Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading Reflections: July 2010

Books Read:
Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire Mysteries #10)
by Charlaine Harris (review)
Morpheus Road: The Light
by D. J. MacHale (review)Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (review)

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 3

Total Number of Books Read This Year: 40

Most Anticipated:
Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

Biggest Let Down:
Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire Mysteries #10)
by Charlaine Harris

Favorite Read:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Highest Rank:
5 butterflies

Lowest Rank:
3 butterflies

Overall Reflection:
Well, I didn't meet my monthly goal of 4 books. :( Unfortunately, there were some unseen obstacles this (and last) month that pushed my reading to the back burner. Hopefully, once I am fully recovered from my surgery, I'll be back on track. With my lack of reading these past 2 months, I don't think I'll be able to reach my goal of 75 books this year. To do so, I would have to read 7 books each month, and I think that might be a little unrealistic with my schedule. We'll see though. I'll still keep 75 as my ultimate goal. Anything above 50 will make me happy though. :)

As far as the books I read this month, Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris was the ultimate letdown. I do hope that Harris continues the series, but puts a bit more effort into it. Not to be mean or anything, but the book read a little flat, like she was worn out or out of material. I truly hope that's not the case. Morpheus Road: The Light by D. J. MacHale was a good, solid, scary read. Although a little more balance throughout the book would have made a five star rating. Regardless, I am looking forward to the next installment in the series. I was most impressed with Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It will definitely make my top 10 book list of the year! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Book Summery:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect readers.

Book Trailer (fan made):

Book Review:
I have read several reviews for this book, but it honestly seemed a little to emo for my taste. That is until I read a phenomenal review over at TinasBookReviews. I am soooo glad I read Tina's review. I literally finished this book within 24 hours of picking it up. While I don't necessarily agree with Hannah's decision to end her life, or all of the reasons she chose to end her life, it made me think. It brought me back to the dark place I resided in high school. Having been out of (high) school for almost 8 years now, I had forgotten how lonely and isolated one can feel, especially when you don't have anyone that you can trust or fall back on. Though it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, it was good to remember. It helped me to be grateful for the life that I worked hard for and have now. I remember thinking every day (back then), "I just have to get through this," and it's true. High school sucks for everyone on some level. If you just get through it, you can have the life you really want, if you work for it. I wouldn't label this as a "feel good" read, but it did cause me to truly contemplate and reflect over my life then and now, which I consider one hell of a master trait in a book. 5 stars. Check out the author's website here.

Favorite Quote:
"Would you want the ability to hear other people's thoughts?

Of course you would. Everyone answers yes to that question, until they think it all the way through.

For example, what if other people could hear your thoughts? What if they could hear your thoughts...right now?

They'd hear confusion. Frustration. Even some anger. They'd hear the words of a dead girl running through my head. A girl, for some reason, blames me for her suicide." (p. 174)

Cover Art Commentary:
The front cover is probably one of my favorite things about this book. Not necessarily the design on the front cover...though it is nice. What I like most is the map on the back of the front cover. In the book, Hannah leaves a copy of a map with everyone who receives the tapes. On the map are various locations, marked, so the listener can physically follow Hannah's journey as well as audibly. It's a very interesting and interactive concept for the reader.

Overall Rating:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Bundle

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love - the light and the dark, the warm and the cold - in a way you will never forget.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James. Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

Source: All of these were purchased at my local indie bookstore. :)

Most Anticipated: I am honestly jazzed to read all of these. I've read the first book to Guardian of the Gate, entitled Prophecy of the Sisters. So I'm excited to read the installment of the series. I haven't read Stiefveter's books, but I have read so many good reviews. I am really looking forward to reading Shiver (which I already own), as well as Linger. I have read several reviews on Thirteen Reasons Why, but I most recently read a review over at TinasBookReviews that was absolutely phenomenal. Therefore, I have stopped reading Beastly, and started Thirteen Reasons Why, which is honestly the book I am anticipating the most. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Morpheus Road: The Light #1 by D.J. MacHale

Book Summery:
Marshall Seaver is being haunted. In the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this is it’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined

Book Trailer:

Book Review:
First off, let me start by saying that overall, this was a solid, scary read. It's my first book by D. J. MacHale, who also wrote the Pendragon series. MacHale does know how to write a good, creepy scene that is sure to send your arm hair on end. The characters in this book, especially the main character, Marsh, are flawed and easy to relate to. Also, the action scenes are absolutely sensational. Needless to say, you are definitely in for one hell of a ride with Morpheus Road: The Light.

This could have been a five star book, but there were a few minor things (I thought) that held it back to a 4 star rating. First of all, there were multiple times when the plot seemed to drag on a bit, especially at the beginning when Marsh is alone and has little to no dialog with anyone else. Another aspect is that amazing as the action sequences were, they tended to carry on a bit too long at times, with a little too much going on. This made for a stark difference in comparison to the periods of stagnancy. What I mean to say here is that at times it felt like there was too much or too little going on, plot-wise. A more little more balance would have blended the story a bit better. Again, this is just one readers opinion! ;)

Overall, I enjoyed Morpheus Road: The Light. The pros definitely outweighed the cons. A 4 star rating still makes a good book, in my opinion. :) The ending definitely had a twist that I didn't see coming, which makes me eager to read the upcoming sequel Morpheus Road: The Black. You can find out more about the series and the author at his website. If you've read and reviewed this book, please feel free to leave a link in a comment! I always love reading others thoughts on books I've read!

Favorite Quote:

"How many particular weeks can anybody really remember? A week can fly by like any other. Or it can change your life. You tend to remember those weeks.

I remember last week.

It was the week the haunting began.

Or maybe I should call it the hunting because that's what it was. I was being hunted. And haunted. It wasn't a good week." (p.2)

Cover Art Commentary:
The cover of this book, displays what I believe is an accurate portrayal of the character "Gravedigger." The colors contrast nicely and deepen the overall "creep factor." Very fitting.

Overall Rating:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire Mysteries #10) by Charlaine Harris

Book Summery:
*Contains mild spoilers. Do not read the summery if you haven't read the rest of the series!*

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant

Book Review:
I am a fan of the series for sure. However, this series can read like a roller coaster at times. There are books that I enjoy more than others. This one was not among my favorites, but definitely fitting with the rest of the series. There was very little action, which compared to the last book, Dead and Gone, was a huge change. This is definitely a more somber book filled with Sookie's thoughts and insights, which made for slower pacing. I also felt that Harris was trying to incorporate the TV series True Blood into the book, which honestly annoyed me a bit. For instance, in previous books, Eric's character is definitely colder and less friendly than Bill, but he definitely had some humerus moments. In this book, Eric was cool and standoffish with zero light moments, much like the series. Now, as I said, I am long standing fan of the series, so there is an excellent chance that I am being way too critical. Either way, I am glad I read the book, and it is fitting with the series, just make sure to take it with a grain of salt (these are essentially fun reads for me). I still look forward to more of Harris' works, she is one of my favorite authors after all. :)

Favorite Quote:
"I went into the house, sank to my knees right inside the door, and cried. My hands were skaing. My wrists ached. The whole time we'd been talking, I'd been waiting for him to make his move. I realized I wanted to live." (p. 9)

Cover Art Commentary:
I am a fan of the cover art of this series. It's one of the components that initially drew me to the series. Though this isn't my favorite cover, I still find it whimsical and fitting with the rest of the series.

Overall Rating:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Bundle

Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery #2) by Kim Harrison

Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts.

Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens.

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.
Tracking the Tempest (Jane True, #2) by Nicole Peeler

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and Ryu - Jane's bloodsucking boyfriend - can't let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane's life is thrown off course.

Ryu's well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane's surprise...

Both of these were purchased at my local indie bookstore.

Most Anticipated:
I have yet to read the Nicole Peeler series, but have heard good things about it! :) I already started the Madison Avery book at the bookstore. So far it's pretty good. It picks up right where the first book left off. Soooo...basically looking forward to reading both of these! :P