Wednesday, September 28, 2011

City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels
By Cassandra Clare

This is book four of Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. After what seemed like a complete trilogy, she took some time and came out with this book. I am sad to say I was disappointed with City of Fallen Angels. I think Clare would have been better off allowing the Mortal Instruments series to end as it had in book 3 and move on to a different series, as she has with Clockwork Angel.

The storyline in City of Fallen Angels didn’t hold any interest for me. The romances were all played out and all the stories seemed to be told. I felt like Clare was grasping to put another story together with old characters. It didn’t help that I read the first 3 books so long ago that I had forgotten some of the details and because of that it took me a moment longer than it should have to grasp some of the references.

I was curious enough to finish the book but I was hoping for more from the story, especially after how much I enjoyed the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series.

**Source: Personal copy

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Orchard - Jeffrey Stepakoff

The Orchard
By Jeffrey Stepakoff

I was very excited when I first heard about Stepakoff’s second book. I read his first book, Fireworks Over Toccoa (my review), and I absolutely loved it but I, sadly, did not have the same strong feelings towards The Orchard.

The Orchard is about a career driven woman from Atlanta and a widowed father who owns a remarkable apple orchard. The lives of these two people quickly end up very entwined. My favorite characters in the story quickly became the orchard and the apples themselves. They had a storyline all their own with their sweet scent and the building anxiety of the perfect time to pick.

I grew up in a small town in which the festival is the Apple Blossom Festival. The memories this book brought up were amazing and I loved the way it brought me back to a time when my favorite sound was the plunk of an apple in a 5 gallon bucket and my favorite thing to eat was a just-picked apple slightly warmed from the sun.

All that said, I did have a few issues with the story. I found it to be extremely overwritten. There were so many moments that Stepakoff clearly wanted to play to the all the readers senses as best he could but it seemed like he got caught up in overly “showing.” While he was able to pull off many of his excessive descriptions, there became a point when I realized it was almost every moment and it was too much.

Although the story turned out to be extremely predictable I still closed the book with a giggle and an almost giddy smile on my face.

**Source: ARC from author

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Smile...It's Wednesday

I read this comic the other day and it made me smile.  They had a handy "share" button but unfortunately it didn't include blogger so a small version of the comic is above but click on the link below to read it.  Enjoy!

Non Sequitur Comic Strip

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by Amused by Books.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

Hades (Halo) by Alexandra Adornetto (ARC from publisher)

From publishers website:
Heaven Help Her.

Hades (Halo)Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

The story that Alexandra Adornetto built in her New York Times-bestselling debut, Halo, comes alive in action-packed and unexpected ways, as angels battle demons, and the power of love is put to the test.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce from At Home with Books.
Photos can be old or new as long as they aren't random photos you found online.

Some shots from my garden...

My squash is growing.

Evil little worm going to town on my lettuce.

The damage of three worms.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tighter - Adele Griffin

By Adele Griffin

I am a bit confused by this book. It’s not the story that is confusing me but my feelings towards it that are the problem. I found myself rushing through it because I wanted to know how it was going to end but I was also constantly annoyed and confused by the story.

Jamie is seventeen and working as an au pair for the summer at a house that has some mysterious things going on. I think my biggest issue was that Jamie had a pill addiction and it was a constant subject throughout the book but it was never really addressed as an issue. Pill popping was basically a part of her personality but aside from a few minor instances there weren’t any real consequences.

The thing that kept me interested was that I could just tell that there was more and that was why I wanted to get to the end. There was an interesting twist like I was expecting. I may have seen it coming if I wasn’t so wrapped up in all the things that were bothering me about the story but I didn’t catch it until I was one line away.

I will definitely say that this is one of those books that would be better the second time around when you know how it ends and you can look more deeply into certain parts. I found myself going back and rereading parts to see how Griffin pulled it off but there were still some twists that left me unsatisfied.

**Source: Amazon Vine

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by Amused by Books.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

It was with a giant SQUEEEEE that I opened a package revealing 2 books by Philippa Gregory and then it got even better later in the week.

Happy Labor Day!!!

The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War) by Philippa Gregory (from publisher)

From author's website:
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta has always had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she meets his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and sees her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft, before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France.
The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War)
Married to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France, Jacquetta is introduced by him to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the Duke’s squire, Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the Duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. King Henry VI slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret , his queen, turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York. A sweeping, powerful story rich in passion and legend and drawing on years of research, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother to the White Queen.

The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother by Philippa Gregory (from publisher)

From author's website:
Jacquetta of Luxembourg was a royal duchess who married beneath her for love and became mother of a queen. In this unique presentation Philippa Gregory uses original documents, site visits and even archaeology to create the first biography ever written of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to be the first lady at two rival courts.

The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's MotherElizabeth Woodville was a widowed mother when she married the young King Edward IV. Her two sons are infamous as ‘the Princes in the Tower’, but little is known of her own life. David Baldwin, established author on the Wars of the Roses, tells her story, that of the first commoner to marry a King of England for love.

Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes about Margaret Beaufort, whose official story is powerfully bland. Yet she committed treason against an ordained King of England and her son, Henry VII, became the first Tudor to take the throne.

In an introduction by Gregory, she discusses her life’s work: history, and the writing style she loves: historical fiction. She answers many of the questions posed by her readers and history scholars alike: What is the difference between writing history and historical fiction? How much of a role does speculation play in each? How much fiction should there be in a historical novel? How are female historians changing our view of women in history?

The Women of the Cousins’ War is beautifully illustrated with rare portraits and source materials. It offers fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory’s fiction and will appeal to all with an interest in this period.

The Lantern: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson (from Amazon Vine)

From publisher's website:
A modern gothic novel of love, secrets, and murder—set against the lush backdrop of Provence

The Lantern: A NovelMeeting Dom was the most incredible thing that had ever happened to me. When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom in Switzerland, their whirlwind relationship leads them to Les Genévriers, an abandoned house set among the fragrant lavender fields of the South of France. Each enchanting day delivers happy discoveries: hidden chambers, secret vaults, a beautiful wrought-iron lantern. Deeply in love and surrounded by music, books, and the heady summer scents of the French countryside, Eve has never felt more alive.

But with autumn’s arrival the days begin to cool, and so, too, does Dom. Though Eve knows he bears the emotional scars of a failed marriage—one he refuses to talk about—his silence arouses suspicion and uncertainty. The more reticent Dom is to explain, the more Eve becomes obsessed with finding answers—and with unraveling the mystery of his absent, beautiful ex-wife, Rachel.

Like its owner, Les Genévriers is also changing. Bright, warm rooms have turned cold and uninviting; shadows now fall unexpectedly; and Eve senses a presence moving through the garden. Is it a ghost from the past or a manifestation of her current troubles with Dom? Can she trust Dom, or could her life be in danger?

Eve does not know that Les Genévriers has been haunted before. Bénédicte Lincel, the house’s former owner, thrived as a young girl within the rich elements of the landscape: the violets hidden in the woodland, the warm wind through the almond trees. She knew the bitter taste of heartbreak and tragedy—long-buried family secrets and evil deeds that, once unearthed, will hold shocking and unexpected consequences for Eve.