Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Infinite Days - Rebecca Maizel

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen)
Infinite Days
By Rebecca Maizel

Lenah is a vampire, or at least she was a vampire, until her best friend turned her back into a human using some crazy old magic. As Lenah tries to adjust to her new life as a human, she has flashes back to her old life as a vampire and these were my favorite parts of the story.

As a vampire, Lenah’s power was intriguing. You could feel how she dominated all those around her, human and vampire alike. She was a queen of the vampire world but she still had the burning desire to be human. I really appreciated that this was a new way to write a vampire story. It wasn’t about the desire to be a vampire or the fear of vampires but instead, a true look at what it would be like to lose your humanity and have only vampire desires and no feelings at all. This is a book that shows the pain and torment of being a vampire.

The story, overall, is very predictable. I was really happy with Lenah’s “outcast” status and it annoyed me when that began to change. That is also when I began to feel disconnected with the story. There were two things that came up throughout the book and really bothered me. First of all, there wasn’t any consistency with many parts of the story. Lenah would be saying something can’t happen and then it would. The second thing that drove me nuts was that Lenah’s abilities were constantly over-explained and then re-explained. She could look at the sun and know what time it was, she knew the time by the placement of the sun in the sky, her vampire abilities allowed her to know the time from the placement to the sun. I get it! Lenah had various abilities from being a vampire and some of them took time to wear off after her transformation back into a human but once that was made clear, the constant explanation of them was unnecessary.

The end was, again, predictable, but I was still curious to get to the end and find out exactly how it would play out. This is the first book in a new series and I hope the next ones give more detail into Lenah’s past because, as I said before, I really enjoyed reading about Lenah as a powerful, evil vampire, knowing that she eventually desires nothing more than to be human again.

**Source: ARC from publisher

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Everyday, on my walk from my car to the building I work in, I pass turkeys!  There are about 20 turkeys living right outside our office and they fly from tree to tree or walk around in the bushes.  I tried to get a video of one flying because nobody believes that those giant things fly but I missed it, but this little guy is saying hi to you today.  Actually, yesterday when I took the picture, he was saying "I know tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm hiding out here now get out of my face and don't blow my cover." 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt

Daughters of the Witching Hill
Daughters of the Witching Hill
By Mary Sharratt

I have read many books about witch hunts in various countries and the similarities, as well as the differences, fascinate me. Daughters of the Witching Hill is based on the true story of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt. As the story unfolds, it shows how seemingly innocent religious beliefs intertwined with and also were confused with witchcraft.

Mother Demdike was a woman with the power to heal and the people in her community embraced that power…until they didn’t. Sharratt tells a heartbreaking story with surprising redemption. The story is filled with questionable characters and lose-lose situations which bring it to life. A battle between “bad witch” and “good witch” turns loved ones against each other but what resonated with me most was Mother Demdike’s insistence that they must not cry witch because once a witch-hunt starts, no one is safe.

I loved the different relationships between all the women. The seemingly strong bonds that brought out so many joyous and heartbreaking moments, as well as some interesting conversations:

She rested her brow upon my shoulder.
‘It’s the virgin’s disease, so my father says. The only cure is marriage. The longer I’m a maid, the worse it will get.’
-pg 180

Although this comment comes in the middle of a discussion about being cursed, it paints an interesting picture about the way that women were viewed and treated.

**Source: contest win from Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Little Bee - Chris Cleave

Little Bee: A Novel
Little Bee
By Chris Cleave

This book was difficult for me. I enjoyed the story – well, it’s not that I enjoyed it as much as I appreciated it. I was a powerful story with a huge message behind it and I think the story that unfolded did a great job of portraying that.

That said, I think the writing left something to be desired. I felt all the emotions were put into the wrong moments. I would be reading about a heartbreaking moment in the story and the only reason I had any idea that was going on was because it said “I was crying.” I have a specific example but I’m not going to put a quote because I don’t want to give part of the story away. On the other hand, so much of the minor details became lost in the in-depth descriptions. There would be a page about something so minor (for example the ocean, I understand, symbolism, blah, we’ve gone over this, can we move on already?) I found myself skipping over parts.

I really loved what Little Bee said about scars and that was something that I remembered throughout the book but I also felt disconnected because the story was told as if she were telling it to someone from England and there was a lot I didn’t connect with because of that. I think that part of the story I enjoyed the most was the inside view on journalism and even some politics in London. I was fascinating to me. Although this was not what the story was about, it helped bring it to life.

**Source: I bought this book with my own sweet loot.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fireworks Over Toccoa - Jeffrey Stepakoff

Fireworks Over Toccoa 
By Jeffrey Stepakoff

Holy crap I love this book!!!  From the first chapter, NO from the first page I fell in love.  The moment I read on the back cover that Stepakoff had been involved with many wonderful TV shows, including Dawson’s Creek, I was very curious about the story.  I don’t know if that is the reason I could not stop relating the book to other books, TV shows and movies but every time I turned the page I was reminded of something else I loved.  I caught myself – unsurprisingly – remembering some of my favorite moments in Dawson ’s Creek (Grams’ one great kiss). Fireworks Over Toccoa has the Southern charm of a Sarah Addison Allen novel but the way it was told kept reminding me of Titanic.

I continued to think I would find something, just one negative thing, because this book couldn’t really be this good and finally, towards the end, I knew it was going to be a bit too predictable (which isn’t even the worst thing I can say about some books) and then BAM! my whole predictable ending was shot down, as well as a chance of finding a flaw in the story.  This was truly a lovely, delightful and delicious story.  It made me want to sit down with a Coca-Cola in a bottle and watch some fireworks.

I love that the story came about after Stepakoff began research for a TV pilot that never came to be.  The characters were so real, and I was so lost in the story that I forgot to wonder which parts of the story were actually real. 

Love it!!

**Source:  ARC from publisher

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Still Missing - Chevy Stevens

Still Missing
Still Missing
By Chevy Stevens

A story about a woman who is abducted and taken to a house where she is abused in many horrifying ways can really be a toss-up. There would have been so many ways to let the horrors of the story take over and make it unreadable or to get caught up in the drama and have it be just a predictable abduction story. Luckily, none of that happened here.

Chevy Stevens crafted a heartbreaking and unique story that horrified but also had me laughing out loud. I could not put this book down. The entire story takes place in the therapy sessions Annie goes through, so we know she got away from her abductor, but that fact doesn’t take away from the suspense of the story, it may, in fact, add to it because more questions arise as she tells her therapist more and more.

Although Annie is obviously disturbed and embraces her self-proclaimed bitchiness, I love her! I could hear her voice and feel her personality lifting off the page during every therapy session. She rants about what happened to her while she was captive as well as the present day events taking place between the therapy sessions. She was so real to me as I read the story.

I will warn you that this isn’t a story for the faint of heart. Stevens goes into details of Annie’s abduction that are difficult to read but not overdone, making it more readable, while also more real (which is both good and bad in this situation). All of the difficult reading is worth it in the end because it makes for an incredible story that comes to life with the pain, sorrow, joy, confusion, anger, and intensity that you would expect from this type of an event. Still Missing is an extremely powerful book.

**Source: ARC from publisher

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts "Waiting on" Wednesday, a place where we can voice the books we are patiently - okay probably impatiently - waiting to be released.

The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
By Susan Higginbotham
Pub. date: January 1, 2011

From author's website:
When fifteen-year-old Margaret of Anjou journeys from France to marry England’s Henry VI, she hopes that her wedding will mean a lasting peace between England and France. Instead, England’s losses of French territory infuriate the people, resulting in the horrific murder
of Margaret’s first friend in England, William de la Pole.

The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou 
Pregnant at last after eight years of marriage, Margaret places her hopes in her coming child. Then the worst happens: the gentle, ineffectual Henry suddenly goes mad and cannot even recognize his longed-for son. As feuding nobles rush to exploit the situation, Margaret determines to protect the rights of her husband and her child.

Undaunted by exile, poverty, danger, and the slanders of her enemies, Margaret remains loyal to her cause even as those around her falter in their allegiances. For the man and the boy she loves best, she will risk everything—her reputation, her safety, and the future of England itself.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts "Waiting on" Wednesday, a place where we can voice the books we are patiently - okay probably impatiently - waiting to be released.

Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book: Based on the Film PhenomenonHarry Potter: A Pop-Up Book: Based on the Film Phenomenon
By Bruce Foster (Creator) and Andrew Williamson (Illustrator)
Pub. date: Nov.16, 2010

From Amazon:

This collectible Harry Potter pop-up book, based on the creative development of the films, features exquisite original artwork by Andrew Williamson, concept artist for all eight movies. With dynamic pop-ups animating memorable moments and locations — like the Triwizard Tournament, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts Castle — Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book offers a 3-D glimpse into the amazing world, as seen in the films. This deluxe book will delight Harry Potter fans with dynamic pop-up ingenuity, insights from the creative team who turned JK Rowling’s stories into movie magic, fascinating facts about the magical universe seen in the movies, and Harry Potter memories and memorabilia packed into every page.
In the words of Liz Lemon..."I want to go to there!"
I already know 3 people who are going to receive this for Christmas...okay,2 people if you don't count me because I am so going to own this!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's a Celebration!!!

I thought Halloween was my favorite black and orange. I was so wrong...


Victory is even sweeter because my in-laws live in Texas!!!