Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blood Ties - Kay Hooper

TITLE: Blood Ties

AUTHOR: Kay Hooper

SUMMARY: New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper takes us to the outer reaches of fear in her latest thriller, as the Special Crimes Unit finds itself targeted by a monster intent on destroying both Noah Bishop and his people.

The elite Special Crimes Unit, the FBI's most controversial and effective team, is a group of mavericks and misfits trained to use their unique psychic abilities to hunt the worst monsters imaginable-human ones. Led by the enigmatic Noah Bishop, the SCU has earned a reputation for pitting their skills and cunning against killers that other cops fear. But this time Bishop and his agents face an enemy who has them in his sights, a trained sniper with a deadly plan-and more than one ace up his sleeve.

It starts with an unspeakable series of grisly murders across three states, a trail of blood leading, finally, to the small Tennessee town of Serenade. There, two more brutal killings lure the SCU into what may be the ultimate trap.

One of the first investigators on the scene, Special Agent Hollis Templeton, is willing to push herself as hard and as far as necessary. Risking more than her life to help and protect her SCU colleagues, Hollis must cope with her own psychic abilities, which are evolving in unprecedented ways, an attraction to the most complex man she's ever known, and a serial murder investigation that turns very, very personal.

In her time with the SCU, Hollis has shown an uncanny ability to survive even the deadliest attacks. But what she can't know is that this killer intends to destroy the team from within.

The clock is ticking. The body count is rising. And as Bishop and his agents race to uncover the true identity of their enemy, not even their special senses can warn them just how bloody, and how terrifyingly close, the truth will be. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Hooper is a mastermind at creating vivid characters with a storyline that has you engaged and begging for more. Blood Ties is the newest installment from Hooper's Noah Bishop Series and if you've enjoyed the previous books you'll love this one.

This book, like Blood Dreams & Blood Sins, is part of a bigger story arc and something Hooper hasn't done until this trilogy with her Bishop Series. The story continues with familiar foes and a new enemy that's working at destroying Bishop and the SCU. While I loved having a huge story line that spanned three books, I wish the release dates were closer. Often I'd find myself trying to remember what happened in book one and that took away from the story, not a lot but enough that I took notice.

With having such a connected storyline it did allow for us to get to know some newer characters better and have more word time with some favorites. For example, Hollis. She's always been one of my favorites and I loved that we got lots from her in this book. Hooper always writes her characters so real that you feel like you're going through the story with them. I'm always so eager to learn about the new characters she brings to the canvas; and even for the characters that have been around for a while, she still manages to give them scenes that allow them to grow.

This is the twelfth book in this series and the plot and characters haven't eroded and Hooper is still finding villainous foes to pit against the talent of the SCU.

Here's to hoping that the next book in this series comes fast!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, April 9, 2010

sTori Telling - Tori Spelling

TITLE: STori Telling

AUTHOR: Tori Spelling

SUMMARY: She was television''s most famous virgin -- and, as Aaron Spelling''s daughter, arguably its most famous case of nepotism. Portraying Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori Spelling became one of the most recognizable young actresses of her generation, with a not-so-private personal life every bit as fascinating as her character''s exploits. Yet years later the name Tori Spelling too often closed -- and sometimes slammed -- the same doors it had opened.

sTORI telling is Tori''s chance to finally tell her side of the tabloid-worthy life she''s led, and she talks about it all: her decadent childhood birthday parties, her nose job, her fairy-tale wedding to the wrong man, her so-called feud with her mother. Tori has already revealed her flair for brilliant, self-effacing satire on her VH1 show So NoTORIous and Oxygen''s Tori & Dean: Inn Love, but her memoir goes deeper, into the real life behind the rumors: her complicated relationship with her parents; her struggles as an actress after 90210; her accident-prone love life; and, ultimately, her quest to define herself on her own terms.

From her over-the-top first wedding to finding new love to her much-publicized -- and misunderstood -- "disinheritance," sTORI telling is a juicy, eye-opening, enthralling look at what it really means to be Tori Spelling. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Let me start off by saying, "Donna Martin Graduates!". There. I feel much better.

I never found Tori Spelling to be all that engaging until a.) later 90210 episodes where we got more from her character and b.) watching reruns of her Tori & Dean reality shows. I am that proverbial cat where curiosity generally gets me every time, so I had to pick up this book. I'm glad that curiosity was once again my friend and I didn't end up cursing my inquisitive nature. I ate through this in one reading and pretty much hit all the emotions on the wheel, yes I did get teary eyed and perhaps a tear was shed... or two.

I remember watching an episode of her reality show where she's at a book signing for her second book and fans are saying that she's just so real and normal. I rolled my eyes but after reading this book I wish you could retract past eye rolls because they were right. She is rather normal for having the upbringing that she did.

For all you Spelling haters out here, I can't say this book will change your view point on this Hollywood blonde but it's certainly entertaining. She has a refreshing voice and it read honest and real. I feel, after reading this, that perhaps she's a bit misunderstood and truly funny. Tori's got a way of sharing a story that makes you feel like you're in her inner circle of friends, having a few drinks on a roof top hotel bar while another Tori powwow is had. I didn't find her pretentious or snobby, the book was far more down to earth; with her taking blame, admitting wrongs and sharing her heart.

Guiltily I have to admit all the 90210 information (Luke Perry starting a fist fight at her families annual Christmas party) made me delighted. I fully admit to having a behind the scenes addiction and this book gave me lots of goodies.

All around I loved this book and will be picking up her second and third book. "sTori Telling" made me a bit of a fan of this quirky blonde.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

TITLE: Shiver

AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater

SUMMARY: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf - her wolf - is a haunting presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human -- until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. - From Publisher

REVIEW: The parallels of awesomeness I'm about to draw will blow your mind. Okay, so that's total bull. Unless it does blow your mind in which case go me! I digress. While I read this book I realized a few things that unknown to me, defined this brunette from an early age and something that caused my fandom heart to burst with wonderful nostalgia while I read this.

Lets start with a defining moment. When I was little, like kindergarten age, I remember going on family vacationsw or driving out to my Uncle's cabin and listening to Meat Loaf. It was my Mom's favorite and while the cassette cover disturbed me (young children should not be exposed to rippled men on motorcycles bursting out of hell, it's begging for them to have a love for the speed racer/bad boy types) I loved the music. One of my favorites was "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)". The song started with the following: "[Boy:] On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? // [Girl:] Will he offer me his mouth // [Boy:] Yes. // [Girl:] Will he offer me his teeth? // [Boy:] Yes. // [Girl:] Will he offer me his jaws? // [Boy:] Yes. // [Girl:] Will he offer me his hunger? // [Boy:] Yes. // [Girl:] Again, will he offer me his hunger? // [Boy:] Yes! // [Girl:] And does he love me? // [Boy:] Yes. // [Girl:] Yes. // [Boy:] On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? // [Girl:] Yes. // [Boy:] I bet you say that to all the boys!". I didn't get all the implications or smuttiness that the song implied I just thought it was about Red Riding Hood or something like that. This was the start of my wolf love. Now when I read a werewolf novel I know I'm loving and enjoying the book if this song jumps in my head. This song was on instant reply while I read Stiefvater's book.

Her characters were easy to fall for and from the first few paragraphs I knew this would be unlike other books I'd read from this genre and/or category. I liked how Stiefvater set this book up for the series. I felt like I got lots and really started to learn about the characters without being worried that in the next installments I'd get bored. I absolutely loved how Stiefvater didn't make Grace a whiner. She has her issues but was still written lovable and even with her at times absent parents that whole story line wasn't written like others I've read. Somehow I found it to be fresh, perhaps because it managed to stay balanced while giving it meat and adding to character development.

I also loved the style of this book, how we got chapters written in Grace's POV and others in Sam's, again, I liked the balance and insight that I got. Sometimes when it's all first person I get the longing to know what the other is thinking or feeling. I got that with this, yet I never found myself confused or that it tore my focus.

My favorite thing about this book, other than listening to Meat Loaf on replay, was the romance between Grace and Sam. Their whole journey and how he watched her for so long and she waited for him and how they longed for each other but figured it to be impossible was so Buffy & Angel. It was early seasons BtVS and how their budding romance was full of chaste kisses and simply being in each others presence. I found that far more romantic than if they just jumped into making out. The build up of it all was wonderful and filled in gaps where the plot may have slacked a bit. When there was a little plot slack I found I didn't care because I was so engaged in these two as both individuals and as a pair.

Easily, the best teen/ya romance I've read. I wish more were like this.

Definitely recommend this book to others. I think those that enjoy this genre will love this first book and Linger (book 2) is now on my must snag list. I hope with book 2 we get more from other characters, as the cast has a slew of potential.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥