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.