Really Ravishing Review (Nevermore)

literati_rain66 Thursday, November 3, 2011 ,
Review of Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh.

Quickie: Poe!!! Poe enthusiasts will enjoy this book, simply because of all the Poe references.

Full: I came upon this book because my sister-in-law started talking about it, mentioned it had Poe, and she saw me perk up. She lent it to me, and I dug in.

- POE. I adore Poe. The story references, the fun (fictional, I hope) reason for his mysterious death and the whole darn package was just great.

- Varen. Okay, so the moody, reclusive Goth boy got me. I was just as excited to "see" him as Isobel was, and I was totally sucked in to his world and quirks. He had a rich and interesting personality and backstory, and I just couldn't get enough of him. I had some issues with the love story, but that's for the Negatives section. ;-)

- The wickedly awesome paranormal elements, again, tying in with Poe and all of his totally disturbing stories. The Nocs were brilliant, the incorporation of Poe's worlds into the story was brilliant, the creep factor was brilliant... you get the idea.

- The last 200 pages. (You'll see this in the Negatives as well) It was intense. Creagh did a fantastic job at making me just as overwhelmed as Isobel. Seriously. I had to keep taking breaks because I had no idea if we were dreaming or in reality. That was, of course, the point.

- Love story. I did enjoy it, very much. But cheerleader and a Goth paired up in a school project and then they fall in love? Been there, read that. Varen was the saving grace in the whole thing. He made up for Isobel being so boring.

-The last 200 pages. What the flipping bananas was that? Creagh did a nearly too good of job at confusing the reader. It was great, but I had no bloody clue what was going on. You didn't even really know what exactly the problem was until the end. I found it irritating that Isobel got buckets full of cryptic, pointless warnings and absolutely no real information as to what she was supposed to be fighting or doing. If I were her, I probably would have left the world to crumble. Cryptic warnings have their place in the suspense building, but this was overkill.

-The end. I read it three times, trying to see what I missed. It felt a bit rushed, which is saying something since the book is 541 pages. (I have nothing at all against large books, I actually love them) I kept looking at the remaining pages thinking, "How on Earth is she going to wrap this up that fast?!" Well, the answer is, she didn't. I freaked out and went online to discover that there is another book coming. PHEW. So here's hoping that the next one isn't as rushed and gives real information about what Isobel is to do.

All in all, I enjoyed it. Faults for sure, but I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

4 stars out of 5.

My Magnificent Mailbox #31

literati_rain66 Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ahoy there! What's this? A post from the elusive Literati? Why, yes it is! It's an IMM post, because I finally have gotten some new (to me) books!

IMM is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week (or well, these past few weeks) I've gotten:

From a rummage sale:
The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Mother Knight, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorn
Dancing on the Edge, by Han Nolan
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
The Angel's Promise, by Frederic Lenoir & Violette Cabesos

(all that for $1.40. Can't complain!)

From Wal-Mart:
The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan
One Grave at a Time, by Jeaniene Frost

(I'm in Ohio, not on Nantucket, and they have a Wal-Mart here!!)

From my friend and Moon Twin, Andrea, over at Aine's Realm:
Troll Fell, Katherine Langrish
Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman
The Dark Horse, Marcus Sedgwick
Zoe's Tale, John Scalzi

Bad Book Blogger

literati_rain66 Tuesday, August 23, 2011 , , , , ,

Teehee. I'm here!! Really!! I've just been a very bad blogger this summer. There's a beach right by my house... what can I say? I have no excuse. :-p

But my lack of reviews doesn't mean I haven't been reading! I may not be able to blog very well from the beach, but I certainly can read. I've compiled a list of my recent reads, in order of star ratings. And I talk a little bit about some.

5 star reads (AKA stop what you're doing and go get this book!)

Divergent, by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy) Divergent was super. I have read a lot of dystopians lately, since that's what the publishers are putting out (thanks to The Hunger Games' success) and I've been satisfied, but not entirely blown away by most. Divergent wasn't a THG copy cat, at least I didn't think so. Of course, everyone is going to compare new dystopians to THG, but this one didn't make me feel the need. It was it's own story.

One of my favorite things about Divergent was the exploration of fear. The "fear-scapes". As fascinating as it was to watch the characters in their own fear scape, it was even more interesting for me to try and figure out what my fear scape might show. In fact, this very concept sparked a good conversation with my friend Em. We even sat down and wrote out lists of our fears.

I thoroughly enjoyed Divergent, and I consider it a success not only in the writing, the characters, and the plot, but in the discussability-factor it has. It's a book that will spark discussion and debate and best of all-- thought. ;-)

Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews. (book 5 in the Kate Daniels series)
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5) Well of course it was fantastic. Ilona Andrews never has disappointed me. Kate and Curran are back to kick butt, take names, and sic the attack poodle Grendel on all those nasty things in post-apocolyptic Atalanta. Kate also learns a bit more about her past, whether she likes it or not.

4 star reads (Very much enjoyed)

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins.
Anna and the French Kiss Cute. Very cute, very sweet. The setting was possibly my favorite thing about the book. As you may guess, Anna and the French Kiss is set is Paris. Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris for Americans.

I wasn't nearly as impressed with Anna and the French Kiss as everyone else seemed to be, but it wasn't a bad read. It was what I wanted to read- something light and lovey. The setting definitely made the book for me. I would probably have been bored to tears with the love story if it was set in America. Being in Paris and seeing the sights through Anna's eyes was what kept it fresh and entertaining for me.

The Gathering, by Kelley Armstrong.
The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1) A decent first installment to this series, but not quite up to par. The writing was great, the story was fine. I found it pretty predictable though. In fact, quite predictable. I was getting bored waiting for our dear MC to figure out what I'd known from the get-go. And sadly, she doesn't figure it out until nearly the end.

I do love the fact that it's in the same world as the Darkest Powers series. That right there is what kept me interested.

Anyhow, I did enjoy the book, but the predictability was disappointing. Now that the secret has been discovered though, I think next book in the series will be great!

Stolen, by Kelley Armstrong. (book two in the Women of the Otherworld series)
Stolen (Women of the Otherworld, Book 2) I read this one pretty quickly. It was fast paced and exciting and definitely the kind of book I like.

Dime Store Magic, by Kelley Armstrong.
Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld) And here is where the series switches POV's. We get Paige here, which was great. I like her. :) Again, I read this one quickly. Armstrong's books just have to be read, they don't let you put them down for long.

Industrial Magic,  by Kelley Armstrong.
Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld, Book 4) Paige again. Loved the glimpse into the Cabals and all those sordid affairs.

Haunted, by Kelley Armstrong. (Women of the Otherworld, book 5)
Haunted (Women of the Otherworld, Book 5) Finally!! Eve's POV!! I loved getting to see Eve's thoughts and feelings and get an understanding of her. A little creepy, but very good. I had a bit of trouble during the first half, as it was a little slow. But of course, once it picked up it didn't slow down and I loved it.

Unfallen Dead, by Mark Del Franco. (Connor Grey, book 3)
Unfallen Dead (Connor Grey, Book 3) I had forgotten how much I liked this series. Our poor broken druid, Connor Grey, is back at it again. Fighting the taint that was left from the giant magical mishap in Unquiet Dreams. And of course, fighting other things, but I shan't mention them, or else risk spoiling the book. ;-)

The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi.
 The Search for WondLa What an interesting book. A fantastical fairy tale, with monsters and gadgets and a lost little girl. Eva Nine is all alone in a strange and dangerous new world. Well, not so totally alone. She does manage to make a few friends along the way, and her adventures with them are truly spectacular.

It was a bit like a reverse Alice in Wonder Land- Instead of falling down a hole into a new world, she goes up and out a hole into a new world. Everything is different. Things that seem nice aren't, and things that seem terrifying might not be- or they might be even worse than you thought!

I absolutely plan to read this to my kids one day, and you should too. Although it's MG, it still entertained and creeped out this 20-something gal. A fairy tale through and through.

3 star reads (Meh)

Pretty Bad Things, by C. J. Skuse.
Pretty Bad Things Uh, what? Very strange premise, very strange book. Paisley and her brother Beau go off on a crazy road-trip to save their dad- in the car they stole from their evil, money-grubbing Aunt. Sounds kind of interesting, right? I guess... but it was weird. Paisley is nuts. She lights her Aunt's house on fire, she is incredibly destructive and rude and I just couldn't understand or relate to her. She claims to love her little brother, and we see some of that, but she treats him like her little slave. Beau lets his older sister push him around and convince him to steal and mooch and do all kinds of things, all in the name of finding their father. Who, might I add, has been in prison for the past however many years. In some ways it's a nice story... but not really. Paisley is irresponsible to the extreme. When they have some money (from stealing) they buy candy and stupid stuff. They rob candy stores and ice cream stores and the whole point of all of it is to get on TV so their dad will see them and know they're looking for him. Kind of far fetched. Not a great plan. Not a great book.

And that pretty much brings you up to speed on my reading. Lots of Kelley Armstrong this summer, thanks mainly to my friend Andrea, since she's been kind enough to lend me the Women of the Otherworld books.

Wonderfully Wacky Winner!

literati_rain66 Tuesday, August 9, 2011
We have a winner! 

The lucky winner of an ARC of Tiger's Voyage, by Colleen Houck is...

Mary (aka M.A.D) 

An email has been sent your way. 

Thanks to everyone who entered, re-tweeted, tweeted, or in any way spread the word. You guys rock!

Fabulous Free Fiction

literati_rain66 Monday, August 1, 2011
I've been such a fail blogger lately. My profound apologies. But hey... it's Summer!! I've been enjoying the beaches!! Can't blame me for that one, can you?? ;-)

To help make up for my silence and such.. I'm doing a giveaway!! Hehe. And I promise to resume reviewing soon. I have a few books I feel like reviewing, I just need to sit down long enough to do it!

Anyhow... the giveaway!!

What You Can Win: An ARC of Tiger's Voyage, by Calleen Houck. Release date in November, 2011. The cover image is not yet available, but the Amazon link is here-
Tiger's Voyage (Book 3 in the Tiger's Curse Series)

Just fill out this FORM.

My Magnificent Mailbox #30

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 19, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by the Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of The Fox Inheritance, by Mary E. Pearson (so excited for this one!!)
ARC of Hades, by Alexandra Adornetto
ARC of Rip Tide, by Kat Falls
ARC of Janitors, by Tyler Whitesides (looks hilarious)

From the library:
Black Butler, volume II, by Yana Toboso
Black Butler, volume III, by Yana Toboso
The Gathering, by Kelley Armstrong (can't wait!!)

What did you get this week?

Wonderfully Wacky Winners!

literati_rain66 Friday, June 17, 2011
And the winners are in! Thanks to everyone who entered my Big Bad Blogoversary, became a follower, or spread the word.

And now... the winners!

Tiger's Quest and Tiger's Curse go to: Theresa from Fade Into Fantasy!!

Mercy and My Almost Epic Summer go to: Diana from The Lovely Getaway!!

Mothers & Daughters and Pieta go to: Tanya!!

Congratulations ladies!

My Magnificent Mailbox #29

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 12, 2011
Holy chicken butt! I got a lot of books!

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

This week (or past few weeks) I got:

From Sandy at Scribing Shadows:
The Girl in the Steel Corset, by Kady Cross
The Demon Trapper's Daughter, by Jana Oliver

From Aine at Aine's Realm:
Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
The Off Season, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Arthur and The Invisibles, by Luc Besson
The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Ivie Harrison
Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Godless, by Pete Hautman
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, by Melissa Kantor
Alice's Adventures Underground, by Lewis Carroll
Aphrodite's Blessings, by Clemence McLaren
Sloppy Firsts, by Megan McCafferty
Bound, Donna Jo Napoli
The Wish, by Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine
Holes, by Louis Sachar
What The Dickens, by Gregory Maguire
The Passion, by Donna Boyd
The Promise, by Donna Boyd

From Brookline Booksmith:
Graveminder, by Melissa Marr
Zombie Butts From Uranus, by Andy Griffiths

From the library:
Black Butler, Volume 1, by Yana Toboso
The Night Bookmobile, by Audrey Niffenegger
Guardian of the Gate, by Michelle Zink
Desires of the Dead, by Kimberly Derting
Chime, Franny Billingsley

From Amazon:
Kiss Me Deadly, anthology
Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews

Really Ravishing Review (The Night Bookmobile)

literati_rain66 ,
The Night BookmobileReview of The Night Bookmobile, by Audrey Niffenegger.

Quickie: Haunting and beautiful. It sticks with you.

Full: I picked up this graphic novel from the library the other day. It was on display on top of the graphic novel/manga shelves, and it caught my eye. First, the title- The Night Bookmobile? Why would a bookmobile need to run at night? Then the author- Audrey Niffenegger! I love her! Then the cover- Why does she look so sad? Then I picked up the book and looked at the back, where Neil Gaiman has a blurb. If I wasn't already sold, I was then.

This is what the brilliant Neil had to say:
"The Night Bookmobile is a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read, and to the readers that we are. It says that what we read makes us who we are. It's a graphic short story, beautifully drawn and perfectly told, a cautionary fantasia for anyone who has ever loved books, and I hope the story of the library, of Alexandra, finds its place on the shelves of the night bookmobiles of all of us who'd care. It's a treasure."  --Neil Gaiman

After that, how could I not check this book out?

The story starts with Alexandra, our MC, wandering the streets of Chicago one night. She notices a Winnebego, all lit up and blaring "I Shot The Sheriff." As she passes by, she she can't help but steal a glance inside, as the door is standing open. There she sees an older man, and he invites her in to "see the collection". He hands her a card that reads:
The Night Bookmobile 
The Library 
Robert Openshaw, Librarian 
Hours: Dusk to Dawn

Once inside, she soon realizes that she's read every book in the bookmobile. Not just that, but it was everything she had ever read in her life. A complete history of her literary life. All there. Alexandra is fascinated, flipping through pages of her childhood story books, her most recently read novels, and even her diary. 

Too soon, it's time for her to go. The library is closing. She vows to return the next night and visit the bookmobile again, but alas, it isn't there when she tries to find it. Night after night she returns to the place where she first saw the Winnebego, but it's never there. She starts wandering the streets, searching. 

Eventually she does find it again, but this is where my synopsis ends. If I told you any more, it would spoil the story for you. 

So what's the haunting part of The Night Bookmobile, you ask? Well, remember the part in Mister Gaiman's blurb that describes it as, "a cautionary tale"? That's the haunting part. And you'll have to read it for yourself to know what that cautionary, haunting element is. It's worth reading, trust me.

When I first finished the book, I sat there and thought, "What?!"But now I get it. And believe it or not, I've already put Audrey's lesson in to practice. 

So yes, you should read it. You probably need Audrey's lesson as well. Maybe we all do. 

5 out of 5 stars.

Big Bad Blogoversary

literati_rain66 Thursday, June 9, 2011
Truth: My blogoversary was May 31st. I'm late.

Another Truth: I don't care, I'm having a giveaway anyway!! (can we say, "fashionably late?")

What you can win:

Prize Pack 1-
Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, by Colleen Houck.
Tiger's Curse (Book 1)Tiger's Quest (Book 2 in the Tiger's Curse Series)

Prize Pack 2-
Mercy, by Rebecca Lim and My Almost Epic Summer, by Adele Griffin.
MercyMy Almost Epic Summer

Prize Pack 3-
Mothers & Daughters, by Rae Meadows and Pieta, by William Zink.
Mothers and Daughters: A NovelPieta

All you have to do is fill out this FORM.
US & Canada only.
Contest runs from June 9th - June 16th, 2011.
Three winners will be chosen shortly after the contest closes and winners will be notified by email.

Good luck and thanks for entering!!

You + YA = YES

literati_rain66 Sunday, June 5, 2011
If you're an author or a book blogger or any one following a book lover on Twitter, I'm sure you saw the EXPLOSION of tweets last night concerning the Wall Street Journal's article on darkness in YA literature. If you were living in a cave in a remote part of Neverland, you may not have seen it and you should check it out here.

On to my thoughts.

Originally, I wasn't going to do a blog post. I went to bed last night shaking my head, too annoyed to do much more than fire off a few tweets and retweet about a hundred others. But now, after reading even more tweets, I feel the need to blog. Honestly, my reasons for reading YA cannot be summed up in 140 characters. Here's why.

I didn't have a terrible childhood, not really. It was tough, it was confusing, it was a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions and feeling like a freak. Pretty normal. (now here's where we get to the nitty gritty, and where I sincerely hope my family never finds my blog) My mother is a hoarder. She doesn't clean. Maybe this means nothing to you. But for me, it seriously impacted my emotional life. I couldn't bring friends over to my house. I was ashamed of the filth, of the stacks and stacks of things that had been sitting there, untouched, my entire life. I said she didn't clean, and I'm 100% sure you cannot imagine exactly what that meant. I hated being at home. Everyone hated being at home. I used to use a washcloth and try to scrub the shower while I was taking a shower so that the stains wouldn't be so bad.

It made me feel... dirty. And what's more? Everyone knew. And they all talked. Now, I love my mom. She's my mom. But our kitchen should have been looked at by the health department. People didn't eat the food we'd bring to pot-lucks or parties. I felt shunned. Sure, people were nice enough. But there was always that look people gave each other. "Don't eat that pie... Shannon's mom brought it."

My siblings and I would try to clean, but we weren't allowed to throw anything out. So we'd try in vain, mostly just moving things around and stirring up dust and mold and then we'd get sick. We wanted a livable house. It wasn't something that we could do though. So we all found escapes. Mine was reading.

I could go to my room, open a book, and temporarily leave my house and be in a whole other world. It was bliss.

Recently I read White Cat by Holly Black. Dark YA? You BET. Good YA? GREAT YA. HECK YES. It was the first book I'd ever read that had anything close to what I grew up with. My house was chaotic and messy. (not in a good way) Cassel's house was chaotic and messy. My heart flew from my chest when I read about him moving stacks of things to sit down. He may not be real, but I felt so connected to him. I had an ally.

Now see, you may be thinking, "But she wasn't suicidal, or a drinker or a smoker, she has no right to say YA changed her life." And to that I say, dude. You don't have to have a touching story for YA to change your life. My story is one I don't tell. I'm still ashamed. My parents' house has only gotten worse since the kids have left.

I have many other reasons why YA changed my life. I was sick, I was a scapegoat, I was the forgotten fourth child. I was publicly humiliated by my mother. Called fat, called stupid. I was (am) dyslexic. I was shunned (for lack of a better term) by the church I thought had accepted me. (I committed a crime in having guys as close friends. Clearly, that meant I was a slut and not good enough to date one of their favorite guys in the youth group.) (Too bad for them, I ended up marrying him and multiple families left the church because of it.) I was a cutter. I was depressed. My self-esteem was beyond dismal. When I hit puberty, no one was there for me. No one explained anything at all. I was just... forgotten. I survived it because I read books about girls going through puberty. I used dictionaries, non-fiction and fiction to educate myself about myself. Books saved me in SO many ways.

The point is- My life wasn't great. It wasn't the worst, I know that. There are people with much more touching, much more traumatic tales than I. But if not for YA, I know for a fact that my life would not be as it is now. It would be so much worse.

I often thank authors for their honesty in my reviews. Nobody was honest with me when I was growing up, so I appreciate authors telling it how it is. Dark, it may be. But I'd rather know about the darkness than to walk blindly into it and stumble.

I think by now I'm rambling, so I'll bring this to an end. YA books are exactly what teens and young adults NEED. They need truth. They need honesty. They need to know that they are not alone, and that whatever they are going through, they can survive it and be stronger for it. They need to have a place to escape to when their life is getting to be too much for them. They need understanding and love.

Who, I ask, could take that way?

Passionate Prose Please

literati_rain66 Friday, June 3, 2011
So here's the deal. I'm a little burnt out on reviewing. *shock horror!* I know. I'm a terrible book blogger. I have no commitment, whatever. Truth is, I'm just plain tired of reviewing every book I read. My priorities are my family, my real life, and admining on This book blogging gig is something I started out doing for fun, and with all the other things going on in my life, I've decided to take a small step back and regroup. Don't get me wrong, I love book blogging. But I'm having a hard time getting up the energy to write out thoughtful, organized, and articulate reviews, especially for books I don't have many strong feelings about.

No, I'm not quitting. I'm simply explaining why my reviews-per-month have become a slow and steady drip instead of a constant flow. And I'm letting you know that it's going to continue as a drip. Things are going to change a bit around here. I'm not going to spend lots of time writing reviews I don't have strong feelings about. I think I might do a monthly list of books I read, enjoyed, and had no huge issues with, but didn't feel the need to write a review about.

In a nutshell, you should expect my reviews to be "HOLY FLYING MONKEY BUTTS, THIS WAS AWESOME!!" or "Don't. Read. It. EVER. Because it was so bad I wanted to CRY."With a few "I like it, but..." reviews thrown in when I feel like it. I generally go with the idea that spreading negativity is bad, so I try not to write negative reviews. But let's face it, they're fun to read. (Don't give me that look, you know you like reading them from time to time, especially if it's a book you strongly disliked too)

In my negative reviews I will not bash. That's not reviewing. That's being mean. So please don't expect me to rip apart a book, demean the author, or blatantly insult it. That's not my style. I will tell you what I did like, and what I didn't like. In the end, these are all just my opinions. You don't have to agree. Sometimes my future self and past self don't even agree, so I understand if you and I don't see eye to eye on a book.

Again, I'm not quitting. So please don't think I'm telling you to go away and stop reading my blog. That would be... stupid of me. Heh. I love books, I love talking about books. But lately I've not loved sitting at the computer, forcing myself to write about books I can't seem to feel passionately about. Thus, I'm cutting out the "meh" and sticking to the passion.

Yes, this will mean reviews will come in slower. But I think quality over quantity is really a good idea. :)

Love you all, my dear readers and friends.

Let the Passionate Blogging begin!

Really Ravishing Review (Mercy)

literati_rain66 Friday, May 20, 2011 ,
MercyReview of Mercy, by Rebecca Lim. 

Quickie: Delightful. Mercy managed to be fresh, despite it's recently over-used paranormal element. (That's a compliment, by the way)

Note: I read Mercy without a clue as to what it was about. I didn't read the back cover. I went in cold turkey, and I'm glad I did. Sometimes the back cover can really spoil the first half of the book... Anyhow.

Full: Mercy wakes up in a new body. She's disoriented and desperately trying to untangle the clues to her new life. She's only in this life temporarily, or, that's what she seems to remember about this whole experience anyway. Mercy's self-awareness is vague and incomplete, but she's certain that she's not the person this body belongs to, Carmen. But -plop- here she is, in Carmen's body, on a bus headed to a multi-school singing engagement.

With a single touch Mercy discovers that the people she's to be staying with, her host family, are struggling to cope with an impossible grief. Their daughter Lauren has been missing -possibly dead- for nearly two years. Mercy, Carmen, whoever she is, is going to be staying in this missing girl's bedroom. The anguish this causes the family is painfully obvious and made worse by an outburst from Lauren's brother, Ryan. He doesn't believe Lauren is dead. After all, she is his twin. He would know. But his parents feel that it's time to move on, and thus they've begun hosting singers in their home again.

Mercy can't help but feel like maybe Ryan's right. And she can't help feeling like maybe this time, instead of just biding her time until she wakes up as someone else, she can do something. She can make a difference. She can help.

Her resolve is only strengthened when another girl goes missing. The stakes are getting higher and time is running out.

What did I think about Mercy? I was pleasantly surprised. Here's why.

Mercy: At first you get the impression that she's sort of rolling her eyes. "This again. Great. Another body, let's see what I'll have to put up with this time." She's not all that concerned with the body she's in, she just wants to survive it. But then she becomes invested and you see her turn from the eye roller to a caring being who puts others before herself. That was lovely.

Mercy also keeps her cool. I mean, how freaky would it be to keep winding up in a different body, with only glimpses of the reason why? She's weirded out and a little jumbled at first, but goodness. I should hope so. But in spite of the constant body-jacking, she's still with it. She tries her best to get the body she's using through their life all in one piece, without totally destroying their life for them.

The paranormal element: Okay, sure, if you read the back cover or almost any review, you'll know what this mysterious element is... but I'm of the belief that sometimes it's really just best to read the book. Anyhow, I was happy to see such an interesting take on it. It wasn't the typical story, and it wasn't the more recent "How can I make this typical story into a non-typical story... oh! I'll add something paranormal.. and something else paranormal that doesn't normally go together. Aha!" kind of deal. THANK YOU, Rebecca Lim, thank you.

The mystery: There were a couple different mysteries in Mercy, and I liked them both. There was the obvious one- Where is Lauren, who took her, why? and then the less obvious but very interesting- Who is Mercy really? How did she wind up like this? I was a big fan of both.

The singing: Yes. I'm a choir geek. I admit it. In fact, I'm proud of it. So the environment was comforting and familiar to me. It's just not something that shows up in many books I read.

Should you read it? Yeah. I think so.

4 out of 5 stars.

Only One Opinion (City of Fallen Angels)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, May 11, 2011 ,
City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments, Book 4)Review of City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare. 

Quickie: A money-maker, but not in a good way.

Full: Honestly, I'm not even going to waste the effort typing out a summary. 1) Because there's not much to say and 2) Because I already spent enough time reading it.

I really enjoyed The Mortal Instruments trilogy. This... I don't really know what this was. I was satisfied and pleased with the conclusion of the trilogy. Sure, there were things that weren't completely settled or resolved, but that was just fine. It meant I could imagine the endings and futures myself. It was a good ending to a fun trilogy. And then there's City of Fallen Angels.

The writing was okay, it wasn't off-putting or anything. Standard Cassandra Clare writing. But the plot... I was disappointed in the plot. It's a lot of the same. Jace and Clary are angsting (again). Other things happen too, but the main story seems to be Jace and Clary's relationship. Maybe it was my expectations of the book, but I just didn't want any more of the Jace/Clary back-and-forth. I was expecting Simon's story. I was expecting a fresh problem. Not a re-hash.

The ending was (for me) the best part. Finally things were happening! The evil was big and interesting and worth reading about. Maybe not worth the couple hundred pages I had to read to get to that part, but still good.

In the end, I'm giving City of Fallen Angels...

2 out of 5 stars.

I hope you enjoy(ed) it more than I did. As always, this is only one person's opinion.

My Magnificent Mailbox #28

literati_rain66 Sunday, May 8, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From my friend Aine over at Aine's Realm:
The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
Siren, by Tricia Rayburn
Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto
Grace, by Elizabeth Scott
Tantalize, by Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Curse of the Wendigo, by Rick Yancy

From Amazon:
Enclave, by Ann Aguirre

Won from Mark Del Franco:
Unperfect Souls, by Mark Del Franco

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Trapped, by Michael Northrop
ARC of Second Grave on the Left, by Darynda Jones
ARC of Lot's Return to Sodom, by Sandra Brennan
ARC of The Hypnotist, by Lars Kepler

Really Ravishing Review (Darkness Becomes Her)

literati_rain66 Saturday, May 7, 2011 ,
Darkness Becomes HerReview of Darkness Becomes Her, by Kelly Keaton. 

Quickie: I enjoyed it, but it was what I was in the mood for. If I had been in a more cynical mood, I don't think I would have liked it as much. Make sense?? No? Maybe you'll have to read the full review...

Full: From the cover flap: Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, ARi has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. 
Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long-dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting too close. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know what she's running from or why she is being pursued. 
She knows only one thing: She must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush, rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won't stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Okay, so Ari was a pretty cool chick. I liked her toughness, and her ability to hold her own. She was more than a little stupid when she didn't tell her foster parents where she was going though... And plenty irresponsible. She's lucky that it all worked out okay and she didn't end up dead. Entering a dangerous situation and not telling a soul where you're going is just plain stupid, no matter your skills. But she did make up for it later, with guts and gumption and smarts.

The relationship is probably my least favorite aspect of this book. While I liked Sebastian, the relationship went way, way, way too fast. It was more than rushed, it was a time-warp. One day they are introduced, and the next they're in love. I'm being very literal here. I simply couldn't buy into their relationship and I felt it was untrue to the characters. Sebastian was supposed to be the brooding boy, the one that you had to put in that extra effort to get to open up. So how come he's falling in love with a random stranger the second day he knows her and baring his soul and secrets to her?? I just couldn't dig that.

The paranormal and mythological elements were fun and interesting and I had no problem with them. It was an unexpected mash-up of creatures, but that's what made it fun. I definitely didn't expect the Big Villain to be what the Big Villain ended up being, so that was nice. I loved the culture and feel of New 2, it was like the New Orleans of today, but creepier and stripped of all the "normal" people. Totally chaotic and very vibrant. Honestly, I think the setting was my favorite part of the book.

When I finished reading Darkness Becomes Her, I thought "5 stars!". But then I had time to think about it, and in the end I'm going to give it 4. Why? The relationship. It was just too big of an issue for me. But I will be reading the next book in the series.

(Edit) The more I think about it, the more I think this book is really a 3 star. I'm sticking with my 4 star simply because that's how I felt at the end of the book, but if I were to review it right now, it would most likely be a 3. It was my mood at the time of reading it that resulted in a 4. Just something to keep in mind if/when you read it.

Really Ravishing Review (Enclave)

literati_rain66 Thursday, May 5, 2011 , ,
EnclaveReview of Enclave, by Anne Aguirre. 

Quickie: I suspect this book (and author) will win many awards because this book is a masterpiece. This, my friends, is why I read.

Full: I'm going to skip the synopsis on this one, because I feel it's best read cold-turkey. No spoilers, no pre-concieved notions. Just a book. A fantastic book by an extraordinarily talented author. I will, however, give my thoughts.

Characters: Loved them all.
-Deuce came off as green and desperate to prove herself in the beginning, almost to the point of irritation for me. That was good though, because it made her personal journey, discovery, and growth all the better. She was a fighter, to be sure, but I was glad to see that she wasn't completely pragmatic and heartless. If she would have been, I doubt I could have identified and "bonded" with her. I loved her though, mistakes and flaws included. Her growth as a character was lovely and fulfilling.
-Fade was pure love. What more could we ask for? A tortured boy (man? I feel like he's more man than boy) who has difficulties connecting to those around him. (For good reason) But once you take the time to get to know him, he's pure gold. Sweet, protective, jealous, understanding, and respectful. He's not intimidated by Deuce's Huntress title, nor does he see her as any less feminine. He respects her for who she is.

World: Oh man. This is a terrifying place to live. And yet, so very rich. With a lot of dystopians lately, I have felt like I've got a grasp on the world they have created, but with Enclave, I could see it. I could feel it. I could smell it. It was clearly researched and dwelled upon to a great extent. I am absolutely astounded at how much I loved the world. I would call it dynamic. And frighteningly realistic. I can't wait to go back!!

Cover: Well, covers and book design do not count towards my ratings, but I wanted to mention this one. Here's why: I left it on. Usually  when I read a hardcover book, I take the dust jacket off and put it up on top of my bookshelf so that I don't ruin it. But I didn't do that with Enclave. Not because I wanted to ruin it (I didn't!!) but because it creeped me out. No, really. Every time I paused to collect my thoughts I'd close the book and be totally creeped out by those hands and I'd open it right back up again because I had to know what happened next. Maybe that doesn't make sense to you... maybe I'm just crazy, but it mattered to me. I enjoy looking at covers while I'm reading books. With hardbacks I usually make the sacrifice and take it off to make sure I don't rip it or anything else. But this one... I couldn't take it off.

Etc.: Read it. Trust me, the hype about Enclave is well deserved. It started out beautifully and only got better as the page numbers went higher.

5 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Red Glove)

literati_rain66 Tuesday, April 26, 2011 ,
Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2)Review of Red Glove (Curse Workers, book 2), by Holly Black. 

Warning: Contains spoilers from White Cat. Please read White Cat before reading this review!! For my review of White Cat, please go here.

Quickie: This series is in my top 5 YA series, no question. A must read.

From the cover flap: Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth- he's the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything -or anyone- into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion-worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, the he can't believe anything she says or does. 
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue- crime scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too- they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can  he turn when he can't trust anyone - least of all himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Okay seriously. Does that not sound awesome?? I loved every bit of Red Glove. It was exciting and tense and thoughtful.

I love Cassel and I love reading a male POV that's convincing! He's not the normal female-written-male. He actually thinks like a guy, in a good way. Faults and flaws and normal guy-ish things aren't left out or changed, he feels real. Miz Black, I adore you and I thank you so very, very much for really and honestly being true to Cassel's voice.

(More on Cassel) In most books we read, the tortured boy is the love interest that gets away, or the interesting side character, or the love interest that our female protag has for a while, but things don't work out. Sometimes, the tortured boy is the enemy. He's done bad things. Therefore, he must be inherently bad. We can't like him, no matter what he does to try to redeem himself. Not so in Red Glove. Cassel is tortured and broken and a mess, no doubt about it. He's done terrible things. More than a few times. He's by no means perfect. But despite all that, we are rooting for him the whole time. We love him and adore him and sympathize with him. He's done bad things, but he's good. That is quite possibly my favorite thing about this series.

Another thing that I just loved was reading about a world that is nearly identical to the one I live in, but with one major difference. The whole curse worker thing is fascinating and terrifying and it's interesting to see how this one difference impacts everything and everyone. Just one major change and it branches out and becomes important in some of the most unexpected ways.

Seriously guys, I can't pimp this book enough. I can't say enough wonderful things about it. It's just something you have to read and appreciate for yourself. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and read White Cat and Red Glove!! You'll be hooked.

5 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #27

literati_rain66 Sunday, April 24, 2011
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Amazon:
Teeth anthology, edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Mission (un)Popular, by Anna Humphrey
ARC of Sister, by Rosamund Lupton
Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler

That's it!! Clearly, I haven't gone to the bookstore nearly enough. :-p

*Sigh* And apparently even though I've been taking pictures of my books... Blogger doesn't want to cooperate with my computer so I can put them up. Maybe next time.

What did you get?

Really Ravishing Review (Delirium)

literati_rain66 Saturday, April 16, 2011 , ,
DeliriumReview of Delirium, by Lauren Oliver. 

Quickie: Emotional and devastating. Basically, read it.

Full: Lena Haloway is haunted by her mother. She has fond memories of her mother, but she's not entirely sure she's allowed to be thinking of her mother like that- after all, her mother was sick. Very sick. She had the delirium. Those fond memories are chock full of illegal things- singing, dancing, hugs that lasted too long, touching... love. That terrible sickness that kills people. It killed her mother. She was so full of the sickness that she walked right off a cliff and fell into her watery grave.

Lena's adopted her aunt's last name, Tiddle, because it was easier, and it helped to cleanse her family (at least a tiny little bit) from the touch of her mother's illness. An unofficial last name doesn't change the fact that all of Portland already knows the story, and it certainly doesn't help get rid of Lena's nightmares.

All Lena wants is to have the operation. Everybody gets the operation sooner or later, usually on or around their 18th birthday. It's all Lena can think about; being safe from the disease forever. She likes to follow rules and not push people, she likes to keep her nose clean and play it safe. She's seen what happens to people who don't play it safe, and it's no fate she wants.

Things start to change for Lena when her best friend, Hana, convinces her to sneak out and attend an illegal party. There's music the likes of which she could never have imagined. There are people touching without fear. It's all amazing and surreal for Lena. But it's too much. This is wrong.

But if it's so wrong, why did it feel so good? Why did everyone look so happy, so full of life? Why do all the cured people seem so lifeless?

Then there's Alex, a boy who works in the labs where Lena has her evaluation. He's cured, so it's okay to talk to him, and he starts hanging out occasionally (usually out of the public's eye) with Hana and Lena. But Alex has a secret that will change Lena's life forever. In fact, it will change Lena herself forever.

Delirium is one of those books that has a lot of buildup. Not a bad thing, it just means that the world is complex and you have to be familiar with it to truly appreciate the story. My problem wasn't so much with the buildup, but with the slow pace that we saw through most of the book. It took me about a week to read Delirium, which is a pretty long time for me. It wasn't that I was uninterested or that the writing was bad or any of that. But it wasn't hard for me to set down and I wasn't dying to pick it back up.

That said, I really did like it. Now that the world has been established and the story has gotten interesting, I want to read the next installment. If you had asked me if I planned to read Pandemonium when I was half-way through I would have said, "Meh. Maybe." Now though, it's a resounding "Yes."

Lena's personality and viewpoint was understandable and relatable. Her character development was great; I felt like she really grew as a character and she surprised me with her pluck. It was a bit drawn out at times when she was busy figuring things out and analyzing everything, but overall I liked her and I liked seeing things from her point of view.

Alex and Lena's relationship moved at a believable and natural pace, which I appreciated. I liked that she didn't fall head-over-heels in love with him at first sight. I liked that she was a bit insecure and didn't just assume that she deserved his love. She questioned his motives and her own, and I was glad to see it.

In sum, I liked the book and would recommend it to folks who enjoy dystopian novels that make you think.

4 out of 5 stars.