Friday, February 19, 2010 Review

There are tons of websites out there that let you sell your used books. But it can be a tedious process trying to figure out which one will give you the best prices. Instead of going from site to site, you can simply enter the ISBN number on and it will search all of them for you. I've tried this site and checked the results on the individual sites and all the results were accurate.

The results also tell what methods that site will use to pay you and customer ratings. They even have a new mobile app!

I found BookScouter to be a highly useful tool and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Untamed by P.C Cast + Kristin Cast

Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you.

Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an undisputed expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a tight-knit group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. And the worst part is, she knows it’s her own fault. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead, unMarked, and unable to stop bickering with each other. So who can blame her for befriending the House of Night’s newest transfer student, the majorly hot Olympic archer, James Stark? 

Meanwhile, Neferet has declared a war on humans after it appears that the People of the Faith have murdered two vampyres. But Aphrodite’s latest visions show a world completely different from the High Priestess’s promises, a world full of violence, hatred, and darkness, all because of Zoey’s death—and the only way it seems she can prevent it from happening is to make things right with her friends. Zoey knows in her heart that fighting with humans is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.

I picked up Untamed because I enjoyed the first books in the House of Night series. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, though. It turned out to be an enjoyable read but not my favorite one of the series.

The thing that was most unsatisfactory to me was that Zoey has so many love interests. Is it really necessary for her to have three boyfriends at the same time? I felt like this cluttered up the story. I think one guy would've been enough or even two at the most. But three? Overkill. This made the story less realistic and made Zoey less likable. Zoey herself keeps having negative thoughts about her "ho-ish" behavior yet continues to act in a way that she feels isn't right.

Stevie Rae and her new fledglings were intriguing to me. They seemed like more than just what you saw on the surface and made me want to know more about them. I hope that how their existence is possible will be addressed in forthcoming books in the series.

Untamed is chock full of interesting characters. Each has their own agenda to work towards, most often causing conflicts that aren't always nonviolent.

Zoey seems self-conscious and indecisive but she always rises up as the heroine in the end.

Overall, Untamed was a good read. It is necessary to read the previous books in the series before this one, though. If not, you will be very confused. I highly recommend this series.

4 out 5 stars

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special. 

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity. 
The beginning of this book didn't impress me but Verday's writing style grew on me. It was slow to start but I quickly grew more interested in the story.

A pretty good summary of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow is worked into the story but I thought it helped me understand everything a little better after I'd read the actual legend. However, this isn't necessary to understand and get into the novel. I was just more interested afterward because I could further appreciate her new take on the old story.

Abbey was a very real, intriguing character. You get to know her maybe more than is strictly necessary. I could relate to her sense of humor. I would've liked to get to know Caspian just a little better. I felt that it was hard to care about him when you know so little about him. There are lots of flashbacks to Abbey's past with Kristen, allowing the reader to care about what happened to her friend and want to find out more information about it.

The action really picks up in the last four chapters or so. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the reader wanting more.

I very much enjoyed The Hollow and plan to pick up the rest of the books in the trilogy as they are released. I do recommend it!

4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand

Veronica Severance feels cut off from the world. Forced to move from the city to rural Oregon with her parents, she is haunted by loneliness and by the chilling sounds of the Santiam, the river that runs through her backyard.

Through the fog of isolation, Ronnie finds herself becoming close with Karen, a young girl who she babysits. But when she discovers Karen's body on the banks of the Santiam, the victim of a supposed accident, Ronnie feels compelled to uncover the truth.

As she becomes increasingly obsessed with solving Karen's death, Ronnie is led deeper and deeper into the woods surrounding the river and to the dark secret hidden within its midst.
The River is a darkly atmospheric story of murder, isolation, obsession and dark secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. 
I was not that impressed by The River. It had mystery and unexpected elements but I felt it was also missing something important.

My biggest problem was that I couldn't seem to get attached to the characters. There were quite a few secondary characters thrown into the story that didn't bring much to the story. I think I would've been able to focus better if they were simply left out. Personally, I also had trouble relating to Ronnie. I realize that others might not have this problem so don't count The River out based on that.

I did, however, enjoy Beaufrand's writing style. I was totally thrown off by the ending. I felt like it came out of nowhere and wasn't even hinted at previously. Depending on your reading taste, this may or may not be appealing to you.

Overall, The River was an okay read. I can't see myself rereading this in the future, though. If this sounds like something you might be interested in reading, I recommend looking into getting it from the library before buying it.

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

Max and the Flock are flying high over Africa, but this time they're not alone. A sky full of cargo planes accompanies the team as they bring much-needed aid to the continent's poverty stricken regions. Among the volunteers is the mission's benefactor—the mysterious billionaire, Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen. Max is intrigued by his generosity, but there's also something about him—and his intense scrutiny of the Flock—that makes her nervous.

But Dr. Hans isn't the only puzzling thing about their trip. The Flock also receives a cryptic message from a young girl, who tells them, "The sky will fall." Max and the Flock are ready to return home, still unable to make sense of her statement. But the surprises don't end with their departure, and something unbelievably momentous shakes up the Flock—pushing Max and Fang closer than ever. Will the team be able to stick together through the chaos? 

I've read the whole Maximum Ride series up to this point and I have to say that I'm so happy I did. It has become one of my favorite series ever. However, Fang was probably my favorite installment.

Fang is filled with action and crazy high-adrenaline situations just as much as all the other books in the series were. By that I mean that there was A LOT of it. But this one had one thing that the others were lacking: romance. In the previous five books, there are clearly more then brotherly/sisterly feelings between Max and Fang but were hardly ever acted upon. But finally, they realize that they're in love and they don't have to fight it. I, for one, was so happy that this finally happened. I felt like it was about time if not somewhat overdue.

However, Fang and Max's new relationship causes mutinous feelings for the rest of the flock. The results are surprising and make for a fast-paced, mysterious plot.

I have to admit that I am getting very attached to these characters. They feel real in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of way. Seeing a new side of Max and Fang made them deeper and more likable to me.

Overall, Fang was a quick, fast-paced read that I devoured. I'm a huge fan of this series and will continue to pick up future books. I do recommend it!

5 out of 5 stars