Thursday, September 27, 2012

110:99 Xombies: Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell

Agent X has swept across the world and devastated the human race.  Starting out among the women of childbearing years who would turn blue and suddenly gain super strength, speed, and healing abilities, they then started making it a point to administer the kiss of "salvation" to anyone around them.  Problem is, most people don't see being turned into something akin to a zombie as salvation.

Lulu and her mother have just driven cross-country in an attempt to find Lulu's biological father and have been shut up in a house with little access to news of the outside world when Agent X hit.  On their first foray out to get supplies and information, they are greeted by a strange new world and one that neither of them is prepared for.  Lulu is eventually able to win free and find a man who may or may not be her father but is willing to use his resources to try and save her.  Unfortunately, in this new world, nothing ever goes as planned.

I read this one in order to fulfill an A-Z book title challenge.  It's pretty hard to find books that start with X and a friend recommended it so I figured what the heck.  I'm going to preface this whole review with the fact that while my oldest child is a Zombie-fanatic, I am not.  I pretty much only read zombie anything in an attempt to be able to communicate and have some sort of discourse with him.  As a result, I have read a few phenomenal zombie books (Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant springs immediately to mind) and some that made me want to claw my eyes out and marching across the house to ask him why he would read such poorly written crap.  This one goes in the middle.  It had some fresh new perspectives on the tired cliches but frankly, I never really cared for any of the characters.  The lead was constantly going from whiny and annoying to ultra-capable and then back again.  The rest were basically names thrown in to play the roles needed to move her along.  It's not a bad book but I wasn't gripped enough to be going out of my way to read the rest of the series.

Page count: 336p/31,239p ytd

110:97 The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis

Read this last in 2008 when I decided to read the whole series because I never had.  It was as lovely and enchanting this time as it was last time.  It might have even be a bit better this time because I've had the pleasure to share it with Jon.  I found a lovely curriculum and we are going to go through the entire series together this year.  I'm so looking forward to it.

Page count: 202p/30,326p ytd

110:96 Downpour by Kat Richardson

The 6th book in the Greywalker series.  Blaine has survived her last death with much of her powers in the Grey diminished.  She is trying to lead a more normal life with less of the weird stuff that has surrounded her for so long but unfortunately, the new Guardian hasn't gotten that memo.  She has been told to pursue the matter of a disturbance in the Grey and the death of Leung which she learned about from his ghost.  Things are much stranger than she could possibly have thought at the start.  The power lines of Grey around the lake have been distorted and there are several different factions pulling on the power, any of whom could have messed with it.  Can she figure out how to fix it before someone decides they don't want her poking around any more?

The over descriptive writing was toned down a bit for this one but it's still present which tends to bog the story down.  Still, a good read and I'll be continuing with the series.

Page count: 355p/30,124p ytd

110:98 Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

The 2nd book in the All Souls Trilogy.  Diana and Matthew have traveled to the past in an attempt to find Ashmole 782 and a witch to help train Diana in the use of her powers.  Unfortunately, good intentions do not make up for lack of planning and things start going downhill very quickly as the present day Matthew tries to replace the Matthew of the past while not drawing attention to the switch.  Even more troubling is the fact that Diana's powers continue to be unpredictable and finding a teacher is much more difficult in an age when witches and other creatures are in hiding for fear of being put to death.  And of course, there's the little matter that just by being in the past they are altering their own future.

A bit slow at times which I remember from the first book but that was as they were trying to establish character and romance and it didn't work quite as well this time.  It was well-written and I enjoyed it but I think it could have been a little shorter or developed the plot a little further.  I look forward to seeing how this all wraps up in the next book.

Page count: 577p/30,903p ytd

Saturday, September 15, 2012

110:95 Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

The first in the Cassie Palmer series.  Cassie (Cassandra) is a clairvoyant who has run away from the vampire who murdered her family in order to have access to her powers from a young age.  Now the vampires have found her but it's not the one who kept her for all those years but the Consul and the entire North American Senate who want to use her and her powers.  A war is brewing with another faction of vampires led by Rasputin who is siding himself with the Dark Fey and the Black Circle of Mages.  Rasputin has managed to kidnap the sybil who was chosen to be the next Pythia, the clairvoyant repository of great power to move about in time.  The Silver Circle has sent its own representative, Pritkin, whose job it is to make sure that the sybil is found or barring that, to keep Cassie from gaining that power because she is untrained and they don't believe they'll be able to control her should the power choose to go to her.  The problem with that is that she already seems to be exhibiting some of those powers.  So now Cassie has Tony (her old vampire master), Rasputin, and Pritkin all wanting to take her out and the only people who want to keep her alive are a different bunch of vampires who, while they will seduce her to get what they want, will still want to keep her on a short leash and curb her freedom.

As you can see, there is a TON going on in this book.  It was a bit confusing at times trying to figure out what was going on with the time jumping stuff but it does get explained eventually.  I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next one.  There are currently four more out in the series sitting on my bookshelf so now I just need to find more time to read.

Page count: 307p/29,769p

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

110:94 Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

The 6th book in the October Daye series.  Etienne, Sylvester's number 1 knight, has come to Toby with a problem.  His changling daughter which he didn't even know existed until that day, is missing and it turns out that she has inherited his powers of teleportation in spades and without any of the controls.  She is being hunted and is popping into areas that were supposed to be sealed off thousands of years ago by Oberon himself and if she continues unchecked, it will kill her and rip open holes in Faerie that may tear it apart.  Toby is a sucker for protecting kids but this case may be one that will test her and her new healing powers too far....

This was an absolutely incredible read.  I could not put it down and now that I'm finished, I couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome of everything and my biggest disappointment is that it's over too quickly and now I have to wait a year for the next one.  This series has just gotten better and better!

Page count: 353p/29,462p ytd

Sunday, September 2, 2012

110:93 Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

Last read in April 2009.  Here's my review from that time:


So I remember reading at least part of these eons ago and all I could ever remember from it was the shadow that scared the beejezus out of me and I've never picked it up since. Well, my brother has been waxing poetic about it and it was part of the English course I'm doing with Jason so I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties, and dove in.

Yes, the shadow is still scary but I don't think I ever made it to the end as a child. I really enjoyed the whole book and the deeper meanings within it. I'm glad that I finally made it a priority and read it and I'm even more happy that Christopher and Jason have also read it and we get to share it together. Beautifully written in a rich world with richer characters. I really look forward to reading the rest of the series and other books by LeGuin.

Coming forward to today, I'm now studying it with Matthew and I enjoyed it just as much this time around as I did the last.  Having read the rest of the series and now other works by Ms. LeGuin, I just stand in awe of what rich worlds she creates and the incredible people she fills them with to create the rich stories she does.

Page count: 182p/29,109p ytd

Saturday, September 1, 2012

110:92 Eyes Like Leaves by Charles deLint

Hafarl's staff is broken and the power of summer is waning as his brother, Lothan, the Winter Lord, is determined to bring about the Everwinter.  To bring balance back, the Summerlord's staff must be restored but how can an old man, a young apprentice, and an untried and untutored girl possibly manage that.

First time reading Charles deLint and I can understand now why he comes so highly recommended in fantasy.  This was a lovely tale, deftly woven so that all the pieces were laid out to come together in the end but without it being boring because you know exactly what will happen.  Yes, good will win out but it's how all those pieces come together that is just a joy to behold.

Page count: 320p/28,927p ytd

110:91 Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas by Michael Scott

Short story set in the Nicholas Flammel  series.  Billy the Kid has been charged by his master to take something to Sachatch but while he's there, she receives a call from someone she thought long dead needing to be rescued in Las Vegas.  Billy can't let her go alone even if she is a ten-thousand year old vampire and thus begins their long road trip.

An interesting little tale where we get to see Billy and Sachatch meet and get a little bit more feel for their backgrounds apart from the main story line of the books.

Page count: 52p/28,607p ytd