Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

An interesting look at time travel. We explore an ancient Egytian religion that possesses powerful magic capable of crossing distance and time. We see just what might happen to modern people if they find themselves suddenly thrust back unprepared to a different time period.

I didn't particularly care for the main character, he seemed very self centered most of the time. I was intrigued enough to continue to follow his adventures through old England and Egypt. The Doctors Romany and Romanelli I found the most interesting. The concepts behind them were great, and their blunders seemed somewhat humorous at times.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was it's brief look into consequences. What happens when we go back in time? Do we change the future? Would we know it if we did...or would our memories corrent themselves since all this has already happened anyways? It's a circular arguement that the book brushed on through most of its pages. I enjoyed it.

4/5 stars

Book Review: Kiss of Darkness by Heather Graham

Vampires abound in this book...vampires of all types, including the so powerful Master. He is back at full strength and on the hunt. A hunt that starts with wild parties to lure in the innocents and feast. Jessica Fraser finds herself drawn into the Master's schemes in a most unusual way. She is hunting him...but how does she know of his existance and how can she expect to stand a chance against his power. The answer to this lies in an unexpected blast from the past (the very very distant past), in the form of Bryan MacAllister. Who is the man that shows up knowing more than he should at just the right moment?

The book got off to great start. We jump right in and meet Jessica and her group of freinds as she is saying good bye to them. She's going to a conference in Transylvania of all places. The action starts here at one of the Master's notorious parties. After this things began to get a little confusing for me. There is much we don't learn about Jessica until at least half way through the book. And what we don't know isn't explained in a very good's just suddenly tossed out there. It left me with a "what the hell is going on" feeling. I actually went back and reread part because I thought I had missed something.

Once we have this sudden change in our main character under control, things begin to develop rapidly. They develop...and develop...and develop some more. There were at least three times I thought I was reading the final scene only to encounter a "but wait" moment. One, even two of these is fine to throw a surprise the reader's way, but this ended with a few too many.

When the ending finally did come, it seemed very disappointing after all the repeated hype. If the author had worked the ending in about 50 pages sooner, it would have had a fantastic finish. Unfortunately, it just left me feeling a bit let down.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alexander the Great by John Gunther

This is an old school book that I acquired from my grandparents (I think). While it introduces the history of Alexander the Great in a wonderful young adult novel fashion, I was suprised at the moral lessons that included. The book clear state that certain personality traits were "evil" or "wrong" and others were "ideal", In one instance they even pointed out that drunk people have boring conversation. Not only did I learn a little about Alexander's life, I had a few chuckles along the way.


Weekly Finds: 2/27/10

Gatekeepers - book three Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Liparulo.  The third in the series my grandmother tossed my way after she finished reading it.

From the back of the book;  The Kings have been in the creepy old place, their new home, for only a few days, but they've experienced enough terror to last a lifetime.  And the mystery is growing even more baffling.  Shadowy and shifting, the big house conceals doors into other worlds that blur the line between memories and dreams - and the slightest misstep can change history forever.

At least, that's if they believe the trembling old man who shows up claiming to know them.  "There's a reason you're in this house," he tells them.  "As gatekeepers, we must make sure only those events that are supposed to happen get through to the future."

The problem is that horros beyond description wait on the other side of those gates.  As if that weren't enough, the Kings are also menaced by sinister forces on this side - like the dark, ancient stranger Taksidian, who wants them out now.

Xander, David, and Toria must venture beyond the gates to save their missing mother - and discover how truly high the stakes have become.

Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader.  Won from a contest hosted by At Home With Books.

From the inside cover:  New York Times bestselling sensation Eric Van Lustbader created the legendary Nicholas Linnear of The Ninja and brought Jason Bourne into the twenty-first century.  Now Lustbader brings us Jack McClure, a streetsmart ATF agent who saved the president's daughter from a criminal mastermind.  Jack is now a special advisor to President Edward Carson, and Carson's daughter refuses to let Jack out of her sight.

When an American senator, supposedly on a political trip to the Ukraiane, turns up dead on the island of Capri, the president asks McClure to find out how and why.  Jack sets out from Moscow across Eastern Europe, following a perilous trail of diplomats, criminals, and corrupt politicians.  He takes on a personal mission along with his official one: protecting his two unlikely, unexpected, and incompatible companions - Annika, a rogue Russian FSB agent, and Alli, the president's daughter.

Thrust into the midst of global jigsaw puzzle, Jack uses his dyslexic mind to put together the pieces that others can't even see.  As he struggles to keep both women safe and to unearth the answers he seeks, Jack learns just how far up the American and Russian political ladders corruption and treachery have reached.  And though Jack's abilities are as good as it gets, there is much more to gain - and lose - on this journey than the truth about the senator...

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  I picked this up for a group read on  I've always wanted to try Virginia Woolf and this seemed like a good chance to do so.

From the back of the book:  In this vivid portrain of one day in a woman's life, Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is much more than a perfect hostess.  As she readies her house, she is flooded with far-away remembrances.  And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices she has made, hesitantly looking ahead to growing old.  Undeniably triumphant, this is the inspired novelistic outline of human consciousness.

The Golden Compass - book one in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.  This series has been on my wishlist since the movie came out and I finally had a chance to pick it up.

From the back of the book:  Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side.  But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle - a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears.  And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is desstined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

The Subtle Knife - book two in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

In this stunning sequel to The Golden Compass, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld - Cittagazze, where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky.  But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another's, has also stumbled into this strange new realm.

On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devestating power.  And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat - and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

The Amber Spyglass - book three in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures began in The Golden Compass and continued in The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger.  With help from the armored bear Iorek Byrnison and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone.  All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass.  An assassin hunts her down.  And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies - and shocking sacrifice.

As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living - and the dead - finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story.  The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Review: Dark Seduction by Brenda Joyce

Dark Seduction: Book 1 of Masters of Time by Brenda Joyce

Once I started reading this, I thought for sure I wasn't going to like it. The overall story is about a group of super-men, called Masters, that are descendants of the old gods. Ok, so far not too bad, but there's a catch. One of their many powers is the power to mesmerize women and have their way with them (this is a romance), and if they lose control, or if they are just super evil bad guys, they can drain their sexual partner of life and use it to temporarily give them more power. This was the part that had me a little too wierded out...even for a paranormal story.

The saving grace....the characters and the story itself. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you dropped a modern day single and independant woman into the medieval ages? Well, I actually have, and this book dips right into all the what if's you could possibly ask for. As our leading lady Claire finds herself in the far far ago Highlands, she finds herself ordered around and considered as nothing more than eye candy and mother material. Claire, who is used to taking care of herself in the big city is constantly at odds with the super men Masters that are smothering her.

Our main man is also the primary smotherer (is that a word?). Malcolm is flabbergasted to find that Claire just won't meekly run off and do as he orders (yes orders) her to do. There are quite a few interesting arguments about time periods and what she should be allowed to do. Well, they were interesting at first and then they got a bit boring and repetitive.

So off our two mains go to hunt down the evil Master, that is actaully hunting them. There are a few twists and turns along the way, and we find more and more about the past of our two stars and how they are linked in so many more ways that you think at first. If you can get your mind over or around the 'I'm going to have sex with you, but I may steal your lifeforce' part of the book, you will find a great medieval romance along with a fascinating tale of fighting the not only the evil around you, but the evil within you as well.

3.5/5 (I havent decided if I'm going to continue the series or not)

Friday Finds: 2/19/10

The Lexical Funk by Daniel Clausen - Received from the librarything member giveaway program. (I love the cover on this one!)

From  What if? What if words could be put into logical structures called sentences? What if these sentences could make larger units of meaning called paragraphs? What if these paragraphs were naked with whipped cream all over them? What if you could own this tawdry collection of whipped cream covered structures of meaning based on words for your very own? The second book in the Daniel Clausen canon of awesomeness, this collection of short stories and random musings promises to take you to another dimension of funkadelic wordliness.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Review: War of the Twins by Margaret Weis

There's not much more you could ask for from a second book in a series. We return to the watch the brothers Caramon and Raistlin Majere in the next step in their adventures through time. Only now things are really starting to get interesting. Crysania and Tasslehoff haven't gone fact all four friends seem to be going everywhere and everywhen! We travel backwards and forwards through time as they desparately try to alter the past and there's even a trip or two into the depths of the the Dark Queen's real, The Abyss.

As this story of loyalty and betrayal comes to a point at the end of this book and I can't wait to dive into the next. Throughout the building up of the atmosphere, our characters continue to develope and progess, although if they are going in the right direction is still up for discussion. After all, what would a pure cleric of good be doing working with the black robed evil mage?


Giveaway Link: Postcards From A Dead Girl by Kirk Farber

At Home With Books has two copies of Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farger to giveaway.  The contest runs through 3/2/10 so hurry up and enter if you're interested.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Giveaway Link: Still Life by Joy Fielding

Bookin With Bingo is giving away 10 copies of Joy Fielding's new book Still Life.  This one sounds like quite an exciting read!  The contest closes 3/2/10 so go get your entries now!

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cheli from Cheli's Shelves passed this award on to me and I am excited to be receiving a reward!

The rules are pretty simple. Answer the following questions with Single Word answers!

Your Cell Phone? On
Your Hair? Brown
Your Mother? Cyndi
Your Father? Electronics
Your Favorite Food? Mexican
Your Dream Last Night? Unknown
Your Favorite Drink? Soda
Your Dream/Goal? Graduate
What Room Are You In? Living
Your Hobby? Lots
Your Fear? Spiders
Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Happy
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? Perfect
Muffins? Nope
Wish List Item? iPad
Where Did You Grow Up? Iowa
Last Thing You Did? XBox
What Are You Wearing? PJ's
Your TV? On
Your Pets? Kitties!!!
Friends? Close
Your Life? Hectic
Your Mood? Busy
Missing Someone? Yes
Vehicle? Camry
Something You Aren't Wearing? Jewelry
Your Favorite Store? Amazon
Your Favorite Color? Blue
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Yesterday
Last Time You Cried? Hmmmm
Your Best Friend? Chad
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? School
Facebook? Often
Favorite Place To Eat? Taco

Friday, February 12, 2010

Book Review: The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

The evil Lord Arawn is creating mindless, undieing cauldron-born. The familiar companions from The Book of Three join forces with the greatest lords of the land with a plan to steal the cauldron and destroy it. Plans like this never seem to go well, and this one seems to be foiled from the very beginning. We are intruduced to a handful of new characters, I'm not sure if they will continue throughout the rest of the series or not.

I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series. Alexander has slowed the pace down, without losing momentum. I felt like I was able to settle into the scenes and enjoy them before I was suddenly rushed on. It gave many of the scenes more of a atmosphere that I enjoyed very much. I also felt as if I was able to get to know the characters much better by being able to listen to conversations.

I think that my favorite character this time around, has to be the dwarf, Doli. He was honorable, brave, complaining, and funny. Everything that a real person seems to have in varying degrees. I was glad to see that Taran had developed and grown, as has Eilonwy. The two still argue almost non-stop, but you can see that they have learned to rely on each other for advice and guidance.

I can't wait to read the third book. The series is exciting and I look forward to seeing how the furture pans out for everyone.


Giveaway Link: Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole

Parajunkee's Review is hosting a giveaway for Kresley Cole's book, Pleasure of a Dark Prince.  You have until 2/28/10 to enter.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Weekly Finds: 2/12/10

I've been doing fairly well in my attempt to stop buying books so I can catch up on my TBR list, which is why I haven't posted a weekly finds lately.  I broke down and got just a few this week, one for a group read and two that I've had my eye on for quite awhile.

The Lightning Thief - Book One in Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan.  I picked this up so that I could have a chance to read it before seeing the movie.

From the back of the book: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again.  And that's the least of his troubles.  Lately, mythological monsters and the golds of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life.  And worse, he's angered a few of them.  Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Persy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to warring Mount Olympus.  But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with his father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers.  I picked this book up for a group read on  My first (that I know of) in the SteamPunk genre.  It sounds interesting and I'd love to get into some new things.

From Barnes & Noble website: The Anibus Gate is the classic time travel novel that took the fantasy world by storm a decade ago. Only the dazzling imagination of Tim Powers could have created such as adventure.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  This is another one I picked up after hearing so many good things about the series.  The third has just been announced and I'd like to get started so I can read straight through.

From the inside cover: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games.  But katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giveaway Link: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

Book'in With Bingo is hosting a quick contest to win a copy of Sabrina Jeffries' The Truth About Lord Stoneville.  You need to hurry if you want to enter because the contest ends 2/13!

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Giveaway Link: Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo

mis(h)takes is generously giving away her gently read ARC copy of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo.  You must be entered by 2/22 to have a chance at winning.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm is hosting a giveaway for the book Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  You have until 2/25 to enter.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

The SciFiGuy is hosting an interview with author Jeaniene Frost (someone who is on my wishlist a lot). Not only is he hosting the interview but Jeaniene has offered 3 signed copies of her new book First Drop of Crimson.  Hurry because this giveaway ends 2/17.

For more information and to enter click HERE.

Giveaway Link: Jordan by Susan Kearney

Books and Needlepoint has 5 copies of the book Jordan by Susan Kearney to give away.  Deadline to enter is March 1.

To enter just click HERE.

Good luck!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Review: Heart of the Dragon by Gena Showalter

Atlantis exists! It is guarded by a race of shapeshifting dragon of unbeilevable fighting skill and hunkiness (even if they do sprout scales when provoked). Darius is the head dragon, and is entrusted with guarding the portal that separates our world from his. His duty is to slay everyone that comes from our side and he takes his duty seriously, never letting any pass. Then one day Grace stumbles through and something changes. He breaks his sacred vow for the first time, intrigued by the fiery red head that dares to defy him.

But this isn't the only change heading towards Darius. As he runs around after Grace, trying to keep her from getting killed by the other dragonmen, he discovers that she isn't the only human in Atlantis after all. There is a second portal, guarded by his mentor and father-figure that becomes strangely silent, and suddenly Grace finds herself caught in the middle of a battle to save a world that most still think is mere myth and legend.

As Grace and Darius rush to save not only Atlantis, but all the people they hold dear, they find themselves plunged into a very heated romance. And I mean heated. This is not a book for any who blush easily. While the romance plays second fiddle to the fight for Atlantis, it is definately there and wants you to know it!

Grace is a fantastic female character. Not only is she not stick thin and model georgous, she actually has a head on her shoulders and isn't afraid to fight to get what she wants and protect those she cares about. It isn't suprising that Darius struggled to resist her.

Darius is a lean mean fightig machine...with the additional abitilities you would commonly associate with dragons as well. While his character is hard and ferocious, we occasssionally are allowed glimpses into the inner-Darius and can easily see why Grace would fall head over heals for him.

This is the first book in the Atlantis series by Gena Showalter and I have the next two sitting in my filing cabinet drawer (I ran out of room on the TBR shelf) and I can harldy wait til their turn comes up to read more about this fascinating new world, Atlantis.

4/5 (would have been more, a bit too steamy in places for me)

Book Review: Just After Sunset by Stephen King

I'd like to start by saying that I'm not a big fan of short stories. There never seems to be enough time to develop anything. However, I also love Stephen King, so I found myself reading a book of his short stories thinking that it would probably be ok as one great would more than cancel out the bad. For the most part it was a great book. There were only a couple of the stories that didn't please me as much as they could have...had they been developed and expanded into full size books. So I'll give a short wrap-up of each one, but I don't want to give too much away.

1. Willa was a nice short little story to get the blood flowing and the eyes working. It was sweet and happy with a bit of sadness tossed in for flavor.

2. The Gingerbread Girl is a story of running, and how running can either save you or...well...not save you I guess. A woman finds herself pitted against quite a psycho.

3. Harvey's dream left me with one question....What? I totally missed the point on this one.

4. Rest Stop was one of the best in the book. A look at what would you do if you found yourself in a situation you needed to handle, but weren't sure if you could.

5. Stationary Bike was another excellent one, where imagination meets reality and a man may have gone too far trying to get into shape.

6. The Things They Left Behind was touching and moving, but it left me wondering What? agian. It was well written, but the topic deserved to have more to it than just a short story.

7. Graduation Afternoon is a great start for a book. It reads almost as if King started to write one and then stopped after the first chapter.

8. N. is probably my favorite in the book and actually kept me up late to finish. Good old fashioned Stephen King horror.

9. The Cat From Hell had me laughing, but I don't think I was supposed to. (Richard you will not want to read this one.)

10. The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates is one I hardy even remember reading. A story about moving on and accepting death.

11. Mute was very entertaining if predictable. What happens when you confess your innermost thoughts to a hitchhiker that you think is deaf and mute? Well, let me tell you it isn't what you expect.

12. Ayana reminded a bit of The Green Mile. A story of healing and miracles.

13. A Very Tight Place is probably my second favorite in the book. A good old fashioned suspense about a neighbor that takes his frustrations out on his gay neighbor...but maybe the tables will end up being turned.

So, there you have it. It wasn't a waste of time, but I would have ripped some of those pages out had I been the editor. But if I did that then we wouldn't have the magical number of thirteen stories!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Guest Review: Garfield at Large - His First Book by Jim Davis

My seven year old daughter wrote her first review today. She found some of my old old Garfield books and has decided that they are quite amusing. I find it amusing to hear her burst out in a fit of giggles while reading a book in bed after lights out.

This is what she had to say:

I liked the part when Garfield wanted to eat everything that is out. I like the part when Garfield slept on Jon's head. I like the part when Garfield is a fat cat. I like the part when Garfield thinks about beeing nice to odie. I don't like the part when Garfield hit's a Grandpa with a flower pot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review: A Marriage By Chance by Carolyn Davidson

A Marriage By Chance by Carolyn Davidson

Chloe Biddleton has a quite a suprise coming with JT Flannery show up on her ranch. He's recently acquired the rights to half her ranch...winning them from her scalawag of a brother in a game of cards. It would be an understatement to say that the Chloe, who has been running the ranch since her father's death, is furious. As the two are trying to get used to their new business arrangement a gang of cattle rustlers show up and starts stealing thieves from several of the ranches in the area...including Chloe's precious Double B. And the suprises keep coming...along with a marriage proposal.

I loved Chloe. She was outspoken and not afraid to voice her opinions. She fights tooth and nail to maintain her place as co-owner of the Double B. JT is a gentleman all the way. A gentleman that sees his future finally lined up before him when he wins the rights to half the ranch. He's ready to settle down and he thinks Chloe will be the best part of it.

The romance takes second stage to the daily goings on at the Double B Ranch, which is why I enjoyed this story so much. The characters interact in a very real way and their emotions come off the page very well. This book was a great read.