Thursday, January 26, 2012


Part of me thought that November 1st was never going to be here - that's when Crossed was released. As soon as it appeared on my Nook, I was on it like well, like a YA librarian on a YA sequel.  The trick with this review is to not spoil the story because I really don't want to give anything away. 

Cassia is now working in the Outer Provinces.  Her mission is to find Ky.  When she receives a surprise visit from Xander at her work camp, she has the opportunity to speak with another archivist and gets an idea on where to start her search.  When the opportunity comes to escape with fellow camp worker Indie, Cassia makes a break for the Carving - a long series of canyons that may contain the rebel group known as the Rising.

Ya'll may hate me but I'm not saying anything else than that.  It would ruin the tension and I just can't do that to you.  I do have to say that I was a little disappointed in the book as whole.  Sometimes after I'm done reading a book that I haven't enjoyed 100% I have a hard time putting my finger on just what it was.  Thus, waiting a couple months to do the review gives me some perspective and I can usually name whatever it was that I didn't like, but not this time.  Part of me wants to say that there was a lack of things happening, but really there wasn't.  Maybe it was a lacking a sense of constantly being caught, although there was some of this.  The book was really more about relationship building and Cassia growing as a person/learning about herself.  I know Ally Condie is really proud of this book, as she should be, but I hope the third really packs a wallop.  For me Crossed fell prey to middle-book-of-a-trilogy syndrome.  The good news - there's a immense cliff-hanger of an ending. 

Fat Vampire

If it wasn't abundantly clear from the title of my blog that I don't read vampire books, I'll tell you this in conversation, not just out of the blue but if the topic arises naturally.  But the unthinkable happened - Adam Rex wrote a vampire book.  Some of you may remember that I was a bit torn about this.  To keep the shame of being seen with a vampire book to a bare minimum, I read it on my Nook - HA!

Doug's a vampire.  Not only is he NOT Edward Cullen (yes, I know who he is), he's none of the Cullens.  He wouldn't even make it as an extra into this scene (yes I saw that movie, purely to laugh at it though).  Doug is a dork with pretty much no friends.  Being a vampire just makes him pale and not able to tolerate any sun.  Feeding isn't sexy because he's been using cows.  His vampire mentor is an old weirdo.  The foreign exchange student he thought he might have a chance with only thinks of him as a friend, and a kind of creepy one at that.  So why would anyone read this book?  Because Doug's attempts to be sexy and use his vampire nature to impress anyone are hilarious.  Even his attempts to feed are humorous.  At one point he gets assaulted by a baby panda (you'll just have to read it). 

Clever and exactly what I imagine it would be like to see things from a teenage male's perspective (so it's a little gross at times), the book was entertaining.  To me the book was more about dorky Doug being a teenage boy, he just also happens to have an unfortunate condition. 

So yeah, I read a vampire book and it didn't completely suck (I had to!) but it also didn't turn me (couldn't help that one either).  I do really, really love the cover though. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Ya'll can I just tell you how excited I was when I found out that the third Beka Cooper book was coming out?  Ridiculously excited!  I love these books and shameful as it may seem, they are the only Tamora Pierce books I've ever read.  Why haven't I read any other ones?  It's my I-don't-like-bandwagons thing.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just ask me some other time because I just want to talk about this book right now.

First of all, I pre-ordered it for my Nook and I am so super thankful that I have an awesome person in my life (Elisha Patten) who bought the Nook for me so when rather weighty books - 608 pages! - come along that I just must read, I don't strain my back carrying them around anymore.  I do have to say that the only downside to Nook Books are pages that have maps - you can make text bigger but not the actual page, so maps tend to be really small.

Anyway.....Beka Cooper is dealing with something new, grief with a hardy side of self-loathing.  The book starts with Beka writing about the burial Holborn - fellow Dog, and until he died, her man.  Beka feels awful because things had started to sour between them, and then got himself killed while on duty.  But what better way for a Dog, particularly Beka, to get over such a thing?  Why a highly secret and dangerous mission to rescue the prince, of course!  Beka, her partner Tunstall, Lady Sabine, a handsome and roguish magician named Farmer, along with Beka's scent hound Achoo and constellation-in-cat-form Pounce set out on a journey fraught with traps, double-crossings, slavers, jealous nobles, and evil magicians in order to find the prince and return him to his parents.

The stories of Beka have always kept me spell-bound, and even though the books are massive I never want them to end.  I loved this book just as much if not more than the others.  This was one of those books that really sucks you in and you want to jump through the pages and throttle someone even though you know they don't exist in real life.  I also enjoyed the fact that Beka grew as a person, she learned things about herself, and she wasn't just the same old Beka.  What also made this story really come alive was the issue of slavery, particularly child slavery.  While the issue was not a major part of the storyline for most of book, Pierce makes it clear in the dedication that it will be addressed, and the ending does not disappoint!  I recommend this book most highly to any Tamora Pierce lover, any kick-butt heroine lover, and anyone who needs to good read.  But please make sure you've read the other ones first.  Oh, and these are definitely for high school.  Nothing gratuitous, but Beka is an adult, albeit a young one. 

How to Save a Life

What do you do when your "normal" is no longer anything like it used to be?  How do you give your child the best life you can when you barely know what a good life is to begin with?

Jill has yet to truly deal with the death of her father but her mother, Robin, seems determined to move on.  The first step is cutting off her long hair. Jill has been doing some cutting off too...herself from everyone around her including her friends, her boyfriend, and her mom.  Then her mother decides she needs a new life and wants to adopt a baby. Enter Mandy, a pregnant teenager whose own mother was emotionally absent from her raising her daughter.  Mandy and Robin meet online and decided to do a private adoption, with Mandy coming to live with Robin & Jill for the last few weeks of Mandy's pregnancy.  With all the new people in Robin's life, Jill feels that she obviously isn't enough for her mom and shows her displeasure with the situation by giving Mandy the cold shoulder.  That is, until after a few short conversations with Mandy where things don't seem to add up.  Indeed, Mandy has been hiding some things from Robin and the closer she gets to her due date, the more Mandy starts to question her decision to give up her baby.

Only Sara Zarr could take a situation as hopeless as this sounds and make it completely amazing.  Each chapter alternates between Jill and Mandy, which at first had me siding with Jill and being completely annoyed by Mandy.  Yet somewhere about 3/4 of the way through the book, I realized that Mandy was completely a product of terrible parenting.  Her naivety still bugged the heck out of me, but I didn't want to roll my eyes any more.  Actually the person who bothered me the most was Robin.  She's supposed to be this highly intelligent and sensitive woman, but she has no idea how to grieve with Jill.  She just grieves near Jill and completely leaves her out of any attempts to move forward in their life as mother & daughter.  But I know the storyline wouldn't have the tension that it did if Robin hadn't been written this way.  In the end, I loved Mandy even though she still kinda seemed like a dumb blond and Jill was still a little bit spiky, because hey, people aren't perfect.

*This book was sent to me by the publisher - anyone who comments by February 22nd will be entered in a drawing for the book!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eon & Eona

Eon works harder than any of the other young men training to become the next Dragoneye apprentice - young men who study under the current and powerful Dragoneyes.  The Dragoneyes work with the even more powerful energy dragons to avert disaster in their land and keep wealth flowing to the emperor.  Eon works the hardest not just because he is the smallest, but because Eon is really a girl and therefore forbidden to ever be a Dragoneye.  At the end of Eon's training comes the choosing ceremony, where the ascending dragon will choose the next apprentice.  When the ascending Rat Dragon does not chose Eon at the ceremony it seems that she will be sent back to a life of back-breaking work in a mine.  But before the ceremony concludes, the Mirror Dragon, who had not been seen for over 500 years, mysteriously appears and chooses her.  As there is no master for Eon to be an apprentice to, full Dragoneye status is granted.

What should be a time of training and communing with her dragon quickly turns to a time of deceit and dangerous games.  There is unrest in the Dragoneye council and in the realm.  Before Eon can train even the slightest, open war is upon the Imperial throne and Eon is sworn to defend it.

What follows in the rest of Eon and into Eona is a tale of intrigue, forbidden love, folklore, and fighting.  Set in a lush and vibrant world, Alison Goodman creates a fascinating and original story.  Although I have to say that sometimes I wanted to smack Eon/Eona just a little bit. She has the potential to be such a strong heroine, and she did excel at that...sometimes.  I appreciate flawed characters but wishy-washy, constantly cringing or self-doubting ones I cannot abide.  Eona got this way on numerous occasions in both books and it was starting to grate on my nerves.  Characters who don't grow emotionally (other than just falling in love) but only physically and educationally are not always fun characters to read.  That being said, I bought both books voluntarily for my Nook and I don't regret it.