Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

Title: Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely #5)
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 02/22/2011
ISBN: 0061659258

I've been eagerly awaiting the end to this series for quite some time now & when my bookstore got its copies in, I was one of the first to grab a copy to read. I have to admit that my expectations for this were extremely high & I'll admit that it didn't quite fulfill all of them. It did, however, keep me entertained & happy enough to want to recommend it to people.

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

This book pretty much dives into the action immediately, so if you haven't read any of the previous books in the series or have skipped any, you'll be completely left out. This book kind of expects that you've read the previous books- especially Radiant Shadows- in order to see how some things in this book are done. (No spoilers, but after finishing this I realize why RS was the way it was.)

I'll admit that a few of the actions in this book were a little anti-climactic to me (probably because I've been anticipating them so much), but they were still pretty cool. We get a portion of this book from Keenan's POV, which I was surprised to find that I rather liked. He's been such a royal PITA for most of the series & it was surprising to see that part of his actions towards Ash was due to her waffling over him & Seth. (Even if only waffling very slightly.)

The ending was pretty cool as well. No spoilers over what happens, but it was pretty well done. The Irial/Niall dynamics were the best part of the book & I have to admit that I could have had an entire book just about the two of them & been happy about it. There's a definite ending to all of this, but Marr left enough open to where she could return to this later on if she so chose.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I'm not going to see or read 'I am Number Four'

I normally embrace new authors, since they can bring us so many great new ideas & books. This however, is one book that I can't stand behind. Why? Not because of the book's content or because it's popular, but because of the story BEHIND the book.

This book was just one of many that was written in James Frey's author sweatshop Full Fathom Five. If you're not familiar with the scandal behind this company, it's time that you informed yourself. The book might have been sold to a different publisher, but unless Jobie Hughes (the person who co-authored with Frey & probably the one who did the lion's share of the work) got Frey to pen a new contract, he's probably stuck under the horribly unfair rules of the FFF contract.

Here's why I'm not going to read or watch this movie unless I can do so without actually paying for it:

1) The author only gets $250 for his hard work as well as 40% of a number of book sales that he can't really prove. This means that he might only get 10-15% because there's probably no way he can really verify it.

2) Frey has made him sign away all rights to the books, the characters, & the plot. This was part of the original contract of FFF, so these authors are signing away their rights on books before they're even sold, which means that if the book becomes popular (like Four has) & gets optioned for a movie or merchandising rights, they get none of that money. Zip. Who gets all of this money? Frey does.

3) They can be replaced at any time. So if the author starts squawking & demanding more of the money that they have earned & Frey doesn't want to give it to them, Frey can replace them at any point in time. The author can do nothing about this.

4) James Frey was under no obligation to even name Jobie Hughes as the author. Luckily it's known that Hughes is the author at this point, but if Frey had wanted to state that he was the sole author or leave the book under a pseudonym, he could have done so under the stipulations of the contract.

There's more, but even if it comes out that Hughes managed to get out of his ludicrous FFF contract, (and this is a FFF book) I still find it really hard to support a book that has anything to do with James Frey, especially since there are so many other authors in his literary sweatshop that ARE held to this sort of contract. James Frey is not someone I want to support with my hard earned dollars.


Luckily it seems that Hughes did manage to get a new contract, although he had to sue James Frey in order to do so. Also, HarperCollins was the first group to publicly acknowledge that Hughes was the true author of the book. (Knew there's a reason I liked HC so much!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Countdown to Darkest Mercy!

If you're like me, you're eagerly counting down the days until the last book in the Wicked Lovely series comes out- Darkest Mercy! I'm literally counting down the days & you can too with this wonderful widget I found when surfing the net for a calculator to do just this:

I can't wait for the book to come out! Eleven more days! (As of this posting)

Book Review: Nickel Plated by Aric Davis

Title: Nickel Plated
Author: Aric Davis
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Release Date: 03/22/2011
ISBN: 1935597329
Buy it here!

I have to admit that for reasons of my own, I’ve really been looking forward to reading this book. The premise was interesting & I have to admit that the excerpt was pretty enticing. Nickel is an Artemis Fowl type character as far as his intelligence & street savvy go. (Of course there are no supernatural creatures in this book & Nickel isn’t rich like Fowl is.)

Nickel might be a kid, but he isn’t innocent. That was taken away from him thanks to a set of horribly abusive foster parents that he only just managed to get away from. Ever since then he’s lived on his own, living by the lessons his dad taught him just before he was gone. Nickel makes his living selling weed, blackmailing perverts, & doing a little investigative work. He never charges the kids, especially when they’re someone like Arrow- a beautiful girl who is looking desperately for her missing little sister. She doesn’t know if he sister ran away or if she was abducted, all Arrow knows is that if she wants her sister found then Nickel is the best guy for the job. And Nickel is very, very good at what he does, which is a good thing because every minute that goes by makes it that much harder for a missing kid to be found.

I really enjoyed reading this. It might have had some pretty adult subject matter but it proved to be a nice easy read that I was able to finish after only a day. It was fun reading about Nickel’s abilities, although I will admit at times I kind of felt like he seemed to be just a little too good at these things for how young he was. Davis does explain Nickel’s prowess later on in the book but I just would have liked to see a little more description about his learning process when it came to his skills. This wasn’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, however.

Overall this really was a fun read & this could easily turn into a series if the author really wanted to pursue that route. As far as objectionable material goes, the book is surprisingly clean. Yes there is mention of pedophilia but there are no actual acts or descriptions of it in the book (thank goodness). There are a few action scenes, but no actual unwarranted violence. I would suggest, however, that parents of especially young kids read this book before handing it off to their children.

(ARC provided by Amazon Vine)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Title: Phantom Evil
Author: Heather Graham
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: 03/29/2011

I'll admit that Graham's work has kind of suffered over the last few years, with some of her books not even holding a candle to how wonderful the earlier books were. (I don't know of many people who liked Dust to Dust, a title that has sat around on my bookstore shelves gathering well, dust.) She's released some stuff that's been pretty decent, but again- not stuff that's along the quality lines of her earlier releases. I almost passed this book up until I realized that it was an Adam Harrison book. Even though he's almost always a non-major character in the books, the ones that feature him are almost always great reads. This one generally followed that rule.

A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent of their own.

Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can’t tell if Adam’s demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he’s well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.

To counterbalance Jackson’s careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam’s call to New Orleans is strong.

The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives...and their immortal souls.

I was sucked into this book incredibly quickly & I feel that most readers will be as well. I was also quite taken with both the official pairing in this book as well as the potential pairings for future books as well. (I doubt this book will be the last we've seen of this team.) The plot moves along very quickly & I was glad to see that the couple in this book doesn't play a huge amount of love games.

The only downfall to this book is that while the premise is wonderful & the interaction between our two leads has tons of chemistry, the "whodunnit" of the book just seemed a little well, farfetched & overly complicated. There's several different things going on at once & the ending just seemed a little rushed, as if Graham had intended for something more & just ran out of room. I couldn't help but feel like it was just a teensy bit anti-climactic.

Overall though, this was an incredibly fun read & it's very much a turn in the right direction for Graham. It's not a complete return to her earlier greatness but it's in the same vein- enough so that longtime fans will enjoy this book & new readers will find themselves wanting to read more of her work.

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January giveaway winner!

Hi all! It's time to choose a winner! Thanks to the magic that is random.org, I've chosen a winner!

And the winner is... (drumroll)

Shannon at BooksDevoured!

Thanks to everyone who entered- I really wish I had more copies to give to everyone!

Book Review: Night and Chaos by Naomi Clark

Title: Night and Chaos (The Deva Chronicles #1)
Author: Naomi Clark
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (self published)
Release Date: 01/01/2011
Buy it here: Amazon Kindle

If I could afford to buy up tons of copies of this book just so I could put it all in your hot little hands, I would. That's how cool this novella was. After reading another of Clark's works (Afterlife) I was immediately taken with her storytelling abilities, but after reading this I can't help but wonder why we aren't seeing her name plastered all over the shelves at your local Barnes & Nobles along with the heavyweights of the UF genre.

Ryan McCarthy fled Applied Paranormal Theory and Tactics, her father, and her lover six years ago, desperate to build life away from the weird science and supernatural experiments of her childhood. But everything she hoped to escape comes back with a vengeance when she’s kidnapped and tortured by a possessed APTT employee out for revenge on the man responsible for his possession: Ryan’s father.

Now, reunited with the lover she abandoned, Ryan is forced back into a world of danger and darkness she no longer understands, pursued by enemies with powers she can’t fathom. But Ryan’s not entirely powerless herself. She’ll have to use every trick she knows – as well as the mystic gift she hates – to stay ahead of those enemies. And that will be easier said than done.

This book might be short, but it's so well written that you won't notice the length until the book's end & you find yourself crying out for more. I honestly can't say what I liked more- the story or the characters. I loved Ryan for her kick butt attitude (even when she was rather helpless to defend herself) & I also loved the rich world that Clark has created. Then there's the powers- I loved how the shapeshifting in this universe didn't follow all of the tried & true rules that other books frequently use. It makes it that much easier for this universe to stand on its own & be taken seriously.

This book was so cool that Clark makes it all look so effortless & easy. This is as good as it gets & trust me, it doesn't get any better than this. I should know- I read enough to where some have said I should have gone blind years ago. If you don't read this book then you are seriously missing out on some real talent here.

So far this is only available in ebook format for the kindle, but this is worth downloading the Kindle PC option to your desktop. (Plus at only $3 it's far cheaper than some of the other UF options out there...)

(Reader's copy provided by author)