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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Silent in the Grave

Silent in the GraveTitle: Silent in the Grave
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Page Count: 448 pages print length (384 KB Kindle length)
Publisher: Mira
Genre: historical mystery
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less:  Lady Julia Grey never expected to be working side by side with Nicholas Brisbane to investigate her husband's murder.  Of course, she didn't expect a lot of things.  Didn't expect them at all.

I first heard about this book and this series from Twitter, and initially decided to check it out via the library.  I didn't get 50 pages in before I sprang for the whole series, that's how quickly the series sucked me in and didn't let me go.

Lady Julia is an interesting character.  She is, perhaps, the only traditional member of her highly non-traditional family, which makes her the subject of much amusement within her family circle.  When she fell in love with and married Edward Grey, by all accounts a social golden child, her family had reservations but wished her happiness. 

Happiness is not quite what she finds as a married woman; her husband is distant, her daily life banal, and her own nuclear family stays stubbornly at two members.  Even that insular world comes crashing down when her husband collapses, convulses, and dies in front of a houseful of guests at a dinner party.  Edward had apparently always had a frail constitution so everyone was, at first, content to write his death off as sadly early but truly inevitable and leave it at that.

That is the start of a twisty, windy misadventure that takes Julia down the rabbit hole of her late husband's secret life- a life that started before she came in the picture and continued right up until he gasped his last.  The first of many revelations was that Nicholas Brisbane, discreet private enquiry agent to the London aristocracy, was actually on the job when he assisted Edward in his final minutes at the dinner party, and Edward had hired him.

The evolving relationship between Nicholas and Julia is woven delicately into the backdrop of the story.  The focus is on the murder and the resolution of that story is the primary storyline, but there are others as well- what was Edward's big secret?  What's up with Julia's brother Val and the bloody clothes?  What's the deal with the gypsy maid and why did she have arsenic?  And don't forget Nicholas- the mysterious detective has a few secrets of his own.

I think my favorite subplot of the entire story was Julia's evolution as an individual- she went from being the only quiet, reserved member of the Marsh family to the respectable wife of Sir Edward Grey; either way, always defined by someone else.  As Julia unravels the mysteries that she didn't even know existed within her own life, she evolves into someone who is totally new on the scene- herself.

I was so excited to come upon this series with several installments already released.  I'm interested to read more about Julia and Nicholas and their future adventures.

Overall Grade: A

Friday, April 29, 2011

Illustrated Friday: Fairly Fairy Tales

Fairly Fairy TalesThis book combines several of my favorite things- fractured fairy tales, predictable text, and great illustrations!  Each series of pages lays out the salient points of a well known fairy tale, and then adds in a silly, implausible, but cute alternate ending or element.  For example, the Three Little Pigs are summed up as follows?

Sticks? Yes.
Bricks? Yes.
Solar Panels? Noooo!
...Well, maybe.

Because that's the rub!  The alternate ending or element is beautifully illustrated and detailed- who's to say the story couldn't have happened differently?

I can think of a ton of great uses for this book in a classroom.  It would definitely be a great read aloud, and you could definitely get the students involved in reading the predictable text.  Wouldn't it be fun for students to write their own fairly fairy tales, and maybe illustrate them too?  With my student population, this would be a fun way to do a structured compare and contrast activity, or having students recall story elements later on.  The possibilities are pretty endless, which is always nice.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

eBites: Sabine and Kisri

Blog With Bite

So you all know already that I'll read the phone book if Moira Rogers writes it, right? Well, here's further proof of that:

The first two installments of the And the Beast series are coming out this year- Sabine has a release date of May 3rd, and Kisri has a release date of June 21st. It's supremely good news that there isn't long to wait between installments, because if you're like me you'll want to gobble these stories up in short order. Three words, folks: Hot. Shifter. Fairytales. (You can make it four words if you'd like.)

Check out the summaries (and the warnings, of course:)

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart.

…and the Beast, Book 1

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine’s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord’s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son’s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse’s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Product Warnings: This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.

And for Kisri:
His duty...her pleasure.

…and the Beast, Book 2

After three years at war, Ennon bears the burden of seeing the High Lord’s vast armies home. Keeping thousands of fiercely independent lions in line isn’t easy. When his soldiers discover a beautiful, royal female hidden beneath an illusion spell, the lure of her inheritance threatens the order of his camp.

The men of her family protected Kisri, until the war stole them away. Tired of defending herself from greedy suitors, she’s in search of her only remaining male relative. Instead she finds Ennon, her cousin’s most dangerous warrior. Perhaps the only man in the kingdom who has no interest in claiming her birthright. Which makes him unique…and tempting.

Delivering Kisri to his High Lord’s side—while keeping his distance—is Ennon’s one and only duty. Yet Kisri’s untutored advances crack his formidable resistance. And she proves to be a dangerously adept student. Especially when their passion wakes a magic beyond their control…

Product Warnings: This story contains a dangerous shapeshifter warlord, a lioness with a sword, innocent passion, sexual awakenings and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.

As an aside, these covers are GORGEOUS. Happy Wednesday!

Review: Dark, Deadly Love

Dark, Deadly LoveTitle: Dark, Deadly Love
Author: Denise Agnew
Page Count: 1292 KB (full length novel, Kindle format)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal historical romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Alexandra Watson is a fine young miss from America, who, upon the death of her father, finds herself living in London with her childhood crush turned guardian, Sir Ross Havenwood.  Plagued by visions of violence and death, Alexandra figures nobody can understand her...except maybe Sir Ross...

Dark, Deadly Love is one of those books that would have been a lot more intense if it had been shorter.  Part of the problem of weaving together an actual historical timeline with a separate story is that the separate story has to move at the pace of the historical one.  That, I think, was the big issue I had with this book; to make the Jack the Ripper storyline fit with the romance, the romance had to bend and twist in ways that slowed the pace to a crawl and left the ending unsatisfying.

The supernatural element of the story was less than believable- both main characters had violent nightmares of crimes in progress- specifically, horrific murders and assaults perpetrated against women.  Alexandra sees them from the women's point of view; Ross sees it from the murderer's.  They form a bond over these shared nightmares that, coupled with Ross's brief stay with Alexandra's family when Alexandra was a child, form the basis of their romantic relationship. 

I'm all for dynamic, independent and opinionated female lead characters, but Alexandra Watson was just annoying.  She came from a background of privilege and moved into a different environment of privilege when her father died.  She dithers over how unfair things are and how outcast she is because she's tall or opinionated or independent or whatever, but beyond a few brief forays into charity work and what she sees in her visions she sits comfortably in her own little world.  There's never a sense that she is anything but a young woman who's used to getting what she wants.  She's been very indulged up until the point where we meet her in the story and nothing really happened to change my mind after that.

Ross Havenwood is similarly nondescript.  He feels guilty about pretty much everything- the failure of his first marriage, his first wife's suicide, his inability to do anything about the gruesome things he dreams about, etc.  He nurtures what he thinks is an improper fancy for Alexandra that's all wrapped up in his realization that part of being her guardian means seeing that she's married and settled down into an "appropriate" adult life.

Their drama is set against the backdrop of London in 1888 when Jack the Ripper is about to burst onto the scene; in order to cover the entire span of events of that episode of history, their relationship has to drag out just as long, with just as much indecisiveness and angst.  Story elements are added seemingly for the purpose of making the story longer (one of Ross's friends courts Alexandra for awhile, there's a side plot involving Alexandra's companion and one of the servants at Ross's estate, etc.) but they just added bulk to the story without adding depth.

Meh.  At the end of the day this story was long on agonizing and short on action.  Was it terrible? Nope, but I confess that my expectations were high and overall, not met.

Overall Grade: C-

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza WINNER!

First off, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! A big welcome as well to new followers- I hope you like what you see and you decide to stick around!

With that said, random.org has spoken, and the winner of the prize pack is...Kristal! The winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Relic

RelicTitle: Relic
Authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Page Count: 480 pages
Publisher: Tor
Genre: horror, science fiction/mystery
Copy for review compliments of the public library

50 words or less:  This is one for the beach- a doomed expedition, horrific monsters, creepy detectives, conspiracy, drama, all set against the drama of a natural history museum.  And the twist at the end? Boy howdy.

This one is a blast from the past, with an original publication date of 1995, and is the first in the series of books starring FBI Special Agent Pendergast.  He doesn't appear on the scene in this book until almost halfway through the book, but in the meantime, there's all sorts of set up and all sorts of intrigue.  Not too mention bloody, bloody guts, so if that kind of thing is a problem for you then definitely stop reading.

The whole sordid story starts with a doomed expedition trying to claw its way out of the Amazon.  They've found artifacts that serve as evidence of what everyone had assumed was a lost civilization, and in the midst of trying to ship them back to the Museum of Natural History, the whole expedition dies, either in the jungle under mysterious circumstances, or in a plane crash shortly thereafter.  The crates of artifacts make their way to the museum, ultimately, and from there all hell breaks loose.

Visitors are being murdered in the museum, but by what, and for what reason, remains a mystery.  Staff fear for their safety; visitors are way down; the museum has to figure out how it's going to recover from the publicity nightmare.  Things just go from bad to more bad to worse to even worse, and as the bodies pile up, the weirdness increases.

This is the kind of book that sucks you in and doesn't let go, but leaves you fully able to move on once the story is finished.  It's the consummate beach book- lots of details and the plot moves along quickly, and plenty of uppity people are given their due by Detective Pendergast.  Suspension of disbelief is a must, but despite the zaniness, the ending is satisfying- and the ground is laid for the next book.

Relic is definitely off the path of UF/PNR that I normally tread, but it was precisely the right fit for a day at the beach.  I haven't visited this series in awhile (and- brace yourself for this one- I'm behind in this series too) but revisiting Relic was fun.

Overall Grade: B

Review: Eternal Rider

Eternal RiderTitle: Eternal Rider
Author: Larissa Ione
Page Count: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Ares is one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and he's trying not to break the seal.  His seal, that is.  Cara is a supernaturally gifted healer of animals who finds her life getting even weirder and more stressful than it already was.  The sparks fly.  And fly. And flyyyyy...

Chalk this one up to the book bloggers, because I totally bought this after reading so many good reviews from other bloggers.  While I admit to being woefully behind on the Demonica series, from which this is a spin-off, I definitely plan on staying current with this series from here on out.

Ares is, logically, the Horseman War, and when his seal breaks, he will become a force of evil, totally self-motivated, and be personally responsible for helping to squire in the apocalypse.  He has the unfortunate burden of knowing that all that will happen despite being perfectly sane and honorable now, and he, along with his remaining uncorrupted siblings, are trying to prevent the end of the world.

This is pretty much a full time job, especially since one of the four Horsemen (and therefore one of the siblings) has already had his seal broken and has fully embraced his existence as Pestilence.  The forces of evil are hard at work trying to get the remaining three seals broken and the apocalypse party started, and Cara, who's trying to start over after he life was turned upside down by a devastating attack, is caught in the middle of it all.

Ares and Cara make a great couple, but the plot necessitates that they fight their attraction to the bitter, bitter end, owing to the fact that Cara, through an unlikely set of circumstances, is now the holder of Ares' seal.  She doesn't want to be, and nobody asked her if she wanted to be responsible for unleashing the apocalypse or if she wanted her life to be on the line, but it all happened anyway. 

I admit that the mythology surrounding the Horsemen and all that will take a second reading on my part to fully grasp, because what had my full and undivided attention was the blossoming romance between Ares and Cara.  Both of them are such unique characters and their feelings are very well-drawn.  Plus, there is vine sex in a tree. You know, in case you haven't heard.

Several characters from the Demonica series make a cameo in this book, and it definitely spiked my interest in getting current on that series, as several events were mentioned from previous books that have bearing here.  It didn't take away from my reading of this story but it did pique my interest in the other series.

The ending of the book was incredibly sweet- I was rooting for Cara and Ares the whole time but the ending was beyond worth all the drama and betrayal.  The happily ever after in this story was top notch.

The next book in the series, Immortal Rider, is due out later this year and stars Limos, the Horsewoman Famine.  That should give me plenty of time to get current on the Demonica world, right?

Overall Grade: A

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sneak Peek: Back in the Game

Spring break is coming to a close, but that means that summer is right around the corner!  And while it's back to work tomorrow for me, here's what's on the agenda for this week:

Eternal Rider
Monday I'll be reviewing Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione, in all its tasty goodness.

Tuesday I'll be sharing my beach read with everyone- Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child has detectives and monsters and museums, oh my!

Blog With Bite

Wednesday is eBites day, and this week I'll have a double shot of short, hot, shapeshifter fairy tales that you need to have on your radar, stat.

Dark, Deadly Love

Thursday brings my review of Dark, Deadly Love by Denise Agnew, an historical romance set against the backdrop of London terrorized by Jack the Ripper.

Fairly Fairy Tales

Friday is Illustrated Friday, and I'll be sharing one of the most fun collections of fractured fairy tales I've come across in awhile.

Silent in the Grave

And on Saturday, I'll be reviewing Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn, the first in the Lady Julia series.

And just like that, April is just about finished! What's on your plate for the upcoming week?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: Grimspace

GrimspaceTitle: Grimspace
Author: Ann Aguirre
Page Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace
Genre: sci-fi romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Sirantha Jax's abilities as a navigator make her a hot commodity in the Corp.  Unfortunately, she's the missing piece in a puzzle that involves a crash that left everyone but her dead, and the Corp. is not happy. Not happy at all.

Grimspace was another title I picked during the read-a-thon, after hearing a lot of great things about the series and about the author.  I've been known to enjoy a good sci-fi romance so I hopped on board, and I was pleased overall with the results.

Sirantha Jax starts off the story in a bad way.  She's being held for her own protection in a Corp facility and the bad guys are hoping that her brain will implode from the isolation and the "treatments" that she's subjected to.  When a mysterious guy shows up and shorts out the security system in order to help her escape, she figures her ship finally came in.  Little does she know that she's in for, quite literally, the ride of her life.

Sirantha is a neat character.  She doesn't take crap from people and fully appreciates the value of her skills, which is nice.  She's impulsive but, when things don't go according to plan, she owns her share of responsibility in the fallout.  Marsh (the pilot in the band of rogue fighters) is in many ways a good match for her- he's strong and level headed but he's also very self aware. 

One of my favorite elements of the story was Sirantha dealing with the loss of her lover and her pilot, who was on the ship that crashed.  He was the love of her life; in a second, he was gone, and so was Sirantha's entire support network.  She feels guilty for moving on with her life but feels guilty for considering not moving on, because he wouldn't want her to be unhappy.  Quite a conundrum.

There were lots of details and information embedded throughout the story but they didn't overload the story or bog it down.  Likewise, there's plenty of fodder for development for future stories and I'm definitely interested in seeing where the series goes from here.  The foundation is definitely laid for a good series with a fun romance and lots of adventure.

Overall Grade: B+

Review: Poison

Poison: A Novel of the RenaissanceTitle: Poison
Author: Sara Poole
Page Count: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffith
Genre: historical fiction
Copy for review compliments of the public library

50 words or less: After her father, court poisoner to the Borgia family, is murdered in the street, Francesca Giordano steps up to take his place.  In her quest to avenge her father's murder, she has to keep the Borgia family safe in the quest to make Cardinal Borgia pope, foil an attempt at genocide, and keep her own soul safe in the process.

Today brings a double shot of reviews of books I read during the read-a-thon a couple of weekends ago from vastly different genres.  Up first is Poison, a tasty morsel of an historical mystery set during the Renaissance in the Borgia household.

I grabbed this book after a) reading some good reviews from bloggers, and b) seeing that Lauren Willig had a blurb on the cover.  Typically I don't pick books based on blurbs since I always seem to end up disappointed that way, but this was a refreshing change to that sad trend.

Anyway, the book opens with Francesca poisoning the guy that was given the job of poisoner after her father was murdered.  Francesca points out that if the guy was up to the standards needed by the Borgia household, he wouldn't have fallen for her trap and would thus still be alive.  Cardinal Borgia figures that that line of logic is sound and Francesca finds herself in the position of court poisoner, able to use all the things she learned at her father's knee to not only keep the family she serves safe from disaster, but also to investigate and avenge her father's murder.  Before she can do any of that, though, she finds herself sucked into the politics surrounding the papal succession and she learns that there's more treachery afoot than even she could have imagined.

You see, Pope Innocent isn't doing so well, and that means that the powers that be are scrambling to shore up their positions and hopefully become the next pope, with all the earthly (and celestial, although that comes a poor second according to many of the major players in the book) power, wealth and influence that comes with the position.  Not least among the players is Rodrigo, Francesca's employer, who's spent a lifetime trying to become pope and isn't about to be foiled this time.

I confess myself almost entirely unfamiliar with the historical events of the period covered by this book, but after finishing the story I can't figure out why more books aren't set in this time period.  There's corruption and intrigue and politics and mystery and suspense and even a shot of romance, and the vivid backdrop and the debauchery of the papal courts serves as a perfect setting.

There are a bunch of storylines going on at once here, as well- the quest for the papal throne, the persecution of the Jews and the plans for a genocide which Francesca must stop, the intrigues within the Borgia family, and secrets that Francesca's father took with him to his grave that help shed some light on why he did the things he did and why he was involved with certain causes.  It makes for an involving book, but attention to detail is definitely required or things can get a little confusing.

If I had to offer a criticism of the book it would be that there were times when details seemed thrown in the mix just to offer a more plausible explanation for a character's action than "because he felt like it."  This was especially true for things pertaining to Francesca's late father- many elements were introduced and after awhile it was a little tiring to be finding out things at the same time Francesca did, seemingly for the shock value.

Beyond that, though, this was an excellent book.  Fans of the Pink Carnation series or of the Lady Julia books- check this one out for sure.

Overall Grade: B+

Friday, April 22, 2011

Illustrated Friday: Jazz

JazzA sultry love song, sassy as a summer day,
goes dancing from my heart and fills my mind
with such sweet things to say.

Those are the kinds of verses you'll find in Jazz, a book of poetry about the foundations and evolutions of jazz music that's as chock full of information and details as any nonfiction book.  There's a really informative glossary in the back of relevant jazz terms, as well as a timeline of important jazz milestones and an introduction that really lays the foundation for the poetry in the book.  This would make a great cornerstone for an author study (Walter Dean Myers is incredibly prolific and all of his books are top notch) or a thematic unit (music, English and social studies/history- how cross-curricular!)  Happy Friday!

Review: Red Glove

Red GloveTitle: Red Glove
Author: Holly Black
Page Count: 336 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: young adult, urban fantasy, romance
Copy for review provided by the publisher in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: Cassel Sharpe is reeling from discovering that he's a transformation worker, one of the most elusive of curse workers.  The love of his life has been cursed to love him so who knows if what she feels is real.  His family is as conniving and manipulative as always.  Added interest in his abilities only makes life harder.  Poor Cassel.

Red Glove made my shortlist of most anticipated YA books for 2011 and upon finishing it, I'm not sorry that I put it there.  Every bit as good as the first in the series (White Cat), this story grabbed me by my eyeballs and didn't let go.

Easily my favorite part of the story was the authenticity of the characters.  Each character has their own specific motives and emotions, and while the reader may not always agree with what the character is choosing or doing, the line of logic that gets them from point A to point B is clear.  In this series, many curse workers are on the wrong side of the law, whether by choice or by necessity; their moral codes are not the ones that we might necessarily choose for ourselves, but why they feel and do the things they do was never in question for me as a reader.

Cassel has a lot on his plate in this book.  He's trying to juggle a family that's corrupt even by worker standards, a blossoming pseudo-relationship with the love of his life, who happens to be the daughter of a notorious mob boss, keeping his identity secret from all but his closest of friends (curse workers are reviled and admired at the same time, which is a dangerous combination) and oh yeah, the FBI wants to talk to him about some coincidences that are too big to ignore.  It's a good thing Cassel's been thinking on his feet since the moment he entered the world, otherwise his ship would be sunk for sure.

The plot is twisty and turny and the outcome is one that I didn't expect, per se, but can definitely see as logical- it was a neat hat trick that sets up a really excellent conflict for the next book.  Loose ends from White Cat were tied up and new ones were created so the next book, the end of the trilogy as far as I know, will have plenty of new ground to cover.

Throughout the series so far, though, I have to say that my absolute favorite character is Cassel's grandpa.  The rest of his family is so manipulative, whether deliberately or because manipulation is so second nature to them by this point, that it's a pretty abusive environment for Cassel as far as I'm concerned.  His family is totally aware that all Cassel wants from them is acceptance and they're willing to put as high a price on that as Cassel is willing to pay.  His grandpa is the sole exception- maybe it's because he's a death worker and not much scares him, but his love for Cassel was the most genuine.  When everyone else is baying at the door to get Cassel to do something to further their own agenda, his grandpa makes him dinner and gives him a place to stay on the couch, no questions asked.  

If you're a newcomer to this series, start at the beginning.  If you enjoyed White Cat then you'll find plenty more to love here.  I know I did!

Overall Grade: A+

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Children of Scarabaeus

Children of ScarabaeusTitle: Children of Scarabaeus
Author: Sara Creasy
Page Count: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: sci-fi romance
Copy for review obtained via NetGalley in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: Edie and Finn are on the run from the Crib and attempt to take refuge in the Fringe worlds that are dependent on the Crib for survival.  When they're recaptured, Edie is horrified to find out that her upbringing is small potatoes to what the Crib is up to now.

After reading and enjoying the first book in this duo, Song of Scarabaeus, I was eager to have the chance to read this, the second book, and I'm pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

The elements that I enjoyed so much in the first book- the science, the authenticity of the relationships between the characters, especially between Edie and Finn, and the power dynamics- are here again in full force, but the focus of the story this time is on the impact that our decisions and actions have on the world around us, both in terms of human cost and in terms of environmental cost.

You see, the Crib has a very simple reason for wanting to use the biotech that Edie is so proficient with to renovate seemingly uninhabited worlds into ones ready for colonization.  Turns out the population in Crib worlds has exploded and the environment is no longer able to sustain that level of habitation, let alone any future growth.  The Crib has kept this information a secret, but the fact is, if they don't find a new source of food and natural resources, then the population will collapse and the world as everyone knows it will end.

That doesn't sound familiar, does it?

To that end, Natesa, Edie's mentor-cum-jailer as she grew up, is trying to start a cohort of children who are able to not only do the level of tech work that Edie does, but are also completely loyal to the Crib, instead of to the worlds they discover, like Edie.  When the Crib recaptures Edie and Finn, it doesn't take Edie long to find out about the children and to be disgusted by their exploitation.  As the story progresses, Edie has to discover the consequences of her actions, both the intended ones and the unintended ones, and figure out how she's going to continue to be a person of integrity while also making sure her gifts aren't used for evil.

Defining what evil is, though, is a whole different thing, and Edie quickly realizes that things aren't black and white.  This is especially true as she navigates the murky waters of romance with Finn, even moreso when a mysterious cadre of people from his past resurface.

I definitely recommend starting with the first book and reading this one right afterwards- it reads like one long story divided into two pieces, as opposed to a two book series.  Although I had hoped for more books following this one, I was satisfied with how things ended up, and the lesson and the mission of the story was clear.  I rooted for Edie and Finn from the beginning to the end and I wasn't disappointed.  I'm very excited to see what other fantastic adventures this author has up her sleeve.  You can bet I'll be there to read them.

Overall Grade: A

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

eBites: The Importance of Being Emily

Blog With Bite

The Importance of Being Emily After two days of laying out in the sun (and with some really uncomfortable sunburn patches to show for it) I'm back in high style with some exciting news!

Robyn Bachar has a new story coming out!  I really enjoyed her debut, Blood, Smoke, and Mirrors, and have high hopes for this novella as well.  Check out the synopsis from Samhain:

Magic, matchmaking and murder...

Lord Willowbrook’s spring ball is supposed to be a magical celebration, but Miss Emily Wright is bored. The only outlet allowed for her magic is matchmaking—for others, not herself. Why bother? The only man she wants, Michael Black, is a man she can never have.

Suddenly the guests are abuzz with news of a young sorceress found drained of blood in the parlor. The mystery calls to her, and since she is the only available seer in all England, she jumps at the chance to prove herself.

Michael has spent his life preparing for his ritual death, when he will join the Order of St. Jerome as an immortal chronicler. Now that dream hangs in the balance, his mentor accused of the murder. Worse, gentle Emily, the woman he silently loves, is walking into a world of horrors beyond her imagination.

Torn between duty to the order and desire to keep her safe, Michael fights his growing need for a love that can never be his. All the while the real killer stalks the shadows of Willowbrook Hall, homing in on the next victim.
Product Warnings: This book contains a tough but tortured seer, a hero with an expiration date, scandalous kisses, scheming vampires and bloody corpses.

Sounds like a winner to me!  What good books are on your radar? 

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to everyone hopping through the Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!  Here at What Book is That? you have the chance to win a super prize pack of ARCs from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing!  Check out these great titles:

Chilling Tales: Evil I Did Dwell -- Lewd Did I LiveCinco de MayoAvim's Oath (Okal Rel Saga Part 6)Rigor AmortisCinkarion: The Heart of Fire (Chronicles of the Karionin - Part 2)

All you have to do to be entered to win is stick your name and email address in the Google form below. That's it!

Here's the fine print:
-U.S./Canada only please.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on April 25, 2011. Winner will be announced on April 26th.
-You don't have to be a follower here to win, but I would love it if you jumped on board!

Why not check out all the other great giveaways going on as a part of the hop? Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring break is here!

The title says it all- spring break is here!  As fun and exciting as I found the breaks from school when I was a student, I have to say that I enjoy them even more now that I'm a teacher, and this one is no exception.  I have friends from out of town coming to visit and some day trips planned, but I'm hoping to spend a lot of time working on fun and exciting stuff for What Book is That? as well.  Full speed ahead is nice and all, but I'm looking forward to having some downtime and building up a reservoir of good content and all that jazz too.

I'm also hoping to finally get my Goodreads shelves organized (hey, I can dream) and read some of my own books and library books this week as well.  The time will definitely go fast!  What is everyone else up to?  Read anything exciting lately?
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