Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

September 29

Comments: 1

Recent Arrivals: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver Cover

First line: I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going [...]

Initial thoughts: This book caught my eye months ago and I immediately added it to my wishlist and patiently waited for it to be released, but color me surprised (and excited) when the kind Sarah from Scholastic sent me my very own ARC.

I read the first few chapters instantly and so far, the writing is lovely. There’s an ethereal quality to it that I think I’m going to enjoy. And from those first few pages, I can already tell it’s going to be a take no prisoners, sweet and tragic type of book. Needless to say, I can’t wait to finish it.

(Though I am a little worried because the early reviews mention tears and needing tissue…)

Book description:

the cold.

Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

the heat.

Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.

the shiver.

For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Same must fight to stay human–and Grace must fight to keep him–even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Book Details: 400 pages; Scholastic Press; Pub. August 1, 2009

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November 4

Comments: 3

Review: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews

by Ann-Katrina

Magic Bits Cover

Back Cover of Magic Bites

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Three Quick Points About Magic Bites

  • Point 1: The prose and pacing are exquisitely done. The book is smartly written without being pretentious and urges you forward without shoving you down a flight of stairs. It’s evident that the word selection and syntax were assembled with care.
  • Point 2: This novel is a perfect exercise in world-building. Set in a future version of Atlanta ravaged by magic, the descriptions are vividly dark and disturbingly crafted. It becomes real.
  • Point 3: What, no sparkly, beautiful, or dangerously seductive vampires? Nope. In this book, vampires veer from the contemporary norm. They are hideous quadrupedal humanoids continually degrading into something much worse—”an abomination in progress.”

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September 26

Comments: 7

Review: Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1) by Rob Thurman

by Ann-Katrina

Nightlife Cover

From the Back Cover of Nightlife

There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I’ve known that since I can remember, just like I’ve always known I was one…

…Well, half of one, anyway.

Welcome to the Big Apple. There’s a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, a boggle in Central Park, and a beautiful vampire in a penthouse on the Upper East Side—and that’s only the beginning. Of course, most humans are oblivious to the preternatural nightlife around them, but Cal Leandros is only half human.

His father’s dark lineage is the stuff of nightmares–and he and his entire otherworldly race are after Cal. Why? Cal hasn’t exactly wanted to stick around long enough to find out.

He and his half brother, Niko, have managed to stay a step ahead for four years, but now Cal’s dad has found them again. And Cal is about to learn why they want him, why they’ve always wanted him: He is the key to unleashing their hell on earth. The fate of the human world will be decided in the fight of Cal’s life….

Three Quick Points About Nightlife

  • Point 1: If you were to remove all the adjectives and adverbs from the book, it would probably shrink by about 60 pages. Being a lover of adjectives and adverbs, it pains me to say this, but there’s a limit to their use. They should be treated like a fine and potent spice–use only as much as necessary or the entire dish could be spoiled.
  • Point 2: This Cal character is a sardonically wonderful guy. The novel got heavy at times and it felt like trudging through mud, but the twisted humor injected through Cal’s voice certainly helped to balance it out.
  • Point 3: What happened to the climax? The build up is good, the tension is there, and you’re poised, ready to see what dark and ominous creatures spring forth to tear the main characters into shreds, and then…wha…that’s it?

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