It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (2)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme run by Sheila at Book Journey, where we share the books we read and/or reviewed last week and what’s on deck for this week. Now Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts have started an offshoot for kidlit fans: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA. I just had to check it out!

Last week:

  • I finished Jodi Meadows’ Incarnate. I hate to admit it, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me.
  • I started, and abandoned, Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good book. I just don’t have time to read such a long book right now.
  • I started Kate Klimo’s Daughter of the Centaurs. I’m not loving it.

Plans for this week:

  • Read Hounded by Kevin Hearne.

    Atticus Oâ??Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years oldâ??when in actuality, heâ??s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

  • Start Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

    In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

Yes, these are the same as last week. I didn’t have as much time to read as I thought! I did start Hounded today, and so far it’s amazing.

Mini-Reviews: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries

Book: What Angels Fear
Author: C. S. Harris
Publisher: New American Library
Release date: November 1, 2005
Source: Borrowed from library
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) In London, 1811, a young woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left on the altar steps of an ancient church. The prime suspect: Sebastian St. Cyr, a brilliant young nobleman still haunted by his experiences in the Napoleonic Wars. Now he is running for his life, desperate to catch the killer and prove his innocence. Moving from Mayfair’s glittering ballrooms to St. Giles’s fetid back alleys, Sebastian is assisted by a band of unlikely allies and pursued by a Machiavellian powerbroker with ties to the Prince Regent himself. What Angels Fear seamlessly weaves an intimate knowledge of the period with a multi-layered and compelling story, and is the first of a series of novels featuring these characters.

Overall impressions: This is a terrific historical mystery with political intrigue and a dose of humor. Though its reliance on the historical setting led to a glacial pace, I appreciated the rich detail that completely transported me. If you like Regency London and an interesting murder mystery, this is your book.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has a lonely and somewhat depressing life. He is the third and only living son of the Earl of Hendon, and as a young boy was devastated at the death of his mother and the realization that his father was disappointed that he is to be the sole heir. He also had the misfortune to fall in love with an actress, who broke his heart to prevent him from being disinherited. After running off to join the war against France, he returns a much changed man.

When he is framed for murder, Devlin is determined to find the real killer, not only to save his own hide but to correct the grave injustice suffered by the young victim. Devlin has a condition that provides him with extraordinary eyesight and hearing, which serve him well as he struggles to stay alive in his quest to track down a murderer. Full of twists and turns, gorgeous historical details, and vibrant characters, this is a gem of a book for historical mystery fans.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system


Book: When Gods Die
Author: C. S. Harris
Publisher: New American Library
Release date: November 7, 2007
Source: Borrowed from library
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #2

Summary: (from Goodreads) Brighton, England, 1811. The beautiful wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent. Draped around her neck lies an ancient necklace with mythic origins-and mysterious ties to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Haunted by his past, Sebastian investigates both the Marchioness’s death and his own possible connection to it-and discovers a complex pattern of lies and subterfuge. With the aid of his lover, Kat Boleyn, and a former street urchin now under his protection, Sebastian edges closer to the killer. And when one murder follows another, he confronts a conspiracy that threatens his own identity…and imperils the monarchy itself.

Overall impressions: Viscount Devlin is once again investigating the murder of a young woman in this second installment in the series. Having proved his outstanding potential as a detective in the first book, he is personally solicited to help in a touchy case of a murdered aristocrat found half-dressed in the Prince Regent’s chamber during a party. The deeper he digs, the more things point to unrest, rebellion, and a possible overthrow of the monarchy.

This one was not nearly as intriguing as the first entry. Devlin is not as personally invested since his own life is not on the line, so it lacked the same urgency. The case is interesting, but revolved heavily around politics of the time, and as someone not as familiar with Regency England’s political history, I felt like I was missing things at times.

I appreciated seeing my favorite characters back again – the Irish doctor performing autopsies, the actress and lover Kat Boleyn, and the adorably sweet street kid-turned-servant Tom. The setting and characters are so fully realized that I felt like I was stepping back in time. For these reasons, I will likely continue in the series, but hope that the future plots remain as interesting as the first one.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: December 27, 2011
Source: Received via NetGalley for review

Summary: (from Goodreads) Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . . She’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive . . . and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

First impressions: We open on Kali hunting hellhounds, in an alternate history where Darwin discovered supernatural creatures and the modern day public is aware of their existence as a result. That premise alone hooked me from the start, aided by Kali’s sparkling personality and exciting action.

Lasting impressions: This was a terrific idea executed well, but also aggravatingly confusing.

Conflicting impressions: Nothing is spelled out for you here. The world’s history is never fully explained and the rules aren’t articulated, which often leaves the reader in the dark.

Overall impressions: Kali is one heck of a cool protagonist. Every other day she transforms from an ordinary human into a super powered demon hunting machine. She tracks and kills all different varieties of other worldly creatures, and does so fearlessly as she can’t feel pain and her body rapidly repairs itself. At dawn, she makes the switch back to human for the next 24 hours. And so on and so forth.

The story quickly kicks into high gear when Kali notices a classmate has been infected with a blood-sucking chupacabra. Her life is ruled by an instinct to protect humanity, and guessing that come morning when she transforms to her killer self she can annihilate the beast, she convinces Bethany to let her absorb the chupacabra instead. The plan doesn’t quite pan out the way she thought, and Kali, Bethany, and new friend Skyler are pulled into a fight for their lives when it turns out the chupacabra was placed as part of an experiment.

The action is fast paced, so much so that at times I wasn’t quite sure I was keeping up with the story. Kali gets enmeshed in the shadowy dealings of the corporation researching the chupacabra, which has ties to her dad and Bethany’s dad. The more she learns about what’s going on, the more questions are raised, until things rocket along to the final battle and what seemed like 100 new pieces of information were thrown at us in just a few pages. The whole thing really made my head spin.

An exciting and unique tale, to be sure, but due to my confusion it’s not likely to be one I’ll remember in the long run.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (1)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme run by Sheila at Book Journey, where we share the books we read and/or reviewed last week and what’s on deck for this week. Now Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts have started an offshoot for kidlit fans: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA. I just had to check it out!

Last week:

  • I finally finished the second book in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series, When Gods Die. I was only able to read in brief spurts, late at night, and the heavy details in this historical novel made it tough to keep my eyes open.
  • I finished my first NetGalley book of the year, Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
  • I started Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.
  • I absolutely devoured Ann Aguirre’s Enclave. I read it in two sittings this weekend.

Plans for this week:

  • Read Hounded by Kevin Hearne.

    Atticus Oâ??Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years oldâ??when in actuality, heâ??s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

  • Finish Incarnate.

    Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone elseâ??s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

  • Start Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

    In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

I’ll get some good alone time this weekend to read, so I’m hoping to make up some ground on my reading. It’s been a slow start in 2012, and some of these are library books due back at the end of the month. Read, Logan, read!

2012 Finishing the Series Challenge

Challenge Basics:

Name: 2012 Finishing the Series Challenge
Hosts: Socrates’ Book Reviews

Starts: January 1, 2012
Ends: December 31, 2012
Eligible Books: Any books read and reviewed in 2012 that are part of a series you’re trying to complete.
Levels: Three. I’m choosing Level 3: 3 or more series.
Prizes? None.
Sign up here!

Why I’m Interested:

Since it looks like the YA Series Challenge isn’t happening, I wanted a challenge to help me keep track of series I read. Plus, since I started so many series last year, it’ll feel good to catch up on some of my old favorites.

Some books I’m considering:

An Echo in the Bone
Goliath
River Marked
City of Fallen Angels

Books completed:

Check my progress all year on the sidebar or on my 2012 Challenge Index.

2012 First in the Series Challenge

**I’ve swiped Small Review‘s format for these sign-up posts, because she is awesome and organized and I am lazy and harried**

Challenge Basics:

Name: 2012 First in a Series Challenge
Hosts: A Few More Pages

Starts: January 1, 2012
Ends: December 31, 2012
Eligible Books: Any books read and reviewed in 2012 that are the start of a series.
Levels: Four. I’m choosing the Series Expert level: 12 series.
Prizes? None.
Sign up here!

Why I’m Interested:

During the course of last year, I started quite a few new series. Since there are always new series coming out in YA fiction, and I still have a few I’d like to start, this challenge seemed appropriate.

Some books I’m considering:

Halfway to the Grave
Divergent
The Ivy
Personal Demons

Books completed:

Check my progress all year on the sidebar or on my 2012 Challenge Index.

Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Book: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit
Release date: October 1, 2009
Source: Bought ebook from Amazon
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1

Summary from Goodreads: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampireâ??and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

First impressions: One of the first things I loved about this book was Alexia’s voice. She’s a stickler for etiquette, and her commentary on the manners of others, even in the most ridiculous of circumstances, is hilarious.

Lasting impressions: What a refreshing take on the paranormal and steampunk genres! I loved the mash-up of steam and clockwork technology with werewolves and vampires in Victorian society.

Conflicting impressions: The first third of the book moved pretty slowly. It wasn’t until the last third that I got truly hooked on the story.

Overall impressions: I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time, and I’m happy that I finally did. Although this is a steampunk novel, it’s really more along the lines of “steampunk light.” I think if I had read this a few years ago, when it first popped up on my radar, I would have had a much different idea of what constituted steampunk. There are some elements of steampunk to the story, but it’s not nearly as integral to the story as, say, Leviathan. I definitely recommend this one for folks looking to ease in to the steampunk genre.

The paranormal elements are what make this book really shine. In Alexia’s world, vampires and werewolves are a part of society, even if they still inspire some trepidation and fear. They pose no threat to Alexia, however, as she has no soul. As a preternatural, her touch returns supernatural beings to their human state – vampires lose their fangs, werewolves shift back. Alexia’s abilities are known to select members of society, but she works to keep it away from friends and family.

Alexia is strong, stubborn, willful, and of course, proper. Yet her Italian heritage, abrasive (for the time) personality, and advancing age (I think she’s 27) have resigned her to life as a spinster. If I have one complaint about the book, it’s the incessant beating to the head we take on these three facets of Alexia’s life. On almost every page, and certainly in every scene, we are reminded that Alexia is old, Italian, and not suitable as a mate. She constantly refers to herself as a spinster. Later in the book there are hints that this has been drilled into her by her family, but through most of the story it is simply presented as fact so I never felt bad for her. Since these descriptors didn’t serve to elicit empathy, they just became annoying.

Lord Maccon is the best sort of love interest. He’s a dashing alpha male who still respects and appreciates Alexia. He can be condescending and brusque, but all in good fun as he matches wits with the equally snappish Alexia. The verbal sparring between these two is lots of fun to witness, and were some of my favorite parts of the book.

The mystery and plot were not nearly as exciting as the characters and world, so the story seemed to drag at points. Still, the ending sets up a new chapter in Alexia’s life that holds lots of promise and I’m eager to start the next book.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme devoted to sharing the new books we’ve received, borrowed, or bought. For more information, visit IMM’s fantastic host, The Story Siren. You can visit other blogs that are participating in this weekâ??s IMM here.

I haven’t done an IMM in months, but I recently grabbed some goodies through sales, trades, and the library. Here’s the haul from the New Year:

Bought on sale:

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Tahereh Mafi tweeted a 50% off coupon for teen books through Barnes & Noble’s website. How could I resist? I picked up some books I’d considered reading, but never got around to because I didn’t want to pony up full price. Looking forward to these!

Received from trade with Ruby’s Reads:

Vesper by Jeff Sampson
The Jewel and the Key by Louise Spiegler
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
The Native Star by M. K. Hobson
Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne
Under Attack by Hannah Jayne
Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Ruby is moving, and therefore trying to unload some books. This is a genius plan, and surely one I will copy when the time comes for a move of my own. I scored this shoebox full of books for the price of three hardcover pre-orders. Some of these I’ve read but didn’t own copies, and some I hadn’t even heard of but sounded cool. Full of win! Thanks Ruby!

Borrowed from the library:

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward
When Gods Die by C. S. Harris
History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Hounded by Kevin Hearne

This was part of a set I checked out during my end of the year break, but still haven’t managed to finish a single one. I always get overly ambitious at the library, but thank goodness for online renewals, amirite? I covered almost all of my bases, too – fantasy, romance, historical mystery, nonfiction, YA dystopian, steampunk, and YA urban fantasy/paranormal. Eclectic, much?

That’s it for now. What books did you get recently?

2012 Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge

**I’ve swiped Small Review‘s format for these sign-up posts, because she is awesome and organized and I am lazy and harried**

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Challenge Basics:

Name: 2012 Dusty Volumes Reading Challenge
Hosts: Midnyte Reader

Starts: January 1, 2012
Ends: December 31, 2012
Eligible Books: Any books read and reviewed in 2012 that have a publishing date before 1960.
Levels: None. Set your own number.
Prizes? None.
Sign up here!

Why I’m Interested:

There are a lot of classics that I still haven’t read, and this gives me a good excuse to read them.

Some books I’m considering:

Gone with the Wind
Pride & Prejudice
Brave New World
Wuthering Heights

Books completed:

Check my progress all year on the sidebar or on my 2012 Challenge Index.