Archive for March, 2011

Beth Revis, author of Across The Universe, has an awesome contest going on over on her blog

Learn more about the Breathless Reads books here.

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The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Riley has always wanted to be a Demon Trapper like her father, and she’s already following in his footsteps as one of the best. But it’s tough being the only girl in an all-guy world, especially when three of those guys start making her life more complicated: Simon, the angelic apprentice who has heaven on his side; Beck, the tough trapper who thinks he’s God’s gift, and Ori, the strikingly sexy stranger who keeps turning up to save her ass. One thing’s for sure – if she doesn’t keep her wits about her there’ll be hell to pay…

So maybe this is a sign that I’m getting indecisive in my old age, but I’m having a hard time making up my mind about The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I was enough of a fan that I’ll definitely pick up book #2 when it comes out in the fall.  And I’ll pick it up with high hopes for its awesomeness.

This first book has a lot going for it–namely a spunky yet relatable heroine (Riley) with clear goals in life (voila, instant plot), as well as lots of drama and a good dose of bad luck. There are plenty of interesting guys, including a caring father, a long-time best-friend-who-might-want-to-be-more (Peter), and 3 (yes, three) good-looking guys who think she’s hot stuff. Hunky hero #1 (Beck) comes with a dark and secretive past and a parent complex, hunky hero #2 (Simon) supplies the goody-two-shoes persona and golden boy charisma, and hunky hero #3 (Ori*) is our tall dark & handsome Mr. Mysterious. The demons she hunts provide both adventure and a bit of humor here and there.

DTD truly is a good story, with a well-built world, so why wasn’t I in love after finishing it? Well, for one I wasn’t a big fan of Riley’s internal monologue. Here she is, this strong young woman who is (trying to be) mature beyond her years, both because that’s just who she is and because of the hard knocks life’s dealt her. And yet her internal monologue sounds like a 12-year-old’s.


What is it with these people? Do they, like, give them happy pills or something?”

I don’t know, but I get this feeling that YA authors think they have to use young and hip language in order for their teenage characters to feel authentic. I obviously shouldn’t be commenting on the topic (did you note my opening comment?), but I can assure you that EVEN at that age I NEVER thought or talked like that. Sure, some girls did, but they weren’t the kind of girls I hung out with…or want to read books about.

Second, Ms. Oliver needs to hire a new editor. OK, I’m overly anal, but the missing commas, lost periods, and incorrect pronouns (Riley became a “him” at least once) really detracted from the story.

That said, I will still recommend DTD to my YA paranormal/urban fantasy-loving friends 🙂

*I was amused by the use of the name “Ori”, as I very briefly dated an “Orie” in college.


4.5.11: So I felt the need to update my DTD review.  After I read the book, I wasn’t convinced that the book was wonderfully awesome.  Good?  Yes.  Awesome?  Hmm, maybe.  But now?  Time to upgrade to “awesome!”.  Why the change of heart?  Well, since I read a lot, I have a tendency to forget details of previous books after I start a new one.  (Dude, I can only have so many characters in my head at the same time!)  I’ve read 6 books (8 if you count the two I’m currently reading) since finishing DTD and I STILL can’t get Riley out of my head.  Nuff said.

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A FB friend posted an interesting Huffington Post article titled ‘The Trouble With Bright Girls‘ this morning.  The premise of the piece is that “bright” girls are conditioned at a young age to throw in the towel when presented with a new topic to learn that they find challenging. 

The article states:  

Chances are good that if you are a successful professional today, you were a pretty bright fifth grade girl. My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of “Mindset“) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how Bright Girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.

She found that Bright Girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up; the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel. In fact, the straight-A girls showed the most helpless responses. Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts rather than give up.

Why is this?  Because bright girls are told that they get good grades because they are smart (an inflexible, set trait), while bright boys are told that they excel because they work hard (a flexible, moldable trait).

This idea makes total sense to me, but I have to say, I think I got lucky.  Being homeschooled K-9th grade gave me the opportunity to develop the ability to teach myself new concepts.  I can’t begin to count the number of times my mom (my teacher) and I had the following conversation:

Me: “I don’t understand this.  I need your help.”

Teacher Mom: “Did you read all the way through the lesson?”

Me: “No…but I don’t get it.”

Teacher Mom: “Try again.”

It’s a lesson I need to remember today: When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

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I have to say, February was the month for fantastic books!
Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis

Vanishing is a very good book, not in that “I can’t put it down” way, but rather as an emotional exploration of loss over the course of 14 short stories.  Kind of depressing, really, but Deborah Willis is an amazing up and coming new author.  I will definitely look for her books in the future.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I’d seen Beautiful Creatures billed as the next Twilight, so perhaps I had higher than average expectations when I picked it up to read. That said, it didn’t meet the hype, if you ask me. I did, however, enjoy it and will definitely pick up the next book in the series, Beautiful Darkness. It just didn’t grab me in that “can’t put it down until I finish it” sort of way. That said, I found the male main character/narrator refreshing and the southern history back story intriguing.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

I really enjoyed Hush, Hush and pretty much read it start to finish in one sitting. A couple of the reviews I saw before I read this book pointed out that the character’s interaction goes from one extreme to the other over the course of a very short period of time, making things a bit unrealistic. I have to agree with this and, while it didn’t ruin the story overall for me, it still made the story less believable.

Matched by Ally Condie

 Awesome, thought-provoking, romantic…I loved it!  Anyone who loved the Hunger Games trilogy (which I highly recommend!!) will enjoy Matched, which is also supposed to be part of a trilogy.  I can’t wait ’til 11.1.11 when the second book, Crossed, will be released.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’m always thrilled to death when I discover a fantastic book and it happens to be part of a series, giving me more fantastic-ness to look forward to.  Clare’s City of Bones definitely fit into this category.  I can’t wait to go back to visit Clary’s world again in City of Ashes, the next book in the Mortal Instruments series.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare is my new favorite YA Fantasy series. I love, love, love them!  Clary is terrific, Jace is badass, their adventures are fascinating, and the love triangle is utterly agonizing.
Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
In the world of YA fantasy fiction, P.C. and Kristin Cast (a mother-daughter team) are like royalty.  They can do no wrong, they have a huge following, and–surmising from the many forwards I’ve read that include their names–they often act as mentors for other, less experienced YA fantasy writers.  Writers whose books I’ve loved, I should add.  So, I figured Marked (and the whole House of Night series) as a shoo-in for YA fantasy lovable-ness.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t get the magical attraction.  I finished Marked, but I won’t be reading the rest of the series. It’s just not my cup of tea, and I felt like the targeted reading level was about 3rd grade.  Sorry guys, I really wanted to like it, honest!
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Great book! It made me feel all warm & fuzzy that Athens, Ohio–the town I grew up near–is featured in a chapter or two, but I would have enjoyed the first of the Lorien Legecies anyway. The next in the series comes out this August and I can’t wait!  Meanwhile, at least I can go see the movie.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Obviously a classic, but NOT an easy read (at least for me).  How difficult was it for me to finish?  I’m almost embarrassed to say!  I checked Lord of the Flies out of the library months ago…and only got about three or four chapters into it.  Then I decided it might be easier for me to listen to it on CD, so I returned the book and borrowed the book on CD.  Unfortunately, that put me right to sleep (literally) every time I tried to listen to it.  (Not a great idea when you’re driving.)  I crawled a few more chapters into the book, until I was about half-way finished.  Still determined to finish, I returned the CD and re-borrowed the book, which I finally knocked out last weekend.  I will say, the last half of the book was much more attention-grabbing than the first half.

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