Theme Song Saturday (32)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:




Look After You by The Fray kind of fits for most of the Dresden Files.  Harry cares about people with a great intensity.  There is nothing he would do to keep them from pain and make sure they're safe.  Furthermore, since the last book, Harry is finally able to see he has feelings for Murphy.  However, even though he has this great love for people, he ends up sacrificing himself for everyone else.  For me, even though this song is more of a love song, it's perfect.  Unfortunately, I am not far enough into the book to determine whether it is the best fit for this particular one *sheepish grin*




Leave a link to your pick in the comments ^_^
Much love, Sinn

Follow Friday

Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Alison at Alison Can Read. The point is to follow as many book blog as you can and make new friends! As part of the adventure, she gives a weekly question.

Here's this week's question:

Q: What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.



A:

Hmm, I honestly cannot remember.  The books I remember needing to run to a dictionary were either the LoTR series or the books required for my college courses.  Man, I feel like such a spoilsport!  *sheepish grin*  However, check back in a few weeks.  Lolita is currently on hold for me at the library, and I have every confidence that Vladimir will have me searching for my dictionary ;)

Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Dead Beat

Title:  Dead Beat
Author:  Jim Butcher
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Pages:  Paperback 424
Published:  May 2006
Publisher:  Roc Fantasy
ISBN:  0-451-46091-X
Opening Lines:  "On the whole, we're a murderous race."
Author Links:  Website   ♠   Twitter  ♠   Facebook
Rating:


"Paranormal investigations are Harry Dresden's business, and Chicago is his beat as he tries to bring law and order to a world of wizards and monsters that exist alongside everyday life.  And though most inhabitants of the Windy City don't believe in magic, the Special Investigations department of the Chicago PD knows better.

"Karrin Murphy is the head of SI and Harry's good friend. So when a killer vampire threatens to destroy Murphy's reputation unless Harry does her bidding, he has no choice. The vampire wants the Word of Kemmler (whatever that is) and all the power that comes with it. Now Harry is in a race against time—and six merciless necromancers—to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead . . . "

~ Jacket Copy



Thoughts:  I'm used to Butcher starting the Dresden books in the middle of some sort of action sequence.  And, honestly, it has gotten very, very old.  When this book started with Harry coming home to a beautiful jogger leaving his bedroom, I was pleasantly surprised.  It seems that the addition of Thomas to Harry's life has changed things for the better!

Harry is finally settling into his new life with a family and a new dog.  Things seem to be going okay when Murphy drops a bombshell that she is going to Hawaii with Kincaid!  And if that isn't enough, Mavra now has incriminating photos of Murphy helping on the illegal raid put together by Harry and Kincaid.  Unless he helps her find the Word of Kemmler, she will leak the pictures and destroy Murphy's career.  However, unknown to Harry, this book is sought after by the biggest and baddest necromancers, the disciples of Kemmler.

This book deals a lot with temptation and identity.  Throughout the book, the coin containing the fallen angel comes back to haunt him.  The lovely Lasciel is now a mirror image of herself in Dresden's mind, and she wants to "help" him stop these necromancers.  She offers knowledge and a way to boost his power base, which would allow him to take out Cowl.  However, at what cost?  Further, Thomas challenges Harry to finally admit and face his feelings regarding Murphy and the fact that he is alone.

Honestly, I felt this book did a lot toward Harry's character development.  He still has a lot of character flaws, and I still find him to be rather stupid.  However, it was nice to see him move forward a bit.  That being said, I nearly cried when he is confronted by Lasciel and his subconscious mind.  I fully understand wanting to save the people you love, but they wouldn't want us to sacrifice the core of who we are.  Further, the pop culture references were awesome!  I loved that Harry referred to Lasciel and the coin as the Ring and the fact that he quoted Aladdin.

I was happy that Butcher made Thomas more of a central character.  Since he first appeared on the scene, I really liked him.  Also, it will do Harry a lot of good to have Thomas in his life.  Further, it was also nice to see Butters return.  He was a pretty endearing character, and he had an awesome part to play in this book.  And, not to ruin anything, Harry's ride from the Field Museum to the campus was pretty stellar!

Butcher also brought back a few characters briefly seen in other novels.  He was able to flesh them out, and I hope he brings them back later in the series.

This book was really fun!  At points, it was heart rending, but I also found myself laughing until my sides hurt.  Even though I have a library book out, I am considering taking it back to the library and picking up the next Dresden book!

Current Pages: 12,537
Current Progress:

40/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (31)



Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Sorry this has been very overdue!  We have been without a functioning computer for awhile, so this was kind of put on hold.  However, with the arrival of our new laptop yesterday, that has changed!  Yay!

Here's my pick this week:




Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival almost always seems to fit the Dresden Files.  However, something about trying to stop the necromancers before Halloween and warning everyone to stay behind a threshold makes this song very appropriate.  Aside from his views on Polka, I don't know Harry's preferred music genre; however, I would be willing to bet that he wouldn't turn his nose up at classic rock!  




What is your pick this week?  Leave a comment with a link to your song ^_^

Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Fighting to Survive

Title:  Fighting to Survive
Author:  Rhiannon Frater
Genre:  Post-apocalyptic with zombies
Published:  November 2011
Publisher:  Tor Books
Author Links:  Website  ♠  Twitter
Rating:


"The hundred or so survivors in the fortified heart of Ashley Oaks are running out of food and room. The newly-renovated historic hotel seems a perfect sanctuary—if can be emptied of zombies.

"A pitched battle in the banquet room is the start of a harrowing, room-by-room struggle from Reception to roof. The connection between beauty and death has never been more apparent to Katie, Travis, Jenni, and Juan than when they celebrate and mourn in the hotel’s lovely rooftop gazebo.

"As search-and-rescue teams bring food, supplies—and more survivors—back to town, they draw unwanted attention. Bandits see the fort’s citizens as competition for dwindling stocks of unspoiled provisions . . . and as a ready source of women to be used and abused. The bandits’ first few attacks are minor skirmishes, but Travis and Juan, unofficial leaders of the community, know there is worse to come.

"Outside threats are not the fort’s only concern. The mayor’s failing health spurs a battle for power erupts. Travis’s vow never to kill faces its greatest test. A vicious assault on Katie leads to vigilante action that shatters the rule of law. Jenni’s tenuous hold on sanity begins to slip. Juan is accused of murder.

"And beyond the fort’s walls, the zombies shamble, moaning, eyes fastened hungrily upon the living."

~ Author's website


Thoughts:  I loved the first book, so we got it for my dad as an audio book.  Since I never got around to buying the second book, he talked me into listening to it.  While I can go through periods of listening to a lot of audio books, I really do not devour them the way he does.  Needless to say, this took me awhile to get through.  Unfortunately, my thoughts are not completely coherent and fully formulated.  Please hang with me on this one!

I was happy to see continued character developments in our favorite heroines, Katie and Jenni.  It was also nice to see how the relationship between Juan and Jenni was progressing and helping her move past her pre-zombies life.  However, as a few people have pointed out, I don't really like the descriptions Frater always relies on.  For example, Nerit is always seen as being cold, Jenni is always loca, and Katie is the one who likes girls.  Granted, it changes for Katie as the story moves along.  But, for me, that took a little away from the story.  After the first book, I would have liked to see Frater branch out a little more with the characterizations, especially since the audience already had some time to get to know them.

Nerit's involvement in this book was stellar!  Since Katie and Jenni first met her on their flight from the city, I have loved the character.  It was nice to get some of her back story.  Being a sharpshooter for the Israeli army really wets the reader's appetite, and I was not disappointed!  However, I would still like to know more.

By biggest beef with the story was the climax and antagonists.  While the zombies appear to be the most visible antagonists, Frater talks about a roaming group of bandits in the first book.  It was rather obvious that she was bringing them back for an encore in this book.  However, it took too longer for the conflict to finally happen.  She dealt with getting the residents of the fort into the hotel, politics, and rescuing survivors for various reasons.  Some of those reasons were the bandits.  They did keep an eye on them and, eventually, lured them out into the open.  But the final conflict was over too quickly and ended to easily.  Yes, life was lost, but it was wrapped up too nicely.

Frater does think a lot about the logistics of a zombie apocalypse.  Even though the bandits did not stay in the picture very long, it made sense that the fort would have to end up dealing with psychopaths.  Not everyone is going to think about banding together and trying to survive.  I also liked that she was very thoughtful about the fact of internal politics in the fort.  People want leadership.  (Although that also ended a little too easily for my tastes.)  Further, I liked her addition of the crazy, conspiracy chaser.  When he asked Nerit out/for sex, I nearly choked!

I enjoyed this book!  At first, the narrator got of my nerves, but she grew on me.  With the ending, I am glad I had the third one ready to go!  There are so many interesting things coming up, and I am curious to see how Frater lets them play them out.



Current Pages: 12,113
Current Progress:

39/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Bite Club

Title:  Bite Club
Author(s):  Howard Chaykin  ♠  David Tischman  ♠  David Hahn
Genre:  Graphic novel
Published:  2005
Publisher:  Vertigo an imprint of DC Comics
Pages:  138
ISBN:  1-4012-0492-9
Opening Lines:  "From the moments he left he mountains of Nicaragua . . ."
Rating:

"The Sopranos have nothing on the Del Toros — a vampire clan that's been running organized crime in Miami for nearly a century.  Beautiful, rich, and immortal, these bloodsuckers are also masters of backstabbing and infighting — and the fangs really come out with the death of their patriarch, Eduardo.

"Youngest son Leto vowed to leave his family's empire of sin behind when he became a Catholic priest — and his ambitious, hedonistic sister Risa would be happy to keep it that way. Eduardo's will, however, names Leto as the new jefe of the Del Toro cartel, leaving Daddy's little girl to scheme on the sidelines. But while Risa has schemes, Leto has faith — faith that late.

"Facing rivals within and enemies without, Leto knows his blood is in the water. Priest or not, though, he's still a Del Toro, and he's swum with these sharks all his life. The question is, will he choose the way of God — or Godfather?"

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:  I found this book at a little whole-in-the-wall comic store in San Diego a few years ago.  However, during one of our moves, it ended up being misplaced, and my husband found it while cleaning our back bedroom.  To this day, the cover still draws my attention!

The story line seemed rather interesting, and I was willing to give it a shot.  Since vampires are immortal, it made sense that a vampire cartel could run the crime syndicate of Miami.  However, I felt the graphic novel just fell flat.  There was more time spent narrating than actually getting any story from the characters.  There were little hints dropped about the relationship between the characters, but not enough.  I found myself groaning every time I flipped a page to find another huge chunk of narration and no dialogue.

Some of the character development was good.  The audience learns a lot of Rise due to her underhanded dealings in her business and in the family.  However, the hints that are dropped about her relationship with Leto and her father really disturbed me.

For me, the only thing that this graphic novel had going for it was the art style.  For me, a big turn-off is poor art.  But with this graphic novel, I think the sacrificed story for awesome graphics.  At that point, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

On the whole, this graphic novel was pretty forgettable.  I think there are other volumes out there; however, I am not curious enough to pick them up.

Pages: 12,113
Current Progress:
38/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Cinder

Title:  Cinder
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Published:  January 2012
Publisher:  Feiwell and Friends Book, a Macmillan imprint
Pages:  Hardback, 387
ISBN:  978-0-312-64189-4
Opening Lines:  "The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle."
Author Links:  Website  ♠  Twitter  ♠  Fabebook
Rating:

"Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother.  Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing.  This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball.  He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.

"Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger sister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that has been devastating Earth for a decade.  Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.

"But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig.  Something others would kill for."

~ Jacket copy


Thoughts:  Since I first read Beauty by Robin McKinley, I have been enchanted by retellings.  Fairy tales have always held a special place in my heart and will always be a comfort read.  When I read about this book, my curiosity was piqued.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get my hands on it right away, so I have been pining over it.  After finishing a book for review, I decided to pick this book up.  With the loss of my husband's grandmother and another huge crisis we're dealing with, I needed something that would bring comfort.  And, of course, I return to my old love: fairy tales.

Wow.  Just pure and simple, wow.  There are not enough words to describe the masterwork of this book.  It is simply a masterpiece and something that will stay with me for a long time.  While the characters were true to the original Cinderella story, I felt that Meyer did an amazing job making them her own and adding little twists.  For example, I never expected her fairy godmother!  Further, being a cyborg, I wondered how it would work with her stepmother, sisters, and father.  It was a brilliant idea that she was an orphan and adopted by her father.

The characters in this book were rich!  I loved Iko!  Even though she was an android, I really liked how Meyer was able to turn her into something more.  It makes me wonder whether her personality chip was the only thing behind her uniqueness or she was growing and learning by being around Cinder.  I also felt that she made Prince Kai more approachable and human.  In the stories of Cinderella, the prince is always someone outside.  In this, Kai was a real person with real feelings.  I felt his pain when he was trying to decide how best to run his country. And Peony . . . She was a lovely, vibrant teenage girl.  It was hard not to have a fondness for her.

The setting was as rich as the characters and the storytelling.  Meyer did a wonderful job trying to imagine what life would be like after nuclear war, devastation, and so on.  She also put a lot of thought into the technological side of things.  I liked how the palace, while fully into the here and now, still retained elements from the past.

When I started this book, I had an idea of what the book might be, but I never really expected Cinderella and Anastasia.  That added another layer of depth to the book, and one I would have considered.  Even though it was hinted at throughout the book, I still found myself stifling a gasp when the truth finally came out!

Cinder is nothing short of magical!  I wept for Cinder and her inability to cry, grieved with her, and found I needed to keep a box of tissues near by.  This book will always hold a place of honour on my bookshelves and will be recommended to others!

Pages: 11,975
Current Progress:
37/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Book Review — The Jazz Cage

Title:  The Jazz Cage
Author:  Ray Chen Smith
Genre:  Alternate historical fiction
Published:  June 2012
Publisher:  Ray Chen Smith
Pages:  Oversize paperback, 351
ISBN:  978-0-9857332-1-6
Opening Lines:  "Della crouched behind the shrubs, held onto Cece, and prayed they hadn't been noticed."
Author Links:  Website  ♠  Twitter
Rating:

"It is 1924—sixty years after the South's victory in the Civil War.

"Frank McCluey, bounty hunter for the mob, is sent to help out a wealthy Virginian bootlegger.  Frank's job: track down two female slave who've run away from the millionaire.

"But the mob has made a bad choice.  Instead of capturing the women, Frank decides to help them escape to Canada, his mission now aided by the pint-sized but steel-willed runaway Della and the outlawed Underground Railroad.

"Soon Della and Frank become the target of slave catchers, cops, gangsters, and most chilling of all, a Confederate agent nicknamed the Hound for his abilities to always sniff out and disembowel his prey."

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:  I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  And, to be honest, I was not sure what to expect.  Since I have a minor in history, the concept behind this book was extremely interesting.  For a long time, I always wondered what would have happened if the South and successfully seceded from the nation.  Smith does a wonderful job showing that throughout the whole book!

This book opens with Della and Cece hiding in some bushes right after they ran away from their master.  After years of abuse—both physical and sexual—Della has decided they need to try one last time to runaway from the Monster.  However, unbeknownst to them, their master, a wealthy whiskey bootlegger, has hired the help of a mob bounty hunter and his assistant.  Frank McCluey is known for his reputation as a former boxer.  Once on their trail, a series of adventures start, which end with Frank helping the two young women escape to freedom.

The book is broken down into four sections.  Each section, minus the last, takes part of approximately a week's time.  All of the chapters are told from the POV of either Frank, Della, sometimes Cece, and the Hound.  These different vantage points gives the audience a unique look into each character's mind and shows how they are dealing with the situations they are facing.  It also allows the author the opportunity to flesh out the characters on their own.  Seeing the Hound from everyone else's POV was interesting; however, he is far more sinister, sick, and messed up when you are able to get inside his own head.  

I appreciated that Frank and the girls each had their own back story.  It added depth to the characters; however, he didn't waste a lot of time trying to fully tell the audience those stories.  The fact that they were there and a few tidbits were dropped was enough to add some dimension.  However, he was still able to pull a few punches with the back stories.  For example, Della's history was perfect!  Even though I suspected it, I loved how it was able to pack a punch at the end of the book.

The little details in this book were sublime!  The fact that the FBI was actually the BI (Bureau of Investigations) due to the South being an independent nation, the border crossing between the southern and northern states, the lock down on the Canadian border, and so on, were perfect details.  These things show that Smith put a lot of thought into the consequences of the South winning the war of Southern Independence.

I loved the interaction between the two women and Frank.  In Cece, it was a good way to show how she was able to grow in her circumstances and move away from her horrible past.  All around, I thought it was a great way to show growth in the characters.  While Frank seemed to be tough-as-nails veteran boxer, he turns out to be a big softy.

Even though I enjoyed this book, it took me sometime to get through.  The short chapters make it feel as though the book is flying by; however, it was rather dense and took me a little longer than usual.  That being said, this book was a success!

Pages: 11,570
Current Progress:
36/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

Title:  Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
Author:  Diana Rowland
Genre:  Urban fantasy w/ zombies
Published:  July 2012
Publisher:  DAW Books
Pages:  Paperback, 312
ISBN:  978-0-7564-0750-6
Opening Lines:  "'So you hiding a body in there or sumthin'?'"
Author Links:  Website  ♠  Twitter  ♠  Facebook
Rating:

"Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over.  Her feonly record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she's beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia.  Yeah, that's right—the zombie mafia.

"Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel's going to need all of her brainpower
—and maybe a brain smoothie as well—in order to get through it without falling apart."

~ Jacket copy



Thoughts:  I loved the first book, My Life As a White Trash Zombie!  I thought it was different, unique, and innovative.  Angel was an awesome snarky character who didn't come from the best life.  I felt that she was a lot more accessible because of that.  With that in mind, I have been waiting—rather impatiently, I might add—for this book to finally hit the shelves.  Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the first book.

This book picks up shortly after the first one ends.  Angel is still doing well in her job, finally has a nice stash of brains, and seems to be doing well for herself.  Her relationship with her father is improving, and, for all intents and purposes, her life is on the straight and narrow.  However, things start to change after she picks up a body from NuQuesCor, a pseudo secret lab that nobody really knew about, and is held up in the morgue at gunpoint.  And, being Angel, she cannot let it go, especially when her criminal background is being blamed for the robbery.

This book was kind of a listless read for me.  I started it with high hopes; after the first few pages, it kind of fizzled out.  The writing style was choppy; the dialogue was too forced and campy; instead of Angel's biting wit and sense of humor, I found to be, like the dialogue, too forced and lame; and the list goes on.  Rowland also had a lot of word repetition between sentences and paragraphs.

Near the end of the book, I found that it did finally start to pick up and some of the dialogue became a little smoother.  However, the issues from the beginning really impacted the rest of the book; it wasn't fully able to recover.

A few things did stand out, however.  I liked Rowland's take on zombies and how/why brains keep them from rotting, give them superhuman abilities, and give them a longer life.  Further, the creation process of a new zombie was rather interesting.  The mothering aspect and the population control was not something I expected.

That being said, this book fell flat and didn't even rise to meet the mark set by the first book.  I hope that the third will far surpass this one.  I also hope that things are settled between Angel and Marcus, because I loved their interaction in the first.

Pages:  11.219
Current Progress:
35/50 books


Much love, Sinn

Attention Ladies

Hey Ladies,

In honor of her new book being released, author Gwyn Cready is hosting a giveaway for a pair of awesome Sky-high Snake Skin Print Kelsi Dagger Pumps!  I don't know about you, but a nice pair of pumps always make me feel sexy, powerful, and in control!  If you're interested in helping her celebrate the release of her new book, Timeless Desire, and a chance at some sexy new shoes, click the following link --->  SHOES!



"Two years after losing her husband, overworked librarian Panna Kennedy battles to distract herself from crushing grief. During a routine search within the library, Panna opens an obscure, pad-locked door and finds herself transported to the magnificent, book-filled quarters of a handsome, eighteenth-century Englishman. The man is Colonel John Bridgewater—the historic English war hero whose larger-than-life statue looms over her desk. However, the life of the dashing Bridgewater is not at all what she imagined. He's under house arrest for betraying England, and now looks upon her as a possible spy. Despite bad first impressions, Bridgewater warms to Panna. She is thrown into a whirlwind of high-stakes intrigue that sweeps her from Hadrian's Wall to a forbidding stone castle in Scotland."

~ Amazon


Much love, Sinn

Absence Explained

I'm sorry for the lack of posts and being absent.  After experiencing a loss in my husband's family, we have had one disaster on top of the other just hammer us.  Again, I am really sorry for not posting anything the last several weeks.  I have a few book reviews coming up, and I hope to get back to things soon.

Thanks for your patience!
Much love, 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.