Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2)Book Details:
One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2)
By Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2008, HarperCollins Publishers
Paperback, 357 pages
ISBN: 9780061245091

          You can run from the grave, but you can't hide . . .
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.
Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won't let her get away again.
I love that Cat Crawfield works for the government with a "Special Forces" team, instead of the usual rogue behavior that I read in many Urban Fantasy series. It's interesting that it takes Bones this long to find Cat, and by a seeming coincidence at that. It occurred to me while reading that if Bones really was as good at what he does as he says he is, then he would have found her within the first year easily.
Skipping ahead to the best part about this series, in my personal opinion, is the sexual chemistry between Cat and Bones. I confess, my curiosity about chapter 32 of this book, after reading a book review that made vague hints about it, is what propelled me to start this series. I actually read that chapter first once I got my hands on this book to satisfy my curiosity, and words can not describe how hot this chapter is! So often, I find that sex scenes in novels abuse cliches or do not use the details adequately for my personal tastes, but this chapter throws conventional decorum out the window without disgusting me or making me too uncomfortable to read. Plus, the more fantastical aspects of the two characters made for some unique and handy details that Jeaniene Frost used quite well to create such heat between Cat and Bones. Yes, I read that chapter several more times before I turned the book back into the library.
Cat Crawfield has really grown into a character of strength and determination from the first book, Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1). She knows how to use her abilities to their maximum potential and her self-confidence is strong enough to stand up to even her mother. No longer is she like a pupil to Bones' instruction, but an equal to him in every way that matters. Bones is just as cocky and alluring as he ever was - I wouldn't change a thing about him. It is obvious that he has more than a few secrets up his sleeve, but I don't mind the wait.
I find it intriguing how Cat can alter perceptions and prejudices of the people around her as easily as she does, as is shown with the men on her team. This shows just how much potential she carries to change her world on a larger scale. I can't wait to pick up the next book in the series, At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3).

The Cover: A wonderfully dark cover that accentuates the cool factor of the main character, Cat. I would not mind seeing Bones on one of these covers, though.

First Line: "I waited outside the large, four-story home in Manhasset that was owned by a Mr. Liam Flannery."
While this is a nice introduction to the plot, nothing about this sentence is compelling or alluring, and even the character named seems insignificant.

Favorite Quote: "Shit. I hated her already, and we hadn’t even met."

Read For: 101 Fantasy Challenge

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Savage Nature by Christine Feehan

Savage Nature (Leopard)Book Details:
Savage Nature (Leopard)
By Christine Feehan
Genre: Fantasy
Published May 2011, Penguin
Paperback, 367 pages
ISBN: 9780515149333

          Danger lurks in the shadows and desire shimmers in the sultry heat as leopard shifter Drake Donovan is sent to a Louisiana bayou to investigate a murder. He's ready for anything except the insatiable hunger that rocks him when he meets Saria Boudreaux, a woman with a compelling motive-and ability-to distract him from the task at hand...
I have only read the short story that fits into the Leopard People series, so I am sure there is much that I am missing about this series. I wanted to read this book mostly because of the Louisiana bayou setting, my home state. Even though I spent most of my life in Louisiana, I did not spend much time at all in the bayou, so this was as much a nostalgic experience as an education for me. I found Christine Feehan's descriptions and uses of the setting to be very well written and quite engrossing, as this actually kept me involved enough in the book to keep reading, over the actual plot.
Much like when I read the short story in Fantasy by Christine Feehan, I found the plot to be overly dramatic and forced. Every scene, every interaction was told with such extreme emotion that I had to wonder if these characters ever had a chance to relax. The melodrama felt like something out of a t.v. soap opera with no natural flow to the time line.
I did like a few of the characters, such as Saria and the woman who ran the inn. Many of the characterizations matched the typical stereotypes of the Cajun people who reside in the backwaters of Louisiana. The dialogue hinted at the Cajun accent without muddling the vocabulary so much that I would have difficulty reading it.
While I loved Christine Feehan's use of Louisiana culture in Savage Nature (Leopard), I do not think I will be continuing to read any more of the Leopard People series.

The Cover: This cover was more like cover plus first page, but I did not might since the man and woman pictured both matched the descriptions in the book. The nature scenes in the background also matched what I know a Louisiana swamp to look like, so I liked it.

First Line"The swamp had four distinct seasons and within each she had moods as well."
While this opening gives me an appropriate idea of the setting of the novel, there is nothing to really entice me to continue reading.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation Time!

I will be going on my annual camping vacation with my family for the next week or so, and as I have been neglecting my blog in favor of just old-fashioned reading, there will not be any scheduled posts going up while I am gone. Never fear, I will have lots of lovely book reviews for your perusal when I return, as well as maybe an interesting story of two from vacation to share!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Summers at Castle Auburn
          "Did someone want her?"
"Oh, yes. Your uncle Jaxon had a dozen offers. But Andrew convinced him that she needed time."
"How much time?"
Cressida shook another handful of crystals into the water and appeared to watch them dissolve. "Longer than Jaxon think," she said on a sigh.
I felt my heart squeeze in protest. "Is she -- but she'll be -- I mean, in time, she'll be fine, won't she?"
Cressida turned her head to gaze at me, a weight of sorrow in her face. I felt centuries of despair in that gaze, eons of longing. "She has been torn from her family and her life and will be sold into slavery, " the aliora said in a low voice. "Imagine yourself in her place and answer your own question." - pgs. 176-177, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

What are you reading this week?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Google Way

Today, I got an invite from my book blogging friend, The Book Vixen, to the new public beta Google+. Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook, a social network that utilizes all of the other features accessible through Google. While it has some similarities to Facebook, such as the Stream operating like Facebook's News Feed, Google+ tackles the problem of friend's lists with its customizeable Circles. It also has unique features, such as an image editor, a group video chat called Hangouts, and a recommendation engine called Sparks.
I love all things Google, from using Google Chrome, to my Gmail account, to frequenting Google Images, so I am excited for the possibilities of Google+.
I also added a handy little button to the top right of each post so that you, my lovely readers, can recommend my blog posts to Google+, should you feel so inclined. The button works even if you are not a Google+ member, so no excuses! If you want to know how to add the button to your own blog, learn how here.

If you would like an invite to Google+ from me, comment here with your email, or shoot me an email to: hopester777 at gmail dot com.

Friday, July 8, 2011

More Clips of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Like millions of other adoring fans, I am chomping at the bit to see the last Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2." Of course, it does not help that my tiny town lacks the necessary movie theatre to avoid having to wait for it to hit DVD who-knows-when. So when I discover 8 brand new clips from the movie, I can't resist the torture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman

The Bronze and the Brimstone: The Verona Trilogy, Book 2Book Details:
The Bronze and the Brimstone: The Verona Trilogy, Book 2
By Lory S. Kaufman
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, Fiction Studio Books
Paperback, 334 pages
ISBN: 9781936558087

          What could go wrong in the 14th-century for three time-traveling teens? How about – EVERYTHING!
Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention of the rich and powerful.
But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.
Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.
Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone.
Do they have a future in this past?
This book is the sequel to The Lens and the Looker: Book #1 of the Verona Series (History Camp: the Verona Trilogy) and opens with the main character, Hansum, in a dream. This is actually rather confusing, as I don't realize he is dreaming until afterwards, and it seems like a poorly-timed ploy to re-introduce the reader to what has occurred so far in the series.
Early in the book, Hansum is separated from his friends, but not before he manages to marry Guillietta in secret. What bugs me about this is how Guillietta's father still treats him like a child, even though he is certainly entitled to be treated as an adult by this time. Hansum exhibits a certain level of maturity that few seem to recognize or respect. Once Hansum is moved to a private estate, his story exchanges with the rest of his friends in alternating sections.
The drama that occurs between Shamira and the artist is quite transparent to me. I am not sure if the author intended for the reader to discern the artist's true intentions so easily, but the artist's lack of talent combined with obvious lies and an obsessive interest in the lookers made it apparent what he was really about. I can only feel sorry for Shamira in her first foray into the realm of romance.
Hansum does well at creatively avoiding an engagement to Lady Beatrice, but I had to wonder how long he would be successful at this. With Hansum's almost constant protectiveness over the genie, Pan, I also wondered how long he would really be able to keep up the ruse.
With a greater focus on the technological advancements that Hansum is introducing, and less of a focus on the relationship-building of the first book in the series, this book was better written and a more enjoyable read for me. The author's evident strengths lie in his knowledge of the technology used in the series and the history of 14th-century Verona, so when those are brought to the forefront, the writing is quite intriguing. I still feel that the author is trying to do too much with this novel and trying to appeal to a too-large audience with everything from romance, history, suspense, political intrigue, and technology, to numerous science fiction themes, but it is better written than the first book in the series.

The Cover: Much like the first book in the series, I find the cover to be too busy, somewhat blurry, and the mysterious hand poking out of the bottom out of place.

First Line: "Why don't I feel any pain?"
This is an interesting way to start a book, and it sets my imagination whirling.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: The Doctor's Forever Family by Marie Ferrarella

The Doctor's Forever Family (Harlequin American Romance)Book Details:
The Doctor's Forever Family (Harlequin American Romance)
By Marie Ferrarella
Genre: Romance
Published 2011, Harlequin
Paperback, 219 pages
ISBN: 9780373753505

          Big-city radiologist Dan Davenport is ready to take New York by storm. But when an accident robs him of the most important person in his life, he decides to honor his brother by taking his place as the town physician in Forever, Texas—temporarily. He's never been fond of commitment, but when he meets a beautiful young mother struggling to get back on her feet, he reconsiders.
Tina Blayne can't afford to open her heart to another man, especially one itching to leave town at the first opportunity. Yet when she begins working at Dan's clinic, she realizes the doctor's got wounds of his own…wounds that require her special brand of healing.
I try to make a point of posting a review of everything I read, even cheesy Harlequin romances. Unfortunately, I do not have a whole lot to say about this one. The romance was sweet, and at times sexy, but it was predictable that the two main characters would end up together, since that is the focus of the book. My favorite character was actually the owner of the diner, simply because she seemed to be the one really running the town. I found the doctor to be melodramatic and behave at times as if he had a split personality, which was kind of a turn-off for me. I felt sorry for the baby, since he rarely seemed to see much of his mom at all, what with her passing him off to the baby-sitters so she could go fool around with the doctor. Tina could have planned the motherhood vs. dating aspects better by having Dan come to her place instead, and then Dan could have spent some time with the baby, too.

The Cover: The people in the photograph look like the main characters in the book, so it does apply - and that baby is adorable.

First Line: "So this is Forever."
A cheesy opening line for a cheesy name for a town.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canada and Its Authors

Since today is Canada Day, I decided to celebrate by highlighting some current Canadian authors and their work.

Beatrice and Virgil: A NovelYann Martel is best known for his book, Life of Pi, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. His newest work is Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel, which features a donkey and a howler monkey. 

The Year of the FloodMargaret Atwood has published numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, including 15 books of poetry. She has also been awarded more than 55 awards. I am most familiar with her speculative fiction book, The Handmaid's Tale (Everyman's Library), and her most recent work is The Year of the Flood, a dystopian masterpiece.

WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy)Robert J. Sawyer is a science fiction author with over 40 awards to his name and 20 novels in publication. He has also had a hand in producing several t.v. series, including the recent "FlashForward", based on his novel Flashforward. His most recent work is the WWW trilogy: WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy)WWW: Watch (WWW Trilogy), and WWW: Wonder, about a blind girl outfitted with an implant that connects her to a consciousness that exists only in cyberspace. 

Under HeavenGuy Gavriel Kay is a fantasy fiction author who was lucky enough to assist Christopher Tolkien in editing J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion in 1974. He has won several awards for his work, as well as nominations. His most recent work is Under Heaven, a novel based on the 8th century Tang Dynasty and the events leading up to the An Shi Rebellion. 

The Painted BoyCharles de Lint is a fantasy author who is credited as being one of a few authors to popularize the genres of urban fantasy and mythic fiction, as well as magical realism in mainstream fiction. He has received 13 nominations to date for his work and has an extensive list of titles to his name. I have only read one of his books, The Onion Girl, but I hope to change that. One of his newest releases is The Painted Boy about a boy that shape-shifts into a dragon. 

House Name: The House War: Book Three (House wars)Michelle Sagara is a Japanese-Canadian fantasy fiction author who also happens to work at a bookstore. She has several book series to her name, including the Chronicles of Elantra series, of which I have read the novella Cast in Moonlight, which is found in the anthology Harvest Moon. Her most recent work is House Name: The House War: Book Three (House wars), published under her psuedonym Michelle West. 

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)Kelley Armstrong has numerous fantasy novels and two crime novels published to her name. She is most famous for her Women of the Otherworld series and the YA series, Darkest Powers. Her newest novel is The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)

Once Every NeverLesley Livingston is a new author of the YA trilogy, Wondrous Strange, about an aspiring actress who discovers she is a Faerie princess. Her newest book, Once Every Never, is set to be released July 13th. 

The list goes on and on of Canadian authors of every genre, fiction and non-fiction. Check out a few of these and read something new!

Tanya Huff
R. Scott Bakker
Eileen Cook
Arthur Slade
Courtney Summers
Denise Jaden
Tish Cohen
Rachna Gilmore
Jo Treggiari
Michelle Rowen
Allison van Diepen
Leonard Cohen
William Shatner 
Mary Balogh
Susanna Kearsley
Barbara Kyle
Denise Jaden
L.M. Montgomery
Syndey Somers
Sara Gruen
Farley Mowat
Miriam Toews
Joseph Boyden

What other Canadian authors are you familiar with?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...