Book Review -- Graveminder

Title: Graveminder
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Fiction, possible urban fantasy
Pages: Hardback, 324
Published: 2011
Opening Lines: "Maylene put one hand atop the stone for support; pulling herself up from the soil got harder every year. Her knees had been problem enough, but of late the arthritis had started settling in her hips."

"Three sips to mind the dead . . . Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah had watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words 'Sleep well, and stay where I put you.'

"Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, a.k.a. Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker -- in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past -- can set things right once the dead being to walk.

"Although she is still grieving Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to it Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility -- to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong."
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: Admittedly, I was a little wary of this book. The concept was really, really intriguing, so I couldn't stop myself from picking it up. However, after reading the first two books in Marr's other series, I was really concerned that this book would end up just as poorly written, badly paced, etc. Surprisingly, I was wrong!

From the opening of this book, I was caught. But I'll start with the bad nonetheless. First, I am beginning to wonder where publishing companies are picking up their editors. I cannot even begin to explain my frustration when Rebekkah was spelled differently in the same paragraph! That shouldn't have skipped an editor's attention. Throughout the book, there were a number of editing mistakes. To me, it really distracts from the book. Also, she would mention several things that were quite interesting, but never really flesh them out or go into them in depth. I wonder if she is planning to use them in another book . . . Further, she did not spend enough time talking about the unwritten contract and everything surrounding that. It is such in integral part of the story, I felt something was missing. With Daisha, I wondered about her change in the last part of the book. I wish that was explained a little more. Plus, a little more resistance/conflict would have been nice.

Aside from that, I loved the book! Marr did a good job fleshing out Rebekkah and Byron, and gave the secondary characters enough depth to keep them from being flat. I really liked that she used drinking with Mr. D as a big deal. I was reminded of Persephone when she was brought to Hades. The existence of a long standing unwritten contract between Mr. D and the town founders created an awesome back story.

I like how the story ultimately ended, but I'm not sure how I feel about the culprit. It made a certain amount of sense; however, part of be didn't want to buy it. All in all, I still enjoyed the story!


Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Current Pages: 14136
Current Progress:
39/50 books



Sinn

Book Review -- Grave Peril

Title: Grave Peril
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 378
Published: 2001
Opening Lines: "There are reasons I hate to drive fast. For one, the Blue Beetle, the mismatched Volkswagen bug that I putter around in, rattles and groans dangerously at anything above sixty miles an hour."

"Harry Dresden's faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book.

"But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble -- and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone -- or something -- is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself . . ."
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: Wow, this book was creepy! I debated whether to read this book or one of the horror novels I brought with me, but decided stick with something a little less intense. Ha-ha! Needless to say, I actual liked this book a lot better than the previous two!

Some of my problems, however, revolved around Michael. While I loved him as a character, I couldn't understand why Butcher chose now to bring him into the picture. Again, for some reason, it felt like Butcher was stretching. Also, the beatings that Dresden takes seems pretty unreal. Being able to continue functioning after being thrown across the room into a stone fireplace is a cause for concern. It just makes the suspension of disbelief harder. However, it was nice to finally see him in the hospital!

I missed the banter between Dresden and Murphy in this book, but felt that Butcher was able to cover the missing element with Michael. And adding the element of faith "magic" was rather cool. With all the talk of the Nevernever, magic in general, demons, etc., it was nice to see faith "magic" come into the picture.

All in all, I found this book a lot more enjoyable! My brother, who lent me the whole series, says that the writing style and tone of the books changes with this one. That being the case, I am definitely more excited to continue reading this series. I wanted to like Dresden, but Butcher's writing style wasn't doing any him any favors. But this book was creepy, fast paced, awesome character/development, etc.

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Current Pages: 13812
Current Progress:
38/50 books


Sinn

Book Review -- Fool Moon

Title: Fool Moon
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 342
Published: 2001
Opening Lines: "I never used to keep close track of the phases of the moon. So I didn't know it was one night she of being full when a young woman sat down across from me in McAnally's pub and asked me to tell her all about something that could get her killed."

"Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But, lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work -- magical or mundane.

"But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

"A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses -- and the first two don't count . . ."
~ Jacket copy


Thoughts (possible spoilers): Reading the back, it is pretty obvious what the next Dresden installment is about. Really, in a lot of ways, Butcher doesn't leave anything to the imagination in this book. It was painfully obvious from the get-go and too predictable. At the risk of possibly giving something away, it didn't surprise me that it couldn't just be normal werewolves. And, of course, he has to throw in all the different wolf-creatures you can have. It was too much!

The conversation Dresden had with his consciousness was just campy as hell. It was completely ridiculous and rather unbelievable. Also, after all the injuries he sustained, I have a hard time believing he lasted as long as he did. Okay, fine, Parker gives him medical attention and a fucking blood transfusion, but talk about stretching! Come on Butcher, can we say stupid plot devise and not adequate planning?

I'll give Butcher this, the book was entertaining. It is a kiss-your-brains-good-bye- (or as my Aunt says, an-airport-) read. But, I must say, I loved Tera West ^_^

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Not sure . . .
Current Pages: 13434
Current Progress:
37/50 books



Sinn

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Ha-ha, I've been so caught up with this damn cold and visiting family that I nearly forgot about this award! Thanks to Silvia for my third blog award! It is lovely and I greatly appreciate it!

Along with the other awards, I need to think of seven things to tell you. Not sure what is left to tell, but it's an adventure, right?
  1. My mom says I'm a sucker. One look from anything cute, and I'm done for. Which is why we are braving the heat to head across the street for some atrocious lemonade from a couple of cute neighborhood girls ^_^
  2. I love video games! They kick ass!
  3. I'm the shortest person in my family at 5'3", which I argued with my doctor about ^____^
  4. Zombies = <3 Any zombie movie makes me excited!
  5. Taking a long, hot, soaky bath (with my book!) before bed always helps me sleep better.
  6. In these ungodly tempts in Memphis, I could live in the swimming pool!
  7. I love slashers! They rock my world! My hubby enjoys going with me, because I laugh through the whole film.
Here are my sweet nominees:
  1. Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews
  2. Sarah at I'm Loving Books
  3. Neri at In The Name of Books
  4. Amy at My Overstuffed Bookshelf
  5. Jacob at Drying Ink


Sinn

Book Review -- Feed

Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Fiction with zombies
Pages: Paperback, 571
Published: 2010
Opening Lines: "Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-six years: with an idiot -- in this case, my brother Shaun -- deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens."

"'Alive or dead, the truth won't rest. My name is Georgia Mason, and I am begging you. Rise up While you can.'

"The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one unstoppable command: Feed.

"NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives -- the dark conspiracy behind the infection. The truth will out, even if it kills them."
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: When I was finishing this book, I was struggling through horrible sinus headaches, eyes that refused to focus, and a constantly runny nose. I found myself almost wishing for Kellis-Amberlee and the cure for the common cold, sans the shambling undead! Needless to say, the last couple of days, the book really spoke to me! Ha-ha!

Feed follows Georgia Mason and her brother Shaun. Growing up post-Rising, they decided to enter the blogging world to report the news. After being accepted to follow the campaign of a presidential candidate, they will discover that the story they uncover will be the story of a lifetime.

I loved this book from the opening lines! It is hard to go wrong with zombies, but I found that Grant put an interesting twist on it. I didn't expect this book to use zombies more as a vehicle/plot devise than the central point. To me, it was more of a political heavy-hitter and a social commentary . . . with zombies!

The characters were amazing! I felt that Grant did a good job fleshing them out without being too overpowering with one character or the other. Granted, the book is mostly narrated by Georgia, so it follows her most of the time. I also loved the pop-culture references with Buffy, the tech-savvy Fictional.

My biggest problem was the relationship between George and Shaun. I liked that they had a very close relationship and trusted each other the way they did, but it felt a little too canned. At times, it often felt like love-in-the-wrong-way: bordering on romantic. I love my brother and trust him with my life, but I cannot imagine being that close. That being said, however, it did make an interesting dynamic.

I would say the biggest deterrent for some with this book will be the political intrigue. That was the main focus of the book; zombies where a plot devise. If you have a hard time getting into politics, the games played, etc., then I might consider reading another book.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. I'm not sure what I think of a sequel. With the ending, I'm not sure I liked the ending narrator as much as George, so the sequel kind of makes me nervous. But we'll see.

Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
Current Pages: 13092
Current Progress:
36/50 books



Sinn

Book Review -- Beautiful Creatures

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author(s): Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Pages: Hardback, 563
Published: 2009
Opening Lines: "There are two kinds of people in our town. 'The stupid and thee stuck,' my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. 'The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out.'"
"There are no surprises
in Gatlin County
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have
been more wrong.

"There was a curse.
There was a girl
And in the end,
there was a grave

"Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

"Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is drawn to her inexplicably and determined to uncover the connection between them.

"In a town with no surprises, one secret count change everything."
~ Jacket copy

Thoughts: Honestly, after reading reviews on Goodreads, I wasn't sure what to think of this book. I was kind of expecting some poorly written book with an unbelievable male lead. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that to be very far from the truth.

The book follows Ethan Wate, who was born and raised in Gatlin, NC. After generations of Wates living in Gatlin, Ethan is considered one of the town's sons. However, even with this long standing connection to the town, he wants nothing more than to leave for college. Aside from traveling Civil War battlefields with his mother, he has known nothing outside of the small, close-knit community. However, his world is sent into an uproar when Lena Duchannes moves in with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, the town shut-in. Not only does her now live in the mysterious haunted house and drive around his hearse, she is completely different than anyone at the school. And Ethan is about to find out how different. These differences trace back to an old family connection and are bound to change his life forever.

I really loved the dark mystery offered by the deep South. The addition of the folk magic along side the very strict religious beliefs really added a lot of depth to the story. I felt that Ethan was a believable and likable character. The authors did a good job adding depth to the supporting characters without them taking over the story. However, my favorite character was Macon. When he stood up for Lena in front of the disciplinary hearing, I found myself cheering for him and laughing!

On the whole, I really enjoyed the story. It really held my attention, and I wanted to know what was going on. Aside from the curse, I wish there was more connection between Genvieve and Ethan. Since she was watching the grave, I felt she had a little more stake int he story than she was truly given. Also, I felt the whole winter formal scene was a little too Carry-esque for my taste. Granted, I understand that it is probably typical high school, but the authors could have been more original. In addition, during the hearing, I felt it was unbelievable that Mrs. Lincoln somehow got her hands on records that I thought would be sealed because Lena is a juvenile. Although, considering how the whole Mrs. Lincoln fiasco turns out, that might explain it.

Once the claiming was done, I really liked how the book closed. I get tired of the canned romantic ending, and this felt like more of an end to me. Looking on Amazon, I see the sequel is out and, frankly, it kind of scares me. For some reason, I felt the book didn't necessarily need more. However, I am kind of itching to get my hands on it ;) Maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble is in order!


Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Feed by Mira Grant
Current Pages: 12521
Current Progress:
35/50 books



Sinn

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Leaving tomorrow for 3 weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to access a computer. With the number of books I'm taking with me, I should have some nice reviews coming ^_^ After dealing with my computer through the airport on several different occasions, I would rather limit myself on the amount of carry-on luggage I have. Therefore, compy is staying home. I'll have to fight my family for computer time, but it shouldn't be too hard. If all else fails, I might be looking at "not-as-snazzy" posts from my iPod Touch. And, yes, I am that cool ^_~

If you want trip updates and just general thoughts, follow me at: http://thoughtsofabloodyvixen.blogspot.com.

Well, I suppose, my lovelies, that is it until I reach Memphis, TN. I'm off early tomorrow morning for a 3 day car ride. My poor hubby, kitties, and puppy will have to fend for themselves for awhile!

See ya on the flip side!

Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.