Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: Devil's Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda

Devil's Kiss is an entertaining paranormal thriller with a brave heroine and a somewhat complex plot.

As much as Billi desires a normal teenage experience, that isn't possible since she is a Knight of the Templar. She's the only female and the youngest member. Her father is the leader of the order, and sees Billi as any other Knight -- he's hard and unfeeling. She spends long hours training and gets no love or praise from her father.

So it is understandable that when Billi is attracted to Mike, she keeps their relationship a secret and tries to meet him on the sly and have a normal teen relationship.

Billi's best friend, Kay, has just returned from his training to be an Oracle for the order. He can read people's minds and see their auras. Billi is uncomfortable and somewhat hurt since Kay hasn't been in touch with her for over a year, and supposedly they were best friends. They are trying to figure out this new relationship, but they don't get much of a chance.

So things go bad pretty quickly. Kay and Billi both make mistakes that cause the wrath of the fallen angels, and in particular the Angel of Death to come upon the earth.

There's not much romance here, even though the blurb might indicate it. This is an action-packed horror story. There's some gruesome descriptions of battle, and a lot of tension throughout the book but especially at the end. It's a very dark book. The descriptions of the ghuls, watchers, and even the settings are bleak and horrible.

Chadda moves the plot along at a steady pace, and keeps you entrenched. The only minor problem (especially for younger readers) is that the details of the mythology and history of the order sometimes get a bit confusing.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to teens (boys or girls) who enjoy a dark, paranormal thriller. And there are lots of those teens!

Published by Disney Hyperion, 2009
Copy obtained from the library
 327 pages

Rating: 4/5





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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

After reading The Maze Runner, I had little doubt that The Scorch Trials would keep me on the edge of my seat once again, and I was not disappointed.

The setting and obstacles that the teens face in this book are totally different than The Maze Runner but the level of danger and the creativity required to succeed rang true in Scorch. OK, there's also a bit of luck and being in the right place at the right time, but these books definitely qualify as page turners.

The book begins where Maze left off. The Gladers are feeling safe, rested, and well-fed. That doesn't last very long. Soon, one of the main characters has disappeared without a trace, and the rest of the group have been given a new challenge by WICKED. Most of this one takes place in a desert wasteland, with the threat of zombie-like creatures (who have the Flare). The Gladers have two weeks to travel 100 miles to get to the safe haven. The Gladers also have the Flare, and have been told they will be cured when they get there.

Dashner introduces a couple new and of course interesting characters. The characters we've grown to love in Maze are all still consistent and distinct in Scorch. The plot moves rapidly, making this a quick read. It's just difficult to put down until all our beloved characters are "safe." But you know there's another story, The Death Cure, so I have a feeling this new-found safety is also short-lived.

I recommend this series widely to my teens. Both girls and boys love these books. Action seekers and reluctant readers clamor for these books. They really need very little talking on my part. They are always checked out. Great stuff. Can't wait to read the next one.

Published by Delacorte, 2010
Personal copy
360  pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 5/5





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Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Memories -- Alex Cross Series, by James Patterson


Welcome to my meme, Monday Memories, where I feature favorite books we've loved from the past. You can link to an old review, or write something new about a beloved book from your past. Really, what's important is not the book, but why it is memorable to you. So, have fun reminiscing, and leave a comment below, so we can all enjoy your memories.

I also wanted to let you know about another wonderful blog that you should check out. Ashley @ Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing does a weekly post called Memory Monday. She has been posting about her childhood memories of books. What's great about Ashley's site is that she is asking for guest posts for her Memory Monday event!  So hop on over there and check it out.

I believe the first Alex Cross novel I read was Kiss the Girls. My husband really liked the movie, and told me about it. I think I saw the movie first (this was about 15 years ago, so memories are fading) but then I read the book. I just loved this book, and I was instantly hooked on Alex Cross. I really didn't know of or care about anything else Patterson wrote for a long time. I didn't read the books in order, and it didn't really matter. I remember figuring out all of the ones I had missed and making sure I read them.

Many people think these books are simple and don't have much merit. That may be true, but I know that as soon as I pick one up, I"m not going to be able to put it down. I find them utterly compelling, and easy to read. Unfortunately, I fly through them, and keep wanting more.

I know that Kill Alex Cross just came out, and I don't have it yet, but it's certainly on my list! I also read the first Women's Murder Club book, and while I liked it, it didn't grab me and make me want to read any more. There just isn't another Alex Cross.

Share one of your cherished book memories!

You can do a Monday Memories post on your blog. Copy my button and link back here, so others can see all the other posts.  Leave a comment below with the link to your post.

Or, just leave one of your Monday Memories right here in the comments.

Be sure to visit some other blogs that have posted their links. Thanks!







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Sunday, November 27, 2011

2012 Serial Killers Reading Challenge

I've decided to join this challenge. I don't know how many serial killer books I will read, but I do love these kinds of books, and I figured I will get some great suggestions from others who are participating.

So, go over to Tea Time with Marce and sign up with me!

While you are at it, check out my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge. Maybe there are some serial killer books you can read in a day?




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IMM - A Fun Week!

A trip to the book store and some exciting mail deliveries have made this a  rather interesting week book-wise!

For Review:
Scary School, by Derek the Ghost, from the author

Purchased:

The Christmas Wedding, by James Patterson

Merry Christmas Alex Cross, by James Patterson (free at Barnes & Noble)

From the Library:

The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting

Won:

Bright Young Things, by Anna Godbersen

Beautiful Days, by Anna Godbersen
I won both of these books from Bewitched Bookworms!

Wow. That was fun. I hope you had a great week too, and I'll be by to check out your loot. Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting this week again!

Don't forget to check out my Books You Can Read in a Day reading challenge!





Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: Untraceable, by S. R. Johannes

Untraceable  is a heart-pounding survival story that will keep you captivated from page one.

Grace's father, a forest ranger in the Smokey Mountains, has been missing for several weeks, and everyone except Grace seems to think he has died in a terrible accident. No body has been found, and Grace can't accept that her father is dead. She is convinced that he is injured and is determined to find him.

Grace has been brought up in the woods and her father has taught her well. Each chapter opens up with a survival tip. She is an experienced hiker, fly-fisher, and survival expert. So Grace spends every spare moment combing the woods to find evidence to convince the police to continue the search for her dad.

Along the way, she meets Mo, another hiker and wilderness survivor. He's a geology major, British, and is exploring the woods to assist his studies. These two do end up in a romance, but it doesn't overpower the story and is quite believable. There are several other characters that round-out the story. Wyn, Grace's ex-boyfriend is still a great friend (or maybe more?) and tries to help Grace. The police chief is her friend and tries to be a father-figure, but he's really fed up with Grace's insistence that her father is alive.

Her mother is alienated from Grace. I didn't really buy this relationship. I had a hard time believing that she would leave Grace alone so much. The fact that Grace is seeing a psychologist, but not her mother, was ludicrous to me.

Johannes puts Grace in danger several times throughout the book, and gives Grace many opportunities to show her kick-ass determination. Grace also gets pretty lucky. I'm sure that some will say she made terrible decisions at several points. But if you put yourself in the place of a very frustrated, grieving teen who has no one that will believe her, maybe her decisions aren't that difficult to understand.

The tension mounts several times throughout the story. There are nice breaks from the tension--the romance helps--and the pacing was perfect. The ending was poignant and not all happy, which is good. The major plot lines are resolved, but there's a wonderful opening for the next book in the series. Which I will be happy to pick up!

This isn't a complex book, although I was surprised by several of the twists and turns of the plot. It's exciting and emotional and easily kept my interest. I would recommend this for younger teens--girls would be especially drawn to Grace's determination and spunk, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to boys either.

Published by Coleman and Stott, November 15, 2011
EBook obtained from the author for review
634 KB

Rating: 4/5





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Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: Sweetly, by Jackson Pearce

I really loved Sweetly. It was easy to read, the story kept my interest, and whoa -- the ending.

Poor Gretchen and Ansel. They loose their sister (Gretchen's twin) in the woods. She is taken by a "witch." After that, their parents are so heartbroken that their mother dies, their father remarries and then dies, and their step mom throws them out.

So they decide to go across country to the ocean to escape their haunted past and to start a new life. Their car breaks down, and they end up in Live Oak, South Carolina. The chocolatier, Sophia, takes them in so that Ansel can work to pay for car repairs. They are so happy helping Sophia that they decide to stay for a while. Both Gretchen and Ansel seem to begin to heal and their fears of witches, and in particular the woods, seem to be dissipating.

But, what's up? We get very subtle hints that everything isn't quite right with Sophia. The clues really kept me guessing (and frantically turning pages.) That's the best part of this book. Pearce writes in layers, so that on the surface, everything seems idyllic, but there's a sinister underlayer that is revealed bit by bit. Maybe Live Oak isn't such a safe place after all.

Samuel, the strange boy from town, ends up befriending and helping Gretchen figure out the mystery. The very slow development of their relationship is also a pleasure to read.

The ending is gruesome. It really surprised me (in a good way) because the rest of the book was relatively tame. Things end up really torn apart, but the loose ends are tied up, and the mystery is solved.

This is a great fairy tale adventure for teens, and I will happily recommend this to many of them.

Published by Little, Brown, August 23, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
310 pages

Rating: 4/5





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Sunday, November 20, 2011

IMM - Thankfully small...

I'm feeling good about conquering a bit of my TBR pile, so the slow pace of incoming books isn't a bad thing!  Here's what I've obtained for the past couple of weeks:

For Review:


Drowning Instinct, by Ilsa J. Bick, from NetGalley
Love this author, can't wait to read this. Publishing Feb. 1, 2012

From the Library:
Devil's Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda

Sweetly, by Jackson Pearce

So, what did you all get this week? I'd like to thank The Story Siren once again for hosting IMM each week. It's great fun!



Also, I'd like to invite you to join my first ever book challenge! Do you have some short books on your TBR that you could finish off in a day? This might be the challenge for you. Check out all the information at my Books You Can Read in a Day post.

As always, have a great week, and Happy Reading!




Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 19, 2011

DNF -- It's My Fault

This is a very hard post to write. I was so excited to begin my journey through the Iron Fey Series and began to read The Iron King this week. I guess I thought this was more of a paranormal series, so it was not what I expected.

After 159 pages, I decided that I have too many great books on my list to keep punishing myself with this one. But, you need to know that I readily profess that I don't particularly care for "high fantasy." I just don't like books that take place almost entirely in a magical world where a new magical creature is introduced every few pages. I get tired of reading about faeries, pixies, talking cats, sirens, trees that are alive, and goblins. I like reading about how a select few of these creatures may interact with the real world, but that's about it. I didn't get that in this book.

So, this is entirely my fault, I misunderstood the premise of these books. The writing is excellent, the pace flows perfectly, and the characters are interesting. I just don't like the story.

My question is, does it get better? Should I get through this one because they soon go back to the real world and deal with issues there? Or was I correct to give up, because this just isn't my cup of tea.

Please don't stop reading my blog. It seems everyone raves about these books, and believe me, I can see why, but sadly not me...





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Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF - Thanksgiving Version

Happy Friday, everyone. I'm glad it's finally here! This time of year we rarely have to spend 5 whole days in school -- holidays, teacher conferences, etc. But this week was a full FIVE days. How dare they expect us to survive that!

Ginger at GReads! asks a very appropriate question for this time of year:

Giving Thanks: Which books are you most thankful for receiving from other bloggers, friends, family members, or publishers?

Well I have a lot to be thankful for, but I'll stick to the question so as not to write a book. Suffice it to say that I have a wonderful, loving family and a great job, for starters.

The most amazing book "win" I've experienced is when I won the entire Wicked Lovely series from Jen at Makeshift Bookmark. (She's one of my favorite bloggers, too.) I'm also thankful that my husband got me an iPad (which helps a lot with blogging and reading) for Christmas (and I already have it.) I'm thankful for the great going-out-of-business sales at Borders, but I really miss them. (Books-a-Million is set to open any day now.) I usually ask for gift cards for books, so I don't get them gifted a lot. I'm also VERY thankful that I work in a library, and have access to thousands of books every day. It's a real budget saver.




At Parajunkee and Alison's they are asking another holiday question:



Q: Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!

As I said above, my favorite bookish thing to get are gift cards! My wish list of books changes on a daily basis, and the most fun for me is to browse until I see a book and think, "Oh, I've wanted that for a long time!" I also like "bookish" things. My husband got me a book necklace, and I'm always finding mugs, t-shirts, jewelry, and totes that I would like to have to support my habit. This is my latest find (saw this on a sewing blog - my other hobby.)





Please click here for information about my 2012 giveaway. If you want to get rid of all those short books on your TBR, this may be the challenge for you!


Hope you have a great weekend. Can't wait to see your lists!





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