Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Sunday Salon- February Wrap-Up

Good afternoon everyone! The end of February is already here and it is time to do another end of the month post. Crazy how fast time goes, isn't it? This month was a much better month of reading for me as I was able to finish six books. A far cry from January when I only finished two books :) I'm starting to get my reading rhythm back which has been nice. First, let's start with what I am currently reading.

I'm currently reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This book is huge and hard to hold so I decided to pick another book to read along with it. Now I'm not very far into Wolf Hall yet so it is hard to tell my feelings about it but so far it has been okay. I'll share more of my thoughts when I actually get farther into the book.

I'm also reading Truly, Madly by Heather Webber which has been really good so far. This was the perfect choice for me as it is a light cozy mystery that is easy to hold (key for when I'm reading and nursing), and I'm really enjoying it. I'm liking it so much that I haven't picked up either of my other reads yet today. I'm assuming I'll finish this one up in the next couple of days as it is going quite fast.

Finally, I'm reading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Still. I have the bad habit of putting this one day and then not reading it for awhile (awhile meaning weeks). But I've been reading it a lot recently as I've gotten to a good part and am anxious to see what happens. I'm a little over half way done with the book so hopefully I will finish it sometime in March. As I've said before I really do like this book but I just seem to find it too easy to set aside for something else. Probably because I own it and it doesn't have a due date looming over my head :)

So that's what I'm currently reading. It is highly unusual for me to be reading 3 books at a time but it is working for me right now. Now let's get to what I read in February which was:

1. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
2. Tainted by Julie Kenner
3. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (one of my favorites this month!)
4. Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (another of my favorites...and now I'm dying to see the movie!)
6. The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

It was definitely a good month of reading for me as I enjoyed all of these books. My goal for March is to continue reading and to TRY and get some of my 2009 books reviewed that I haven't gotten to yet. I know I should probably just let it go but I can't. I picked up some new books from the library so be on the lookout for a library loot post this week. And in baby news, D.P. is still doing awesome! Took him to the doctor for a check-up and he is already 12 lbs. He is gonna be a chunker :) He is already one month crazy is that!?! I'll be going back to work at the end of March which means life will get a bit more hectic. Thank God for reading as it keeps me sane! Enough out of me..hope everyone has a great month of reading in March!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge

From the back of the book:

"Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete's eyes--or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the kidnapping of a young girl from the streets of London...a case that brings her face to face with Jack."

My Thoughts:

Street Magic was an interesting beginning to a new (to me anyways) urban fantasy series. When Pete comes across Jack during her investigation, he is a heroin junkie that seems to hate her for no apparent reason. But he has information that leads to the discovery of the missing child and when another girl comes up missing Pete goes straight to Jack for help. The main characters in this book were interesting and different. Jack should be an unlikeable character. I mean, come on, he is a heroin addict and the way he acts toward Pete makes him far from endearing. But by the end of the story I was beginning to like him even though I was never quite sure of his motives throughout the story. Pete was a really strong female character whose actions left me flabbergasted at times. And yet even with all of their faults I couldn't get enough of these two. There was a ton of action throughout the book which helped to make the book a fast read. Plus, Kittredge has created an interesting world where the story is set in London but there is also the Black which is a place that only some can see. The book was darker than some urban fantasy but I still really enjoyed the book. I couldn't stop turning the pages to see what would happen to Pete and Jack next. And although the mystery wasn't the greatest, it was enough that I wanted to see what would happen in the end. Definitely an interesting read!

I did have a few problems with the book with the main problem being some of the language. Specifically, the use of a certain 4 lettered c-word throughout the story. I don't mind swearing in books but I find this word particularly offensive so it bugged me that the characters kept using it so casually. It was a personal problem that took away from the reading experience for me but I'm guessing it won't bother others as much.

All in all, I liked this book and plan to continue on with the series. Although I had a few qualms with it I would still recommend this book to urban fantasy lovers with the warning about the language.

Disclosure: This is getting kinda old...I checked it out from the library as usual.
*I read this for the following challenges:
1st in a Series Challenge
New Author Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

In Boneshaker, the former city of Seattle has been walled off because of a deadly blight gas that now fills the city. The blight gas came after a huge drill called the Boneshaker went horribly out of control and destroyed downtown Seattle. Briar Wilkes dealt with all of this firsthand as it was her husband Leviticus Blue that created the Boneshaker and caused all of the destruction. Briar lives with her son outside of the city's walls but deals with the stigma of being Blue's widow every day. Until her son, Zeke, decides to go into the city looking for proof that will clear his father's name.

I'm going to start this review off by saying that I just loved this book. So be warned that their may be gushing. Boneshaker was such an original read and like nothing that I've read before. There are zombies (from the blight gas), air pirates, plus just the gas itself. The gas almost took on its own character as it is such an important factor in the story. When Briar goes into the walls of the city looking for her son, she has to deal with all of these things on a constant basis. For instance, there are only certain places where people can breathe without masks safely within the city. The gas is a constant presence and enemy that the people living inside the city are up against. It made the story so much more suspenseful with all of these factors mixed in. I was flying through the pages trying to see what would happen next. Briar, herself, is a great main character. She is strong but feels that she has made mistakes in regards to her son. Who can't relate to that a bit? And what it comes down to is that this is a story about a mother and son and their relationship which just makes the book that much better. Briar is not only trying to save her son, but she is also trying to do better by him. I loved the other characters in this book...heck, I just really loved this book. There isn't much more to say than that.

Obviously, I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good story. I'm pretty sure that I didn't do this book justice but if it sounds at all interesting go check it out. According to Goodreads this is book 1 so I'm assuming (hoping) that there are going to be more books. Because the author does leave a few things open with the ending. All in all, a great read and one of my favorites this year so far.

Disclosure: Another wonderful find from my library!
*I read this book for the following challenges:
Speculative Fiction Challenge
New Author Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
"B" Title for the A-Z Challenge (personal)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tainted by Julie Kenner

From Goodreads: (I tried to do my own summary but it was just too hard to do it without giving anything away)

"Lily Carlyle has lied, cheated, and stolen her way through life.
But in death, she'll really get to be bad...
When her little sister is brutalized, a vengeful Lily determines to exact her own justice. She succeeds at the cost of her own life, but as she lies dying, she is given a second chance. Lily can earn her way into Paradise by becoming an assassin for the forces of good.
It's the job Lily believes she can really get into-but she doesn't realize that she may not be able to get out."

My Thoughts:

Tainted was a great beginning to a new urban fantasy series. Lily is a strong main character but she has flaws that the reader knows about from the beginning. She doesn't pretend to be good, the most important thing to her is her sister and she died trying to protect her. So really, you can't help but like her right off of the bat. But what makes this story interesting is the changes that Lily is facing throughout the story. She has to deal with the fact that she died, that she has come back from the dead, and that she is now an assassin fighting against demons from the dark side. The book has lots of action throughout it which made it a suspenseful read. Plus, Lily is always questioning everything which made me question things as well. The last part of the book was hands down the best part of the story but that was because I was thrown for a loop. Can't give you any more than that though without spoiling the book for you. Suffice it to say that I am eager to get my hands on Torn, which is the next book in this series.

All in all, a great beginning to this series and one that I am looking forward to continuing. I would recommend this book to urban fantasy fans but be warned that the ending is left open for the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: Got this one from the library!
*I read this book for the following challenges:
1st in a Series Challenge
2nds Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Fantasy Reading Challenge
"K" Author for the A-Z Challenge (personal)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Library Loot

Another week of holds from the library coming in. I finished and took back Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. I'll be reviewing it sometime next week. And I'm just beginning Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge which is from last week's loot. If you want to play along then Mr. Linky is at Marg's blog this week :)

I picked up the following:

1. Waiting For Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk
2. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
3. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
4. Still Life by Lousie Penny
5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
I'm excited for all of these as usual :) The World Without Us is my nonfiction pick for this month (I'm hoping to read more nonfiction this way). I believe I've checked it out before but didn't end up reading it. And I just saw a preview for the movie based on Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio in it. SOOO excited to read it now! I didn't even know about the movie until the other day and that was after I had put the book on hold. It works out perfectly. So there you have it...share thoughts or recommendations if you like :) I'm always willing to put more books on hold. LOL!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Spindle's End is the retelling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. For those of you who don't know the story of Sleeping Beauty begins when the princess is born and an evil fairy puts a curse on her saying that she will prick her finger on a spindle's end and die on her birthday. That's the gist of the story in a nutshell :) But what makes this book different is that the author puts her own spin on the story and on the princess herself. Robin McKinley adds many different elements of fantasy to the story to make the book unique and different from the classic Disney version that most of us have seen.

My opinion on this one goes a bit of both ways. The best way to put it is that I liked Spindle's End but I didn't love it. I liked the way that Rosie (the princess) is portrayed and I really liked all of the characters in the story. We really got to know the characters throughout the book and I couldn't help but grow attached to them as the story went on. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next especially since I knew the way that they story was "supposed" to go. Happily, the author was constantly putting her own spin on things which made the ending a suprise and different than what I expected. Now on the flip side, this book dragged for me at different points. I'm not sure if I got bogged down in all of the details or what but at times it just felt to be a bit too much. I think the author could have cut out some of the details relating to fairies and magic and the story would have been just as good. But that's my opinion and others might disagree.

All in all, Spindle's End was an interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty and I will be open to reading more books by this author especially since I see that she has won some awards for other things that she has written. But I recommend it with a caution as there are some slow parts that cut down on my enjoyment of the novel.

Disclaimer: This was another great find from my local library!
*I read this for the following challenges:
Fantasy Reading Challenge
New Author Challenge
YA Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
"S" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Library Loot-

I told you guys that I had the library bug again, didn't I?? I've got a very reasonable pile (in my opinion) of books checked out but we all knew that me only having 2 books checked out wasn't going to last. Most of these were holds that came in this week as my browsing time is VERY limited. But the limited time does help keep me from overdoing it and grabbing every book that I want to take home with me :) Here is what I came home with this week:

1. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
2. Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
3. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - I'm currently reading this one and I REALLY like it so far!!
4. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - So excited about this one :)
5. Still Life by Joy Fielding

I also still have The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu checked out. Plus, I have a few other books on hold so I need to get busy reading these. I may have limited browsing time but I've got a bunch of good books checked out! Let me know if you've read any of these and your thoughts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

In Once Bitten, Twice Shy, we meet Jaz Parks who is an assasin for the C.I.A. and is partnered up with a very powerful vampire named Vayl. Their newest assignment is to take out a plastic surgeon who has to ties to a dangerous group of terrorists. But Jaz and Vayl soon find out that their assignment is more complicated than they thought and before they know it they are up against an ancient evil.

Will someone please tell me how I have not heard more about this author before?? This book rocked and I was swept away within the story. Jaz is a great main character: she's strong but has her weak points, is a bit haunted, and has a mysterious past (although there is light shed on some of it). And Vayl is just awesome in my opinion. Jaz respects him a lot but can't seem to figure out why he chose her to be his partner. It gives Vayl and his motivations an air of mystery which added to the story. The chemistry between the two is great and makes me really excited to see how their relationship develops further along in the series because right now they are strictly partners. The story was fast paced and exciting and I flew through this book in a matter of days. The storyline itself was original and I found that the details surrounding the ancient evil to be very interesting (I'm not saying any more in fear of spoilers). Suffice it to say that I couldn't get enough of this book while I was reading it and am already itching to get my hands on the 2nd book.

All in all, a promising beginning to a new to me series and a series that I will most definitely be continuing on with. I'd recommend this book to anyone that enjoys urban fantasy or a good paranormal read.

Disclaimer: I checked this one out from the library too.
*I read this for the following challenges:
New Author Challenge
1st in a Series Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge
Support Your Library Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Series Challenge Season 4
"O" Title for A-Z Challenge (personal)