Monthly Archives: February 2011

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter (Fiction)

As a fan of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series, It’s no surprise when I was recommended the Jane Yellowrock series written by Faith Hunter. Starting with “Skinwalker”, the series is an urban fantasy novel about Jane Yellowrock, a skin walker. The fact that the protagonist is a female walker is the extent of the similarities with the Mercy Thompson series.

Jane Yellowrock is a bounty hunter, but with a less than traditional target. She hunts rogue supernatural beings. The book starts off with Jane going to interview for a job catching a rogue vampire loose in New Orleans. An excellent introduction to the series, we meet the hot, motorcycle riding “Joe”, Jodi the vampire contact in the NOPD, as well as Leo the head vampire in New Orleans.

Hunter takes the reader along at a brisk pace, without skimping out on the descriptions and details. What’s interesting is how, Hunter makes use of the urban fantasy element. Set in New Orleans, Hunter expertly crafts this supernatural component into the world. Rather than just being and “underworld”, Hunter fashions a way for the supernatural to co-exist with society, while still not quite fitting in. Staying true to much of the supernatural lore, Hunter skillfully manipulates it to fit in the world she’s created for Jane Yellowrock.

“Skinwalker” is like Mercy Thompson’s dangerous but sexy cousin. There is an inherent sexuality underlining the story. Unlike Mercy Thomspon who finds herself in dangerous situations due to circumstances, Jane Yellowrock actively seeks them as part of her job as a bounty hunter.

Advertisements

Matched by Ally Condie (YA Fiction)

Having never been one for stories based around dystopian societies, I was pleasantly surprised by “Matched”. Well written, Ally Condie successfully crafted a world where the reader can’t help but get drawn in from the start.

The book is about Cassia and her place in The Society. This dystopian society leaves nothing to chance. They control what jobs people get, what foods they eat, and who people fall in love with. When Cassia got Matched to her future spouse, for just a second, another face appeared on the screen as well.

“Matched” is about Cassia’s growth as a person and the idea of freedom of choice. Though targeted to a YA audience, “Matched” can also be appreciated by older readers as well. The focus of the story is Cassia’s romance and the importance of being able to choose what she wants from her life. Her chosen love interest symbolizes the stability of staying within the rules of The Society, while Ky, the other face that showed up, represents the possibilities of choice. Definitely a good start to the Matched trilogy, the ending will keep readers anticipating the next book.

You can be sure I’ll check out the second book in the trilogy when it comes out. “Crossed” will be released November 1, 2011.

 


Goodnight Tweetheart, by Teresa Medeiros (fiction)

“Goodnight Tweetheart” is a novel of Teresa Medeiros, written in a contemporary setting. Hence the title’s tie-in to the social networking platform, twitter. Advertised to be a story in line with Tom Hanks movie “You Got Mail”, “Goodnight Tweetheart” offers to be a light, easy-going read.

The story follows the author, Abby Donovan, as she’s pushed by her publishing compnay to start a twitter to connect with her fans and readers. Through Twitter, Abby quickly ‘meets’ mystery man Mark who helps her in navigating the intricacies of using Twitter.

Their contact is solely through Twitter conversations/ photos, but soon develops into a surprisingly close relationship. (Having virtual dates seems pretty close to me.) The traditional end to their tweets is Mark’s closing “goodnight tweetheart”.

Told from Abby’s point of view, there are places where Abby’s Twitter conversations with Mark are interspersed with scenes from her life. It helped give balance to the restrictions of conversations with  letter counts of 140 or less.

The comparison to “You Got Mail” and the element of unknown in relation to Mark’s character foreshadows a ‘big secret’ that Abby will eventually find out. The issue I had was with the speed Ms. Medeiros used to take us through the fallout of Abby and Mark’s relationship after his secret was outed. It felt rushed and hastily put together.

The book is a good read, however, if you’re looking for something nice and easy. The rushed ending is troublesome, but easily bypassed if you’re not as anally focused on having the ~perfect ending~ as I am.


Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, by Ethan Gilsdorf (Non fiction)

For anyone who is a Geek or Nerd at heart, this book will ring absolutely true. It’s a nonfiction epic of sorts, following the author-as-unlikely-hero through a personal quest to discover the true roots of his fantasy addiction.

It begins at the beginning, revealing a very sad portrait of the author’s family life when he was a child, and how a brain Aneurism transformed his once lively and vivacious mom into what he and his siblings called “The Momster,” a wholly different and scary entity. It then shows how the game Dungeons and Dragons helped an awkward and unsure adolescent Ethan cope with his “IRL” (in real life) problems and gain social prowess.

Cut to Ethan, middle aged, after supressing his love of D&D for years — trying to convince himself and others that he didn’t need it as a crutch anymore. He finds a blue cooler from his youth that contains a treasure trove of his D&D memories: maps, books, character sheets etc. After some internal hem-hawing, he embarks on a quest of heroic proportions. The book is part interviews, part anecdotes, part nerdgasm, part pilgramage. He explores fantasy realms into which even his D&D engrossed teen-self had not dared enter: Live Action Role Playing (LARP-ing), the addictive charms of World of Warcraft, Gaming conventions, and more.

The saga even includes various treks to Lord of  The Rings meccas, which are definitely my favorite parts. He visists the film sets in New Zealand, JRR Tolkein’s home and other haunts in Oxford, and makes one final journey that is too nerd-a-licious to be spoiled here.

The guy has chops. Any nerd who reads this book will not find him (or her!) self internally quibbling with the author about various facts and trivia  from different fantasy and sci fi books/movies/etc. As a milenium-era nerd, I have never played D&D but after reading this I want to haul out some graph paper and 20 sided die and go to town.

If you are a nerd, if you know a nerd, if you have loved a nerd, I highly recommend this book. It’s just the right amount of self-indulgent in that it waxes like a big in-joke to anyone who has ever uttered the phrase, “fool of a Took!” or, “My precioussss.” It’s funny, self-depricating, curious and a little sad. It also has a lot of pictures the author contributed, which–among many other things–show how important having the ability to laugh at yourself really is.


2011 Reading Challenge

Before I get onto the reviews, I’ve decided to take part in a year long reading challenge hosted by Book Chick City. The goal is to read 100 books in 2011. Since some (if not most) of the books will be reviewed here later on, I thought it would be fitting to post the list here. Plus this will help give an idea of what sort of books I’ll be reviewing in the future as well.

Since Ali and I didn’t manage to get this blog up till February, I’m already well on my way towards completing that goal. As I read more, this list will be constantly updated as well as getting linked to whatever reviews I may have written for them.

  1. Bone Crossed — Patricia Briggs (1.2.2011)
  2. Fortune’s Proposal — Allison Leigh (1.2.2011)
  3. Matched — Ally Condie (1.4.2011)
  4. Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch — B.J. Daniels (1.5.2011)
  5. Firefly Lane — Kristin Hannah (1.5.2011)
  6. Silver Borne — Patricia Briggs (1.6.2011)
  7. Alpha and Omega — Patricia Briggs (1.7.2011)
  8. Cry Wolf — Patricia Briggs (1.7.2011)
  9. Family Man — Jayne Ann Krentz (1.8.2011)
  10. Skinwalker — Faith Hunter  (1.11.2011)
  11. Burning Up — Susan Anderson (1.12.2011)
  12. Shades of Twilight — Linda Howard (1.14.2011)
  13. Taken: At the Boss’s Command — Harlequin bundle (1.17.2011)
  14. The Lightning Thief — Rick Riordan (1.18.2011)
  15. The Angel Experiment — James Patterson (1.18.2011)
  16. School’s Out – Forever — James Patterson (1.19.2011)
  17. The Sea of Monsters — Rick Riordan (1.20.2011)
  18. The Titan’s Curse — Rick Riordan (1.20.2011)
  19. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports — James Patterson (1.21.2011)
  20. The Battle of the Labyrinth — Rick Riordan (1.21.2011)
  21. The Last Olympian — Rick Riordan (1.22.2011)
  22. The Last Kolovsky Playboy — Carol Marinella (1.23.2011)
  23. The Lost Hero — Rick Riordan (1.24.2011)
  24. The Final Warning — James Patterson (1.25.2011)
  25. Wolf Signs: Granite Lake Wolves — Vivien Arend (1.25.2011)
  26. MAX — James Patterson (1.25.2011)
  27. Fang — James Patterson (1.26.2011)
  28. One for the Money — Janet Evanovich (1.27.2011)
  29. Two for the Dough — Janet Evanovich (01.28.2011)
  30. Three to Get Deadly — Janet Evanovich (01.30.2011)
  31. Four to Score — Janet Evanovich (01.31.2011)
  32. High Five — Janet Evanovich (01.31.2011)
  33. Hot Six — Janet Evanovich (01.31.2011)
  34. Tempt Me Tonight — Toni Blake (2.28.2011)
  35. River Marked — Patricia Briggs (3.1.2011)
  36. Take Me — Bella Andre (3.21. 2011)
  37. Stay — Deb Caletti (3.30.2011)
  38. Secret Babies Bundle — Harlequin
  39. Sawyer — Lori Foster
  40. To Dance with a Prince — Cara Colter
  41. In Love with Her Boss — Christie Ridgeway
  42. Monster — A. Lee Martinez
  43. Fantasy Lover — Sherrilyn Kenyon (8.7.2011)
  44. The Goddess Test — Aimée Carter (8.8.2011)
  45. Taking Love in Stride — Fasano Donna (8.8.2011)
  46. Starcrossed — Josephine Angelini (8.11.2011)
  47. Abandon — Meg Cabot (8.13.2011)
  48. Drink, Slay, Love — Sarah Beth Durst (8.15.2011)
  49. Rescue Me — Christy Reece (8.16.2011)
  50. Hot as Sin — Bella Andre (8.16.2011)
  51. The Practice Date — Victorine E. Lieske (8.16.2011)
  52. One Day — David Nicholls (8.16.2011)
  53. Falling Under — Gwen Hayes (8.18.2011)
  54. How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf — Molly Harper (8.19.2011)
  55. My Blood Approves — Amanda Hocking (8.19.2011)
  56. Fate — Amanda Hocking (8.20.2011)
  57. Flutter — Amanda Hocking (8.20.2011)
  58. Wisdom — Amanda Hocking (8.20.2011)
  59. A Werewolf in Manhattan — Vicki Lewis Thompson (8.22.2011)
  60. Evan — Diana Palmer (8.22.2011)
  61. The Mephisto Covenant — Trinity Faegen (8.26.2011)
  62. Blood — K.J. Wignall (8.28.2011)
  63. Baby On the Ranch — Susan Meier (09.10.2011)
  64. Have Baby, Need Billionaire — Maureen Child (09.10.2011)
  65. Misty and the Single Dad — Marion Lennox (09.11.2011)
  66. Shiver — Maggie Stiefvater (09.17.2011)

– Kim


Hello World!

Greetings! We are Ali and Kim and we like books and doing neat crafts with yarn! We just ate a lot of pizza and are on a pizza-high so this post is a little over exuberant!

Anyway, we set up this blog because we both love reading, and perhaps some of you like reading as well.  Some of the books will be new, some will be old. Some will be fiction and some will be non-fiction. If you like to read and want some stellar recommendations you should subscribe, or at least glance at our posts occasionally. Because if you do we can get advanced copies of books and therefore be all fancy-pants and write reviews before they come out. HUZZAH!

So, prepare to be inundated with many a review from every genre and subgenre you have imagined (and potentially some you haven’t!). We’ll tell you what you should read and what you shouldn’t. If you want to email us and request that we read a book, DO IT. =] Also, feel free to share what you’re reading with us!

Happy Book Munching!

-Ali & Kim