September 30, 2009

"My Soul To Take" is Mysterious

"My Soul To Take"
Rachel Vincent


Synopsis: She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I thought this book was really original. I had heard a little bit about the myths that this story is based off of, but I honestly knew very little. I really enjoyed learning about Kaylee's "gift" and the supernatural world surrounding her. Even though I liked Nash's character, for some reason I was really drawn to Todd. I just found him a bit more interesting; it is probably because he is more mysterious. Vincent kept me guessing throughout the whole book, I honestly had no idea who or what was responsible for the deaths of the teenage girls until it was revealed at the end. I may have figured out some of the twists before they happened, but not the one that mattered most.

Vincent did a great job creating multiple layers to the plot leaving plenty of room for more books. I feel like "My Soul To Take" just skimmed the surface of a world that gets darker as it goes deeper. I hope we learn more about both Kaylee and Nash's families in future books. I am really excited for the next book in the series "My Soul To Save". I would post the synopsis on here, but it would give things away for people who haven't read "My Soul To Take". Learn more about the second book and read the prequel Novella to the series, "My Soul To Lose", here.

September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Rick Yancey
Excerpt from page 14:

Upon the table lay a young girl, her body partially concealed by the naked form wrapped around her, one massive leg thrown over her torso, and arm draped across her chest. Her white burial gown was stained with the distinctive ochre of dried blood the source of which was immediately apparent: Half her face was missing, and below it I could see the exposed bones of her neck.

So far I am loving this book. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but is perfect for someone looking to be scared and maybe even a little grossed out. It is perfect for the R.I.P. IV Book Challenge I am participating in and is making me want to put up my Halloween decorations!

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

September 21, 2009

New Layout

I changed the layout of my blog and created a header. I like it a lot, but let me know what you think! If anything is hard to read please let me know, style does not supersede functionality!

"City of Glass" is a Fantastic Conclusion

"City of Glass"
By Cassandra Clare


To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling The Mortal Instruments.

After reading "City of Ashes" I didn't think the series could get any better, but I honestly loved "City of Glass" even more. Even though I was able to predict a lot of the outcomes in the book overall, I still enjoyed every second of reading. I loved the addition of Sebastian to the story and thought Clare pulled off the characters perfectly (this may sound weird if you haven't read the books, but if I say anymore it will give too much away). I really enjoyed how we got a better understanding of the Clave in this final book. I could see why Valentine had such hatred for them, even though I did not agree with his ideals. All the details that Clare added to this final book wrapped up all the details in the first two books in a seamless manner. I got the sense that Clare took her time when developing this series and took the time to connect all the dots.

"The Mortal Instruments" books are a must read for anyone who enjoys the supernatural, adventures, vampires, werewolves, or is just looking for a new series. I have seen adults who enjoy these books just as much as teens, which I think this is a true compliment. If it crosses a generation gap then it is something that can be relatable and appreciated by a wide variety of people. The hardcover box set of the series is coming out October 27 and is definitely worth the price. I saved up to buy all three in hardcover and I am glad I spent the money!

Consumed by "City of Ashes"

"City of Ashes"
By Cassandra Clare


Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace.How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Even though I thought the first book in this series was great, I enjoyed this book even more. I'm not sure if I found the first book a little slow, but I could not stop reading "City of Ashes". By the end of the book I was so invested in the Clary and Jace relationship that I had to take a break between the third book because I was so frustrated at them. This only happens with me when I am completely in love with the characters (if this happens to anyone else, please let me know because I feel pretty silly about it). I don't think there was a single character in the book that I could have done without, they were all so richly developed. I wasn't a huge fan of Simon in "City of Bones", I thought he was a bit obnoxious, but he even won me over. There was a lot of internal struggle in many of the characters in this book and Clare was able to bring them to the front of the story without slowing down the plot at all.

This is a book that should go in your must read pile. Check out the series at the website here. You can find an excerpt from "City of Ashes" here and more about upcoming books by the author. A prequel series is in the works!

September 20, 2009

Short Story Sundays

I decided to take a break from my usual ghost story collection and read some stories from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark". I read The Girl Who Stood On a Grave, A New Horse, Alligators, and Room for One More.

The Girl Who Stood On a Grave is about a girl who is dared to stand on a grave. She completes her dare, but the story ends in a very surprising way. I think this was my favorite one of the four. I could totally see myself in that situation and having the same thing happen. I rate it a 4 because the ending was not at all what I expected and to me it was creepy.

Room for One More was my second favorite of the four stories. It is about a man's odd dream and how part of it plays out in real life. I know that isn't much to go on, but you must remember these stories are about a page long. This was another 4 for me.

A New Horse tells the story about a guy who claims that a witch is turning him into a horse at night and riding him around town. One night he manages to reverse the role and has his own fun with the witch. I found this story to just be completely goofy, not scary at all. I give it a 2.5 because it was okay, but I could have skipped reading it.

Alligators was another story I found to be kind of goofy. It divulges the tale of a woman who claimed that her husband was turning into an alligator. When they had children, she believed he was trying to turn them into alligators too. This one I felt had a little more scare appeal than A New Horse, so I grade it a 3.

These were some of my favorite stories growing up and I was not disappointed while rereading some of them. Even if some of the stories weren't scary, they were amusing enough to keep your attention for the short span that they lasted. Overall I rate "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" a 4 and it will be a book I keep in my collection forever.

*Sorry that this post is late! I've been having issues with my smoke detector for almost 24 hours and it just got fixed less than 4o minutes ago.

On My Chair

This is where I post the books that I borrow from the library, buy, or I receive via mail in the last week.

Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.

But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

I saw this book at work and had to borrow it. It just sounds really cool and seems like the perfect book to get me in the mood for Halloween! It even fits perfect with the book challenge I am participating in. I am going to start it as soon as I finish all my blog postings! Enjoy the trailer as an extra tease!

This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)

September 17, 2009

Thursday Update

This is my big news of the week. The car that I've had for 8 years has finally driven over 100,000 miles! I really hope that it continues to be as reliable as it has been. The car is only a month or so shy of being 10... *crosses fingers*.
In other news, I finished "My Soul To Take", which I thought was awesome! I hope to post a review soon, but school is taking over my life. I have at least 300 pages of text book reading to do over the next week, so it may be a while before I get all caught up.
I thought there was something else I wanted to write about... but I am seriously dead tired and I can't think of it. I think I'll read some scary stories before I go to bed and hope they don't give me nightmares.

September 13, 2009

Short Story Sunday: Harry

This week I read "Harry" by Rosemary Timperley, which is the second story in "Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories".

"Harry " is a story about Mrs. James who becomes very concerned when daughter starts talking to her "brother" Harry. Mrs. James cannot see this Harry, but sometimes sees shadows by the rosebushes where her daughter, Christine, talks to him. Mr. James writes the daughters behavior off as her just being lonely and needing a friend to talk to, but Mrs. James isn't convinced even after a doctor agrees with her husband. Mrs. James only hope is that Christine will loses interest in Harry when she starts school and has children her own age to play with.

Even though this story wasn't anymore creepy than the last one I read, I think I enjoyed it a bit more. It was interesting to learn about Harry and I didn't find the story quite as predictable as "W.S.". I could also empathize with Mrs. James's situation. She is trying to be a good mother, but her feelings towards her daughter's behavior take over her better judgment. It is really interesting to see how this plays out throughout the story. I think "Harry" could be pretty creepy if you were a mother with a child who talks to an imaginary friend. I am giving it a 3.5 because I really liked it, but I didn't love it.

September 10, 2009

Thursday Update

Today is a big day! It is my first day of classes for my last semester of my graduate degree! I have been in school for far too many years in a row. I am so excited to have only 3 more months left.
In book related news, I have already completed 3 books for the R.I.P IV Challenge (in the order I completed them): "Shiver", "City of Glass", and "From Dead to Worse". I will probably finish "My Soul to Take" by the end of the week, so I'll have met that goal of the challenge already. This does not mean I will stop reading books for the challenges, I want to read at least 2 more for me to review! I should probably start focusing on the short stories... that might be a good game plan!
I watched "28 Days Later" for the first time in years and I forgot how awesome it was. That movie has everything going for it. The plot is great, you root for the characters the whole movie, the music is wonderful, and the cinematography just adds to the horror of it all! I don't care if people think the idea of being infected with rage is stupid, because I think it sounds pretty scary to me.
I really wanted to write more, but I have so much to do before my classes start today. Happy Thursday everyone!

September 8, 2009

"Shiver" Warms My Heart

"Shiver" by
Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I truly love this book! It has romance, mystery, and a new spin on werewolves. Add beautiful writing to the mix and you have a fantastic read! I could not put this book down and on multiple occasions I ended up working out for over 45 minutes without even realizing it. I even thought the setting of the book was wonderful. I could just imagine being in a small town surrounded by woods and little else. A place with cozy bookshops and candy stores... although I have to admit I really don't like the cold, but it was the perfect setting for this book. I honestly would have given this book a five, but I enjoy books that make my brain explore new ideas that they haven't before. Not that the new spin on werewolves wasn't great, but I just left the book content and found it easy to move on to another book.

If you want to hear Stiefvater read the first two chapters of the book just click here. Her website also has a link to an excerpt from the book, her bio, lists of her other works, and more. I posted one of the trailers she has posted on her website, it is courtesy of Expanded Books.

Teaser Tuesdays

"My Soul To Take"
Rachel Vincent
Excerpt from page 76:

Coach Tucker loomed on the edge of the green-and-white central throng, her sneakers spread wide for balance, pulling kids out of the way one at a time even as she shouted into a clunky, school-issue, handheld radio. Finally the crowd parted for her, revealing a motionless female form lying on the brown grass, one arm thrown out at her side.

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

September 7, 2009

Oops on post for Short Story Sundays!

It was brought to my attention that the story I read that I thought was written by Roald Dahl was actually just part of a collection compiled by him. "W.S." was actually written by L.P. Hartley and the text that is in the book is a renewed version by Hamish Hamilton. Sorry that I passed along false information! I feel really silly for this confusion. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't skip the introductions in books.

September 6, 2009

Short Story Sundays: W.S.

For my first Short Story Sunday post that is a part of the the R.I.P IV Challenge, I have chosen W.S. by L.P. Hartley. I've had "Roald Dahl's Ghost Stories" sitting on my bookshelf for over 4 years, and I am finally taking this opportunity to read some of the selections from this book of Roald Dahl's favorite ghost stories.

I chose to read the first story in the book "W.S.", which is about a writer named Walter Streeter who starts getting disconcerting post cards in the mail by an anonymous sender who simply signs them W.S. "W.S." is only 10 pages that tells how these postcards effect Walter Streeter and concludes with discovering the identity of W.S. I can't say more than that because it would give the story away.

I have to admit that "W.S.", was a little disappointing. It was a fine story, but just didn't have the creep factor that I was hoping for. On my rating scale it gets a 3 out of 5. It is definitely a story where the more you think about it the creepier it gets, but I was expecting it to be more sinister. I am going to continue to read more from this book and I'm sure I'll find something more to my liking. I will keep you updated on my findings!

*Incase you didn't see the post written after this one or the comments on this post, I originally said that this story was written by Roald Dahl instead of L.P. Hartley. I was totally confused and thought this collection was of Dahl's works and found myself being corrected by a fellow blogger (thanks again Carl!). Sorry for the incorrect information, I really wasn't paying attention and I totally messed up.

On My Chair

This is where I post the books that I borrow from the library, buy, or I receive via mail in the last week.

"Soul Screamers: My Soul to Take"
by Rachel Vincent


She doesn't see dead people, but...

She sense when someone near her is about to die. And when it happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoying having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

It has taken me weeks to get this book in my hands, but it finally came into the library this week! I just hope it is as good as everyone says. I am currently reading "City of Glass", but as soon as I'm finished with it then I'll jump into "My Soul To Take".

This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)

September 1, 2009

My First Book Challenge: R.I.P. IV!

I have decided to take on my first book challenge! Due to my love of Halloween and for supernatural books, I have decided to attempt the R.I.P. IV Challenge. This challenge runs from September 1st (today!) through October 31st. You may be asking, what is R.I.P IV, so here is Carl (host of the challenge) of Stainless Steel Droppings description right from the blog:

Readers Imbibing Peril, that is what it is all about. I hope you’ll consider joining us on this more eerie road less traveled.

Walk this way.

Dark Fantasy.

The desire for the thrill that comes with this kind of reading drifts in on the autumn winds. You breathe it in and it takes hold of you, tempting you to late nights, book-in-hand, turning pages and starting at every unknown noise. Something wicked this way comes…

I find that kind of melodramatic fear to be a delicious intoxication, one that makes this time of year an especially enjoying time to be a reader. There is enough bad fear in the world: fear of losing one’s job, fear of the state of the world, fear of failure…the list is endless. It is time to reject that fear, embrace hope, and while doing so embrace the fun kind of fear–the kind that had us sitting around camp fires as children, listening to adults tell us ghost stories. The kind that made you want to stay up past your bed time to peek at the late night scary movie on television.

There are two simple goals to the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge:

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

As I do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. IV without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives.

My main goal is to reach the first level of the challenge by reading 4 books that fit into any of the categories listed above. I may not post reviews for all the books I read for this challenge, simply because they may be adult books; however, I will try to post reviews for at least 3 books! That is my ultimate goal.

The second goal I want to meet is participating in Short Story Sundays. For this I would review a short story every Sunday. I'm not sure how successful I will be at this, but I think it could be fun. I haven't read a short story in at least 2 years... but I have plenty of great anthologies! I think I will begin by reading some of Roald Dahl's short stories. I have a collection of them, but they've been sitting on my bookshelf for years! It is time to crack those open.

Here is a list of books that I would like to complete for this challenge:
"Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater
"From Dead to Worse" by Charlaine Harris
"What the Dickens" by Gregory Maguire
"Forest of Hands and Teeth" by Carrie Ryan
"Night World: Secret Vampire" by L.J. Smith
I may change my mind on the last few titles I have listed, but so far those are the books that are standing out in my mind.

I am really excited about this because I think it is just the motivation I need to make sure I don't slack on my blog during my final semester of my graduate program. I hope that my reviews get you in the mood to pick up some great books or at least get you thinking about your Halloween costume!

Teaser Tuesday

Maggie Stiefvater
Excerpt from page 15:

I had imagined great adventures where I became a wolf by night and ran away with my wolf to a golden wood where it never snowed. I knew now that the golden wood didn't exist, but the pack - and my yellow-eyed wolf - did.

I have been hearing so many great things about "Shiver" that I had to see what the fuss was all about. I really want to read the final "Mortal Instruments" book, but I honestly couldn't resist "Shiver".

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any

Captivated by "Catching Fire"

"Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Suzanne Collins


Synopsis: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Review: Suzanne Collins has done it again! "The Hunger Games" was one of my favorite books and "Catching Fire" did not disappoint. This book shows the true power and fury that The Capitol has over the districts. This book had me sitting on the edge of my seat because I just could not wait to here what was going to happen next! I was shouting out in excitement (yes I got that into the book) at 1 am while reading this book. The end of the book was so awesome that I cannot believe I am going to have to wait to get the 3rd book! I am having a lot of trouble writing this review because I really do not want to give anything away! The twists of this book are fantastic and I really do not want to detract from any of them. My love for the characters has grown so much in this book that some of the scenes were heartbreaking. Even the fates of newly introduced characters were heartbreaking to read as the story developed.

Suzanne Collins is a wonderful writer who combines all of the elements of writing to create captivating stories. If you loved the first "Hunger Games" then I am positive you will love "Catching Fire". If you have not read "Hunger Games" then I urge you to read it. I hardly ever purchase books after I read them, but these books will be a part of my permanent library. "Catching Fire" comes out today (Tuesday the 1st of September) and I hope it becomes a bestseller!

NPR posted an excerpt of "Catching Fire" on their website, you can read or listen to chapter 2 of the book by clicking here.