Thursday, May 30, 2013

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

If I Should Die is the third and final book in the Revenants trilogy.  I absolutely loved the first two books in the series...Die for Me and Until I Die.  I was captivated by not only the main characters, but many of the secondary characters as well.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read Until I Die you will want to skip the next paragraph.

At the end of Until I Die, Vincent was killed and his body was taken by evil bardia who is now siding with the numa (bad revenants).  Once Kate and the Paris kindred determine they will not be able to recover his body before it is burned they begin searching for other ways to bring back a volant spirit. 

Throughout If I Should Die we learn a lot more about the history of the bardia and their rituals.  We meet several new bardia from other areas who are just as charismatic as the characters I have come to love throughout the series.  As described in the prophecy, the Champion is revealed and leads the bardia into an all out war against the numa.  This portion of the book was very exciting and action packed.

This is, however, the first book in the series in which I felt like the description of Paris was a little too detailed and the use of French was at times overdone.  I don't need to know that someone is speaking in English, French, or German...just keep the story flowing. 

The first half of the book was exceptional and I probably would have given it five stars up until that point.  I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will simply say there was a major lull once a certain character left.  I felt like the character was an essential part of the story and was a great way for the reader to obtain additional information from both Vincent and Kate in a very lighthearted and entertaining manner.  Without this character it felt like Kate was forced to give us her thoughts in order to provide the same level of detail, which was very dry in comparison to the alternative.

There were several twists that I did not see coming, but for the most part I was satisfied with how the series came to a close.  It wasn't a picture perfect happily-ever-after for everyone, which gave it a more realistic feel.  I would definitely recommend the Revenants series and I look forward to the release of After The End, which is the first book in Amy's new series.  There isn't an official release date, but Goodreads currently has it listed as 2014.

Here is a picture of Amy and I at the 2013 RT Convention in Kansas City.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

I read Jeri Smith-Ready's YA series (Shade) and really enjoyed it, so I decided to give her adult series a try.  The WVMP Radio series is about an independent radio station on the brink of being purchased by a huge corporation.  In order to save the station their new marketing intern, Ciara, decides to go public with their most valuable assets....their vampire DJs.  Of course the general public will think it is a gimmick, but it will draw attention to the station and increase their merchandise and advertising revenue.

One of the unique concepts behind the story is that all of the vampires are "stuck" in the era in which they "died'...or became a vampire.  They dress in clothing from their era, their show consists of music from only that period, etc.  Of course there is a HOT vampire who does the 90s show, Shane McAllister, which turns into an even hotter romance with Ciara.  (Definitely not YA)

To spice things up further, there is a group of evil vampires who decide to attack the station because they feel the campaign is too risky for vampires as a whole.  There is a lot of humor as we learn what myths about vampires are real and which ones are not.  There is also a lot of action and drama and some surprise twists as Ciara's past comes full circle.  Will she fall back into her past life as a con artist or will she finally choose love and a chance at a normal life?  Well, as normal as life can be with a vampire boyfriend.

The one REALLY good thing about this series...ALL of the books have already been released!!  This is one of the most exciting things that can happen to a book nerd.  Discovering a great series after all of the books are available.   

Here is a picture of Jeri, Book Nerd Teri, and I from earlier this month in Kansas City. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Music Monday: Robert Pattinson

It is Robert Pattinson's 27th birthday!!  Since he and his Twilight character were my greatest inspiration for taking piano lessons...I thought it was only fitting to dedicate this week's post to him.

Another reason for this decision...I didn't have anything too exciting to learn this week for my lesson.  The three new songs he assigned were more like skills and drills.  I also had to work on the "picky stuff" from two of last weeks songs.  I could play the songs, but he wanted accents louder, piano sections quieter, crescendos more gradual, etc.  He is relentless, but I guess that is what I am paying him for.  If I could figure it all out on my own, I wouldn't need him.

I hope you enjoy this week's videos. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Rules by Stacey Kade: Review and Giveaway

I really enjoyed The Ghost and The Goth and started following Stacey Kade on twitter.  When she announced her latest trilogy Project Paper Doll, I was a little leery because I don't usually enjoy science fiction.  I tried to read The Host by Stephenie Meyer and had to stop reading after a couple of chapters.  I have been told countless times how great it is, but it just wasn't for me.  I was afraid The Rules would be more of the same, but I LOVED it.  I wouldn't really consider it science fiction.  It is more of a contemporary with some paranormal elements.  

Like her Ghost and the Goth series, this book is told from a dual character point of view.  Ariane is half alien/half human and spent the first 6 years of her life living in a lab (GTX).  There was an explosion at the lab, which provided one of its employees the opportunity to help her escape.  Ariene has been living with the employee, Mark Tucker, for the last ten years posing as his daughter.  She attends the local high school, but must live by five very important rules in order to keep GTX from finding and recapturing her.
  1. Never trust anyone.
  2. Remember they are always searching.
  3. Don't get involved
  4. Keep your head down
  5. Don't fall in love. 
Ariene lived a rather boring existence with minimal involvement with other students outside of school until Rachel Jacobs, the granddaughter of the head scientist at GTX, starts harassing Jenna, Ariene's only friend.  Rachel is part of the high school's elite and decides to get even with Ariene by asking one of her friends to ask Ariene out...only for him to publicly humiliate her in front of the everyone.  Zane, another one of Rachel's friends, offers to do it instead because he is intrigued by Ariene and he wants to turn the prank back around on Rachel.  He is tired of her behavior and wants to get even.

Zane is the other narrator in the story and I absolutely loved his character.  He is not at all the person Ariene though he was.  The more she gets to know him...the more she begins to trust him and that is where rule number one is broken.  Once one rule is broken....the rest quickly follow suit.  

There is a lot of action and high school drama mixed in with a love story that keeps the pages turning.  

I had the chance to meet Stacey again this year at the RT Convention.  She was by far my favorite author at the speed reading session, where she read from the beginning of The Rules.  If I hadn't already been reading the book, I definitely would have purchase it soon after.  She does a remarkable job of bringing life to her books and characters, even with the three minute time limit imposed on the authors at these sessions.

I picked up a couple of book marks when I was at the convention.  The larger one is a smaller version of the book jacket and has the rules/book description on the back.  If you would like either of them, please leave a comment and I will select two winners on Friday May 17th. (US mailing addresses only).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Easy by Tammara Webber

This is one of the books I listed on my Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read in 2013.  It definitely lived up to all of the hype it has received and more than earned its five star rating from me on Goodreads.

The book contains a page turning romance, but also deals with some very difficult issues.  Jacqueline is a freshman in college and has recently broken up with her boyfriend of three years.  Soon after the breakup, she is the victim of an attempted rape at the hands of a "friend".  Fortunately another student, Lucas, came upon the incident and intervened before things went any further.  Lucas had previously seen Jacqueline around campus, but she was not aware that he was in her economics class until after the incident.

Lucas and Jacqueline start seeing each other, but she is conflicted.  She is also interested in her economics tutor, Landon, whom she has only corresponded with via email.  There are some very humorous twists and we soon learn there is far more to Lucas than his good looks and ability to be in the right place at the right time.  He has some dark secrets in his past that still haunt him.  He is reluctant to  become involved in a serious relationship because he doesn't think he can share his past.  Jacqueline slowly begins to gain his trust and together they are able to help each other overcome their inner struggles.

This book is considered to be New Adult (NA), which means the main characters are post high school but under 30.  The romance was definitely turned up a notch from the young adult books I am used to, but is not something I would be embarrassed to read at the office....i.e. 50 Shades.  I actually enjoyed the fact that not EVERYTHING was left to the imagination.  After this fabulous introduction to this genera, I picked up another NA book at the RT Convention last weekend.  Mary INSISTED that I would LOVE the Vincent Boys by Abby Glines, so I took her word for it.  

Here I am with Tammara Webber this past weekend.  Of course I had a few questions for her about the book, one of which was why she selected Jacqueline for the name of her main character.  She has always liked the name, but there wasn't anything more to it than that.  As you can see from the second picture, I let her use my "real name" when signing my book.  Only a very select few get to call me that and it seemed fitting in this case :)