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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Feed

Title: Feed
Author: M. T. Anderson
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: March 4, 2004
Reviewer: Annie

Summary: (From Amazon) For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon — a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson creates a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire ushering us into an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

Review: This book takes place in a very futuristic society. A time when traveling to the moon is like traveling to Cancun for spring break, and most houses are built underground or in domes. Everyone is tied into a computer, and the computer becomes part of them so anything they could want to know at any point is at their fingertips as part of their feed.

I think many of the ideas in this book were great, and I could see many of them possibly happening in our future, especially the overload of technology. I think I would’ve loved seeing some of these ideas put into an adult book because there are many ways it can be taken and this book felt particularly young. I really wanted to know more about the world they lived in and everything Violet always talked about. I was very frustrated with most of the characters and that they didn’t seem to know anything about their world, and it is a scary possibility that this could actually happen in our future. I’ve heard this book classified as a cyberpunk novel which is basically a different look on the dystopian genre, but worth a read if you are hooked on the genre and looking for something a bit different.

~ Annie

Review: state of wonder

Title: State of Wonder
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: HarperAudio
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Reviewer: Annie

Summary: (From Amazon) Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.
Once found, Dr. Swenson is as imperious and uncompromising as ever. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina.
State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.

Review: This book follows a research scientist as she travels to South America to find another researcher who has lost touch with the company they both work for and find out about the mysterious death of another of their co-workers. I now know why Ann Patchett is such a popular author, her writing was fantastic. This a bit of an odd story with some really weird twists and turns, but I was thoroughly interested the whole time. Some of this credit should be to the narrator since I listened to it on audio, but I think it is also very well written. I had no clue how to feel about the main character Marina, she just seemed to always try too hard to be everything everyone wanted her to be. Yes, she was driven but really had no direction. I’m not sure I could pin point any of the characters that I actually liked expect maybe the little boy, but somehow I was very involved with the story the whole time. I highly recommend this book, especially the audio version!

~ Annie


Review: Playing with Matches

Title: Playing with Matches
Author: Carolyn Wall
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Reviewer: Annie
Summary: (From Amazon) Growing up in False River, Mississippi, Clea Shine learned early that a small town is no place for big secrets. Having fled years ago in the wake of a tragedy and now settled with a family of her own, she faces a turning point in her marriage and seeks refuge in the one place she vowed never to return.

Clea’s homecoming is bittersweet. Reunited with Jerusha Lovemore, the kindly neighbor who raised her, Clea gains a sense of love and comfort, but still cannot escape the ghosts of her past: the abandonment by her disreputable mother, her constant search for belonging, the truth behind that fateful night from long ago. Once outspoken and impulsive, Clea now seeks only redemption and peace of mind. And as a hurricane threatens to hit False River, everything she has tried to forget may finally be exposed once and for all.

A mesmerizing and poignant work by a master of the Soutern novel, Playing with Matches is a stunning tale of guilt, forgiveness, and the enduring bonds of family.

Review: I enjoyed this book while I reading it, but looking back on it I’m not sure how much I really liked it. There were some things that really bugged me, the jump of approximately 20 years in between two of the chapters; it just skips forward in time unexpectedly and without much detail about what happened during those missing years. I also didn’t really like the story line with the boy who lived in the tree; I really wanted more out of him. I really liked the beginning when Clea was a girl, I didn’t really like her as an adult and maybe that’s a point of the story. But even after everything she went through as an adult back in Mississippi I still didn’t really like her, I didn’t feel like she had changed, and I wanted young Clea back. The ending wasn’t my favorite either, I’m not sure if the big storm coming was necessary, it just all got really dramatic and I didn’t enjoy it. One thing I did like about this book was the southern setting. You really got a good feel for the town and the locals. But I really felt like this book should’ve either focused on the younger years of Clea or the adulthood, trying to do both didn’t work for me. The book is well written and I can see it appealing to some readers, just be aware of that weird split in the middle.
~ Annie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Siri and Me: A modern love story

Title: Siri and me: A modern love story

Author: David Milgrim
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Genre: Humor
Publication date: 2012
5 Stars

Summary:  Dave's never met anyone like Siri. She's helpful, smart, and easier to talk to than any girl he's ever known. She really gets him...

Review: I liked this book. Very humors. I even showed parts of it to my boyfriend who has a bit of a different humor then me and he loved it too. I liked that I was reading about siri with siri. lol. The funniest part of the book is the truthfulness behind it all. If you wanna get a little chuckle this is the book for it.

Quality of writing: 8
Pace: 8
Plot development: 8
Characters: 9
Enjoyability: 8
Insightfulness: 7
Ease of reading: 8
Illistrations: 10

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Nickel Plated


Book: Nickel Plated
Author: Aric Davis
Publisher: Amazon Encore
Number of pages: 197
5 Stars

Summary: It was weird to just get a contact out of nowhere. She was a kid, though, I could tell that from just the few minutes on the phone, and kids have a funny way of finding me. I'm pretty sure it's just the world's way of reminding me that I owe a debt for Dad. Whoever the girl was, she either needed help or was setting me up. I've run enough angles that I'm sure there are a few people who'd love to get a face-to-face. I'll die before I go back to foster care, and I'm not ready to start dying just yet. Nickel is a survivor. Raised by the state in abusive foster homes, he escapes at the age of ten to live his life the way his father wanted him to: not as a civilian, but as a warrior. Nickel pays his way by blackmailing pedophiles he tracks down online, selling marijuana to high school students, and working as a private investigator in between. Money talks, but for kids, Nickel works for free. This time, it's Arrow, a beautiful high school girl, who needs help. She believes that her sister Shelby was kidnapped, even though her parents and the police have written her off as a runaway. Nickel takes the case, scouring the internet and the posh suburban streets to find the missing girl. What he uncovers are children for sale and adults with souls black as the devil. Soon Nickel realizes that finding Shelby is one thing ? but surviving is another.

Review: I absolutely loved this book. I read some reviews that said it seemed like the main character was older then his age. Well those people obviously didn't understand what they were reading. Any 12 year old kid forced to live on his own and had to go through so much would have to mature for sure. I would love to see more from Aric about Nickel. This little boy is amazing I felt like I was with him the whole time. I just couldn't put the book down. Must Read!

Quality of writing: 10
Pace: 9
Plot development: 10
Characters: 10
Enjoyability: 10
Insightfulness: 9
Ease of reading: 9


Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Cover of Snow


Title: Cover of Snow
Author: Jenny Milchman
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: 
 January 15, 2013
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.

Review: If first impressions truly make or break your opinion, then you may be turned off by Jenny Milchman's debut novel, Cover of Snow. As I began reading, I was attracted to the main premise. The problem, however, lied in the writing itself. It seemed that Milchman felt it necessary to include detailed descriptions, similes and analogies in nearly every sentence. Details can be helpful, but too much of a good thing can be overkill. Add to this the cold, seemingly two-dimensional characters, and you can begin to understand why this novel opened with a bitter taste. To use one of the author's devices, reading the opening of the novel was like fining a bone in the first course of a meal.

Despite this, the premise of the story is very intriguing. Nora Hamilton wakes up to an empty bed and immediately knows that something is wrong. Her husband is a police officer in their small town, and always follows a morning routine. When she doesn't hear the shower running, and notices that she overslept, she is certain something terrible has happened. Her world comes crashing down when she discovers her husband hanging from a light fixture.

With no note left, and no actions that would have indicated her husband's willingness to take his own life, Nora struggles to find answers. As she begins to dig into the last weeks of her husband’s life, she soon realizes how little she really knew of the man. Even worse, he seems to have been part of a larger conspiracy that dates back over twenty-five years. Nora soon finds herself in a race to reveal the truth behind her husband's death before those responsible silence her as well.

The opening of this novel just didn't work for me. Writing style aside, I felt zero sympathy for Nora, whose husband had just committed suicide. Instead of being the sensitive widow that I expected from the situation, Nora came off as a callous, unfeeling woman who, despite the efforts of the author to convince me otherwise, was emotionally unaffected by her husbands death. Therefore, when she decided to find reasoning behind the suicide, I didn't really care to know how it occurred.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining of promise to this novel. After the excruciating first third, Milchman begins to take a much more direct approach to her writing, giving this thriller, the pace that it desperately needs. As Nora digs deeper into her husband's death, we are given the suspense, thrills, and intrigue that the excellent premise warrants. The ending, while a bit preposterous, really satisfied, and I was pleased that I continued to read the entire novel. Of course, the latter half of the book still contained a few cringe worthy descriptions, but the action and suspense had picked up to a level that made me disregard the author's shortcomings. While Cover of Snow is no masterpiece, it does provide enough intrigue to serve as an entertaining afternoon read. Author Jenny Milchman still has some growing to do, but I'm interested in seeing what she comes up with next.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Know me better #1


Join the fun and link up @I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

This week's questions:

10 words that describe yourself?
Nice, forgetful, kind, grateful, nervous, worrier, friendly, quiet, short attention span, private

Favorite TV Shows?
Supernatural, Dexter, TMZ, Once upon a time (I don't really watch TV anymore)

If you could take over the world, would you?
No, too much work! Nuff said

Who was the first boy you kissed?
My first boyfriend, Jordan. I was 16.

How do you unwind?
If my boyfriend's around, I'd pounce on him. I can always count on him to make me laugh...otherwise, I read. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Would like to get to know you too!  Please feel free to give your answers in the comments or provide me a link to your post ..I’ll be sure to stop by. :)

Review: Nevermore by James Patterson


Title: Nevermore
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication date: Aug 2012
Rate: 4 Stars

SummaryMaximum Ride and her faithful friends stand ready to face the two greatest threats that humankind has ever known--now combining forces in an unbeatable plot to destroy life as we know it once and for all. And this time, the enemy truly can't be stopped.

The danger mounts just as Dylan has finally worked his way into Max's heart--and just as her beloved Fang unexpectedly returns to the flock. An explosive confrontation between the two boys with a claim to Max's heart ensues, and the entire world hangs in the balance.

In this powerful and moving finale to James Patterson's epic fantasy series, fans will finally get the answers they've been waiting for--and an ending full of shock, surprises, and the greatest conclusion you never saw coming.

Review: In Nevermore here was a lot that happened many ups and downs. But it just didn't stick with me long like the fist few books of maximum ride did. I found myself talking to everyone I knew about this amazing series  I hate to say it but along the way James Patterson lost his touch... At least with this series. I think the characters are less likable then when I first found them. Of course don't get me wrong the book is still pretty good. Just not as outstanding as the first few in the series.

Quality of writing: 8
Pace: 7
Plot development: 7
Characters: 9
Enjoyability: 9
Insightfulness: 7
Ease of reading: 7

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Wicked Business

Title: Wicked Business

Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 299
Series: Lizzy and Diesel
Publication date: 2012
Rate: 4 Stars

SummaryWhen Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences, leaving a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and spontaneous seduction.

Review: To be honest I kind of forgot about this series and what it was all about. But I was excited to jump back into it. I liked it when Diesels powers were more hidden. It made him more mysterious like Ranger. Whom I love! Its a good book worth reading. But its not amazing.And although I have done nothing but whine through this review I really did like this book. So if you are a fan of The plum novels or Janet Evanovich read this book!

Quality of writing: 8
Pace: 6
Plot development: 6
Characters: 10
Enjoyability: 8
Insightfulness: 7
Ease of reading: 8

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with LeondardBernstein

Title: Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leondard Bernstein
Author: Jonathan Cott
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: After Rolling Stone magazine published an abridged version of the conversation in 1990, the Chicago Tribune praised it as "an extraordinary interview" filled with "passion, wit, and acute analysis." Studs Terkel called the interview "astonishing and revelatory." Now, this full-length version provides the reader with a unique, you-are-there perspective on what it was like to converse with this gregarious, witty, candid, and inspiring American dynamo.

Review: Towards the end of his life, famed composer, pianist, and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, rarely gave interviews. When a young Jonathan Cott requested an interview with the maestro for a story to appear in Rolling Stones magazine, he was certain Bernstein would decline his request. Fortunately, Bernstein was impressed with the writings of Cott and in November of 1989, a year before his death, invited him to dinner at his home.

In what is noted as Bernsteins last major interview, Cott has presented the key moments in his twelve hour conversation with the composer. Immediately, the reader is drawn in by the eccentric personality of Bernstein. He speaks with a passion and confidence that demands to be listened to. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss everything from Bernstein's acclaimed career as a world-renowned musician to the intimate details of his florid love affairs.

The book opens with a short biography of Bernstein. In this section, we are told about his first encounter with a piano, his appointment as conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and his rise as a world renowned musician. The interview itself is only about 165 pages, but is packed with overflowing emotional and informational content. After completing this interview, it is apparent that Bernstein lived his life by completely giving himself to everything he did. The personalities of both Bernstein and Cott make this a quick and insightful read that is accessible to anyone who chooses to read it.
-Ethan
I am holding a Giveaway of this book until 1/18. Visit my blog to enter!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Title: Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art
Author: Christopher Moore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: Absolutely nothing is sacred to Christopher Moore. The phenomenally popular New York Times-bestselling satirist, whom the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls “Stephen King with a whoopee cushion and a double-espresso imagination,” has already lampooned Shakespeare, San Francisco vampires, marine biologists, Death... even Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.

In his latest novel, the immortal Moore takes on the Great French Masters. A magnificent “Comedy d’Art” from the author of Lamb, Fool and Bite Me, Moore’s Sacre Bleu is part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious as it follows a young baker-painter who joins the dapper Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed suicide of Vincent van Gogh

Review: Throughout his career, author Christopher Moore has garnered critical and commercial success for his novels. His inherent wit and ability to create rich characters within fantastic stories has captured the attention of many readers. Although I had never read anything by Moore, I was intrigued by the premise of his latest effort, Sacre Bleu, in which he set out to write a novel about the color blue.

The year is 1890, and the news of infamous painter Vincent van Gogh's death has quickly spread throughout Paris. Lucien Lessard, a baker turned painter, can hardly believe the news. He has been part of the French art scene for years, and has experienced, first-hand, the brilliance and madness of the late artist. No stranger to depression himself, Lucien feels sadness for the loss of a great artist, and recalls the sadness he felt when his beloved Juliette left to London without any further contact with him.

As Lucien discusses Vincent's death with his friend, painter Henri Fantin Latour, he surprised to see a familiar face. Juliette, the woman who inspired him to paint only to break his heart, has returned from London. Despite his shock and bitterness, the relationship quickly picks up where it left off. Soon Juliette is posing as Lucien paints what is sure to be his masterpiece. For this painting, he acquires a special blue, Sare Bleu, or the color of the Virgin Mary, from the mysterious Colorman. When Lucien uses the paint, time seems to stand still and he is riddled with a strange loss of memory. Henri begins to worry about his friend and recalls his own experience with similar time and memory altering instances. All of which occurred while painting his own lover and using the mysterious Sacre Bleu. As the novel progresses, Lucien and Henri discover the prominence of blue paint and peculiar behaviors in the lives of many famous artists. It quickly becomes apparent that The Colorman and his paint have malicious intentions and could even have been responsible for the death of some of art's most prominent figures. Now Lucien and Henri must try to stop The Colorman before they too become the victims of this vicious Sacre Bleu.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. Moore obviously researched this novel, but took lots of liberty with the facts to turn what could have been a stuffy art lesson into a highly entertaining story. There is a lot going on in this story, but every aspect is presented in a way that eventually brings clarity to the events. The story does take a bit of time to get off the ground, probably because I was trying to figure out what the point of the book really was, but the action kicks into high gear after about a hundred pages. Overall, this novel will probably divide readers, but anyone looking for a definitely "out of the box" story should give this one a try.
-Ethan

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: hunger games

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games (#1)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2008
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Review: There is no denying, Suzanne Collins trilogy, beginning with The Hunger Games, has become a cultural phenomenon. Growing up, I can remember the excitement I felt, waiting for the latest Harry Potter novel or movie to be released. Today, with the Twilight series, Hunger Games, the Millennium Trilogy, even Fifty Shades of Grey, it seems like every series is advertised as the next big phenomenon. I was hesitant to dive into The Hunger Games, but when a friend provided me with a copy, I decided to give it a shot.

The novel takes place in the nation of Panem. Basically, North America has been divided into 12 districts, each serving a specific economic purpose. Each year, in commemoration of the revolution and probably more in an attempt to remind the citizens of the leaders' power, each district is required to send one boy and one girl to participate in a televised battle to the death known as The Hunger Games.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a skilled hunter from the coal mining district 12, finds herself thrust into these games when she volunteers to enter in place of her younger sister. She will have to face career tribute, people who have specifically trained to compete in the games, so she is almost certain the battles will result in her death. Her hunting skills come in handy, however, and with the guidance of Haymitch, a drunken winner of a previous games, she soon becomes a serious contender. But survival isn't easy. To win, she is forced to make life or death decisions, face taking the lives of other, and risk betraying relationships.

I was really entertained by this novel. The opening, where much of the backstory and preparation take place, was a bit slow. That being said, the story kicks into an unputdownable gear as the games actually begin. Like any good reality television program, I found myself sucked into the action as it was presented. I did feel that the characters were not as deeply realized as they could have been, but as the first novel in a trilogy, I expect they become more layered in later installments. While The Hunger Games is by no means perfect, it does successfully entertain while still providing clever commentary on social and cultural conventions.
-Ethan



Review: The Second World War

Title: The Second World War
Author: Antony Beevor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Reviewer: Ethan

Summary: Over the past two decades, Antony Beevor has established himself as one of the world's premier historians of WWII. His multi-award winning books have included Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945. Now, in his newest and most ambitious book, he turns his focus to one of the bloodiest and most tragic events of the twentieth century, the Second World War.

In this searing narrative that takes us from Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 to V-J day on August 14th, 1945 and the war's aftermath, Beevor describes the conflict and its global reach--one that included every major power. The result is a dramatic and breathtaking single-volume history that provides a remarkably intimate account of the war that, more than any other, still commands attention and an audience.

Thrillingly written and brilliantly researched, Beevor's grand and provocative account is destined to become the definitive work on this complex, tragic, and endlessly fascinating period in world history, and confirms once more that he is a military historian of the first rank.

Review: I have always been fascinated with any and all things to do with World War II. From the rise of Hitler, to the bombing of Hiroshima, this is perhaps the richest time in the history of the world. Due to the staggering scale of this time period, most books, both fiction and nonfiction, choose to focus on specific events or characters. In this hugely ambitious work, Antony Beevor attempts to provide a narrative overview of the entire war.

In the book, Beevor effectively introduces the early onsets of the war for each nation that was involved. Spanning from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to the end of the war in 45, Beevor manages to provide a research filled account without ever straying from his strong narrative flow. He finds a convincing balance between broad tellings of significant battles, military strategy, and intimate insights into the main personalities of the war.

At nearly 900 pages, this book is no small undertaking. I'll admit, I read bits of the volume between other novels over the course of three months. Despite the length, I felt like Beevor never sacrificed the telling of the story in favor of dry facts, so the book maintained a consistency that easily places it above other historical works. Overall, WWII enthusiasts, history buffs, and any lover of large-scale stories are sure to enjoy this book.
-Ethan

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: kiss of Steel

Title: Kiss of Steel
Author: Bec McMaster
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Reviewer: Elisa
Summary: Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries--no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel--or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.

Review: This was such as awesome book, I started it the other day and could not put it down! The two leads were both headstrong and didn't trust each other but they were irrevocably drawn to each other, like two magnets who keep flipping so they alternately draw and then repel each other. My favorite type of relationship to read about! Delicious.

Honoria Todd has been scraping by these last 6 months keeping her sister and brother alive and safe since her father was killed. He was working on a cure for the blue blood virus, which eventually turns society's leaders into mindless, rotten vampire killers. Only the elite are allowed the blue blood virus which offers near immortality, super strength and hightened scenses. She has hidden them in the Whitechapel district, but has just come to the attention of the thief lord overseeing that area, Blade. He is a blue blood but a rogue and Honoria can't trust anyone, for her previous Lord protector, Vickers used to basically torture her and has since has put a huge bounty on their heads.

The worldbuilding is great. Only the elite get the virus, and if you let your craving get away from you, they put you down before you become a mindless killing machine. There are steampunk robots that help police the masses and help keep the elite in power. The robots can shoot fire and yet men still duel with swords. There are werewolves and who knows what other creatures will be crawling out of the woodwork in the next novel, called Heart of Iron by the way. Honoria has a pistol with exploding bullets. The stuff is way cool.

Honoria has a problem though, her brother has the virus and there is something on the loose that can tear men apart. She also has her father's diary, was he close to finding a cure? Can she replicate his work in time to help her brother? It's all very exciting and the fighting between her and Blade is lovely.

So as I said, the romance is that delicious push/pull with lots of fighting. I liked both characters and it was fun to watch them fight a losing battle of attraction. They are both bright, a little pig-headed and lots of fun. Once they fall into bed, there are a few steamy scenes and Honoria becomes a wanton hussy in no time (see the cover). :) Be careful reading those scenes while at work, on the train, or in public.

I tore through this book, greatly enjoyed it and will be pushing it on my family members to read. If you like steampunk romance, this is super fun. 4.5 clockwork rotating stars!

Interview

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There I created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. I sleep little, read novels and histories, watch media obsessively, travel, blog (a million hits last year!), and of course, write.

Untimed is my second novel.


What inspired you to write?

I’m a lifelong creator and explorer of worlds. As far back as first grade I remember spending most of the school day in one day dream or another. I had a huge notebook stuffed with drawings, story bits, and concepts for an elaborate Sci-Fi/Fantasy world I cobbled together from bits of Star Wars, Narnia, and Battlestar Galactica. By fourth or fifth grade not only was I loosing myself in every fantasy or Sci-Fi novel I could, but I was building Dungeons & Dragons castles and caverns on paper. Then from 1980 on the computer.
Since third grade I’ve read rather obsessively, so I was naturally interested in writing. I began fairly seriously in ninth grade. In high school, I won several national literary awards for my short stories and I was an editor and contributor to our high school literary magazine. In college, despite being a diehard science guy, I took creative writing classes (sometimes I was the only guy) and submitted stories to Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines (not that they ever bought any!). I co-wrote the stories for many of my best selling video games. But video games aren’t as story driven as novels, so don’t judge these in the same light J.


What authors influenced you as a writer?

A have a lot. But Tim Powers is a favorite for his ability to bring to life the fey in a grounded yet truly otherworldly way. Stephen King is another (not all his books but many) for his uncannily ability to characterize people in just a sentence or two and his unerring ear for dialogue. Dan Simmons for the massive scope of his world building and command of pathos. George R. R. Martin for his mastery at making his gigantic cast of characters feel developed and above all, human.


What is your favorite quote?

“Think of it as evolution in action” is pretty good, but in light of this being about Untimed, we could use a favorite Ben Franklin saying, “Three men can keep a secret, if two of them are dead!”

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Some “Culture” novel like Consider Phlebas, that way I could use the advanced technology to download myself into an AI and become immortal.


What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?

Read, read, watch, watch. I believe in reading as many books as possible and watching as many films and TV shows. You can always learn from stories.


Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?

Very. I have a lot of favorite books, and certainly many of them have influenced me, but the particular mix of elements is all my own.


What led you to writing in this genre?

I’m a fantasist. Stories that appeal to me would always have an element of fantasy, science fiction, or supernatural horror to them. I like to bring history into it too. I don’t believe in highly specific targeting, and am annoyed when publishers get their panties in a bunch about it. I read adult novels from about 4th or 5th grade on (not exclusively) and I read YA and kids novels now at forty-something. Who cares? Are they good books? That’s what matters.


What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Bringing scenes that I have in my head to life is my favorite part of writing. This can apply to first draft stuff or to substantial revision once I've done the planning. It’s really quite a rush to pound out a scene, like making solid something that just exists as a dream or vision.

During the publishing process, getting art back from my artists is my favorite part. Nothing like seeing a new cover!


Least favorite part of the writing process?

The endless re-reading and careful editing is quite tedious (although I do a lot of it!). Sitting down to read the entire book again for the 50th time takes some serious will power. But overall, I’d say the hardest part was trying to balance my desire for prose minimalism with the need to “tell” the reader what they are supposed to know/feel. Ideally, one doesn’t tell them much of anything, but instead shows and implies. I love when a beat subtly betrays the emotions of a character, but at the same time, not all readers pick up on these niceties. My style is much closer to hard boiled early or mid twentieth century writers than it is to the type of melodramatic prose sometimes found in today’s YA hits (Twilight, here’s looking at you!).


What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m writing two more novels and adapting Untimed into a screenplay. The new books are the Untimed sequel and a totally separate short novel that involves old school fairies and iambic pentameter.


Where readers can find you?


http://andy-gavin-author.com about my writing
http://the-darkening-dream.com my first novel
http://untimed-novel.com my second novel
http://www.facebook.com/andygavin facebook
http://twitter.com/asgavin twitter


LAST QUESTION:

Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?

Tell us a little about the villains in Untimed?

The Tick-Tocks are supposed to be mysterious, and I really wanted to reveal their secrets layer by layer. It was even important that by the end of the book, while you understand a lot more about them, you don’t really know exactly where they come from or what they’re up to. A great nemesis needs this. Think Darth Vader or Professor Moriarty. Their secrets aren’t all on the table to begin with. Additionally, one of my favorite emotions to play with is “creep.” My first novel, The Darkening Dream, is all about creepiness, and I think it’s much more effective and scary than plain horror. So the Tocks are supposed to be creepy. Not exactly horrific, but just mysterious and creepy. That’s one of the reasons they don’t talk. Creepy.

Interview

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Thank you for having me, Kati!

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
As of right now, I’m an English student, planning on being a high school teacher. Literature is my passion; I love to both read and write it.

What inspired you to write?
For a very long time, I didn’t write down my stories – I just daydreamed them. But as I got older, I realized I wanted other people to experience the unique worlds that only I could have created, and to do that, I would have to write them on paper (or a computer screen).

What authors influenced you as a writer?
I would say the authors I read as a child would have influenced me the most, like C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.

What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.” – Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown. I don’t know why, but I use this whenever I have the opportunity to. It’s kind of funny and depressing at the same time.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Peter Pan, so I could live forever! And fly.

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
I try not to give broad writing advice that everyone must follow because I believe every writer’s journey is different, so, as lame as this may sound, the only thing a writer needs is it – the natural talent. The X factor.

Are your books different than your personal favorite books by other authors?
I do read a lot of young adult and fantasy literature, so the answer is yes, in terms of genre. However, I think what I focus on in my stories is different than my favourite books.

What led you to writing in this genre?
I basically just write whatever is the most interesting to me, so writing about teens, fantasy, romance, and action were very easy choices for me.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
The entire first draft is always fun – everything is fresh, new and exciting.

Least favorite part of the writing process?
The 17th edit round.

What are you currently working on?
I’m writing the sequel to The Keeper’s Curse.

Where readers can find you?
You can bug me on my blog (http://dianaharrison.blogspot.ca/), twitter (diana0harrison) and/or goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6569644.Diana_Harrison).



LAST QUESTION:

Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?

Nope, I think that’s good. Thanks again, Kati!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Outpost

Title: Outpost
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: Septmeber 4, 2012
Reviewer: Annie
Summary: (From Amazon) Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Review: Being the second book in the series this book takes place after Deuce and some others have escaped to a place called Salvation. Salvation is a safe place where they have patrols to keep away the Freaks (monsters) and seem to have a more normal way of life. Deuce is having a hard time fitting into this new community and just being a regular teenage girl. So she decides to try and help and use her huntress instincts in any way she can.

I was a bit nervous since this was the second book in the series and I didn’t read the first. But this book seemed to read separately of the first and didn’t rely a lot on you knowing exactly what had happened. The author did a good job on catching you up with relationships and giving you a good background without it cutting into the story too much. There wasn’t a lot of action at first but you could almost feel like something was going to happen, and then it did. I really enjoyed this book, it had some different ideas than some of the other dystopian books out there, and I can’t wait to see where it heads in the third book. I don’t feel like its necessary for me to go back and read the first book, but I will definitely be reading the third!

Even though I didn’t, you should have probably read the first book in the series, from what I can tell it seems even more action packed and would lead you right into this book. I haven’t heard much talk about this series but its right up there in the ranks of Divergent, Delirium, Matched, and the Chaos Walking trilogy. I think it might even read better than some of those, and not feel quite as young adult. If you like dystopian this is a good series to read!

~ Annie

Happy blogs birthday!

It's crazy but yesterday I knew it was Jagged Edge's 2nd birthday and I forgot to post about it. how bad of me. I will see what I can do about a celebration for you guys.

Hope for the best!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Uh-oh

Sadly, someone hacked my yahoo. I went and changed my password and went back on. My phone and yahoo both wont let me on so if you need to get a hold of me via email for reviews or anything else the email is. jagged_edge_reviews@yahoo.com

Hopefully I will get this all fixed soon.
-Kati

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: Rough Men by Aric Davis

Book: Rough Men
Author: Aric Davis
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication date: jan 2013

Summary:
For his entire adult life, ex-criminal Will Daniels has been running from his past. Now, in the wake of his son's gruesome death, he'll turn around and embrace it. After learning his boy got his head half blown off while helping a couple of punks rob a bank, Will tries - oh, how he tries - to just let the police handle the investigation. But as legal channels fall well short and Will's helpless fury mounts, it's only a matter of time before he dishes out a more personal brand of justice. Armed with a dark past and brutal skills, Will is perfectly equipped to hunt down his son's killers. Unfortunately, his violent quest for revenge may destroy him and everything he loves before it's over.

Review: I read a good and useful hurt and Nickel Plated by Aric Davis and thought I would give this one a chance because I loved them both so much. Aric writes the things you almost don't expect to read but when you do your happy you did. Now sadly for me it just wasn't up to par with his first to books but don't get me wrong it is still a book worth reading. My suggestion is read Aric's books and just fall in love with the characters like I did. You won't be disappointed.

Quality of writing: 9
Pace: 7
Plot development: 5
Characters: 8
Enjoyability: 8
Insightfulness: 8
Ease of reading: 8

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Read 2012


Kati Read in 2012:
1) Fracture
2) Caller ID
3) Halflings
4) MacGuffin
5) Don't you wish
6) Abby Grace: Teacher's Pet
7) Gil Marsh
8) Stolen Away
9) Croak
10) Katana
11) Endure
12) Lies Beneath
13) New Girl
14) The Vanishing Game
15) Revealing Eden
16) Guy Langmen: Crime Scene Procrastinator 
17) Buried
18) Dying to Know you
19) A Grand Murder
20) Spellbound
21) A good and Useful hurt
22) Titanic 2012
23) Clarity
24) Deadly Sister
25) Goddess Test
26) Goddess Interrupted
27) Spellcaster
28) Touch of Frost
29) Holding on to Zoe
30) Kiss of Frost
31) Dark Frost
32) Discord's Apple
33) Welcome Caller, this is Chloe
34) Wicked as they come
35) Hunger Games
36) Hollyweird
37) Burn
38) Who is Jake Ellis?
39) Unbreak My Heart
40) Burn Mark
41) The Immortal Rules
42) Struck
43) Dark Kiss
44) Exiled
45) All these Lives
46) Throne of Glass
47) The Breakaway
48) Undeniably Yours
49) Kolopin Lunch
50) A Brush of Darkness
51) A Sliver of Shadow
52) Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs
53) Hourglass
54) Timepiece
55) Make Me
56) Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men
57) Nice Girls Don't Live Forever
58) Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors
59) Sweet Talk
60) Temptest Rising
61) Temptest Unleased
62) Seal Team Six: Outcast
63) What I didn't say
64) The Line Between Here and Gone
65) Love and Other Perishable Items
66) That Thing Called Love
67) One For the Money
68) Somebody to Love
69) The Harder they Fall
70) Revived
71) Wrong Side of Dead
72) FAQ
73) Fat Cat
74) Click: An online love story
75) Painted Blind
76) Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore
77) Tiger Paw
78) Confession of an Angry Girl
79) Saving June
80) Pushing the limits
81) The bar code prophecy
82) A Tinfoil Sky
83) The Mark
84) Theory of Everything 
85) How Lucky You Are
86) Rough Men
87) Nevermore
88) Wicked Business
89) Nickle Plated
90)
Etc. I will add the rest of list later

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