Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review-The Green Man by Michael Bedard

The Green Man

by, Michael Bedard


Teenaged O – never call her Ophelia – is about to spend the summer with her aunt Emily. Emily is a poet and the owner of an antiquarian book store, The Green Man. A proud, independent woman, Emily’s been made frail by a heart attack. O will be a help to her. Just how crucial that help will be unfolds as O first tackles Emily’s badly neglected home, then the chaotic shop. But soon she discovers that there are mysteries and long-buried dark forces that she cannot sweep away, though they threaten to awaken once more. At once an exploration of poetry, a story of family relationships, and an intriguing mystery, The Green Man is Michael Bedard at his finest.

 I've always been intrigued by The Green Man. Most of the images I've seen of him were of a laughing smiling man, inviting you to share in his mirth. But The Green Man book store is buried, In books (absolutely no pun intended), in layers of dust, memories, ghosts of better days and of the poets of the past. When O's father goes to Italy to research his book on Ezra Pound he sends her to stay with her aunt. At one point it seems like she might have had a choice to go with him or go to her aunt's, Italy would have seemed to be the logical choice for a girl in her teens, but spending the summer in a bookstore isn't terrible either. However, O. is not expecting the mess of a life she finds when she gets to her aunt's house and store. Emily, as her aunt insists on being called, is preoccupied with something and the store and house is in complete neglect as is Emily's health. O. forces her to stop smoking as she can't stand it and Emily has just suffered a recent heart attack. And as the summer progresses, O. slowly transforms The Green Man from the past, into the present, keeping the ghosts of the poets alive, but removing the clutter and dust of years of stasis.

 Eccentric is what I'd call Emily. She's a poet, spent her life traveling around writing poetry never settling down until she found the Green Man. She walks around the ghostly figure of the poet Mallarme on the stairs that lead up to the apartment above the store. O. is startled at first, of course there is no one there, but she pretends and goes along with it. Her aunt also has no computer and piles and piles of boxes of books waiting to be shelved on the dusty shelves. O. notes as she goes to fix something to eat, "The fridge sat in the corner of the room, humming to itself and trying to look busy." (Kindle ARC) I pictured this rounded cartoonish refrigerator kind of buzzing with excitement hoping to be noticed. And it works because O. takes over the cooking and fills the shelves of the pantry and the refrigerator. No longer does she allow Emily coffee and cigarettes for breakfast.

 The story is told sometimes for Emily's point of view and sometimes O.'s, but no matter who is doing the telling, it is clear that things are changing. They are becoming more alike. Something is up, something sinister, not like a murder or a robber, but something darker that's playing tricks on both of their minds and O. is realizing that she is a poet, that in order to be, she must write. The paranormal aspects of this novel were somewhat confusing at first because Emily is in her seventies and you don't know if it's the ramblings of an old woman's memories or if it's something believable. But it lends a feeling of creepiness to the latter part of the book. It also joins Emily and O. in a bond as more than relatives, they have experienced more than that and they are poets, together. The Green Man is aptly named as "the doorway between imagination and creation." (Kindle ARC)

 This novel is very clean with a light air of romance, but more mystery to that too. It is perfect for anyone that loves stories about The Green Man, about poetry, about coming or age stories, stories about the three stages of life, about supernatural/bizarre stories. So, pretty much anyone would love this story. I thought the writing was subtle in what it was saying, and poetic, but not cryptic. Anyone with any interest in poetry would miss out if they didn't read this one. Just to note, it is not, I repeat, not written in verse. Just well written. Soft phrasing. Gentle nudges at what it's hinting at beneath the words. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'll be picking up my own hardbound copy of this one.

 Thank you to the publisher Tundra Books for the ARC via NetGalley. This in no way affected my review of the novel and no monetary compensation was received for my review.

                                                                            Heather

Clockwise Review And Giveaway AGAIN!

I had a little snafu with my automatic posting with Blogger (thank you) and so I was rattled trying to get this up. I also missed the part where I was doing a giveaway. So I'm redoing this post with the giveaway below. Sorry about this, but the story deserves attention!
Clockwise
by Elle Strauss

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.

I gotta say I had no idea what this book was going to be like. You know about time travel novels. Sometimes they can be very complex.  And honestly, after the things I've been reading lately, I was in a mellow reading mode. I was not disappointed!  This is not a confusing time travel novel. Casey travels back to the same place every time she travels back. She's got it down to a science. She even has a stash of clothes and a few other items that make life easier for her, or so she thinks.  There isn't any rhyme or reason to why she travels back in time, but if you shake hands with her, you better be careful!  She might just take you back to 1860 Massachusetts right outside of Boston. You all remember what was about to happen then don't you??  Well, trouble is brewing and the women are getting feisty wanting a say in voting, Lincoln is running for President. It's actually an exciting time, until you realize the Civil War is about to start.

Casey is a great character. She's like every high school girl. She and her best friend, Lucinda stay after school to watch the sports teams practice, because, hey, the guys are cute.  She muses, "As usual, we were watching the yummy football players, rather than the scrimmage going on because really, who cared about the actual game?" (Kindle ARC)  So true, Casey, so true!  She's athletic and catches a football at the practice, Nate Mackenzie's Tom Brady autographed ball. But when he comes to get it she gets so nervous it triggers her "tripping".  "Unbelievably" she thinks, "there are some things worse than puking in front of the football team."  I loved her unflappable sense of self preservation. She just kept going. She'd go back in time and just resume her role as if she'd never left. There was an unusually kind family that always took her in so she knew she always had a place to go.  She's extremely resourceful at finding clothing and food when necessary.  She hated her hair (I remember those days) and her height (too tall) and the fact that her parents were separated, but when her brother got hauled home by the police, Dad came right over and laid down the law.  So the parents are wholly in the story. There are even parents in the 1860's story, just not Casey's.

So, why should you read another time travel novel?  It's easy to understand. Casey is just on a loop. She always ends up in the same spot when she travels back so she's never lost. She's at her home, only her home wasn't built yet.  No she doesn't know why she travels, but there are a few clues later in the book.
Casey and Nate in the past are so adorable as a couple.  Casey never feels sorry for herself. She does spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over Nate after they travel back in time, but I think I would too, mixed messages and all.  It's the first in a trilogy. Great snippets of time in history and reminds you of all you have to be thankful for, like bathrooms! And central heat! And the writing was so easy and smooth.  I only took a few hours to read this it was so easy to read.  There were no love triangles!  And for Casey with the great sense of humor and lines like "Pack your bags self pity!" and she wears Spongebob pants and monkey slippers!  Read it!  You will so enjoy this wonderfully quirky Casey and Nate story as they travel into the 1860's and navigate the waters of high school hierarchies.  I loved it!  I'm already reading the second book Clockwiser!  Oh, and there are some very interesting twists that you won't believe just to keep things a little crazy!  I'd definitely be friends with Casey, but I don't think I'd shake her hand.

Heather

I received a copy of this from the author as part of the Clockwise Tour!  Thank you Elle Strauss and AToMR Blog Tours for the copy. My review was not influenced by participating in the blog tour nor by receiving the copy of the novel.


Giveaway
For an e-copy of Tangled Tides by Karen Hooper
(This is one I want)
We only have until May 2nd
So fill out the rafflecopter form quick!






Friday, April 27, 2012

Review-Fairystruck Songs of Magic 3 by J L Bryan

                                                  
Fairystruck 
Songs of Magic Book Three 
By J L Bryan



With their first single shooting up the Billboard charts, the Zebras hit the road as the opening band for an epic stadium tour across America. The future looks bright for the band, if they can survive the rioting fans, Queen Mab of Faerie, the dullahan, and the evil teddy bears.

 Aoide the Lutist and Liadan the banshee wolf cross into man-world on the trail of the stolen fairy instruments. Aoide is shocked at the strangeness of life among the humans, but she also learns about a thrilling new kind of music never heard in Faerie...rock and roll.


***Spoiler Alert*** If you haven't read the other two books in this series don't read this review*******

First, let's just look at this change in cover! The Songs of Magic Books have all grown up! Here was the original cover for this book.  BIG difference right? J.L. Bryan got
Phat Puppy to do the covers for all three books and they've
undergone a huge transformation from their original look.*
That in itself tells you, that these books aren't just for middle grade
readers. These are definitely for YA readers. The characters
are 17 and up and are, by book three in this series very familiar to us.

The group is stuck on a lousy school bus with no air condition touring all across the U.S. but they are really having the time of their lives. Except for the 14 hour bus rides and the fairy creatures trying to kill them. Jason is still pining away for Erin. She is still with the super cheesy Zach but we're kept in the dark about their relationship. Mitch is the "yes man" of the group. I think he'd say yes if they told him to wear a gorilla suit while he played. Dred is just Dred. But, the more the group plays the more dangerous it gets because not only are fairy creatures after them, but the crowds are getting dangerously rowdy. They swarm the bus, cause riots and
block the bus from moving tipping the bus from side to side until the band is afraid it might tip over. Once it takes Jason and Erin climbing out of the emergency hatch on top of the bus, playing their music to soothe them so they can make a path for the bus to leave. The band, now called the Rioting Zebras, have definitely got a handle on their music and what they can do with their instruments. It would really be a shame if they have to give them up, but at the same time, I think that contract they signed with Malarky might be the death of them, literally.

Erin gets on my nerves just a tiny bit. She might be on the youngish side of seventeen, but she seems to let Zach walk all over her. She's totally in control when she's on stage, but when he comes around, she let him take over. I hate girls like that. And I don't see the appeal in Zach. He acts as if he's one of the band members. And he thinks he's all that because he gets to shoot a sock commercial???  What?  Jason though, is not about to make a move for her. He just sits and listens to her talk for hours on the phone every day with Zach. I'd like to kick him in the rear and tell him to do something I can't publish and just kiss her! Tell her how he feels.  I want someone to slap Mitch. He is so annoying. So I guess that leaves Dred. She stays so closed off and so far removed from everyone I have a feeling she's going to surprise us in the end.

Aiode and the Banshee Liadan, in human form, are in the human world and Aiode is literally singing for her supper and anything else she might want or need. They are hot on the trail of the instruments but so are killer teddy bears, monstrous gargoyles and Icarus of the Kingsguard. So, rather than say anymore about the story, I'm just going to throw some words out there so you know what's coming.

Katie, the dullahan, Jason crowd surfing, fairy doors, Queen Mab, walking, chainsaw wielding Teddy Bear, labyrinth, enchanted dollhouse, someone arrested, the song "I Want a Boyfriend", a pot roast cook off in TEXAS, food fight, Icarus humiliated, huge concert in LA, potatoes, DJ TaterTot. Need I say more to get you interested? Okay, attacked by flying Gargoyles, trashing hotel rooms, leprechauns, trolls, a kidnapping, and a huge cliffhanger.

 Come on Jeff! Why did you do that to us? The good news is the next book will be out soon. And as you can see, this book has lots of action and just about everything else in it!  So, what are you waiting for? Get Fairystruck if you've read Fairy Metal Thunder and Fairy Blues. If not, then what are you waiting for? Enchanted music? The first book Fairy Metal Thunder is only 99cents today. I don't know how long that will last, but what have you got to lose?

*Jeff let me know that this is the Banshee Liadan so this cover is very different from the other two new covers because she's so unique. Not even fairy like, but something even more like a spirit, like the wind.

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for my review.  Now go read this series!
                                                                        Heather

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review- Creepy Hollow Book Two Labyrinth by Rachel Morgan

Creepy Hollow
Book Two
Labyrinth
by Rachel Morgan
Guardian trainee Violet Fairdale has officially been suspended for bringing a human into the fae realm. No assignments, no training, and goodbye to that position at the top of the class. While this sucks, it at least allows her time to secretly keep visiting Nate, the human boy who caused her suspension in the first place. It’s not the wisest move to continue breaking Guild Law, but no one’s going to find out. And Nate is worth the risk, isn’t he? 

To prevent herself from going into assignment withdrawal, Vi throws herself into investigating Nate’s real mother, Angelica, a woman who seems to be mysteriously connected to the world of the fae. Nate’s never given her much thought, but that was before an insane faerie abducted him in order to blackmail Angelica out of hiding. Now Nate wants answers, and Vi’s got the perfect ability to help him. 

***Spoilers if you haven't read the first book****

Seems like there have been some loose lips in the fae realm. The kiss that was supposed to be kept secret has been blabbed about and Violet's cheeks are turning red. She's visiting Nate on the sly, breaking all the rules of her Guardian training, but hey, if no one finds out about it, she's not hurting anyone.  Personally, I'd love to have one of those little stylus' she uses to draw on the wall and make a doorway to a different world. How cool would that be?  Anyway, the one thing Vi has never thought about is romance, but now, she can't stop thinking about Nate and with too much time on her hands....let's just say she pops in on him without thinking about what time it is or what he might be doing. She's very much drawn to his bare chest.

Anyway, after Nate puts his shirt on, he and Vi decide rather than to separate that they should look for Nate's mother. Vi has a great gift for finding people. She just has to touch something that belonged to them and she can focus on where they are. So they go snooping.  And what do they find???? A lot of action and trouble and a bit of a cliffie!  There was a ton of action in this one with a look into Vi's world through Nate's eyes. They encounter some bad things in Vi's world and some interesting characters in some very interesting and questionable places.

This second installment of the Creepy Hollow series is just as good if not better than the first. We already  know the characters and they are establishing a relationship, bonded by dangerous situations and a common goal, finding Nate's mother.  The world is unfolding slowly but at just the right pace. It's on a need to know basis, as Nate and Vi experience it, we do too.  Again, I say, I really love these novellas. Such a quick juicy read and I know that come May, I'll have another installment to read. It's a great way to build the anticipation for the story and yet not make us wait forever for the second novel. Sometimes, you just want a little story. This is it. And next month, there will be more! Rachel Morgan is a fantastic writer and storyteller.
In case you don't remember, here is the review of the first novella Guardian.

                                                                           Heather

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review- The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

The Lure of Shapinsay
Krista Holle
Coming out in Paperback in June

Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant. 

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure. 

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?


The people of Shapinsay are very superstitious. They worship the old gods. They have a doctor to cure one from fae curses and make amulets and potions and other wards to keep the fairies from invading their homes. And they leave the selkies alone. For fear of retribution. For fear that the men will lure the women to their watery graves in the sea. Already the men outnumber the women three to one on the desolate island in the North Seas.  So when Kait's best friend gives birth to a babe that is part selkie, her father drowns the baby in the harbour.  Kait, in a race to save the babe for her friend rushes after him only to find him carrying empty blankets. She sticks her face into the water looking for the baby trying to  think how long it could be underwater for her to be able to save him. But unbeknown to her, the selkies are watching from below. They've discovered the half selkie baby dead. And one selkie male is angered by it, angered enough to seek revenge.  He doesn't know his anger is mislaid.  He visits the island several nights killing newborn lambs and his footprints can be seen in Kait's and her brother Blair's garden.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Marked A Talents Novel by Inara Scott

The Marked
A Talents Novel
By  Inara Scott

In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.

All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?

******Spoiler Alert******
****There are spoilers from book one in this review. If you haven't read it don't read this review****
My review of The Talents (the name has been changed since I purchased the book) is HERE
You've heard of the Sophomore Slump with secondary novels? Not this one! If anything, it runs circles around the first novel in this series! There was a lot of everything in this novel.  Dancia gets training finally to control her talents but it's not easy and her trainers are very unconventional.  There are new characters, Barrett, a senior that provides some levity and some balance to Dancia's life, as well as being her trainer.  And she meets the other people in the Program.  And finally, she and Cam can  be together. As her watcher, he wasn't allowed to be her boyfriend, but now that she's part of the program, they can date as she'll no longer have a watcher, or will she?

Anna and Trevor are up to their old tricks but it wouldn't be any fun if they weren't! All the old characters are back.  Hennie is still with Yashir though she hasn't told her parents yet.  And Esther is having a crisis of confidence because she can't find a boyfriend. And then, Catherine makes an unusual breakthrough and actually speaks to Dancia. What is going on???  And Jack. Whoever said he wasn't going to be in this novel was wrong, very wrong!  And Dancia's doubts about Delcroix, Mr. Judan and The Program continue which gets between her and Cam.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review Clockwise by Elle Strauss

Clockwise
by Elle Strauss

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.

I gotta say I had no idea what this book was going to be like. You know about time travel novels. Sometimes they can be very complex.  And honestly, after the things I've been reading lately, I was in a mellow reading mode. I was not disappointed!  This is not a confusing time travel novel. Casey travels back to the same place every time she travels back. She's got it down to a science. She even has a stash of clothes and a few other items that make life easier for her, or so she thinks.  There isn't any rhyme or reason to why she travels back in time, but if you shake hands with her, you better be careful!  She might just take you back to 1860 Massachusetts right outside of Boston. You all remember what was about to happen then don't you??  Well, trouble is brewing and the women are getting feisty wanting a say in voting, Lincoln is running for President. It's actually an exciting time, until you realize the Civil War is about to start.

Casey is a great character. She's like every high school girl. She and her best friend, Lucinda stay after school to watch the sports teams practice, because, hey, the guys are cute.  She muses, "As usual, we were watching the yummy football players, rather than the scrimmage going on because really, who cared about the actual game?" (Kindle ARC)  So true, Casey, so true!  She's athletic and catches a football at the practice, Nate Mackenzie's Tom Brady autographed ball. But when he comes to get it she gets so nervous it triggers her "tripping".  "Unbelievably" she thinks, "there are some things worse than puking in front of the football team."  I loved her unflappable sense of self preservation. She just kept going. She'd go back in time and just resume her role as if she'd never left. There was an unusually kind family that always took her in so she knew she always had a place to go.  She's extremely resourceful at finding clothing and food when necessary.  She hated her hair (I remember those days) and her height (too tall) and the fact that her parents were separated, but when her brother got hauled home by the police, Dad came right over and laid down the law.  So the parents are wholly in the story. There are even parents in the 1860's story, just not Casey's.

So, why should you read another time travel novel?  It's easy to understand. Casey is just on a loop. She always ends up in the same spot when she travels back so she's never lost. She's at her home, only her home wasn't built yet.  No she doesn't know why she travels, but there are a few clues later in the book.
Casey and Nate in the past are so adorable as a couple.  Casey never feels sorry for herself. She does spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over Nate after they travel back in time, but I think I would too, mixed messages and all.  It's the first in a trilogy. Great snippets of time in history and reminds you of all you have to be thankful for, like bathrooms! And central heat! And the writing was so easy and smooth.  I only took a few hours to read this it was so easy to read.  There were no love triangles!  And for Casey with the great sense of humor and lines like "Pack your bags self pity!" and she wears Spongebob pants and monkey slippers!  Read it!  You will so enjoy this wonderfully quirky Casey and Nate story as they travel into the 1860's and navigate the waters of high school hierarchies.  I loved it!  I'm already reading the second book Clockwiser!  Oh, and there are some very interesting twists that you won't believe just to keep things a little crazy!  I'd definitely be friends with Casey, but I don't think I'd shake her hand.

Heather

I received a copy of this from the author as part of the Clockwise Tour!  Thank you Elle Strauss and AToMR Blog Tours for the copy. My review was not influenced by participating in the blog tour nor by receiving the copy of the novel.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Ripper
by Amy Carol Reeves

In 1888, following her mother's sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother's request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper.

Hmm, that description doesn't quite tell the whole story.
Arabella, or Abbie as her friends call her, feels trapped in the Kensington high society her grandmother wants her to travel in and jumps at the opportunity to work at the hospital in Whitechapel.  In fact, she spends as much time as possible there to escape the teas and gossip her grandmother insists she attend.  And her mother and grandmother were estranged at the time of her mother's death. Her grandmother disowned Abbie's mother for eloping with a French poet.  Abbie grew up in Dublin while her mother worked as a governess for various wealthy families.  

At first, the work is gruesome and some of the doctors and nurses don't think she's up to the challenge of the hard labor being the granddaughter of Lady Westfield. But, they don't know she's grown up on the streets of Dublin and lived a hard life in between her mother's governess jobs.  She's an expert with a knife and gone without food at times for lack of money.  She's not the privileged girl they expect and she proves not only invaluable but extremely intelligent and willing to learn. In fact, she has determined she wants to go to medical college.  And her grandmother's friend that runs the hospital, Dr. Bartlett, has taken a special interest in her education and in her, treating her as an equal instead of just a woman, as many men would have in that day.

But, then, patients from the Whitechapel Hospital start dying the day they are voluntarily released. Dying by the hand of a psychopathic murderer. I think we all know the Jack the Ripper stories so I won't go into the details.  This story puts a different if implausible twist on who Jack the Ripper was, but it was an interesting  story. I didn't realize this was a paranormal story until I was midway through but I feel a little dumb, visions should have clued me in. I also felt a little confused as I read, like maybe a little too much was going on. There was the Jack the Ripper killings, the romance (love triangle) and then another aspect that I won't mention because it will be a spoiler. And the paranormal story which didn't only include Abbie's visions.  I didn't know what to focus on.  It turned out that two of the storylines converged into one and the love triangle resolved easily so eventually things came together, but for a bit, I had too many names and tangents to try to remember what was going on.

White Horse by Alex Adams

White Horse
by Alex Adams
Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the President of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are not defined by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.

This is an adult book!
I do not recommend this for teens at all due to very adult content!!
You have been warned.

I just want those of you that read my blog regularly know that this is not my regular fare. But I had to post my review here because I know a lot of you do read adult fiction. This is a book that shows an apocalypse before during and after.  Something that's so frighteningly realistic that I wonder that it hasn't happened yet or if it will happen in my life time.  The people are dying so rapidly that they have to burn the bodies. A war was being fought but it was forgotten when the sickness came on hard and fast and those that came home, came home to no one. Zoe for some reason along with a small portion of the population is immune to the sickness.  And when everyone she loves, cares about, dies, she decides to go in search of the one person who may or may not be alive that means something to her.

Zoe is determined. God is she determined. And she has hope. She doesn't believe in God. She thinks he's left them all.  But the hope she has, that is what keeps her going.  Hope. Four little letters but they have such strength in them for her.  They help her rescue a blind girl from a rapist. Help her escape monsters, drowning.  When she is too tired to walk she keeps walking. She finds companionship with the most unique living things.  And hope is what helps her believe that somehow she'll reach her destination. That's a whole lot of hope.

I did not feel very hopeful reading this novel. I was pretty sure humans were done for and most of the time I thought Zoe was going to die. Do not read this if you're depressed. It isn't uplifting even if Zoe has a lot of hope. It doesn't spill over. Adams throws one hurdle after another in front of Zoe until she seems to be superwoman to be able to continue. There is no time to mourn or hold hands and have a pity party. She's likely to be killed.  Keep moving forward. That's Zoe's motto and she does, no matter who her companions may be.  I sat here and read this straight through not stopping for meals, children, dogs or phone calls. I could not put it down.  It was gripping and totally consuming. I had to know if Zoe made it, if all that hope was for nothing, if all the monsters were bad, if she'd find anyone at the end of her journey. I promise, despite it's graphic sexual violence (and you do finally understand it) and the general doom that comes with an apocalypse you will not be able to put this book down. It is an unbelievable story.  It was almost too much for one book and I think I"ll have to read it again to absorb it.  But when I read the last line of the novel I immediately wanted the next book in the series (this is a planned trilogy).

The story is written in a "Then" and "Now" type of timeline and that works very well for the story. It doesn't give away too much up front nor does it keep us too much in the dark.  The wording was a little jarring at times. "Horns are the spice sprinkled over relentless traffic. Bodies form an organic conveyor belt constantly grinding along the sidewalks." (p.14ARC) I had to pause and read these sentences a couple of times because they didn't read easy. There are many sentences like that and it took a while to get used to her way of writing. It's unique and I like it, but unusual. But as I said, I read the almost 300 page book in less than a day so it didn't bother me too much!

I highly recommend this novel, a strong start in the series, to anyone that enjoys apocalyptic stories. 

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Immortal City by Scott Speer

Immortal City
by Scott Speer
Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them.

He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat & and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.


I have to say I was kicking myself for picking this one up. I am over angels. And for the first few chapters, I was still over angels, but then I flipped to the inside jacket of the book and read,  "Set in  a reimagined Los Angeles that sparkles with glamour and celebrity worship, Scott Speer's Immortal City is charged with passion and haunted by themes of power and idolatry."  Then, I got it. All the expensive cars and hero worship and Rodeo drive and designer name dropping and the beautiful people. And all the worshiping of the Angels, the networks dedicated to it, the paparazzi, the nonstop talk among Maddy's friends at high school about Jackson Godspeed. What had seemed over the top became more meaningful when Jackson and Maddy's worlds collide.  It is ridiculous, the worship of the Angels, but who wouldn't want a Guardian Angel? Who wouldn't want to go through life knowing that someone was there always to snatch them from the jaws of death?  Of course only the very, very rich can afford a Guardian Angel and there are only so many to go around so the demand is high and their cost is even higher.

It seems a bit outrageous doesn't it?  Angels taking money to protect people?? Yeah, well some people in Immortal City think so too.  Maddy for one. Especially people who didn't have their families saved by Guardian Angels. Can you imagine if your mother was in a drunk driving accident and the drunk driver was saved by a Guardian Angel, but your mother died because she couldn't afford protection even though the Angel could have saved her.  You see how some people might hold a grudge against the Guardian Angels.

The main characters are likable enough. Maddy was too insecure to believe Jacks, Jackson Godspeed's nickname, would have any real interest in her, and that got a little annoying. Jacks was a little too self absorbed to see what her problem was. Again, some of Speer's more subtle ways of pointing out what worship and idolatry does to both ends of the spectrum. But once the action starts, I really couldn't put the book down and forgot about Angels. This was less about Angels and more a mystery and Maddy and Jacks defying the odds and breaking the rules. I do love rule breakers and those Guardian Angels had some very strict rules. And the penalty for them was very high.  That's all I'll say, but even if you're tired of Angels, and I was, give this one a try. It is not the same worn out story. It's got Guardian Angels as A-list celebrities and the only one that can rub elbows with them are the elite rich.  And then the up and coming star falls for a nobody and a non-Angel and you've got a story with unbelievable twists and turns and I mean that literally and figuratively! It's a great start to a new series.  I can't wait for the next novel!

Heather

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review- A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

A Breath of Eyre
by Eve Marie Mont
Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre… 

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…


I loved this novel! It was the exact right mix of fantasy(daydreaming?) and reality.  I love contemporary fiction. I love fantasy. Mix em up and I'm in heaven.  Throw in one of my favorite literary novels  and I have actually died and gone to heaven!!  This one even dealt respectfully with the issue of Bipolar Disorder.  Teens do have it hard. They've got all those hormones going on, then all those issues, that now seem so small to us as adults, but to the teens reading YA, seem HUGE!  They were to me. Like what to wear and who liked who and what I got on my Algebra test.  But throw in being a scholarship student just trying to be invisible so you don't incur the wrath of the popular girls, a stepmother who you can't stand, and a weird change in your relationship with the boy you've known since you were a toddler and now you're crushing on and you've got even bigger problems. Oh, and then there's that whole living Jane Eyre's life thing. Kinda tough. Just a note- This is absolutely not a retelling of Jane Eyre or Emma living the life of Jane Eyre. It goes back and forth between the present and Jane Eyre.


The thing I loved about this book was that there was a plausible explanation for Emma being in Jane Eyre. I won't say why, but something happened to her that would account for her possibly dreaming the whole thing even though it felt real.  And even though Emma knew the story of Jane Eyre, she only vaguely remembered bits and pieces of the story while she was in it so that she had to make her own decisions and didn't try to copy the decisions that Jane had.  She grew to really love her time at Thornfield and she really doesn't know anything about the strange goings on in the house or the secret Rochester is keeping from her, from everyone.  And Emma comes back from Thornfield and has to deal with real life. And it's tough. Things aren't easy and Emma isn't exactly one for facing up to hard things. And then she escapes again to Jane Eyre when she should be facing something hard.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review and Giveaway- The Immortal Rules- Julie Kagawa

THE IMMORTAL RULES
BLOOD OF EDEN BOOK ONE
by JULIE KAGAWA
Harlequin Teen
Available April 24th, 2012

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. 


Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters. 


Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. 


Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. 


But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.  

First Julie Kagawa had me at faeries. I fell for her world with Ash and Meghan and Puck. I loved Grimalkin and marveled at the wonderful world she built for me to escape into every time I picked up her novels. I laughed, cried, and really worried at the end of Iron Queen. But she didn't disappoint. But then they said she was switching to Vampires. To switch from the colorful, bright, loud, yes scary, and dangerous but still,world of the Fae to VAMPIRES??  But I had faith.  Because she hasn't let me down yet.

I am in love with her new world! It's every bit as intricate and parasitic as any vampire novel I've read but it's at a level so much greater, more subtle, more complex than any I've known. Move over Stephanie Meyer, there is a new Queen in town and she's oh so much more creative than you. The mix of the apocalyptic world with humans, vampires and what I determine to be zombies which she calls rabids is so finely balanced. One cannot exist without the other. And all the old vampire myths are there. Those screaming for a real vampire novel have it in this one.

Allison, through a cruel twist of fate, has become the thing she hates the most. And she must learn to survive as a vampire from her sire, Kanin. But he is no normal sire. She soon finds out that not all vampires are created equal and even old friends won't accept her for who she is now. Alone and with nowhere to go she strikes out across the great unknown with no purpose other than to see what is out there.

This novel is a powerful debut for this new series. The characters are very memorable with strong emotions, personas, or motivations. Alison is a mixture of all three. As a human, she is a survivor, and helps those weaker than her survive as well. She doesn't change even when she is a vampire. Despite the hunger within her she is still looking out for those weaker than her. She wants humanity to survive. And if she can help it, she will. Because she may be a vampire, but she still wants humans to win.

There were evil vampires in this novel, don't get me wrong. Really evil vampires. Sadistic vampires.  And cryptic vampires. And one very human vampire. The other characters, the band of humans Allison hooks up with on her journey, run the gamut. Some have such a hatred of vampires, if they found out who Allison was they'd kill her on the spot, no matter what she's done for them.  Others might be tempted to look the other way considering what she's done for them. But in the end, she is a vampire. And no one can forget that, especially not Allison. The ending is heartbreaking without even a real goodbye between Allison and another main character.

This isn't the Iron Fey series. Get it out of your head. This is vampires and blood. This is a torn world ruled by vampires or taken over by the wilderness and rabids(monsters that come out at night and attack humans killing them or turning them). There are no happy endings or even full nights of sleep. Everyone is hungry humans and vampires. There are rare moments of smiles, even rarer laughs. It's grim and yet, humanity is determined to survive. I cannot wait to read the next in the Blood of Eden series. It was a completely captivating book, fresh in a market saturated in vampires. But this is Julie Kagawa and I'd expect nothing but the best from her. She is the undisputed Queen!

Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen and Karen for a review copy of The Immortal Rules. This in no way influenced my opinions expressed in my review.

And now, for the giveaway of one finished hardback copy !


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review Grave Mercy by R. A. LaFevers

Grave Mercy
by R.A. LaFevers


Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. 

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?






Ismae has lived a life of being beaten and abused at the hands of men and boys. When she is sold to the pig farmer as a wife, she has hopes for better treatment, but as soon as the wedding is over, she realizes her life will be no different has she is backhanded and lands on the floor. But when her chemise is torn and her husband sees the scar on her from where her mother tried to get rid of her before she was born, he sends for the priest, the real one that worships Jesus Christ, not the one that married them and worshipped the old saints, the old gods. She is rescued from him and handed over to the abbey. From death to death's handmaiden.


Ismae is a quick learner in the art of killing men. She probably takes great pleasure in thinking of killing them as much as she has suffered from them. But she isn't the kind of character you pity. Ismae doesn't feel sorry for herself so it's hard to feel sorry for her yourself as the reader. She is one cold calculated killer. She relishes working with the poison master, learning all the ways to murder with poison. She's adept with all kinds of knives, swords and crossbows. She does not know of love. She has two true friends in the abbey, Sybella and Annith.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Post Barry Wolverton of Neversink


Developing Fully Fledged Characters in Neversink

I had a college professor who talked about how Charles Dickens had a few tricks up his sleeve for creating his famously larger-than-life characters: funny or suggestive names; exaggerated physical traits; expressive gestures or speech patterns. Well, with animals, birds especially, most of that work is done for you!

For the basics — food, habitat, nesting and breeding behavior, etc. — I did straight field guide research. For the birds’ personalities and beliefs, obviously I made that up, but I let the natural science be very influential. It’s hard for me to study the puffin, for instance — a smaller auk, relatively quiet, funny looking — and not think of it as a reluctant hero type. (The overly confident, motivational-speaker puffin in the movie “Happy Feet 2” just seems all wrong to me.)

Originally I had Rozbell as a great horned owl — a large, powerful hunter — but then it seemed he could be more complex as a pygmy owl in a might-makes-right animal kingdom. He’s crazy, but he has a legitimate axe to grind with the tradition of owl leadership.

The hummingbird is hyper, the walrus is windy; if you listen to the sounds guillemots make you know why the character Algard is a bit disagreeable. And if you know that the collective noun for ravens is a conspiracy, you’ll know they aren’t terribly trustworthy.

As for the story itself, when I learned that the collective noun for owls is parliament, and puffins are sometimes called a colony, it suggested a political allegory to me. The actual basis is Denmark-Iceland, whose conflicts leading to Iceland’s independence really did involve fish taxes and cod wars. Most people who read Neversink and see the plot element of the fish tax will think American Revolution. Which is fine — the struggle to achieve and maintain one’s independence has taken place all over the world.

The northern European/Arctic setting also made it seem right to mine Scandinavian and Native American mythology. (The subtitle of Neversink is “A Puffin Saga.” I love the word saga and the sort of loose, episodic story it suggests.) Why wouldn’t birds have a World Tree at the center of their cosmos? And of course birds who depend on fish from the sea would worship a sea goddess who created the fishes and the seals, right?

Now, some contrary readers might say that despite my claims to be true to the natural world, my puffins drink tea and the corrupt faction of owls wears hats. And the walrus reads and writes. But my story takes place before the time of humans, and who’s to say humans didn’t learn these “anthropomorphic” behaviors from the animals?

Human folklore is rich with tales of early peoples learning language and skills like flying and fishing from animals. The Chinese scribe, Cang Jie, according to legend, invented writing after observing the marks left on the ground by birds, which inspired my idea of walruses inventing a written language based on their hide scars.

Besides, long after I’d written Neversink, someone sent me a link to a book called If Birds Can Build Nests Then They Can Make Hats. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks Barry! Here's a little more info about Eg...I mean about Barry Wolverton below and how to contact him.

Barry Wolverton is the first human ever granted access to the walrus library at Ocean’s End, where he conducted extensive research for NEVERSINK, his first book. In addition to Walrus he speaks Chicken, although actual chickens don’t appear to understand him. He lives with a moderately overweight cat named Charlie (who understands him but doesn’t listen) in Memphis, Tenn. Visit him at www.barrywolverton.com.

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