Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blood Bound by Sharon Stevenson

This book was given in exchange for an honest review
   This story has a great plot line and interesting characters.  Sarah and Shaun Gallows are twin demon trackers whose job it is to track down and eliminate supernatural creatures.  While out on an ordinary job the twins meet up with Melissa, the first tracker their own age that they have ever met.  She draws them in to a web of lies and magic that they try desperately to unravel, especially since it appears Shaun may be bound to Melissa.  Once you think you may understand what is happening a new twist appears and you are left wondering what is going on once again.
   The book is full of amazing characters, both main and supporting.  Sarah is feisty and impetuous, always running in to situations without thinking but she has a great heart and is always trying to save everyone.  Shaun is her complete opposite; quiet and brooding, he is always trying to save Sarah from herself.  Next throw in Dev and Ray, two human guys that are completely in love with Sarah and best friends.  They certainly throw wrenches in Sarah's plans by both competing for her attention.  There are a few other characters that are a key part of the story but I don't want to give away any more.  All of the characters are so well written it is impossible not to love all of them.  Even Melissa grew on me towards the end.  She is the perfect popular, rich girl with a whole lot of psycho thrown in.  She is truly one crazy character. 
   I really only disliked two things about the book, the language and the sexuality.  I am a pretty conservative reader and tend to steer clear of any book that has more than PG-13 type content.  This book contains an exorbitant amount of language and sexuality runs rampant throughout the book.  Despite having a very hard time with some of the content I was still drawn in to the story and I am now debating on whether or not to read book two.  I desperately want to know what happens, because there are so many unanswered questions at the end of book one, but I am not sure I want to deal with the content to find out.  If you don't mind this kind of content or are willing to overlook it then this would be a great book for you. 
  One other thing that I should mention is that the author is from the UK and the book takes place in Scotland so much of the book contains slang words and phrases.  Most of the time I was able to infer the meaning from the context but there were several times that I was just stumped.  I did not come across any slang that inhibited me from understanding what was going on in the story but if you are the kind of person that must know everything that is said in a book you may need to look up the meaning of some of the slang.

Parental Guide:  Extreme language throughout.  Sexuality is prominent throughout the entire book, including several scenes where a characters are described as being naked and several scenes of seduction.  If this book was given a rating based on the guidelines used for movies it would have to be rated R.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Giveaway for a free ecopy of A Shimmer of Angles

I love that there are so many contests to win books!  As an avid reader I love any way I can manage to get my hands on books.  I must say that I have not read this book yet but the preview for the book sounds amazing and the reviews are good.  This is definitely one book I would love to add to my collection!  If you get the chance please stop buy and enter, or don't and my odds of winning will improve ;)  You can enter the giveaway at Read it in Houston or you can check out this book and others by Lisa M. Basso on Goodreads.  Good luck to you all!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review of In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

       I was given this book to read in exchange for an honest review and I have to say that this book has one of the most inventive story ideas that I have read in a long time, if not ever. 
   Kieran is the cute new boy that just moved to a very small town and the first day of school he makes a huge impact by having an 'episode' in class.  What are his episodes?  He has narcolepsy.  For anyone that does not know what that condition is, it basically makes a person fall asleep at random times.  You could be walking down the hall, eating lunch, having a conversation, and scarily, driving and just fall asleep.  As you can imagine this causes huge problems in Kieran's life.  He has very over protective parents and a sister that is more like a bodyguard and his condition prevents him from being a normal teen.  As I started to read about his situation I was thinking it would be refreshing to hear about a teen relationship that has to deal with the real life situations medical problem can cause.  I was right about that.  It was heartbreaking at times to think about how much it already impacts his life, and how uncertain his future as an adult will be.  Most of the time the situations caused by his narcolepsy are funny, but only because Kieran has such a great attitude about his condition and can easily laugh at himself.
   Zip is the other half of this teen romance.  Obviously Zip is a nickname, but it is all anyone has ever called her.  I fell in love with her character right away.  She is the typical girl next door, future valedictorian, head of the girls basketball team, but still sweet and humble.  This was refreshing because it seems like most of the time the girls in teen romance books are on the fringes of the school population.  If a girl is smart and captain of the basketball team they would be written as part of the 'in crowd' and would be very stuck on themselves.  It was refreshing to have a girl that was popular and at the same time be a normal, nice person.  Zip never once considers Kieran's narcolepsy a reason not to be his friend.  In fact through much of the book most of the other kids at school won't even talk to Kieran.  Zip's acceptance and unshakable loyalty to Kieran will make anyone fall in love with her character.
   Just when you think the narcolepsy is the only twist in this story of teen love you find out that Kieran's family has been keeping a huge secret.  This throws the whole story in to a new direction.  Zip gets pulled in to a crazy situation because of her relationship with Kieran.  This is where you truly see how much Zip cares about Kieran and how far she is willing to go to protect him. 
   There wasn't anything about this book that I disliked.  All of the characters are well written and the story is told in such a way that everything that happens is believable even if it seems so strange at times.  This is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great read with a new twist on the typical teen romance. 

Parent Guide:  This is a teen romance book so there is kissing and the teens do get a little hormonal but nothing happens other than heavy kissing.  There was also some very, very mild language.  Overall a great book for anyone old enough to appreciate romantic stories.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Prodigal by Rektok Ross

                                  I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
     This book was a nice change from the usual coming of age/romance YA books.  The author, Ross, knew that you can tell a wonderful, heartwarming love story without including sexual themes.  This was the thing that I loved most about this book.  Kudos to Ross for creating a book that is completely appropriate for all ages!
     This story was has some of the most relateable characters that I have come across recently.  Lexy is an average teen trying to find her place in the world when suddenly she discovers her mom has cancer and the family must move across the country for her to receive treatment.  She is devastated because it is the beginning of her senior year and she had just been named the editor of her school paper, something she had been dreaming about for years.   Like the typical teenager she is, she fights with her parents over the decision, throwing little temper tantrums and being obstinate.   She worries about fitting in to a new school and trying to find a way on to the school paper.  Right away she meets two wonderful guys who are also great characters.   Brian is the all American boy, the sweet boy next store type, and is the Senior Class President.  He helps Lexy find a place in the school and takes her in to his circle of friends.  What girl hasn't dreamed of meeting a guy like this?!  Then along comes Ash, the seemingly bad boy that everyone warns Lexy about.  She is immediately drawn to him and she senses there is more to him then there seems.  Again, what girl hasn't dreamed of meeting a guy like this?!  The books is even complete with the witchy, queen of the school type of girl who immediately sets her sites on Lexy.  So many great and endearing characters!
     I also loved the subtle use of Christianity in the story; hence the title of Prodigal.  It is not over the top religious, in fact Lexy is agnostic in the beginning, but uses some of the stories and verses in the Bible to lend to the story.  The most important of which is the forgiveness that God has for everyone, including Ash, who is carrying a dark secret that threatens to destroy him. 
     There is only one thing about the book that I did not like.  The use of a lamb on the cover seems like a very odd choice for me.  I can't for the life of me figure out why they chose this cover.  The only thing I can even remotely think of is that it is possibly representative of another name Christ is known by; The Lamb of God.  Not sure if this is what they were thinking but it is my only idea.  Please do not let the cover dissuade you from reading this book though! 
     If you get the chance I would highly recommend you read this book.  I think it is a great choice for anyone that likes YA romance, especially a cleanly written one.

Parent Guide:  I could find nothing objectionable in the book.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review for Who is Audrey Wickersham

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and since I am being honest I really enjoyed this book.
   The main thing that I loved about this book was the clever concept.  It is definitely not your typical zombie/paranormal YA book.  Zombies are great but the idea has been used so much lately that it was refreshing to see that an author could still use zombies but do it in a way that was not cliché or boring.  The story draws you in from the beginning and the action remains strong throughout the entire book, leaving you wanting to read a sequel immediately. 
   The author also does a great job with character development.  Not only is the main character, Audrey, completely believable as a teen girl who suddenly has paranormal zombie issues thrust upon her, but the supporting characters are also great.  I completely fell in love with Agnes, the witch who starts Audrey's journey.  She is spunky and comical and never fails Audrey in her quest for a normal life.  I also loved Audrey's father.  He is everything a single father should be.  Taking on the typical role that a mother would normally fill by being nurturing and being concerned with everything from her health to her love life while still being the normal dad who freaks out catching his daughter with a boy.  From Bruce, the gay neighbor/old babysitter/friend/nurse to the minor characters that end up dragged in to the story, all of the characters are amazing and lend greatly to the story.
   There really wasn't much that I didn't like about the book.  It does have mild language which most people don't mind and it does get a little creepy and disturbing when she starts having zombie thoughts (i.e. eating people).  Other than those minor things there was nothing that I didn't love about this book.  If you like zombie stories you should definitely give this one a try.

Parents Guide:  
   There is moderate language, mostly s-word, h-word, etc. and one use of the f-word.  Laugh at me if you want to for typing it that way but I really do not believe in using those words and if I won't say them then I won't type them...ever.  
   The story is also heavily based in witchcraft, which I know some people are completely against.  It is not a black magic/satanic type of witchcraft, which I would never read about, but more of the Harry Potter type stuff; spells/curses/incantations etc. 
   Later in the book when Audrey starts to think about eating people (boy this is hard not to do spoilers!) it does get graphic and a bit disturbing but I feel it is to be expected when reading a book with zombies.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I think I have a problem!

I love books! The only problem is that there are hundreds of new books coming out every week.  I see all of these books that I would love to read and so I buy them with the full intention to read all of them.  The problem is that I keep seeing new books that I want to read so I buy more and more without reading the ones I already have.  I think I have a few hundred books waiting to be read.  I have tried to do the library thing but there is something about owning the books that I just can't rein in.    Sometimes I feel like the picture above will be my house in a few years.  I think it drives my husband crazy but I tell him that I am just doing my part in preserving printed books ;)  Overall he is very sweet about it and lets me just keep collecting books.  The only real problem is having somewhere to put them all.  I have several boxes in our back room that are full of books that I think I can do without for now.  I really think I need my own library!  Please tell me I am not the only one out there like this!  Sometimes I feel completely alone in my craziness.  

This is something I would love to do once we finally own our own home.  Books are more important than clothes...right?!

I have a feeling that I am going to need something more like this....
I wonder if I could talk my husband in to letting me have this large of a space for my books?

**If you love dreaming of home libraries or any amazing home ideas you should check out, which is where I got this pic.  This is in no way an endorsement for this site.  I don't know anything about this company other than I got lost in all their amazing pics. 

Review for Opening the Ball by Nathaniel Simpson

    I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review and I want to first say thank you to the author for allowing me to do so.

    The concept of the book is amazing!  Time travel to the Civil War as an operative for a secret organization?  So amazing!  I am a huge history nut and I love the Civil War so I was very excited to read this book.  That being said, while there were things that I loved about the book there were also a few things that could have been improved on.

    The book starts out very strong, jumping right in to the story of Jonathon, the main character, and grabbing your attention immediately.  Within a short amount of time Jonathon  finds himself at a new school  and in the middle of intensive tryouts to be allowed to stay in the school.   Just when the training gets going it skips ahead four year to graduation.  I felt like a huge chunk of the story was just deleted from the book.  How did the kid he hate become his friend?  I think there was one quick blurb that said why he was friends with Jonathon but I felt it really did not explain thing satisfactorily.  Also, when Jonathon first arrives at the school there is only one student that speaks to him.  The way that this character is introduced makes it seem that he will be an important part of the book but then he is never mentioned again.   The story also got a bit confusing at the end with all of the changes in time that were happening but this is pretty normal when the whole issue of time travel and changing the past come in to play.  While there were some issues with the book let me assure you there were also great things too.

    In addition to the wonderful concept of the book there were several other things that make this book a great read.  The gadgets that the author comes up with for the characters to  take back in time with them are great.  He really put a lot of thought in to just what things they would need to complete their mission and how the gadgets could be kept from being discovered by anyone in the past.  The 'bad guy' of the book was also great.  The author did an amazing job of making him so annoying and mean to the point of really getting the reader to want his down fall.  The friendship of Jonathon and the other two boys is incredible and well developed.  This lends greatly to the story once the three of them are back in the Civil War.  They really come through for each other and it is this friendship that  changes the course of the story. 

     Overall the book was a great read and the ending leaves you anxiously waiting for a sequel so that you can find out what happens to Jonathon.  It has enough action throughout the book to keep you engrossed in the story from beginning to end.  I would recommend this book to anyone that likes YA books and I think that younger preteen/teen boys would really enjoy it.  

Parent advisory:  There was very mild language.  There were also some battle scenes that included injuries.  One particularly disturbing scene when the author describes the happenings in the Civil War medical tent and the removal of limbs with a saw.  While it very accurately describes what really happened to the injured during war at that time it could be a bit intense for younger kids.  

You can learn more about the book and read other reviews here.