Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer (The Chronicles of Kazam #1)
By Jasper Fforde
18,000,000 Stars

“The Kingdom of Hereford was unique in the Ununited Kingdoms for having driving tests based on maturity, not age, much to the chagrin of a lot of males, some of whom were still failing to make the grade at thirty-two.”
There are no words for how much I absolutely adore this book! I want to carry it around with me everywhere, hugging it to my chest, whilst skipping and singing.

Lemur Doing a Hop
This book made me as happy as this guy jumping around with a lemur.

But seriously, if you're a fan of cleverness, wit, and general awesomeness, then this is the book for you. Jennifer Strange is 15 and runs Kazam, an employment agency for wizards in the Kingdom of Hereford. Magic, though, doesn't have the umph it used to; it's dwindling, and some fear it may be disappearing forever. Magic carpets are used to deliver pizza. Wizards are hired to rewire houses. But Jennifer is having a hard time getting these jobs for the agency; she keeps getting underbid by non-magic plumbers and electricians.

Suddenly, though, magic starts to grow again. The wizards are able to accomplish feats of magic that they haven't been able to do in decades. And anyone who has ever had any kind of premonition suddenly starts to see the same thing: The Last Dragonslayer will come and slay the last dragon.

I don't want to give too much away, but I'm telling you, I haven't read a book that made me giggle this much or provided me with such a general feeling of happiness the way this book did. I lurved it! The writing is fun, the characters (like the wizards Moobin and Full Price - who has a brother called Half Price) are wonderfully and creatively rendered, and the plot feels completely new - I've never read anything like it!

Jasper Fforde is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I'm thrilled he's written a new series for teens! 

Book Review: Faking It

Faking It
By Jennifer Crusie
****
“If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning."
-Gwen Goodnight
 
This super-cute rom-com was so fun to read! I picked it up after reading a few gut-wrenching YA novels because I needed a bit of an emotional break. Crusie is my go-to for a fun read. Now, nothing can compare to her Agnes and the Hitman (seriously, if you haven't read that one, go get it right now and get started! I promise, you won't regret it!), but honestly, nothing can.

Faking It is the story of the Goodnight family, who own an art gallery and are having trouble making ends meet. Some things happen and a painting that should never have been sold was sold. This is a bad because that painting could prove that some other paintings were forgeries. So, Tilda, the most normal member of an abnormal family, has only one choice: steal the painting back. As she's in the process of stealing said painting, she hears something and hides in the closet, where she meets another thief. Davy Dempsey is a con man trying to steal money back from the woman who stole it from him, after he stole it from her. Something like that. Shenanigans ensue.

I really enjoyed this book. Cons, heists, forgeries, crazy family members, and art fill all the pages. For some reason, and I don't know what this says about me, but I am intrigued by art forgery, cons, and heists. Don't worry, I'm completely incapable of doing any of those illegal activities, even if I wanted to (which I don't), but I find the art and practice of it fascinating. That's one reason I loved Leverage so much (RIP, Leverage. You were the best of TV shows, though you were sadly unappreciated. I will miss you.). Anyway, the romance was what you'd except from a chick-lit rom-com, with an added bonus of lovely secondary characters, three additional romances, and comeuppance to the nasty characters. If you're looking for a quick, light read, you can't go wrong with a Crusie, and Faking It doesn't disappoint!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Scorch

Scorch (Croak #2)
By Gina Damico
*****

"Hi, I'm Driggs."
"Damn, boy. You're even cuter up close." Cordy looked him up and down hungrily. "Got any dead brothers in here?"
Lex made a face. "Cordy, ew."
"Doesn't hurt to ask!" She peered at Driggs. "Now tell me, what are your intentions with my sister?"
Driggs became flustered. "Um, I don't know. To love her...and, uh...honor...protect..."
Lex went red. "Driggs, shut up."
"Awkward." Cordy beamed. "Love it."
"We have to go," Driggs said in an unnecessarily loud voice.
A couple of months ago, I reviewed the first book in this awesome series, Croak. After fighting Miss Michelle for the sequel (she got to read it first), I finally got my chance at it! Before I review the book, though, I'd like to send a little note to the author:


Dear Ms. Damico,

What are you trying to do to me? You break my heart into little tiny pieces in Croak, tape it up so I think I'm ok, and then you STOMP on it in Scorch! You know, there's only so much damage you can do to my poor heart before it's too mangled to repair. You're doing this on purpose, aren't you? You're a very mean woman.

When's the next book coming out?

Sincerely, a devoted reader (to my own detriment),
Rachel


I'm going to attempt to write this review as spoiler free as possible. Scorch picks up a few months after Croak left off, and Lex is finally back in the town of Croak. The surprise baddy is now on the run and most everyone blames Lex, particularly the nasty Norwood and his hellish wife, Heloise. These two are right up there on the hate-scale as Professor Umbridge of the Harry Potter books, and I hated that character more than I hated Voldemort. She tries to get back to normal, but the Sadistic-Spouses make that impossible. Lex and her friends end up on the run from both the town and the surprise baddy. Things go from bad to worse until Gina Damico ripped my heart out again. Some puzzles are solved, but the ending leaves you dying for more (See what I did there? It's a story about grim reapers, and it leaves you dying for more?). Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, because despite the repeated cardio-vascular annihilation, I love this story and I love these characters - I guess that's why it hurts so good! Seriously though, this book is awesome, and you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't read it.



This seemed appropriate for a book about Grim Reapers.

UPDATE: I'm excited to say that Ms. Damico responded to my Tweet about this blog entry and she says the following:

Thank you! And in response to your letter: Mwahaha! *twirls mustache, swishes cape*
I knew it. I knew she was an evil mastermind. She also said that the next book is scheduled to be released in Fall 2013! Thanks for the info, Gina!

Book Review: Gunmetal Magic

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels World #1)
By Ilona Andrews
*****

Kate smirked
"What?"
"Your horse is pink."
"So?"
"If you paste some stars on her butt you'll be riding My Little Pony."
"Bugger off." I patted the mare's neck. "Don't listen to her, Sugar. You are the cutest horsey ever. The correct name for her color is strawberry roan, by the way."
"Strawberry Shortcake, more like it. Does Strawberry Shortcake know you stole her horse? She will be berry, berry angry with you."
"I can shoot you right here, on this road, and nobody will ever find your body.”
 
 
In Kate Daniel's Atlanta, magic rises and falls, the People controlling the vampires wrestle for power with the Shape Shifters, and Kate regularly struggles to save the city (and sometimes the world as they know it). There are currently five books in the Kate Daniels series, written by a husband and wife team, and Gunmetal Magic is the first book in a new spin-off series. Kate's best friend is a shifter named Andrea. She's introduced in the Kate Daniels series and is a major secondary character. She's a badass with a gun and had a career using it with the Knights of Merciful Aid, but when they found out she was a Shifter, they gave her the boot.

But Andrea isn't a regular Shifter. She's Clan Bouda (a hyena pack), but while her mother was a human who could turn into a hyena, her father was a hyena who could turn into a human. Her mixed heritage is looked down on from most of the Shifters, so she's kept what she is to herself. In previous books, Andrea had a love interest, but when the Big Bad happened in the last book, she lost her job and lost her love. Gunmetal Magic opens when she's just starting to get her life back together. And then all hell breaks loose.

Ilona Andrews writes a fully fleshed out world with relatable characters (minus the magic wielding and shape shifting). Andrea is faced with a murder mystery and various magical dangers that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the story also delved into her tortured past and how she's trying to change and grow in the present. There's blood and gore, battles and investigations, plus romance and personal growth. This book has it all, and I can't wait to see how this new series affects the original series. I plan to read every book of both of them to find out - and I can't wait to get started! Next installments, please!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: Dragon Justice

Dragon Justice (Paranormal Scene Investigations #4)
By Laura Anne Gilman
*****

Urban Fantasy Meets Forensic Investigations

Gilman created an amazing world in her Retrievers series, then made fans like me thrilled with a spin-off series. The story takes place in NYC and parallels our everyday world. What most of us Nulls don't know is that there is magic in the world. But rather than just stick to secret magic people in a non-believing world, Gilman added science. What her characters can do mimic many of the elements of electricity - they get a boost from generators and lightning storms, among other things. And in the spin-off series, a cast of characters attempt to do something completely new to this magic world: they create a form of magical forensics to solve magical crimes. This group is called PUPI, or Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations.

The series follows Bonita "Bonnie" Torres, introduced in the Retriever series, as a young woman who couldn't find her "fit" in her post-academic world. Then she's called to join PUPI and combine her particular strengths and gifts to the organization. It's difficult work, but rewarding. They manage to solve the crimes, with the occasional threat to their own well-beings, and in the process they make both allies and enemies. The story delves into the politics of this world, the relationships between the PUPI investigators, as well as the science of the crimes. Gilman's world-building is both detailed and engaging - it drags the reader in and makes them itchy for the next book!

In the fourth installment in this series, Bonnie is due for a break, and just because she leaves for one, doesn't mean she's going to get it. This story takes us through the regular series' haunts, like The Wren's appartment, the PUPI headquarters, and an intriguing story in Central Park, but then it takes a detour to Philadelphia. Here Bonnie finds herself figuring some things out with her relationship to one of the Big Dogs, Ben, with whom she has a unique relationship, and she also gets thrown into a new mystery. Both of these things end up changing things for Bonnie and the Pups; some of these changes involve growing closer together and creating new bonds, while others lead to loss and heartache.

I highly recommend this series to any urban fantasy fan, or anyone who appreciates solid world-building or forensic mysteries. I would recommend starting with the Retriever series, though - you'll understand Bonnie's world much better that way, and the forensic elements will make more sense with the foundation of the original series behind it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Timeless

Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5)
Gail Carriger
(20 stars out of 5)

I'm a little sad. I love this series, and alas, it is over. Alexia has completed her journey (though her daughter's journey will be beginning in a new series coming out sometime in the nearish future SQUEE!).

Ok, so those of you who aren't familiar with the series (OHMYGOSHWHATISWRONGWITHYOUGOREADITRIGHTNOW!!!) Alexia lives in a world of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. The common theory is that people with an excess of soul are able to be turned into a vamp or a wolfie, and if they aren't turned in life, they may stick around as a ghost. Alexia is an even rarer creature - she's a spinster without a soul. When a Soulless touches one of the vampires or werewolves, they revert to their mortal form: vamps can see the sun and lose their fangs, werewolves in wolf form are instantly changed back to (naked) humanity. And if a Soulless were to touch the dead body that used to house the ghost, the ghost is no more.

The world Gail Carriger created is set in Victorian England and is a lovely mix of Steampunk and Paranormal (with a bit of Romance thrown in). Alexia is the straight (wo)man surrounded by a colorful cast of characters: her love interest and head of BUR (a sort of supernatural affairs division of the government) and werewolf pack leader, Conall Maccon, who growls a lot and doesn't seem to mind that Alexia is too old (she's in her mid-to-late twenties while he's over 200 years old), that she's part-Italian, or that she has more curves than is considered popular (he really doesn't mind that bit). Her vampire friend, Akeldama, who is a rove (or loner) vampire, dresses with 18th century flair, and has a house full of pretty young men who act as his household staff and gossip collectors (called drones). There's also Lyall, Conall's second in command; Ivy Hisselpenny, Alexia's friend and wearer of atrocious hats; Biffy, Akeldama's head drone; two awful half-sisters and a flighty mother; and the ever present and effective butler, Floote.

Timeless neatly ties up all the loose ends in this five book series. I enjoyed every chapter, every page, and every word of each of these books. I can't wait for her new YA series, which begins with Espionage and Etiquette, and will be coming out in February.

Anyone who can turn a parasol into a multi-layered weapon, whose heroine believes that anything can be made better with liberal application of tea, and can slip in a "llama, llama, duck" reference into a book taking place in Victorian England, will always have me as a loyal reader!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:









The Casual Vacancy
By: J.K. Rowling
Publication Date: September 27, 2012

Description from Goodreads:
When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?


From Me:
I know this is probably on ever reader's to-read list, but I didn't realize it was coming out so soon! Sure, it's over a month away, but I honestly thought it'd be another 6 months to a year. Don't know why I thought that, but I've really excited that it's coming!

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Monday: What are you reading?

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.


I'm currently reading:

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. My fellow-librarian-friend has been bugging me to read this book for months and I'm finally getting it done. I'm about a third of the way through it and it's really good so far. Unlike most zombie movies, this book looks at what zombies used to be - people - and the notion of dignity in death, despite the fact that they're dangerous and no longer sentient beings.


What I recently finished:

Croaked by Gina Damico (4 out of 5 stars) - see my full review below.
Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (2 out of 5 stars) - see my full review below.
Ouran High School Host Club (Manga series books 1-18) by Bisco Hatori (5 out of 5 stars) - see my full review below.

What I'll read next:

I was recently contacted by Laurianne Uy to read and review her manga/graphic novel Polterguys. It has a sort of Ouran feel to it - according to Laur - so I'm excited to give it a shot!

Book Review: Croak

Croak (Croak #1)
by Gina Damico
(4 out of 5 stars)

“Life isn't fair. Why should death be any different?”
"'And what...did you mean when you said you're going to teach me how to Kill people?'
He snickered. 'You didn't really think you were going to spend the whole summer milking cows, did you?'"
Description from Goodreads:
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business. She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice--or is it vengeance?--whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

From me:
Girl with anger-management issues becomes a grim reaper. That's the story in one sentence and it does a pretty good job of encapsulating the humor, snark, and action that happens in the story. Lex was a perfect kid, until she turned 14, and then she would erupt into rages that even she couldn't explain. In a last ditch effort to help their daughter, Lex's parents send her off to her Uncle Mort's farm. Lex thinks she's going to spend the summer milking cows and feeding chickens and other farm-type tasks, much to her dismay (she's not only a city-girl, she's a New York City-girl). But when she gets off the bus in the middle of nowhere and is approached by a guy in black leather, with skeletal hands, and riding on a motorcycle - claiming to be her uncle - she doesn't believe it. And that's only the first of the surprises.

Lex is taken to the small town of Croak, which turns out to be entirely populated by grim reapers. Their job is to release the souls of those that have just died to enable them to move on. Lex is a Killer - she touches the body to release the soul - and every Killer has a partner who is a Culler - who grabs the soul and takes it back to Croak to be released into an afterlife. As the story goes on, Lex's rage diminishes, except when she realizes that she can do nothing to stop the murderers who necessitate some of Lex's Kills.

This book was both fun, exciting, and at times heartbreaking. Damico has created an interesting take on an ancient idea - that of the grim reaper. Here, her reapers start young, and the sign that they're reapers is the strange and sudden rage they all develop in their teens. It's a quick read, definitely a page-turner. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes the paranormal or urban fantasy genres or anyone who likes their stories with a side of snark.

If you're still not convinced, check out this awesome book trailer!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Peculiars

The Peculiars
By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe it was only goblin women who were restless and wanted to see the world. She didn't know.”
Description from Goodreads:
This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

My Review:
I had such high hopes for this book. I really like the steampunk genre, which this fits into, and the cover art was pretty great. However, I didn't get into the story. The main character, Lena, thinks she's a Peculiar. Her father was rumored to be a goblin, though most people in the city didn't really believe in that sort of thing. Lena is sure she is, though, because she has super long hands and feet, which both have a third joint. Lena has been told all her life by her grandmother that goblins are no good and implying that Lena has the same wild nature as her father (even though she's actually pretty meek and compliant). So Lena is never sure if her urges to see the world and find her father are normal or if they're part of her wild side.

Which would have been fine...except she's so whiny about it! And despite the fact that she's the heroine and you're supposed to like her, she did so many stupid things and acted so pathetically that I really couldn't stand her.

My other issue with this story is that the author was too heavy-handed with any element related to her brilliant inventor character - basically, he's so smart that he's figured out medicine, mechanics, etc, before their real 20th century inventors, and the same goes for the steampunk elements. I think it goes back to the first rule of writing: show, don't tell. And McQuerry did an awful lot of telling. I really don't know how to explain it any better than that, but suffice it to say, it took me out of the story and caused me to roll my eyes several times.

All that being said, this was an easy and quick read, and if you're into steampunk or fairy stories it may be worth it to give it a shot.

P.S. The character on the cover is not Lena. Lena has long hands and feet, not wings. The winged girl is a minor character who isn't in the story too much.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Manga Review: Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club (18 volumes)
By: Bisco Hatori
(5 out of 5 stars)

Let me preface this post by saying I am a total noob (aka newbie) when it comes to manga and anime (graphic novels and comics, too, for that matter). My friend, Mike, is always sending me links to anime clips and giving me lists of stuff I should watch. Most of the time I think it's completely wackadoodle (like the one where there's a princess who is a ballerina who turns into a duck...something like that...). I was hanging out with Mike and my other librarian friend, Lauren, and they teamed up and forced me to watch the anime of Ouran High School Host Club. We watched maybe two episodes before they had to leave, and the whole time I'm watching I'm thinking that this stuff is cray-cray. This was Sunday.

By Tuesday, I'd watched all 26 episodes.

Within 2 weeks I had read manga volumes 1-17, minus 4 and 8; volume 4 was missing from the library and had to be reordered and volume 8 was checked out. When I got to the end of 17, I was all "This is how the story ends?!? NOT COOL!" Then I found out there was one more volume, and it was going to be published within the month. (This is not the first time I've lucked out with book series and publishing dates; I didn't start reading the Harry Potter series until about 6 months before The Order of the Phoenix was published. Unlike most other HP fans, I didn't have to wait years after Goblet to find out what happened when He Who Must Not Be Named came back!)

See, here's the thing: every now and then I completely geek out over stuff. When I was in college, I watched the first two Mummy movies and the first two HP movies on a loop. My roommate would come into our dorm and just look at me, roll her eyes, saying without words, "Again?" Since then, other obsessions have included the new Doctor Who (this obsession is ongoing and is unlikely to ever stop), Leverage (an awesome TV show on TNT), the Marvel movies (I heart Tony Stark!), and most recently, the Ouran series.

Here's the deal:

A girl from a low to lower-middle-class home is super smart and gets into the uber-elite Ouran Academy in Japan. She's a girl with a plan for her future and she's determined to succeed. Since her dad doesn't have a lot of money, she couldn't afford one of the super expensive uniforms, so she wears some slacks and her dad's old sweater. Combine that with a short, shaggy haircut and old glasses, Haruhi's gender isn't apparent on first - or second - glance.

Trying to find a quiet place to study, she enters what she thinks is an empty music room. Alas, it isn't empty. Haruhi has mistakenly wandered in to the Host Club head quarters. (At this point, I should probably attempt to explain a host club. In this story, the Host Club is a group of super-rich and gorgeous guys who basically cater to the whims of the girls at Ouran by spending time with them at the club, telling them how pretty and talented they are, and basically being what every girl wants in a guy...while they're at the club. All this happens without dating or any kind of real relationships.) So while in the music room, Haruhi accidentally breaks the club's vase worth $80,000 and finds herself beholden to the club. The club president, unaware that Haruhi is a girl, decides that she will act as a member of the club to pay off her debt. Chaos and hilarity ensue when the boys realize Haruhi is a girl, but make her pretend to be a boy to continue paying off her debt.

So the plot sounds almost as wackadoodle as the princess-ballerina-duck story, but it's really well written (and illustrated) and there's so much character growth and emotional interactions that this series really is fully realized and a lot of fun. Over the course of the story, both Haruhi and the boys learn a lot about each other, friendship, and what's really important in life. I love the characters and the way they develop throughout the story, and the final book wraps up the loose ends and feels very satisfying (though I kinda wish she'd keep writing - it's always sad when a great series ends!).

I totally recommend this series, both the manga and the anime. I did enjoy the manga more, though - the anime was completed long before the manga series ended, and I like where the manga story went more than the anime version. That being said, they were both fun. This series may appeal a bit more to girls, but manga lovers will dig it, whatever their gender.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Liebster Blog Award



I've been tagged with the Liebster Blog Award by Bookworm8921. The Liebster Award is for bloggers with less than 200 followers. Award winners share 11 facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who tagged them, come up with 11 of their own questions and tag 11 more bloggers with the award.

11 Facts About Me:
1. I'm a Teen Librarian. 
2. My dog, Wrigley has a YouTube page.
3. I love tea and hate coffee.
4. I don't have enough shelves for all of my books.
5. I've ghost hunted at my library (and now I'm freaked out by our basement).
6. I'm an Anglophile.
7. I have a love/hate relationship with Steven Moffat. It's mostly love, but when it's hate, it really outweighs any of the love.
8. I find it impossible to choose a favorite book.
9. The #1 item on my Bucket List is to visit Ireland.
10. Books make me happy.


Questions from Bookworm8921

1. What is the first book you can ever remember reading?
Ohh, this is a hard one. My mom read to me all the time, so I have a lot of book memories. The book that stands out the most, though, is Arnold Lobel's Whiskers and Rhymes. It was also the first book for which I made a book trailer (I've made a grand total of two).

2. Do you re-read books? If so, which book have you re-read the most?
Absolutely! Sometimes they're better the 2nd, 3rd, 10th time around. I don't really know which ones I've read the most, though. My Chronicles of Narnia books from my childhood have clearly been loved hard, so I imagine they rank pretty high. Agnes and the Hitman may be the other - action, adventure, romance, and humor-har, all rolled into one fantastic book. I'm never NOT in the mood for that one!


3. Have you ever liked a movie based on a book more than the book itself?
Don't hurt me for saying this. I know there are some hardcore Jane fans out there, and this may come across as sacrilege, but Mansfield Park the book was rather slow, and I (unrealistically) wanted more 21st century feminism to be present. I ADORE Mansfield Park the movie, though. Frances O'Connor and Jonny Lee Miller were amazing - they even made me forget the squicky cousin bit - and this movie features the best almost-kiss of all time! Sooo good!


4. How did you decide on what to call your blog?
My name is Rachel, one of my friends called me Rae, and I repurposed the Rae to fit in the blog name.


5. How many books are you hoping to read this year?
At least 52 - enough to average 1 book per week.


6. Do you have plans to write your own book?
Kinda - I have a story idea. We'll see if I ever take the time to write it down.


7. What was the last book that you read?
Silence (The Queen of the Dead #1), by Michelle Sagara


8. What is your favourite movie?
This is such a difficult question - I don't generally have favorites; my love has no limits :) So I'll answer this in segments: Movie I've watched so many times I can quote it verbatim - French Kiss. Movie that makes me swoon - Don Juan DeMarco. Current obsession - The Avengers.


9. Who is your favourite actor/actress?
Again with the favorites! Most of my favorites tend to be British; bonus points for Sirs and Dames. Also, anyone from a Steven Moffat production. David Tennant. RDJ. The entire cast of Leverage and The Avengers. Lauren Graham. Rachel Weisz. Johnny Depp.


10. What TV shows do you enjoy?
Top 3: Leverage, Doctor Who, Coupling. Other favorites: The Big Bang Theory, SYTYCD, White Collar, Gilmore Girls, Psych, Stargate SG-1. (I'm rather eclectic in my tastes.)


11. Do you collect anything other than books?
I collected tea sets for a while; it was all in my grand scheme to own a cute, little tea room. Then I became a librarian instead. I still drink a lot of tea, though.



Questions I'd like to ask:

1. How do you mark your place in a book? A real bookmark, scrap of paper, dog-earring the page?

2. Do you judge a book by it's cover?

3. Do you have any quirky reading habits?

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why?

5. Do you use any of the social networking sites for readers (like Goodreads or Shelfari)? Love it or hate it?

6. What's a book that you were really looking forward to, but it underdelivered? What book surprised you with it's awesomeness?

7. Do you have any hobbies outside of reading?

8. What is your fondest book memory?

9. What are you reading now?

10. What's your favorite book genre?

11. Pretend you meet a genie and he gives you three wishes (standard genie rule - you can't wish for more wishes): what would they be?



Blogs I'd like to tag:

Guerilla Librarian (though technically, I have no idea how many followers you have, your site is great. Power to the MPDGs!)
MPL's Book Nook
Reading Is Good For You (another blog I'm not certain of the follower count, but an amazing either way!)
The Turn of the Page
It's Time to Love Your Library
Pamela's Book Spot
Owl Book Reviews
Queen of All She Reads
Literary Lindsey
Living for the Books
young adult fiction & whiskey sours

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesdays: Gunmetal Magic

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:









Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5)
By: Ilona Andrews
Publication Date: 7/31/2012

From Goodreads:

Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea's former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate ... and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world...



I'm so excited! I love the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series! This is a sort of spin-off title focusing on Kate's BFF, Andrea.

Can't. Wait.

Book Review: Silence

Silence (The Queen of the Dead #1)
By: Michelle Sagara
(*****)
"'Eric, why is it important to you that I--that I stop seeing the dead?'
'Because,' he replied slowly, 'then I won't have to kill you.'"

Description from Goodreads:

"It began in the graveyard... "

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that's all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan's death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there--Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death....

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma's group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone's guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma's true destiny was....


My review:

I'm a big fan of Michelle Sagara; her fantasy series, The Chronicles of Elantra, are some of my favorite books. So when I found out that she was writing a YA novel, I got super-excited and had that sucker ordered for our library. Unlike Elantra, this book takes place in the present-day real world. Or as real as you can get when the heroine sees dead people.

This is a cool story of a girl coming to grips with the impossible. Emma understands death and grief after losing her father at a young age and losing her boyfriend within the year. She finds peace and quiet walking her dog (an overweight rottweiler named Petal) in the local cemetary at night, where she just sits at her boyfriend's grave. That peace is forever altered when she meets a boy named Eric in the graveyard and an ancient woman with a strang lantern. I'm not entirely sure if she's given the "gift" of seeing the dead, or if it's just awakened at this point, but this ability immediately puts Emma in danger. It makes Emma a necromancer and it's Eric's job to hunt and kill them.

In this world, necromancer's are BAD. They steal energy from the dead to create their magic, and generally they use that power for evil. Emma, though, has no desire to turn evil or use others for her own means; instead, she wants to help the dead move on. Figuring out how to do that whilst hanging out with the guy who may have to kill her is not exactly easy thing, but she somehow manages to do so, leading to a cool ending and an intriguing cliff hanger.

I really enjoyed this book. Michelle writes heroines that have a great depth of conviction and desire to help her fellow man. The story rolls along at a good pace and the characters are interesting and relatable. There is some language in this book, and though the book isn't flooded with cursing, if that's something you don't like, please be aware that it's there. This is a great addition to the paranormal genre and I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday: What are you reading?

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

I recently finished the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Deadlocked, and loved it! But then again, I'm completely hooked on this world and I probably would have loved it no matter what. I recently heard a rumor that Charlaine will be finishing up the series with the next installment. Kudos to her for not dragging the series on for.e.ver, but I'm still heartbroken by the fact that it may be concluding. Man I hope Sookie gets a nice "happily ever after" - one that's pretty boring...that poor girl could use some boring.



I also finished the YA book, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. This was a really cool ancient-relic-mystery-adventure type of story. Basically, there are some teens that read latin who help out a professor with some transcriptions. He's obsessed with this unbreakable code (that part is actually real - the code, not the professor's obsession), which after 400 years of nobody being able to crack it (also true), our heroine discovers the way to break it. Death and mayhem ensue, mostly in Prague. The story has a definite Da Vinci Code feel to it - the mysterious relic has religious implications, and the religious tone may or may not turn off readers. Still, the book was fascinating and I'd definitely recommend it.



See my full reviews for these titles in previous posts.

What I'm reading now: I'm currently trying to get through another YA novel, The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. It's slow going; I haven't been able to get into the story, and there are several things about it that bug me. I'm determined to finish it, but I'm sure (unless it totally turns around at this point) this book won't be a favorite. I'm pretty sure the cover art and title will be superior to the actual story, which is a shame.



What I'm going to read: Oh good heavens, I have no idea. So many books, so little time! And whatever I type here I'll mysteriously not be in the mood for when it comes time to pick up something new, so I won't even bother.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow
By: Robin Wasserman
(*****)

“I should probably start with the blood.”

From Goodreads:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.



From Me:

The Book of Blood and Shadow is like two books in one: first, you have Nora and her friends, their lives, how they deal with school and relationships. Then you have a mad dash through the streets of Prague searching for mysterious clues to an ancient puzzle, which once solved, can give a glimpse into the divine.

Nora's past involves a tragedy that she keeps to herself. Her parents are lost in themselves, leaving Nora as an afterthought. Nora, a bit of a Latin prodigy, was admitted to a prestigious school on the other side of town, disconnected enough from her world that no one knows about her past. There she becomes best friends with Chris and his girlfriend, Adriane. Fast forward to Nora's senior year, where she is interning at the local university where Chris is attending, and they both assist a professor in translating and transcribing 400 year old Latin texts, along with Chris's roommate, Max. They're attempting to break a code that has puzzled the best mathematicians and code breakers for four centuries. Nora finds the key to breaking the code, and the wrong people notice, leading to the death of her best friend. To avenge Chris's murder and clear Max's name, Nora and Adriane head to Prague, where the Latin texts were originally written. There, they stumble through clues that lead to an unexpected ending.

The first half of the book feels like a typical real-life-issues young adult novel. The characters struggle through evolving relationships, family issues, and the question of their future. You get to know them and connect to them, the whole time knowing that one of them will shortly die while another is blamed for that murder. The first page opens with these bombshells, quickly followed by a flash-back that leads up to this big moment. After that, we get to the mystery in Prague, where Nora and Adriane search for Max and hide from more than one secret society that wants to hinder or hurt them.

The mystery and historical portions of the story were fascinating. Wasserman does a great job of describing a scene and really getting you attached to the characters. The only thing I wasn't terribly fond of was the religion angle; at times it felt like Wasserman was getting a bit heavy handed with the atheism, while at other times she provided an interesting focus on historical and current Judaism and the mysticism tied to the ancient relic they were searching for in Prague. Like The Da Vinci Code and The Golden Compass, the religious aspect of the book could potentially turn off readers.

I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery or treasure hunt. Wasserman included a lot of real historical information about Prague, plus the impossible code they were trying to break is actually real - and still unbroken; this will appeal to historical fiction fans. It was great learning about a part of the world and a part of history that I wasn't familiar with, that of Prague during the Renaissance. The Book of Blood and Shadow is a very cool book and a great read.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review: Deadlocked

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)  (*****)
by Charlaine Harris

From Goodreads:
With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

From me:
Poor Sookie can't catch a break! She's attempting to make her relationship work with Eric, despite the unusual issues they face as a couple. She's trying to keep her house in order, despite her two fairy roommates. And then someone dies and she's dragged into another murder mystery.

I love these books, and I'll continue to read them until Harris ends the series (and then I'll mourn), but I'd love it if she'd write a short story where Sookie goes on vacation somewhere and nothing happens. (She kinda did this once, and something did happen, but still...Sookie's life is rough.) Is that weird? Anyway, this installment in the series stays true to form: there's a mystery; there are relationship issues; Sookie has to worry about herself, her friends, and her family; and the reader delves deeper into Harris' world. If you love the series, you'll love this book, too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Born Wicked

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:






Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
by Jessica Spotswood
Publication Date: February 7, 2012

From Goodreads:
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.



Ok, yes, this book has already been published, but I recently found out that I'll be getting the book as an ARC - and now I wait.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog Update: Repost of a Swoon-worthy Type

Attention Readers: The blog below is a repost of something I wrote nearly two years ago on May 8, 2010. Considering the big movie coming out this weekend, it seemed appropriate for me to share it again, plus add a little yummy fuel to the swoon-worthy fire...

I am aware that the target audience for comic-book movies are men, particularly the younger types. But many of these movies have a fantastic mix of action and humor that I enjoy. Also, as a fantasy/paranormal reader, I like the extra-ordinary aspects of these stories.

But how do you interest the women who see these movies as guy-only fare? Who prefer chick flicks and roll their eyes at their boyfriend's/husband's/brother's/dude-friend's video game marathons and comic book collection? (I am *not* saying anything about these women or about the quality of either types of these movies - I'm mainly talking about impressions here.)

How do you get these women in the theaters for comic movies? Easy. You cast Robert Downey Jr. as the lead. (Hummina hummina hummina.)

I would like to applaud the casting people for many of their choices. Halle Berry and Rebecca Romijn and their "costumes" were for the fanboys, but thank you, X-Men, for Hugh Jackman. Recently-released Losers - all eye candy, all the time. Iron Man (plus Sherlock Holmes) - RDJ is delicious! And Wolverine - more Jackman and Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Reynolds (plus my favorite hobbit, Dominic Monaghan).

Now some of these movies are pushing it, even for me. For example, I don't think anyone will be able to twist my arm and get me in the theater to see Tron, but some of these movies are indeed chick-friendly. And if it takes a bit of yummy to get a gal to give one a try, I see no harm in that. No harm at all.

Let me show you what I'm talking about...


Nothin' wrong with that.

I see no "Losers" here. Just tasty, tasty winners.

I can growl, too Wolverine: Rreowr.

UPDATE!  Thank you Marvel Studios! Thank you thank you thank you! I had no idea two years ago when I wrote this blog post that Iron Man was just the beginning. I would particularly like to thank you for more RDJ, the two Chris's, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo. Seriously - THANK YOU!


Le sigh. Le swoon. Le drool.


What movie/actor would you add to this list? (Guys can play, too - what actress rocked your socks in a comic book movie?)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Twilight Volume 2


by Stephenie Meyer, Young Kim (Art/Adaptation)

This volume picks up where the last one left off - volume 1 and volume 2 combine to make up the full story of Twilight.

I'm not sure what to add that I didn't cover in my review of volume 1. This part of the story has fewer cheesy lines and a little more action, but it's still a stripped version of the story.

If you want the full Twilight story, go for the original book. If you loved the book, you'll probably love the graphic novel, too. One nice thing about the graphic novel is that, compared to the movie, it keeps closer to the original story and includes some scenes that were cut from the movie. While the illustrations are really good, I wouldn't recommend the graphic novel to someone who hadn't already read the book - it's really more of a supplemental piece than a stand-alone novel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Silence (The Queen of the Dead #1)
by
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's Monday: What are you Reading?

It's Monday: What are you reading? is a weekly meme from Book Journey.

I just finished reading two very different books. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee. Yes, I know, everyone but me has read The Hunger Games, and I'm a teen librarian. I should be ashamed of myself. But I've read it and I even managed to review it. You can find full reviews for both of these books in the posts below.

I'm currently reading (and have been for a while) Intertwined by Gena Showalter. I've been working on this title for a month or so, putting it down to read other books, then picking it back up again. I'll finish it eventually!

On my to-read list are The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. Though I really think I need something light and happy after reading The Hunger Games...

Book Review: A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House: A Mary Quinn Mystery (The Agency #1)  (*****)
by Y.S. Lee

"Mary!"
She spun about. "What is it?"
"Stay out of wardrobes!"


This book opens with Mary Lang on trial for theft. It's the mid-1800's England, and despite her young age and fairly minor crime, Mary is sentenced to hang. Instead of meeting that fate, though, she is rescued by a woman who runs a school for girls. This school provides an education for girls who wouldn't receive it otherwise, girls with no money and no hopes for a good future. They teach the girls skills that they'll need to provide for themselves in a world that treats women like property. Mary accepts this woman's offer to attend the school, and we jump several years into the future where she's now 17, has changed her last name to Quinn, and teaches at the school. However, she doesn't feel fulfilled by this role, she wants more, and the woman who saved her has a new offer. And this is where our story really begins.

Mary becomes a spy for The Agency, a sort of private-detective, under-cover operation run by women and employing women. Mary is hired as a lady's companion in the house of a suspected smuggler. She is supposed to keep an eye on things and make herself available to the real agent who has already been installed in the household, but of course, Mary can't keep from investigating. In the process, she meets a young man who's also investigating the family, and they decide to work together.

A Spy in the House is a great title for anyone (ok, any young woman - this isn't really a "guy book") who is looking for a historical mystery. I recently had a teen ask me that very question - this title would have been a perfect fit. However, we didn't have it in our collection; I borrowed this from my local library system to test it out and see if my library should get it. I'm seriously considering it - it was an interesting look at the time period and it had a good mystery, one I didn't figure out until the end, and meets a need in the collection.

I really enjoyed this book; it was a great palate cleanser for the heart-break of The Hunger Games, and I sped through it. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series: The Body at the Tower.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)   *****
by Suzanne Collins

"May the odds be ever in your favor."

I know I'm late to the Hunger Games. It's shameful, really, a YA librarian not reading this book until now. But I did have a good reason. I hate, hate, dystopian novels. I have since I was forced to read 1984 and A Brave New World in high school. I prefer my books to be funny and light or action packed or...well, anything other than depressing. If there has to be death, I prefer it to happen to the really bad guys. And it can never be an animal - if the author kills the family dog or the faithful horse or some other four-legged or winged creature (I'm looking at you Rowling), I'm done. So a book where kids have to kill other kids to survive, I'm not interested.

That being said, I'm a teen librarian and it really is important that I read these things. So I did.

First of all, this is a really well written and thought-out book. The characters, even those you meet only briefly, are fully realized. There is a lot of build up to the main event, but it's important to the development of the plot and gives insight into the workings of Panem. And I'm betting (as I haven't read Catching Fire or Mocking Jay yet), that insight will be important in the next two installments.

Despite my feelings about the dystopian genre, this really was a good book. I can't fully give it five stars because it's not my cup of tea, not because of the quality of the book. Certain parts made me cry like a little girl, and I hate it when books do that - even though if a book can make you feel that strongly, it's a sign that the book is doing it's job, and doing it well. It's been 24 hours since I finished the book, and I still can't shake it. My brain won't turn off and I keep going over scenes in my head. More signs of a book doing it's job. I really need to find out what happens next in the series, but I don't think my brain, or my heart, can take it just yet.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Should Be Reading.


To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?






I'm currently reading a couple of books in a variety of methods:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (on my Kindle)

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (as an audiobook)

Intertwined by Gena Showalter (hardcover)

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim (graphic novel)


 I just finished reading (see full reviews in the posts below):

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Tales of Death and Dementia by Edgar Allan Poe and Grim Grisly (Illustrator)




What's up next?

I have a number of books on my to-read list, but the top contenders are:

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Book Review: Tales of Death and Dementia

by Edgar Allan Poe, Gris Grimly (Illustrator)

Tales of Death and Dementia is a collection of four of Poe's stories involving some form of madness, which is brilliantly illustrated by Gris Grimly (that has got to be a pen name!). The four stories included in this book are The Tell-Tale Heart (the most familiar of the the stories), The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether, The Oblong Box, and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

Each of the stories include Poe's well-known darkness, and he certainly seemed to have a good handle on the nature of madness. Each story is a little creepy, particularly The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, while others are pretty funny, like The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether. In any case, Gris Grimly does an excellent job of capturing the story in pictures. He is particularly talented when drawing crazy-eyes. Seriously.

This book offered a fun, new way to read Poe. The stories are short, but fully realized; the illustrations are awesome; and the book is quick to read through. I'd recommend it to anyone, especially those who are fans of Poe or into graphic novels.

Book Review: The Monstrumologist

by Rick Yancey

“He knew the truth. Yes, my dear child, he would undoubtedly tell a terrified toddler tremulously seeking succor, monsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.
Sometime during the mid-to-late 1800s in the north-eastern US, we meet Will Henry, a 12-year-old who recently lost his parents in a fire. His father's former boss, Dr. Warthrop, took Will Henry in and made Will his assistant. But Dr. Warthrop isn't your typical doctor; he's a Monstrumologist. Monsters are real and Dr. Warthrop hunts and studies them.

The story opens on a grave robber knocking on the doctor's door. It turns out he found more than he bargained for in the grave of a recently deceased young woman. He found not one body, but two, and brings them both to the doctor. The unexpected body is headless, with a huge mouth in its torso, eyes near its shoulders, arms so long they practically skim the ground and end with barbed claws. It's an Anthropophagi, a monster that feeds on humans (preferably the living variety).

Thus begins the story of Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop as they try to find the rest of the monster's 'herd' (for lack of a better word), discover how they made it to America (they're not native to North America), and try to stop the Antropophagi before they kill again. It also begins one of the grossest stories I've ever read. This story is a cross between a monster-hunt and a forensic/medical drama - at least in the descriptions of bodies and patients and wounds and puss and other grody things.

While the story wasn't fast-paced, it was solid and still had plenty to interest the reader (if they have the stomach for it). While Will Henry is a 12-year-old during this book, that doesn't limit the story to the middle grade/tween ages - I'd totally recommend it to the older teen/YA age, as well.

I'd recommend this book to middle school and high school students (and adults) who enjoy forensic TV shows, monster and zombie books and movies, and have a strong stomach. That being said, it may be a bit too gruesome for the younger end of that age-group, so act accordingly. Seriously - don't read this book when eating; you'll regret it.

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Peculiars
by