Archive for January, 2012

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (2)

Jan
30
9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Meme

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme run by Sheila at Book Journey, where we share the books we read and/or reviewed last week and what’s on deck for this week. Now Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts have started an offshoot for kidlit fans: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA. I just had to check it out!

Last week:

Plans for this week:

Yes, these are the same as last week. I didn’t have as much time to read as I thought! I did start Hounded today, and so far it’s amazing.



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Book: What Angels Fear
Author: C. S. Harris
Publisher: New American Library
Release date: November 1, 2005
Source: Borrowed from library
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) In London, 1811, a young woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left on the altar steps of an ancient church. The prime suspect: Sebastian St. Cyr, a brilliant young nobleman still haunted by his experiences in the Napoleonic Wars. Now he is running for his life, desperate to catch the killer and prove his innocence. Moving from Mayfair’s glittering ballrooms to St. Giles’s fetid back alleys, Sebastian is assisted by a band of unlikely allies and pursued by a Machiavellian powerbroker with ties to the Prince Regent himself. What Angels Fear seamlessly weaves an intimate knowledge of the period with a multi-layered and compelling story, and is the first of a series of novels featuring these characters.

Overall impressions: This is a terrific historical mystery with political intrigue and a dose of humor. Though its reliance on the historical setting led to a glacial pace, I appreciated the rich detail that completely transported me. If you like Regency London and an interesting murder mystery, this is your book.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has a lonely and somewhat depressing life. He is the third and only living son of the Earl of Hendon, and as a young boy was devastated at the death of his mother and the realization that his father was disappointed that he is to be the sole heir. He also had the misfortune to fall in love with an actress, who broke his heart to prevent him from being disinherited. After running off to join the war against France, he returns a much changed man.

When he is framed for murder, Devlin is determined to find the real killer, not only to save his own hide but to correct the grave injustice suffered by the young victim. Devlin has a condition that provides him with extraordinary eyesight and hearing, which serve him well as he struggles to stay alive in his quest to track down a murderer. Full of twists and turns, gorgeous historical details, and vibrant characters, this is a gem of a book for historical mystery fans.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system


Book: When Gods Die
Author: C. S. Harris
Publisher: New American Library
Release date: November 7, 2007
Source: Borrowed from library
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #2

Summary: (from Goodreads) Brighton, England, 1811. The beautiful wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent. Draped around her neck lies an ancient necklace with mythic origins-and mysterious ties to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Haunted by his past, Sebastian investigates both the Marchioness’s death and his own possible connection to it-and discovers a complex pattern of lies and subterfuge. With the aid of his lover, Kat Boleyn, and a former street urchin now under his protection, Sebastian edges closer to the killer. And when one murder follows another, he confronts a conspiracy that threatens his own identity…and imperils the monarchy itself.

Overall impressions: Viscount Devlin is once again investigating the murder of a young woman in this second installment in the series. Having proved his outstanding potential as a detective in the first book, he is personally solicited to help in a touchy case of a murdered aristocrat found half-dressed in the Prince Regent’s chamber during a party. The deeper he digs, the more things point to unrest, rebellion, and a possible overthrow of the monarchy.

This one was not nearly as intriguing as the first entry. Devlin is not as personally invested since his own life is not on the line, so it lacked the same urgency. The case is interesting, but revolved heavily around politics of the time, and as someone not as familiar with Regency England’s political history, I felt like I was missing things at times.

I appreciated seeing my favorite characters back again – the Irish doctor performing autopsies, the actress and lover Kat Boleyn, and the adorably sweet street kid-turned-servant Tom. The setting and characters are so fully realized that I felt like I was stepping back in time. For these reasons, I will likely continue in the series, but hope that the future plots remain as interesting as the first one.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system




Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jan
25
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: 3 stars

Book: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release date: December 27, 2011
Source: Received via NetGalley for review

Summary: (from Goodreads) Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . . She’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive . . . and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

First impressions: We open on Kali hunting hellhounds, in an alternate history where Darwin discovered supernatural creatures and the modern day public is aware of their existence as a result. That premise alone hooked me from the start, aided by Kali’s sparkling personality and exciting action.

Lasting impressions: This was a terrific idea executed well, but also aggravatingly confusing.

Conflicting impressions: Nothing is spelled out for you here. The world’s history is never fully explained and the rules aren’t articulated, which often leaves the reader in the dark.

Overall impressions: Kali is one heck of a cool protagonist. Every other day she transforms from an ordinary human into a super powered demon hunting machine. She tracks and kills all different varieties of other worldly creatures, and does so fearlessly as she can’t feel pain and her body rapidly repairs itself. At dawn, she makes the switch back to human for the next 24 hours. And so on and so forth.

The story quickly kicks into high gear when Kali notices a classmate has been infected with a blood-sucking chupacabra. Her life is ruled by an instinct to protect humanity, and guessing that come morning when she transforms to her killer self she can annihilate the beast, she convinces Bethany to let her absorb the chupacabra instead. The plan doesn’t quite pan out the way she thought, and Kali, Bethany, and new friend Skyler are pulled into a fight for their lives when it turns out the chupacabra was placed as part of an experiment.

The action is fast paced, so much so that at times I wasn’t quite sure I was keeping up with the story. Kali gets enmeshed in the shadowy dealings of the corporation researching the chupacabra, which has ties to her dad and Bethany’s dad. The more she learns about what’s going on, the more questions are raised, until things rocket along to the final battle and what seemed like 100 new pieces of information were thrown at us in just a few pages. The whole thing really made my head spin.

An exciting and unique tale, to be sure, but due to my confusion it’s not likely to be one I’ll remember in the long run.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system


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A fan of historical, dystopian, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, mystery, steampunk, and young adult fiction, as well as any book that thinks smartly and imaginatively.

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