Saturday, January 28, 2012

On Wolves

How do I love thee, Maggie...let me count the ways. 

So, I just finished reading the last in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series and could wax poetic about it for just...well, Forever. Suffice it to say, if you have not read Maggie, get thee to a bookstore QUICKLY!

Linger, book number 2 in the trilogy, was a wonderful follow-up to Shiver. Seeing what life is now like for Sam and Grace now that Sam is "cured"...wondering what will become of the wolves since Mr. Blah is determined to rid Mercy Falls of Isabel will recover from the loss of her brother...and oh, yeah, what of that newly turned wolf Beck just brought to town? Oh, and what's wrong with Grace??? So many questions and so much action and just the right touch of romance...I just couldn't put it down. Maggie can definitely weave a good yarn.

Which leads me into Forever. It is the last book in the trilogy and I was thrilled with the story, although sad to say goodbye to the characters. In this last part of Grace and Sam's story, there is much tension derived from Grace now having shifted to a wolf and it's Sam's turn to watch for her and wonder about her. Cole, whom we discover has many redeeming qualities, is in search for a true cure since we now know that Sam's cure isn't a true cure. And he and Isabel chink away at each other's armor with fascinating results. We even end up forgiving Grace's parents...well, somewhat anyway. 

This series made me think about the meaning of true love, the value of real friends, the boundaries of loyalty among friends, and doing the "right thing."  Maggie did a splendid job of tying up all the loose ends and leaving us with the feeling that Forever, for the characters involved, will be a remarkable journey with a happy ending.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rock Star

A fact about me...Jane Austen is one of my VERY favorite authors of all time. Since she only wrote 6 novels, I've read and re-read them all many times. So when I discovered modern authors writing continuations of those novels, twists on those novels, etc., I had to check them out. I've enjoyed many of those, found some mildly entertaining...but one of the things most important to me in a book like that is that the author keep the characters, well in character. For instance, when I read Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, I thought it was a really creative take on the story. And I enjoyed that Seth Grahame-Smith put a modern cultural element (zombies) into the classic...and I liked that fact that, for the most part, I could actually see Elizabeth or Mr. Darcy acting in that fashion. But I found it extremely disturbing when I felt the action was out of character...when I thought to myself, "Elizabeth would never do that!"

Seeing as I'm such a fan of characters staying in character, I was enormously pleased with Heather Rigaud's novel, Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star. This novel, set in modern day, has Elizabeth and Darcy taking on one another as members of rock bands touring together. Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and friend Charlotte combine to create the girl band Long Borne Suffering. Darcy, Bingley, and Darcy's cousin Richard Fitzwilliam, are the stars of the successful and wildly popular rock band, Slurry. I absolutely loved the idea that these characters would meet while touring the U.S. And it was brilliant to use MTV as a conduit for information regarding the band members. 

There are elements from the classic, such as certain lines and Ms. Rigaud included the sparring between Elizabeth and Darcy that I found so entertaining in Austen's version. There are newer elements for making this modern...Elizabeth and Darcy have *gasp* sex...there is drug/alcohol addiction, a pedophile...well, this is rock and roll! But what I most enjoyed about the novel is that for the most part, the personality of the original characters is maintained. And Ms. Rigaud does a splendid job of explaining the psychology behind why the characters have those personalities. And that made the book something that I still can't stop thinking about.

In the original, we know that Elizabeth is seen as the smart or witty daughter as compared to her beautiful sister, Jane. But Ms. Rigaud goes further by showing us the effects of these comparisons on Elizabeth's psyche. And in the original, we know that Darcy's parents died young. In this version, we see how they died and how these deaths would effect his ability to have relationships...and how this would manifest itself outwardly and make him appear "proud". The characters of Jane and Bingley are just as amiable in this version as the original. However, we get to delve further into the characters of Charlotte and Richard Fitzwilliam...and while their characters stray furthest away from their original counterparts, they add much flavor to the tale. Ms. Rigaud's incorporation of Caroline, Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins and other characters is also quite creative. I even enjoyed what she did with Wickham's character to make him the evil cad.

All in all, I'd highly recommend this novel whether you've read the original or not. It doesn't lose anything if you haven't read Austen's version. You'll still find it enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


No, I'm not Shiver-ing because of the temperatures (it's actually quite mild for early January in Colorado...until tomorrow, anyway =)'s because I recently read Maggie Stiefvater's young adult novel Shiver. It's the first in her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Now I already knew I LOVED Maggie having read her Books of Faerie,  Lament and Ballad. But this novel moved me to Shiver-ing. 

It's the story of Grace...who, as a young girl, was attacked by wolves. Since then, she's been obsessed with the wolf pack that inhabits the woods behind her house...and one wolf in particular. Her yellow-eyed wolf, who watches her all winter. 

It's also the story of Sam, who is Grace's yellow-eyed wolf. He saved her six years ago when his pack members dragged her from her backyard swing. And he's been obsessed with her ever since.

After a student at Grace's school is attacked and killed by the wolf pack, town members go to the woods and hunt down the pack. During the hunt, Sam (as wolf) is shot and Grace finds him (as human) on her back porch. 

As Grace and Sam deal with the fallout of the student's death (and rebirth as a werewolf) they also have the chance to learn about one another as humans and their love born between girl and wolf. There is also the mystery of how Grace remained human after her wolf attack and how to possibly keep Sam in human form.

The story itself is gripping and dramatic but what makes it so much more worthy of reading is Maggie's stunning prose. It is beautiful and she describes the events and landscape both viscerally. I can't wait to finish the trilogy and gobble up anything else Ms. Stiefvater ever writes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Year in Review

Howdy and welcome to my book blog! I intend to mainly blog about books as I am a serious bookworm.I am an avid reader and use as much of my free time as possible reading. I love reading (did I mention that already? =) and I love talking about what I read...sharing my passion for books with others.I read a bit of everything so I hope you'll read about something you enjoy and I hope to inspire you to possibly try something new. So, grab a drink, snuggle up and enjoy!


I decided that my very first blog post would be a list of some of my favorites books I read in 2011, although they weren't necessarily published in 2011. I didn't want to inundate you with reviews of all those books so I've chosen some of my very favorites from different genres. Hopefully, you'll find something new on my list to try. This post will be a little longer since I'm covering so many books but don't worry, they won't always be this lengthy. Although, they will probably be wordy since I DO like to discuss books.

In the Young Adult (YA) category, my favorites of the year are:

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
This book, about the interactions between a kidnapper and his victim, was very intriguing and a little disturbing.

Raised by Wolves and Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Ms. Barnes was a new to me author, and recommended by a co-worker/friend. I found Raised by Wolves to be highly entertaining yet thoughtful. And Trial by Fire was even better! 

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
It was a toss up between Last Sacrifice (last book in Vampire Academy series) and Bloodlines (first book in spinoff series) but I ended up going with Bloodlines because I really wondered if Ms. Mead could make the spinoff as exciting as Vampire Academy. I was pleasantly rewarded in my loyalty to Ms. Mead...she did not disappoint! 

In the Fiction category:

These books will give some insight as to where I was personally this year. However, they are all wonderful reads:

Your Roots are Showing by Elise Chidley
A delightful read about what happens in a marriage when you accidentally send an email blasting your husband to your husband, rather than your intended recipient, your sister.

Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
I found this book about finding life and yourself wonderfully insightful.

Just Sex by Susan Kay Law
I enjoyed reading about the differences between men and women and their ideas about fidelity in a marriage, as well as, how a family picks up the pieces of a broken marriage.

Morning Light by Abigail Reynolds
This follow-up to The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice was just as enjoyable.

In the Historical Romance genre:

Grace Burrowes' regency series (The Duke's Obsession trilogy) were delightful! The Heir, The Soldier and Virtuoso all were wonderfully written, fun reads. While not everything was historically accurate, the characters were so charming that I could overlook the inaccuracies. And if only parents had been able to show their offspring this kind of affection...oh, I can't choose a favorite. Gayle Windham, the Earl of Westhaven, in The Heir, was so stodgy that you love watching him fall. You rooted for Devlin St. Just, in The Soldier, because he deserved some happiness in his life. And Valentine Windham, The Virtuoso, mm-mmm...

Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels was a gem. I was so happy to have come upon this book on my nook. I really, really enjoyed the character development in this book. I was impressed with how Ms. Chase showed us the history of the characters which shaped them into the characters we meet and how true love can break through the toughest barriers.

Maggie Robinson's Mistress by Marriage rounded out her trilogy of courtesans and I think this one was my favorite. 

In the Science Fiction/Fantasy category:

I was once again thrilled with the latest in the series by Kim Harrison (Pale Demon - The Hollows series), Patricia Briggs (River Marked - Mercy Thompson series), and Ilona Andrews (Magic Slays - Kate Daniels series).

In the Urban Fantasy category:

I read several new authors' debuts in 2011 in this category and was impressed by them all. Everlong, first in a series by Hailey Edwards stood out, as well as, Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle. I also enjoyed a trilogy that I found on my nook (for free, I might add) by Nicky Charles. If you enjoy werewolf stories with interesting mythos and great character development, check out Ms. Charles series The Mating, The Keeping, and The Finding. You just don't find good lit like this for FREE!

In the Paranormal Romance category:

I continue to enjoy Lydia Dare's regency/werewolf series. And I read a few other new-to-me authors...Thea Harrison's debut Dragon Bound (first in her Elder Races series) and Rebecca Zanetti's Fated (first in her vampire series). I found both authors' debuts very engaging and I particularly like Ms. Zanetti's twist on vampire lore.

Lastly, in the Contemporary Romance category:

I enjoyed A Rare Gift from Jaci Burton, as well as books from Carolyn Brown and Katie Lane (both cowboy romance series). I also really enjoyed a new-to-me author's series about 3 siblings who own and run a brewery in Boulder, CO. Victoria Dahl's series beginning with Good Girls Don't is definitely worth the time.

Okay, so that's my list. I have many, many others but those are the highlights. Happy New Year and I'll get my next post out soon...I already have 2 books I want to share. =)