February 26, 2009

P.C. and Kristen Cast: Hunted

4.5 out of 5 stars

Hunted is the newest and fifth installment in P.C. Cast's and Kristin Cast's co-written vampyre series called House of Night. The House of Night is a high school for vampyre fledglings, or vampyres in the making.

I was surprised with a signed copy of the advanced reader's edition of Hunted from a very kind friend. I want to say again thank you very much. This book is not due to be released until March 6th so I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. However, I will expect readers of this entry to have already read the previous books in this series. For my entries on those books you may select them from the links below.

Book one: Marked
Book two: Betrayed
Book three: Chosen
Book four: Untamed
Book five: Hunted

My apologies if you click on the last one but you really should know better.

When Untamed left off the House of Night was on the brink of a new time. If you're a Harry Potter fan just imagine Half-Blood Prince. Something bad wasn't coming. Something bad was there and Zoey Redbird and her friends had taken their cats, dog, and scrambled away for cover underground. It's strange to imagine that where the dark Kalona came from is now the sound place. Zoey finds parts of the tunnels a little spooky, too. Time for that later, though. From start to finish events in this book keep mostly everyone on their toes.

In this book you will learn more about and get to know the Red Fledglings. Zoey and other House of Night fledglings cautiously bunk with them while they are without their home and beds at the House of Night. How could they simply stay underground, though? Someone has to stand up against Kalona and the betrayer, Neferet. There would always be the risk that Kalona's Raven Mockers would find them. Then there is also the peace between humans and vampyres that had existed for years. With Kalona free from where he was once trapped underground, no one, not even vampyres, are safe. Who would protect the humans?

P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast keep to their usual writing style with times you may smirk, laugh out loud, or say to yourself, "That Zoey!" This book is another in the House of Night series that is entertaining and a fun read. I look forward to next book with anticipation.

It's my understanding that this series, while previously being published immediately as paperbacks, is taking on hardcover copies. That will be the format for which Hunted will first be released in. My sources say book six is due to be published in October.

February 10, 2009

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

5 out of 5 stars

Should you be one of those people who have not yet read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for some reason that will seem as bizarre to the Harry Potter fan that I am, please do not continue reading any further. I can refer you to an earlier blog entry with my book review but warn that it comes with spoilers.

This was my first time actually rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What a difference!

I was one of those fans who went stir-crazy online discussing exactly what might happen in the final Harry Potter book. One of my constant thoughts had been dread because I read that Rowling wanted to end her series in a way that no one would ever try to pick it up again and publish something from it on their own. I had interpreted this as her killing off Harry.

When it came to reading the final book that would tell the finished story of Harry Potter, I did everything I could think of including petting the cats before beginning to read because of my anxiety. I could say I was sniffly or teary during my reading but that wouldn't be quite true. I openly wept at parts. Every hour or so someone would be there to check on me, bringing me food or asking "Is he dead?" I shook my head and put aside the food I couldn't bring myself to eat. Such confidence I had in Rowling, I am thinking now as I look back on my previous and first reading of this book.

I became teary and even cried at all the right places during my second time around of reading this book last week, but I am glad I let enough time go by that I could really enjoy it when I did decide to reread it. While some much-loved characters may be gone and dead by the end of this series, we can always look back on the series as a whole and see them happy as they once were.

I have as of yet to reread the complete series since the release of book seven and am not planning it during this year since I don't want to reread this book twice in a single year. Perhaps in 2010, though. The Harry Potter books remain my favorite series and I doubt I could tire of them, but I would like to space out the times that I read them to enjoy them better.

February 6, 2009

The Bookpile, Part 2

With my last blog entry I had said I would post the rest of the books tomorrow. That was on Sunday. Tomorrow can so easily turn into the next day and the day after that. For the most part I was caught up in reading. More on that "tomorrow," though.

These are the last of the books that joined my TBR pile last month. I got them all in one stop at Half-Priced Books. I can teasingly say I put the blame to the person I went book shopping with. My intentions had been to buy merely one book for a friend from a bookstore that sells new books where I knew the book would more likely be in stock.

I enjoyed Christopher Moore's books enough that I want to read more of them. While Fluke was not the book I had in mind to read by him next, the day's book shopping buddy wanted to read it so I got it for both of us. Fluke's subtitle is I Know Why the Caged Whale Sings. It's hard for me to imagine the reference to Toni Morrison's book to be missed, but just in case, she has one called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This originally made me wonder if there is a great connection between the two books or if Fluke even makes fun or laughs at the other. All I can say without yet having read it is that it's about marine behavioral biologist studying humpback whales. One day he finds the words "Bite me" carved on one of the poor creature's tails and from there a great question is asked of how it came to be there.

As though I don't have enough vampire books and haven't been reading enough of them lately, La Vida Vampire made it's way to my home. I had never heard of it before coming across it that day. This book is about a two-hundred-plus year old vampire who gives ghost tour guides after being unburied during a Victorian house renovation. She has a lot of problems between being taught about the world so very long ago, that she is blamed for the death of someone from her tour guide, and that someone is looking for her.

I was so excited to find another book by Neil Gaiman. One of my friends I've gone book shopping with had really recommended this one the first time we went book shopping almost a year ago. If anyone has any other book suggestions by this author I would love to hear them. I've previously read Stardust and Coraline by him, both books I loved. Neverwhere is about a man who stops to help an injured girl and ends up being taken to another world, both good and very bad. He seeks to return to London as he knew it.

I have a lot of sisters so when I find books about sisters I sometimes pick them up. I don't usually get them, though I did buy Whistling in the Dark. There are three sisters left alone after their mother is hospitalized and their step-father leaves them. The oldest sister, distracted by her boyfriend, doesn't pay attention to her younger sisters. The next thing you know someone has been molested and someone else murdered. One of the three sisters tries to care for another of them as she worries that the murderer is after her next and wonders who will believe their story.

I've never read anything by Kate DiCamillo and had previously not planned to read any particular books of hers, but The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane seemed like a cute little story. Before I was a cat person and before I had thought I was a dog person, it was rabbits that held my interest. I love the soft, little creatures and have owned two. This book is about a rabbit named Edward who was happy because he was owned by a very nice girl and then one day becomes lost. I wonder if it will be sad and stay away from it for a bit just in case.

I am really confused what the title is for the next book. I think it's a series called Wicked, but that it contains two books inside, Witch and Curse. The pages stop at 361 and begin again to reach 291. There are also two authors but they seem to have written the books together. I basically only bought this two-in-one because I come across it so many times. If I don't like them I can always rip the book in two and put them up on BookMooch. (Kidding!)

San Francisco native and teenager Holly is sent to relatives in Seattle after her parents die in a car accident. She finds things there very strange, though. The sentence that got me to make this purchase most was this: "...Any wish she whispers to her cat seems to come true." A cat person, perhaps. There is something sometimes creepy how one might swear cats actually hear you.

Lastly, after years of silently insisting I would absolutely not read this book, I bought the first Artemis Fowl book. At least after reading it I can actually say if I don't like it or not. Too many people I know have read it for me to not read it and see more of what it's about.

February 1, 2009

Another Book Pile

My last book pile was on January 10th. Like January one year ago, I did far too much book shopping last month. I think it's caused from trying to avoid getting books when I have birthday and Christmas shopping to do. I put off posting another book pile till as late as possible. By then I had enough books for not one but two piles. I'm tired and want to go to bed early so I'm only going to post one of the book piles tonight.

Where they came from:

PaperBackSwap: Sunshine, Coraline, The Duchess
BookMooch: Go Ask Alice, Dead Until Dark, Careers for Bookworms & Other Literary Types
Borders Marketplace: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter, The Thirteenth Tale, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet
Gift: The Giver, My Sweet Audrina
Target: Harry, A History

I've already read The Giver and My Sweet Audrina so they're not actually part of my TBR at all. One of my sisters gave me a huge pile of books she either had multiple copies of or that she no longer wanted. I took these two aside and placed the rest on BookMooch and PaperBackSwap.

I've only read The Giver once about six years ago. The details have become fuzzy so I would like to read it again. It's about a twelve year old boy named Jonas who receives training from a man known as The Giver, someone who is the only one who can see everything for what it is, to my understanding. There's a lot more to it but I don't want to give away what details I can remember.

My Sweet Audrina is the only standalone by a ghost writer I used to read a lot of books by but stopped reading more than five years ago. Audrina lives in a strange world competing with her dead older sister, the first Audrina. Through this book she grows up and many mysteries and secrets are revealed, some most very shocking.

My sister who received perhaps seven books in Charlaine Harris's Sookie series from us for Christmas gobbled the books up and has been excitedly telling me how good the books are. I knew about them before she did, but I only managed to get a copy of a single book last month. Many are already aware of the series and recognize it as being what the television show "Trueblood" is based from. It's a vampire series beginning with Dead Until Dark. My sister and I have never seen the show so neither of us will be able to compare them.

Robin McKinley's Sunshine was a book I kept running into on LibraryThing. It's yet another book about vampires. I would look at the book description, close the tab, and some time later another LTer would mention it causing me to look over it once again. Well, I finally gave in. Someone has already asked me what I think of it because they want to know about it to read themselves. My plan is to try to read this one soon to let them know.

I used to work with someone whose other job was for a publisher. She always came into work with advanced reader copies whose covers I would stare at in hopes of being permitted to read the back cover. She sometimes sat her book down directly in front of me and walked away. I was good and didn't touch the books. If they were face up I would just look at it and wonder what kind of story it was. She would then come back and ask why I didn't flip it over to read the back cover yet. One of those many ARCs she had was Stephenie Meyer's The Host which she teasingly asked me if I would like to touch one afternoon. Another was The Tree Shepherd's Daughter. This book is one with a very interesting book cover about a teen who moves from California to Colorado to live with her dad after her mom dies. It's the first in a series of books with fairies in it.

I like some historical fiction and was curious about The Duchess when I saw previews to the movie. However, I never saw it. I got the book thinking that I may read that and then see the movie later on once it's out on DVD.

As a Harry Potter fan I am eager to read Harry, A History, a book I first heard about on LibraryThing. Many people will recognize its title from a book within J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series called Hogwarts, A History. While that's a book I strongly hope will one day be an actual book muggles can read, Harry, A History in the meantime tells the history of Harry as the series built up an alarmingly impressive amount of fans all over the world. These fans, or many of us rather, got to experience the waiting periods and everything that came with them between each of Rowling's book releases. It's a lucky experience many of us have had that introduced us to new people who we connected and became friends with. Goodness, it's something that introduced me to some of the best people I have ever known and come to love.

I took a book quiz last month that told me I was a slight bit of a book snob when it comes to books that are popular and might fall under mainstream fiction. I don't want to read a book because everyone else is reading it. I want to read it because others who enjoy the same books as me or people that I actually know versus strangers enjoyed it. Since I've heard a convincing amount of good feedbacks from it, I decided to get The Thirteenth Tale.

One of my absolute favorite poets is Anne Bradstreet. I did a presentation on her in a college Women's literature class but would still like to learn more about her. I was happy when I came across a book about her online, Mistress Bradstreet though it took me a while to get it. I have a hard time with some nonfiction books but I have an interest in the time period Bradstreet lived in as well. Perhaps after reading this when family members talk about family history I can tell them a little more about the Puritans then they can tell me.

I apologize for the sloppy and incomplete blog entry. I've been very tired lately and hope to get to sleep soon.