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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Atherton #1: The House of Power

Atherton #1: The House of Power
by Patrick Carman

I have never read anything by Patrick Carman before. And to be honest I don’t know if I would have picked up this series on my own – mainly due to my preference for female main characters. I mean, what do I, personally, have in common with an eleven-year old boy, right? But when I was contacted to review the third and final book in this series, well, I have to say the entire plot intrigued me (even if I can never, ever spell intrigued right and have to let spell-check fix it for me!). I was lucky enough to receive the entire series to review and after having read the first book, I am hooked.

I don’t even want to write this review right now, I want to read book 2! But there was so much going on in The House of Power that if I don’t write stuff down now I might forget. Hmm, maybe I should keep a notepad next to me when I read to write down things that pop into my head. Like a manual-twitter thing. Of course that might make reading into, you know, work and then I won’t want to do it as much.

Edgar lives on Tabletop. Above him are the Highlands and below him, the Flatlands. Those in Tabletop work in the grove and harvest figs and whatnot and send those figs up to the people in the Highlands. No one knows much about the Flatlands. The people in the Highlands aren’t very nice, the people in Tabletop are ruled by the miserable and mean Mr. Ratikan who apparently works for those in the Highlands.

But something is starting to change. The ground has been shaking and people are getting concerned about what is happening. Edgar, the only one who has the skill to climb the cliffs from one part to another has been trying to figure out what’s going on with the world that he thought he knew. With new-found friends (Isabel in Tabletop and Samuel in Highlands) Edgar has to try and save his home and all the people in it.

When you read this book (there are pictures! Woohoo!) you notice that Atherton seems to be one big social experiment. What happens when you have people with everything separated from those who know nothing but work and whose fruits of labour get sent up to those who have everything? What happens when suddenly, the two worlds melt into one and those who have-not are suddenly able to get into the place of those who have? How far will the Haves go to keep away the Have-Nots?

The more I read this book the more I got into what was going on and how people were thinking and feeling. Meanwhile, good ol’ Edgar is sneaking around and trying to figure out how to make things better. How to save Atherton from its impending doom.

I truly liked Edgar. I was happy that the children in this book were written as just that – children. Not once did it sound like two 20-year olds having a chat about superficial things. The kids were innocent and resourceful. Isabel (who is 9?) was a nice combination of bratty and sweet. She obviously looks up to Edgar and wants to know what he’s doing at all times and threatens to tell the grownups what he’s up to if she can’t come along. She ends up being a huge help to the plans that unfold. No one notices a small child who can hide easily. Samuel waffles between knowing what he should do (report that someone from Tabletop is sneaking around the Highlands) and wanting to help out Edgar and finally have a friend.

I am longing to find out what else is about to happen to Atherton, so I am going to stop writing now and start reading the second book!

Atherton trilogy

  1. The House of Power
  2. Rivers of Fire
  3. The Dark Planet

Sweep Book 9

Sweep 9: Strife
by Cate Tiernan

Morgan has been so involved in the world of magick that her parents are furious with her for neglecting school. And now the members of her coven are being persecuted. Morgan is falling to pieces. How can she find the strength she so desperately needs?

Crud, it’s been so long since I finished this one I can’t remember what happens! I read the entire series the first 2 days of July and then forgot to post my review of the 9th book. Bad, me!

I know there were some pretty big revelations in book 7 and I of course, missed the fall-out from that because I don’t have book 8 (argh!) and of course we’re still dealing with the revelations here in book 9.

And of  course this has just become a review of Suck. Just take it from me that this series is highly addictive and very enjoyable. The books are short (150 pages at most) and they are quick to read. I wish I had known about them when they first came out, but alas. I am happy to have discovered them now. However do you think my bookstores have any of these in stock? Heck no. So I shall continue to look for them until I have collected them all. (Cate Tiernan, I CHOOSE YOU!)

Sweep Series books

  1. Book of Shadows
  2. The Coven
  3. Blood Witch
  4. Dark Magick
  5. Awakening
  6. Spellbound
  7. The Calling
  8. Changeling
  9. Strife
  10. Seeker
  11. Origins
  12. Eclipse
  13. Reckoning
  14. Full Circle
  15. Night’s Child (Moira’s Story) Sweep Super Edition

Lovestruck Summer

Lovestruck Summer
by Melissa Walker

Can this woman do no wrong? Melissa Walker writes the most amazing books. In my opinion she also writes the most likable characters I have ever read. But I will tell you a secret, one that I am ashamed to admit… though I am deeply in love with Melissa’s Violet series, I didn’t think I would pick this book up at all. The cover art makes it look like some froofy romance novel and I didn’t think the plot would interest me. I know! I am horrible! And I should just realize that she writes amazingly well.

And if I didn’t believe it before, I do now. I will pick up any book by this author any time (ok, unless it’s like erotica or historical fiction, because, EW! to both of those).

And, secret number B… I didn’t think I would like this book at all when I started it. Sort of like the main character, Quinn, I had this idea in my head of how the book would be and that I automatically wouldn’t like it – just like she had preconceived ideas of her sorority cousin Penny and fratboy Russ. And I started reading and thought.. well, maybe.

And then I kept reading and thought, wow! I have to keep reading!

The thing is, I didn’t particularly like Quinn. I thought she was a little self-important, judgemental and rather arrogant. But even with not liking the main character, I really enjoyed this book and LOVED all the other characters! I especially loved Penny. I thought all the other characters had, well, character! And I thought Quinn needed a good smack upside her head.

I am fairly sure this is where the author was going with this, because the whole point of the book is how Quinn grows as a person and learns some important life lessons about *cough* judging a book by its cover *cough*. (Which I might have totally done with this here book…*innocent look*).

I also didn’t want to read this book because I don’t normally like “real life” type YA books. I don’t like to get emotional when I read. Give me a good fantasy story or serial killer novel any day! And although I loved the stories about Violet and her super model life, there was something different with those. What? I don’t know, maybe because it just sounded fictional (and yet the books felt very real while reading them!). I can’t quite explain it. I don’t care about love stories. I am not that kind of romantic.

But I loved Lovestruck Summer. I was smiling from ear to ear when I finished this book, that isn’t a lie. I felt happy, good, content! When I finished this book it was like all the stress of the day had just vaporized from my body and I curled up in bed, smiling and fell fast asleep.

Heck, I even had Can’t Help Falling in Love in my head when I woke up the next morning and I swear to you all that I have been humming it for the last two days!

Go! Buy this book! Read this book! You’ll not be sorry.

Lament – (or, wow, why did this take me 2 months to finish??)

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception
by Maggie Stiefvater

By no means let my two month long read of this book make you think that I did not enjoy it. That isn’t the case at all. In fact I really, truly liked this debut novel from Maggie Stiefvater (even if I can never get the i and e in her name in the correct order the first time!). I kept it in the bathroom, and no, that’s not TMI or anything, I just kept it there next to the bathtub for when I had to soak my poor bones/joints or in case I had one of my many middle-of-the-night-violently-ill moments.

Why this book took me so long is because I couldn’t read it for long periods of time. I can’t explain it any better than I would suddenly feel like I couldn’t breathe. Almost as if there was this weight pushing down on my chest and squishing my lungs. I don’t know if it was the cover (which, I have to be honest, creeps me out a ton) or just the depth of the magic in the book and the, I don’t know, anxiety that SHOULD be there, but wasn’t.

This wasn’t a “boy this book is awful” sort of pressure. I think it was, hmm, fear. Fear that Dee SHOULD have been feeling but wasn’t. I think I was feeling it all for her. I am helpful that way. Displaced fear and nerves? Maybe that’s it? I mean I was reading this other book (which shall remain nameless) and it was so bad that it was giving me nightmares. The book wasn’t even scary! I just felt all kinds of uncomfortable while reading it because it tried so hard to be witty and hip and it was failing miserably. And I had to stop reading it and HIDE IT under a shelf because I was having wicked night terrors about it, scratch that, not about the story, but about the BOOK itself and how badly it was messing up my brain.

But I digress… my suffocation wasn’t because of suck. It was because the book was too good at making me feel like I should be panicking about the situation.

I mean, someone had to! The fact that Deirdre was just accepting everything like it was normal even when some strange guy she’s never met before shows up in the bathroom (!!) and hold her hair while she pukes? GAH! Warning bells all over the place for me! WARNING BELLS! And her best friend James is all cool with the seeing faeries thing and that all this is happening? Man! I think these two got into the same stash of Valium that the people in The Lost Sister had.

Where are peoples’ survival instinct? Street smarts?? Good lord!

These faeries scared me. Stiefvater done good with the homicidal faeries. They creeped me out big time. Even Una, who was sort of Drusilla-like (from Buffy) was creepy. I just knew she had danger wafting off of her. Like if she got too close she’d eat you up (Woah, here she comes! Watch out!).

Maybe it was an omen when in the header photo above (if you’re reading this in the summer) that the only book to have been backwards was Lament? Maybe it knew it would freak me out and was hiding from me until the right moment.

Either way, the more I got into this book the more I liked it and the more I had to put it down. I know that sounds hokey, I seriously know that, but it’s true.

I’m totally curious how long it’ll take me to read Ballad now. Heh.

RELEASE DAY! : The Lost Sister

The Lost Sister
by Megan Kelley Hall

I spent the weekend reading this book because I was so excited to get it in the mail last Thursday. Everything else I was currently reading was tossed aside (my apologies to Maggie Stiefvater as I only have about 70 pages left of Lament!) as I snuggled up with The Lost Sister. I really wish I could have re-read Sisters of Misery so I could refresh my memory of what exactly happened in the end, but sadly, my copy is still visiting Sassymonkey and neither of us have been visiting since last October when I lent it to her.

Thankfully, there’s a prologue where events were recounted and once I got a few pages into the book it all came back to me.  At the end of Sisters you’re left wondering what happened to Cordelia, the sister of Maddie Crane after she goes missing on Halloween night. As Maddie attempts to find out what happened to her sister she’s threatened.

Now, Maddie has transferred to a boarding school in Maine, leaving her small-town Massachusetts home behind. She’s not given up the quest to find Cordelia, though she’s still thwarted at every turn. Now it also seems that everyone once connected to the Sisters of Misery in some way are received Tarot cards in the mail. When Maddie returns home for Winter break to help take care of her mother who has cancer, she’s drawn back into the mystery of Cordelia.

And I have been trying to think of what to say about this book. I liked it, though not as much as the first, but I found the second half of the book… I dunno, rushed or something. Sisters was so full of suspense and very creepy at times and there was this whole mystery surrounding Cordelia’s disappearance and in this book, well, it’s sort of like no one gets phased about anything! I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s just something bothering me about everyone’s reaction to one BIG thing that just doesn’t jibe. You’d think after all this terror and mystery in the first book that people would, you know, have a reaction, but they don’t. Things are just accepted and then they move on.

I would have liked a little more suspense in this novel. Part of what I loved about Sisters of Misery was the suspense. The Sisters aren’t even really in this book, it’s more about Maddie’s short visit and some other stuff that happens (at least there are murders! I love murders! — In books, that is!!).

I found that the book started in one tone and one path and then flips both tone and path half-way through. I like that everything was resolved, but at the same time I was yelling “What? Is everyone in this town on Valium? Why is everyone so bloody calm about everything!? You thought this person was dead and when you see the person again you’re like, ‘Oh, hey, how’s it going?’ Ahhhh!”

I am  not saying at all that I didn’t like this book, because I did. I just felt like it wasn’t going to keep me awake at night, like the first one did. (It did help that I was reading this through 3 huge thunderstorms and I am terrified of thunderstorms!)

** Upon rereading this review in my blog feeds (yes, I follow my own blogs to make sure they are updating ok!) I realize it sounds a lot more negative than I ever meant it to! I focused too much on what I didn’t like in the book and not enough on what I loved, like the writing and the fact that the author writes a GREAT mystery! There is SO much going on in the book that though I had trouble keeping up with it, it takes a fantastic creative brain to even think of every little nuance and clue/hint and then tying it all together! I really like Maddie, and I HATE her mother (forgot about how much I wanted to smack Abigail in the first book. GAH!) and I loved the relationship that Maddie and Cordelia had. I love Reed and Finn is such an interesting character – Megan needs to write a story just about him! I was surprised by the revelations at the end of the book. The Whodunnit was not what I expected at all – and that happened twice! It’s rare that an author can write a book that I will not be able to figure out of the ending to! So take my word-of-mouth  : this book is worth picking up (but read Sisters of Misery first!!). It is so worth it!! **

And lastly, I would like to thank Megan Kelley Hall for not only writing great books, but for also being an author who cares. Last summer when I posted about my woes in trying to buy a copy of Sisters of Misery in Canada, she was kind enough to help me out. She was also kind enough to put me on a review list for this new one, which I was about to pre-order. Sadly due to some, er, “technical difficulties” we’ll say, she ended up having to send me a copy herself yet again. I am sure I am not her only Canadian fan, but I want to let her know how much I appreciate what she’s done and I am very happy to have gotten to know Megan over the last year.