Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reading Reflections: October 2009

Books Read:
Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine (Review)
Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine (Review)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Review)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Review)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Review)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Review)
Shadowfae by Erica Hayes (Review)
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (Review)

Total Books Read: 8

Most Anticipated: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Biggest Let Down: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Favorite Read: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Highest rank: 5 apples (6 times!)

Lowest rank: 3 apples (only once!)

Overall Reflection:
October was a great reading month! I thoroughly enjoyed many great books, as you can tell by all the high ratings! It was really tough to pick a favorite! The Hunger Games books were definitely at the top of my list! A big thank you to everyone who recommended them! I also highly enjoyed The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out next week!!! Shadowfae was a book I read solely by reading reviews and recommendations. I most likely wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Twenty-year-old twins Valentina and Julia Poole have no recollection of having been to London. Nor do they remember ever meeting their mothers' (Edie) twin sister (Elspeth). Needless to say, they are surprised when they receive a notice in the mail that their estranged aunt has died and they are the recipients of her exceptional flat and all of her financial holdings. They are to become of possession of these items at the age of twenty-one, on the condition that their mother and father are never to enter said flat. Looking forward to their new-found independence, the twins accept the offer and head off to London. The flat itself is beautiful. The residents, however, are a bit strange. Above them resides a middle-aged man crippled with OCD, unable to walk past his own threshold. Below them lives the man who was once madly in love with their aunt. Also, the twins are suspicious that they are not the only ones living in their flat. Their dear Aunt Elspeth seems to have some difficulty leaving her estate, possessions, and old secrets in the twins care...

I greedily picked up Her Fearful Symmetry after reading Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. Family secrets, forbidden lovers, ghosts, what else does one need to be lured into a story?! Admittedly, the story was a bit slow to begin with, which was the same for TTTW. Once the story picked up, I had great difficulty setting down the book. Until the story took a turn. I wont ruin it for future readers, but I couldn't help but wonder what the author was thinking. Needless to say, the aforementioned "turn" really does impact all of the characters in the book. The story ends on a sad and tragic note, which can be favorable at times. However, I found it unsuitable for the story line. To be fair, I went into the book not expecting a repeat of TTTW. I do think Niffenegger did a good job or writing a completely different book. However, I wonder if she overcompensated in her efforts in creating a different story. Please don't be swayed by my review. There are several favorable reviews out there as well. I, however, was a bit disappointed by the twist and the ending, which effected my overall rating for this book.

Cover Art Commentary:
I really do love the cover. I like the teal background color, of course! :P I also like the contrast of the teal and black. It's simple and clean, leaving much to the imagination.

Overall Review:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shadowfae by Erica Hayes

Jade's soul has been gambled away to the demon lord Kane, by her former lover no less. For one thousand years, Jade must relent to Kane's will. As a succubus, Jade seduces a myriad of supernatural creatures on Kane's whim and feeds solely on the souls she collects (and promptly sends to hell) during the final moments of copulation. She desperately yearns to be free from her enslavement, and would like nothing more than live out the rest of her once mortal life. Her sole opportunity presents itself as Rajah, an incubus who shares the same fate as Jade. Rajah and Jade find solace and meaning in one another as they fall madly in love. Rajah has developed a plan to escape Kane's hellish claws. Unfortunately said plan can only save one of them. Jade must decide if she can survive another 800 years in Kane's enslavement, or if she can sacrifice the one man she loves for the freedom she so desperately craves.


Shadowfae is full of deception, passion, greed, and longing. A most refreshing take on the world of the fae. These ain't no sparkly, happy fairies. ;P I enjoyed the good guys as well as the bad guys, which there is no shortage of. I really sympathized with Kane's character, and didn't despise him as much as I originally thought I would, considering he is the source of Jade's (and Rajah's) pain. This of course did not stop me for cheering on Jade, as well as Rajah. I zipped through this book with eagerness and intrigue. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment of the Shadowfae!

*Disclaimer* This book is very sexual and extremely graphic as the nature of a succubus is, well sex. Although, I don't think the next installment of the Chronicles will be as sexually charged.

Also, if you go to the author's official site (conveniently linked here), you can download the short story Hellcursed, which is the prequel to Shadowfae. It tells the story of how Jade fell into Kane's enslavement. You don't have to read it to enjoy Shadowfae, but it does enhance the story. I, personally, read it before starting the novel.

Cover art commentary:
I love the colors. They are quite rich. I also like the design around the title. The only problem I had was that due to the more mature nature of the cover, I wouldn't be comfortable taking this book with me outside the house. I usually take books with me when I go pretty much anywhere, doctor/dentist appointments, lunch, whatever. However, that wasn't really a problem as I read this book rather quickly. :P

Overall Rating:

Check out other reviews of Shadowfae at:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey is your atypical sixteen year-old. She is more obsessed with grades than boys. Her world is turned upside down when her biology teacher decides to make a new seating chart, placing her next to Patch. Patch is unlike the other boys at Nora's school. Literally. He is tall, dark, mysterious, and completely flirtatious with Nora. He is also in possession of a paramount secret, one that directly affects Nora. Despite her suspicions of Patch's secret Nora finds herself completely infatuated with Patch, which is new territory and completely terrifying to Nora. In the midst of everything, there is someone stalking Nora and Patch has become the prime suspect. Nora must decide once and for all, if she can trust Patch or if she should run in the opposite direction.

I have read several reviews on this book. They seem to be either stellar or disappointing. I absolutely LOVED this book. I read it in one day. Currently,I am reading Her Fearful Symmetry, so I had not intended to read this book just yet. However, after various online reviews, I decided I had to pick up the book (and place it in my to-be-read pile) and see what all the fuss is about. I bought Hush, Hush along with 2 other books at my local independent bookstore. Having forgotten Her Fearful Symmetry at home, I brought Hush, Hush in with me to Paneras and started reading it, while eating lunch. I was about 20 pages into it when I had finished eating and I realized that I couldn't set it down. Time just flies by when you read this book. I bought the hardcover, and I am not sorry I did. This one will definitely go on the to-be-re-read pile! I highly recommend it!

If you have already read Hush, Hush and enjoyed it, you may want to pick up Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison. :)

Cover Art Commentary:
How beautiful is this cover?! It was one of the first aspects that attracted me to this book in the first place. The cover is almost like a story in itself; one that offers some background on the current story at hand.

Overall Rating:

Here are some other blogger reviews of Hush, Hush:
Jawas Read, Too!
Ink and Paper
The Book Smugglers

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Synopsis from goodreads:
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Trailer for book:


*Warning! Contains spoilers! Do NOT read below if you plan to read this book!*

This book started off great. Impossible to put down. Obviously, it was interesting enough to keep me reading as it took me very little time at all to polish this off. However, I do have some reservations with this book. 1. I probably shouldn't have read it right after The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. They are quite similar in some ways, and comparing them may have detracted from my overall rating of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. 2. Mary, the main character, is a bit too indecisive and selfish for me. Throughout the entire book, she does nothing but yearn for Travis, and then ends up deciding that he isn't enough until she's about to lose him for good. I think she may be the type of person who is never completely satisfied with anything. I suppose I can understand this to a point, as she has basically lost everyone close to her at one point or another. 3. Her unending love for her brother Jed. He does nothing but continuously hurt Mary over and over again, yet she is always willing to comfort him and soothe his pain. I guess it's a bit more understandable as he is literally the only family she has left, and the human population is dwindling. However, I did get irritated with it from time to time. 4. I feel as if the starts out on one end and ends up completely somewhere else. I will say, that seems to be setting in zombie-related media. As you fight for your life, one must flee their locations, their desires, their expectations, and whatnot. I guess if I look at this book as more of a journey than a roundabout story that ties it's loose ends, I find it a bit more satisfying.

*End O' Spoilers*

Ok, enough griping. Seriously, I really enjoyed this book, despite my critiques above. It was moving, fast-paced, and endearing. There is a little bit of everything in this book; religion, ethics, love, friendship, survival, betrayal...The list just goes on. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a) zombies and b) a good story that will leave you forgetting your reality, at least temporarily. ;)

Cover Art:
Honestly, at first I thought this was a book about runaway teens or anorexia based on the title and the cover. It wasn't until I read a review at Book Love Affair that I discovered that I was clearly mistaken! :P Based on what I know now, I have to say that the cover is beautiful. The solitary character outlined by the forest, covered in mist, is giving you a taste of what's to come!

Overall Rating:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

*Warning! May contain mild spoilers! Do NOT read if you haven't read The Hunger Games!*

Well, it's round two for readers following The Hunger Games, however it's round 75 for the residents of Panem. Every 25 years, the Capitol puts on an even more extravagant version of the Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell. As winner's of last years' Hunger Games and in honor of the Quarter Quell, Katniss and Peeta must go on a "victory tour" to each district. Before setting off on the tour, Panem's President Snow comes to visit Katniss and warn her that country is currently treading on thin ice. Ever since last year's Hunger Games, there has been a seed of doubt planted in the minds of the citizens of Panem, which has lead to a spread of rumors regarding revolt and anarchy. President Snow further explains that if Katniss and Peeta do not completely comply with President Snow's expectations, and clearly support the Capitol during and after the tour, Snow will go after their friends and family, as well as possibly the entire district, stopping at nothing to regain control. As Katniss and Peeta travel from district to district, it becomes clear that more than a seed of rebellion has been planted. By the time they return to district 12, the seed has fully developed into a well-grown garden. Rebellion is everywhere and Katniss and Peeta find themselves in middle of it all. The only card the government has left to play are the Hunger Games, and in true honor of the Quarter Quell, President Snow shows that he will not give in. In fact, he will stop at nothing to prove that every single person in Panem is nothing but a mere pawn, helpless under his control...what better way to prove his point, than to make a prime example out of Katniss and Peeta?

This book is electrifying! Completely impossible to set down, once you've started reading! Katniss and Peeta return to their old district, but it is impossible to return to their old lives. You journey through waves of emotions, as the characters experience them firsthand. Collins' has added some amazing and horrifying twists and turns that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I am not the least bit sorry that I bought both Catching Fire and The Hunger Games as hardcovers! If you haven't already, go out and buy them both immeadately and start reading! Trust me, once you get going, it will be difficult to set them down!

Cover Art Commentary:
Simple, beautiful, classic. I love the vibrant red of Catching Fire in comparison to the hollow black of The Hunger Games. There is definitely some foreshadowing going with the color choice! ;) Both books look beautiful apart, but even more lovely as a set!

Overall rating:

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The United States has collapsed due to fire, drought, famine and war. In it's place, Panem has risen. Panem is the new country, divided into 12 districts, not counting the Capitol. Originally, there were 13 districts, but the 13th district was obliterated when the 13 districts rebelled against the Capitol. As a reminder of their failed success, Panem keeps it's districts starving and surviving on minimal necessities. In addition to this painful reminder, every year, the Capitol holds an annual even known as the hunger games. Each district randomly selects two "tributes" i.e. children between the age of 12 and 17, one male and one female. These tributes must complete against each other in a fight to the death. The winner receives a lifetime of comfort and their district is well fed for an entire year. This year, Katniss' 12 year-old sister Prim is selected as the female district 12 tribute. 16 year-old Katniss steps up and volunteers to take her sister's place. Along with her male counterpart, a son of a baker named Peeta, Katniss enters the hunger games armed with the desperate attempt to stay alive or die trying.

Back in 2000, when Battle Royale was released, I remember watching with complete horror. How awful it must be to kill other innocent humans, much less children, in order to survive. Collin's book The Hunger Games, really drives this point home. How far would you be willing to go to protect yourself, your family, your life? This book has received much praise, and I am inclined to agree. This book is faced-paced, heart-wrenching, and filled with ethical questions. I highly, highly recommend it.

Cover Art Commentary:
Simple. Eloquent. Classic. I love the mockingjay on the cover. There is another on the cover itself when you take off the sleeve. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book based on the cover alone.

Overall Rating:

Other reviews of The Hunger Games can be found at:
Book Love Affair
Jawas Read, Too!
Temporary Worlds

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine

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

Picking up from Lord of Misrule, Rachel Caine's Carpe Corpus starts off with one foot running. Claire has declared herself to Bishop, and Amelie and her loyal vamps are nowhere to be found. The members of the Glass House have been scattered apart. Eve is alone in the house, Clare is back with her parents, Michael has been sworn to Bishop's side, and Shane is locked away as Bishop's prisoner. Bishop is getting restless and Clare and her friends need to reconcile and find a way to defeat Bishop before they (and their love ones) find themselves dead...or undead.

Best book in the series yet! The plot is packed full of twists and turns. The end isn't quite the cliff-hanger the previous books have closed with, but I am quite curious as to what happens next!!! I highly recommend the entire series for anyone looking for adventure, supernatural entities, friendship, loyalty and a bit o' romance! ;)

Cover art commentary:
Love the cover art on this one. The dark blue and soft yellow juxtapose nicely. The darkness of the cover foreshadows the dark depths that lie ahead. Lovely, lovely, lovey. I am a bit confused by the bracelet the character, which I assume is Clare, is wearing. In the books, she has a delicate gold bracelet from Amelie and dark tattoo from Bishop. Either way, it doesn't detract from the cover or the story in the least bit.

Overall rating:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

*Caution! Mild summery spoilers ahead!*

Lord of Misrule picks up exactly where Feast of Fools leaves off. The line has been drawn. The Glass household splits up in effort to protect themselves, the town, and even the vampires the once feared. Vamps and humans alike must decide whose side they want to be on. There are of course stray factions thrown in who attempt to rid the town of vampires altogether. Ultimately it comes down to Amelie and Mr. Bishop; and who has more strategy, power, and allegiance. Clare finds herself a pawn in deadly chess game and she must carefully calculate her next move in order to keep herself and her friends alive.

This book starts full steam ahead and doesn't slow down. Not even at the end. I absolutely can NOT wait to read the next book in the series, Carpe Corpus. Then I must wait in anguish until Caine's next installment comes out in November! I know it's only a month, but trust me, it's going to be one looooong month!!!

Cover art commentary:
Beautiful! Best cover in the series yet! Love the red, black, and gray. The colors play on each other nicely! I would definitely pick up this book solely based on the cover. I am guessing the two characters on the cover are Clare and Shane. :)

Overall rating: