A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Hmmmm...I'm having a difficult time collecting my thoughts on this one. It was the kind of read that left you all squinty-eyed, with your head cocked to the side going "Ehhhhh." Not sure if I can put my finger on it exactly but something in this book was off and well- I'm disappointed in it.

It was a beautiful premise. A family struggling in the wake of an untimely death, parents broken, a sister left neglected and forgotten and how art helps them heal. Nate Bradley was an angry teenager, given to senseless acts of vandalism and unkindness to his family. Once he was a delightful little boy, the hero of all his little sister's adventures. When Nate dies in a car accident, caused by his own reckless driving his family is torn between loving the sweet boy they lost, and mourning the opportunity to ever understand the angry boy their son had become.

His younger sister Cora is entering her first year of high school at the same school where Nate would have been starting his senior year. To the students and faculty Cora is the odd, sad little sister of a trouble-maker who died a senseless death for his irrational behavior. She is understandably self-conscious, since her peers expect her to either break into a million pieces or follow in her brother's footsteps and be a disruptive presence in the school. For escape, from school, from emotionally dead parents Cora sketches scenes from countries on her wall map, places she'd like to visit, exotic far away lands that offer a much different life for her. When Cora befriends Damien, Nate's partner in crime as well as the one that walked away from the car accident unharmed, he shows her Nate's secret- a special workshop where he and Nate made fascinating artwork out of an eclectic mix of scavenged media. The studio starts to answer many questions for Cora about who her brother had become and what he wanted from life. An unfinished work inspires Cora to use her own artistic abilities to map the places she and Nate were happiest and through the project she finds her own peace about her brother's death.

I wanted to read this book so badly! It's a wonderful concept- the healing power of art. The map of her world, the description of her sketches, the scenes from the many countries she visited in her imagination. Unfortunately I could never quite join her. The writing was overly descriptive to the point of distracting and the relationship between Damian and Cora was bizarre and unrealistic. The vocabulary and emotional expression was so over the top poetic that it felt like they were reading from a movie script. I myself have been known to abuse the comma, I'm not a writer so it's ok, but Sandell beat her story to death with really long strings of imagery in which she wanted you to feel SO much, instead you got lost wadding through all that potpourri. That's it, it's like she took a whole bunch of flowers and mushed them around on the page- if that makes any sense. I also can't even begin to understand what she was trying to convey with Damian's character. I think she meant him to come across self-conscious and shy and his relationship with Cora was meant to help them both deal with Nate's death but instead I just wonder if any second he was going to turn psycho.

Argh. I wanted to love this book.

Penny for your thoughts?

Bookwork 6/28-7/4

Have you started stalking Ms. Cullen at Bloody Bookaholic yet? If you haven't please take a moment to go and spy on her. She's fabulous. She's also added to my to-do list for this week's bookwork by giving me some really great awards!

Since the people would probably be the same for both awards, I'm going to put them together and woot- you get double the recognition!

1. Ms. Cullen Bloody Bookaholic
2. Mandi Smexy Books
3. Melissa Book Nut
4. Alaine Queen of Happy Endings
5. Bella Bellas Novella
6. Ladybug Escape in a Book
7. Shelley Book Fanatic Although she's more easily stalked on Goodreads.

This one comes with homework and you have to list seven of your favorite things and nominate seven people. Here it goes:

7. Little hole in the wall used bookstores
6. My blackberry
5. Hooker shoes
4. Revive Vitamin Water
3. Expensive sheets
2. AM coffee
1. A five star book.

Those aren't really in any sort of order now that I look at it because I wouldn't care about any of those things if I didn't have AM coffee. The seven people are, the same seven fabulous people from above because it makes things nice and neat which soothes my OCD.

This past Saturday's Vampire Movie Night featured episodes 3 and 4, Season 1 of True Blood which I have become totally addicted to. I'm am so freakin' excited because

THEY'RE HERE!! I almost want to drop everything and start reading RIGHT NOW but I'm going to hold off and finish the Black Dagger Brotherhood series before I start this one. SCREAM!

Edward who?

Kindle my new BFF was kind enough to give me Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward and The Graveyard Book by my secret boyfriend, Neil Gaiman. Looks to be a good book week!

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

I don't know if it was because Lover Awakened was such an outstanding book that was a hard act to follow or if it was just that this book truly was just so-so because I have to tell you, I was bored.

We first met Marissa in Dark Lover, she was the unwanted shellan of King Wrath. She was the female that had been chosen to help him through his transition and they were mated for many many years. Wrath released Marissa from their union after he found Beth, and because of her unconsummated marriage and the fact that she was never wanted Marissa became an outcast from the aristocratic society that she was born into.

Butch O'Neal is your standard hard-ass, tough city cop. He became involved with the brotherhood when he followed Beth into their world. Rather than eliminate him the brotherhood befriended him and kept him on- a very rare occurrence since they typically do not mingle with humans.

This fourth book is Butch and Marissa's story, and though it features a rather interesting turn of events in regards to the brotherhood, I found it rather dull. Marissa is still untouched (a virgin) and Ward flip-flopped between her being a damsel in distress to a Miss Independent so often that it left me rather unattached to Marissa and a little annoyed. She also beat the "scared virgin" persona into the ground and I was equally put off by Butch's dialogue. I get that she was trying to put together two people from the opposite end of the spectrum and really showcase their differences but unlike the previous books, I couldn't really feel the connection between them. You knew that Zsadist and Bella belonged to each other, but I never got the feeling that Butch and Marissa did.

On the flip side, the lore in this book was outstanding! The new involvement with the Omega was very interesting and I am about to die to know exactly what Vishous is. And ooooh doesn't John's story just hurt your heart? Oh please let something wonderful happen for him.

I'm giving this book a "It's not you, it's me" reprieve because the series is so fabulous but I seriously hope the next book is better.

The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz

     "Still, engagement or not, that's plenty of time for some guy to snatch you up. Are you sure you didn't go lesbian for a couple of years in there somewhere?" He laughed as if this were the wittiest bon mot ever tossed across a dinner table. Zadie took a deep breath, getting ready to retort. Nancy put her hand on Zadie's arm, as if to say "Easy."

     ""Well Doug, there've been some nights where I've had more cocktails than I should have, but I'm pretty certain that I didn't 'go lesbian' at any point in time. How about you? Suck any cock that I should know about?" She took a sip of her wine, just as demure as can be."

Not wanting to let go of my hilarity high left over from Finger Lickin' Fifteen, I chose to dive into this little read because it promised to be extremely funny. It did not disappoint.

Zadie is a recently jilted, understandably bitter ex-fiance of a minor soap opera hunk. After the mourning period was over and she'd sent enough door to door dog poo packages and paid a bum to pee on his car it becomes apparent to her that just maybe it's time to move on. Easily done when you have a fabulous best friend who's a hot shot Hollywood attorney who loves to take part in your latest scheme right? But when her best friend Grey announces that he and her cousin Helen have decided to tie the knot Zadie feels jilted all over again. Not to mention that cousin Helen is picture perfect and pure, far from how Zadie sees herself. She and Grey won't have the good times anymore now that he'll be an other half. But when Grey asks Zadie to get Helen to loosen up during her bachelorette party, no one could have predicted just how loose things would get and Helen may not be so perfect after all.

This was the funniest story. It was raunchy, scandalous and in some cases (Trevor...yum) bordering on obscene. I was fully expecting it to turn into one of those I-must-convince-my-best-guy-friend-to-marry-me instead scenarios but thank goodness it took a totally different direction.

Very quick, hilarious read.

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

"The upstairs master bath had a crystal chandelier and a bidet. I knew the purpose for the bidet, because I had seen Crocodile Dundee about a hundred times, but I wasn't sure how one actually used a bidet. I mean, does it shoot water up your cooter or do you splash it around? And I thought I might have issues with the crystal chandelier. I wasn't sure I could do number two in a room with a crystal chandelier."

First let me say that I read this book in like 5 hours from start to finish because 1, I've been looking forward to it for a whole year and 2, IT WAS THE FUNNIEST ONE YET. Could not put it down. I don't think I've laughed like that in awhile.

Stephanie Plum, I-Love-Lucy becomes a bounty hunter, has been getting herself into some seriously deadly binds and blowing up her vehicles for 14 straight books now. You can count on Janet Evanovich, she will always give you at least one death, many death threats, one cross dresser, several acts of unwanted nudity, a spandex clad oversized ex-prostitute, a car bomb, a hamster and two of the hottest men ever written in each and every book. You can bank on it. Only this time, the death, the death threats, the cross dresser, the car bomb all revolved around Lula- the spandex clad oversized ex-prostitute. It must have been a nice change for Stephanie who has almost died fourteen times now. The repetition in the series isn't a hindrance, it's a selling point since it's the most entertaining mix of circumstances. Evanovich always delivers and bless her heart, Stephanie always gets her man (maybe even two of them).

Lula witnesses the brutal murder of a television chef famous for his smoking hot barbecue sauce. When the killers find out that there was an eye witness to their dirty deed Lula becomes their next target. Any rational sane person would be scared witless and hiding out to save her ass but not our girl. She enters the barbecue sauce cook off that Chipotle (the chef) was suppose to enter in hopes of catching the murders who have a very nice one million dollar finders fee on their heads. Bless her.
Stephanie and Morelli are not currently speaking to each other, having had a very heated discussion about peanut butter and what should be in it that lead to their most recent separation. Short on cash, Stephanie returns to Rangeman, the security service company owned by the mysterious, elusive DROP FREAKIN' DEAD SMOKIN' HOT Ranger, to do a little inside snooping. Several Rangeman accounts have been compromised and if he doesn't put a stop to the leaks fast, it could put a serious damper on his business.

Throw in a fireman in a Julia Child outfit with a dash of Grandma Mazur and you've got five hours of hysteria that might just upset your neighbors.

The worst part is, now I have to wait until this time next year for another one. She always releases one around my birthday- just for me. Enjoy!


Not a book related post....

Today, June 23rd, is a great day.

Today I renew my love for Jason Mraz- something I do at least weekly but today it's special because it's his birthday!

If you don't already, you might think about following his blog. He has a very unique view of the world. He's either much more aware of the all encompassing "it" than the majority of us or a completely bat shit crazy tree-hugging hippie (both of which are a compliment). Regardless he's a treasure with an interesting style of writing that never fails to entertain. Go ahead and lurve him.

Hunted by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Last time on Days of Our..er...wait...wrong post.

But doesn't it annoy you when you have to spend the first 6 minutes of any new episode of a series recapping what happened last week? I get so angry because I'm thinking "I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED YOU MORON I WATCHED THE SHOW!" and now they are taking away precious new episode time showing scenes from the old episode.

That's how I feel with HoN. You are guaranteed a lengthy recap at the start of each book in the series. You'll find out what happened most recently and often as far back as what took place in the first book in the series. You'll also be reintroduced to each and EVERY character in the story- Team Cast feels we all suffer from short term memory loss. Maybe they were trying to make the story as accessible as possible to increase revenue- a thing that Team Cast refers to in this book when Kramisha says "Thanks, I told you I'm gonna be an author. A famous, rich one with major gold card power." It's funny, when I think of becoming rich I think of winning the lottery, finding oil in the backyard, coming up with the next computer gadget...marrying a plastic surgeon...all those things come to mind but never an author. I know, I know, authors do get rich and famous- but mostly they are just creative, imaginative people who write books. So were they being sarcastic or are their heads really so far up their own asses that they believe their own hype? Ok, that was mean. I'm sorry, these books are just awful and it really isn't often that they come across as taking themselves too seriously, most of the time I even feel that they are in on the joke but every now and then I just can't help but scream "ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME!?"

It's probably best that this series and I are parting company at this time. We don't have to be friends but it would be nice if we could be "polite" to each other when we pass in the bookstore. No awkward moments, or hiding behind shelves.

All that having been spewed, I have to say this book wasn't half bad (the rest of the knee slapper goes "It wasn't half good either!") and I'd actually like to give credit where it's due: Team Cast, and I'm going to assume that it was mostly the work of P.C. since she's the one that writes the series about the goddesses, put a lot more emphasis in the lore and legend that's a part of this story than she has previously. The mingling of the Cherokee legends with the darker teaching of the vampires' Goddess Nyx bordered on poetic. The effect was a much more magical feeling throughout this last book than in some of the earlier ones. It may have a lot to do with the fact that Zoey is forced to actually act like a High Priestess now that everyone is serving her as one. Despite the ongoing boy drama (she still be a ho) Zoey reached a new level of maturity and I was rather proud of her. Oh and I am definitely Team Stark! He has so much more appeal than Erik, Heath or even Loren ever had.

Now I'm not going to write a summary of this one, you would have to follow the story to even get the gist of what's happening (and/or read the first ten pages) and I would hate to give something away to anyone reading it. Don't get me wrong, as difficult as it might be to understand, what with all my blatant HoN flaming, I have really enjoyed the series. They are very entertaining, imaginative and in some places, cute. I just haven't been able to form a single attachment to any of the characters because the writing is well...horrid but I would recommend them for anyone who doesn't care how a story's written just as long as it is an easy, suspenseful, light read that doesn't require any kind of commitment from the reader.

I am aware that Tempted the sixth HoN book comes out in October of this year. Will I read it? You betcha. I will indeed and love/loathe every second of it.


I can't commit to all the different "This on This Day of the Week" and I would feel guilty saying "In My Mailbox" or "Library Loot" when all my books come from Kindle downloads, the store or Pril's house so I thought I just sum it all up in Bookwork, where I'll be takin' care of book bidness.

Saturday was Vampire Movie Night and we watched the first two episodes of True Blood and oh wow was that ever good. The birthday book fairies gave me a happy Amazon gift card so I bought:

They'll be here in 5-9 days and I can't freakin' wait.

From Pril's House I borrowed:

1.) Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
2.) The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz
3.) Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
4.) This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
5.) Second Chance by Jane Green
6.) The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner

Those can all be added to the To-Read shelf along with Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward and The Luxe by Anna Godbersen that I just downloaded from Kindle.

Woohoo! All that combined with my last Bookwork update makes for a grand total of 18 books sitting on the shelf, staring at me accusingly.

I'm about to finish Hunted by Team Cast and I might actually have something nice to say about it tomorrow.


Comes out this Tuesday, June 23rd. START SCREAMING NOW!

Nation by Terry Pratchett

I've been hesitant to read this book simply because it wasn't a novel of the Discworld. I don't know why that should matter but it did- I was kind of pouting because it wasn't.

Nation is well, truthfully, a very complex story of faith, of coming of age, of learning that sometimes in life you must simply do things that need doing. It's about the birth of a nation- and how the need to belong to something makes a people. It's about us, all of us.

Mau is only a boy, and as a boy he must complete the trial that will bring him back home as a man. When the trial is completed and Mau is a man a big wave comes and washes away his world and he must go home as a boy because there is no one there to see that he has returned as a man. Alone on the island, the Nation, Mau the boy is now the chief and the gods demand that he restore the land.

The wave brought ashore the wreck of the Sweet Judy a large ship from an England that is not our England and the only survivor on the Judy is a trouserman (just what it says) girl who will call herself Daphne.

"One person is nothing, but two people are a Nation."

And more people come whose homes have been taken by the wave and they simply want to belong. The people are tired, and they are sad over the death of love ones who were taken by the wave. Mau asks the question "If there really are such things as the gods, how could they do such a terrible thing", and because he would dare ask, to himself and to the people, he has no soul. So Mau the boy with no soul must lead the people who have come to the Nation, because it has always belonged to his people and so it is his.

It's one of the most remarkably spiritual books I think I've ever read and I'm proud to say it doesn't contain one ounce of religion. Pratchett tackles some very tough subject matter in this seemingly light-hearted book marketed as young adult. It's written in his usual warm, humorous tone and is yet another example of the power of stories that he writes about so much but what he really wants you to think about here is what makes you you and what makes you a part of an "us". He wants you to know that it's ok to question your beliefs because through questioning you may actually discover what it is you do believe in. Pratchett always, always wants his readers thinking.

As I read Nation I start to think about what it and his other young adult novels (Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, Maurice and His Educated Rodents) mean. Though they exist within his Discworld (with the exception of Nation) they are something entirely different, and yet comfortably the same as his primary novels. I've thought about it and what I've decided is he's leaving a legacy. These books are guides on how to grow up and for those of us that the world already considers to be grown up- how to be better at it. Pratchett has a very selfless view of mankind that is increasingly rare. He wants you to look at the people around you. His Discworld is a parody and a direct reflection of the world in which we live. His neighbors are our neighbors, our citizens are very much the same as his, only he can really see them. While we all may love our lives, and hopefully we even have a few people in it whom we love, Pratchett simple loves people. Collectively. I think he's one of the nicest people the world has ever had the privilege of holding.

Some of you may not know it, but in 2007 Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's. Though his disease isn't far advanced and in all probability he may have a million stories yet to tell, I worry for him as I would a member of my own family. He is a very gifted man and the world will lose something very special when he leaves us. We will lose one of our god anchors.

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Ok so I'm going along, reading my little paranormal romance/vampire semi-erotica novels, and yeah they're action packed and suspenseful and entertaining and surprisingly well written but first and foremost- total escapism, when Ward decides she's going to do something very heartless. She's going to go and write a really good BOOK- One that forces you to care for the characters, feel their pain, relive their histories and cry like a baby when one of them is lost. I didn't want a REAL BOOK, I wanted trashy romance! I feel cheated but I'm very grateful.

Zsadist is the black sheep of the brotherhood. Even his own brothers question his loyalty...and his sanity. The rumors that surround him are the stuff of nightmares and no one doubts that they are true. His place amongst the warriors is only tolerated because of Phury, his beautiful, kind, loyal twin brother. Zsadist owes his twin his life and Phury would give his up if it would undo the horrors that Zsadist was forced to live through.

Bella is a citizen, one of the lives the brotherhood has sworn to protect. When Rhage fell in love with Mary, Bella was the reason they even met. As a member of the aristocracy and friend to Rhage's mate, she is one of the few vampire citizens who have even seen the brotherhood, and one of the few people who haven't run away from Zsadist in fear. She is the only woman, Zsadist has ever wanted.

The lessers are kidnapping and murdering citizens in an effort to gain information concerning the whereabouts of the brotherhood. Since hardly anyone knows the actual identity of the brothers, the captured citizens are horribly tortured and put to death for their inability to provide any details. When Bella is taken by the forelesser (the leader), a very disturbed man named David, he keeps Bella as his "wife" because of her resemblance to his dead love.

Now you know what happens next. Zsadist HAS to rescue Bella because she HAS to be his. Standard stuff. But what follows is Zsadist's actual story, his history, his twin's involvement and their separate and shared suffering. Your heart just hurts for them, but I think I mostly felt sympathy for Phury who in addition to having to shoulder all that burden, also lives with unrelenting guilt because it wasn't him that was hurt instead of Zsadist.

Then there's the part that I can't talk about because it would ruin the story for anyone planning on reading it- but I am heartbroken over Tohr, Wellsie and even John, who only just finally found them. I'm in denial, and I refuse to believe that what happened actually happened. But it made me cry :(

I like that Ward gave Zsadist a mate that was his equal. With him being a tortured badass you would expect either a mousy little thing who's sweetness and light would eventually melt his cold heart (gag) or a real ball buster who just finally breaks him down. Thankfully neither of those characters showed up. Instead, we get Bella who like Zsadist before he was taken from his family, was an innocent. She was captured and subjected to some rather cruel, perverse treatment that while it wasn't nearly as horrible as what Zsadist suffered it molded her into someone who was similar to him.

So yeah, it was a good book. Don't do it again. Trash only please.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The cat stopped walking, sat down, and began to wash itself thoughtfully, apparently unaware of Coraline's existence.
     "We...we could be friends, you know," said Coraline.
     "We could be rare specimens of an exotic breed of African dancing elephants," said the cat. "But we're not. At least," it added cattily, after darting a brief look at Coraline. "I'm not."
     Coraline sighed.
     "Please. What's your name?" Coraline asked the cat. "Look, I'm Coraline. Okay?"
     The cat yawned slowly, carefully, revealing a mouth and tongue of astounding pinkness. "Cats don't have names," it said.
     "No?" said Coraline.
     "No." said the cat. "Now, you people have names. that's because you don't know who you are. We know who we are, so we don't need names."

Ok so don't laugh but I think maybe I have a tiny bit of a crush on Neil Gaiman.

As OCD, vampires, and rants, oh my! very eloquently put it:
"Neil freaking Gaiman, the rockstar of the literary world."

To go from Stardust where he paints a picture so textured and vivid you can actually feel it to Coraline where he reduces life down to the scale that a child would experience it, is truly amazing. The sights, smells, the reasoning he gave to Coraline were so perfectly natural. It's rather amazing when one can take the matter-of-fact and turn it into a matter of fantasy without losing any of the practicality. Coraline is a very simple story without being overly simplified. If that makes sense.

Coraline is a young girl, on holiday from school, who has recently moved into a new house. She is under-stimulated and bored as children often are when faced with added free time and little scheduling. In Coraline's eyes her parents are always working and far too busy to entertain her. Now you mustn't think that this is a story of a poor neglected girl. Keep in mind that she is out of school, during the summer and our story covers what, two, three days maybe? Her perception of "always" is exactly how a bored child would see it.

Coraline is a great explorer and she covers and catalogues her little world (her yard and house) and all the people and things in it. It contains the requisite absurd neighbors as well as her awkward, well meaning parents. It also contains a large door in the drawing room that when opened, at first reveals only the brick wall that divides her apartment from the one next door. But when Coraline looks again it actually opens onto a dark hallway, and a world that is the mirror image of Coraline's. Almost. Inside this other world is her other mother, her other father and her other absurd neighbors. These others want to play with Coraline, are never to busy to entertain her and cook all her favorite foods. Just what a bored little girl who's feeling a little forgotten thinks she would like. Coraline quickly discovers that all is not perfection and in fact the others want to keep Coraline and will go to any lengths to do so. Now she must be a real explorer and discover the secrets that will lead her back to her real life.

It's a very charming little story which proves the old adage that "the grass is not always greener on the other side". I really enjoyed it and continue to be in awe of Gaiman.

I haven't seen the movie version yet but I already wonder if it can live up to what I picture. All I can see is a world created by Tim Burton, who apparently didn't do it. Pooh.

More Bookwork

I am listing the books that I currently have on my to-read shelf as a big slap in the face reminder that I do not need to purchase additional books at this time. All these lovely books that I want to get to know and perhaps love and they go neglected because I am an unfaithful greedy bookworm. I can name another thirty that I'd love to run right out and buy RIGHT NOW but I really should start with my current stack.

Atonement by Ian McEwan
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hunted by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Greywalker by Kat Richardson
Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland

Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover is in limbo at the moment. I plan on giving it a few more chapters to improve and if not I'm tossing it in the to-trade pile.

I am also officially abandoning A Wrinkle in Time, regardless of the fact that it makes me an ungrateful, wicked girl to toss aside a book considered by some to be a classic, I'm not going to make myself read something I find so very unappealing. Faith and religion are two entirely separate concepts.

To tell the truth, Atonement has been on that shelf for over a year. I read a few pages into it and I just don't know. I always feel pressure to like a book when it is hailed by so many as a must read but I remind myself that my tastes are not yours and vice versa. Maybe it's ok for me not to like it and that's the reason I haven't finished it. I haven't decided on this one yet.

I tell ya though, I'm going to drop everything and RUN to the store when Finger Lickin' Fifteen comes out. I'm so excited I almost can't stand it. You know exactly what you're going to get with a Stephanie Plum novel, and though they may be a bit repetitious, Evanovich always delivers. I am also on the edge of my seat over Eyes Like Stars which I have been unexplainably drawn to since the first I heard of it.

Anyway, the point is boys and girls is that goodreads.com is the devil.

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Mary has had more then her share of hardships. She spent a large portion of her adult life watching her mother succumb to a long, cruel, debilitating sickness. Close on the heels of her mother's death she was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to endure the pain, suffering and disfigurement that accompanied her fight with cancer. Two years later, her illness has returned, bringing with it another war for Mary to wage.

Rhage is the stunningly handsome, physically flawless warrior of the brotherhood. Within him lives a beast with an insatiable appetite that is only quelled by chaos, carnage, blood and sex. For a century Rhage has not only battled the forces that threaten his people but has endured the ceaseless struggle of controlling the beast within.

In this second tale of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, two hardened, battle-weary warriors come together in their biggest campaign yet- the fight to save each other. Cue music...

Ok so the cheese factor was a little high in this one and the ending was blotched and rushed but I'll forgive Ward anything because she only did what I silently asked her to do which was write another suspenseful, action packed, romantic story in which there is phenomenal vampire sex. I like her take on vampire legend and lore. The rituals of the brotherhood and the character of the Scribe Virgin are a nice change from your standard issue "undead blood suckers who prey on cheerleaders" stereotype. Even Rice wrote her vampires as dirty evil playboys who just roamed around sucking on people. Ward's vampires are a very spiritual, ritualistic people....who just so happen to listen to rap music and drink beer.

I liked this book but I didn't love it. Something was just missing. I'm not sure what- maybe it was the over-description of Rhage's hawtness that occurred every 2 pages. It became a little repetitive. I did have a little cry when Rhage viewed Mary's treatment scars. Reality kind of crept in during that scene and I say kudos to Ward for doing that.

Still unquestionably devoted to Ward but while I wasn't disappointed in this book, I wasn't overwhelmed by it either.

Untamed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

The fourth book in the House of Night series and thankfully it was just standard issue HoN bad and not redefining bad like Chosen.

I could have simply stopped reading after the last one but I don't know what makes me keep going! Like I said, these books are bad bad bad but SO VERY entertaining! How can that be? I guess the best way I can describe them is "guilty-pleasure-crap-reality-tv-like-Rock-of-Love Reading". You know that you shouldn't be watching but you HAVE to in order to see what the stupid people do next.

Zoey "OMG I'm a ho" Redbird is still at the House of Night school for fledgling vampires. It has only been what, three months since she arrived and already she has saved her ex boyfriend from ghosts, overthrown the misguided leader of the Dark Daughters, dated three guys at once, made out with half the school, broken hearts, lost her best friend, found her best friend, slept with a teacher, pissed of the school's High Priestess, discovered her affinity for all five elements, been blessed with unheard of power by the Goddess Nyx, made new friends, become friends with someone who was once her enemy and she got a cat.


In this book, in an effort to improve vampire/human relations, she befriends the nuns that run the Street Cats charity. That's our Zoey. She's open minded and such the little joiner. Erik Night, newly changed vampire returns to the HoN as the new Drama teacher, and on the very first day of class, you guessed it, Zoey makes out with him. Oh yeah and she makes out with the new kid, Stark (who is no doubt going to be back for another make out session in book five) as he DIES- but not in the sweet last kiss with your true love who's dying way- but while he's spitting up blood and his body is rejecting the change. Aphrodite who ran off at the end of Chosen returns to us as a human, but continues to attend the HoN as a fledgling vampire by painting on her Mark with a blue eyeliner that she found at Target (check payable to Team Cast courtesy of Target to follow). As for other endorsements Zoey is reading Inkexchange by Melissa Marr which if you stick around for a minute will turn into an entirely separate rant. Team Cast also pushes the Ipod Touch and made a reference to the Nephilim which I am choosing to ignore on the off chance that she didn't mean to reference Mortal Instruments or I am going to TOTALLY FREAKING LOSE IT.

And what's with them having to mention EVERY five pages that Damien and Jack are gay? I mean we know that by now, it's not shocking and it's really tacky to keep bringing it up with wise cracks like they mean it to be shocking.

Regardless, this book was a very entertaining, quick read. Neferet and Zoey finally have the major show down that's been coming and the book ends with a nice (if not neat) little cliffhanger. I found Untamed to be on par with Marked but nowhere near as good as Betrayed which bordered on being an actual book.

Ok so the Melissa Marr push- First let me state that I don't find it flattering, even though Melissa might, for her to be mentioned by Team Cast in HoN. Melissa Marr is a good writer and her books are really good. Having her praised in HoN is like going out all dressed up and looking hot only to be hit on by the ugly short guy. It seems to be popping up more and more, that all the new YA authors are advertising for each other. Is this a campaign launched by their various publishers or are all these people friends (or at least pretending to be)? I just find it a little disconcerting.

I think I have gotten ranting about HoN out of my system and I promise that if the fifth book isn't remarkably better than this one I will do as I have been taught and if I don't have anything nice to say, I won't say anything at all.

Just keep reading...

I apologize for the lack of updates. I started a new job :) This "work" thing is strange and foreign to me after being in school...

Moving on. So there have been two books that I have wanted for quite some time now but for some reason, no matter how many times I frantically press the "I'd like to read this book on Kindle" button on amazon, Scholastic Press won't show me any love. I had to break down and do exactly what they wanted me to do, which was go out and buy the hardbacks of:

So Scholastic-2 Me-0. I don't doubt that I will end up feeling that buying the hardback of The Hunger Games was a really good decision and I am hopeful about A Map of the Known World.

Mum left on my pillow and I have faith that it will far exceed any and all expectations.

Yessssss...I am going to finish the House of Night series. I DO NOT KNOW WHY.

Chosen by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

I apologize if there are any typos but I am typing this by repeatedly banging my forehead onto the keyboard.

wef;oij;awoeif oaei;fjoaewijfwa odijf;awoefji;

Team Cast? Guess what?

Bunny sad

Would someone please tell me what the hell that was all about? Better yet could you offer any insight as to why I read it? Or worse- why I'm going to read book four?

I've never seen so much senseless drivel on one page before. This book existed on a whole separate, new, just discovered plane of SUCK.

Please don't let your children read this and grow up to be stupid, immature ladies of negotiable affection. Promise me the next time your adolescent uses cool, like, totally, awesome, omg, poo, dang it, and ummmm all in one sentence that you WILL smack her?

I want to throw this book but it's not mine and it would be wrong to punish the innocent paper. It's not the tree's fault that it was murdered to PRODUCE CRAP.

Now a moment of silence to reflect on the downward spiral that is my current taste in fiction...

Betrayed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

I swear my IQ dropped 10 points when I made the decision to read the second book in the House of Night series. There was very little merit in Marked but yet, I'll admit I have the whole set setting in a stack on my night stand. What gives?

Well I'll tell you. These books are FUN. They are fast paced, suspenseful, very entertaining and well, not to sound like a gum smacking cheerleader but "totally cool". It's sad sad sad because the writing is almost inexcusable- more specifically, the dialogue. It actually made me cringe in places, but I kept reading because I actually wanted to.

Zoey Redbird is the most gifted vampire fledgling the House of Night has ever seen. After she discovered that the Goddess Nyx had blessed her with an ability to not only call the five elements, but have them readily answer it became apparent to students and faculty that she was destined to some day lead as High Priestess. Now Zoey is the leader of the Dark Daughters, an organization within the House of Night dedicated to the Goddess Nyx. While trying to adjust to her new role, and prepare for the upcoming full moon ritual, Zoey's new abilities are revealing things about the House of Night that make her wonder who's side the school is on. Local human boys are disappearing and someone is trying to make it seem like the House of Night, and the leader of the Dark Daughters, are involved.

Poor Zoey, trying to juggle phenomenal cosmic power, boys and adolescence all at the same time. Oooooh the angst!

I couldn't put this down! What is wrong with me!? I loved it. I had to know what was going to happen next- and SO much happened. It even had me bawling my eyes out at one point and then cheering when Zoey was able to verbally bitch smack her nemesis. Zoey's group of friends are just adorable, her boyfriends (all of them) are hot, and well....there's a cat in this one too.

I'm going to read the rest of them...as long as no one sees me do it.


Just when I thought LFG had taken an irreversable turn for the suck....they give us this:

#258- the latest

Looking For Group is a freakishly funny and entertaining comic that appeals to gamers and my fellow WoW rejects.

Thank you for blogging...

You know what I'm doing right now? Well I'll tell you. I'm sitting here, on this lovely Sunday afternoon, reading your blog. I don't have to rush off any place. I'm just going to finish my coke and read book reviews. How freaking cool is that? How fun is it that the book blog world exists and I can do this?

If I've put you on follow, I visit you every new post you make. I'm your blog stalker- in er, a good way. Some of you I go to and read through your reviews before making a book purchase. Did you realize how important you were when you got up today? You might have personally saved me $7.99 and for that I thank you.

I'm rather chipper because Ladybug at Escape in a Book has given me a blog award.

It's the The Heartfelt Blogger award. Thank you Ladybug!

Now let's give back shall we? I'd like to pass this along to Today's Adventure because you can always count on Vanessa for excellent conversation and discussions.

Mandi at Smexy Books, who understands the importance of a bit of page porn mixed in with romance, gave me this little love:

And I'd like to pass it on to Melissa's Bookshelf for wonderful reviews, a nice archive, and not being afraid to tell you that a book sucked. (and it's pretty)

Then the very nice J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog was kind enough to give me this:

I would like to send this one out to Melissa the Book Nut. She has an extensive site, that is easy to search, with an astounding amount and variety of reviews. If you don't know what to read, go dig through her stuff.

Sorry that it has taken me so long to acknowledge and pass these on. The NCLEX kicked my butt. It's over btw, but we are not going to talk about it until the results are in. Anyway, I appreciate the awards. More importantly I appreciate ya'll for book blogging. It's probably really selfish but I enjoy the many great book blogs out there so much that I've just decided to believe that you're all blogging for me.

Book Work

Posts will be rather scarce (which is an inappropriate use of the word because what I really mean is none at all) for the next few days. I'm not reading anything other than my Hurst Review for NCLEX-RN workbook. I take state boards on Sunday (strange testing time) and I can't concentrate or enjoy a good book while I'm FREAKING out.

Several lovely people have been kind enough to give me some blog awards and I promise I will acknowledge those and pass them on when this test is over. I want you to know that I really appreciate your giving them and when I am once again capable of coherent thought I'll tell you how much.

In the meantime, read something sensational for me!

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

So we've all been reading paranormal/urban fantasy romance right? A lot of it has to do with the resurgence of vampire craze brought on by Twilight and if only for that, we are thankful to Meyer. We're reading all this because we're craving a love that is darker, deeper, more intense than what the real world has to offer. Face it, we marry Bob, who is now a slightly over-weight, balding accountant who is a great husband, a wonderful father, our best friend and a terrific companion- and he takes the trash out now and then. We are happy with Bob. But now with all this eternal, star-crossed love resurfacing and in a much hotter package than Romeo, we're looking for a little more variety in our romantic reading. Passion, adventure, a love to die for...

I call bullshit.

What we're really looking for is HOT VAMPIRE SEX.

Beth has a dead end job working for your typical pig boss. She's underappreciated, underpaid and mentally understimulated. With no family, no love interest and no prospects Beth is just hoping for a change, an adventure. After she is physically assaulted by an arrogant, over-indulged, would-be rapist frat boy, adventure shows up slap dab in the middle of her living room in a six-foot-six, dark, sexy, dangerous package.

Wrath is the most fearsome warrior the vampire race has, he is their reluctant king and leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a unit of deadly fighters who protect the vampire race. With the untimely death of one of his brothers, Wrath must honor the fallen's last wish and protect his daughter Beth as she prepares to enter a dark new chapter in her life.

Oh boy you betcha. J. R. Ward will give you what you want, even if you're too shy to ask for it. But I don't want you to leave here thinking that this is book smut. Ward delivers on so many levels- action, adventure, suspense, mystery, horror, good-cop, bad cop, money, broken hearts, "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... " and a side order of steaming hot vampire sex on a platter.

Hell there's even a cat.

I was hooked three pages in and before I knew it I was on chapter 12 before I even looked up. I can't wait to pick up the other books in this series, in bulk.

Don't be a greedy reader. When you go and pick up your copy of this book, get one for a friend. You'll thank me, she'll thank you, we'll all thank J.R. Ward.

Note to self...


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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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