After Death? High-Tech Limbo

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans


First Look:

Very dynamic and exciting looking.  She’s also dressed in a white shift, which is nice attention to detail on the part of the designer.

Jacket Copy:

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind. Continue reading


Sunday TBR 7/28

This is a new thing I’m trying.  These are the books next on my TBR pile.  Let me know if you think any should move up, down, or off!  The one or two on top will usually be books I’ve already started.  I do often listen to audiobooks, and occasionally read ebooks, so I’ll list those underneath, if needed.SP 7/28/13


Indexing by Seanan McGuire.  Get used to seeing this on the list, because it’s a Kindle serial.  That means that an episode is only released about every two weeks.  It’s only $2.99, so it’s very worth your money.  Just be prepared to be waiting with bated breath for the next episode.


Dualed by Elsie Chapman.  Guys, there are some major mixed feelings with this one.  Just wait.

What do you think of my list?  Post yours if you like!

Magically New Orleans

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson


First Look:

Typical Urban Fantasy cover, variation #17.

Jacket Copy:

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo. Continue reading

Please Disappear from My Memory

Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick


First Look:

Standard Urban Fantasy cover.

Jacket Copy:

When mysterious mystical disappearances disrupt her career, struggling actress Esther Diamond teams up with Maximillian Zadok, an eccentric elderly wizard whose day job is protecting the Big Apple from Evil. Meanwhile, the sexy NYPD detective investigating the disappearances fears that Esther and Max may be a bigger problem than the vanishing performers. Continue reading

Werewolf and Also Were-Everything

Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

immortal lycanthropes

First Look:

Pretty, pretty animals!

Jacket Copy:

“A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly.”

So begins the incredible story of Myron Horowitz, a disfigured thirteen-year-old just trying to fit in at his Pennsylvania school. When a fight with a bully leaves him unconscious and naked in the wreckage of the cafeteria, Myron discovers that he is an immortal lycanthrope—a were-mammal who can transform from human to animal. He also discovers that there are others like him, and many of them want Myron dead. “People will turn into animals,” says the razor-witted narrator of this tour-de-force, “and here come ancient secrets and rivers of blood.” Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Turnoffs


Thanks as always to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT!  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about things that will make you NOT pick up a book.

1. Angels/Fallen Angels as Romantic Leads


I’m not sure why this setup bores me so much, but it does, so there you go.  Maybe it’s because they always have to choose between Heaven and love.  Anyway, so bored.

2. Implied Instalove


Again, boring.  Key phrases not to include on jacket copy of books you want me to read: “inexplicably drawn to [X]”, “instantly attracted to [X]”, “strangely intrigued by [X]”, “different than anyone she’s ever met”, etc.  All of these usually turn out to be code for instalove.

3. Contemporary Realistic


Not to say that I’ve never enjoyed a Contemporary Realistic book, but in general, they just don’t float my boat.  I like the magic and the spaceships and the history.  A Contemporary Realistic has to come really highly recommended for me to want to read it, and even then sometimes I say, “no thanks.”

4. Strong Indicators that it’s an “ISSUE BOOK”


I know these can be very helpful to those dealing with that particular issue, but I just don’t want to read a book that’s all about one issue.  I like complicated.  Also, sometimes these books are very simplistic about the solutions to tough problems.

5. Novels in Verse



Ugh.  I’m not a huge poetry fan, anyway, and I just can’t stand this trend.  It usually seems like the description should be “a mixture of run-on sentences and short, choppy sentences


Random line

Breaks, so

I can call it poetry.”

6. Be a Later Volume in a Series I Haven’t Started


I’m sure that this won’t sound weird to my book nerds, but I DO NOT read series out of order.

7. Heroine Sounds Useless


‘Nuff said.

Probably there are other things, but this is what I could think of.

Ruby Red (Or Pomegranate)

Ruby by Francesca Lia Block and Carmen Staton


First Look:

Absolutely love it!  It’s so pretty in concept and execution, and it has a very fairy-tale-esque look.

Jacket Copy:

From the beloved author of Necklace of Kisses comes a modern-day fairy tale of a willful and intuitive heroine and a world of shocking realism and transcendent magic.

Francesca Lia Block, this time with co-writer Carmen Staton, introduces readers to Ruby, a Midwestern girl named for the jewel that is believed to ward off evil spirits. Ruby’s special gift is a sixth sense that makes her at one with nature and gives her the ability to know her own destiny.

After growing up in an abusive family, Ruby escapes to Los Angeles and learns of her soulmate — Orion — a British actor. She travels to England, where she works at a potions and herbs shop, and through a series of coincidental circumstances, ends up nursing Orion back to health without confessing that she has been on a quest to find him all along. But just when she thinks her dream is becoming a reality, Ruby is stopped in her tracks by the violent demons of her past. Only by facing the darkness together can she and Orion finally fulfill their destiny.

As with Necklace of Kisses, Block, here with Staton, breaks the mold. In Ruby, readers will find a story about the power of our minds to overcome the past and ultimately change the course of our lives. Continue reading

Lost in Translation

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


First Look:

Screams “paranormal teen romance” to me.  I was not convinced by the cover, but rather by the:

Jacket Copy:

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime. Continue reading

Ghosts of Yesterday

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff


First Look:

Wow.  Just wow.  Yovanoff always gets awesome covers for her books.

Jacket Copy:

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by theNew York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between. Continue reading

Quick Takes #3: Meh.

Books That Made Me Say, “Meh.”

I’m getting close to caught up such that there’s a reasonable gap between finishing a book and writing its review (say, 5-7 days instead of a month).  So, to help myself along, and also to write some reviews that I don’t have a lot to say about, I thought it was time for another Quick Takes.  These are all books that are not awful, and in many cases, I can’t even point to any one thing that I didn’t like; however, they just didn’t have a spark for me.  Since it’s sort of a less exciting subject, I’m including suggestions of similar books to read instead.

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: the True Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Jane Yolen


There isn’t much to say about this.  The “True Tale”  in the title makes me think that it will be an innovative or motivation-revealing retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  Instead, it’s more of an origin story.  Basically all of the story takes place before the christening, let alone the spindle.  Maybe a lot of my problem is an advertising problem rather than a story problem, but I didn’t think that the story was that great.  Very predictable.  Also, really insistent on traditional gender roles.

I have read other Yolen that I liked much better.

Read instead: Francesca Lia Block’s fairy tale retellings, Robin McKinley

Spindlers by Lauren Oliver


I’m sad to say this, because I think Oliver is a rising star of YA lit, but this book, despite some delightful characters, felt like ground that’s been tread over too many times. I’ve seen lots of other similar stories.

Read Instead: Coraline, Fairyland books by Catherynne Valente, watch Labyrinth.

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede


I was trying to figure out what about this book made it so unremarkable to me, and I think it’s the characters.  The worldbuilding is awesome, and I loved it.  However, the characters felt like cutouts, like stereotypes.  I just couldn’t identify with them, not even Taemon (the MC).  I may actually give this series another chance, based on the worldbuilding alone.

Read Instead: Chalice by Robin McKinley (can you tell I love her?), Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman

Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Louise Engdahl


This one may not deserve to be on this list, because it’s good for what it is.  It’s a coming-of-age/romance, and as that, it’s fine.  I was just hoping for a little more, since I remembered the author’s Enchantress from the Stars as being a bit more profound (but it’s been years, so could be misremembering/reading differently nowadays).  Don’t read it prepared to focus on science, because you won’t get it.  Apart from some Star Trek: TOS-era ideas (it was originally published in 1970 (space travel=world peace, criminals commit crime because they are criminals, and “normal” people won’t commit crimes if they are fed and housed)), there’s really nothing wrong with it.  If you want a sweet romance in an uncommon setting, read it!

Read Instead: Well, Enchantress from the Stars, I think.


All were borrowed from work.