked that. Bishop has taken control of Morganville, and things aren't pretty. Townsfolk are afraid for their lives, even in broad daylight. Not only are the humans running in fear, the vampires are too. Anyone not completely committed to Bishop will die. Then again, maybe some of them will die too... it's all just a big fun death game, with Bishop calling the shots. Claire and her lovable group of friends are the only people with the knowledge and power to do anything about it... but Clair has been marked by Bishop, forcing her to submit to his every desire. Shane is still in jail with his father, Michael is under Bishop's rule, and Eve is an unprotected human - easy prey. Claire, with the unstable Myrnin and her friends, must upend the new government that Bishop has erected and bring back order. Oh, and they can't get killed while doing it. ;-)

Carpe Corpus was another solid entry into the Morganville series. It wasn't my favorite of the six I've read, but it was good. I'll be interested to see if the next few books make the series feel stretched out, because I felt like this should be the last one. It seemed to tie up all of the plot threads just fine, unless I'm forgetting one.

My favorite character by far in this book was Myrnin. In other books he's been borderline terrifying. He's always been fascinating, but for some reason I really loved him in Carpe Corpus. Maybe it was the outfit... frock coats, Mardi-Gras beads and flip-flops. Love it. His randomness was amusing and endearing.

One thing I really love about all the Morganville books, is the relationship Claire has with her friends. I love the teasing, the loving atmosphere, the care-free friendliness. The zombie-killing games as a stress reliever is so perfect. It's all so real. It makes me want to go over to the Glass House, listen to Michael play his guitar, eat some chili, and play some video-games with them. They are just like the friends I used to have.

Will I read the next in the series? Yeah. But I'm a little afraid. This one ended so perfectly.

4 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #19

literati_rain66 Sunday, November 7, 2010
Before I get into my IMM stuff, I just want to apologize for my lack of posts lately. I have a few reasons for this silence on the blog. 1.) I lost the book I was reading. Ha! I'm almost done with it, so I didn't want to start a new one without finishing it. 2.) NaNoWriMo has sucked me in. I'm behind in my word count, so every spare few minutes I have away from the kids, pets, laundry, husband, etc. I've been giving to my story.

I found my book, but haven't had time to finish it. I'll try to get it done in the next few days so I can at least put up a review!

Okay, on to my IMM! (no picture right now, I can't seem to find my camera. I'm all sorts of lost!)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Amazon (hubby, you really must stop surprising me with books! Actually, no I'm kidding. Keep surprising me.):
The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman
The Ghost and the Goth, by Stacia Kade
Forgive My Fins, by Tera Lynn Childs

Hand-me-down from my sister:
Bringing Up Boys, by Dr. James Dobson

Completely Cool Cover

literati_rain66 Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I don't do this often, but I adore this series, so I'm going to do it! Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews has an official cover! (And yes, she gave permission to post it)

It fits right in with the rest of the series, but somehow, I like it more.


Wonderfully Wacky Winners!

literati_rain66 Monday, November 1, 2010
The Spooktacular Giveaway blog hop has ended, which means I have winners to announce!

Winner of prize pack number 1: April X

Winner of prize pack number 2: throuthehaze

Winner of prize pack number 3: Autumn

Congrats!! Thank you to everyone who entered, I enjoyed reading your favorite Halloween moments tremendously!

And I suppose I should share my favorite Halloween memory, which was just last night. :) We took the boys (ages nearly 3 and 6 months) trick-or-treating around downtown. My oldest was dressed as Buzz Lightyear, and my youngest was a monkey. They had SO much fun.

Really Ravishing Review (The Reckoning)

literati_rain66 Friday, October 29, 2010 ,
Click here to enter the SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY

Review of The Reckoning, by Kelley Armstrong.
The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3)

Warning: Spoilers for The Summoning and The Awakening! The Reckoning is book three, read the other two first!

Quickie: A wonderful resolution to a fantastic, fast-paced series.

Full: Chloe can raise the dead. Along with a few other teens, she's on the run from The Edison Group- a team of scientists with supernatural abilities attempting a genetic manipulation in other (unknowing) supernaturals. The Edison Group desires to minimize the effects of supernatural's powers and help the subjects have more control over their powers. Trouble is... the experiment went wrong. Instead of minimizing the effects, they maximized them. Now The Edison Group is trying to "fix" their mistakes... with bullets if necessary.

I'm a bit sad that this was the last book in the series, but I liked the way it ended. Kelley's writing is so smooth and easy to read, it's always a pleasure to read her books, and The Reckoning was no exception. I loved the pacing of the book, and the information was never dumped on us; but revealed slowly and with care. All three books kept me turning page after page, biting my nails in anticipation. I love that!

I don't think I had any nitpicks with this book, which is surprising. (heh) The romance was so very real- I'm pretty sure at one time or another I've been in the shoes of each different character. It was completely believable and sweet, I just wanted to hug them all. Chloe does finally decide between Simon and Derek, and I was all for her choice. :) It's a little weird, because normally I can choose my "team" right off the bat, and it seems obvious who the girl will choose in the end, but not so in this series. I hadn't made my choice until about the middle of The Reckoning- probably about the same time Chloe did. I like that. It made it just that much more real to me.

One of my favorite things about this book is how you really, truly don't know who you can trust. It kept my adrenaline pumping the whole stinkin' time.

If you are one of those people who need every plot thread capped off, then you might be frustrated with The Reckoning. There were some open ends, but nothing dire. In my opinion, it ended with a satisfying amount of hope.

4 out of 5 stars.

Splendid Spooky Swap

literati_rain66 Thursday, October 28, 2010
I signed up for the Spooky Swap, hosted by Travis over at Inked Books and Jessica from A Fanatic's Book Blog. What was the Spooky Swap? It was a special little thing for bloggers, kind of like Secret Santa, but for Halloween! Anyhow, it was great fun, and as part of the swap, I'm posting what I got in my package. :)

-A big Pumpkin Spice candle (which, as you can tell, I'm loving) (and yeah, the glass cracked, but it's still perfectly fine. :))
-Vampire Academy (which I love! And it's perfect because I love the book, but didn't own it.)
-A bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Not shown.. because they're already gone. Things like that don't last long in my house.)

Thanks so much to my secret Spook! ;-)

And for more spooky fun, don't miss out on my SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY!

Super Spooktacular Stuff

literati_rain66 Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm participating in the Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop, along with 87 other blogs! Make sure you check them all out! (They're in a Linky at the bottom of the post)

The Spooktacular 1st Prize Pack:

An ARC of First Grave on the Right, by Darynda Jones
The School for Dangerous Girls, by Eliot Schrefer
Anxious Hearts, by Tucker Shaw

The Spooktacular 2nd Prize Pack:
An ARC of Teenie, by Christopher Grant
The School for Dangerous Girls, by Eliot Schrefer
An ARC of The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman

The Spooktacular 3rd Prize Pack:
Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates, by Kim Kennedy
The Princess Trap, by Kirsten Boie
Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean Adventure, by Donna Marie Seim

To Enter:
*Leave a comment on this post with your email address.
*You must be a follower of this blog (It's simple and painless, I promise)
*In your comment, please tell me one of your favorite Halloween memories. :)

Three winners will be drawn from the entries. Prize packs will be given in the order the entries are drawn.

US & Canada only please. Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST, October 31st. Winners will be announced the following week.

Don't forget to check out these other Spooktacular Giveaways!


My Magnificent Mailbox #18

literati_rain66 Sunday, October 24, 2010
Fail! It's Monday again, and I thought it was only Sunday. *shakes head in shame* So here is my IMM post... late, as usual.    Wow. It IS Sunday. I can't believe that I thought it was Monday. *shakes head in more shame than before* Uhm, so here's my apparently right-on-time IMM.....

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme showcasing this week's book loot, brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Amazon (thank you hubby!!):
Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
Extraordinary, by Nancy Werlin
Personal Demons, by Lisa Desrochers
Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi
Bright Young Things, by Anna Godbersen
Shadow Hills, by Anastasia Hopcus

From the Spooky Swap:
Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead

Iona Moon, by Melanie Rae Thon
My Name Is Will, by Jess Winfield

Not a bad haul!!

What did you get? Have you read any of these?

Really Ravishing Review (The School for Dangerous Girls)

literati_rain66 Saturday, October 23, 2010 ,
Review of The School for Dangerous Girls, by Eliot Schrefer.
The School For Dangerous Girls 

Quickie: Surprisingly suspenseful, and completely infuriating. (In a good way)

Full: Angela has been deemed a "dangerous" girl. Her parents are done putting up with her, so they send her off to Hidden Oak, a reform institution in Middle-of-Nowhere, Colorado. Immediately it becomes clear that this is no ordinary school- it's more like a prison. A prison with a dictatorship and terrible mind games. Angela and the other new students have to go through a month-long "orientation" period, during which they discover video cameras throughout the school and that they get locked into their dorm rooms every night. The more Angela discovers, the clearer it is that she must escape.

The School for Dangerous Girls really took me by surprise. A little slow to get started, but only because things needed to be set up. Once the foundation was laid, however, the story took off. Angela is an interesting character... but she doesn't hold a candle to some of the other "dangerous girls". They're creepy and cruel and some are downright evil. I'm glad Angela wasn't one of those types because I would have had a tougher time understanding her.

As it was, I pretty much liked her. I didn't feel like she really deserved to be in such a crazy-messed-up place, and I really hated how they continuously said that this school was the very last chance any of the girls would get in life. They're young! They can always change. Humph. I hated the "they're hopeless" attitude that a lot of the faculty had. And whoa, nothing the staff did was legal. I was pleasantly infuriated multiple times. The unfairness and heavy-handedness was just horrible. (By pleasantly, I mean as much as I was upset, I was glad to be feeling something for the characters and wanting to help them)

I was honestly surprised how much I enjoyed the book. It was more suspenseful and creepy than I had anticipated. I was afraid it wouldn't end well, since there were only a few pages left and big things were still happening, but Schrefer somehow managed it. Overall, The School for Dangerous Girls was very entertaining.

4 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #17

literati_rain66 Monday, October 18, 2010
Oops. I realize it's Monday, and IMM posts are supposed to happen on Sunday... so let's just pretend I can remember what day of the week it is and call today Sunday, okay? Okay!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride
ARC of Recovery Road, by Blake Nelson
ARC of One Rough Man, by Brad Taylor

That's it!

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (First Grave on the Right)

literati_rain66 Thursday, October 14, 2010 , ,
Review of First Grave on the Right, by Darynda Jones. (Out Feb. 1st, 2011)
First Grave on the Right 
Quickie: A marvelous debut- I can't wait for more from Darynda Jones!

Full: Meet Charley Davidson, Private Investigator, 27 year old single woman, resident of Albuquerque, Grim Reaper. Yes, that's right. Charley ferries souls to "the other side". She also has a knack for knowing exactly where missing bodies are, where key evidence is, and who-done-it. She works as a consultant for her Uncle Bob, a member of the APD and is the secret to his success. When the spirits of three dead lawyers from the same firm come to her and ask her to find their killer, Charley is pulled into a scheme much larger and more dangerous than she imagined.

Sounds pretty good right? It gets better. There's another supernatural entity; a very, very yummy man, and he keeps, shall we say, visiting Charley in her dreams. She is not opposed to these visits, but she soon discovers there is a lot more to it than just a fun dream... there are lives at stake and whole wealth of information undiscovered about herself. That might not make sense now, but it will when you read the book.

First Grave on the Right was exactly the kind of book I love to read. Jones' humor was spot-on, I was laughing non-stop. I particularly enjoyed the names she gives to her feminine parts. I had to put the book down I was laughing so hard. Charley has the kind of attitude and snark that makes this genre of book so fun to read. She's tough but still feminine and doesn't take crap from anybody. Love it!

The only complaint I had was that I thought the ending needed a bit more struggle. I'm used to the conflict taking more of a toll on the characters I think. Not that the ending wasn't good, it was, I just wanted more meat to it.

A resounding success, First Grave on the Right is the first of three books in the Charley Davidson series. We can look forward to Second Grave on the Left, and Third Grave Dead Ahead.

I'm officially declaring myself a fan of Darynda Jones and the Charley Davidson series. If you're still not convinced of this book's awesomeness, maybe all the blurbs on the back cover will do the trick-

"The best debut novel I've read in years! Hilarious and heartfelt, sexy and surprising... I'm begging for the next one!!" -- J. R. Ward. #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Lover Avenged

"I am furiously envious of Darynda Jones and rue the day she came up with this concept, damn her eyes. First Grave on the Right...kidnapped me from the first paragraph, and didn't let go until the exceedingly yummy conclusion." -- Maryjanice Davidson, New York Times Bestselling Author of Undead and Unwelcome

"First Grave on the Right is smart, sharp, and wickedly entertaining. Grab this one." -- Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times Bestselling Author of Fired Up

"First Grave on the Right is witty, darkly thrilling, and oh, so sexy!" -- Gena Showalter, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Darkest Whisper

"First Grave on the Right is a phenomenal debut! This series opener has it all - rollicking humor, sizzling sexual tension, and a spine-tingling mystery. I'm eagerly awaiting the next Charley Davidson tale!" -- Kresley Cole, New York Times Bestselling Author of Pleasure of a Dark Prince

4 out of 5 stars

An Author Answers (Donna Marie Seim)

literati_rain66 Monday, October 11, 2010
Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean AdventureI had the opportunity recently to read and review Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean Adventure, by Donna Marie Seim. You can find my review here. Donna agreed to do a little Q and A for you all, and without further ado, I give you The Interview!

Literati: First, I'd like to get this out of the way- Go Bucks!! I had to. I'm an Ohio native, and I see that you're a graduate of Ohio State University.

Donna: Yay! Go- Bucks! Shannon, where in Ohio did you grow up? I was born and grew up in Cleveland!
        (L: Donna, I was born in Mansfield and raised in Mount Vernon, just about an hour North of Columbus.)

L: What inspired you to write Hurricane Mia? Was there anything specific? 

D:I love the Turks and Caicos Islands! I have been traveling there for many years and have visited all of the inhabited islands and many of the uninhabited Cays.  The turquoise waters, the wild donkeys, the people and the culture, along with bush medicine, all inspired me to write Hurricane Mia. Once I had decided to write a story about the islands, I then set about composing my main characters and soon had the idea for the core story, a search for the tea that cures everything. I  accomplished most of this while walking on the very beaches I wrote about. My goal was to write a story that would bring two cultures together,  the strength of the story relies on the relationship between the two girls, Mia and Neisha, beginning from the very moment they meet in front of the Green Flash Cafe. 

L: I've heard some authors say that they like to write because they can live vicariously through their characters, do you agree?
D: I am afraid that it is the opposite with me. My characters live through my experience and research. I love to make them come alive and I do want to share them and their foibles with my readers. But, no I cannot say I live through them. I must also admit that as I develop my characters they begin to take on their own traits and actions. I have to keep them in check so one doesn't overcome the other! It is one of the most fascinating parts of writing a novel!

L: I read in your bio that you spend time in the Caribbean. What sort of things do you do down there?
D: Yes, I spend a great deal of time in the Caribbean. My husband and I have renovated a small house and we live there on a part time basis. We enjoy taking eco tours and small boating trips to the undeveloped islands and exploring the uninhabited ones. We enjoy the people and the music, we have fed the stingrays, swam with barracudas, and visited the wild donkeys in the shelter. I love to walk  the beach collecting shells and sea glass. I really enjoy all the birds, wild horses, goats and chickens running free in the streets. We love to 'lime', just sitting and talking with friends and listening to their stories. Islanders always have stories, and they are more than willing to share them! 

L: Any favorite stories of your times spent there?
D: My favorite story is the time when we took an eco tour to meet with a real bush doctor and possibly a granny or two. We had to fly to one island and then take a ferry to another, followed by a long drive in a truck through mud at times nearly three feet high. It was a wild drive, I held on for dear life hoping we would not end up sinking in the mud! We did accomplish our goal and to my delight met with a bush doctor. He had a sign hanging out front, hand painted, that read, The Doctor is in! The back of it read, The Doctor is out. He was a walking encyclopedia of information about all the different types of plants and what  healing qualities they possessed. He also pointed out some bad ones, so you need to know your plants!  We were also very pleased to make the acquaintance of many of the local folk, among them a granny. Auntie Cecilia is partially based on this granny. By the way, a granny is a midwife, and it is out of respect that elders are called Auntie or Uncle with their first names.

L: I love to know the little details that seep through from the author's life into their writing. I noticed one- that you have a dog named Rags and Mia has both a stuffed dog and a real dog named Rags. Are there any other things from your own life that appeared in Hurricane Mia?
D: Yes, I have a dog named Rags and it was fun to put him in the story. Also the name, Dragonfly, came from our boat. Susan, the illustrator, used our boat for the drawing for the cover. Most of my knowledge of boats is based on our own boat, so I decided to name the boat in the story Dragonfly! Also, many of the descriptions of the islands are as I know them and have experienced them. For instance, I have witnessed a water spout, and it is truly a terrifying thing to see. I saw one as we were preparing to leave our house to board a puddle jumper to fly to another island. I could only imagine how scary it would be to be on the sea in a small boat with one coming toward you. It was bad enough in the air. I made a point to file that thought, hmmm, good fuel for a story! 

L: Which character in Hurricane Mia was your favorite to write?
D: I have to admit, I loved them all. Each one is a composite of different people I have met and a hearty mixture of my own imagination. Mia came first, and being the protagonist, she was my favorite. I had to check myself, as I wrote and developed the characters of Neisha and Jack, that I didn't let them take the stage away from Mia. They become stronger as the story progresses, Neisha, with all her strengths and fears, and Jack, as a lovable and humorous character. Auntie Cecilia is special, and I have to say, developing her was a true pleasure, she is a favorite too.

L: Which was the most difficult?
D: Without a doubt Gram was the most difficult! She is presented as rigid and ungiving and judgmental. Without Gram and Mia' s conflict, the story wouldn't have been able to move forward. I felt bad for Gram, because grandmothers are generalized as loving and caring, and not as demanding as the parents. But, that is not always the case, as is this situation. I had to concentrate on the conflict between Mia and Gram having it grow until Mia blows up and loses her temper. She says awful things to Gram and ends up regretting it, but neither of them are able to resolve the conflict between them. That is the reason Mia goes on with her plan and does not ask for help, believing her grandmother would never condone a trip to find something as silly as bush medicine.  

L: Quick! Yankees or Red Sox?! (It's mandatory that I ask you that. Well, not really, but I'm asking anyway.)
Red Sox! Of course!

L: Any advice to young writers and aspiring authors? 
D: The best advice I can give to young writers is to keep a journal. Even everyday incidents can be used later on for a good story. The more your pen flows, the more you write, the more you will master the art of writing. Writers should also read, read, read! I think the more you read the better you write, it helps  to expand your scope and learn how others create a storyline, conflict, tension and resolution. I often feel I write the best after I have read an author that has truly inspired me. 
Some say, write what you know, but I say,  don't only write what you know, use your imagination and expand your horizons! Do some research to fill in the gaps! I also like to write as I travel or experience something new, or meet someone who has just told me an interesting, head turning story. Writing is a process, it is always continuing and growing, you will find that your revisions of your work make it better, just like the elbow grease needed to polish silver until it shines!

L: Anything that you want to mention, but I didn't ask about?
Shannon, thanks so much for the interview! I enjoyed answering your questions, they were great! I love having the opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings about the characters, conflicts and all the ingredients that went into the making of Hurricane Mia! It was quite an adventure! 
        My very best,
Donna Seim

Donna's Bio: 

The love of children and children's literature has played an integral role in Donna Seim's life. In her first book, Fifty Cents an Hour, Donna tells her hilarious childhood stories from growing up in a large Irish Catholic family. 
Donna's first picture book, Where is Simon, Sandy?, set in the Caribbean, is an award winning story of a little donkey that wouldn't quit. 
Hurricane Mia, a Caribbean Adventure, is Donna's first novel. And, coming soon, is Charley!, the story of an orphaned city boy from Boston who sings his way into a dairy farming family in the heartland of rural Maine. 
When Donna is not in the Caribbean, she lives in Newbury, Massachusetts, with her husband and her dog, Rags. 
Donna is a graduate of Ohio State University, and holds a master's degree in Special Education from Lesley University. 

Want to know more about Donna? Visit her webpage- You can also join Hurricane Mia on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! (@hurricanemia)

Only One Opinion (Sea)

literati_rain66 Saturday, October 9, 2010 ,
Review of Sea, by Heidi R. Kling.
Quickie: Not at all what I expected, but lovely.

Full: I went in to Sea cold turkey. I had absolutely no idea what the book was about. Even so, I was surprised. I think the title and the cover made me think "mermaids" or "beach vacation love story" or something along those lines. Boy was I wrong! Sea was a story of love, yes, but also a story of personal growth and overcoming personal obstacles. No mermaids, though. ;-)

Sienna Jones (Sea, to her friends) lost her mother in a plane crash over the Indian Ocean. Sienna's parents would go for two weeks every year and use their training in psychology to help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. On one such trip, Sienna's mother boarded a flight and never was seen again. Sienna lost her mother, but she lost so much more. She lost her sense of self, she lost her way in life. Sienna became terrified of flying, and of the ocean. She stopped doing the things she loved, like body boarding, with her friends and lost touch with those she cared about.

Her fifteenth birthday rolls around and her dad surprises her with tickets... to Indonesia. She's furious that he could be so insensitive- he knows how she feels about planes and the ocean! But after some thinking she decides to go through with it.

Off she goes to Indonesia, headed to an orphanage full of tsunami survivors from Aceh. There she sees horrors beyond anything she thought possible, and befriends an adorable little girl who lost her whole family to the tsunami. She also meets a boy, Deni. He's mysterious and warm, friendly and charming. He's different from anyone else she's ever met. They bond over their mutual loss of family members and Sienna feels as if Deni can understand her like no one else can.

That's not all, of course, but if you want to know what happens, you'll just have to read the book. :-p

What did I think? Well, I'd say the general consensus was that I liked it. I wasn't completely blown out of the water (hehe) by it, but it was a nice story. I'm honestly having a hard time figuring out what to say, I don't have any super strong feelings about it.

I did enjoy seeing another country in Sea. It was a nice change of pace to be someplace other than modern day America. It was heartbreaking to read about the devastation of the tsunami and the lives lost and affected. Sea was set in the aftermath of the very real, very tragic 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.

Other than the tragic-factor, the setting was very interesting and detailed. Kling must have done quite a lot of research for Sea, so props to her. To be totally honest, I don't have much else to say about Sea. It was a solid, decent book. It gave me nothing to complain about, but also nothing to squee over. The characters were all... good. I didn't adore any of them really, and I didn't loath any either. Sienna made some really stupid and irresponsible choices, but without them the story wouldn't have been nearly as interesting. (Plus, she's a teenager. Having been a stupid and irresponsible teenager myself, I can follow her logic.)

Aside from the general lack of strong emotions about the book, I did enjoy it. The love story was sweet, and I was happy for Sienna when she found herself again and was able to move on with her life.

I give Sea 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Have a Happy Hop! #5

literati_rain66 Friday, October 8, 2010
Book Blogger Hop

This week's question: What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?

My answer: Depending on the weather, time of day, and my mood: Milk, hot chocolate, ice water, or Mountain Dew. (Milk with cookies/other chocolate, hot chocolate with breakfast or late night snack, ice water if it's hot, and Mountain Dew with lunch.)

For all you other hoppers out there, leave me a link to your blog and I'll make sure to stop by. :) Comments and follows are very welcome, but please don't feel obligated. I just like meeting you all and talking with you.

Have a happy hop!

Really Ravishing Review (Alpha)

literati_rain66 Tuesday, October 5, 2010 ,
Review of Alpha, by Rachel Vincent.

Alpha (Shifters Book 6)
Quickie: The perfect ending to the Shifters series. I couldn't be more satisfied.

Warning: This is an extremely biased and fangirly review. :-p No spoilers though.

Full: First off, if you haven't had the pleasure of reading Rachel's Shifters series -Stray, Rogue, Pride, Prey, Shift, and now Alpha- then you're seriously missing out. It's one of my all-time favorite series of books.

From the back cover of Alpha: You've got to have Faythe... The unscrupulous new Council Chair has charged Jace, Marc, and me with trespassing, kidnapping, murder and treason. Yeah, we've been busy. But now it's time to take justice into our own hands. We must avenge my brother's death and carve out the rot at the heart of the Council.

It's not going to be easy, and loss seems unavoidable, but I have promised to protect my Pride, no matter what. With a target on my back and Marc at my side, I'm heading for a final showdown that can -that will- change everything forever. A showdown I'm not sure I'm ready for. 

But life never waits until you're ready.

Yeehaw! What a fantastic book! I devoured the first 3/4 of it, then I purposefully slowed down. I didn't want it to end!! Ever! All those plot threads come to a head in Alpha, and Faythe makes loads of crazy-important and amazingly difficult decisions. As usual, there were times when I had a gut feeling that she wasn't being very smart, but guess what?! She's learning from her mistakes! If you compare the Faythe from Stray, to the Faythe in Alpha, you can't help but be amazed by her personal growth and the leaps and bounds her maturity has made. She really starts to figure out that the world isn't all about her, and that her decisions have consequences that affect lives. Not just her own life, but the lives of everyone she cares about.

Oh, and yes, she finally makes her decision regarding Marc vs. Jace. I think you'll be satisfied with it. I was. I was having just as hard a time as Faythe making the choice. I've been in a position nearly identical (minus the werecat aspect) and I know how hard it is to choose. How impossible it is. For a terrible comparison, it's like asking somebody if they'd rather have cookies or cake for the rest of their lives. (I want both, forever, but for different reasons) Granted, it's a terrible comparison, but you know what I mean. Choosing between two things you love dearly... is pure pain.

Alpha made me laugh out loud. It made me cry. It made me so stinkin' mad that I slammed the book down (poor book, I'm sorry!) and stomped off. Books rarely get me so worked up and emotionally invested, but each and every Shifter book has done so. To me, that speaks volumes about Rachel's writing and amazing storytelling ability.

Please, if you enjoy stories about shifters, do yourself a favor pick up Rachel's books.

5 out of 5 fangirly stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #16

literati_rain66 Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sunday again, already? This week has gone by quickly and strangely. My schedule is all off because my hubby's work schedule got switched around. Anyhow, In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren. And a big thanks to my son's Elmo chair for showcasing my books for me. ;-)

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Subway Girl, by P. J. Converse
ARC of First Grave on the Right, by Darynda Jones
2 copies of The School for Dangerous Girls, by Eliot Schrefer
Cockroach, by Rawi Hage

From the library:
Sea, by Heidi R. Kling

From Amazon:
Iron Kissed, by Patricia Briggs
Alpha, by Rachel Vincent
Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews

For Review:
Sugar Tower, by Jessica Dee Rohm

Really Ravishing Review (Hurricane Mia)

literati_rain66 Thursday, September 30, 2010 ,
Review of Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean Adventure, by Donna Marie Seim.
Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean AdventureQuickie: Cute story, perfect for the age range it's aimed at.

Full: Mia has big plans for her summer- a trip to Maine with her bestie Sam, going camping, horseback riding, wakeboarding- but all her hopes and plans are shattered when her parents tell her she is being flown down to stay with her grandparents. Her little brother Jack is going too... perfect. Mia is bitter about the dramatic change in plans, and it's made worse by her grandmother's rules and rigid personality. Mia becomes envious of Jack when Gramps continuously chooses him to do things with, and not Mia.

Her outlook brightens a bit when she meets a girl her age on the island, Neisha, and they become fast friends. Together they learn of a lady on a neighboring island, Aunt Cecilia, who is considered a "wise woman" and practices bush medicine. To Mia, this is wonderful news, because her mother has leukemia and she's very, very sick. Aunt Cecilia is rumored to make a tea that can cure everything. Mia has got to get some to her mother so she can get better and everything can go back to normal.

The problem with that idea though, is that Mia has no way to get to the island Aunt Cecilia lives on. She and Neisha hatch a few plans, but none of them seem viable- until Mia lets Jack in on her plan. Suddenly they have the means to get to the island... even though it involves lying, "borrowing", and putting all of them in possible danger. That's not going to stop Mia though!

Hurricane Mia was a charming tale of love and friendship- perfect for a mid-grade reader. Mia sort of annoyed me with her attitude sometimes, but I'm an adult and she's a kid who feels like her life is ruined, so I think we both had normal reactions. ;-)  There were a few hilarious scenes, my favorite possibly being when the donkeys got into the courtyard. Of course Mia felt horrible, since it was her fault, but Jack running around trying to lasso the donkeys was just too funny.

My only complaint is that I wanted to know if the tea ended up helping her mother or not. But that's just my obnoxious mind. I always want to know everything!

4 out of 5 stars.

Wonderfully Wacky Winner!


And we have a winner! The ARC of Another Pan, by Daniel and Dina Nayeri goes to: Caitlin! Congratulations Caitlin!

Thanks to everyone who entered, tweeted, and followed. :)

Stay tuned for the next giveaway- The School for Dangerous Girls!

My Magnificent Mailbox #15

literati_rain66 Sunday, September 26, 2010
In My Mailbox is brought to you by The Story Siren.

I was a good girl this week and didn't buy anything, but I did manage to win two books during Blog Fest.

From Rayment's Readings, Rants and Ramblings:
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, by Marta Acosta
Midnight Brunch, by Marta Acosta

Thank you Jennifer!!

What did you get?

Only One Opinion (The Big Crunch)

literati_rain66 ,
Review of The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman. On sale January 2011.

The Big Crunch
Quickie: Cute love story, but where was the ending?

Full: I chose this book because I wanted to read something light, something happy. The Big Crunch delivered... I think.

June's family moves every few months due to her father's job, and she has learned not to attach to people. She's learned which social circle to hang out with because they're semi-interesting -but not so interesting as to make her miss them. She's not looking for love, but doesn't refuse when Jerry, the shy-ish awkward guy running for class president asks her out. Jerry is safe. Jerry isn't complicated and he doesn't make her heart go pitter-patter.

One day as she listens to Jerry talk about his friend Wes (who, by the way, sort of-kind of slammed him into a locker that day) and all the terrible things he's done to Jerry, she decides that Jerry just sounds wimpy and whiny.

Meanwhile, Wes and June keep bumping into one another. Sometimes literally. They collide in a convenience store and Wes accidentally gives June a black eye. Lots of awkward exchanges happen between the two of them, and some are really cute.

As you probably have guessed, Wes and June start to fall for each other. This is all well and good, until June's family has to move again. Wes and June talk on the phone, they text, they think about one another. But it's just not the same as being together. You can't dance with your man if he's in another state.

They try their best to fix that problem, and I'm semi-sure they succeed. The end didn't have much in the way of a conclusion. It was more like somebody hit the pause button and said, "The end!". I was taken completely by surprise when I realized I was on the last page.

Overall, the book was written in what I call, "Tunnel-Of-Love Vision". As in, they're in love, so nothing else is of any importance at all. The whole book was purely about the love story. Definitely an "emotion based" book, not an action-packed adventure. That was fine with me, it's what I was looking for. But I wouldn't have minded a bit more substance to the story.

It wasn't a bad book, not at all, I enjoyed it. I just wish there would have been more of an ending.

3.5 out of 5 stars.