Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Jinx by D. F. Lamont

The JinxThe Jinx by D.F. Lamont

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Jinx is the story of Stephen Grayson, a 13-year old whose run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed, he flees home to protect his family, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down.

This book was a really quick read -- a little over 100 pages. It was obviously written for a junior high audience since the main character, Stephen, was 13 and his adventures (and misadventures) were things that a 12-year old boy would love to read about. Lots of action, monsters, strange creatures, wild technology, and saving the world. Stephen thinks he is a jinx. He runs away from home so that his family doesn't suffer because of it. From the time Stephen decided to run away to the last chapter of the book, I kept expecting him to wake up and it all to be a dream. Things just kept happening so randomly and monsters and people in helicopters appeared and reappeared when they were supposed to be gone. Seriously, a 12-year old boy would LOVE this book.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Debut novelist Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense--a richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

This book seemed daunting at first because it is 579 pages long, but I never got bored with it. It's the story of a woman, Diana Bishop, who just happens to be a witch. She represses her magic most of her life because she thinks it doesn't have a place in her life. She is more concerned with academics and her research on alchemy. However, her magic slips out of her in "little" ways that she thinks are inconsequential. While she is at Oxford in England, she comes across a manuscript that she realizes is enchanted, and opens it when noone had for hundreds of years. This alerted the attention of other creatures around her including a vampire named Matthew Clairmont, a witch named Peter Knox and several daemons hanging out in the library. The rest of the book is about her relationship with Matthew and the consequences of a witch loving a vampire. Since I am a fan of historical fiction, I was intrigued (as Diana was because she was a historian) by the many lives Matthew had lived and the people he had known. As much as he tried to hide it, he had feelings and a capacity to love that you wouldn't expect in a vampire. The blending of Diana's and Matthew's families along with their daemon friends was interesting. My favorite character though had to be Diana's house -- yes, her house. It was haunted by ghosts of her ancestors, but it also had a mind of its own and welcomed and dismissed visitors at will. Some of the things that Diana discovered she was capable of were somewhat fantastic, but it is a fictional story after all. Apparently, "A Discovery of Witches" is the first in a trilogy which explains why it took so long to get close to a confrontation between the collected families and the Congregation -- a tribunal of sorts made up of vampires, witches and daemons -- which attempted to enforce an agreement made hundreds of years ago to keep evidence of these creatures out of the sight of humans. I'm looking forward to picking up the next installment of this trilogy, but I have a lot to think about from this book until then. Also, my book club is reading this for their February selection. I'll be back to update this review with their thoughts after next Wednesday.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

101 Fantasy Mini-Reading Challenge

February, March, April Mini-Challenge!

I helped come up with this challenge, so I HAVE to participate, right? Yesssss!
Here are the details:

In February -- read a book with "love" or some kind of display/description of affection in the title or on the cover, i.e. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead or Dark Lover by J.R. Ward.

In March - read a classic tale, i.e. A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

In April - a book with an animal in the title or on the cover (you know, Easter is in April).

Remember: all the books must be from the challenge list, which can be found in the pages section at the top of the sidebar on the 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge blog. The examples given above are all from the list

•Everyone who completes the challenge by reading at least one book per month following that month's criteria will be entered in the giveaway (winner will be chosen randomly via

•The winner will receive a gently used copy of one of the most awesome fantasy books ever written, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (which is on the list, incidentally). More details are on the 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge blog.

Come join us in this mini-challenge and get some more of the 101 best Fantasy books on the list read!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sisters of the Confederacy by Lauraine Snelling

Sisters of the Confederacy (A Secret Refuge, #2)Sisters of the Confederacy by Lauraine Snelling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When her sister fights to hold on to the family legacy, Louisa Highwood works tirelessly to save the lives of wounded soldiers. Putting her own safety n the line, she covertly ventures behind enemy lines to procure desperately needed supplies for the army hospital in Richmond, Virginia.Meanwhile, Jesselynn Highwood and her ragtag band of freed slaves and Thoroughbreds seek refuge along the Oregon Trail, unable to imagine what awaits them.An exciting tale of courage, adventure, and romance amid the turbulence of the Civil War.

This is the second in this series by Lauraine Snelling. I liked it just as much as I liked the first one. The book is about Jesselynne Highwood who leaves her ranch in Kentucky with some of her freed slaves and her little brother along with their Thoroughbred horses to travel across the country to Oregon to keep them safe from the ravages of the Civil War. She pretends to be a boy since she got more respect that way and people would deal with her when she wanted to buy supplies and such when they wouldn't have if she was female. As it starts out, the troup is halfway across the States living in a cave (a big cave) outside of Springfield. When the war cstches up with them, they move on to join a wagon train going to Oregon. Jesse's doubts about God and her faith add to the story. Meanwhile, her sisters are living in Richmond, VA, helping out with the wounded men. They discover that one of the wounded men is their brother, Zackary, and that part of their family is reunited. Their home, Twin Oaks, was burnt out by raiders, but their freed slaves hid and came back to try to keep things going -- the tobacco crop, the garden, etc. I really liked the pace of this book. It didn't drag at all. The story kept going from the sisters in Richmond to Jesse in the west and back again. There is a very Christian theme running through it as well, but it isn't overwhelming. It seems as if it should be there. I'm sure there is another volume in the series because they haven't made it to Oregon yet. I'll have to look for it.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)Hourglass by Myra McEntire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
A friend of mine made me read this book and tell her what I thought of it. Well, I liked most of it, but I didn't like the ending -- it was too much and not enough. Too much whining and cruelty and people turning against those who trusted them and not enough follow through and depth of character. Apparently it was leading up to another book, so that could have been why things weren't resolved such as: what happened to Grace? -- I have a feeling that Jack did something to her that he's not telling; did anything happen with Lily?; what about Ava?; and what was happening to the fabric of time causing Emerson (great name btw) to see whole scenes instead of just single rips?

I did like the way the author handled time travel. I thought it was cool to have a veil and a bridge to another time. I also liked the fact that Emerson investigated the various time period clothing so she could identify ripples when they came at her. And the cover was nice.

So, I probably wouldn't have read this book had my friend not asked me to, and I probably won't read the sequel, but I can't say I hated it. I'll just say I liked it -- 3 stars.

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