A beautiful summer of books…

I have read so many books since I last posted… especially over the last month or so while I have been on ‘summer holidays’.

I do not have the time, or the phenomenal amount of energy necessary to review all of the books in detail – so I’ll list most of them, review some and only go into detail about a few! Here goes:

  • Misfit by Jon Skovron
Jael has never fit in – but then she has never stayed in one place long enough to make a serious attempt. Her father is an ex-priest with trust issues. Her mother died when she was very young. This time things are different though – perhaps she will be able to stay here for longer than a year! As her 16th birthday arrives, Jael must face up to her destiny and come to terms with her new and potentially devastating powers… with the help of her uncle (a five thousand year old demon) and the cute skater boy who wants to date her…
Really enjoyed this one! Maybe I spent too many years at Catholic School – but I found the characters likeable and enjoyed the action sequences!
  • The Lunar Chronicles : Cinder by Marissa Meyer
At first I thought this would be a Steam Punk novel based on the Cinderella fairytale. It isn’t. It is a science fiction novel based on Cinderella with some very interesting twists. Set in the future, after World War IV has totally rearranged the world and the moon, Cinder is a cyborg (mostly human but part machine) who earns her way by working as a mechanic and giving all the proceeds to her mean and nasty (but not necessarily wicked) stepmother. The empire, based in New Beijing, is being devastated by the Letumosis Plague. As the old Emperor dies of the plague, after years of frantic research fails to find a cure, his son, Prince Kai finds himself desperately holding of the political machinations of Queen Lavana, the ruler of Lunar. As Kai and Cinder’s stories collide and entwine through their personal experiences with the plague, the plot thickens as the plague originates from Lunar and Queen Levana uses her personal magic (bioelectricity) to enthrall the people as she attempts to take over the Empire and eventually, the world!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book – loved the idea (I have a soft spot for re-told fairytales), and the characters who though not perfect, show strength and humour as they battle their personal demons and try to do what is right for the greater good!
  • Legend by Marie Lu
I actually read this one to review it for Penguin, my review will hopefully be included on their blog in January/February! I’ll twitter the link if they do!
  • Daughters of Saraqael : Becoming by Raine Thomas
  • Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Red Handed by Gena Sholwater
  • 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
  • Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  • Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne
  • My Sould to Take by Rachel Vincent
  •  The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Not the series recommended to me by one of my students, (Isabel recommended the Darkest Powers series by the same author), but I thoroughly enjoyed this shape shifting / Native American Indian fantasy for young adults! The second book in the series, The Calling is due out in the USA in April.
  • Darke Academy : Secret Lives by Gabrielle Poole
Not a bad take on the Boarding School / scholarship kid who doesn’t belong / some supernatural evil and general teenage drama…
  • Swoon by Nina Malkin
Ghost bad boy set on revenge… misfit adolescent girl with some witchy abilities thrown in…
  • Through her eyes by Jennifer Archer
More ghosts, but really enjoyable ideas for this one – big city girl, out of place in a small Texan town, taking photos to stay sane. She is being haunted by a ghost that at first she can only see through the lens of her camera, but he is becoming more and more real!
  • Emily the Strange : the Lost Days by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker
I have a many requests for this recently at work – thought I better read it before putting it in the Library… thoroughly enjoyed this, but not for younger students and the writing can be left of centre.
  • Demon Trappers Daughter by Jana Oliver
Demons are not easy, Demon trapping is even more so when your father gets killed and the demons are out to get you!
  • The Mortal Instruments : City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • The Mortal Instruments : City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Demon Hunters, Vampires, Werewolves, magic and mayhem… What’s not to love about this Urban Fantasy?!
  • The Walker Papers : Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
Native American Indian shamanism meets Celtic legend in the form of the Wild Hunt!
  • Don’t kill the messenger by Eileen Rendahl
Feisty protagonist – vampires – werewolves… someone has to be the messenger!
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
Not for the faint hearted – I read this one for Book Club… the story of a kidnap and rape victim who is kept in a small shed in the back garden, told from the point of view of her 5 year old son, also held captive in the shed…
  • Dark Secrets 3 : The Back Door of Midnight by Elizabeth Chandler
I tend to enjoy Elizabeth Chandler’s ghost stories with a supernatural twit – and this one was no exception!
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Caught up in the Jack the Ripper returns frenzy when she attends her new boarding school in London, Rory Deveaux from the bayous of Louisiana is way out of her depth, when she can see the ghost who is impersonating the Ripper…
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Another American attending school in London, this time set in the 50s with Janie stumbling into the intrigue surrounding the disappearance of her new friend Benjamin’s father – the Apothecary! Magic and mystery surround his activities as the Russians and German spies chase Janie and Benjamin across London and even over the sea to Greenland!
If you are interested in any of the books I haven’t commented on or reviewed – please feel free to post a comment or ask a question!!!

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Low Red Moon

Low Red Moon

Avery has a large blank in her memory. She is not your average adolescent, having spent most of her life living outside town in the woods, being home schooled by her mother and learning just as much about the plants and animals around her as she did about book learning and school stuff. That all changed the night her parents were killed in front of her. Avery is not comfortable living at her Grandmother’s house in town. School is not so bad, but the nightmares involving flashes of silver, inhumanly fast and oceans of blood and tears.

Somehow the new boy, Ben, for whom she feels an instant connection, is involved and close to the puzzle of her parents murder – he is a werewolf, but he is also the victim of violence, where his whole family was wiped out by vigilantes. He understands her need to know the truth, but struggles with the connection and attraction they both feel and must learn to trust…

Avery is like a lost soul with a fair bit of angst and rebellion, but also vulnerable as she sees flashes and remembers bits of the night her parents died. The relationship between Avery and Ben is at times confusing – especially when it makes such a physical impression at first sight! Both want to trust each other and become increasingly obsessed with each other, but then they also constantly push each other away. Enjoyable but a tad confusing!

Heartless by Gail Carriger

Heartless

Heartless

Alexia Tarrabotti is back for the fourth installment! I thoroughly enjoyed this book – not surprising as I have become a keen fan of the Parasol Protectorate!

Alexia is in the final weeks of her pregnancy, and after yet another assassination attempt, a solution has been found for her predicament. The Vampires are bound and determined to exterminate Alexia’s unborn ‘infant inconvenience’ and hopefully her as well. At the same time, a plot to assassinate the Queen is uncovered with many clues leading back to the last attempt on Queen Victoria’s life, at the hands of Lord Maccon’s previous pack up in Kingair in Scotland! Gossip, politics, werewolves, vampires and mechanical octopods abound!

Can’t wait for the next instalment! (Timeless is due out in March 2012)!

Wereworld: The rise of the wolf by Curtis Jordan

Rise fo the Wolf

Rise fo the Wolf

Drew is the odd one out in his family. Even his twin looks like his father, blonde and blue eyed… not slight and dark like Drew. He has a special affinity with animals but with his slight build struggles to keep up with his farm work.

left at home with his adored mother, he is devastated when his beloved mother is attacked and killed by a monster. He then partially changes himself, trying to protect/avenge her, only to be attacked by his own father, who mistakenly believes Drew is responsible for his wife’s death!

Drew is on the run and fully transforms into a wolf – the lost werewolf is a land dominated and ruled by weres – werelions, werepigs, werebears…

But all is not well in this world. The deadly politics and jealousy of the king (a werelion) lead to Drew being captured, tortured, escaping and embarking on a journey across the country, rescuing princesses, holding true to the morals taught to him by his mother and showing the world that there is hope for a better life.

Strong characters also, I enjoyed this book, which is action packed and great for male readers. The female characters are a bit limited, but still reasonably believable.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine

I read this book last year… and have to admit that I had to re-read/scan quite a bit before I was up to speed with which book it was!

Grace is the goody two shoes daughter of the local pastor – or is she. She struggles with the ‘Pastor’s Daugter’ tag a bit and especially with her family’s treatment of her childhood friend, the now estranged Daniel.

The family has good reason to be wary of Daniel, especially given the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, the behaviour of his father, and the injuries caused to Jude (Grace’s brother). Once again, there is no hodling back true love – against all odds and of course there is the obligatory werewolf angle!

An interesting take on the werewolf legend – controllable with magic talismans, but also curable through the sacrifice of true love…

Strong characters. Grace is quite conflicted, with her needs and desires at odds with her family loyalties. I particularly like the art references and descriptions.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

Nina did not want to be a vampire. There is nothing romantic or glamorous about being a vampire. Nina spends every day being dead, locked int he basement of her mother’s Sydney house.Most of the other vampires in her support group (lead and counselled by Father Ramon – one of the few humans to know of the reality of vampire existence) had been vampires for much longer and had still not adjusted to feeding on guinea pigs, vomiting and nausea most days and splitting headaches and dizzy spells. None of them were normal or adjusted.

When the oldest of their group is killed, the group goes into panic and after many miss steps and many heated debates, Nina, Dave and Father Ramon travel into the remote outback of New South Wales in search of silver bullets and find an underground werewolf fighting ring instead.

I loved this book! The detail of the lives and the emotions being dealt with by the diverse characters in the book are fascinating! Highly recommended!

The Wereling: Wounded by Stephen Cole

The Wereling: Wounded

The Wereling: Wounded

Tom does not want to be camping in the middle of nowhere with his family. Especially his younger brother. With typical teenage angst, he argues every point, resists every activity and is generally a royal pain!!!

Then he gets attacked and bitten by some animal in the woods after storming off in a huff and his life changes drastically.

Kate is the youngest daughter in a family of werewolves. She has not yet changed and will not change until she mates. Something she is determined will never happen. Her parents want her to mate with another werewolf – preferably one of their choosing and one who has been recently changed, not an inherited werewolf. They need ‘new blood’ to help with the inbreeding problem facing werewolves as a race.

Since Tom was bitten and is newly changed, Kate wants nothing to do with him, but things get out of hand, her brother is killed and Tom and kate find themselves on the run with only each other to rely on against the whole werewolf race!

I normally love werewolves (even more than vampires and angels) however I found this book to be simplistic given the premise behind the story. I did not empathise overly with the characters and found their banter more annoying than entertaining.

I’m sure there must be someone who thinks differently…

Just a few adult books thrown in for good measure!

I am finding more and more that I don’t enjoy adult books as much… I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading very complex or demanding books. I do read some occasionally, but as my main love is fantasy – some of them aren’t quite so complex or demanding!

For the purposes of this blog – which is largely dedicated to Children’s Literature – I’ll just make a few quick statements about the adult books I have been reading…

A Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Katie McAllister

I found this book q bit irritating at first, trying too hard to be clever, but eventually got into the spirit of things and by about half way – quite enjoyed the story! If you like quirky humour with a bit of bite and a wise cracking heroine who doesn’t always make sense, but her side kick makes even less sense – go for it!

Blameless by Gail Carriger

I eagerly awaited this novel – the sequel to Soulless and Changeless – and was not disappointed! Alexia Tarabotti has got herself into quite a fix and it takes a lot of dashing about with derigables, ornithopters and clockwork ladybugs, with a touch of panache and swashbuckling parasols to get her through her latest adventure!

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

I have developed a particular fondness for Patricia Briggs’ werewolves and this book, while not a Mercedes Thompson novel, contains many of the same characters and I loved it!!! So of course I went out and got the next book:

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Charles and Anna, Alpha and Omega wolves fight for their survival against witches, vampires, other werewolves and of course the Fae!

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Just to make my holidays complete – I found the latest Mercedes Thompson novel (in hard cover)! Love this one too!

Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Weres, dark hunters and a touch of mythology thrown in for good measure. Enjoyable, but I won’t be rushing out to read more of the series!

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

I quite enjoyed this journey to the dark side. Demons, succubus, vampires… the main character is feisty and quick tongued, but I found her a bit annoying after a while.

Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance

Fast paced and action packed, the main character is conflicted and deadly. Through in a family which includes Dracula out for revenge after years stuck in a prison and a gorgeous master vampire as a reluctant romantic interest… I enjoyed this book, but found it very stressful to read!

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

In a world where the Supreme Court has granted the undead equal rights, Anita Blake hunts down the ghosts ghouls and vampires who break the rules. Lots of blood, gore and politics in this one. Not convinced enough to read another in the series though!

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn

I have to say I enjoyed her Lady Julia Grey books much more, but this romp through the depths of Rumania and the Carpathian mountains, with it’s traditions of vampires and the walking dead, was still very enjoyable!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex hall by Rachel Hawkins

I read this fairly recently ans was pleasantly surprised. The main character, Sophie Mercer is busted big time and sent off to  Hecate “Hex” Hall, a reform school  for witches, shapeshifters and faeries who are a danger to themselves and the people around them… especially in danger of revealing the existance of such things as witches, warlocks and vampires!

Predictably, the transition to boarding school for ‘monsters’ does not go smoothly. Once the fellow students find out who Sophie’s father is… and tell her, things get even worse!

The school itself is under a cloud as first one, then another student turns up dead or almost, with most of their blood drained! The work of the resident vampire – or is it? And of course a bit of unrequited love and jealousy doesn’t go astray!

I love the characters in this book. Sophie is no angel, but she is likable and feisty without being obnoxious. Her friendship with Jenna, the only vampire student is believable and entertaining, as well as central to several of the events and ideals behind the story.

Apologies

It’s been a long time between visits… and it’s not as if I haven’t been reading!!!

So this post is going to be quite long. I’m not going to go into as much detail as usual, but I am going to use this as an opportunity to share my readings (briefly)!

The Battle of the Sun

The Battle of the Sun

The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson.

Took a little bit of reading to get into – a very different style of writing. Not a lot of description and tends to be abrupt (in my opinion), but once I got the hang of it, thoroughly enjoyable.

Very different characters, with one character, Silver, crossing over from a previous book. I liked Jack’s never give up attitude, and of course… the dragon!

Twilight the graphic novel - volume 1

Twilight the graphic novel - volume 1

Twilight the graphic novel, volume 1 by Stephanie Meyer, Art and Adaptation by Young Kim.

Loved this – especially since the characters are closer to my imaginings than the actors!

Of course it is shorter than the original novel (being volume 1)and leaves out some things, however the emotion and underlying themes of the novel are beautifully captured.

Looking forward to volume 2!

Worm in the blood

Worm in the blood

Worm in the Blood by Thomas Bloor

An unusual book. I was sucked in from the beginning, but took a while to be able to predict the course of events. I was mystified and intrigued.

Sam is fantastic! His curse is an unusual take on dragons – love it!

ghostgirl

ghostgirl

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

I found this book very hard to get into – the main character, Charlotte Usher, is not likable nor sympathetic. Not a character I could relate to, or wanted to relate to. I had many other books screaming for my attention that I would rather have been reading…

I was a bit naughty and kept putting Ghostgirl down to read other books, but eventually I found something in there to relate to! I’m not saying it’s not a good book – it is, but not my cup of tea!

Wolven

Wolven

Wolven by Di Toft

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Wolves have always been a favourite of mine, along with dragons (and more recently vampires and fallen angels). Wolven are different again!

A cross between family dog and werewolf, Nat Carver’s new dog, Woody, turns out to be more than anyone bargained for.

The characters are well drawn and enjoyable and the villain is deliciously revolting – very easy to dislike intensely!

I recommend this for boys!

When you reach me

When you reach me

When you reach me by Rebecca Stead

Newbery Medal winner for 2010, this book is delightful, bringing back memories of my own adventures with Madeleine L’Engle and a wrinkle in time (as well as all her other books).

Time travel is alive and well and just as confusing and abstract as it ever was.

Miranda is the main character and totally likable. Her struggles with friendships and understanding the world around her, her mother’s obsession with a TV game show and the crazy homeless guy who lives uner the postbox on the corner are believable and entertaining. I loved this book!

Tantalize

Tantalize

Tantalize – predator or prey? by Cynthia Leitich Smith

I got this book to read after thoroughly enjoying Eternal by the same author.

This book involves werewolves, vampires, cooking and evil.

I didn’t get the same kick out of this book as Eternal, but still an enjoyable read.

Need

Need

Need by Carrie Jones

Pixies are alive and well in Maine. Zara White is shipped off to live with her Grandmother in Maine, when she doesn’t cope with her fathers death. Things do not go smoothly. Boys are disappearing, blizzards keep blowing up out of nowhere and her new best friends are werewolves…

My kind of book!

Peeps

Peeps

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is fast becoming a favourite of mine. I loved this book – couldn’t put it down!

A very unusual take on vampires, with great characters and plenty of action!

The story follows Cal, who has been infected by the parasite, but is only a carrier… this means he has infected all his girlfriends, who he now must track down and neutralise.  Full of informative and totally gross facts about parasites, the book is highly enjoyable!

Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods

Masquerade

Masquerade

Blue Bloods and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz

Gossip girl just went vamp!

Schuyler Van Allen attends an exclusive Manhattan school. She never quite fit in, but wasn’t too fazed, until one of her schoolmates dies and the most popular boy in school starts to show a sudden interest in her.

Of course there is much more to the story – the vampires are actually angels fallen from heaven…. two of my new favourite themes in one!

Grave Sight

Grave Sight

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Harper Connolly can see dead people.  She was struck by lightening when she was young and ever since has been able to locate dead bodies by following their ghosts.

Not as enjoyable as the Sookie Stackhouse books, but still not a bad read.

A Kiss of Shadows

A Kiss of Shadows

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

Faeries are real and living amongst us. Meredith Gentry (Merry for short) is not what she seems. Working for a detective agency in LA, she deals with the abnormal – until she is outed for what she really is… a faerie princess.

Now her identity is revealed, she has to go home and deal with her Aunt – the Queen of the Dark Sithe, with a thirst for pain and an appetite for the erotic…

Moon Called

Moon Called

Blood Bound

Blood Bound

Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed

Bone Crossed

Bone Crossed

Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed and Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

I enjoyed these books so much, I read the whole set!!!

Werewolves, vampires and the Fey – what more could you ask for? Mercedes Thompson (Mercy) is actually a shifter – changing at will into a coyote. Called a Walker, her special talent protects her form some magic and her gumption, loyalty and caring nature make her a very likable character. Being pursued by two gorgeous werewolves is just an added bonus!

Changeless

Changeless

Changeless by Gail Carriger

A novel of vampires, werewolves and dirigibles!

The sequel to Souless follows the adventures of Alexia Maccon, the Lady of Woolsey and her husband as they investigate and upend exorcised ghosts, vampire politics and werewolf pack dynamics.

I loved this book as much as the first in the series, and given the shock ending – can’t wait for the next installment!!

My pile is now down to just 3 book – and I’m starving! I’ll try to make sure I don’t leave things as long this time!!!