Alasdair is a Shadow Boy. He helps his father fix people with clockwork parts, but he has a dark secret: two years ago, his brother Oliver died, and AAlasdair is a Shadow Boy. He helps his father fix people with clockwork parts, but he has a dark secret: two years ago, his brother Oliver died, and Alasdair managed to resurrect him. Now Oliver hides outside the city of Geneva, as these are dangerous times for clockwork men. Then Alasdair is sent a novel called Frankenstein, which seems to tell the story of him and Oliver, and a revolution of the clockwork men is at hand.
I do enjoy a good Frankenstein retelling, and the steampunk elements added something that I haven't seen, even though it wove so seamlessly into the classic tale that I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. I had sort of guessed the truth about Oliver's death much earlier, but there were enough secrets and other interesting things going on that it didn't make this any less thrilling. I also appreciated how the original themes of Frankenstein were integrated.
I met the author at the Boston Teen Author Festival held at the Cambridge Public Library, and she was lovely. She signed my book with a quote, "Are you good, or are you clever?" which is repeated throughout the story....more
I got this book signed by Cassandra Clare! She had an event for the release of City of Heavenly Fire where Jodi Picoult, herself a Mortal Instruments fangirl, interviewed her and there was trivia and it was very much a crowd of young fans who were super excited. I had thought this might be my one chance to meet Cassandra Clare (I also got a book signed by Jodi Picoult) but then it turned out that she and Holly Black ended up coming to the Barnes & Noble in the town I live to do a signing for The Iron Trial. It was still very exciting to meet her this time and I even got her to sign a copy of Clockwork Princess for my friend Janina who wasn't able to come....more
All his life, Callum's father hasn't wanted him to go to the Magisterium, where children with magical talent learn to hone their skills. But when CallAll his life, Callum's father hasn't wanted him to go to the Magisterium, where children with magical talent learn to hone their skills. But when Call attempts to fail the entrance test, Master Rufus chooses him to be one of his apprentices anyway. Despite not wanting to be at the school, Call finds that he enjoys life there. The other apprentices on his team, Aaron and Tamara, are pretty cool. The only damper seems to be the note he intercepts from his father to Master Rufus, and his father's warning that he doesn't know what he is.
So, this is pretty much exactly like Harry Potter. The good thing? I liked Harry Potter, so I liked this. I mean, you had Call, who has a scar from something that happened when he was baby that also killed his mother (okay, so his scar is a bum leg, but still), and a prophecy about him. He has two sidekicks, one of whom resembles Hermione in her striving for perfection, and the other who resembles Ron in his loyalty (although Call is also a bit like Ron in his clumsiness, and something happens with Aaron later on that makes him more like Harry). Master Rufus is a bit like a Dumbledore with his cryptic lessons, and Jasper is a bit like Draco, being the villain who is jealous of the hero. There's even a scene in the forbidden forest... the major villain, Constantine (Voldemort/or Valentine...) is called the Enemy of Death (Death Eater). There's even more similarities to Harry once you find out what Callum is, but those are spoilers...
Sure, there are no wands, and a lot of little details are different, but the similarities kept jumping out at me. I suppose there are many similarities to The Mortal Instruments as well. Again, I enjoyed that series too. So... while this isn't the most terribly original thing I've read, it's a fun read, and there are a lot of interesting elements. I like the fact that the main character is physically challenged. I hope in future books that the relationship between Call and his father is explored, because during most of this story they were distant.
I am looking forward to reading more of this series....more
I wanted to read this after viewing some of the lovely artwork on Tumblr, and I was not disappointed. The art is amazing, and it was great to read aboI wanted to read this after viewing some of the lovely artwork on Tumblr, and I was not disappointed. The art is amazing, and it was great to read about a more personal side of Black Widow. Yes, she might continue to call herself cold and be all about the missions, but she ends up befriending a cat, and most of her missions are to atone for things she did while working for HYDRA. I hope in future issues/volumes there is about her relationships to Hawkeye (who makes a cameo) and Winter Soldier, and the other Avengers in general. ...more
Detective Chu has a strange gift: he can taste the history of the food he's eaten. Most of the time he's tasting animals being slaughtered, but on theDetective Chu has a strange gift: he can taste the history of the food he's eaten. Most of the time he's tasting animals being slaughtered, but on the occasion that a chef bleeds into his food, he gets a whole lot more. Once the F.D.A. finds out, they snatch Chu up to work for them. This means that Chu now gets to nibble on murder victims and decaying evidence. Yum!
I have to say, Chu is adorable. His new partner cracked me up as well - a gigantic man who looks like a bear. In this world, poultry has been outlawed due to the avian flu and I found this and the government conspiracy surrounding it to be very believable. I can see a lot of possibilities for this series, with Chu's brother being a chef who buys a lot of black market chicken, and also Chu's love interest in the food critic who can write so that people can actually taste the food. I can see why this came so highly recommended!...more
Tana lives in a world where a rash of vampire outbreaks have led to walled off "Coldtowns," one of which is Springfield, MA. The infected can sometimeTana lives in a world where a rash of vampire outbreaks have led to walled off "Coldtowns," one of which is Springfield, MA. The infected can sometimes avoid becoming a vampire if they are able to withstand the blood thirst for 88 days. One night Tana wakes up at a party where almost everyone is dead - drained by vampires. She finds her ex-boyfriend Aidan tied to a bed with bite marks, and a vampire, Gavriel, chained up inside the room with him, and a horde of angry vampires wanting to kill Gavriel. Tana, Aidan, and Gavriel escape - but with Aidan infected, and Tana possibly infected, their only chance is to get to the nearest Coldtown.
This is the first book I've read by Holly Black, and I hope to read more by her in the future. She was great to listen to, and I loved the concept behind this book - the idea that if there were vampires, we'd be watching reality TV shows about them. She said she drew a lot of inspiration from vampire books she read growing up and I definitely got that feeling from this book - the ancient vampire Lucien reminded me of Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles. I loved the idea that there is this battle of the ancient vampires (Lucien and Gavriel) and Tana just happens to be the human bystander who is a bit of a wildcard.
I am not entirely sure why it took me over a month to read this, other than the fact that I've had many other books to read on deadlines, and I owned this one so I could put it aside. Also I didn't want to bring it back and forth to work to read on my lunch break because it's a signed copy! If I'd had time, I would have finished this much more quickly - it's fast paced and full of action and intrigue and interesting characters. Although I am tired of series, and this is a standalone, I kinda hope Holly decides to write another book based in the same world (maybe having a few of the same characters, like Gavriel!)....more
Victoria McQueen has the ability to find lost things - she gets on her bike, finds a covered bridge that was actually torn down years ago, and it brinVictoria McQueen has the ability to find lost things - she gets on her bike, finds a covered bridge that was actually torn down years ago, and it brings her to the location she's looking for. She's 18 when she finds the Wraith.
The Wraith, owned by Charles Manx, works in the same way as Vic's bike, only he uses it to kidnap children and make them lost to the world. He takes them to a magical place called Christmasland, where they grow sharp teeth and play scissors-for-the-drifter. Vic manages to escape Manx, and after she burns his house down and he is arrested... he seems to wither away and die. But Vic still gets calls from Christmasland, and someone is fixing up the old Wraith...
I was a bit daunted by the size of this thing, but the story motors right along. I was about halfway through the book when I discovered that Joe Hill was visiting a bookstore near me, and I read probably a quarter of the book while waiting in line to get it signed. I love that the license plate of the Wraith is sort of a joke; Manx is described as a kind of vampire but not one that lives off blood. The characters are great - the protagonists are lovable despite all their flaws, and the bad guys are creepy and fun to hate. I definitely recommend this if you enjoyed Heart-Shaped Box and Horns....more
Finally finished this! I'm not sure why it took me so long... I could only read it in at home since it's a signed copy and I didn't want to ruin it byFinally finished this! I'm not sure why it took me so long... I could only read it in at home since it's a signed copy and I didn't want to ruin it by carting it back and forth to work to read on lunch break. Also, there were a lot of new characters, which set up for Cassandra's upcoming series The Dark Artifices. I liked the new characters and I'm looking forward to more of their story, but I felt like their plotline distracted a bit from the world of Mortal Instruments I wanted to savor.
This is what we've all been waiting for: (view spoiler)[Clary and Jace get it on. Isabelle finally admits to having feelings. Alec and Magnus reunited - *sigh*. I was worried about Simon for a bit at the end but I suppose if I just let him be a little piece of collateral damage (*ahem* Jem in Infernal Devices *ahem*) this was really the only way almost everyone could be happy. Everyone but Aline and Helen I guess, but since they're new characters and bound to reappear in Dark Artifices I'll let it go. I could not believe I got teary-eyed when Sebastian/Jonathan died... (hide spoiler)].
I sometimes feel like Cassandra gets a little wordy, all these emo speeches but whatever, it's the last book and pretty much it had to be done to satisfy everyone. Also, lots of hints at The Bane Chronicles so I'm looking forward to that... The preview for Lady Midnight was pretty cool as well.
Okay, so I knew I wasn't going to like this book going in. I'm not into BDSM. The review over at Forever Young Adult had pretty much convinced meUgh.
Okay, so I knew I wasn't going to like this book going in. I'm not into BDSM. The review over at Forever Young Adult had pretty much convinced me this was going to be terrible. But a friend had given me a signed copy, and I caved to the peer pressure of so many people who read it and liked it.
The plot: Twilight, but Edward is named Christian Grey and wants to be Bella's (aka Anastasia Steele) Dom. As in, Christian is a domineering, super-rich, bipolar control freak who is inexplicably attracted to plain Jane, clumsy, personality-devoid virgin Anastasia, and THEY JUST CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT EACH OTHER! Unless Ana doesn't sign a contract allowing Christian to demean, debase, punish, and otherwise treat her like his personal sex slave.
I'm not sure I can describe all the ways I hated this book. There are just so many! At the bottom of the list, the repetitiveness. How often can one character bite her lip or blush? And there were at least 4 instances where Christian's jeans were described as hanging off his hips "in that way." In what way??? Honestly, this was the least of my dislikes about this book.
I'm a very independent woman, so it really REALLY disturbed me to read about this passive empty shell of a girl who, when alone, is nervous about engaging in a submissive lifestyle, but when faced with Christian, goes along with everything he asks of her, including allowing herself to be tied up, blindfolded, spanked, flogged, whipped, and calling him Sir. Who, when faced with this contract that dictates her whole life, negotiates in the wrong direction. Food: Submissive must eat 3 meals a day, no snacks between meals except fruit - she negotiates for FEWER meals instead of ice cream? Sleep: Submissive must sleep at least 7 hours a night - she negotiates for LESS sleep?
Ana makes Bella look like a strong female role model. The only time she shows any backbone is through her email communications. And Christian said she didn't have a submissive bone in her body! Who was he talking about? The perfect example of Ana's thought processes: "Of course the stalker knows where I live. Why won't he kiss me?"
Then there's Captain Douchebag himself.
Oh, you were abused as a child? Too bad. I don't care. I certainly wouldn't allow that to make me consider letting you punish me for rolling my eyes. Good thing, because I don't know how many times I rolled my eyes and threw this book down while reading it. Honestly, aside from being super hot and super rich, Christian had no redeeming qualities to speak of. He makes Edward look like a perfect gentleman. Edward might have watched Bella sleep, and dismantled her car engine to "keep her safe," but he never would have hurt Bella physically (the sex in Breaking Dawn notwithstanding). Christian tracks Ana's cell phone, her address, and appears in Ana's life when she is actively trying to take a break from him.
The only "character" I hated more than Ana or Christian is Ana's "Inner Goddess." This is just a fancy way of describing the thought processes of Ana's vagina. Yes, submit to him! the inner goddess tells her. The Inner Goddess also gets pretty smug when comparing Ana's loss of virginity to her friend Kate's description. Ha! I had multiple orgasms! Looks like I'm better at sex than you! If I could have punched the Inner Goddess in the face, I would have.
On the sex scenes: yes, they were extremely graphic and steamy. The reason for this is that Ana only describes what Christian is doing and her body's reaction. She is an empty shell for the reader to enter and imagine. She has no reaction when Christian says things like, "Now I'm going to take you for my own pleasure, and you are not going to come." She just rolls over and takes it. Let me tell you, I'd have at least one thought in my head about this (and it'd be along the lines of, I'm gonna punch you in the face, asshole! Go fuck yourself!). Of course, if multiple orgasms came as easily as they do for Ana, who knows.
There is so much more, but this has gone on long enough. I'm glad this book is now out of my life. (view spoiler)[And I'm glad that at the end, Ana decides she can't do Christian's contract and leaves him. I'm going to pretend that this is the end of it and there aren't two other books in the series. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
T.J. is stuck in a hospital waiting room while his sister is in the ICU with his foster parents. To pass the time, he looks through the "My Life" scraT.J. is stuck in a hospital waiting room while his sister is in the ICU with his foster parents. To pass the time, he looks through the "My Life" scrapbook he made with his social worker, remembering his mother. From his very earliest memories, T.J.'s mother was neglectful and selfish and relied on men to provide for her. T.J. and Angela learned to cover for their mother's - or her abusive boyfriends' - mistakes... until they could keep it a secret anymore.
Reading this book sent me back to the days when I used to work with kids in DSS custody. It was so sad to see kids blaming themselves or lying so that their parents would not get in trouble, kids who need a home so badly but that home cannot be provided by their biological parents. T.J. and Angela each handled their mother's abuse (because neglect is abuse) in different ways, but ways that I have seen over and over. The way the story switches from past to present kept the tension going and made this a fast read.
The writing was such that this book could be used for kids anywhere from 9 or 10 and up - there is little to no swearing and much is hinted at rather than stated explicitly, although adults will know what was going on....more
I bought a signed copy of this book, but actually listened to the audiobook.
Blue has been told her whole life by her psychic family that the first boyI bought a signed copy of this book, but actually listened to the audiobook.
Blue has been told her whole life by her psychic family that the first boy she kisses will die. One night on the Corpse Road, when one can see the future dead, she sees a boy who calls himself Gansey. When Gansey and his friends Adam, Ronin, and Noah, keep showing up in her life, Blue finds herself drawn into their circle and Gansey's quest to find Glendower, an ancient king he believes is buried on a ley line.
At first I figured this would be all about Blue and Gansey not being able to kiss each other. But instead Blue and Adam become something of an item. I loved the intricacy of the plot and how a lot of different ideas are woven together. At first I thought the boys were all a bit interchangeable but quickly discovered they had different personalities, each adding to the story. I found that I loved each of the boys. Blue was a cool character as well, able to quietly stand up for herself, and her family was great. I loved Calla's attitude, and Persephone was funny.
I'm glad I have a copy of The Dream Thieves ready, because the ending, while not a total cliffhanger, definitely left me wanting more!...more
You can read my review of the audiobook edition if you want to know what I think about this book. This review is about my signed copy and meeting DaviYou can read my review of the audiobook edition if you want to know what I think about this book. This review is about my signed copy and meeting David Sedaris.
I'd read Me Talk Pretty One Day a few years ago, enjoyed it, didn't think much more about it, until my friend Janina started gushing about David Sedaris and forced me to listen to excerpts from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. She insisted that I listen to the audio versions of his books, so I did, and then we got tickets to a signing.
It was like going to a stand-up comic, it was that funny. And when we made our way through the signing line, he asked us to tell him a joke. I told him one that I got from House of Leaves (NOT a joke book) about Dopey and the Seven Dwarves going to see the Pope regarding the existence of dwarf nuns. I didn't even look at what he had written in my copy of this book until later: "Your story has touched my heart."...more
After discovering that she's a demon, not a witch, Sophie is sent off to London to stay wiI won this signed first edition from Free Book Friday Teens.
After discovering that she's a demon, not a witch, Sophie is sent off to London to stay with her father, head of the Council and also a demon. She's thankful to have her best friend, the vampire Jenna, traveling with her, as well as her betrothed Cal. Despite the arranged betrothal thing, Sophie is somewhat attracted to Cal, although she finds herself looking forward to possibly seeing Archer in London, where he fled at the end of Hex Hall.
In London, Sophie discovers two other demonic teens, Nick and Daisy, living at Thorne, and does her best to try to befriend them, since Jenna's got a girlfriend. On a trip to a Prodigium club in London, there's a raid by L'Occhio del Dio, and Sophie is rescued by none other than Archer. Something doesn't add up... and Archer and Sophie trace it back to Hex Hall.
Sophie's snarkiness continues in this second book, keeping the tone light even as Sophie has a love triangle going on between Archer and Cal. The only thing that kept me from totally loving this book as much as the first was the GIANT CLIFFHANGER ENDING!! Nothing is resolved, and now I'm going to have to wait for book three, not coming out until 2012!! I suppose book one ending on a bit of a cliffhanger too, but since I had book two waiting to read it wasn't so earth shattering. Despite the cliffhanger, this was just as fun to read as the first book - no sophomore slump here! ...more
I picked up a copy of this after I went to a book signing for Sing You Home - one of the fellow librarians I attended with recommended this and I wasI picked up a copy of this after I went to a book signing for Sing You Home - one of the fellow librarians I attended with recommended this and I was intrigued when she mentioned that it was partially graphic novel.
One night Daniel's daughter Trixie returns home from a party saying her ex-boyfriend Jason raped her. When he tries to call his wife Laura, she doesn't answer - because she's been having an affair. As Daniel creates a comic book about a man who turns into a violent beast traveling through Dante's hell to find his daughter, it reflects his real-life ordeal as he struggles not to seek vengeance against Jason. Details of the rape become clearer and one thing is certain: Trixie lied about many details. Trixie has to deal with her friends and classmates thinking she's lying or simply that she's a slut while most of the town seems to think Jason has been falsely accused.
The way people reacted to this crime felt very real although I think a few more people might have had sympathy for Trixie. Daniel was the most interesting character for me, because in the beginning he's shown as being the primary caretaker for Trixie, but it becomes clear that he's had a violent past. His upbringing in Alaska added something unique as well. I enjoyed the references to Dante's Inferno and how it was woven throughout. This wasn't as emotionally powerful for me as some of Picoult's other books have been, but I did not mind that.
So, I recently went to a talk and signing for Cassandra Clare, hosted by Jodi Picoult. It was fun to see Jodi being a bit of a fangirl about the Mortal Instruments. I brought this book along to have signed, but when I opened to the title page it appeared that it had already been signed. Feeling sheepish, I went up to Jodi and told her. She laughed and told me it was just a handwriting font, then she signed it to show me what her real signature looked like.
12/31/10 Review of "1922": I don't think I've read anything by Stephen King that really qualifies as historical fiction, so this was pretty different12/31/10 Review of "1922": I don't think I've read anything by Stephen King that really qualifies as historical fiction, so this was pretty different (I know The Green Mile and some others take place mostly in the past, but usually as a long flashback from contemporary times). "1922" is one man's confession about killing his wife and how it destroys his life... at first you think it's all psychological consequences, then the supernatural stuff starts up.
The only thing that nagged at me throughout the story was that the characters drink and buy alcohol without any problems or discussion of Prohibition. Even out in the Midwest, I think the law prohibiting alcohol would have been known, and the characters specifically mention a proximity to Chicago, which was infamous for gangsters and rum-running due to Prohibition. I tried not to let it bother me, but at the moment I'm also reading Vixen which takes place in Chicago's 1920s speakeasy scene. Just a mention of Prohibition would have help me to suspend my disbelief.
1/6/11 Review of "Big Trucker": This was a great revenge story. I loved that Tess, the protagonist, was a cozy mystery writer who ends up going after the man who raped her and left her for dead. Violent and awesome - all the little details are what makes the killer(s) so realistic.
1/8/11 Review of "Fair Extension": I wasn't a fan of this story. Starts out like the typical "sell your soul to the devil" type of story, but there were no consequences for this man with cancer who trades his crap life for the golden life of his best frenemy.
1/13/11 Review of "A Good Marriage": A wife discovers something in the garage that leads her to reconsider what she had thought was a "good marriage." This is the kind of story that might pop into anyone's head after hearing about those serial killers who'd been married to an unsuspecting wife. Very well done.
Most of these novellas are tied together by a focus on women - which is why there is a woman on the cover. Women reacting to violence in their lives. "Fair Extension" is the only story that doesn't really fit, and it was my least favorite. With a little more work it might have fit. It was quite interesting that the murderers and psychopaths in the stories were all male, yet the focus was on the women. These stories can be very gruesome, especially in the little details that make the events all-too-realistic, but at the same time have a literary quality to them.
I was lucky enough to get tickets to a signing for this book. It was so cool to meet The Man in person even if I barely got to say hi to him. It made reading this book an interesting experience. I'd heard a number of good reviews, including one by Neil Gaiman, who mentioned that King was inspired to write "1922" after reading Wisconsin Death Trip. I'd looked at Death Trip after Robert Goolrick mentioned it in his afterword for A Reliable Wife... King does mention Death Trip in the afterword here, but not A Reliable Wife... makes me wonder if that is indeed where he first heard about it......more
I bought this book about a year ago, when the author (along with several other YA fantasy authors) visited my local bookstore. Much to my shame, thisI bought this book about a year ago, when the author (along with several other YA fantasy authors) visited my local bookstore. Much to my shame, this is the first of the batch of 6 or 7 books from that signing that I've read...
Medford Runyuin is the adopted son of a Carver. He lives on an island where everyone is named after their Use, and is constantly reminded that his name means nothing. After Essence Learned is forced into exile under mysterious circumstances, Medford's friend Prudy is forced into becoming a Learned and helping to teach the younger children at school. So Medford is spending more time alone, and doing the Unnameable carvings that he loves but knows he can never show the world.
Then the Goatman shows up, able to direct the winds. His presence makes Medford realize there is much more to the world than the higher-ups on the Island have led him to believe.
This was a fun read. Medford is a relatable character, and most of the other characters feel very real. Well, the Goatman is a fantastical creature, but he's a lot of fun and certainly behaves in the way a Goatman should. Just enough of the Island's mystery was doled out to keep my interest. All in all, it's a fun book that many kids would enjoy.
My signed copy is inscribed, "To Katie - Bweh-eh-eh!" (a common utterance of the Goatman)....more
Natalie lives in the small town of Arcane, near a crossroads. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show comes to town, Natalie is immediatelNatalie lives in the small town of Arcane, near a crossroads. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show comes to town, Natalie is immediately curious and suspicious, especially about Limberleg's perpetual motion automatons.
I thought I would like this more. It had steampunk elements, some good vs. evil with demons... and yet the writing was a bit too wordy and I found myself wishing to be reading other things instead of this. Natalie didn't seem like a fully three-dimensional character to me, and the mystery of all the various demons that had taken up residence at the crossroads was confusing and I'm still not sure who exactly anyone was. I mostly skimmed through the last hundred pages of the book....more
A man named Robert has shown up on Kathryn Lyons' doorstep in the middle of the night with some very bad news. Kathryn's husband, Jack, an airline pilA man named Robert has shown up on Kathryn Lyons' doorstep in the middle of the night with some very bad news. Kathryn's husband, Jack, an airline pilot, has been killed in a plane crash.
As Kathryn deals with her grief and that of her 15-year-old daughter Mattie, more details come out about the crash. It looks like a bombing. A suicide bombing. More than that, it seems like Kathryn barely knew the man who was her husband.
This was a quiet kind of book. Kathryn spends a lot of time reflecting on her relationship with her husband and daughter as she uncovers the pieces of her husband's life. This was not as strong for me as Testimony but still had a bit of the same feel (although this book stays only in Kathryn's point of view).
Also interesting is that this book's setting is a place called "Fortune's Rocks," a grand house on the seacoast in New Hampshire that was formerly a convent. When I went to the book signing, Anita Shreve talked about how she took this same setting and made it 100 years earlier for the book Fortune's Rocks which I have waiting at home to read. I think they will be interesting companion books....more