Monthly Archives: November 2012

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



More involved and complicated than the synopsis suggests, The Raven Boys combines magic, mythology and ghostly tales to weave a web of intrigue surrounding characters as complex as their plight.

From Goodreads:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

It took me a good third of this book to get to the point where I didn’t want to put it down. That first third introduces us to the complex characters who are unique and separate yet form a unit made of strong bonds and a sense of rightness. They are supposed to be here, in this place, at this time, together. Although sometimes tedious, this extensive introduction is needed so that we can understand each of them, where their coming from and what draws them together. Blue is a strong female character and her “family” is full of quirky personalities. Gansey and his friend all attend the same elite school but are each haunted by their own demons and are fighting to find more than just what lies on the ley lines.

Parts of this book gave me chills to read. Maggie Stiefvater is an impressive storyteller and her writing shines in this book. It’s haunting in parts. It delves into social status and how it can separate even the best of friends without them wanting it to. Those that have money and privilege feel like that’s all anyone sees in them and those without feel inferior. It’s a bridge that’s hard to cross. Gansey, most of all, is taking on the responsibility of trying to save everyone which isn’t always welcomed the way he hopes.

I was expecting more of a star-crossed love story but it’s more focused on brotherly love. One things for sure, these teen are driven more so than I think boys this age would be. But they’re not normal boys, their Aglionby boys, which is wholly different.

Now that the stage is set, I look forward to reading the next book in the series. There is still a lot more mystery and magic to uncover and based on the last sentence in the book, things are about to get even more interesting!

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Listen to NPR’s interview with Maggie Stiefvater.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.


I’d Rather Read a Book Than ………….. [4]

I’d Rather Read a Book Than …………..


……. paint the bathroom. I’ve spent the last 2 days of my Thanksgiving vacation on painting my bathroom. I’m so glad I got finally got it done, but really would rather have spent those hours reading. I’m terrible at painting. Really terrible! I don’t think I’m even qualified enough to carry the paint can. Oh well, it’s done, I did it myself and although not perfect, it’s better than it was.

Book Review: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon



The author states at the beginning of Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey that the book is not a history nor a biography or a work of fiction. However, it’s lovingly written and certainly reads like it belongs in all these genres.

From Goodreads:
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration for the hit PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and the basis of the fictional character Lady Cora Crawley. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war.

Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon’s ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman.

This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle.


I decided to read this book because I was looking for a little history on the story behind the hit show Downton Abbey. I love that show! I love the snottiness of the upstairs elite and the crassness of the downstairs staff. There dependent on each other but separate in more than just living quarters. It makes great television!

The writing in this book is superb. It centers around Almina, of course, and her extended (by marriage) family. It concentrates mainly on two subjects, Almina’s philanthropic works during the war and her husband’s hunt and discovery of Egyptian artifacts, the latter of which included a huge discovery as famous today as it was then.

Almina lived a wealthy, somewhat spoiled life of privilege. She contributed many of her resources, both personal and monetary, to the war effort. Her life was exciting and made a great story.

However, I was looking for something more centered around the house, Highclere Castle, and the day-to-day workings of the estate. This book does not go into detail on the staff or the Carnarvon’s daily life apart from parties and major events.

All in all this book was certainly well worth reading. It’s well written and if you’re a historical fiction lover this is a real story just as interesting as fiction. The glimpse into Victorian era high society was lovely. However, if you’re looking for a more intimate look into the lives of all that lived at Highclere and the drama that ensues, this will disappoint. Just keep in mind this is about Almina foremost, not Highclere, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Downton Abbey gets renewed for Season 4.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Book Review: The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper



Just as fun as the first installment in Molly Harper’s Naked Werewolf series, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf is sure to lighten your mood and remind you how much fun budding romance can be!

From Goodreads:
Baring It All Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

This installment in the series picks right up where the first left off. It gets a fresh take though by changing the perspective to Maggie. The great thing is we still get all the great characters from the first book. I was really skeptical about reading this, wondering if I would enjoy it since I really enjoyed the first and didn’t really want to move on from the main characters introduced. I got a pleasant surprise! I liked this one just as much!

We get introduced to some great new characters too. Maggie’s view gives us some insight into the pack hierarchy without being bogged down by technicalities.

All of the Maggie Harper books I’ve read so far have been fun reads. They’re easy-going, girly books that are perfect for a beach read or to get you through a winter slump. This book features the same recipe of a heaping amount of love, a sprinkle of sex, a dash of comedy and a little mystery.

Great book…great fun!

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Book Review: And One Last Thing… by Molly Harper

Bizarre Libraries

Head over to Flavorwire and check out some of the most bizarre libraries.

I think they’re incredible! Compared to these architectural wonders, my local library has absolutely no flair. It still looks the same as it did in the 60’s!


Book Review: Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo



Mark Tufo hit a home run with this novel full of Walking Dead-esque zombie mayhem.

Mike Talbot and his family fight for their lives after a virus turns deadly and the human race is reduced to flesh-eating, bug infested, grotesque versions of themselves.

Mike Talbot’s ex-military, a regular guy whose job and financial situation has changed drastically due to the recession. One day he comes home from work wanting to take a nice hot shower and next thing you know zombie’s are trying to knock down his door. He and his family join forces with neighbors in their townhouse complex and try to create a safe haven within the gates. But, the zombies aren’t as mindless as the movies portray and safety is a luxury they no longer have.

I loved the writing style of this book. Mark Tufo successfully created a world we can all imagine. Real people trying to survive. He give’s the main character Mike, a sarcastic humor which has probably gotten him through the changes in his life so far and which helps him deal with the responsibility of keeping his family alive. Mike is instantly likable and relatable. He’s got great instincts.

There’s tons of action! Although the characters don’t roam far from the complex they don’t need to. Zombie’s in their backyard provide more than enough action sequences to fill the pages. There’s no shying away from the realities of what zombies are or what they do to their prey and what should be disgusting often comes across as hilarious.

Let’s face it, zombies or hot right now! Zombies are the “new” vampires. It’s a great book like this one that puts them at the forefront of this genre. Thank goodness there are plenty of books in this series. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Listen to 2012 National Book Award Nominees Read Their Works


NPR has posted recordings of each of the 2012 National Book Award Nominees reading from their own works.

I love to hear authors read their own stories. They bring out the best in their books, let their emotion come across and allow us a glimpse into their artistic thoughts.

Visit for more information on the award.

Sony Readers Book Club – Some Reading Fun Through the Winter Months

Looking for another way to incorporate reading through those long winter months?

Sony Reader Store has started a book club featuring author chats and discussions via Facebook and Twitter. Four books, four months. Their offering the first title, Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a discounted price. Sony also just released a new app for iPhone/iPad which includes a free exclusive short story by Kim Harrison.


Warm Bodies Official Trailer Released

The first trailer for the Warm Bodies movie has been released. The movie is based on the book Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. The book is told from the perspective of M, a zombie who becomes infatuated with Julie, a human girl. It follows M through his struggle to become something more than an escalator riding, brain eating monster.


I read this book at the beginning of the year. I gave it 3 stars. The story was good and original. I would have liked more action but hopefully Hollywood will take care of that! The trailer gives a good overview of the story with most of the scenes being instantly recognizable.

Did you read Warm Bodies? What did you think of the trailer?

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