Jun 29, 2011

Bookish Thoughts | E-readers?

I know there are hundreds of you out there with E-readers and I bet you love them. I am considering finally getting one. I haven't waited this long because I didn't want to get one, but because I didn't have the funds to afford one. Now I am working again, and it'd be nice to treat myself to one.

I do feel a little bad though, because I know once I get an e-reader, I won't buy actual books as much. It's so much cheaper to get an e-book than an actual book, and as much as I adore them, I've spent so much money buying books. I know that there are a lot of different views on e-readers, and how they have changed the world of reading, but I don't think they're negative.

In fact, I think that they have caused more people to read because it is so much easier to carry than carrying several books around. Some of them also have cool features, like Wi-Fi and Apps that can make just having an e-reader more fun.

I'm just curious to hear what you bloggers think of them? Do you like e-readers or not? If not, why?

Jun 27, 2011

Review | Hotel No Tell by Daphne Uviller

Title: Hotel No Tell: A Novel
Series: Zephyr Zuckerman Series
Author: Daphne Uviller
Genre: Fiction - Mystery
Publication: 04.26.2011 by Bantam
Pages: 288
Source: From publisher for review

Summary: The smart and sassy detective Zephyr Zuckerman is now armed and undercover in a Greenwich Village hotel where mysteries—from garbage-grabbing guests to the reservation system—lurk around every corner.

Now working as a junior detective with the New York City Special Investigations Commission, Zephyr’s gone incognito as a concierge to find out who laundered a hundred grand off the hotel books—and why. But the discovery of a prone, flush-faced guest gasping for air in room 502 only hints at the sinister goings-on inside this funky establishment. While the rapid response of the fire department leads to a sweaty date with a smooth-talking, rock-climbing rescue worker, Zephyr finds herself even more hot and bothered by an attempted murder on her watch. Could the smart-mouthed Japanese yenta across the hall know more than she’s telling? How are cryptic phone calls from a mysterious corporation linked to the victim in 502?

Under pressure and overwhelmed, Zephyr soon finds that a concierge cover is no protection in a place where crime, like the city itself, never sleeps
Cover: Simple, but I like it a lot :)

Thoughts: This was one of those books that I sort of hesitated on, almost didn't accept for review and then decided to go for it and cannot regret it. I was unaware that Zephyr Zuckerman was a character in Uviller's previous book Super in the City, so this can easily be called the second in the "series." I was still able to pick it up and enjoy it because there was not enough connection (I think) to the first one to leave me feeling as if I was missing some information.

Zephyr Zuckerman has just gotten a great opportunity to go undercover as a concierge in a hotel where a hundred grand has gone missing and an attempted murder takes place. Not only is she dealing with that, but she just ended her long-term relationship, has a chance at a new love and must help her good friends as they struggle through their troubles. We are thrown in to quite a mystery and when things start to spiral out of control, Zephyr and her adventure only gets better.

Zephyr is definitely a new favorite character. She's a sassy and witty lady that I instantly liked and she had me laughing out loud with her interesting ideas. Her friends are awesome, and even though at times a bit strange, they definitely add a whole lot to the story. There is also other fun characters like her boss Pippa, her ex-boyfriend Gregory, her new guy friend Delta, and her family. I really enjoyed learning about each character and the way they were part of Zephyr's life.

I love mysteries, even though I haven't read too many, and this one kept me pretty interested the entire time. There were a few points in which I wasn't too sure what the heck Zephyr was doing, but her little adventures made the story all that better. I wasn't able to figure out the ending beforehand, and was surprised on how it ended. The ending sort of wrapped up nicely, but still left some questions that might be answered in another Zephyr Zuckerman novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Hotel No Tell. I found it fun and very interesting, full of humour and sometimes some quite touching moments that only made me like it more. Definitely full of some wonderful characters that I want to see more of in future books. I recommend this to everyone who would like a fun, quick mystery with a little romance and friendship thrown in. I can't wait to read the first one, Super in the City, since I've heard only good things about it as well.
Quote: "You do not understand the bad luck I attract. You should leave now before a meteorite crashes through these windows and takes you to your maker."

Jun 23, 2011

Review | Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Specials by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #3
Genre: YA - Dystopian
Publication: May 9, 2006 by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor — frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.

The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.

>Still, it's easy to tune that out — until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

Thoughts: I was pretty excited to finally get to the third installment of the Uglies trilogy, after reading the Uglies and Pretties a while back. Uglies was actually the first book I talked about on the blog and although it was a very short post, I still consider it my very first review. Anyways, it had been a while since I last read of Tally and her dystopian world, so I wasn’t too sure if I would be able to remember a lot of what happened. I was a little hesitant about reading the book altogether, but decided to give it a try.

Tally Youngblood has been through a lot, both in her ugly and pretty days. But now, she is something totally different, something special. Alongside Shay, her old friend from the ugly days, Tally and several other old characters are now known as Cutters, a branch of Specials. Faster, stronger and with an amazing clarity of the world around her, Tally is a fighting machine…but she can still remember her past. Although she only feels shame when she thinks of it, she is determined to get rid of the Smokies and the New Smoke that has been formed. The mission she embarks on though goes wrong and with the help of Zane and a few other familiar Crims, she must complete her new mission in which Tally must decide once and for all what side she is really on.

From the start you are thrown into quite an adventure, with Tally and the other Cutters keeping order at a party and trying to catch a Smokey. Instantly I was captured by the intense way Tally had changed from the bubblehead pretty she was in the last book. She is very different now, and although dangerous and quite mean, she is still Tally on the inside. She is still that unsure and simple girl but now she follows orders from Shay and focuses on getting rid of the Smokies. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked her. Actually, I’m still not sure if I liked her. I have always found her an odd character, and I’m not sure if I have ever connected with her too much, which always sort of bothered me. The other characters like Shay, Zane and Dr. Cable are still part of this last book, and their roles affect the decisions Tally is faced with along the way, so I was able to appreciate them, but still like with Tally, I wasn’t able to connect with them too much.

The book was full of exciting scenes, lots of action and danger, but the good stuff doesn’t really come in until halfway through the book. After that I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoy Westerfeld’s world and I find the Uglies trilogy to be unique and thought provoking. It is definitely one of my favorite premises and I am glad I finally got to the last book. The ending was satisfying, but still left the readers thinking what might’ve happened next.

I definitely recommend Specials to those of you who have read the first two books. It is quite different from the first two and I liked it, but if you have not read Uglies and Pretties, it will be hard to understand what’s really going on. There isn’t an introduction, which I liked, but there are a few scenes in which Tally remembers her past and we are able to remember certain things from the previous books. It was definitely an enjoyable read and I recommend this series to those who enjoy YA and dystopian.

Jun 21, 2011

Review | Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Title: Infinite Days
Series: Vampire Queen #1
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Genre: YA - Paranormal/Fantasy
Publication: 08.03.2010 by St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 310
Source: Library

Summary: Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish. 

Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
Cover: I liked the cover, but the tear looks sort of blue to me and that's sort of weird.

Thoughts: I hadn't read a vampire book in a while and I picked up Infinite Days at the same time I picked up Dead Until Dark. Both books are totally different, and I am not going to try and compare them, I just wanted to mention that I still love vampire books; they have not gotten old for me at all. Anyways, I wasn't too sure what to expect when I picked up Infinite Days, since it's been several months since its release date and I sort of forgot what it was about. It was not what I expected, and I am glad it did not leave me disappointed.

Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire queen for many years (several hundred, more or less) but now, with the help of her lover, she is once again a human girl, only sixteen years old and pretty much alone in the world. Not only must she learn to live in today's society, but she must also be cautious, for her coven will come searching for her when they find she is missing and when they see that she is no longer a vampire queen...well things won't be pretty. She is a great character, and definitely likable. I was able to quickly connect with her and since she is from a different century, it was apparent how difficult it was going to be for her to fit in.

The author does a great job providing the reader with a visual on what Lenah's life was like when she was a vampire, and every once in a while, we get a flashback. I loved that Lenah was such an a great (and heartless) vampire, but instead of making it difficult to like her, it made me more understanding of her struggles as a human. She instantly bonds with Tony, a sweet artist who quickly became one of my favorite characters. The writing is definitely the best part and I was able to enjoy both the story and each character individually. The premise was unique and I was glad to see the way the author connected the past and present, while providing a very interesting story that I couldn't put down.

I must admit though that the romance was probably my least favorite part. I found Lenah's relationship with Justin shallow and sort of flat. For some reason, I found it hard to like Justin at all and never really "fell in love" with him as I hoped I would. I am sure he was a great looking guy and helps Lenah "feel alive" but that didn't cut it for me. I wasn't too enthusiastic about their relationship working out or continuing and hoped for most of the book that she'd end up with...someone else.

This is absolutely a great book to pick up if you haven't read it yet; especially if you have been disappointed with vampire books lately. Infinite Days provides a unique and well written story that YA lovers will really take pleasure in. And it will leave you wanting more. I can't wait to read the next one because the ending left me open-mouthed and full of questions!

Favorite Quote: "It's amazing what you can convince yourself when you want to hide from the truth."

Jun 16, 2011

Review | Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #1
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Adult Fiction - Paranormal
Publication: 05.01.01 by Ace
Pages: 292
Source: Library

Summary: Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.
Cover: I know this isn't the original cover, but I like this one better. It was because I saw this for the series True Blood that I wanted to pick up the books.

Thoughts: I planned on reading this series way sooner, but yet I hadn't. Last year I even joined in on a challenge to read all the books, and I didn't pick up a single one. The only reason I even really considered reading it at all is because I want to watch the show "True Blood." I like to wait to read books first, and then watch the movies/shows based on them. So I have yet to watch a single episode of this show. Anyways, onto the book...

Sookie Stackhouse, narrator and main protagonist, is a...well, interesting character. Not only is she a small town waitress living with her grandmother, but she also has what she calls a "disability." Sookie can read minds and that has become a problem in her relationships and social life. She tends to stay away from men and has to concentrate to keep the voices out of her head. Then she meets Bill, a vampire who plans to move to Bon Temps as a permanent resident and to Sookie's surprise, she can't hear his mind. What a perfect coincidence? From there their strange, but very interesting relationship begins to develop, but when women start turning up dead and the killer seems to be a vampire, they must face several obstacles if they want to stay together.

Sookie is a pretty likable character, and although I found her relationship with Bill a little odd, I found I liked Bill too. He is a quiet and mysterious character that we don't learn too much about, and that intrigued me. There are also plenty more characters to get to know, such as Sookie's family, co-workers, and several vampires I wasn't too fond of. Definitely a great cast characters that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I must admit I didn't think the writing was all too great and there is too much of an introduction feeling throughout the book for my liking, but I thought the plot was good. Sookie runs into plenty of interesting things and people (...erm, vampires) and that kept me turning the pages waiting to see what she would run into next. There's plenty of mystery, suspense, romance, and humor mixed in to make it an enjoyable first novel and I definitely want to read the next one in the series.

I definitely recommend this book, but due to sex scenes, violence and some language, this book is recommended for older teens and adults. Dead Until Dark is a fun, quirky and mysterious book that I really liked and was very different from other vampire books I've read. And I can't wait to read what happens next!

Quote: I snuck a look to see how Eric was taking this, and he was staring at me the same way the Monroe vampires had. Thoughtful. Hungry.

"That's interesting," he said. "I had a psychic once. It was incredible."

"Did the psychic think so?"