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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | By: Traci

Wither (The Chemical Garden) by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)Summary: In this dystopian novel, women do no live past 20 and men do not live past the age of 25, except for the first generation. A generation breed out of a scientific need to create a human race that doesn't fall ill to disease. However, the child borne from that first generation grow up strong but die from a virus that claims their lives quite painfully. Because of this virus, polygamy and stolen brides are quite common. Rhine finds herself captured by a phony laboratory scheme, waiting in the back of a truck with other women; all captured by The Gatherer's. When she is chosen along with two other women to get into the back of a limo, she hears gunshots telling her the women in the back of the truck did not survive. Rhine is forced to marry Linden, a young House Governor controlled by his father, a first generation doctor. Rhine doesn't want to go willingly. She wants to go back home to Manhattan, to her brother and the life they lived there. However, that is not going to happen. She must stay as the perfect wife for Linden, while Cecily, one of her sister wives is the baby maker and Jenna, well Jenna is emotionally distant and determined to die in the mansion in peace.

My thoughts: At first, I had a really hard time getting into this book which was frustrating because I really wanted to like this book. I really liked the concept and was slightly disappointed that this may end up to be a flop. However, as the novel went on, I really began to fall in love with the three characters, Rhine, Jenna and Cecily. Despite the horrible way in which everyone arrives, we slowly get to know each character better. We find out their back stories and where everyone comes from. Slowly, the sister wives warm up to each other and bonds begin to form. The friendships between these characters I think are what really make this story.

Rhine also creates another friendship with a house servant. He becomes a friend, one of his only. They confide in each other and we see Rhine begin to open up with him more than any. As the motives behind Linden's father Vaughn emerge, we can see that there are far more evil, sinister things happening behind the scenes in the home. Life in the mansion soon becomes torture as each girl tries to fulfill their role even though it seems like it'll never happen. And of course, the reader wants nothing more than the girls to be able to get freedom. As this book winds to a close, it's almost bittersweet. The events leading up to the end are quite sad, but once again, another big realization hits which makes the reason for escape even more important. This turned out to be an excellent read!
Monday, August 29, 2011 | By: Traci

Mailbox Monday # 9

I haven't done one of these in awhile but I figured I should update everyone.

I won Fox from a Library thing give away.  I'm currently waiting on a copy of Wayward Son from a Library Thing giveaway as well.
Fox: A Young Adult Paranormal FantasyWayward Son
Saturday, August 27, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Silent Girl (A Rizzoli and Isles novel) by Tess Gerritsen

The Silent Girl: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel
Rating: 4 out of 5

The Silent Girl: A Rizzoli & Isles NovelSummary: The body of an unknown woman turns up mutilated on a roof top of a building in Chinatown and Jane Rizzoli and other detectives from Boston are called in to investigate. With probing, they find out this death is actually related to a crime committed 19 years before this one. The Red Phoenix Restaurant was shot up and the killer was determined to be the cook; after killing everyone in the restaurant, he killed himself so no one could truly determine the real cause. However, things aren't adding up. The waiter's daughter went missing two years before the killings, and two restaurant patrons that were murdered had their daughter disappear two years after. And it seems that a retired detective that worked the Red Phoenix case thought things weren't adding up either as he reopened the case and later ends up dead himself. Of course, there also remains the case of the mysterious monkey creature that seems to appear at many crime scenes and even saved Rizzoli's life.

My thoughts: I haven't really read any of Gerritsen's long stories in the Rizzoli and Isles series so I wasn't too familiar with her work. However, I wasn't disappointed with this book. It's very well written. It has the perfect balance of description and moving along with the plotline so the story never really gets boring. There is also a nice balance between police detective work and forensic evidence from Dr. Isles to wrap up the mystery neatly and nicely.

Also, another really great thing about this book is that it doesn't give away important plot twists until right before the character reveals their knowledge about characters or events themselves. There were several times in this novel I didn't come to the conclusion that I knew the truth until right before it was explained to me. Also, the wrap up at the end revealed an aspect that I didn't see coming. I think too many novels make things wrap up too easily, revealing everything too early so it becomes a chore to read, but not this book. It's a great read and a nice way to keep up with the characters Rizzoli and Isles if you hate waiting for the TV show on Monday nights. My only real complaint I suppose, is I expected more action from Rizzoli in the climax of this novel. It was a bit disappointing. 
Thursday, August 25, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Dead To The World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4) 
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4) Publisher: AceSummary: Sookie is still trying to get over the falling out she had with Bill after she found out Bill had left her for Lorena, his vampire maker and lover. After working at the bar on New Year's, Sookie drives home to see a man running down the road, half naked and obviously running scared. She pulls over, shocked to find that the man running for his life is no other than Eric, vampire bar owner and leader of the vampire's in section five. The problem is, Eric doesn't know who Sookie is and he doesn't know himself either. She takes him home, cleans him up and finds out that Eric has had a run in with witches. Witches that want to take over Vampire bar's and somehow, they've cursed Eric. Sookie vow's to watch him when she discovers the witches have a ransom out for him. The problem is, she is living with a memory lacking Eric, one that's different somehow. And now, Sookie finds herself falling for him while trying to Vampire's, Were's and Wiccan's to save Eric.

My thoughts: I really feel as if this series just keeps getting better and better. I'm starting to like Eric's character a bit more even if in this book, most of the time, Eric wasn't truly Eric. I think he's starting to grow on me however, especially seeing as how he wants to take care of Sookie even if Sookie protests. I think Eric is a good Vampire and it's nice to see Sookie expanding her interests instead of focusing on just Bill.

Also, Bubba makes another appearance in this book even though it's closer to the end. I was highly amused to find Bubba riding in the back of Sookie's car humming something that sounded like "Love me Tender". Of course, he's till loyal to a fault and would do anything to keep Sookie safe, not to mention, protect those that truly need it.

Also, we get to see another side of Sookie's brother Jason and I'm glad his fate didn't turn out worse than it did. Also, with the climate of this book, I definitely see things turning out a lot worse for Sookie and the other supernatural beings that she meets with as people are starting to catch on that things aren't quite right in the town of Bon Temps. 
Monday, August 22, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The First Victim by J.B Lynn (ARC)

The First Victim
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The First VictimSummary: To the Baby Doll Strangler, Emily Wright is the one that got away. Emily was kidnapped some 15 years earlier but was saved by a childhood friend, Evan, as she tried to climb out of where she was kept. Since those horrifying days, Emily hasn't returned home. She's lived in New York, avoiding home as much as possible. Then, Bailey, her childhood friend and crush calls her at work telling her she needs to come home as her father has been in a terrible accident, and her sister Laurie is now alone and scared, she reluctantly returns home. At first, she convinces herself that she's just paranoid and that things are fine until the body of Jackie, one of Laurie's friends ends up dumped in her driveway, dead. It becomes clear; the killer is back and he's stalking her. She must face her fears and fight back or die.

My thoughts: I received a copy of this from NetGalley for review. This is one of those books that grabs you from the beginning and it's so very hard to put down. I started the book late last night before bed and thankfully, it was the weekend and I didn't have to do anything because it was so hard to put down. Lynn does a great job at personifying a sick, demented serial killer. I think she does a great job telling us all the gross, grim details about this very depraved person that just wants to get the one that got away.

Pinning down the real killer was a tough job. This isn't one of those books that gives it away so easily. I went through several suspects before I finally did make sense of who it was. I had my eyes on the character early in the novel but other characters came into light that made me second guess myself which made it quite surprising when the ending finally came.

The climax was wonderfully done. We get a nice action scene between Emily and her captor, as well as a look into the police and what they're doing to save Emily from the killer. The final scene between Emily and her captor was wonderfully written, fast paced without feeling rushed and it kept you on the edge of your seat. My only complaints were Emily herself. After 15 years, she still acted like a helpless victim. And, the scenes between Emily and her high school crush Bailey were painfully done. Each time their attraction was played out, it was quickly stopped which became a low point in the story until things finally had a chance to play out in the end.

All in all, I consider this a must read if you're entry thriller/mystery novels. 
Friday, August 19, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Goddess With a Blade by Lauren Dane (ARC)

Goddess With a Blade
Rating: 3.5

Goddess With a BladeSummary: Rowan is not a normal human. She's what is known as a Hunter, or someone that hunts Vampires, or rather someone that keeps them in line. She's also a vessel for the Goddess Brigid. When a series of odd murders begin to happen in Las Vegas, she must work with Clive, the new Vampire Scion to find the killer, but it's not easy. Clive doesn't want to admit that a Vampire is behind the killings. Then, it becomes personal, her police officer friend, Jack confides in Rowan that his girlfriend is missing. Not only that, he knows she's been using drugs. Meth to be exact. She knows the Vampire turned serial killer is also on meth. Rowan has to confirm what her friend Jack knows but doesn't want to admit to. The killings are not natural.

My thoughts: I really wasn't sure what to think when I first started this. I really wanted to really like this book because it sounded amazing, but I think the female characters language and attitude really turned me off. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind crass language or attitudes, but Rowan is one of those characters that tends to think a little too highly of herself. With that aside, the book was good. I liked the plot. It went in a different direction than other paranormal novels tend to go in. It's a crime novel with a paranormal twist. Not to mention, you have all of this going on in a big city like Las Vegas. It is bristling with activity of all kinds. It was a great place to have a story like this.

Also, this is a paranormal romance too. Rowan, while she's not happy about meeting Clive, the new Vampire scion, has feelings for him that, because of her job, she really shouldn't have. So, there is an air of forbidden romance in the mix. However, it doesn't seem to cause that much tension in the world of Hunter and Vampire which I think was a little disappointing. Romances of this nature, especially when the two characters come from conflicting worlds, tend to make the story a little more interesting and fleshed out. It just seems to me, with the ending, it was all wrapped up rather nicely and never really worried about again. This was a little disappointing. I wanted to see the characters fight a bit for the relationship but it doesn't really happen. The only conflict seems to be with themselves. All in all, not a bad story. 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Rating: 4 out of 5

AwakenSummary: In the year 2060, the world is a different place. People do most of their daily dealings with other people online, including school. The world relies heavily on technology. Maddie's father helped invent what is known as Digital School, an online schooling system where teens don't have to leave their house to get an education. And according to her father, it works. However, her father doesn't trust her, it may have something to do with her hacking his computer when she was 15 and giving out personal files to Digital School Protesters. When an online friend invites her to a tutoring session, she's reluctant to go, after all, it's a real life in person session, and she'd prefer to meet with others online. She goes and meets Justin, a guy with a lot of things to hide. When Maddie finds out Justin is actually part of a group working to take down Digital School, Maddie has to make a choice, defy her father once again and find out what life is like outside of technology, or continue living under his strict orders.

My thoughts: At first, I really liked the concept of this book, after all, we're slowly working towards being an all digital, all the time society. After all, you can attend college mostly online, so a complete education online isn't that far off. Many people meet their friends or partner's online. We're really relying on the net so much anymore, it's not funny. Heck, I'll be the first to admit I'm a little too addicted to my computer. I can see it being a possibility.

However, I expected more. I guess I wanted this group to do more than just protest online schooling. Sure, Justin really pushes for Maddie to ween herself from technology and actually live out in the real world, it's just, instead of pushing to really change how we use technology and how we rely on it, we just hear how they're trying to take down the world of digital school, as if school is the only place people meet each other and socialize.

However, I did like this book. It's one of those, I can see it becoming a possibility in the future reads that's kind of startling. 
Sunday, August 14, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Invasion (C.H.A.O.S #1) by Jon S Lewis

Invasion (A C.H.A.O.S. Novel)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Invasion (A C.H.A.O.S. Novel)Summary: Colt and his parents take a trip to D.C as a vacation, and so Colt can tour a military academy that he's been invited to attend. The thing is, Colt doesn't remember much about the visit because he was injected with a drug to forget. However, before school starts, Colt heads to the beach to go surfing, and he's attacked by something that reminds him of an alien from a Phantom Flyer comic book. The attack sends him to the hospital with a nasty head injury. Then, that evening, a police officer greets him at home to tell him, his parents have been killed in a car accident. At first, it seems like nothing more than an accident, that is, until he over hears a conversation his grandfather is having with a guest at his parents funeral. And, the kid Oz at his new school seems way too familiar and always seems to be hiding something from Colt. When the truth comes to light and Colt realizes that there is a secret government agency working to protect the planet from aliens, Colt realizes he plays a bigger role than he once thought.

My thoughts: This was a book I bought from Amazon when it was on sale last month. I just hadn't gotten around to reading it until a few days ago. With that being said, I was a little iffy on whether or not I would like this book because sci-fi novels really aren't my thing, and it did take me a bit of time to get into it, however I really liked the story line. For reference sake, I'll say this novel kind of reminds me of Men in Black. However, it doesn't share all of the same elements, just some basic ideas.

This book really has it all, government conspiracies, secret government agencies and corrupt corporations that are bent on destroying humanity or enslaving the population. Also, let's not forget teenage romance, friendships and high school. This edition also has some interesting sketches at the end so you can see what some aliens look like. This was a pretty good book. I'm a bit disappointed that the next one doesn't hit stores until January 2012!
Friday, August 12, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead

Frostbite: A Vampire Academy Novel
Rating: 4 out of 5
Frostbite: A Vampire Academy Novel
Summary: Rose is still trying to catch up with her training since she took Lissa and ran off in an attempt to protect her from those that wished to steal her powers and harm her. However, a new threat has appeared, Strigoi are off killing Moroi and their guardians. The worst thing about this situation? Strigoi have managed to find a group of humans to work with. When Rose's mentor Dimitri confides in her about the supposed whereabouts of the Strigoi and human clan are laying low, she confides in Mason her almost boyfriend. When her friends run off in an attempt to get vengeance for Mia, they are taken prisoner. This is the perfect chance for Rose to step up and prove to everyone that she can think and act like a guardian; especially her mother.

My thoughts: I feel like this book was a lot better and flowed more smoothly than the last book. Rose's character doesn't annoy me nearly as much as she did before. She seems to have grown a lot between the first and second novel which I think is great. Before, she was way too full of herself. Now she's starting to act a bit more mature and she doesn't think of herself as much of a goddess in this book, although those moments tend to pop up every now and then.

I found this one really hard to put down. I liked seeing the characters in another place, away from school. It was interesting to see how everyone interacted with each other, and to just be a teenager for a moment, doing things they should be instead of worrying about protecting other people. And of course, there are no shortages of love triangles in this book. Rose falls for one guy and still has feelings for Dimitri. So if you really like that aspect of YA fiction then you'll be happy to know it exists within this book. All in all, this was a great follow up to the first and I plan on finishing the series. 
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
Summary: In the final book of The Hunger Games, Katniss, her mother and her sister Prim are living in District 13. Once thought destroyed, Katniss realizes it's buzzing full of life underground, and The Rebels have taken to working slowly on how they can destroy the capital once and for all. She tries to adjust to the very regimented life at District 13, and their plans to rescue Peeta from the Capital.  Finally, Katniss is given the chance to go into the Capital to fight, after all, she wants to be the one to kill President Snow.  However, once The Rebels have secured the Capital, and at great losses, Katniss must determine if District 13 has been using her much like the Capital did before.

My thoughts: I enjoyed the final installment, and I really liked the storyline. This was all out war and people did die, but sometimes I wonder if those characters were simply killed off because they could be. Also, my second annoyance with this last book was there are some things that kind of seem left open. We never really find out certain aspects about Katniss and her ties to District 13 which I would really like to know. It just doesn't seem like things are neatly tied up. I guess I'm one of those people that like all of the loose ends tied up and with nothing left open. I know that's not how everyone feels however.

I really like how Collins plays out Katniss and her feelings at the end. I feel as if she really did get to the root of how someone in her situation would feel. I am also glad to see that the districts are finally trying to go back to how they were before the wars even though I feel as if the idea of Districts should be eliminated since the war is over and the capital isn't holding Hunger Games anymore. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wanted a longer epilogue with more information than we were given. All in all, it was a nice wrap up to the series.  
Saturday, August 6, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
Rating: 4 out of 5

Across the UniverseSummary: Amy's parents are at a cyrogenics lab to be frozen. They are going to be placed onto a spaceship, to be awoke 350 years in the future on a new planet, a planet that will hopefully, solve all of Earth's problems if they can in fact inhabit the planet. Amy's father has military experience and her mother works with genetics and DNA. They are considered important people on the mission. Amy has a choice, she can either be frozen to go with them or she can go home with her aunt and uncle and live out the rest of her life normally on earth. She decides however to be frozen, to follow her parents to this new planet. Something goes wrong though, Amy is woken up early, too early. So early in fact, she almost drowns in the liquid that was keeping her frozen. Now, she's on a ship with strange people, with strange technology, and a lot of strange ways of doing things. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the person killing frozen people below the ship's deck. Amy has to protect her parents and live life as a strange person on a ship 'planet'.

My thoughts: I wasn't sure if this book would be something I'd enjoy reading because generally, sci-fi isn't something that I'm too interested in. It took awhile for me to really get into the story. However, I started to like it. Yes, the world is something completely different, not too many stories revolve around a completely functioning planet/society on a spaceship traveling through space on it's way to inhabit a new planet. Also the technology the people on the ship have managed to create is pretty interesting, as is how they've coped with their existence on a ship that functions as a full fledged society. They have long lost races and have become just one race, which creates a problem when Amy is awoken. However it seems this is long forgotten as the plot of the story completely plays out.

This was a pretty good read. The conspiracies and the lies really stack up at the end which makes the ending a rather interesting one. I for one am interested in how things have played out once the Elder stopped lying to the people on board. I think a sequel of some sort could be interesting but maybe one a few generations in the future. All in all, I say give this one a chance!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | By: Traci

Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Handmaid's Tale: A NovelSummary: The world has been taken over by a religious order that strikes to make things perfect. Women and men are put into certain positions where they serve this new world order. One position is the handmaid, a woman that serves a family, producing children for the elite and godly of the bunch. This is her tale, and the tale of the women she once knew, and the women she knows now.

My thoughts: I really enjoy dystopian, and this was an interesting novel, but it was truly, truly messed up. I really wanted to like it a lot more, but it lagged a lot in a lot of different parts. This isn't to say this novel isn't interesting, and isn't a great dystopian tale, I just feel that a lot of things were thrown to the wayside. I feel that we could have learned a lot more interesting things if the main character (we never truly learn her real name) hadn't been so random. She tends to think of a lot of random topics and muses on them for several moments, before she comes back to reality and thinks about the topic at hand. Sometimes, she'll begin speaking of a topic, begin to randomly muse and then go back to her old topic. This makes this book a bit distracting. It's a great concept, but it's not greatly executed.
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