Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Watcher in the Woods

by Robert Liparulo

This book is the sequel to House of Dark Shadows. I liked the first book even though it left you with a total cliff-hanger. So I was eager to pick up the second book and continue the story.

This book starts up right where the first left off and does reveal some new details to the story and hints about the origin of the house. However, many more questions are posed than are answered. And once again, this edition to the series ends with another non-ending. The book as a whole felt more like a long chapter ripped out of the middle of the actual book. It reminded me of The Spiderwick Chronicles in that way - each book must be read in order, and you have to read them all in order to have a complete story. Unlike Harry Potter, or the Twilight series (where each book is a separate story that contributes to the overall saga) this series is one story broken up into multiple books. It is an interesting concept, but I wish there was some resolution at the end of each. The third book, Gatekeepers came out in January, so I'll see how the story continues soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


by Nancy Werlin

Impossible is a very unique book with a mostly satisfying ending, although I thought it lacked a little grandeur.

Impossible is the story of a 17-year-old girl who learns that the females of her family are cursed to become pregnant at 17, and then upon having the baby, go insane. It has happened generation after generation and now Lucy Scarborough finds herself pregnant and facing three impossible tasks that, if she can complete them, might just save her from this ancient curse.

The tasks that she must complete are found in a family version of the song "Scarborough Fair" - Lucy must make a shirt without needle or seam, find an acre of land "between the salt water and sea strand", and then plow the land with a goat's horn and "sow it all over with one grain of corn".

Lucy has the advantage of lots of people on her side - her adoptive parents and her childhood friend Zach - who turn their lives upside down to help Lucy break the curse.

So, I did like this book, it was interesting and different and I didn't completely know what to expect. But I was a little underwhelmed by the ending. I was hoping for more earth-shattering results either when the curse was broken or it took effect on Lucy, but it was very anti-climactic.

Also, this is really minor, but I still don't like the title very much. It just doesn't give you much of a sense of what the book is about, or even what kind of book it is. I think it would have been better titled Scarborough Fair or The Elfin Knight (the other title of the song/poem), but that's just me I guess.

Monday, January 26, 2009

House of Dark Shadows

by Robert Liparulo

Not the greatest book to read at night, but that's what I did! When lots of this book occurs in and around a creepy, creaky, dark and mysterious house in the woods where sounds seem to shift, doors lead to places they shouldn't and strange figures appear in the hallways at night...well...it can kinda give you the creeps!

It's an interesting little book, though. It's the start of a series (I knew it this time) so there are a LOT of loose ends upon reaching the last page. In fact, the author even ends the last page with the phrase "NOT the end". I'm hoping in the continuing books we'll get more explanation as to why the house is the way it is! I've already got books 2 and 3 on hold at the library, so hopefully I'll be writing about those soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cindy Ella

by Robin Palmer

Well this is totally different from what I've been reading lately! No magic, no mythical creatures, no ghost or mysterious happenings or anything. Just a girl who's kind of a social outcast, her two equally un-hip friends, and a letter to the editor of the school paper disparaging the annual tradition of prom.

This book was funny, predictable, and a pretty quick read. The main character, Cindy Ella Gold is our narrator, and she provides many laughs throughout her documentation of the weeks preceding prom at her posh LA high school (Castle Heights - isn't that just hilare?). The "surprise" at the end was anything but surprising to me - I saw it coming from nearly the first page - but it was still enjoyable.


by Michael Grant

I love it when new books hit the shelves at Borders or Barnes and Noble and they get put on that special "Newly Released" shelf! Everything is so shiny and new! I've seen this book on said shelf frequently in the last couple months. I finally remembered to put it on hold at the library so I could read it!

Gone is the story of a bunch of teenagers who suddenly find themselves in a world without parents. One day, all people in their town over the age of 15 simply vanish (or "poof" as many of the kids call it). I eagerly dove in to this book waiting to find out the reason for the disappearances. Was it going to be an alien invasion? Parallel universes? Some spiritual disturbance? Bizarre natural disaster?

The book is fairly well paced, and interesting. There is a LOT of flip-flopping of the balance of power though. Part way in the kids and teens start to fall into two groups - for the sake of this entry I'm going to call them the "good kids" and the "bad kids". Clever aren't I? It seems that every 1-3 chapters the power would transfer from one group to another. The bad kids took over the town. The good kids fight back and surprise the bad kids. The bad kids are sneaky and gain back control. The bad kids are going to kill some good kids. The good kids escape. The bad kids catch them again. They're trapped. Then they escape. Etc. Etc. I like not knowing what's coming next, but after a while I started to feel a little tossed about by this pattern of events.

Most frustrating - the ending was completely ambiguous and did not give a clear explanation of what caused the disappearance or even what was happening with certain characters! I was completely shocked by this non-ending. I thought this was a stand-alone book! Then I got online. Somehow I had missed the fact that this book is the first in a series - a series that will likely end up having 6 volumes! So now I can forgive the cliff-hanger ending. Unfortunately I'll have to wait awhile to read more of what happens.

Friday, January 16, 2009


by Helen Lowe

You know those signs some factories have that say, "57 safe work days" or something of the sort? I've always thought it must be kinda pitiful the day they have to change it to "0 safe work days" since somebody got hurt the day before. Now I need a sign that says something like, "89 days since a dud book". Unfortunately, today is the day mine reads "0 days" because this book was a dud!

I picked up Thornspell by Helen Lowe at the library. I found it online and read some reviews (all positive) and i just thought it looked fun! So I put it on hold and was able to pick it up and get started on it this week. And that's were the fun ended.

I think the concept for this book is really cool. It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, told from the perspective of the prince. I thought the prince really lacked personality though, and I found it very hard to be interested in his story at all. Plus, he has a horrible name - Sigismund. I found myself just glossing over it as I read, or reading it as "Sigmund" or "Sigsimund" instead. Granted "Sigsimund" would be weird as well, but it does seem to flow better.

Another thing I didn't like was the magical element of the story. Now I love magic in books, but in this book it just didn't make sense! She talked about currents and paths of energy or power, and alternate universes, and it all just seemed like a jumbled mess. There was no explanation as to what kinds of magic they used and how it worked so I felt like almost out of the loop the whole time.

Now when I got to around page 200, it seemed that things were going to finally get interesting. But once again the story just fizzled out. It seemed like the author was trying to write this grand epic conflict of good and evil, and it was all just a bit contrived. The villain wasn't that villainous, the hero not that heroic, and everyone else was just sort of there with no obvious purpose. And then there was the big reveal of the mystery girl who we met at the beginning - too bad I'd seen that twist coming a mile away.

Sigh. I hate being disappointed by books. Hopefully I will enjoy my next selection more!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shadow Kiss

by Richelle Mead

The third book in the Vampire Academy series, Shadow Kiss, continues the story of Rose and best friend Lissa.

I really liked this entry in the series. There was a lot going on, and we got to see more of Adrian, who was introduced in the previous book and is a pretty interesting character. There's a lot going on in this book and a lot of it readers are left to try to figure out for themselves. Secret societies, ghost sightings, dark auras, spirit magic....it's all connected but Mead doesn't tell us how until the end.

However, the end is just terribly sad! This is not the end of the series, so I'm dying to know what the author is going to do with this twist she's thrown in. I'm sure it will be very interesting, but I'm not sure we have the almost-guaranteed "happy ending" that Stephenie Meyer's vampires got. I'm okay with a little sadness, but I don't know, I may be mad by the time this whole series is over. I'm holding out hope that she's got some sort of twist up her sleeve. Now we wait til August! Grr...I hate waiting!


by Richelle Mead

Wow, in those last two entries I completely forgot to use Dani's non-patented rating system! So here we go:

1st star (butt-kicking) - oh, yes, much butt-kicking is done! Delightful. +1

2nd star (romantic touch) - yup, yup - and not just with one character! So at least +1

3rd star (some wacky fantasy) - Three kinds of "vampires" who have secret schools and resorts? +1

4th star (love triangle) - Ack yes! So frustrating, but that's what makes it great! Mason, Adrian, Dimitri....tis so so complicated! +1

5th star -(delectable male co-protagonist) - Did I mention Dimitri? And Adrian....he just is fun. I'm gonna give it +1

6th star - (scene that is truly tear-jerking) - ummm...yeah, definitely... :( +1

7th star (expertise with a bow and arrow) - no bow and arrow in this book, but there are swords and magic fire power and silver stakes...so I'm giving it the seventh star anyway! +1

Tada! Seven Star book! Yes, I realize on Dani's system is gets 100% and on mine I only gave it 4/5 - it's just missing a little of that "I wanna run out right now and tell all my friends about this!" aspect, which is required for 5 star books. I did like this one better that the first in the series though. Onto book 3!

Vampire Academy

by Richelle Mead

Happy Birthday to me! This book was a birthday present from Dani (my often spoken of book-loving friend who never writes her own entries anymore!) :)

Before reading the Twilight series I'd never read any vampire novels. So when Dani gave me this book (the start of a new series) I wasn't sure what to expect. The vampire world that Richelle Mead creates is very different from Meyer's Twilight. This book is darker, and considerably more mature in language and content. I didn't really care for the language used in this book, but the story was interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading.

There are a lot of fun (and a lot of annoying) characters in this book. And I mean the annoying thing in a positive way - you're supposed to find them annoying. Rose was tough and sassy while Lissa was sweet and caring. The two creating an interesting duo. The male characters were also an intriguing lot. Dimitri, Christian, Mason, Jesse - all of them different and funny or sweet or interesting in their own ways.

While this book didn't have quite the mesmerizing "stupor" effect I spoke of with Twilight, it did suck me in, and I proceeded to read the next two books in the series in the next two days. I have not been very social, and my sleeping has suffered a bit, but it was fun!

Bewitching Season

by Marissa Doyle

I'm getting behind on this blog again, mainly because I've been totally absorbed in my books for the past week!

The book Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle comes to me (big surprise here) from Dani!

It's a fun little trip into Regency England, with the added twist that the two main characters (twins Persephone and Penelope Leland) can do magic! Think Hermione Granger meets Elizabeth Bennett.

I thought it was a cute idea, but it did seem that the two vastly different genres had trouble mixing at points in the book. For large sections it read mostly like a Regency novel with the magical aspect almost forgotten. But all in all it was fun and different from anything I'd read before and I'm looking forward to the sequel! Oh, and Lochinvar has a weird name, but he's awesome. 'Nuff said.