Melissa (readermuse) - Reviews

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Aching for Always
Aching for Always
Author: Gwyn Cready
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 9/30/2010
Helpful Score: 2


Along with mapmaking, Joss's mother was also an apt storyteller. She wove the story that Joss decided that would guide her through life. "The Beautiful Mapmaker" was that story. And with it, we also follow Joss's story in this book. That part I thought was brilliant. It gave you a guide to what was going on within the story and more importantly how Joss judged things in her life as good or bad. I also enjoyed the eventual pairing of Hugh and Joss. They make a good couple even when I wanted to kick Hugh in the butt for insisting that Joss be honest and trustworthy, but did not think he needed to be just that in return. The parts of himself he kept secret I would have thought had made Joss more suspicious, but yet, she trusted him wholly. I had a bit of a problem with that.

I also had a problem with the "bad" guy. Without giving too much away, I will say that his motives were absent. I just wasn't convinced that the one they found themselves running from was that evil. I think more of the story needed to be placed on his motives for being obsessed with Joss as well as wanting things to stay the same at all costs. In fact the one I couldn't stand throughout the book was Fiona and was hopeful it was her who was truly evil. She wasn't. In fact you could have lifted this person from the story and it would have ran even smoother. I could have seen a twist coming with this character, but the story ended without my twist.

I really wanted to love this book. I loved the way Hugh came to terms with his brother's death and the way the story followed her mother's stories so well. However, I just couldn't get into the ending. Twists and turns that I thought might come never did. Yes, that would have made it predictable, but it was better than a let down and not being able to put evil with the bad guy. The HEA just wasn't as satisfying because of that.

I give this book 3 stars. Other than what I felt was it's failings, I did enjoy most of the adventure.


Altar of Bones
Altar of Bones
Author: Philip Carter
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 4/9/2011


This is an interesting mystery involving the KGB, CIA, FBI, FSB and, of course, a lot of conspiracy theories that would make the day of Oliver Stone (although I'd say my fave movie was more of Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman). Oh yes, there are at least 3 major conspiracy theories (one of them having to do with Russia and the Mad Monk, the others are totally American) and a few minor ones which make this whole aspect of finding out what the altar of bones was much more fun.

The altar does take center stage throughout the theories, action and mystery but so does Zoe. The last Keeper of the secret. She doesn't even find out about the secret until she is faced with a mystery given to her by a grandmother she never knew. Zoe's character was also further enhanced by her earlier experiences with family and her job. Her mother became the head of the Russian mafia in her area when she was just a child, and her job helps domestic violence survivors escape their dangerous lives. This made her ability to handle all the dangers believable while solving the mystery. I also enjoyed the characters of Ry who became a partner in solving the mystery as well as a great romantic interest.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed the adventure even though it felt like it was taking so many turns you weren't sure if the mystery of the alter would be solved. The characters in this book were well interesting. Even though there were more villains than good-guys in this story, they also added a needed dimension in the book.


And Falling, Fly
And Falling, Fly
Author: Skyler White
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 3/25/2010
Helpful Score: 2


This book is a wonderful philosophical trip through the lives of the cursed and damned. This is also not your typical vampire book. In this one, vampires who must feed on the desires and fear through their victim's blood are actually angels of desire fallen from grace. If they do not feed, they suffer want that cannot be satisfied and fade from sight. Also, in this group of the damned and cursed are those taken from different mythologies who are now decedents of those cursed for their misdeeds. Their children share in a portion of their curse even if they have no idea why. All of these eventually seek knowledge, understanding or comfort in a hotel they are all drawn to called hell by it's inhabitants.

I have to say I enjoyed this book a lot. I do enjoy it when an author puts a different twist on stories in which we are familiar. Greek mythology, angel mythology, the garden of Eden are all stories she used to twist into a interesting work of fiction. She also takes scientific philosophy to use as a counterpoint and basis for discussion. Within all this discussion blooms a love story made to redeem the two main characters. Redemption not born of their curses, but born from what they feared and avoided.

I recommend this book for those who love a dark story with a lot of philosophy. I recommend it for those looking for a different vampire story. I also recommend it to those who are wordsmiths. This book is also great for those as well. I gave this story 4 stars.


The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Bk 1)
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Library Binding
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/6/2012


This is a fun easy read that those young MG readers could appreciate as well as adults who just like a good adventure. In some ways the set up in this story reminded me of Dark Angel in where there are kids who "belong" to a lab and then fight their way to freedom and staying that way. After that, the resemblance ends. You then have a unique telling of mutants learning to navigate the world which they know won't accept them.

The adventure these kids have is quite intense and you can't wait to find out all of the answers to the questions that form as they fight to save one of their own. Fight to save Angel, the littlest from a fate worse than death. Along the way they learn more about the world than they ever thought possible and find some unlikely help along the way. However, even while on the hot trail of learning more about their past and what they were told was true or not, they find that they can't trust anything or anyone outside of the flock.

Although I liked all the main characters, my biggest complaint about this book is that it is hard to really connect on a deep level to the kids. It makes sense because their whole life is crises management and so little time is left for really knowing who they truly are. However, since this is only one book in a series, I feel that the connection will come and probably sooner than later. You can see things falling in place within this book for that to happen.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I think it is a fast and fun book for the beginning to this series. I recommend it to those that enjoy UF and YA.


Betrayed (House of Night, Bk 2)
Betrayed (House of Night, Bk 2)
Author: Kristin Cast, P. C. Cast
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 921
Review Date: 5/31/2009


This wasn't quite as good as the first and they got to the suspenseful aspects of this book in a quick manner. Although I was hoping for more mystery, the book still was a good and quick read. Sets up the next book nicely, even though I think that too much was revealed in this book and could have been saved for the next.


Between Shades of Gray
Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 49
Review Date: 4/9/2011
Helpful Score: 2


If this book doesn't become banned, I'll be sorely disappointed in the self-appointed safety-bubble police. This is a perfect book to burst that bubble and I'm proud to have read it. This book deserves to be on the shelf of every school in the world. It is an important story that is largely unknown.

I will not give anything away in this story as it is important to follow Lina in her heroic and harrowing tale. Her fight for life, just living and breathing is heroic within the conditions that presented itself. The story is often paralleled by her memories of a better time which also contrast to the horror the family, Lina, Jona her brother, and her mother Elena, are experiencing. The horror is made much darker by that comparison. It also provided Lina something else to concentrate on other than hunger and toil. The darkness wasn't surprising to me as I also realized what I was getting into by the first chapter.
"Twenty minutes," the officer barked. He threw his burning cigarette onto our clean living room floor and ground it into the wood with his boot.
We were about to become cigarettes.

There is one thing I will warn you. You will need some tissues by the end of this book. *shakes fist* Oh, I hate crying and I hate it even more so when I'm trying to keep my sinuses from closing up on me and looking like I was punched in the face. So, don't say I didn't warn you when you start blubbering like a baby. At least you weren't the only one to do that. *sniff*

I recommend this book to everyone. It is YA, but written simply and well. Younger YA audiences could easily read this, but for concerned parents know there is violence and rape by coercion. It is a book describing atrocities that occurred, but isn't any worse than is presented in the media today. I would suggest to those with young kids to read it first and then decide. It is a book I think parents should read anyway.


Beyond Exile (Day by Day Armageddon, Bk 2)
Beyond Exile (Day by Day Armageddon, Bk 2)
Author: J. L. Bourne
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 7/15/2010
Helpful Score: 2


If you like your zombies sweet, awkward in a dorky way with a little paranormal love going on, you will be very disappointed. If however, you love your zombies to be mean, hungry, disgusting with a lot of war like images then you will love this book. This book has a lot of military imagery and it has to do with the main character who is, in fact a military marine man. It is he who has helped the remaining people to survive and his mission is to find as many survivors as he can.

This book is written like a diary and at first did not really capture my attention. In fact, I thought it was a bit redundant even in the action scenes when he rescues a grandmother and grandson. When he goes on a mission to gather supplies with some military men he has found alive then helicopter goes down. This is where the book really starts to shine. Surviving day by day, each day a new horror awaits. Eventually he almost comes to his demise if it wasn't for one man who had been shadowing him for a few days. They were both wary of each other with good cause until they could see they were the only two humans left in the area. A quick bond was formed and I loved that his new comrade was an old enemy. One who had become a terrorist, but upon seeing true terror could not see any use in deeming anyone left an enemy.

The book was a visual journey into survival and it looks like it is open to yet another book. This one was book 2 in this series and I had not read book 1. I didn't need to read it to really get into this book, but it made me curious as to what horrors were explored in the first. Book one is Day by Day Armageddon and apparently has quite a following. I feel that the people who enjoyed the last book will enjoy this one as well.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. Like I said, if you like your zombies with lots of gore, you won't be disappointed. Just don't have a big meal before reading. :D


Bitter Frost
Bitter Frost
Author: Kailin Gow
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/8/2010


In Breena's world dreams and reality are mixed. In fact her dreams are so real that it haunts her until she can express it on canvas. Even though her best friend, Logan, is the hottest guy in school, her high school experience is not pleasant. Her dreams and her art is what gets her through the day. On her 16th birthday, things start changing. First she starts to see faeries around town and Logan gets very protective of her. When she sees Kian, the fae prince of her dreams, and is kidnapped into Faerie, she finds that sometimes dreams hold the key to reality.

The adventure continues in Faerie with Breena finding herself a huge political asset to those wanting to capture her. Not to mention other creatures just bent on destroying anything in their path. Breena grows up quickly and finds strength within herself that she never knew she had. Unfortunately, as this story reaches a pinnacle, it suddenly stops. It's more than a cliffhanger... you sort of fall off the cliff. However, it does make it so you really want to find out what happens in the next book, due to be published in September 2010. I for one, will have to read this one to find out what happens next. :)

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I do recommend it for those looking for an interesting YA faerie read!


Black Magic
Black Magic
Author: Cherry Adair
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 104
Review Date: 7/30/2010
Helpful Score: 4


If you pick up this book and notice that several books also refer this to T-Flac #17 and are worried that you haven't read a single book in this series, don't worry. This book stands completely on it's own as a fast paced, paranormal romance book. In fact, I had not read any books in this series and did not feel as though I was missing a thing.

In this book it has a mixture of good and bad points. Our main characters know each other and had already fallen in and out of love with each other. There was a huge falling out and we are quite honestly left hanging to find out what the problem was for half the book. That was quite frustrating and when we do find out, you can then understand how it came between the couple. Also, this book is quite predictable, but even though you know the answers before Sara and Jack, you don't know how it is going to play out. That part in the mystery as well as a lot of the hot scenes keeps you reading this story.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to those who are wanting to read something in the paranormal romance genre. In fact, now I'm more curious as to what happens in this series by Cherry Adair.


The Blessings of the Animals
The Blessings of the Animals
Author: Katrina Kittle
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 8/26/2010
Helpful Score: 4


Of course, as the title suggests, the animals play an important role through her hero journey. The animals in the story are really made 3 dimensional and of course, play a pivotal role in Cami's story. You end up really love these highly visual animal characters in this story and there is at least one tear jerking scene (but it isn't about death, to relax those like me who hate those stories).

Not only is this story about Cami's journey through divorce and how she is saved by her animals and friends, but it is a comment on marriage and love in general. It comments on those, like Cami, who learn that marriage is hard work and can be worth that work. It's also about those that want to be married just for the sake of marriage. This is not only on the part of the woman, but the man as well. There is even a bit about arranged marriage. Plus, there is also a big commentary on gay marriage and adoption. All of this seems like a lot to put in a book, but the way it was done it fits well because it follows Cami's discoveries of those issues.

My only complaint is about her boyfriends. They are wonderful characters until she dates them. Then, they start to become one-dimensional caricatures of themselves. For example, I didn't believe that Vijay, her childhood best friend, was such an insightful person and true friend only to become a totally blind and selfish boyfriend so quickly and throughly. Vijay was my biggest disappointment.

I give this book 4 stars and I do recommend this book. I'm also glad that this book is based on animals that she knew in real life.


Blood Oath (Nathaniel Cade, Bk 1)
Blood Oath (Nathaniel Cade, Bk 1)
Author: Christopher Farnsworth
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 40
Review Date: 4/25/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I had a lot of fun with "Blood Oath". The author, Christopher Farnsworth is a scriptwriter and I think it shows in his book. The book reads like you are at a movie. In this book, Zach, the whiny overprivileged staffer reassigned after a indiscretion with the president's daughter meets the mother of all predators, the vampire, Cade. However, instead of being annoyed by Zach, he quickly proves his worth and become likable. We also get to find out how Cade becomes a vampire and how he earns his blood oath. This makes it a great rounded out book with no annoying blanks of critical information. There is also no information overload with this book, so it becomes quite entertaining.

There is more than one bad guy in this book and the stories meld into an exciting end with zombies on the attack! The book is a stand alone but the ending does leave room for the sequel. I, for one, would love to continue the adventures of Cade, the president's vampire. I gave this book 5 entertaining stars. Don't forget the popcorn when reading this book.


Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Bk 1)
Blood Red Road (Dustlands, Bk 1)
Author: Moira Young
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 6/18/2011


This book is written in a long narrative style from Saba's POV. So, I admit, it took me a minute to get used to it. I honestly didn't think I'd like it and that I would get drawn out of the story. This was not the case. In fact, I easily and quickly got absorbed into the strange dystopian world where Saba resides.

The book starts out innocently enough with the family, barely surviving encounters several men on horseback. They kill their eccentric father and wound Saba while they steal her twin Lugh. There is something about their birthday and the fact he is a male that makes him valuable. All Saba knows is that she promises Lugh she would come and get him and she never goes back on her word.

If you are looking for a sedate book, then look elsewhere. This book is anything but sedate. It is almost non-stop action from the time Lugh is taken. In fact, it is hard to put down this book because you want to find out what happens next. Besides the great secondary characters in this book like the amazonian like Free Hawks, you have the characters of Nero and Hermes. Nero is Saba's crow who has a full personality of his own. Hermes is her horse who is a hero in his own right. So, those that love animals will also love this story. Oh I so loved these characters! Just reading about Nero is worth the price of admission for this book.

I give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed it. It might take you a second to get used to the long narrative, I promise, it doesn't take long. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good dystopian book and a strong female character. Also, if you tend to shy away from YA, don't let the label take you away from this book. Adults will like it as well.


Blood Rights (House of Comarre, Bk 1)
Blood Rights (House of Comarre, Bk 1)
Author: Kristen Painter
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 52
Review Date: 9/30/2011
Helpful Score: 3


I really enjoyed the world created within this story. The vampires have different levels of power and being. They are part of the otherworld hidden from the humans. Noble vampires who belong to the most notorious "houses" and are connected to human's bloody history. They are also the kind of vampire that Chrysabelle is most familar. She is a comarré who has powerful blood which feeds only those that can pay for her service. She is a blood servant and her physiology has been changed to be a powerful donor. The world she lives has lots of rules where the nobel vampires are her better and the better of all humans.

This world holds a lot of information and lore that can easily become too complex. Luckily, I really didn't have a problem figuring out how things worked, but I do admit it took me a moment to figure out who was who. By the time she meets Mal (Malkolm) on his territory, I had most of it worked out and then relaxed and enjoyed the ride of the story. This is where it really started to get interesting. In fact I thought from that point it might go the way of a total PNR, but the twists and turns in this book didn't make it so. In fact, the twists kept me guessing as to which way the story would end.

I also loved the secondary characters. Even though we only really get a glimpse of who they are and why they are involved, you find yourself wanting to learn even more about them. You become excited for the next novel since you know (and hope) that they will be there to continue the adventure with Chrysabelle.

Ah but what else can I say without spoiling anything? That is what makes this a hard review to write. There is so much complexity within this book that to say one thing might spoil another. Yet, in the complexity there is order so you don't get lost. There are important aspects within like loyalty, personal rights, honor, love, and finding yourself. All these aspects are there but yet none are solved for our characters as to what it means personally to them nor if they achieved it within. Ah, but there I go, almost saying too much.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. This book leans hard toward fantasy but and there is a possible romance in the future. There is no cliffie, but yet things unsolved that makes you crave the next book which luckily isn't too far away.


Butterfly's Child: A Novel
Butterfly's Child: A Novel
Author: Angela Davis-Gardner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 4/9/2011


I thought it was interesting and a bit eerie that this book came in the mail the same day that the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan. Although I was already curious about the book since it is the continuation of Madame Butterfly (which I admit, I've never seen), I think the timing made it more interesting. Especially since it would be at a time when there was not so much earthly destruction. Therefore, I admit the recent events may have colored my reading of this story.

You do not have to have read or seen Madame Butterfly to read this book. The author supplies a brief synopsis of the opera so you are completely caught up in Benji's story from the beginning. And although it is mostly Benji's story, there is a change of POV in the book where you also get an insight into Mr. and Mrs. Pinkerton as well as some of the other minor players in this story. I should say that the changing POV is not smooth, but I feel it was necessary. That way the Pinkertons did not become one-dimensional villains in the story.

Benji is a sweet little boy. Witnessing his mother's suicide and then taken to a strange land with people he never met before. He knows that Mr. Pinkerton is his papa, but the man and the woman refuses to acknowledge this fact. While growing up, Benji is stripped of his Japanese heritage. As he grows he becomes more obsessed with keeping what little he remembers about Japan in an effort to cling to something of his mother. His parents, the Pinkertons, were not totally sympathetic to Benji's plight yet they are not totally ignorant of it either. However, they seem more interested in their selves and what others would think. This is what fosters their victim mentality. The author does not make the Pinkertons total monsters; within their POV, you see people who are doing the best that they know how and do honestly care for Benji's well being. They just can't seem to get past wanting to be the victim in this little play. This interferes with Benji's upbringing as well as their own satisfaction with life.

Benji's life is not completely horrid, he does find several people willing to go out of their way to help him. In fact, he is quite lucky in this respect. He finds a bit of hardship on his road back to Japan, but really, it was very minor for someone of mixed race, especially in the late 1800s/ early 1900s. By the end Benji has made a new life for himself and there is a huge twist even I did not see coming (now you know I'm not going to tell what that was... *evil laugh).

I give this story 4 stars. My biggest criticism is that the cultural corrections to the opera by the author were made at the end of the book all at once and I would have loved to see it more interspersed within the story much earlier. Perhaps in the "second act" when Benji was learning about the Japanese culture. That way the ending wouldn't have seemed as rushed as it appeared to me. However, I did enjoy this unique tale and found it to be an interesting journey.


Cinder and Ella
Cinder and Ella
Author: Melissa Lemon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/18/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This is, of course, the retelling of Cinderella in an unusual way. In fact, Cinderella is actually two sisters who look alike. Also, unlike the faerie tale we are used to reading, the other two sisters are spoiled, but are not step sisters. There were two loving parents in the home until one night when an evil prince comes to whisper falsehoods into the ears of the parents. The lies capture the attention to the father who disappears soon after. The family does not know if he is alive or dead and their home life follows the fathers self-destruction.

As the children grow, the mother becomes increasingly self-involved and throws herself into her work to escape her own emotions. Cinder finds work outside the home and Ella escapes because she finds she has become invisible to the household. In fact, both sisters become one in the minds of the family and so they are called Cinderella. Ella finds a family who loves and nurtures each other and she learns quite a bit from their love. As she settles into her new life, the prince schemes to get back Ella to his kingdom. However, no one knows why or what he has planned for Ella.

I have seen this book touted for the YA crowd, but honestly, I think it is so much better suited for the middle age group. It is also perfect for those kids who suddenly find themselves in a broken home or with parents who are completely self-centered in one way or another. It shows that no matter who is betraying you or who cannot see the real you, it still can be okay. In fact, you can become your own advocate and find others that can and will support you when things go bad. An important lesson for young kids finding themselves in the middle of some sort of family disturbance.

I give this book 3 stars! My only complaint was the King and how he acted. It didn't quite make sense to me, but truly, he was not the focus of the story. Nor should he overpower the strength of Ella. I'm glad that didn't happen. I highly recommend this book to MG kids especially those in a chaotic setting.


A Circle of Souls
A Circle of Souls
Author: Preetham Grandhi
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 9/8/2009


A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandi is a murder mystery thriller with a slight paranormal twist. Amazon's quick summation is as follows:"The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. With the murderer on the loose, the police desperately look for any clues to lead to his identy. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist in a nearby hospital is also in a desperate search to find the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings s devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya's parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope. When these two situations converge, they set off an alarming chain of events. In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder."

I got this book from the author as an ARC. It is my first and I was very intrigued to read it. I had worked in a hospital for children with psychological problems and wanted to see his take on it. The author didn't disappoint and was very accurate in his description in that area. The story on the whole draws you into the mystery even though you are a "witness" to the initial crime which starts the story. Within the book, you are reading several points of view, but because of the layout of the chapters, you never get lost. The paranormal aspect begins with Naya's dreams and the main character, Peter, who is determined to figure out exactly what those dreams mean.

My main complaints with the book are perhaps minor and really doesn't take away from the story as a whole. First, he does not cuss. Now this isn't anything bad, but it is an adult novel and kids in a situation in a locked-down facility do and will cuss. If told from Naya's perspective, it wouldn't have bothered me, but it continued with Peter and the others as well. I wondered if the author had a problem with cussing.

Another problem I had was with the philosophy of fatalism. It was explained too simplistically. Even within the concept of fatalism there is an aspect of free will. No matter how contradictory that sounds, the aspect is there. Usually it is explained not as an something that you will do without choice, but if you go against fatalism, your life will not be as fulfilling and happy as it would have been otherwise.

I also felt the ending was a bit abrupt. I will not say more as it could ruin the ending, but I would have like a bit more of it drawn out. Not by much, but a little. Even with this criticism I will say the ending was interesting and sets things up for a possible second book. One that should also prove to be a good read.

On the whole, however, I would say that this book is good. It holds you interest well and keeps you trying to figure out exactly how and why until those mysteries are revealed. One that gets the wheels turning in your head and satisfies you with a ending that makes you want more.


Cloaked
Cloaked
Author: Alex Flinn
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 4/9/2011


Cloaked is a mish-mash of old fairy tales, modernized. It mostly revolves around Johnny who despite his own hard work, does not think that anything in his life will change. He is used to keeping his head down and working hard to help his mother out with the family business, shoe repair. He meets a beautiful princess who choses him to go on an unlikely quest to find her brother who is the frog prince. Within the quest he finds 6 sibling swans, a fox, giants, magical objects, and even good and bad witches. What was great is throughout the adventure what was really happening was the adventure of growing up. Johnny was learning to follow through with his promises and how to stand on his own two feet. Luckily he also learns who he truly loves and what it is worth.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. It is a fun and delightful book and really is for the younger YA crowd or even MG audiences. I think they will appreciate it more than the older YA crowd.


Dante's Journey
Dante's Journey
Author: JC Marino
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 7/20/2010


Dante's Journey is based on Dante's Inferno from the Divine Comedy if you haven't guessed by the name. It's an updated version which takes you through a sci-fi version of hell. One with demons who are simultaneously trapped themselves while they run hell and keep the souls in their punishments. Joe is lead by Virgil as in the original version, but there is a twist. Joe doesn't immediately trust him or anyone else at that time. We also don't know Virgil's true reason for ushering Joe through hell or who exactly Virgil is in this story. Joe, unlike the character in the Inferno, is dead. Unfortunately, Joe can't even imagine that he is dead and only has one goal and thought, to find Argenti, the man who killed his family. This singular thought keeps him on his journey through the levels of hell. As Joe travels through hell, he is transformed through truth, memories and running for his soul. This journey helps him find what is really important to him.

This was a fast and interesting read. Although it has been a long time since I read the Inferno, I enjoyed comparing what I remembered with the updated twists and turns of Marino's version. I also enjoyed the ride through hell in itself. The punishments are those of the damned's own making instead of being sentenced by an all knowing power. So, the irony of the punishments were interesting on it's own. My only criticism of this book is also something I appreciated as well. The author made hell more of a place where anyone no matter what their beliefs or religion could go. It wasn't because they were of a different religion, but because they sinned against their own beliefs and religion. So, I was glad to see that they weren't punished just because they believed differently, and I appreciated that a lot. However, since this was based on more of a Catholic book and the main character was Catholic, I think it would have been better to keep it within the Christian and Catholic realm. One reason is because not all religions believe in hell and the symbolisms could stay consistent for the main character since it was his own journey through hell we were following.

I give this book 4 stars. I think this is a great book for discussion. I think it is an interesting concept that hell is one of our own making. I think it could really springboard some interesting discussion from many points of view.


Dark Descendant (Descendant, Bk 1)
Dark Descendant (Descendant, Bk 1)
Author: Jenna Black
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 58
Review Date: 5/26/2011


I really enjoyed this book. It is mostly a UF book and since this is the first in the series, those looking for a PNR will be disappointed. However, I'm sure that is coming later in the series. Those looking for action, then you will not be disappointed. I really enjoyed Nikki's character. Even though she has had a hard life from childhood, she did find love and stability when she was adopted at age 11. Because of her early experiences, she still has a hard time trusting people, but has a good heart. She turned PI and refuses the family money. While on a job she is set up and finds herself confused, hurt and immortal. Now she has to figure out who is trustworthy and who is playing dangerous games.

There were times I yelled at this book. I didn't like the way the "good guys" treated her and I felt that her loyalty was still too easily given. I wanted to see them work at it a little harder. However, there were aspects of this book I throughly enjoyed. One was Blake a descendant of Eros. When we are introduced to him we find out how using sex as a weapon is not a statement reserved wholly to women. In fact, it gave a good description as to how rape is a violent act and not one of mere sex. To anyone who cannot wrap their brains around that (which seems prevalent within the legal community) I feel that they should be required to read that part and then see if they feel the same when next meeting a victim of that particular crime. Okay, politics and societal concerns aside, the gods are anything but benign and need a short leash unless they become arrogant and dangerous players in our world.

I give this novel 4 stars. I think it is a great start to a new UF series and I can't wait for the next installment.


The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, Bk 2)
The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, Bk 2)
Author: Kelly Gay
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 9/2/2010
Helpful Score: 2


I have to say that I really enjoyed the second installment of Charlie Madigan's story. Not only does the cover rock but so does the action. The first book, The Better Part of Darkness we were first introduced to Charlie, her family and friends as well as her enemies. These characters are back in non-stop action which doesn't let up until the last few pages of the book. Plus, what is great is that it does open things up for another book in this series without leaving you with a cliffhanger. Oh, and I so do want to read more in this series.

What I also liked is that we get to know a bit more about her yummy Siren partner, Hank. Just with them exploring their relationship as friends and surprisingly and hopefully more (okay, I'm hoping for more) you find times of humor and a little bit of sexy tension. Their relationship can only get more complicated and more interesting as the series goes on.

I also HAVE to mention the hellhound, Brimstone. Since I'm someone who clearly loves large dogs I couldn't help rooting for the sweet slobbery dangerous hellhound we found at the end of the first book. He reminds me of a misunderstood pit bull. Loveable and loyal to the family, but protective until the end.

I give this book 5 stars. You will be on a fast and dark ride from page one until the end. Can't wait for the next installment.


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