Friday, October 27, 2006

#60 The Coven (Sweep #2) by Cate Tiernan

My Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

Like the first book (Book of Shadows), this was fairly predictable with a simple plot. I had already figured out much of what was going to happen, with regards to Morgan's parentage and discovering her true powers. But like in book 1, the author introduced a couple of new dilemmas, one at the very end, which are left open for the sequel.

I can't say that I don't like these books, only that in some respects they seem even more simple than some of the other Young Adult books I've read, i.e. Harry Potter, Cirque du Freak. Perhaps it's just the characters attitudes towards one another... I'm not sure, but they seem so childish. Like in the previous book, I had a bit of a problem with the attitudes of certain characters, though it wasn't as extreme. Morgan's parents eventually came up with a fairly satisfactory explanation as to why they kept Morgan's adoption secret from her all this time. (I almost wanted to mark the previous comment as a spoiler, but it actually implies this right on the back cover blurb so I didn't think it's supposed to be a secret going in... I figured it was pretty obvious anyway by the end of book 1 if not earlier.)

That said, since these books can be read in a single day, two max, I don't feel they were a waste of time because they did entertain, and the ending did leave me interested as to what'll happen next.
***** SPOILER ALERT (highlight below to read) *****
Such as what kind of revenge do Bree and Raven have planned for Morgan? And why does Cal's mom have the Morgan's mom's Book of Shadows?
***** SPOILER ALERT (highlight above to read) *****

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#59 Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I was glad I finally found time to read the first book of this series. The concept of wardens who control the four elements—earth, air (wind), fire, water (rain)—and thus impact everything from the weather to tree and plant growth was an interesting concept. And the addition of the Djinn, sort of like a genie, adds an additional element of magic to the story.

Though the story is primarily action-based and fantasy, there's a bit of romance in the side story going on too, though it's definitely secondary to the main story, which I appreciate since I can only take my romance with a "bite" or a "murder" or some other danger. :) I thought it started off slow, but the action quickly picked up and drew me in. I'm now looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

#58 Book of Shadows (Sweep #1) by Cate Tiernan

My Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

I'm not quite sure how I felt about this book. On the one hand, there wasn't much to the story itself: just a couple of teens, their interest in Wicca, and the dynamics of best friends, boyfriends, etc. which kinda made me yawn. I can see how the specifics of being in circle might be fascinating to teenagers just beginning to explore the subject, or others who aren't familiar with the religion, but having been there many times myself, it's nothing new to me and thus I was waiting for something extra to happen there.

The way the author described the feelings and sensations involved in raising energy were fairly accurate though, and she describes the sensations quite well... I don't know that I could really ever put into words what it feels like, but she did a good job with it. And then, as Candy already pointed out, there was the way the author kept referring to Wicca as "the ancient religion" which predates Christianity and Judaism, and this is inaccurate. It's actually just a reincarnation of the original, ancient pagan religion; Wicca itself didn't come into existence until the 1950s or so, and yes it's based on the ancient Pagan religion, but Wicca itself is not ancient. I hate when authors spew this kind of misinformation!

But in today's world, the term Wicca seems to be more widely known. So when people ask me about my own religion, they often know Wicca, but not Pagan, so I'm just like, yeah whatever... for all intents and purposes, you can consider it the same thing since you're not dealing in specifics. Hospitals and other forms you fill out now have an option for Wiccan, while not one for Pagan, so I usually just choose that because like I said, it's sort of become a more well-known way of referring to many forms of Paganism and nature worship as they're practiced today.

Moving on, I was aggravated with many of the characters. For starters, I can't stand people who are so meek and afraid that they can't even tell their supposed best friend their true feelings, and friends who are so superficial and shallow that they have no concept of the true value of friendship. I'm glad Morgan finally developed a backbone and stood up to Bree in the end though.

And Morgan's mother hit on one of my biggest pet peeves of all: narrow-minded people! Morgan's mom is so closed-minded as to not even allow her child to explore alternate religions, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that all Pagan religions are a form of devil worship! Christian brainwashing at it's finest! I mean, I've come to realize that there are still a few people in the world like this, maybe in the bible belt areas and such, but I can't help that it pisses me off to no end. It almost made me want to throw the book aside and not finish it because I was getting so angry!

Fortunately it's a short book, and I'm often determined to finish what I start. Plus I wanted to see if Morgan finally developed a backbone and stood up to the people holding her back, both her parents and Bree, as well as her own fears and going after what she wants. I'd hate to walk away thinking she's a wishy washy wimp, and then have her make a 360 and come into her own.

I'm also betting she's adopted or something and maybe her family's background makes her a true blood witch, which I'm relating to what we actually call a hereditary witch. But since that wasn't revealed in book one, and Candy says this is like a cliffhanger ending, I'm hoping that subject is resolved in the second book. So I will read the second book, hoping that with the establishment of the coven, and Morgan's standing up to Bree, some additional action will happen, and the focus won't be on so much of the stuff that pisses me off.

In summation, though this book made me quite angry in many respects, it redeemed itself somewhat in the beautiful descriptions of the sensations involved in raising energy in circle, and thus I'll give it a 5, the half way mark. :)

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

#57 Past Redemption: The Darkwing Chronicles, Book Two by Savannah Russe

My Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

This was another great read which I liked just as much, if not more than, Beyond the Pale, the first in the series.

Team Darkwing is starting to become a tightly-knit and efficient group that works well together. And their latest assignment is to track down the individuals responsible for the emergence of the latest party drug called susto, which is causing deaths up and down the club scene. This is not the only thing going on though. There's also Darius, Daphne's ex whom she converted at the end of the last book in order to save his life. But he's quite resentful about it, previously being a vampire hunter and all, and now she's put through the ringer on the relationship front as well. The dynamics between Daphne and Darius only add to the rest of the story, and the mission Team Darkwing is sent out to solve.

I'm anxiously looking forward to book 3 of The Darkwing Chronicles. Too bad it's not coming out until February 2007.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information.

Monday, October 16, 2006

#56 Velocity by Dean Koontz

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This was another one of Koontz's fast-paced, roller coaster rides. I loved how the chapters were short, some only 3 pages in length, which somehow that added to the whole speed/action thing. And based on the title, this is what he'd set out to accomplish and he did so with applomb.

Throughout the story, you're left wondering right up until the very end, who's responsible for all the murders going on around Billy, and the notes they're leaving him that bring him into the fold. (I won't go into a synopsis here as I included it in this book's journal entry.) And just when you think you've got it figured out, like Billy, you're thrown a curve ball, just like on a roller coaster. hehe

Saturday, October 07, 2006

#55 The Hunted: A Vampire Huntress Legend by L. A. Banks

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I have to say I definitely liked this better than the first two in this series. And after reading the teaser for The Bitten at the end, I'm anxiously looking forward to that one now too.

Granted like the first two, the writing style got to me at times. Were it not for the fact that the characters tend to say a lot of useless and unimportant stuff, I might've gotten lost in the dialogue sometimes, partially because of the dialect they use... is it called hip hop or black, I'm not sure... and also because Damali sometimes seems to go on and on in her head about nothing at all. Fortunately, any time this happened, it wasn't detrimental to understanding what was going on.

In this book, Carlos is able to fight his ever-strengthening vampire nature because of his love for Damali, and has become a valuable resource to the Guardian team. I'm glad to see his place is secured in future books.