Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Book and first ever (and probably only) Music Album Review

I will do my book review first because, well, that's how I roll (of course, of course). ;)

I recently finished reading two books actually. The first one was...

Here's the blurb from Amazon...

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

This book was named one of Amazon's Best Books of 2011 for good reason. Laini Taylor creates a world that will entrance you from the very first chapter. Her words are like brush strokes of a painting, igniting your imagination with color and life as you follow Karou through the story. The concept of the book is exciting and unique. I've read a lot of fantasy and science fiction in my time and I haven't come across anything like this.The story is otherworldly and yet so familiar. We see Karou's loneliness, her desire to know who she is and her love for those she considers her family. I just loved the book and was sorry it came to an end. Well, I was exasperated really because I KNOW the story continues. How do I know? Here's how...

I was lucky enough to meet Laini herself at a book signing in West Hollywood! She talked about her book and her process and yes, the coming of a sequel to DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE! I'm so excited!

So, read Laini's new book! You will not be disappointed. This is a young adult novel and I recommend it highly for kids 13 and over who love urban fantasy and a damn good read!

Did I mention we are co-contributors to FRACTURED FABLES by Shadowline Comics? I remember paging through my contributor's copy and my excitement to see her name listed sorta near mine. Unfortaunately, I forgot to bring it with me to the book signing. :( Oh well, maybe next time.

The second book I finished was...

Connie Willis is one of my all time favorites. I found this little gem after listening to another book of her's entitled BELLWEATHER. D.A. is basically about a teen named Theodora who receives the completely unexpected and unearned honor of select admission to the highly acclaimed International Space Academy. What happens next is comedy, Willis style, as you watch Theodora attempt to figure out why she was selected. I loved the theme she wove into this story on the need for catalysts for change. It's a fun short read for any scifi fanatic out there. You know who you are. :)

On to my music review. Music isn't something I normally review but I LOVE this album so much I just have to say SOMETHING about it.

This is their latest album. IT WILL ROCK YOUR SOCKS OFF. Let me just say that I haven't stopped listening to it since I ripped the cd (it belongs to my daughter hehe) onto my Ipod. The whole album is rock heaven. It is, that is, if you like hard rock. But it's so much more than just hard rock. It's atmospheric, symphonic, love-filled, heart-wrenching music. Amy Lee's voice and lyrics take you places in your mind and heart that you forgot were there or may not have discovered. Some of my very favorites are Made of Stone, My heart is Broken, The Other Side, Lost in Paradise and Swimming Home. Like I said, rock heaven.

Come on, give it a listen.

Rock on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Book Review!

Last September, I received an ARC of Kathleen O'Dell's recently released book, THE AVIARY (Thank you, Kathleen!) I was in the middle of revisions when she sent the book to me and didn't begin reading it until October. It was well worth the wait.

Here's a little summary from

Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the Glendoveer mansion, where her mother is a servant to the kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has never known another home. In fact, she's confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition. But it's a comfortable life, and if it weren't for the creepy squawking birds in the aviary out back, a completely peaceful one too.

But once old Mrs. Glendoveer passes away, Clara comes to learn many dark secrets about the family. The Glendoveers suffered a horrific tragedy: their children were kidnapped, then drowned. And their father George Glendoveer, a famous magician and illusionist, stood accused until his death. As Clara digs deeper and deeper into the terrifying events, the five birds in the aviary seem to be trying to tell her something. And Clara comes to wonder: what is their true identity? Clara sets out to solve a decades-old murder mystery—and in doing so, unlocks a secret in her own life, too. Kathleen O'Dell deftly weaves magic, secret identities, evil villians, unlikely heroes, and the wonder of friendship into a mystery adventure with all the charm of an old fashioned classic.

This was an amazing read! I’m a huge fan of historical fiction because I enjoy being transported to different times and places. I feel like an invisible time-traveler, able to visualize a certain period of time through an author’s storytelling. This book was no exception! I was drawn into Clara’s world from the very first page. The mystery and magic of the Clara’s life, of the Glendoveer house and the birds keep you turning the page until you reach the story’s satisfying ending.

Go on, check it out!

Read on.