Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

September 27

Comments: 2

Sunday Sketch 0.6: Hannah Albury from Hannah by Kathryn Lasky

by Ann-Katrina

I didn’t get a chance to post a Sunday Sketch last week because my internet connection was being flaky. (It’s still flaky, but the technician is coming to fix it so it doesn’t randomly drop out on me anymore.)

That said, I’ve decided to post the sketch I was planning to publish last week and double up next week.

Hannah Cover This week’s sketch is courtesy of Hannah (Daughters of the Sea, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky.

While the story had a few shortcomings, I did enjoy the subject matter—mermaids. The moment I started reading it, I wanted to draw Hannah.

Since I already finished the book, I was able to take a bit more time with this drawing (as promised). I even added some color. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday Sketch: Hannah

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September 13

Comments: 4

[TSS]: Sunday Sketch 0.5 (Anton Grey and Rebecca Brown from Ruined)

by Ann-Katrina

Ruined by Paula Morris Cover This week’s Sunday Sketch is a bit late because I’ve been swept up by the book for most of the day. And the weather has been delightfully cooperative—dark, eerie rainstorms.

I’m about halfway through and it has been smooth sailing. I’m soaking up the spooky—and oddly romantic—atmosphere and I’m surprised at how much I’ve learned about New Orleans. I’m mentally booking a trip.

For this week’s sketch, I decided on Anton Grey and Rebecca Brown because I’m liking their dynamic so far. (And it’s super quick because I’m anxious to get back to the book. :D )

Anton Gray and Rebecca Brown from Ruined

Next week, I promise to spend a bit more time and create a more detailed sketch. For now, I’m off to read!

P.S. If you haven’t already entered, I’m holding a Book Giveaway—5 winners will receive a copy of this book.

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August 17

Comments: 7

Sunday Salon: It’s Official, There is No Escape From Sparkly Vampires and Sunday Sketch

by Ann-Katrina

Thirst No. 1 Cover Remember how I said I grabbed a copy of Thirst (No. 1) by Christopher Pike because I thought I wouldn’t have to contend with any sparkly vampires? I believe I may have spoken a bit too soon.

“As I climb in my stolen vehicle, I notice that my arms and hands are glowing with a faint white light. The effect stuns me. My face is also glowing! In fact, all my exposed skin shines with the same iridescence as the full moon, which hangs low in the sky in the direction of Las Vegas.” Thirst No. 1 – pg. 450

While it’s not sparkling in the daylight a la Twilight, it’s still an iridescent vampire. A sparkly glowing rainbow vampire. I mean really? REALLY?!?

Not to give out any major spoilers, but it gets even more bizarre than that (hint: levitation). I can almost hear that gossamer thread suspending my disbelief crying out in pain.

The first book, The Last Vampire, was a breeze to read and I rather enjoyed it. The second book, Black Blood, took a bit of a nosedive compared to the first book (the voice changed completely), but pulled itself together and my hope was salvaged. The third book, Red Dice, is the one that happens to be tugging on my nerves in the worst way, but I’m hoping it will go the way of the second book and salvage itself. I don’t have much hope after the whole iridescent levitating vampire thing, though.

One problem, however, that I see throughout the books is the random romances. I can almost understand love at first sight and I understand why they’re necessary (they actually drive Sita’s personal story of self discovery forward), but they don’t properly fit and they are a major weakness to the entire story.

I started out loving this book, now I only like it. *sigh*

Sunday Sketch

There were three characters that I thought about drawing—Sita, Yaksha, or Krishna—but settled on Sita because it is her story after all.

sita-sketch

This was a super quick sketch and I added hints of color to the eyes and lips because those were the two areas she usually focused on in the book—her powerful eyes and how she could seduce people by altering her voice.

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August 9

Comments: 8

Sunday Salon: Monsters, Zombies, and (Smokin’ Hot) Angels, Oh My!

by Ann-Katrina

Sunday Salon Welcome to another (late) edition of The Sunday Salon…

It’s been a fair while since my last Sunday Salon post and I’m writing this one late at night rather than in the morning, but I say it’s better late than never.

Raaaawwwwr! Scary Psychologically Abnormal Monsters Abound

The Night Monster Cover My current reading pleasure is The Night Monster by James Swain. I’m rounding the last fifty or so pages and will most likely finish it up tonight.

The story so far is about an ex-cop (detective) turned private investigator Jack Carpenter who’s on the hunt for a missing college basketball star, who also happens to be one of his daughter’s friends and teammates.

The case is personal to Jack because he discovers it’s connected to a case that he’d been investigating for sixteen years—a case involving an abduction that he hadn’t been able to stop.

So far, the book is great reading, though I’ll admit the first three-quarters of the book was fast-paced and even left me a little breathless and now that I’m nearing the end, and the action should be picking up, it seems to be trundling along at almost half-speed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily a good thing either.

Even if the book’s pacing never picks up again, I still think it’s a great read. I hope to have my full review up some time this week.

And speaking of reviews I hope to have up this week…

It’s Twilight, with Zombies and Better Writing (and Only Marginally Better Editing)

Generation Dead Cover I’ve finished reading Generation Dead by Daniel Waters and absolutely loved it. There were some laugh out loud funny moments and the characters are all highly well developed. The writing is tight and flows well.

What I found highly interesting is that it’s Twilight, with zombies. The pacing of the book is similar to Twilight in that it meanders for the first three-quarters of the book and then for the last quarter, the action suddenly picks up. The difference with this book and Twilight is that the action is built from the beginning. We see the villain and watch him ramp up his campaign of evil.

Tommy Williams is described as having pale skin, and despite being dead, it’s not decaying or foul-smelling—he smells rather earthy actually. He’s also good-looking, strong, and feels stone-hard and cold when he’s touched. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s a zombified version of Edward Cullen.

Phoebe Kendall is described as being very pale, doesn’t realize her own physical beauty, can’t seem to sort out her romantic feelings and is inexplicably drawn to the new zombie in town despite knowing next to nothing about him. Bella Swan anyone?

Finally there is Adam Layman who is a living, breathing, hot-blooded teenage boy who happens to be one of Phoebe’s best friends. Despite his feelings for Phoebe, which he chews down and swallows, he helps her get closer to Tommy simply so he can be near her. Sounds vaguely familiar…oh that’s right, Jacob Black.

I also spotted similarities to Alice and Rosalie Cullen, and a few other characters from Twilight sprinkled throughout. There were even a couple references to vampires that made me do a double-take and giggle.

At the end of the day, I could probably dissect both books and write an essay, but I’ll save that for some other time. Instead, I’ll share my Sunday sketch (yay! I finally did one…and on a Sunday) of the Generation Dead love triangle.

generation-dead-bw

It originally had a bit of color to it (Phoebe’s eyes and lips), but since I didn’t scan it—took a picture with my digital camera because I’m lazy—I decided it looked better in black and white. Also, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see who I hope Phoebe ends up with—*cough*Adam*cough*

Smokin’ Hot Angel, Oh My!

Hush, Hush Cover I’ve started reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, but had to put the title aside and read a few other things. Why? I’m entirely too excited to read it. I’m worried that I’ll breeze through it and I would like to savor it.

When I finish the Night Monster, I believe I’ll take a few days to write reviews of all the books awaiting reviews (sad to say, quite a few) and then I’ll be picking up Hush, Hush again.

And…I may have a surprise in store for Today, I Read… newsletter subscribers coming up. That’s the only hint I’ll give. :)

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June 18

Comments: 1

Blacklisted by Gena Showalter Book Notes and Sunday Sketch (yes, I know it’s not Sunday yet)

by Ann-Katrina

Blacklisted by Gena Showalter I finished reading Gena Showalter’s Blacklisted on Tuesday, and I wanted to publish a few book notes. Think of this like a flash review until I can publish the extended edition.

When I was about 9/10ths of the way through this book, I realized that it was a sequel to Red Handed, which was sitting on my bookshelf—unread. That was definitely a *facepalm* moment if I do say so myself. So, if you already have Red Handed, read that one first.

Aside from reading the book out of order, I enjoyed my little detour.

  • The action never stopped. It seemed that Camille and Erik were always being chased, shot at, and when they weren’t Camille was getting a little action of her own. (There were a couple scenes which would definitely place this book on the 16+ list.)
  • The characters were well-drawn, if not a little stereotypical. I would have preferred, however, if Camille’s cowardice and goodie-two-shoes-ness was shown more clearly in her actions before we got to see the brave, strong Camille that she never realized she could be. But it was no big. I also wish the bad guys had been a little badder. (Eh hem, I’m looking at some of those A.I.R. agents.)
  • Reading it made me reminisce about old Alien Nation episodes that I used to watch as a kid. Yes, folks, I just admitted that I watched Alien Nation. The concept of aliens inhabiting the earth alongside humans has always been intriguing to me and the thing that I loved about both the series and this book was that it didn’t sugarcoat it. It showed some of the tribulations that different species might encounter as a result of simply being different.
  • There were more editing mistakes than I’d expected. The book started off strong, with an easy flow, then all of a sudden, errors started cropping up. The errors seemed random and gave the book the feel that it was a rush to complete and get to print. While it didn’t detract entirely from the story, there were more than a few moments when I had to stop and re-read a sentence because I thought my mind was playing a trick on me.

Put plainly, I had no idea what to expect with this book, but was pleasantly surprised. It’s a great lazy day read when you just want to kill a few hours.

And since I won’t be reading this title for my Sunday Salon post, I won’t be able to use this sketch for my Sunday Sketch. Rather than let it languish, I’ve decided to include it here.

This is my interpretation of Kitten, one of the A.I.R. agents that took on Camille and Erik.

Kitten - AIR Agent from Blacklisted

I have no idea why I chose to draw Kitten—in fact, I didn’t even know I was drawing her until I was done. I really wanted to draw Cara or Erik, but never quite got around to it…maybe while I’m reading Red Handed.

(Sorry about the image bleed-through. I sketch in my Moleskine notebook and these particular pages are thin.)

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