Dark Lover by J.R.Ward


What a great read! This is the first book in the very wildly popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I had friends telling me time and time again that I needed to try out this series, and yet for some reason I just kept putting it off. But once I finally got started, I couldn't put it down!

The main character, Wrath, is a warrior, a vampire, and a protector of his race. He's one of the most powerful, and a rare pure blood. Also, he is completely antagonistic towards humans. When his friend, and fellow warrior, Darius asks him to help out his half-human daughters, Wrath's first reaction is to refuse. But shortly later when Darius is killed by their enemies, Wrath feels like he owes it to his friend to help Mary.

Mary has grown up knowing nothing about the vampire world. She never knew her father and certainly didn't know that her entire world was about to change.

I really loved the world that Ward created. It was a very interesting vampire society that she set up. The enemies, the Lessers, felt a bit far fetched to me. But I quickly got sucked into the story and forgot about that fact. Some of the romance was a bit unbelievable, especially at the first. But overall a great start to a series. Also, Ward showed up some glimpses of a number of intriguing characters that I look forward to getting to know! This series has action, suspense, romance, and humor. All of my favorite things in a book!


On the Prowl


This book is a Paranormal Romance Anthology. For those of you not familiar with anthologies, it's a collection of short stories. Typically they are designed so that you'll get it for the stories by the authors that you already love, and then you read the stories by the authors you've never read before. Hopefully, you enjoy those other stories, and then the author might get some new readers! That might not be exactly what the purpose of anthologies is, but that's always been my opinion! I have never really been a fan of anthologies. If I enjoy the story, I never feel like it's long enough. I'd much rather read a full length novel than something so short. But this month, my online book club challenged us to read a few anthologies cover to cover. So, here's my review of the first one!

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs - I have loved this short story since the first time I read it. On the Prowl is the only anthology I've ever bought because of this story! In this story, Briggs takes a character, Charles, who plays a minor part in her first Mercedes Thompson book, and gives him his own story. It's the prequel to a spin-off series called Alpha and Omega. Although it's a different series, I do think that you really need to read Moon Called first or else you just wont understand what in the world Charles is doing in Chicago. But this is a great beginning to another amazing series. Love it, love it, love it! And always something great to pick up for a quick re-read.

Inhuman by Eileen Wilks - This was a really good story. I was impressed that Wilks was able to do enough world building in a short story so that those of us that have never read anything by her weren't completely lost. From what I understand this is the middle of a series, but not the same characters as the other books. I'll probably be adding the first book of the series to my TBR pile. But I'd rather see more of these characters, and I'm pretty sure they don't really play a major part of the other books, but I could be wrong about that!

Buying Trouble by Karen Chance - I've been a Karen Chance fan for a while, so I enjoyed this story. It's not one that you have to read her others books to get the characters and the plot, which is really nice! Although it does add some back story to Midnight's Daughter. So that was fun. Overall I really enjoyed this, and think that even those that have never read Karen Chance would enjoy it.

Mona Lisa Betwining by Sunny - I just didn't get it! I was lost most of the time. There was zero world building for those of us that have never read anything by this author, and I'm pretty sure that this story was in the middle of a series of books. Because I could tell that there was a lot of back story that I didn't get at all! If you have read her books, this was probably a great story, but not recommended if you are just trying the author out to see if you want to read her books.

I had a really hard time decided what rating to give this book. If the story by Sunny hadn't been in it, I'd probably give it a 4. But that one story really brought it down. So, I had to go with a 3.


Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs


This is the second book in the Mercedes Thompson series. See review of Moon Called

During the events of Moon Called, Mercy becomes indebted to a local vampire, Stefan. Blood Bound starts out with him calling in that favor. What seems like a simple job of accompanying Stefan while he delivers a message to another vampire, turns into something a lot more dangerous. And Mercy isn't very happy when the werewolf pack decides to step in and help with the situation in order to keep her out of harms way.

This book just cemented my love of this series. Briggs does an amazing job with Mercy's continuing story. I loved watching as she becomes more involved with the local pack. Some of my favorite scenes were seeing Mercy claim her place among them, while still trying to maintain her distance from the entire supernatural world. The love triangle that started in Moon Called was advanced a bit, but overall it was just a small side story. But I can easily see things heating up in the next book! It was also very interesting to see more of the local vampire clan and how they operate.

Patricia Briggs knocks another one out of the park with a great story that grabs your attention and just holds on!


Guilty Pleasure by Laurell K. Hamilton


Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter series. The protagonist, Anita, is a necromancer with a real hatred for vampires. But when the local vampires decided that they want her to investigate some vampire murders, she learns that they will go to any lengths to get her to do what they want.

I've never read any books by Laurell K. Hamilton, although I've been meaning to for quite a while. When you read a lot of books in this genre, you hear her name a lot! So I finally am trying her out!

This book does seem to be a good set-up for a great series. But on it's own, it was just alright. It did create a fantastic world that I am looking forward to reading about more in the future. Those of my friends that are huge fans of this series have mentioned one of the characters, Jean-Claude, many times to me. I liked what I saw of him, but there really wasn't anywhere near enough of him for me to get a good feel for him. Hopefully his character will be explored more in the next few books.

Overall - A really good read. Not a favorite, but I have a feeling that the series will just get better.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston


I just finished reading Wondrous Strange. It was pretty good. I'd probably give it 3 - 3 1/2 stars. I had to read this book when I saw that the main character's name was Kelley, and she even spelled it the same as me! I know that may seem funny to some, but when you have a rather common name like Kelley, but never see it spelled the same way that you do, it's fun when you can find it!

The main character in this story is an actress in New York City. One day while walking through Central Park, she runs into guy who later seems to keep popping up wherever she is at. What she doesn't know is that he is a guard for the world of the fairies and he's about to pull her right into that world.

Anyways, it was a interesting start to a series. I thought that there did need to be some more character development, especially on some of the minor characters. I never really felt like I got to know anyone very well! Also, I thought that Kelley handled the whole thing way too well. If you weren't ever someone that believed in anything beyond the normal, would you really accept the presence of fairies quite so quickly? Just seemed a bit far fetched. Also, there was some romance, but I never really felt the passion that was supposedly there. I enjoyed it enough that I'll probably pick up the next book though.

One thing that was really fun was I listened to the audiobook, and the reader was the author! So I was hearing things exactly how she wrote them! That was fun!


Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr


Aislinn is one of the very rare humans that can see faeries. She's always learned that that world is dark and brutal, and it would be extremely dangerous if any faeries were to ever learn that she can see them. Aislinn has grown up constantly being reminded of "the rules". The top three being, #3 Don't stare at invisible faeries, #2 Don't talk to invisible faeries, and most important #1 Don't EVER attract the attention of faeries. But what should Aislinn do when she finds that she's somehow attracted the attention of not just one faerie, but seemingly all of them.

This is a really great young adult urban fantasy. It does have a darker edge to it, but that's one of the things that I found extremely intriguing. I loved how unique this book was. First off, you have a "leading man" that is very atypical. He has bars in his eyebrows, a ring in his lower lip, wears black fingernail polish, and lives in a couple of renovated train cars. Definitely not your typical protagonist. Also, as I started reading this novel, I was sure that I knew how it was all going to end. After you read as many books as I have in this genre, you tend to see patterns. So I was delightfully surprised when the book went into a completely different direction from what I had assumed. Very refreshing change!

This is a book that I strongly recommend to fans of urban fantasy. Also, as a side note. I know that you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I just have to say that I absolutely love the cover of this book, as well as the later books in the series. I've posted a picture of it on the left side of my blog, but it just can't do the cover justice. If you are at a book store, you should check it out!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead


What a great start to a young adult series! I recommend it to anyone that likes some fantasy, action, and a great kick-ass main character.

This isn't your traditional vampire book. The vampires (called Moroi) are protected by a race called Dhampir. They are half human/half vampire. They don't drink blood, and don't have any problem with the sun. But they also have some of the strength of a vampire. It is a guardian dhampir's job to protect the moroi from the Strigoi (an evil race of creatures).

The series follows the lives of a Moroi, Lissa and her best friend, dhampir and future guardian Rose. They have a special bond were Rose can actually feel what Lissa is feeling or thinking. I loved watching they way that these two interacted with each other as well as with the other characters throughout the novel. I'm not really going to say much about the story line, because I could never do it justice. Just read the book!!!

I will say though that I love Rose. She's daring, tough, and doesn't let anyone step all over her! I loved her attitude and strength. I also enjoyed watching her learn to balance that attitude with responsibility for the those that she needs to protect. It's a great coming of age story as we watch Rose grow and learn.

Read it! You'll love it!


The Woods by Harlan Coben


The other day I was looking for something new to read. I asked for suggestions from friends, stating that I really wanting a mystery/suspense novel. Someone mentioned trying out Harlan Coben. Well, I've never read any of his books before, although I have seen them from time to time at the book store. One of the few that I could easily get my hands on right away was The Woods. I was immediately hooked!

The protagonist is Paul Copeland. 20 years ago, at summer camp, his sister and 3 other teens all snuck into the woods at night. The next day 2 of them were found dead. Paul's sister and one other teen were never found again, although some of their clothing was found. Paul has never really gotten over the events. How can you ever truly move on if you never find the body? There is always that small seed of hope.  Some unexpected events cause him to start looking into the past, and Paul's life and emotions are taken on a wild ride.

I was hooked on this book from beginning to end. When you read a lot of mysteries, sometimes you can predict what the outcome of a particular book is. For this book, I never would have guessed it! There were so many fantastic twists and turns that the book took! And even after everything is over, and you think that you have learned it all, one last bombshell is dropped! I loved that Coben ended the book not telling us how that particular piece of information would affect everyone in the long run. This was a phenomenal story and I have ever intention of picking up another Coben novel! Loved it!


Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix


This is a book about a young boy, Luke, who is a 3rd child. What that means is that he is his parents 3rd kid, in a world where 3rd children are not allowed. He has lived in hiding for his entire life. No one outside of his immediate family even knows that he exists. He's never met any other children besides his 2 older brothers, never been to school, never gone to a store. He's never even watched tv or used a computer, because the government has claimed that they can discover and track 3rd children through phones, tv and computers. Then one day, amazingly enough, Luke meets another 3rd child, and his entire world begins to change.

This is a series that was written for younger readers, but I enjoyed it thoroughly! Luke and his life just seemed to grab my attention, and I just wanted to find out what would happen. They are really quick reads for an adult, but well worth it.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld


This is one of those books that I have kept putting off reading, and now that I've read it, I have no idea why it took me so long! The one good thing about putting it off is that the series has all been released already. I don't have to wait for the next one!

They are YA Science Fiction and I swear that I think every teenager should be required to read these books! They are set in our world, but about 300 years in the future. The characters live in a society where you are either an ugly or a pretty. Uglies are normal people, mostly kids, and when you turn 16 you get MAJOR reconstructive surgery to be the ideal pretty. The main character, Tally, meets a girl named Shay. They are just about 3 months from their 16 birthdays and Tally is just counting down the days until she can become pretty. But Shay has a different perspective on things. She likes the way that she looks right now. Why does she have to have surgery to become pretty?

This series really delves into issues that face all of us every day. It did take a little bit for me to get into this book, and that's the only reason that I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.  But once I did it just grabs you and holds on until the last page. Then once you've read that last page you have to race out and get the next one!

As a side note, for those of you who enjoy audiobooks, this was a great one. Some of the voices that the reader used for some characters took me a bit to get used to, but it was overall a great audio book series!


My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult


This was such a powerful book! I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it. It's been sitting on my shelf for over a year, and I just kept putting it off and putting it off.  I wanted to see the movie, and figured that I should probably read the book first.

Jodi Picoult did a wonderful job of exploring a topic that has so many sides and opinions. It was a book that truly made you question and think about things. But she never pushed you to agree with one viewpoint or another. Instead, she did an amazing job of showing so many different sides of the story so that you could decide for yourself what you feel was right or wrong in the situation.

Without giving away any spoilers, I just have to say that I really liked the way that she chose to end the book.  I know that there is some debate over the ending, but personally, I think that it made a fantastic point.  Perfect!

I listened to the audiobook. And for fans of audiobooks, I recommend it. I loved having different people reading the sections told from each persons point of view. One caution though is that there are some real tear jerker sections, so you probably don't want to be listening to it anywhere that you would be embarrassed to start crying!

This was an all around amazing read!


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


"Catching Fire" is the second book in the Hunger Games Series.  If you haven't read the first book yet, check out my review of it: The Hunger Games Review.  I don't know what it is about this series, but I seem to always have a hard time really saying what I think about it!  Let me try to talk about this book, but I'm really not sure if I can put my thoughts into words, so I'm sure this review will be lacking! Also, fyi, I don't like to give spoilers, so this'll be vague!

This book more than lived up to my expectations! I had read a number of other people's reviews and some felt like the first 173 pages dragged on. I didn't feel that way at all! No, there wasn't a ton of action at the start, but there was a great psychological side to it.

Then came page 173. I stared at that page, rereading the same sentence probably 50 times, because it couldn't really say what I thought it said! From that point on, no distractions were allowed! I had to just keep reading. Then came the ending. And I knew without a doubt ahead of time that I was going to hate the end, because it meant that I have to wait an entire year to find out what will happen next. And I was right! In fact, it was worse than I though it'd be. I had been anxious for 6 months for this book to be released. I thought that wait was unbearable. This one will be worse!

I am a major reader, and I have a ton of favorite books, series, and authors. But there is just something about this series that pulls me in unlike any other. I don't know if it's the characters or what. But these 2 books are pretty much at the top of my all time favorites.

The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg


I really debated over what to rate this book, and ended up deciding on 3 1/2 stars. I'll admit that I had extremely high hopes for this book, and it just didn't quite deliver. But maybe my expectations were a bit too high! After reading the back, I was expecting Vince Flynn level writing and action, and this fell short for me.

First off, when reading this book, you have to keep reminding yourself that it's just fiction. It's written as if Sadam Hussein was still alive and incharge or Iraq, the US hasn't invaded Iraq yet, and Bin Laden has been killed. But that's a pretty minor issue with the book. I mean, it was written a number of years ago, and I can just understand that it's fiction!

I love a book that grabs my attention from the start and just doesn't let go. Yes, this book grabbed my attention, but it didn't keep it. There were a number of parts where I was enthralled with the action, but it just always seemed afterwards to lose my attention. I also had a really hard time believing that in the midst of a MAJOR act of war, the President wants to focus part of his attention on a business deal. Yes, I understand that supposedly this business deal is supposed to completely change the world, but for the moment maybe we should be more focused on all of the bombs, and attacks and such!

There were also way too many characters, and very few of them developed well enough for me to care about them. The focus kept shifting around, from one person to another, and it was happening a bit too often for my liking. At one point, the US was tracking a group of 4 terrorists, called the 4 horsemen. Even though they mentioned that they were some of the most feared terrorists, no other details were really given. I would have loved to have heard a bit more about their past so that I had a real reason to push for them being caught.

Overall though, it was a pretty good story. There were some great moments of action and suspense. I was debating over if I would continue on to the next book in the series. But when I reached the end of this one, I realized that I don't have much choice! It ends on such a major cliff hanger, that I have to know what's going to happen!


Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn


On a scale of 1-5, I would give this book a 10!!! This is a fast moving, grab you in and don’t let go, political thriller! It's the first book in the Mitch Rapp series, all about a CIA agent who is fighting terrorism. All of the books in the series have made it onto the New York Times best sellers list, and I understand why! Every one of them is terrific, but I have to say that Transfer of Power is still my favorite. Vince Flynn is one of my all time favorite authors.

This book revolves around a group of terrorists that are intent on taking over the White House and killing the President. It was extremely intriguing to see the way that different members of the government react in very different ways to the crisis. Because of my job, most of the books that I “read”, I listen to on audio book. This was one of those, and I found that I was so into the book that I would forget to take breaks and not realize it until an hour or two later!

This is a book that I HIGHLY recommend! Vince Flynn is one of the best action writers that I have ever read. One thing that really hit me as I was reading this book and several others in the series, is the fact that it was written before 9/11. And I just had to wonder if things might have been different if more people had the same view on terrorism that is portrayed in these books. Anyways, fantastic book, loved it!!! Can't recommend it strongly enough!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore


This is a very interesting young adult fantasy novel. The main character, Katsa, lives in a world where certain people posses extreme skills or talents, called a "grace". These people are called Gracelings, and they are easily recognizable by the fact that their eyes are two different colors. Katsa's grace is the ability to kill, and she's forced to use her grace as the King's enforcer. But what should she do when the King's orders go against everything that she believes and feels?

This was a really good fantasy novel! I enjoyed it quite a bit. Lots of action and a good touch of romance. The only reason that I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because of the ending. There was this whole build-up around who the "bad guy" was and evading him and such, and then it ended really abruptly and was very anti-climatic. There was another section of the book after that to wrap up a few loose ends. I kinda liked that section, but at the same time it seemed a bit odd to me. Maybe it's trying to set up another book? Not sure. But overall, I am really glad that I read this.

The only other problem I had was that I listened to the audiobook and I'm not sure if I recommend that. It was a full cast audio, so basically one reader for everything but the dialogue, and then a bunch of readers for the dialogue. And honestly, they were all pretty good. It took me a bit to get used to that kind of setup because I am so used to just one or possibly 2 readers. But I got used to it pretty quick. The problem I had was the music that they kept inserting into it! That drove me crazy! I kept feeling like I was watching some old movie where some says something that's supposed to shock or surprise you, then you hear "Dum, dum, dum" (or whatever the music happens to be). I just felt like laughing every time that they did it! Which is probably not a good thing since they were adding it to the parts that were supposed to be suspenseful! So, I think that I'd recommend reading it, not listening to it.

Our Boys by Joe Drape


I got this book as part of a first-reads giveaway. At first, I really didn't think that I'd enjoy it that much. I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction. Plus, although I enjoy watching a good football game, I don't know football inside and out like a lot of people do. I had never heard of the team before, and didn't think that I'd care about what really happened to them or to their football season.

I was wrong! Drape does an amazing job of making you care about this team, the players, and the town that nurtures them. This isn't a book that's just for football fans. It's a book for anyone that enjoys seeing true life challenges, struggles, and triumphs.

Although I did find myself getting a bit lost at times with some of the technical football jargon and descriptions of some of the plays. But despite that, this was an extremely enjoyable read. I saw that Drape has also written a book about The Race for the Triple Crown. That book sounds like it's a bit more up my alley of interest. Considering how much I enjoyed his writing on a topic I'm not all that interested about, I have every intention of checking out this other book

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber


What a fun, enjoyable book! Great start to a brand new series! I received an ARC of this book as part of a first-reads giveaway. I am really glad that I did! FYI, the book wont actually be released until the first week in February.

This is the story of Lucy Valentine. She is a girl with a problem! Lucy comes from a long line of matchmakers. The ability to match make is literally in their genes. All of the members of her family can see the colors of people's spirits. Then, they find two people who's spirits match, and presto! You have a match. In fact, their matchmaking business has a 98% success rate. But as I said, Lucy has a problem. When she was a teenager, she was electrocuted, and now, she can't see the colors any more. Instead, she has a new "talent". Whenever Lucy touches someone's hand, if they are thinking about something that they've lost, she can see where it is. When a family issue forces Lucy to temporarily take over the family matchmaking business, she is terrified. How in the world can her odd talent help her with matchmaking?

I loved how unpredictable this book was! There was some great romance, but certainly not the type that you usually read. Also, there was a fantastic mystery that literally had me guessing all the way to the end. I kept being sure that I knew what the outcome of the mystery would be, but I was completely wrong!

This book had a bit of everything! Mystery, romance, humor, phenomenal characters that you can't help but love, and just a perfect dose of the supernatural. Give it a try! Just a little note. If you really aren't into supernatural or fantasy, you should still give this book a try. There is a supernatural element, but not a huge dose of it.

Another note - I actually classified the genres of this book as both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. For those of you who are big into these genres, you know that those two are typically not the same book. But this book is borderline on them both. There is some romance, and it's a big part of the story. But there are also several main story lines that have nothing to do with the romance. So, I classified it as both!

The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry


I recieved this book as part of a first reads giveaway. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It's pretty fast paced, action packed. I also really enjoyed the characters. This book reminded me a bit of a Dan Brown novel, in the way that history becomes an integreal part of the story. I really enjoyed the parts about Napolean!

My one real problem was that this book is in the middle of a series. And I've never read the other books in the series! I'm sure that if I had already read the other books, I would have enjoyed this more, and probably have given it 5 stars. Of course, that's not the books or the authors fault! Just the way the giveaways sometimes happen. But I really enjoyed this book and have every intention of going back and starting the series from the beginning!

If you are a Dan Brown fan, check out this author!


Storm Front by Jim Butcher


This is the first book in The Dresden Files series. The protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a wizard. Yes, he even advertises in the yellow pages, under Wizard! I love books with a supernatural element, and that genre consists of the majority of the books I read. I loved the fact that this book had a different take on the supernatural world. I enjoyed seeing things from the perspective of a Wizard. That's not typical. I also listen to numerous audio books, and every time that I read discussions about great audio books, this series is brought up. For some reason, I kept putting off listening to it. I'm glad that I finally did!

I really enjoyed this story. Harry Dresden was a great character to get to know. I loved his dry, self deprecating personality. But honestly, I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed this book anywhere near as much if I had read it instead of listening to it. James Marsters did a fantastic job of bringing Dresden to life. He was the perfect guy for the job! Sometimes, the way that he said something, or would pause, or sigh, I could just picture Dresden right there. I could see the look on his face, or the roll of his eyes.

I can't wait to move on to the next book in the series. From what I've heard, this series just keeps getting better!


Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson


This was an extremely funny story, unlike any vampire book I've ever read! It starts out with Betsy, short for Elizabeth, telling the readers about the worst day of her life. “The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry.” It’s her birthday, she gets fired from her job, her cat runs away, a freak snowstorm in April cancels her birthday party, and she gets hit by a car and killed. The problem is that she just can’t stay dead!

Betsy is so unlike ANY other vampire I've ever read about! Picture the main character of legally blond, add a good portion of that annoying 7 year old that enjoys bugging everyone, (example: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?) and you get Betsy. She's so annoying, and ditzy that you just have to laugh at the things that she says and does. Plus her mind takes her off on these tangents that have nothing to do with the situation at hand, and they happen at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes it's like you just want to slap her and say, "Hey! ADD girl, focus! Someone is trying to hurt you; it's not the right time to be thinking about your shoes!" Throughout the entire series, I’m constantly wondering what else can possibly happen to this girl.

Anyways, I thought that the book was extremely funny! Of course, part of that might have been that I was listening to it on audio book, and the actor played the part of a spoiled, ditzy blond perfectly! If you are looking for a good laugh, read these books!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


I just finished rereading The Book Thief and I don't know if I have the words to describe how this book has touched me! On a scale from 1 to 5, I would give it a 10. I will admit that several times during the first few chapters, I almost put it down and started reading something else. I am EXTREMLY happy that I didn't. This is a book that is well worth the read! The basic description of this book is that it's about a young girl named Liesel Meminger as she grows up in Nazi Germany. One of the descriptions that I read of it says, it's a "coming of age story about faith, love, hope amidst tragedy." I think that if I was to try giving a more in-depth description of what the book was about, I'd end up writing several pages and not do the story justice. I'll just include a quote from the book itself, describing what the story is all about:

"It's a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery"

Markus Zusak is an incredible writer. The descriptions of things and events would just leave me gaping! He has a way of painting a picture that just brings everything to life. His narrative/story telling style was very distinctive and intriguing. The narrator of the story had such a unique viewpoint on the events, plus he would give you these glimpses of what was going to happen much later in the story. It was completely different from what I am used to, but I loved it. But saying all of that, I have to admit to something. All of those things that I just mentioned, I was really only able to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy them with a very small portion of my mind. The rest was so wrapped up in the story itself, that I had a hard time pulling myself away from it long enough to appreciate how the story was being told. This was such a powerful and yet heartbreaking story. If you only like books that are lighthearted, happy, and have a happily ever after, you will hate this book. If you can stand for your heart to be broken (and not just once) then this book is well worth the time to read it!

I will definitely be reading it again!

Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye by Kaza Kingsley


This book was an extremely fun read! I was intrigued at page 1 and hooked by page 50. It's the first in a series that I could easily see becoming as popular as Harry Potter. It’s written as a pre-teens fantasy, but will appeal to readers of all ages. This book follows the adventures of Erec Rex as he searches for his mom and finds himself thrust into a world that he never imagined existed. He explores new lands, meets new people and tries to figure out where he and his mother fit into this bizarre world.

Kingsley did a fantastic job of creating a fun, intriguing world with great characters that you could easily identify with. I loved how she took ordinary, every day things and twisted them up. For example, instead of just using the common name for a fast food place, she called them fastaurants. Just simple things like that added to the feel of the story. Kingsley did a great job of creating suspense, mystery and quite a lot of fun. There were times that I found myself laughing aloud, including a scene with a suit of armor that sent me into a flashback of the days when I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail over and over again. This first book left quite a lot of mysteries and questions unanswered and I can’t wait to pick up the next novel to see what is revealed and to experience more of this great adventure.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a great fantasy. And if you personally don’t like fantasy, but you have any kids in your life, you should definitely pick this up for them. It’ll be a hit!

Rebel Yell by Alice Randall


I received this book as part of a first-reads giveaway from the publisher. These giveaways are done so that they can get some early reviews of a book before it's published. I really feel that if you receive a book in a giveaway, it's your job to read the book and write a review. If it wasn't for that, I would probably never have made it past the first 50 pages. As it was, I kept trying and trying to get through this book, and finally gave up about 175 pages in. For those of you who know me, it's extremely rare for me to not finish a book!

Part of the hard part for me was the culture and lifestyle that was described is very different from how I was raised. So I had a really hard time understanding some of the things that were discussed. For example, I had a hard time understanding why certain things were so insulting to some of the characters. Maybe if it was written in a way that I could see where they were coming from, it would have been interesting to learn about a culture different from mine. That's something that I would enjoy! Instead, the way that it was written was very confusing.

I also just kept waiting for there to be a real story, and I never found one! I know that it's about Abel Jr, or Abel III, not sure which. They called him by both, so who knows! He died and his ex-wife is thinking about his life. But beyond that, I couldn't find a story. The author just kept jumping from one thing to another, and from one time frame to another, with no real connections in-between. I never really felt like I was getting to know Abel in any way. I mean, yeah, I was hearing details of his life, but I never felt like I was getting to know him personally. Why did he do certain things? How did particular events effect him and make him the man he ended up becoming? I think that the author was trying to tell us those things, but I never felt them. I never felt like I knew Abel at all!

And the tidbits about some of the relationships were vague, odd, and sometimes disturbing. In the center is Abel's son Ajay. Ajay's step-father is having an affair. I keep getting a feeling that his mother hasn't been faithful either, even though at this point that's never actually stated. His step-mother is hitting on him. And his father seems to have been unfaithful to both of his wives, and possibly was gay. Good luck to this kid with those kinds of dysfunctional relationships as his examples!

I truly tried to get into this book and to find something good or interesting about it. Instead, I felt like it was a chore just to try to read another chapter. Unfortunatly, there are too many amazing books out there for me to read, to continue to waste my time on this one.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


I just finished re-reading one of the best books that I've read all year. It easily makes the top 5, possibly even the top spot. The book is called "The Hunger Games", and it's by Suzanne Collins. This is the first book of a Young Adult dystopia trilogy, but really it's a book that will appeal to readers of any age.

The book takes place in an alternate reality. Imagine our country in the future. There have been wars, famine, natural disasters, and a complete and total breakdown of our government and country. What is left is a country called Panem, which consists of the Capital and 12 districts throughout the nation. While the Capital is very wealthy, the districts are very pour. There's no welfare system. You are completely on your own. And the laws are brutal. If you break them, you'll either be subjected to a whipping or more likely be killed. This is not a fun country to grow up in. The main character is a 16-year old girl named Katniss. She is quite the survivor. At the age of 11, her father is killed in a mine explosion and she becomes the soul provider for her mother and little sister Prim. Every day, Katniss and her best friend Gale risk their lives by breaking the law, sneaking under the fence that surrounds their district and going into the woods to hunt, fish, and gather plants and berries. Anything that their family doesn't need for food gets traded on the black market for essentials. Although life is far from pleasant, Katniss and her family are surviving well enough.

But then comes Reaping Day when everything changes. Once a year, the Capital holds The Hunger Games. It's basically their way of showing the districts who is in charge, and who has all the control. 1 boy and 1 girl (called Tributes) from each of the districts has to compete in the ultimate game of survivor. Only one of the 24 will leave the arena alive. Katniss becomes one of the tributes and now she is literally in the fight of her life. She just has to hope that her brains, and nerve, and talent will be enough to keep her alive. She also has to decided who she can trust, or if she can trust anyone. What are people's ulterior motives for what they say and do?

This book has everything! Action, suspense, mystery, friendship, romance, humor in the most unlikely places, and a great psychological element! Once you start reading, you wont want to put the book down!

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs


This book is a fantastic start to an Urban Fantasy series by Patricia Briggs. The focus is on Mercedes Thompson, a walker/were-coyote. Although she is one of a kind, she finds herself surrounded by other members of the hidden supernatural world. Mercy was raised by werewolves, but left their community when she was only 16 years old. No matter what she does, Mercy seemed to keep getting pulled into the business of the werewolves, vampires and the fae.

Briggs created a fantastic, strong, kick-ass female lead in Mercy. She never lets anyone push her around. Not even her neighbor and friend, Adam, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack. This novel has a great cast of characters that you can easily identify with. One of the things that I really enjoyed was seeing the pack dynamic. I’ve always been interested in the way that animals interact with each other, and I think that Patrcia Briggs did a great job of incorporating the way that a true pack of wolves would be.

"Moon Called" is a very edgy Urban Fantasy, with just the perfect mix of romance and humor inserted. This was a great, fun, fast reading book. The perfect start to a series. For those paranormal fans out there that are hooked on Vamps, and don’t think that you would ever like werewolves, try this book! You’ll love it!