Posts Tagged ‘book suggestions’


The Mortal Instruments IV: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. 

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 4.5.11 (tomorrow!!).  Cassandra Clare is brilliant and TMI has quickly become my new favorite YA fantasy series!

Chronicles of the Warlands #4: Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan
All is not well in Xy. There is a faction of nobles who are plotting against the Queen and her barbarian warlord. As cultures clash and tempers flare, Heath and the fierce Plains warrior woman Atira of the Bear must come together to fight the conspiracy… and to search their hearts for something deeper than raw passion.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.3.11.  My only beef with Elizabeth Vaughan is her insistance on keeping her day job.  See, if she devoted all of her time to writing, then I’d have more of her fabulous books to read.  Selfish of me, I know.

Kate Daniels #5: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn’t easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn’t bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 5.31.11.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  I’ve been going through Ilona Andrews withdrawl for way too long now!

Wolves of Mercy Falls #3: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 7.12.11.  The only way to describe Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is “gorgeous prose”.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I’m ready to fight.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 8.23.11.  I’m curious to see how this second installment of the Lorien Legacies stacks up to the first (I Am Number Four).

Matched Trilogy #2: Crossed by Ally Condie

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Goodreads’ synopsis

To be released 11.1.11.  If you’ve read Matched, you know the cover of Crossed says it all.



Demon Trappers #2: Soul Thief by Jana Oliver (TBR: 9.2.11)*


*Has anyone seen a cover or reviews of Soul Thief?  I couldn’t find much about it…

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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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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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Night Huntress #4: Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Considering Jeaniene Frost is one of my favorite PNR authors, Destined for an Early Grave wasn’t my favorite Kat/Bones story.  There’s an important plot twist in this book (I won’t ruin it!) that made reading this story very frustrating and, I have to admit, I got a little annoyed with Miss Kat.  None-the-less, I heart me some Kat action and overall I enjoyed the book.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series, This Side of the Grave, which comes out TODAY!

You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin

Eh, You Lost Me There just didn’t do much for me.  It was neither entertaining nor educational, and the title pretty much summed (sums) up my overall impression of it.  This was another book recommended on the NPR blog post Weird and Wonderful Books, and it was my least favorite of the three books recommended there that I chose to read.

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I read these books – and wrote their reviews – back when there was still snow on the ground.  Somehow this never got posted.  Better late than never, I say!

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

I cannot recommend Michael Pollan’s writing–books, newspaper articles, and his website–enough.  He’s absolutely brilliant!  Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma first introduced me to his thought-provoking, yet easy to read, work.  Whereas The Omnivore’s Dilemma took us on a journey through various types of food industry, In Defense of Food is more of an eater’s guide. 

Pollan begins with a simple mantra:

Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.” 

From this simple yet profound statement Pollan expands his philosophy into an entire book full of revolutionary food thought.  I normally find non-fiction works difficult to read, but Pollan’s fresh, absorbing writing keeps you glued to his books all the way to the end.

A Three Dog Life: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

If you thought the timeless marital love depicted in “The Notebook” was the ultimate tear-jerker, then you haven’t read this book.  It’s proof positive that love can conquer ALL and still leave room for happiness to find a way in. 

In her book, Abigail shows us that, while it may be impossible to find meaning in a life-changing disaster, it’s possible to build a new, happy life filled with love and companionship.  At 182 pages, this book is a short, yet deep read.  I highly recommend it!   

TThe Lost Symbol: A Novel by Dan Brown

Typical Dan Brown style, The Lost Symbol will not disappoint if you liked Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code.  Brown is obviously a master at creating fast paced thrillers, including plenty of plot twists, that require him to do a massive amount of research.  That said, this wasn’t my favorite Dan Brown book–Deception Point still holds that honor–probably because science will capture my fancy faster than religion any day.  While his other works have represented Christianity and the Catholic Church as institutions highly susceptible to corruption, The Lost Symbol casts religion in a slightly more redemptive light.

The Return & Nightfall by L.J. Smith

No offense to L.J. Smith, but I’m not even sure why I keep reading The Vampire Diaries books.  They’re just not worth it, in my opinion.  That said, if you enjoyed the first books, there is a major plot twist in these that you won’t want to miss.

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The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese

Ping is a duckling who craves adventure, but also loves his duck-y family.  This story is about both Ping’s solo adventure down the Yangtze River and his joyful return to his family.  It’s a great story, but the real magic is in the illustrations.

Older Kids:

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

At some time or another, every child or teen thinks about running away from home and making a go of it on their own.  In My Side of the Mountain, Sam does just that.  He tells his parents goodbye, travels from his city home in New York City to a tract of land in the Catskill Mountains, and teaches himself to live off the land.  Sam makes human and animal friends, has fantastic adventures, and begins to grow from a boy to a self-sufficient young man.  This book offers something for everyone – young, old, guy, gal, city slicker, or country bumpkin.

Young Adult:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Here are the facts:

My hubby has never been a reader, much to my dismay. 

I picked The Hunger Games up from the library, then hubby stole it from me and read it cover to cover in a day.

This is all the motivation you should need to read it!  (I loved it, too.)


The Art of Racing in the Rain: a Novel by Garth Stein

The best book–by far–that I’ve read in the past 6 months.  Another book told from the perspective of the dog, but this one is completely different than its peers.  It was much deeper than I expected, and has something to teach everyone.  Who knew doggies had such profound thoughts?  I was very excited to hear it’s being made into a movie (due out in 2012).

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”  ~Charles W. Eliot

Most people only have to know me for a short period of time before they learn that I’m sort of obsessed with books.  I love books.  I love reading.  I love book stores.  But–most of all–I LOVE public libraries.  See, buying books takes money.  Buying books the way I read them takes LOTS of money.  I am poor.  Thus, I let my library buy the books…and then I get to read them…for free (as long as I manage to return them on time!). 

For as long as I can remember, my mother chaperoned regular trips to our local public library.  There was much anticipation and excitement on library day, and the four of us probably ran amuck in the library quite often.  My poor, run ragged, genius mother cultivated a passion for reading in all four of us kids.  And then she proceeded to spend exactly 45% of her precious time extracting our noses from books in order to participate in some of life’s less important activities, such as meals, school, and chores.

A coworker who also enjoys reading mentioned to me the other day that she has trouble coming up with books she wants to read.  She said she gets a bit overwhelmed when she walks in the library, because she’s not sure how or where to find a book that she will enjoy.  And I realized that there are probably lots of readers with the same problem.

First, what is it that makes a book great?  Personally, I like the following definition:

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”  ~Paul Sweeney

This is going to sound a little Facebook-esq, but here are my Thursday Book Suggestions for your next literary friend…


The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

A childhood classic written by one of my all-time favorite kids authors.

Older Kids:


A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry

Educational, but still fun, this book tells the story of a river through the years.  I read this book over and over growing up and was very sad when my copy got destroyed during one of our moves.

Young Adult:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

If you liked Twilight, you will likely fall in love with this book, too.  The writing often borders on prose, giving the book an artistic feel all its own.


Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

 Everyone who enjoys books should give Dan Brown’s a try.  His books are heavy on the details, yet action-packed, giving you a fast paced read with substance.


P.S. My library – The Washington Centerville Public Library – has an excellent resource webpage for finding your next favorite book.

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