Monday, July 21, 2014

Sinner

18406862When I saw a follow-up book to the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy was coming out, I was so excited.  I really liked that series, and Cole was a very interesting character.  In Sinner Cole and Isabel get their very own book.  The story takes place after the trilogy.  Isabel has moved with her mother to California.  Cole is ready to get his life back.  What he wants most is Isabel.  He accepts a Reality TV gig, following him as he records a new album, and heads to LA to win Isabel over.  She is less than thrilled with his appearance.  She doesn't know if she can trust him, and she doesn't want to let herself fall in love with him again.  The book alternates perspectives as we watch Isabel try to deal with Cole being back in her life and what that might mean for the future.  We watch Cole try to face his own demons.  His past is only a step behind and he has trouble not giving in to temptation.  Instead of drugs, he turns to the wolf, forcing changes to help himself cope.  His character is very interesting to follow.  His manic and addictive personality is quite entertaining.  I found myself constantly cheering him on, hoping he wouldn't succumb to his demons.  His relationship with Leon was the best.  I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great follow up to a series I was sad to see end.  Cole's dynamic personality definitely begged for more attention.  This book was perfect for that.  He is very complicated and deserved to be the main character of his own story.  I loved seeing him back as the famous rock star, dealing with what that meant for his new life and trying to reconcile with his past self.  This was an excellent self-discovery story.  He needed this and as a fan, so did I.  Anybody who is a Cole St. Clair fan, you will love this book.  If you haven't read the trilogy first, you will be a little lost though.  All four books are quite good, in my opinion.  Give them a try.  Happy reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Iron Fey

6644117774706486856129659607
For years I though about reading The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.  It wasn't until she started a new series, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, that I finally gave it a try.  The author said the first four didn't have to be read before book five (aka book one in the new series).  That sounded like a good deal to me.  I really liked that fifth book and was instantly intrigued by the previous four.  Of course I hurried to read them, as well as the bridging novellas, before book six came out.  I found that I actually liked the original four better.  The bad thing was, by reading book five first, a few things were ruined for me.  The second series takes place twelve or so years later and follows Ethan Chase, the younger brother or the main character in the Iron Fey series.

The original series follows Meghan Chase as she heads into the Nevernever to rescue her four year old brother, Ethan, after he is kidnapped by faeries.  It isn't long that she learns she is part faerie herself, the half-human daughter to none other than Oberon himself.  The Summer princess makes friends and enemies along the way.  Her travel companions are the Summer prankster, Puck, and his best friend/worst enemy the youngest Winter prince, Ash.  Finding Ethan is not their only problem.  A new kingdom, made of iron, is rapidly growing.  The Nevernever is starting to die as the poisonous iron overtakes the land.  None of the faeries can stop it.  Meghan's human half makes her immune to the effects of iron, so it is up to her to try to stop the Iron King before all the Winter and Summer lands and faeries are dead.  Of course there is also romance.  Puck is in love with Meghan from the beginning, but it is the forbidden Ash she is drawn to.  He is cold, cunning and lethal, just like his mother, Mab, values.  Meghan catches glimpses of who he is under that mask.  The two can't help but fall in love.  The problem, their parents are mortal enemies and it is forbidden for Summer and Winter to be together.  Will they risk exile to be together or walk away?  You'll have to read to find out.

While there is romance, as in most young adult books, it is by no means the driving point of the story.  The life and death action and adventure will keep you reading.  If you are at all interested in the world of Faerie, I think you will enjoy these books.  The Iron kingdom is fascinating to me.  I think it was a brilliant idea to shake things up in Faerie.  I really enjoyed the characters, especially Ash, although Puck's antics are always entertaining.  The stories are well-written and well-paced.  I never got bored.  The first three books are more of a trilogy, following Meghan, while book four is about Ash.  Meghan is only in it for a little bit.  It feels like a bonus book to satisfy Ash fans, although it does tie into the overall story.  Like I said, they are quite enjoyable.  Give them a try.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Name is Resolute

17934498My Name is Resolute came out in February, but I saved it to read up at my cabin this summer.  The author's first book, These Is My Words, is one of my favorite books, so I was really excited about a new historical fiction from Nancy Turner.  I met her a few months ago when she was on tour for this book and I really liked her.  In my experience, meeting some authors can forever ruin my opinion of their work.  When an author turns out to be a tool, I have no interest in reading their books.  Conversely, there have been a lot of authors that weren't even on my radar until I met them.  Some authors think that fame is enough to maintain and increase fans.  For me, likability goes a long way.  There are plenty of authors I have read, and liked, simply because I met them and liked them personally.  It does take a bit of compatibility with subject matter for me to pick up a book, even if the author is a really nice and impressive human being (e.g. Nora Roberts).

I digress; after all, we are here to discuss My Name is Resolute.  In my opinion, it isn't nearly as good as These Is My Words, but I still enjoyed it.  My one major complaint was that it was simply too long.  At times I felt like I would never finish it.  Parts could have been cut out and still been as good.

The story follows Resolute Talbot from the age of eleven or so.  While living in Jamaica on her family's plantation, she and her siblings are kidnapped by pirates.  English privateers overtake the pirates.  Their brother signs on with them, while Resolute and her sister, Patience, are sold into slavery in the New World.  The sister's lives ultimately take different paths.  Resolute learns how to weave, a trade that helps carry her through the rest of her life.  After escaping, she is able to be self-sufficient in a time when women usually didn't take care of themselves.  As she gets older, marries, has kids, etc. the skills she learned as a slave become the very skills that shape her place in history.  We follow her through sickness, heartbreak, joy and danger as she makes a life for herself near Lexington, Massachusetts.  As the Revolutionary War approaches, she finds herself in the heart of the underground Patriot movement.  Constantly in danger, Resolute is surrounded by wanted men.  Her brother is an infamous pirate/privateer, a thorn in the side of the English.  Her husband is wanted for crimes from his childhood in Scotland.  Her son is working along side top Patriot players like Paul Revere and John Hancock.

The book made me want to read up more on events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  It was lots of fun to meet some of the famous historical figures from that time period and see them as youths.  It is a time period I don't know much about and am very interested in studying.  It has been a long time since I studied it in school and don't remember much of what I learned.  The character of Resolute was interesting.  I enjoyed following her life.  Her brother, August, was lots of fun as well.  Characters are what drove this book as much as the historical world it was set in.  Over all, I really enjoyed it.  If you are a fan of historical fiction and don't mind a long book, give this a try.  Happy reading!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hugless Douglas

7830908I discovered Hugless Douglas a couple years ago merely by accident.  It was on a display and, at the time, I had a coworker named Doug.  It looked cute so I picked it up and read it.  I just loved it.  Douglas is a young bear who wakes up from hibernation in need of a hug.  He spend the day trying to find the perfect one.  He hugs rocks, trees, leaves, and various animals.  They are all too hard, too tall, too wrong.  All he wants is a hug, but he just can't find the right one.  A sympathetic rabbit takes him to look for the elusive hug he seeks.  At last they find another cave where someone is waking up, Douglas' mom.  She provides the perfect hug he so desperately needs.  The illustrations are adorable and the story is quite fun.  At one time or another we have all needed a hug.  This book reminds us how the right hug can make all the difference.  It is a really cute book.  Find it, read it, enjoy it.  Happy reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Ascendance Trilogy

124322201570377017667561
I recently read The Ascendance Trilogy, partly to see what the fuss was about.  A while back the first book was quite popular for awhile and I was curious.  I found that I rather enjoyed these books.  They got increasingly better as the story progressed through the three volumes.  In the False Prince a nobleman scours orphanages to find candidates he can train to act as the missing, presumed dead, young prince.  He chooses a few young boys that could pass for the prince and trains them up.  He will pick one to make an attempt at the throne, if he can convince the regents that he is Jaron.  In The Runaway King, Jaron's regents don't believe the threat to Carthya is real and are pushing to place a steward on the throne until Jaron comes of age.  To save his country, Jaron flees to confront and destroy the pirates that pose the biggest threat to his country.  In the Shadow Throne, all three neighboring kingdoms have banded together to wage war on Carthya and the young King.  King Vargan of Avenia wants to overthrown Jaron and set himself up as emperor of all the land.  The war seems impossible to win and the likelihood of survival slim.  This series is very fast-paced, full of action and adventure, suspense and intrigue, loyalty and friendship.  Jaron is quite the witty young man and proves to be the thorn in many a side.  He is a very smart, strong and fast thinking leader, proving more of an opponent than any gauge him to be.  The characters are very likable.  Jaron, Imogen, Ronan, Amarinda, Tobias, Mott, Harlow, to name a few.  It is definitely worth reading.  I found myself rather entertained, trying to keep up with Jaron and his antics.  Give them a try.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Kiss of Deception

20695915The Kiss of Deception is one of those books that reminds me why I don't like reading advanced copies from the publishers.  When you read a book early, it is an even longer wait until the next one comes out.  I was first drawn to this title by its cover.  I think it is a beautiful cover.  Once I started reading the story, I was immediately sucked in.

On the day Princess Lia is set to marry an unknown prince from a foreign land, she decides to run for it instead.  The marriage was arranged by their fathers, and she has no interest in a marriage without love, especially to who she thinks is a stuffy, old papa's boy who didn't even care to meet her before the wedding.  She flees to a small town and instantly falls in love with life she finds there.  She finds work as a barmaid, and has no intention of ever looking back.  One day two young men walk into the bar and immediately catch her eye.  Both are attractive in their own way and both have their sights set on her.  One is none other than the prince she was to marry, come to check out the girl who jilted him.  The other is an assassin sent by a neighboring land to kill her.  Lia begins to form friendships with both boys, but soon discovers she is falling in love with one of them.  She doesn't realize the danger surrounding her until it is too late.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book.  Rafe and Kaden were fun to figure out.  It was pretty obvious to me early on which one's the prince and which one's the assassin, although the author doesn't come out and tell us until Lia begins to learn the truth of it.  She is a very strong and likable leading lady.  Her fire and independence makes it obvious early on that court life was never for her.  Duty is not something she bows to easily.  She is fierce when it comes to her brothers and friends.  I am really excited to get to know her more in the books to come.  I don't want to say too much about the boys so as not to give away their identities, but they are both likable and interesting in their own ways.  This book is well paced and full of intrigue.  Their is an air of suspense that kept me reading.  I hate that it ended and now I have to wait until sometime next year for book two.  I really enjoyed the writing and am excited for the story to continue.  If you are looking for a good low fantasy book, give this a try.  Happy reading!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Miss Rumphius

334818I have loved Miss Rumphius since I was a child.  It won the National Book Award in 1983.  It always makes me think of heading up the mountains in Wyoming, where lupines cover the roadside.  My personal connection to the flowers is really what connected me to this book.  The story follows the life of Alice Rumphius, whose greatest dream was to travel the world and leave her mark.  She took with her the seeds of her favorite flower, spreading them everywhere she went.  The following year, fields of lupine sprang up everyone she had been.  It became her legacy.  The illustrations are simply beautiful, full of color and life.  Whenever I see a field of lupine, I imagine her walking that ground, spreading her seeds.  This is a book not to be missed.  As I travel up into the Wyoming mountains this week, I can't help but think of this book and desire to share its beauty with the world.  Happy reading!