Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Books of the Month

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Arementrout
For the Month of May, Pnr Uf will be reading and discussing Bitten and Obsidian! We are featuring City of Lost Souls as our new series release for May! Our threads are up and ready for you to participate!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Books of the Month

It's a new month and our new Books of the Months are in!! Join us in reading them and then discussing in our Skype discussions!!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Forever, Book 3

Title: Forever
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication: July 12th, 2011

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Chris' Review:

On the whole I think this was an excellent series that I highly recommend, but to me, Forever falls far short of its predecessors both as an individual story and especially as a series finale.

As this is the third and final book in the series, I'm loathe to give a synopsis because it would potentially contain spoilers for the books that come before it. Thus, this will have to do: Forever is about werewolves, but not your typical werewolves. I would hazard to guess that you've never seen werewolves like these before (unless of course you've read the first two books!). The story focuses on three particular werewolves and their various interpersonal relationships. Pretty lame, huh. Yeah, well, that's all you get, read the series!

Having read and reviewed the first two installments (my review of Shiver is here and of Linger is here), I don't have anything new to say about Maggie's writing mechanics. I will reiterate that she is a very good writer who does a masterful job of straddling the line between descriptive narrative and purple prose. Her style is both fluid and mature (which is great to see out of a YA author).

I will not get into a full discussion of the split narrative here as I spoke about it a little bit in my review of Shiver and at length in my review of Linger, but I will point to Forever, as a prime example of the style's inherent short comings.

Click here to view Spoiler:

It didn't matter as much in Shiver, because there was no conflict in Sam and Grace's feelings for each other, but in Forever, as in Linger, we see thru the eyes of both Isabelle and Cole as their relationship develops. As we alternate in and out of their head space, we see that both like each other quite a bit, which lessens the romantic tension between the two. Maggie has handled the situation deftly enough that the romance between the two is not wrecked, however, there isn't much suspense as they both clearly want to be with each other.

Things that I have complained about in the other books are still present in this book. Not the least of which is gender confusion. I think, Maggie did a better job with this aspect in Linger than she did in Shiver, but it returns again in full measure her in Forever. Sam has consistantly been the girlie boy from the get go, but Cole is much more affected in this book than he was in the last. I am NOT going to cite specific examples at this time because I am plannning an essay which will focus on the difficulties of authors creating convincing characters of the opposing gender. This series of books will feature heavily in that piece.

If Forever is more of the same, why three stars instead of four? Well, to start, this one dragged a bit more than the others did. It seems to be a fairly common complaint, that this one was slow to get started, and I appear to be in the majority (for a change) in that I feel the same way.

Where I appear to be in the minority is that, I didn't feel that this book had the same emotional impact as the earlier ones did. Spoilers inbound!

Click to view Spoiler :

Isabelle's loss of her brother, Jack, and her feelings of responsibility for it, in Shinver, connected with me on a primal level. Nearly identically, I felt for Cole at the loss of Victor. While Cole was not the one who shot Victor, certainly he had a very active role in placing Victor in the path of the bullet. While we have the deaths of Olivia and Beck in Forever, neither hit me as hard. Olivia because we hardly knew her and Beck because Maggie has spent the last two books slowly revealing his darker side. It's not that I didn't like Beck. I did. And I do feel for Sam, but I pretty much expected Beck to die once we discoverd his duplicity in Sam's infection with the virus. It's an old storyline really, wherein the scales have to be balanced.

Perhaps a bigger contributor to my less than powerful reaction over Beck's death however was the manner in which it came. To me it was very difficult to believe that Shelby, in her wolf form and operating almost exclusively on instinct, would have taken that particular moment to turn on Beck. Helicopter thundering away and the pack in a panic. Her animal mind should have been focused more on survival than opportunity.

Another major flaw I had with Forever, was the ending. Potential ground work for a possible fourth book aside, what happens in the climax doesn't make alot of sense. Can't say more without spoilers, soooooo...

Click to view Spoiler:

First off, there is no way that once the shooting started ANYONE would have had to lead the wolves to the safety of the nearby forest. Instinct would have done that without Sam having to charge to the front and lead them there.

Beside that, I had a nearly impossible time seeing Sam as an alpha wolf. He simply doesn't have an alpha personality. Cole? Probably. Grace? Probably. Isabelle? Not a wolf, but without a doubt! Sam? Nope, not working for me. Yes, the whole packed loved him, but that's not how wolves function.

The whole thing is moot, however, because simply getting them to the trees would not be enough. If it were, they would never have been in any danger to begin with. They already lived in a forest. The problem was the people that wanted to kill them knew where the pack was. Know what? At the end of this book, those same people that wanted to kill them, are still very much alive, have had no apparent change of heart, and know exactly where the wolves can be found since they watched them run into the new forest.

Someone will certainly scream "Private property!" but I'm not buying it. IF (I say IF because I thought this was a dubious proposition to begin with) the wolves were enough of a hazard to life and limb to have a special law pass for their irradication, public safety would have demanded that the hunt continue whether on private property or not.

In the end, the final event doesn't really resolve the major situation presented in this book, or the culmination of the series as a whole. Oh well, we at least get a relatively happy ending.

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Halfway to the Grave, Book 1

Title: Halfway to the Grave
Series: Night Huntress
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publication: October 30th, 2007

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father--the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner--are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Chris' Review:

This was my first Jeaniene Frost book, and it certainly won't be my last. Original characters? Nope. Twisty turny plot line? Uh uh. High tension story telling? Your joking right? Beautiful prose? You can't see, but I'm smirking at you. Well then, what was so great about this book, Chris?!

I'll say this, it might be a bit early to make this comparison, having read only one of her books, but I think that Jeaniene may be the Nora Roberts of the PnR genre. I don't know if she intended to write camp here, or if it just worked out that way, but the ride from start to finish was a blast. This book was pure supernatural candy and I loved every minute of it. Alright, not EVERY minute of it, I didn't give it 5 stars, after all, but it was well worth my time.

Cat is a 22 year old vampire slayer. She's been knocking off the oversized mosquitoes, with her mother's blessing, since she was about 16. Then one day... errrr night... she runs into a little more than she can handle. Cat's life will never be the same, okay, well it won't be ALL THAT different. She'll still wack blood sucking vermin every chance she gets, she'll just do it with more pizazz.

As I said already, Jeaniene's characters are by no means original. Cat is your stereo typical, kick ass vampire slayer and Bones is your run of the mill bad boy love interest. Her brilliance in constructing them is how over the top she is about it. I know the comparison has been made about a thousand times, but think Buffy the Vampire Slayer and your pretty much there.

Thru much of this book Cat is tempered with a believable innocence that makes her seem nearly as vulnerable as she is lethal. This is a fantastic combination because it creates a necessary place in the story for her would be protector, Bones. He's not just tacked on as a cosmetic piece to make the ladies all hot and bothered. Don't get me wrong, Cat is all about girl power, but Bones gets to let his protective instincts out. Again, think Nora Roberts.

My major complaint in this one is really a fairly minor one. It is clear going in that Jeaneine intended to write a series, thus there are copious plot threads left dangling at the end of the book. That wasn't so much a problem for me. No, my major heartache is that things develope a bit to fast:

Click here to view Spoiler :

I would have liked to have seen the romantic tension stretched out across multiple books. I can see how she intends to re-introduce the tension from the way the book ended, but it won't be the same. There is nothing quite like that period where two people are first getting to know each other and begin to let their guards down.

In a similar vein, I think Cat's martial abiltiy was amped up to quickly. Not from a book "time" standpoint, Jeaneine did a good job of simulating the passage of time so that the leap in skill was at least somewhat believable. But, instead, I would have preferred that it take us at least a couple of books before she's simultaneously downing multiple vampire opponents with the greatest of ease.

The danger of this kind of book is if you come in taking it too seriously based on all the positive reviews. This isn't a very serious book (not that I'm saying it's a comedy, it certainly isn't). As with all good camp, this book is somewhat tongue in cheek, without beating you over the head with goofiness. If you read it for what it is, I think you'll come away happier for the experience!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

eBook Giveaway! Five by Christie Rich, Goodreads Author

Hey Fellow Fanatics!

I have a deal for you today!! One of our Goodreads Authors is allowing us to host a giveaway for her new ebook! The book, by Christie Rich, is called Five and its the first installment of the Elemental Enmity Series. Here is a summary:

"Rayla Tate was just a child when her mother disappeared from her life forever. Raised by her aunt Grace in a small town, she has lived a relatively uneventful life. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is special. She has been hidden from the fae who have lived secretly among us since the beginning of time. Descended from an ancient blood-line of Elementals, only she has the power to crown the first fae high-king.

Sick of provincial living and the dictates of her aunt, Rayla flees the safety of her home and runs away to college with her best friend. However, excitement over her newfound freedom is short-lived when she finds herself being chased by a mysterious stranger on her way to school. She is drawn to him immediately but resists the compulsion she feels. He disappears into the night, but she is certain he is following her.

Rayla struggles to deal with the encounter while she adapts to her new environment. To make matters worse, Aunt Grace reveals that Rayla will soon be hunted by a pack of fae lords, each hoping to claim her power for his own. She soon finds herself surrounded by stunning men. Are they fae, or is this just normal college life? More importantly, who can she trust when she can’t trust herself to be near them?"

So, what do YOU have to do to win one of TEN copies of this awesome book?
Just go to Christie's Blog and "Follow" her. That's it! We will check to make sure this is done before choosing the winners!

To Enter:
"Follow" Christie Rich on Her Blog Here, then leave your Name and Contact Email in a comment below this post.

I wish you all good luck! This book sounds excellent! I will be reading it myself very soon!

Giveaway Dates: August 29th - September 4th, 2011
Prize: 1 Copy of "Five", by Christie Rich
Winners: 10 winners chosen at random

Thanks everyone!

OK, If you are having trouble posting a comment here, then leave your comment on our Goodreads page. You can private message me from there if you don't want your email addy public. Sorry for the inconvenience. But don't let it make you miss out on this great book!! We will get this sorted out asap. Thanks for those who reported the problem!

Post on Goodreads here if necessary!