Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

*Warning! Contains spoilers!!!*

Things pick up right where they ended in Midnight Alley. Clare's parents have moved into Morganville, Texas, in an attempt to "protect" her from her mature roommates. Little do they know, they are in more for than they bargained for... That's not all. Amelie's father, Mr. Bishop, is in town as well. Unlike Clare's protective parents, Mr. Bishop isn't interested in looking after Amelie. Instead, he has a taste for revenge, allegiance, and blood. Things really heat up when Amelie holds a formal ball in her father's honor, where every vampire is required to attend with a human in tow to present to Mr. Bishop at his pleasure. In an attempt to save her friends and family, Clare finds herself directly in the middle of the crossfire...

Best book of the series so far. I love that Caine is able to completely change the elements of each story without messing with the main characters or their love lives too much. For example, in the Sookie series, I found myself getting listless with Sookie's constant stream of ever-changing suitors. It's nice to get invested in the characters and continue to root for them. I also love that Caine's main character Clare, is intelligent, independent, and conscientious. Each of the characters are flawed, which makes them more tangible and believable in my book. A wonderful series. Needless to say, I am incredibly sad that I am running out of books in the series to read.

Cover art commentary:
The cover art is drastically improving book by book. I love the hall behind the character, whom I guessing is Michael. Definitely some foreshadowing on the cover! :)

Overall rating:

More BBW rumblings...

In honor of Banned Books Week, I have decided to read one of the "banned classics" from my to-be-read pile of currently owned books. *See previous post for full classic list*

Here are my choices:

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

Final decision:

I have chosen to read Brave New World.

I would love any feedback you have if you have already read it. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

In honnor of Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week, I give you a list of banned or challenged classics. Reasoning can be found here.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Ulysses, James Joyce

Beloved, Toni Morrison

The Lord of the Flies, William Golding

1984, George Orwell

Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Native Son, Richard Wright

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway

The Call of the Wild, Jack London

Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin

All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Sons and Lovers, DH Lawrence

Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

A Separate Peace, John Knowles

Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs

Women in Love, DH Lawrence

The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer

Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller

An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser

Rabbit, Run, John Updike

*Purple indicates books I have read and italics indicate books I plan to read. *

Enjoy the freedom to read.

Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

*Warning! Summery may contain mild spoilers!!!*

Things heat up in this third installment of The Morganville Vampire Series. Clare has pledged herself to the most ancient of vampires in trade for protection for her and her roommates. Clare is in for more than she bargained for. People are turning up dead at her house and Shane is the prime suspect. Amelie has Clare secretly taking private lessons from one of the most antiquated and lethal vampires alive (more or less). Not to mention a dangerous blast from the past who is now intent on stalking Clare.

The pages flew by as I read Midnight Alley. It is a nonstop journey from beginning to end, packed full with plot twists. Things -really- heat up at the end. I absolutely can not wait to read the next installment, Feast of Fools.

Cover art commentary:
The covers seem to improve as the series goes on! I love the red, the picture I posted does not do the cover justice. Again, I am not sure who exactly is on the cover, but my guess would be Clare. This is much more how I envisioned her. I would be more apt to pick up this book based solely on the cover, than the first two in the series.

Overall rating:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

Warning!!!! Summery may contain spoilers!!! Do NOT read below if you plan to read Caine's Glass Houses!

Caine goes a little darker in this second installment of the Morganville Vampire Series. At the end of the last book (Glass Houses), Shane, Clare's boyfriend and roommate, makes a phone call to his father as a last-ditch effort to save the Glass house clan. At the beginning of Dead Girl's Dance, Shane's father shows up with a motorcycle gang in tow, who share one thing in common...an undeniable taste for vampire blood. Eventually, things simmer down once the motorcycle gang goes into underground hiding. Unfortunately, nothing in Morganville stays buried for long...

This is not a book to missed for fans of Rachel Caine or fans of the Morganville Vampire Series. It was a little slow at first, but as the plot thickens, readers will have great difficulty setting the book down. I highly recommend the series if you liked Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries or Caine's Weather Warden Series.

Cover art commentary:
A much needed improvement from Glass Houses. However, I still think the cover is a bit hokey. Again, I don't know who is supposed to be on the cover. My best guess is Clare, which is highly doubtful, because I believe she is supposed to have dark brown hair?!

Overall rating:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Clare and Henry met for the first time in a meadow outside of Clare's house in South Haven, Michigan. Clare is 6, Henry is 36. Clare and Henry also met for the first time in Chicago, Illinois. Clare is 20, Henry is 28. That is the beauty and adversity that comes with time travel. Ultimately, Clare and Henry get married and live in Lincoln Park, Illinois. Clare is an artist and Henry, a librarian. Throughout their relationship, they share passion and love. Together, they face affliction and overcome obstacles. However, the one element they are unable to defeat is time itself.

I was on the fence as to whether or not to read this. I have heard stellar reviews, as well as several disheartening reviews. I honestly can say that I would have sorely missed out had I not picked up this book. It was intricate, intelligent, moving, and wonderfully told. Definitely one of my favorites of the year. I highly recommend it.

Cover art commentary:
This is in fact the cover to the audiobook, which is the format I used. It's quite similar to the hard and paperback covers. I really think it's beautiful, classic, and foreshadows parts of the story. I would have no problem picking up this book based on it's cover. :)

Overall rating:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

At the ripe age of 16, Claire Danvers has successfully graduated high school and started college. At her parents insistence, Claire has enrolled a local in-state university in Morganville, Texas. One fact left out of the college brochure is that Morganville is crawling with vampires. Being human, it doesn't take much to draw attention to oneself. Claire does exactly that when she becomes enemies with one of the most popular girls in school, who happens to have powerful connections to the vampire community. Claire finds temporary solace in an off-campus house with three other roommates, but it doesn't take long before her location is found out, and days in Morganville are limited.

I first came across Rachel Caine's name in a bookstore when leafing through a collection of short stories, Many Bloody Returns. I read through Caine's story and my interest was peaked. I promptly went over and picked up the first book in the Morganville series. I grabbed a cup of coffee and started reading, and before I knew it, I was on page 20. Needless to say, I picked up the book, along with the rest of the series and have been hooked ever since. This book was a fact-paced, fun read. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Cover art commentary
Not so impressed with the cover. Had I not read the story in Many Bloody Returns, the cover would have made me a little more apprehensive to pick up the book. Btw...I have no idea -who- that is supposed to be on the cover. My best guess is some random vampire?!

Overall rating

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connelly and her step-brother Tolliver are back in action in Harris' Grave Surprise. This time the dynamic duo are in Memphis, hired by a professor of the paranormal, who gets his kicks by proving psychics and the like are farce. During her "demonstration," Harper comes across the body of a young girl, Tabitha, who she had been previously hired, and failed, to locate. Harper and Tolliver become entangled in the investigation, which ultimately leads to another death. One which places Harper and Tolliver as prime suspects. While Harper and Tolliver work desperately to clear their names, the killer lays in wait, desperate to strike again.

A delightful follow up to Grave Sight. Harris has more to offer this time around, and it shows. Grave Surprise offers a fully charged plot, an introduction to a new cast of characters and deeper insight into the minds and pasts of the two main characters. I can say with stark honesty, that the Harper Connelly series is completely different than the Sookie Stackhouse series. It took me a while to get used the difference, but I fully enjoy seeing another side to Harris' writing. I look forward to reading more books in the series.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connelly has an unique ability. Not only can she find the dead, but is able to determine their cause of death, for a price of course. Harper travels around the country with her brother Tolliver, solving death mysteries and leaving as quickly as possible,as people aren't too keen to discover the information they have been seeking since their loved ones death. In the small town of Sarne, Arkansas, Harper and Tolliver become a bit more involved than they normally like. In the end, they hope to make it out of Sarne before it becomes the last case they ever solve alive.

As a fan of Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries, I greedily picked up the first three books in the Harper Connelly series. While I found the story delightful and intriguing, it wasn't, in my opinion, as good as the SVM. However, I enjoyed reading Grave Sight. I was able to identify with the main character and found myself laughing along with the characters. The ending seemed a little rushed, however. I still look forward to reading the next book in the series Grave Surprise. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a little fun escape from reality.