Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

March 22

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Recent Arrivals: Underworld (Abandon Book 2) by Meg Cabot

by Ann-Katrina

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

Underworld by Meg Cabot cover

First paragraph: "Pierce keeps having the most terrible nightmares." My mom used to say this to all the doctors we saw right after the accident. "She talks in her sleep–sorry, sweetheart, but you do–about a boy following her. Sometimes she even wakes up crying. It doesn’t seem normal. I’ve never had dreams that vivid."

Initial thoughts: I literally squealed like a little fangirl when this arrived on my doorstep. And I love that cover—it’s much shinier in person. Thank goodness I keep a book summary journal* because I only remember a few bits and bobs of Abandon, but I remember enough to know I enjoyed it**, so I’m looking forward to reading the continuation of Pierce and John’s story.

Book description:

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead. Not this time.

But she’s been taken by John Hayden, lord of the Underworld, to the dim, twilit place between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

John claims it’s for her own safety, to protect her from the Furies who yearn for vengeance against him. But John may have reasons of his own for wanting to keep Pierce close…

And soon she learns that while she might be safe from the wrath of the Furies in the Underworld, the people she loves back on earth are not. Can Pierce convince John to release her in order to save the life of someone in her family–or will the price he asks her to pay for her freedom turn out to be too high?

Book Details: 336 pages; Point; Pub. May 8, 2012

* Book summary journal: After I finish reading a book (usually immediately afterward unless I’m feeling lazy), I’ll write a 5-10 page summary of all the major plot points, character list, and other relevant notes so I can reference it later. This system has been working out well—except for the books I didn’t get around to summarizing.

** I’m such a dork. I wrote the review for Abandon, but never edited or published it. I thought I did, but didn’t. Expect that soon-ish.

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April 26

Comments: 8

Teaser Tuesdays: An Interesting Dilemma

by Ann-Katrina

Teaser Tuesdays Happy Tuesday! It’s time again for another edition of Teaser Tuesdays…

Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • You also need to share the title of the book where you get your teaser from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given
  • Please avoid spoilers

Before I get on with this week’s teaser, I realized I had an interesting dilemma on my hands because I’m reading an ebook. I can’t randomly flip to a page and quote it. So, how, then, to quote? With the help of, that’s how. I plugged in the total pages, let the Random Machine do its job and went to that page. OK, I know that was a useless fact to most people, so I’ll just get to the teaser.

Paranormalcy cover This week’s teaser:

“I couldn’t believe it. Here I’d just told him I was a monster, that I was designed to suck souls out of paranormals, and he was okay with it.” ebook pg. 198 Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

This book has been on my radar for at least a year, but I never had an opportunity to read it before. Now I do.

I’m not that far into it, but it already has a fun campy feel. This can get overdone in a heartbeat and I’m not far enough in to know for sure if it does, but for now, it’s perfectly balanced. I’ve already laughed out loud a few times.

I especially love the interaction with the vampire in the opening chapter. That was a hoot.

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August 5

Comments: 5

Waiting on Wednesday: Who’s in Your Crib?

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

The Replacement I’m waiting, rather impatiently, on a book called The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff.

While browsing Amazon, I saw the cover and stopped in my tracks. I mean, look at it. It’s the right amount of creepy, whimsy, and cute.

But since I rarely buy a book (or covet it) based on cover alone, I read the description and knew immediately that I had to have this book the moment it comes out.

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement—left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Tell me you’re not hooked now, too. It’s due out September 21, 2010 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

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July 12

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Memorable Scenes Monday (3): Pharos: A Ghost Story by Alice Thompson

by Ann-Katrina

Every so often I come across a scene that is so potent that it lingers long after I’ve finished reading it. That’s where the idea for this feature came from. Each Monday I intend to share with you a memorable scene from one (or more) of my reads.

If you like the idea I invite you to join me in sharing a memorable scene on your blog and link to it in a comment or just share the scene in the comment itself. (Please remember to include the book’s title and author so our wishlists and TBR stacks can grow. Also, if your scene is a spoiler, please clearly mark it as one.)

Pharos This week’s scene comes from Pharos: A Ghost Story by Alice Thompson.

The next day the pain from the burn developed into a fever and she was forced to retire to bed. Late afternoon, someone knocked on the door and she lifted her head from her pillow to see the young assistant keeper enter. Her heart sank. His looks disconcerted her. He had a very still face with green eyes that reminded her of a snake or wild creature, something from the sea. His hands moved delicately, like anemones. As if they had a life of their own, quite apart from the rest of his body, which was lithe and fluid like an acrobat’s. His body looked as if it were always alert, as if it were about to jump up and do a somersault in the air, that sitting down never quite satisfied it. But he was sitting down in front of her in the small, round room, on a wooden chair, his hands nervously twisting in his lap.

She wondered what she looked like to him. But she hardly cared and neither, it seemed, did he, as he was acting as if it were quite normal for him to come into a strange, ill woman’s bedroom and make conversation.

‘Would you like to see a trick? It might help while away the time for you.’

She tried not to smile. Being cooped up in a lighthouse must make people strange, she thought. She nodded.

He bent towards her and at first she thought he was coming towards her to kiss her, until she saw him keeping on bending, clasping his hands over his head. He moved himself over and round until he was a circle in the middle of the room. He rolled around in the center of the room like a wheel.

‘That’s not a trick,’ she said rather disappointedly.

Then she watched as suddenly, to her astonishment, he seemed to catch fire. Flames were coming out of his body as he was turning, now on the spot, as if he had been transformed into a Catherine wheel. He lit up the room in the encroaching twilight. Bright red, orange flames spun out of his curved body as he turned and she could no longer see where his head met his hands or even his body at all. He had turned into a wheel of fire.

-pg 26-7

This book had been sitting on my TBR stack for a while and for some strange reason, I was struck with a desire to read it. So far, Thompson’s writing has a tactile quality to it, which engages all the senses. It really is rather beautiful. The story is shaping up to be a mind-bending one as clues have been dropped that not everything on Jacob’s Rock is as it seems.

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April 21

Comments: 6

Review: Morpheus Road: The Light by D. J. MacHale

by Ann-Katrina

Morpheus Road: The Light Cover

Title: Morpheus Road: The Light
Author: D. J. MacHale
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0438-0
Story Length: 344 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological Horror

Back Cover of Morpheus Road: The Light

It begins with mysterious sounds, a fleeting face outside a window–all things that can be explained away. That is, until he comes face-to-face with a character who only exists on the pages of a sketchbook–a character Marshall himself created.

Marshall is quickly convinced these strange incidents have something to do with his best friend, Cooper, who has gone missing. Together with Cooper’s beautiful but aloof sister, Sydney, Marshall searches for the truth about his friend while ultimately uncovering a nightmare that is bigger and more frightening than he ever could have imagined.

Three Quick Points About Morpheus Road: The Light

  • Point 1: More of a creepfest than a gorefest. Although I’d definitely place this book in the horror category, there’s a relatively small amount of blood and guts.
  • Point 2: So. Much. Tension. It just didn’t stop. Right when you think all is well–BAM!–something else jumps out at you.
  • Point 3: There’s a mystery begging to be solved. Too bad the second book isn’t out yet, because (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this…) OMG I can’t wait for it!

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