Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two More For Your Reading Pleasure

Seems like I can't get myself caught up these days, but I'm finally getting around to posting a few new reviews. Both are paranormal, both are part of a series, and both are worth the read! Keep going...

Book 9 in the Morganville Vampire series, Ghost Town, finds our quartet of friends--Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael--in hot water once again, naturally. Just when it seems some relative normality may settle into their lives, Eve becomes involved in an out of control party in which vampires are killed. When the others arrive to help, Claire herself kills a vampire--and in Morganville, it's a life forfeited whenever that happens. But luckily (?) for Claire, Amelie sentences her to a non-stop session with Myrnin to restore Morganville's damaged defense mechanism, a task almost sure to fail. And it does, of course...but not quite in the way imagined.

Ghost Town is another spectacular entry in the series, with the fearsome foursome battling forces within their borders that threaten to not only destroy Morganville but their relationships as well. Caine does a terrific job of keeping the storyline moving, throwing us twists and building danger until I literally could not put the book down. I love the relationship between Claire and Shane; their honest, loving encounters bring new dimensions to both characters while giving us enough romance so that it's not all just about the sex. I admit to getting angry with both Oliver and Amelie; they have always been many shades of gray but this book takes their deviousness to new levels. And favorite! Poignant and funny, I just want to spend more time with him. And from our cliffhanger ending, it looks like I'm going to get my wish. A lot of fun and highly recommended!
And then there's Entice...
Ever felt yourself torn between what you should do and what you want to do? How about between two equally appealing love interests? Or maybe even between becoming a pixie or staying human? Well, probably not that last one, and Zara White's decision on that issue was settled toward the ending of Captivate, the book previous to Entice. Still, there's a lot of back and forth in this sequel, with Zara knowing she needs to get to Valhalla to bring Nick back from the dead, yet realizing she's placing herself and those she loves in grave danger by doing so. Having to rely on Astley, her pixie king, seems a burden on some levels but as time progresses, time spent with him seems less and less problematic and more...normal. And that's scary for Zara; almost as scary as crossing a rainbow bridge into the hereafter in search of a boy who very well may hate her upon learning she's chosen to become a pixie in order to save him.

To say there is conflict in Entice is to be a master of understatement. Naturally there's still the major conflict of pixies preying on humans, but there is also conflict between Zara and Astley, Zara and Betty, Zara and the pixies, and Zara and herself. Becoming a pixie was what Zara felt she needed to do in order to rescue Nick, but she now must also assume the role of queen to Astley's king, which complicates things. There is a lot of trying to decide what to do in order to rescue Nick; there is a lot of running around chasing false leads, which honestly got a little irritating after a while (the whole Iceland bit? Could seriously have done without that). The story really picks up when Zara places herself in grave danger and the arrival of her mother, a woman who hates pixies with all her heart.

I myself felt torn when I sat down to write this review because I loved Need and enjoyed Captivate, but much of Entice fell short for me. The idea of Zara longing for Nick sometimes felt forced when she took herself off to a dance at school (seriously?) and to a bar (where no one threw high school kids out?). The false leads almost wore me out; I felt at times that perhaps the author was struggling to pad this book out with unnecessary side trips. The storyline has also taken an odd turn with the trip to Valhalla; in my mind, it leaves behind the meaning of the first two books by adding in Norse gods and quests. I want my action logical and in Bedford! But the scenes where Zara is injured and her emotions toward the end of the book made up for my lack of enthusiasm early on, and I am hopeful that the ending is leading us back on track, even if I don't want the Twilight-y twist of loving two guys equally. I'm rounding up from 3.5 stars and looking forward to the next in the series.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm Baaaaack...With Reviews, No Less

Well, here I am.

I really haven't been anywhere, actually; just knee-deep in marching band season with youngest dear daughter. The reading's been slow but good when I've been able to snatch a few pages, but the ability to review has been wayyyyy yonder on the backburner. But finally band season's done (we came in fifth in the state, thank you very much! Check us out at and we're headed off to Hawaii on November 19 for a week. I'm already plotting which books to take (definitely Elizabeth Chadwick's newest, To Defy a King, and possibly Torment by Lauren Kate). Don't look so shocked...I know you fellow book readers plot what books to take on vacation just as early as I do. I also know you take two or three extra books *just in case* you start to read something and it doesn't take. Don't look away. I know your secrets.

Anyway, I'm in the process of catching up on my reviews, and here are two of my recent reads. First up is The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Things are fairly typical for Chloe Saunders; she's a regular 14 year old with her circle of friends and she's very into films. Though she misses her mother who died years earlier, she's got a father and a trusted aunt who care for her. So what if she's a bit of a late bloomer? It's all good--until the day she sees a terrifying ghost. Suddenly she's no longer normal; she's diagnosed as schizophrenic and shipped off to the Lyle House, an in-house treatment center so that she can learn to cope with her illness. The problem? It's not really an illness; it's fact, and Chloe's going to have to convince herself that she's got a special power she's going to have to learn to deal with, despite the adults who are trying to get her to believe otherwise.

The Summoning is engaging right from the opening pages and doesn't let up throughout. Once Chloe figures out she's not schizophrenic, you know she's going to have to get herself out of Lyle House, but it seems next to impossible. Her friendships with Liz, Derek, Simon, and Rae provide Chloe with the realization that perhaps she's not alone in her gift, but none of them seem to know what's going on...and it's obvious as the mystery grows that things are much darker and deeper than any of the kids had suspected.

Finding a stopping point was a big problem for me while reading The Summoning because Ms. Armstrong often ends chapters on cliffhangers. I kept thinking "just one more page...just one more chapter..." and before I knew it, fifty more pages had flown by. If at times Chloe seemed a little naive, it was understandable, given her background and the work the adults had done to ensure that she was kept in the dark. The Summoning had lingered for quite a while in my to-be-read pile, but it's a sure thing that its sequels, The Awakening and The Reckoning, certainly won't. Great fun and highly recommended.

Next up is The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.

Ever have the feeling that you've lived before? Haven Moore has; in fact, she's been feeling that way since she was a very small child and could give details about New York City and Rome that there was no way she could have known. In her small East Tennessee town, under the scrutiny of her judgmental grandmother, Haven is seen as odd and out of place. The fact that her best friend is a gay football player who helps her sew dresses doesn't help her outsider status, and her susceptibility to "visions" which cause her to faint frequently is seen as possibly even demonic by her church. But when Haven discovers a box of notes written by her deceased father wherein he ponders the idea of Haven's having lived past lives, she knows he's right. And when she sees handsome playboy Iain Morrow's face plastered in the papers, she knows in her soul that he's the "Ethan" she's been looking for since her last life ended.

The beauty of The Eternal Ones is that you're never precisely sure what's going on, and who the good guys are. Haven's susceptible to the feelings and visions she experiences, but she also listens to just about everyone she meets, casting doubts and raising red flags constantly. She allows Iain to sweep her off her feet and then abruptly decides he's using her, but his presence and assurance that they are meant to be together throw her into even more turmoil. Iain remembers all their lives together, and while Haven believes him, she begins to wonder when it becomes obvious he's keeping big, big secrets. Then there's the Ouroboros Society, a group that tracks people who remember past lives. Just what part does the Society play in Iain's life now, and what part did it play in the deaths of Haven, once known as Constance, and Ethan, many years before?

The Eternal Ones is wonderfully layered and mysterious, and Haven and best friend Beau are vivid and believable. The biggest issue I had was the wishy-washiness Haven experiences once she follows her instincts and goes to meet Iain; should she believe in him or was he really the cause of her death in the 1920s? Come on, make a choice and stick with it! But the seamless way Miller weaves reincarnation with Christianity and the slow unveiling of Haven's past life as Constance more than makes up for any dithering she may do along the way. This one actually rates a strong 4.5 stars...and I'm hopeful there's a sequel already in the works.