Monday, June 21, 2010

Voices of Dragons - Carrie Vaughn

TITLE: Voices of Dragons

AUTHOR: Carrie Vaughn

SUMMARY: On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Alright, it's no secret that I love Vaughn's Kitty Norville series. I think for an adult series she's done such a good job of written character driven stories and while in her adult series there is romance it's never the sole focus of the books. So I knew going into Vaughn's first dive at a YA book that I was going to love it. And, I did!

The story starts off with giving us some general information for the book but pretty soon we are pushed into action and really, it doesn't slow down. The pace was even, spiking at certain key points and going back to a steady enjoyable stride. I loved that at no point while reading this did I get bored or bogged down. Vaughn managed to give us history and knowledge while never it turning into a history lesson and I loved that she pulled some unexpected twists.

When a story is character-driven I feel like it can't go wrong. And Vaughn has grown so much as an author that focus' on characters. Kay was the sort of girl that I'd like my daughter to read about. She was strong willed in a non-bratty way and yes, because I'm traditional I loved that she wasn't following her BFFL's lead when it comes to sex. I know it's a big topic with authors, readers & parents but I felt like Vaughn wrote it so well and really, with everything that she had going and what we knew about Kay any crazy focus on romance would have seemed out from left field.

The book had some beautiful scenes and I found the story to be extremely compelling. A delight to read and I really hope Vaughn decides to continue with this 'verse and makes a series out of it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, June 18, 2010

American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson

TITLE: American on Purpose

AUTHOR: Craig Ferguson

SUMMARY: In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark-as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008.

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared. - From Publisher

REVIEW: "Alright, my cheeky little monkeys!"

I adore Ferguson. I think he's a gem among the late night talk shows and is hands down my favorite among them. I knew the moment I watched his monologue about Britney Spears that he was different. I loved that he shared his story and was willing to be real with the viewers.

That made reading his story that much better. I knew he was talented and had struggles but in this book he was honest and real. I cried and laughed and was filled with joy that this man who had been so lost had been saved.

While diving into his dark and hazing from booze past I found Ferguson to be refreshing. Yes, he was telling us his story but never did it feel like a look what I've accomplished, I'm so amazing! Never did it get self-important. It was simply his story, with humorous portions, hitting the bottom of the barrel (I know I shouldn't laugh at the killer ducks but my mental comedy picture of it just causes me to chuckle) and painful ones. Probably the most honest biography I've read that didn't seem like a neon sign of "I'm Awesome".

For those that like his show you must read this book!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Mercy Thompson Homecoming - Patricia Briggs

TITLE: Mercy Thompson Homecoming

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs & Illustrator: Francis Tsai, Amelia Woo

SUMMARY: Mercy Thompson is a walker, a magical being with the power to transform into a coyote. She lives on the fine line dividing the everyday world from a darker dimension, observing the supernatural community while standing apart.

When Mercy travels to the Tri-Cities of Washington for a job interview, she quickly finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a gang war between rival packs of werewolves. And as if fangs and fur weren't bad enough, Mercy must deal with the scariest creature of all: her mother, who is convinced that Mercy is making a mess of her life and determined to set her daughter on the right course.

The thrilling adventures of Mercy Thompson-Moon Called, Blood Bound, and Iron Kissed-have topped the New York Times bestseller list. Now Mercy makes her comics debut in an exclusive new story created by Patricia Briggs. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming is sure to please longtime fans and capture new ones with its mix of unforgettable characters and thrilling supernatural intrigue. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I love Mercy. It's one of my favorite series and having the graphic novel just makes me deliriously happy. Is it my favorite Mercy installment? No. But I still enjoyed. It was fun going back to the beginning and seeing Z in his state and Mercy meeting Stefan and Adam. It was just all so much fun.

The graphics were well done. Not 100% how I view Mercy or Adam in my mind but they in no way looked foreign. If you haven't jumped into the series I recommend starting with the books and then jumping into the graphic novel. There's something about knowing the characters that makes learning about some of the previous events much better.

I want more!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Neighbor - Lisa Gardner

TITLE: The Neighbor

AUTHOR: Lisa Gardner

SUMMARY: From a master of suspense comes a chilling new novel that explores the dangers lurking closer than you think. Because even in the perfect family, you never know what is going on behind closed doors….

This is what happened…

It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy-a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect.

In the last six hours…

But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses' snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones are like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murky.

Of the world as I knew it….

With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his "beloved" wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt-or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer's next victim? - From Publisher

REVIEW: I adore Lisa Gardner, she writes spine tingling, lock & double lock your doors, sadly this book didn't quite do that to me.

Yes, there were moments in this book, specifically when it's moments about people's last moments before death and some back history in Sandra's past. And of course, it always gets to me when children are involved.

Still, with all of that said I didn't find myself in the grip of this book. I wasn't waiting to get errands and chores done so I could sit and read. That makes me sad because normally when I pick up a Gardner I can't put it down.

RATING: ♥ &hearts &hearts &hearts ♥

The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks

TITLE: The Last Song

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

SUMMARY: Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller''s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone''s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie''s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Nicholas Sparks once again writes a strong book that spins you around and makes you hit all the emotions. That's something I love about his work and I feel like throughout his book he's gotten strong and more refined.

His characters are always so vivid and within moments I often feel like I already know the cast and understand their reasoning's for their actions. All of them become alive and Sparks seems to consistently add nice little details that round them out even more and give the beginning glimpses of their characters.

Reading how Ronnie & her father interacted throughout the summer was brilliant, especially with the Sparks-twist that he enjoys torturing us with.

With his books it's all about the journey and with this one especially I thought he captured a young girls journey into adult hood. While I know some readers don't enjoy the pain that Sparks seems to drag his readers through, I'd highly recommend reading this one. Sure you may have to reach for the kleenex but it's worth it.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages - Kristen Chenoweth

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

AUTHOR: Kristen Chenoweth

SUMMARY: A lively, laugh-out-loud journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to show biz sensation."Life's too short. I'm not."You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical Wicked. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV-The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, and Sesame Street. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she's quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway and Hollywood by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occasional drizzle of disaster must fall, and Kristin reflects on how faith and family have kept her grounded, even in tough times.Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep. It's essential reading for Kristin's legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams-over the rainbow and beyond.FEATURING CHENOLICIOUS RECIPES, KRISTIN'S ADVICE FOR YOUNG ACTORS, AND MUCH MORE! - From Publisher

REVIEW: Chenoweth is adorable and this book is adorable. Her writing voice and style is just like her personality and it made it a joy to read.

I loved the little insights of her life and how open she was about everything. I think what endeared me to her was that while she has her beliefs she's not judging others. I find that refreshing.

All around a good book. For those that love her you'll enjoy this biography.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Silver Bourne - Patricia Briggs

TITLE: Silver Bourne

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs

SUMMARY: All-new action in the #1 "New York Times" bestselling urban fantasy series

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live... - From Publisher

REVIEW: This series never gets old or boring and kicks ass over and over again.

I need to start off by saying I have such a hard time reviewing this series because I love it so much I just want to squee and write incoherent sentences because my brain is all over the place in excitement. I hope that for those that love this series understand. So, please bare with me as I try to settle my squee.

What I love about Briggs is that while the romance is there it's never the driving force. I feel like it drives the characters into directions and gives them more to fight for. There are scenes in this book that are just so potent and brought tears to my eyes and no words are exchanged it's just Briggs' style of writing. She's the master at conveying emotions and struggles without the words, just body language.

I feel like the plots as the series has continued have just gotten stronger. I like that the main plot is there but you still get so much more. The packs interaction with having a coyote as their alpha's mate is wonderfully written. I love that Mercy is still struggling with the aftermath of Tim. That alone makes me love Briggs so much more. That she's written it all so tastefully and hasn't swept it under the rug and watching Adam struggle with how to deal is beautiful. His struggle with not wanting to frighten her but his wolf being, well, his wolf was so perfectly well written and well balanced.

The story with Sam was strong and it makes me wonder if Briggs is going to do a little side story with him. I hope she does, I'd be all over that!

Such a fantastic book and a wonderful addition to a strong series.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong

TITLE: The Reckoning

AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong

SUMMARY: Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I''m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We''re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We''ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we''d left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A perfect ending to a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy that had me hooked with each book.

Armstrong has such a strong style to her writing that seems to always keep me engaged her works. I never feel like skimming over a page out of boredom and when she's giving what would normally be yawn worthy information, that you sorta need to know, she keeps it spicy so you don't lose interest and it doesn't ruin the flow of the book. Never do I hit a spot where I feel like she lost her way. Everything she puts in this book is required and while she does play with the card of 'who dun it' she never gives too much information where it spoils the mystery. She builds it all up and you wonder if there are spies and she keeps you guessing, which I love. I think it's because she doesn't put it at the front that it's always in your mind but not. She's a crafty one.

Her characters are so driven and so strong. I have fallen in love with them all and I've got to say, I was sad to see this story end. I'm happy with the various outcomes and how much they've grown through this journey. Chloe has finally gotten that backbone and when Derek is pushing her I love that she'll push back and won't let him get away with some of the crap he tries to pull.

For those that haven't bothered to pick up this trilogy what is wrong? If it's the whole teen/ya angle don't worry. These books are not written simplistically and... basically you must read these! Now. Go!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Kiss and Tell - Shannon Tweed

TITLE: Kiss and Tell

AUTHOR: Shannon Tweed

SUMMARY: "By the time I was 24, I was pretty jaded--I thought I''d seen and done it all. Then I met Gene. My life is divided into two sections: PG (well... maybe R) and AG (after Gene)." Shannon Tweed--model, actress, - From Publisher

REVIEW: Tweed bares all (and in the case of some of the pictures I mean literally) in this humorous and exposing biography.

I enjoy the show Family Jewels I find the various antics that the family goes through humorous and the interviews with Nick (their son & oldest child) are always a sure bet for some laughter. This book was a really in-depth look into Shannon's life. I loved the way she wrote her childhood, which was funny but informative without getting stuck on the small details. After reading it I feel like I know lots about her childhood but it didn't take 300 pages to get there. Her days in the Mansion with Hef was insane. I never knew she was actually one of Hef's girlfriends and while I've watched the Playboy Bunnies Reality TV show I got more info from this book. Life at the Mansion is definitely in its own genre.

Some of my favorite portions of the book was when Gene entered her life. Those two amuse me. And again, I learned so much about him and their life, which is really the point in reading biographies.

All around I thoroughly enjoyed this bare all biography.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥