Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Roving Reader

It's a book of bookshelves!
Unique and incredible in their own rights, it provides inspiration as well as where to find them should one not be quite as crafty (*raises hand*...hey some of these are complex!).

BOOKSHELF
By
Alex Johnson

So, what caught your eye when out and about?
Do tell!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SUMMER READING: Everywhere to run, but NOWHERE to hide...

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you’re in the mood for food of the bookish variety.  Something to satiate the imagination, perplex the palette or tantalize your curiosity, perhaps?  Ah, then today’s post is right up your alley…you dark, twisted, spooky-creepy-something’s-going-to-jump-out-and-get-you alley.  *-*


Today’s post is going is to be interesting if I do say so myself.  Why?  Well, you see I’m sporting bright colors today, right down to my pink plaid deck shoes (love deck shoes!  You know the ones with the shorter front and the little laces?  ^_^) and the book I’ll be discussing is a Young Adult title that’s certainly not rainbows and sunshine…but it IS really good and from an author that is becoming a staple in my personal library.  It’ll be a balancing act on my part as to sides of my multi-faceted reading personality work together to form a cohesive (and readable) post.  Let’s see where it goes, shall we?

The book I made mention of comes to us today from across the pond…as in it just released last month in the UK but doesn’t have a US release date at this point in time (at least as I’m typing this post, that I’m aware of).  Not to worry!  You too can fall in love (hmm, too sunshiny for the book…perhaps fall in strict attention?) with this new work of terror-ific Young Adult fiction…you’ll just have to seek it out online for purchase at this time.  Anywho, allow me to introduce you to the latest from one of the masterminds of the darker side of YA lit and today’s book of choice…


By

From the publisher
Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you.

Every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage, hell-bent on killing you - and only you.

Friends, family, even your mum and dad, will turn on you. They will murder you. And when they have, they will go back to their lives as if nothing has happened.

The world has the Fury. It will not rest until you are dead.




This is an incredible rush considering it comes in at over 500+ pages.  That’s right…another chunkster of a book but really, when an author can hold your attention (let alone that of some teen readers) for that long and you still be on the edge of your seat, salivating for the next book…they’re definitely doing something right. 

From the moment we step into this new adventure, we are greeted with murder, mayhem and a whole lot of confusion.  No really, Benny Millston doesn’t last very long, so don’t get too attached.  He’s not a main character to say the least (especially since main characters usually last longer than the first chapter… *-*) but he is used to illustrate a point…the fury, long before its christened with that name, has begun and just how to stop it is anybody’s guess.  It begins with a thump-thump inside the brain, carries on as those around you somehow overlook you, and carries on til it reaches full blown chaosis.

I think that’s part of the “terror” that is imparted to readers…that not knowing how to deal with it because what it is exactly is hard to pinpoint.  Does it come from a place of grace or pure evil?  Is the cause righteous and the effects the anomaly or vice versa?   Don’t think you’re getting a cut and dry answer to that one either because your opinion of the matter will change five times over throughout the course of the story.  I mean, even as I’m typing this I had to go back and reread the last chapter to wrap my mind around my final impressions of what’s to come…it’s just that intense.  The same goes without saying for the extensive cast of characters…

Some you’ll love, some you’ll…not-so-love; some are just downright hated.  Yes, there is a difference between the two and the later comes from determining not only their moral code but their goodness in the end.  Every “starring” character we meet face to face…from how the Fury presented itself to them, what they had to do to escape a fate worse than death and how they are coping with things now that the world has gone all topsy-turvy on them.  There is a chapter at least devoted to each of their tales, so the back story is built just so.  Of the many faces we meet, my favorites have to be Cal, Daisy, and Brick. 

Cal was a super star amongst his group, athletic, leader of his mates, and yet still a nice guy to know…these traits carry on now that all heck is breaking lose, and he shares his good natured self with those in his inner circle as well as those still coming forth to join their motley crew.  With kindness in his heart, an able body, and strength to defend those in need, he’s an asset on all fronts to their cause.  Daisy was a well loved little girl, the apple of her parent’s eyes, so much so in fact that in lieu of causing harm…well, let’s just say that they pay a great sacrifice in order to keep her safe just a little while longer.  Her story begins differently in this way but it also plays right into the abilities she shows as the story moves on. 

Her vision is crystal clear (pun totally intended for those of you that have read the book) and despite the world crumbling around them, she still tries to see the good in all; something that will serve her well when her own transformation comes.  Last but not least is Brick…nice name, right?  Just blame it on his hair, build and mindset (sorry, he’s a tough nut to crack!).  Despite initial outward appearances though, he does have quite a bit of heart and is the lifeline that begins to help others connect the dots on what’s going on.  He’s had a bit of a hard life compared to some of the others but it did manage to show him how to be tough when need be, to handle bad situations that happen to good people, and to carry on when the going seems too tough to manage.  Yes indeed…character building is one of the things this author has in the bag…but not just of the possible good guys…

On the “are-they-bad-evil-or-misunderstood” front, we have the “man in the storm” …this swirling abyss of nothingness akin to the creature of a similar name from The Neverending Story and yet oh-so-much darker.  *-*  Can’t spoil this introduction for you guys but just be sure you’re reading it in the daytime…or with your fur baby close by to scare away the lingering thoughts.  There’s no doubt in my mind this thing is evil but what it is and why it’s here is the bigger mystery and one that will be pursued further in book two I’d imagine.  We’re given some clues here but not quite enough to unravel everything.  Also on the questionable front is Rilke and Schiller…a sister brother duo that show up out of the blue at their little camp site (okay, not a camp site…but an old amusement park they’ve holed up in). 

They seem to have been through the same trials as the others and yet only more so…speeding up a process of some sort that seems to be changing them into something more.  The interesting part is that Schiller is comatose for most of the story and yet plays a vital role in the final fourth of the book.  Rilke is awake and trying to find her footing in this strange new world, but always tends to be drawn to the darker side of things.  What’s that?  Someone needs killing?  She’ll do it!  What’s this?  Someone is being held hostage until they can sort out how to stop people’s reactions to them because they are a loved one and deep down one of them knows they are not gone but merely lost?  Pfft!  Nope…dead again.  Yeah, she’s a pistol with OR without one (not a good idea to have her around firearms…just saying)…and one that will be interesting to watch as things unfold.

All in all, an edge of your seat thrill ride filled with enough emotions to stop you dead in your tracks.  You’re all over the board with this one from happiness and mirth to fear and loathing to downright scared out of your mind and run for cover, there’s no way to anticipate the deadly drops in this tale…but why would you want to?  That anticipation, that not knowing is what keeps you coming back for more as you try to unravel what’s really going on at the heart of things and in the end, discover more truths about the world around us than you may be ready to admit.  We see the best of humanity and the absolute worst as the story develops and it’s that connection to the here and now that makes you devour this tale THAT much faster.  Just who will conquer all?  I’ll be waiting with baited breath to answer that question right alongside many of you…

Review copy courtesy of Laura at Faber & Faber.  (THANKS!)  For more information on their great list of titles as well as this book (and its sequel, The Storm, coming soon!), be sure to visit them online, like them on Facebook, or follow one of their feeds on Twitter. To discover more about author Alexander Gordon Smith’s literary worlds (remember Furnace?  This is the same author!), find him online, or follow along on Twitter.  This book is available now in the UK…seek thee out a copy online should your desire to embark on this adventure be to great to ignore (I know mine was).

Until next time…happy reading!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Simmer by Kaitlyn Davis

Hello there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place the be when you’re in the mood for good company, a fun bookish discussion and of course, your potential next read!




Today, we play host to a book tour making its way through the blogosphere via Tribute Books Blog Tours (Hi, Nicole!) and starring a Young Adult ebook series you won’t want to miss. Okay, so it's actually for book two in the series, but when the option was presented to feature BOTH titles, I took it and ran.  That’s right!  I’m admitting right here, right now that I DID in fact enjoy them…so if you want to cut out to the “what-book-is-it” part, feel free, but if you’d rather hear (well, read) my thoughts…keep chugging right along because here they come.  Today’s books of choice are from the Midnight Fire series by Kaitlyn Davis…


Book 1:  Ignite

Welcome to Charleston County High School!  It’s your Senior year and you’ve just been dropped off in the middle of no-man’s-land to finish off your pre-college (or in Kira’s case, pre-gap year) days.  Aren’t you special?  *-*  No, not really because who wants to switch schools at this point in their lives?  *crickets*  Exactly.  It’s hard enough being the new girl (I should know!) but when you’re working with those who’ve mostly known each other for at least 2-3 years, let’s just say making friends is not the easiest thing to do.  Lucky for our leading lady, she has a knight in shining armor to take the lead.

Luke is certainly not hard on the eyes, quick with the wit and a blast (no pun intended…yet) to be around.  The typical good guy, he’s one of those that can either be your best friend for life or something more, but Kira’s fate seems to be tied to the later…for now.  There’s another vying for her interest though not quite as hard (at first).  He’s a bit of an outcast for reasons to be explained and falls under the “bad boy” category with flying colors (though if he has a heart of gold, you’ll have to read to reveal)…his name is Tristan.  He’s “been around”, knows the lay of the land, and how to bring color to a girls cheeks…oh and did I mention he’s not hard on the eyes either?  What’s a girl to do?  Oh wait…that’s not the whole gist of the story! 

You see there’s this whole part about Kira’s hidden past and in discovering who or what she is, she could destroy the very life she’s been building to the core.  It involves a world of Protectors and Punishers with powers , vampires that can go in the sun AND have a heartbeat, a plotline building to a crescendo that’s ready to explode!  But I digress…I shall sum this one up with an acknowledgement that the book lives up to its title; it will “ignite” a desire in you to read on.  Now, let’s have a looksie at the second installment….





Book 2:  Simmer

Again, a book true to its title, this one takes everything that was added to the pot in the last story and brings it to a nice rolling simmer.  Feelings are expressed, connections (literal and emotional) are explored, boundaries are tested and Kira learns more about where she comes from…and possibly what her future holds for her.  This time around, there’s more planning and plotting going on but with plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.  There’s certain parts where I kept being interrupted in my read and really, you simply can’t put it down.  The history of Punishers and Protectors is explained in more detail (not boringly so either, just more in-depth so we see where everyone is coming from), Tristan’s nature is tested as is his control, Luke pushes the limits of his friendship with Kira and the face down we’ve been waiting for comes to fruitation…with surprising results.  Yes, this was a great addition to the series indeed and one I’m sure you’ll be pining for once you’ve read book one.



Now to summarize….

THE GOOD:  If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction, this one’s for you.  We’ve got vampires, non-vampires, and humans (notice there are THREE distinctions…the reason for that is mentioned above for those of you that skimmed the post…^_^), a love triangle, friendships to test, lives that can be destroyed, secret pasts lurking in the shadows and unknowable futures that contain far more than what they’ll be doing this weekend. You'll make friends with Kira, choose sides with Tristan and Luke, and fall in love with the story at heart about a girl with so bright a future....even shades aren't gonna cut it. 

THE NOT-SO-GOOD:  There are a few grammatical issues scattered about (very few, but still there) and the vague likeness of the work at times to other pop culture icons in this arena (i.e. Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) can give you a crick in the neck….but again these have a minor effect on the overall work.  Once you’re hooked, believe me…you’ll be coming back for more.

THE UGLY:  Hmm…umm….NADA.  Nope.  Can’t honestly think of a thing to fit into this category…then why the inclusion of it?  Well, it rounded things out.  ^_^  ..plus I like to keep you guessing.  (hehe)  No really, there’s no “ugly” running around these parts unless you include a character or two you love to hate, but then again THAT’S what they’re there for!



Author Kaitlyn Davis

In conclusion, a great series you won’t want to miss.  (Wait, I think I said that already…cie la vie, it warranted a double statement of it.)  I wasn’t sure what to expect honestly when I first started and the vague references to other works made me question my choice further, but once I finally plunged into Ms. Davis’ world, there was no turning back.  The story caught fire as did my interest and I’ll be fanning the flames until the release of book three.  (Anyone know when it’s coming out?  I needz to know what happens next!)

Ebooks for review courtesy of Nicole at Tribute Books Blog Tours.  (THANKS!)  For more information on these titles as well as their upcoming tours, feel free to visit them online.  As this is a part of a blog tour, my site is not the only stop so be sure to check out all the fun to be had as author Kaitlyn Davis makes her way through the blogosphere at the official tour site.  Today's scheduled stops also include Books-n-Kisses and All Things Books; tomorrow be on the look out for her next appearance at Fictional Candy and vvb32 readsSpeaking of the author, she can be found other places online as well so if you’re inclined to like, follow, pin, or visit…feel free to click through the links included here and you’ll be whisked away to her neck of the virtual woods. 

The first two books in the Midnight Fire series are available now; here are a few sites to get you started should the desire to purchase be stronger than the time it takes to search them out online…


AMAZON    |    NOOK    |    SMASHWORDS



Until next time…happy reading!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taste Testing Tuesdays


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
 
On the menu this week...one book that I'm trying to conquer that's been lingering for a bit...and another I'm itching to start as soon as the other book is finished.  Ready?  Set?  READ!
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
 
In the distance on top of a hill stood Jerusalem, the city of God, and I couldn't take my eyes off it.  There it is, I thought as I stared at the city in the distance glowing with its magnificence, surrounded by strong and powerful walls.  It was breathtaking, so beautiful, and majestic.
-- pg 55, The Sword that Pierced by Soul by Barbara Hodgson
 
So, very different from my usual read, I know.  This is a fictional telling of the life of Mary inspired by what we've been told biblically...and while there are verses strewn here and there, this is more about the journey and her connections to mankind, to every other mother that came before and will come after her, because although she was chosen to be the earthly mother of Jesus...she was still human.  Nuff said...for now.  Hoping to finish this one tonight or tomorrow (struggling a bit...eek!)....review to come.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I wanted to ignore him, but I felt this pressure in my mind, and a familiar buzzing, and I ...I didn't.  Prophet released my mom, but kept her by his side. Her cheeks and eyes were wet, but shining. Happy.  Looking at her gave me pause.  She was transformed.
-- pg 286, Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (ARC)
Whoa whoa whoa....who is the Prophet?  Why are they called that?  Is it a he or a she?  Who's speaking/thinking this passage and what's with the buzzing?  Too many questions and no answers yet as this is my first taste of this one as well.  Definitely has me curious though...and how ironic that there's a "prophet" considering my other read up there.... 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
Until next time....happy reading!
 
 

Monday, June 25, 2012

SUMMER READING: Wield your words wisely...

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…where despite Mother Nature’s attempts to blow us off the map, we’re still trucking along like all is well (we just look like ducks since we’re all running around with yellow raincoats on!). 




Today, I am playing the roles of both “Insatiable Reader” AND “Reading Rebel”.  Yep, that’s right.  This weekend did not go according to plan (eh, cie la vie) but I DID manage to get in a decent amount of reading and I’ll let you in on a little secret…one was a book I didn’t agree to review, but simply selected for my reading pleasure.  GASP! Shock. AWE!  ^_^  Now, don’t get me wrong, the books I agree to review are carefully selected by yours truly, so they are in fact intended to be of interest to my own reading tastes, but sometimes there’s that one book you just happen upon for no rhyme or reason and you simply must drop everything and READ IT NOW.  This was one of those books…

Today’s selection falls squarely into the land of Children’s Fiction but don’t let that fool you…it has word building power like you wouldn’t believe!  No, really…we’re talking SAT words for crying out loud but you know what?  That really helps (for some) adult readers to see the appeal (me on the other hand, I am the Zimmerman of the reading world….if it sounds good, READ IT!  Hmm, may have to work that in to a byline somewhere…).  It’s a fantastic read that I hadn’t heard of prior to purchasing but now that I have, books two and three are on my wish list.  Ready to get started?  Here we go!  Today’s book of choice is…


By
J.T. Petty
Illustrated by
Will Davis

If you like fairies, hobgoblins and clever little girls, you are in for a treat!  Clemency Pogue is the name of the child mentioned, and clever is the simplest of definitions for her.  She is smart, quick with a quip, creative in solving problems, handy with a needle and thread (she made her own pants!)…and perfectly wonderful at happening upon the names of supposedly imaginary creatures in order to gain unexpected control of them so they can aid her in her quest to right an unfortunate wrong she began unknowingly.  *whew…mouthful* 

The wrong committed?  Fairy killing in the first degree (or maybe third, I get all confuzzled at that part).  You remember the tale of Peter Pan and kindly yet jealous Tinkerbell?  Well, so does Clem and when faced with a fairy they will not shoo, she uses her words as any good child should to put an end to the situation….once and for all.  She fires…and misses.  She speaks again…to no avail.  Seven times later the miscreant little devil is kaput…but what of the other six proclamations of her non-belief that were spoken?  Uh-oh…hence the unfortunate wrong I mentioned.

Thus starts the short yet not entirely sweet but wholly endearing tale of Clem and her mission to somehow save the downed fairies as well as those they were assisting at the time of their demise. But what if not all the fairies should be revived?  I mean would you want to bring back the Fairy of Frequent and Painful Pointless Antagonism (that’s her position/title mind you not her actual name…they’re very secretive of those)?  I think not!  It takes her on a journey across the world (or rather through it…hobgoblins apparently like to travel subterranean style) to fields and forests, houses and shacks until she winds up back where she began…or rather with the same problem she started with.  Let’s just say that some fairies carry a grudge when they are snuffed out by the words of a child…

A fun, fast and fascinating read ala Series of Unfortunate Events or Elliot and the Goblin King (The Underworld Chronicles); the creativity unleashed in such a sort span of pages is wonderful.  I was drawn to the book by the curious title; stuck around to find out more because of the interesting cover.  In the end, I was stuck to the pages like the stickystones are to the cap of our hobgoblin friend…and when I discovered there were further adventures (two to be precise), I quickly added them to my wish list.  I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Pogue’s adventures and highly suggest those of you with imagination and the ability to laugh at puns no matter how small (or intended), follow suit.

Review copy from my personal library thanks to my friend Nayuleska!  (THANKS!)  If this sounds like an adventure for you, seek the out a copy at your local bookstore.  Recommended read for middle grade readers and beyond.

Until next time…happy reading!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Roving Reader

WILMA TENDERFOOT, BOOK 3:
THE CASE OF THE FATAL PHANTOM
by
Emma Kennedy

Love the title...love the cover (see the puppy in the bookcase?).  Sounds like a cute series.

So...what did you find when out and about?
Do tell!

^_^

Friday, June 22, 2012

A little laughter never hurt anyone...

Hi guys!
Welcome back to a super speedy Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. 

Today's edition may seem a bit morbid especially since I spent most the day at the hospital waiting for Mom to be discharged (no worries she FINALLY was!), but I promise, it's all in good fun. It's a sequel to a book I featured some time last year that's a quick easy fun filled read you have to see to believe.  Ready for the big reveal?  Here goes.  Today's book of choice is...

ALL MY FRIENDS ARE STILL DEAD
by
Avery Monsen and Jory John

Yes...you read that title correctly, STILL dead; as in the sequel to the first book, ALL MY FRIENDS AS DEAD from this same dynamic duo. It's another illustrated page turner that will have you holding your sides as you try and contain your mirth.  It has everything from the janitor whose friends are all garbage to a lottery ticket whose friends are all losers (get it? Ha!), but what puts the extra bit of charm in is the recurring characters. 

The first one is a robot who goes from being non-programed to seeking friends in all the wrong places....or at least with less than friendly electronics.  He's sweet in his efforts despite being made of bits and bobbins.  The second one is human..  just lacking time spent with others of kind...that have a pulse. Yeah...let's just say his social skills are lacking leading to some less than enjoyable attempts at meeting the opposite sex. (Too funny....sad but funny... ^_^)

All in all, a greatly humorous read that I would recommend for older teens and beyond.  If you like a good laugh or simply enjoy those moments in life where the obvious has been stated but at JUST the right moment, this one's for you. 

Review copy checked out while on break at job two. To obtain a copy all your own, be on the lookout at a bookstore near you.  This book was released by Chronicle Books; for more information, seek thee out their website, or Twitter feed.

Until next time...all my friends byte (ha! Get it? Cuz your online? ^_^)...and happy reading!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

SUMMER READING: Come on in, the water is FINE!

Why hello there!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…where the chosen book may surprise but the content will always intrigue.

Today we are jumping back to our bookish roots and catching a few waves with a Young Adult title that burst on the scene just last month.  From an author that is somewhat local to my area (how cool is that?!) and featuring the latest trend in YA lit today in an undersea adventure you won’t want to miss, may I present you with today’s book of choice….


Of Poseidon
By

From the publisher
Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.


Yes, we ARE diving right into this review because frankly, sometimes you just have to.  This was one of those reads that sports a rather interesting combination…a curious cover with a gorgeous color scheme and a title that demands explanation; that later part, is done throughout the book but even now I’m still a wee bit fuzzy on it (my brain…sometimes it doesn’t connect the dots so easily).  First, let’s talk general story…

If you haven’t guessed, we’re dealing with mermaids…oh wait, excuse me, Syrenians in this case.  They are essentially the same mythical creature (just don’t tell THEM that…or at least duck if you do!) except they have a much more sordid history and the ability to go all “Little Mermaid” on you whenever the itch strikes.  Confused?  Sorry!  Allow me to explain.  Once upon a time there were two kingdoms residing under the sea, in an effort to not steal Galen’s thunder, I won’t divulge all the details but suffice it to say a accident occurred, followed my a HUGE misunderstanding and now the two factions would rather swim the English channel every day for kicks then cross fins.  Yeah…it’s a bit of a mess, but things are looking up now that an old law thought obsolete may come into play.  It has to do with the royals of both families marrying to keep the gifts of Triton and Poseidon from being lost and…it never really mattered since the king swore he’d never be mated again.  Anyone else smell a secret brewing here?  Ah, good nose…but it’s not what you might be thinking…

Something is in the water; a presence felt but not yet understood….by any parties.  You see, Syrena can sense each other when in water (some even on land…HELLO Galen!), some better than others (meet Toraf, an expert tracker), which not only helps them to communicate but to stay out of each others way.  This presence is something…or rather someone new; so new in fact, they don’t even know they exist.  Okay, well not that side of them anyway.  Convincing them is going to be a task and a half too, especially when the explainer and the explainee get a wee tad too close in the feeling department.  Best not to mix business with pleasure Galen, or didn’t your kingly brother Grom teach you that?  If things don’t get sorted out soon, it could spell disaster for them all…but that’s the least of their worries at this moment; especially when the Prince is in love with the king’s promised “right”.  *dun dun dunnnnnnn*  Now on to that second part I mentioned…

The “Little Mermaid” remark was not merely stated to T off any Syrenians reading this (just kidding, it’s fiction…or is it? LOL.), but to make a point.  You know how in that particular story, Ariel was all “I-want-to-be-on-land” and the Ursula was all “okay-if-you-give-me-your-voice-so-I-can-live-out-my-American-Idol-dreams-and-steal-the-all-powerful-tritan-you-can-haz-legs-and-walk-not-on-water” (^_^).  Well, there’s no sea witchy deals here, but they CAN transform their fishy bottoms (okay, that sounds weird, but you know what I mean) into legs at will.  It’s pretty cool actually, except for the whole life span shortening thing…oh, wait, I didn’t tell you about that now did I?  Syrena are fairly close to immortal…or rather they age INCREDIBLY slowly so they live for eons without the effects of time taking its toll on their form, a good thing too because if it did, they wouldn’t be able to go all camouflage in the water when they need to hide their presence (prune skin doesn’t exactly mesh with the ripples of the water)…which actually presents part of the conundrum with Emma.  Let’s talk characters…

Emma is a spirited albeit clumsy girl who never quite fit in.  She wasn’t an outcast or anything, but she made a close friend or two and just muddled through life the best she could without falling on her face.  Her clumsiness pays off during her Florida visit as she crash lands right into…the arms, excuse me, chest of one beachly hottie by the name of Galen…with a scowling Rayna (now SHE’S a net-ful, I mean handful!) at his side.  She’s embarrassed of course, and the girl’s scowl does nothing to help the situation but she dusts herself off, makes sure there’s no damages and scurries away with her bestie Chloe at her side; too bad for Chloe, Florida is not only known as the sunshine state but the last destination.  Things take a turn for the worst before getting better and then WAY worse, but she for the most part keeps her head about her, even if she is one to jump to conclusions a bit too much without enough information.  Moving forward….

Galen is…Galen is…okay, he’s a Prince who despite his monitoring of the human world, doesn’t really know a thing about how they work, feelings or otherwise.  To make it worse, he’s trying to balance his life under the sea with the world at his fin…I mean feet and the girl he may have just fallen for…HARD.  With a language barrier to break (sifting is to dating as mating is to….), a mystery to solve (just who IS Emma?), and high school to conquer, he really didn’t need something else to muddle his brain like “the pull”.  Remember I mentioned that Syrena can sense each other in the water?  Yeah, well it seems Galen can sense Emma OUT of the water as well and that magnetism is going to lead to some compromising situations. *wink wink*  Don’t worry, it doesn’t get too scandalous…but when you consider to whom she is promised if her heritage is proven….well, I’ll just let you bask in the glow of their infatuation and discover that issue on your own.

Rounding out our group is Rayna, Galen’s younger sister and Toraf, Galen’s best friend, big time tracker, and Rayna’s betrothed….not that it was her choice mind you, though to see them interact is so much more human than they realize (LOL)….and Rachel.  Rayna tries, but I never really felt comfortable with her character.  I think she’s always going to hold a grudge against Emma for whatever reason she chooses.  Toraf on the other hand, he’s a good guy…even if a bit dense at times.  They are an interesting pair and despite their feelings about Emma and/or Galen, rally when needed (or commanded) as the case may be.  Rachel is Galen’s assistant with a shady past (I think she’s suppose to be dead if some people had had their way… *-*), but my goodness can she get the job done!  Give her a task and it’ll be done in no time flat from securing a house several states away to getting a worried mother to agree to an away trip for her daughter with her new boyfriend to visit his sick grandmother.  Yeah, she’s cunning…just don’t get on her bad side.  All in all, a great cast of characters and one that I’m curious to explore further with the next installment.  Now for a few other things to note…

There were two other aspects of the book I wanted to mention briefly.  First, I found the setting to be really enchanting, it definitely helped to connected me with the story.  If you’ve ever read a book about somewhere you’ve been or lived…you know that connection I mean; its that little something extra that hooks you into the story because you can actually visualize the exact location they are in or perhaps even stood in that same spot.  That’s one of the cool points when it’s of work of fiction/fantasy set in the here and now.  The second item was a bit of a downer.  The histories of the two clans, families, groups, Syrenians I suppose…were a bit confusing to me.  It sorts its way out by book’s end with their visit to the archives and Galen’s solo visit to further understand Emma’s heritage or lack thereof, but for a good portion of the story I was left questioning the “of Poseidon” aspect.  What exactly did it mean to be “of Poseidon”?  You could simply talk to fish?  You were direct offspring or related somewhere down the line?  It was a bit befuddling but I think I’ve got my sea legs under me now with a clearer head.

In the end, it’s a story about discovering who we really are for better or worse and deciding what we’re going to do with it all...with a little romance along the way.  Life throws us a myriad of things, but it’s up to us if we catch them and run with it, or toss them aside and seek calmer waters.  Emma’s world is changed forever, but what that change means for her exactly remains to be seen.  All I know is that book 2 is definitely on my wish list…especially with an ending like that!  What were they doing?  How did they do it?  WHY did they do it? So many questions…and so much time until they are answered (no set time on the sequel as of this post).  Join me in my quandary? 

ARC for review courtesy of Ksenia at MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their completely fabulous catalog of bookish wonders, feel free to visit them online, check out their blog, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about author Anna Banks, be sure to stop by her blog, or follow her on Twitter.  This book was released May of this year from Feiwel and Friends and should be available on a bookstore shelf near you.  Recommended read for teens and beyond!

Until next time…happy reading!

                     

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This one's for the boys...AND girls! Ooh-rah!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the place to be when books is what you desire, but the genre is a mixed bag.  Today’s title falls directly into that mixed bag, especially since we’ve been featuring a few Children’s and Young Adult books as of late, but hey…if I didn’t keep you on your toes, who would?  Besides, reading outside your box can sometimes elicit surprising results…


Picture it.  A girl and a guy strolling along the street in a foreign land seemingly without a care in the world.  They are preceded by a larger balding man that looks like he could break bricks with his bare hands and his swaggering cohorts.  They notice not the couple at a distance; they are of no importance to them.  Their eyes ever watchful, they round a corner, finding a dark alleyway; the perfect cut through for a group of guys up to no good…so then why are the lady and gent following suit?  Caught off guard, they pause for a moment, however brief and then…nothing; the last thing they hear is the sound of their own bodies hitting the pavement.  The couple continue on their way without missing a beat, the guns in their concealed holsters still smoking.

Intrigued?  Good, just be sure you have all your wits about you for this one.  It’s the fictional endeavor (first in a series from what I understand!) from the author duo (and real life military men) that brought us the harrowing true life account published in Seal Team Six.  Now, I have not read that one nor have I any intentions to (though dear old Dad probably will, as it’s more his territory) but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a good fictionalized game of cat and mouse, now does it?  Didn’t think so.  Without further ado, today’s book of choice is…


By

From the publisher…
They are the Outcasts. Because people don’t want to know what they do.

Alex Brandenburg: SEAL Chief Petty Officer and Outcasts Team Leader. Disobeyed direct orders by refusing to let a deadly terrorist live to kill another day. Francisco “Pancho” Rodriguez and John Landry: SEAL Petty Officers First Class. Took the pursuit of justice into their own hands with explosive results. Catherine “Cat” Fares. Navy Petty Officer. Holds an unbeatable record for pissing off the top brass with her strongly stated opinions on the combat readiness of women.

The team’s mission: Take out the seven terror merchants vying to take Bin Laden’s place. The team’s status: Expendable.

When America’s controversial Phoenix Program was buried during the Vietnam War, a new program rose from its ashes. A top-secret Special Operations unit, with a core mission to combat terror wherever they find it, Bitter Ash grew ever more necessary in a new world of Islamic fanaticism. Now, Bitter Ash is forming a special team, a SEAL Team Six with a difference. It is Tier One, on par with SEAL Team Six and Delta, but it will report directly to Bitter Ash, and its fight will take place under the cover of dark.

With Bin Laden dead, the petty leaders within al Qaeda struggle to assume his role at the top. The president of the United States doesn’t want any of them left to dominate . . . and that means he has only one choice. But doing what’s needed without political repercussions will take a small team flying under the radar. A team capable of finessing the U.N.’s distinctions on national sovereignty and acts of war. A team like the Outcasts.

With no official support from their government and no one to rely on but themselves, the Outcasts must track down each target. Hot on the tail of the third, Brandenburg and the team start to realize that they are closing in on a larger plot, one that puts the security of the United States in dangerous jeopardy. The terrorists are threatening American territory once again, and the Outcasts will have to do what SEALs do best. Whatever it takes to keep their country safe.




Like I said, totally outside my box but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  When the review request arrived in my email, I was quick to think…yeah…so not for me…but as I try to do with any book that crosses my path, I did my due diligence.  I read the pitch in full; good, but no dice.  I read the book synopsis; mildly intrigued but not nearly enough to warrant interest.  Then, I read the chapter one excerpt that was sent along and BAM…I was hooked.

Now, ladies and gents (because I know I have a mixed audience out there…^_^), it does get technical on the weaponry, locations, and military jargon at times….but not so much so that the story is unreadable or un-enjoyable for a civilian such as myself.  For those that are into all the scopes and gadgets and Tangos and the like, you’ll adore that aspect of the writing because it comes from true insiders that have been there, done that, said that, and probably used most of what was used in the story.  For me, I was content in summing those sections up in my mind with…okay, they have a gun…now the bad guys are returning fire….and so on.  It may not be as exciting to some, but it worked for me.  Now back to me being hooked…

The intensity of the situation despite how quietly it was being carried out is what grabbed my attention in the excerpt.  It was a desperately tedious time in an operation that had been planned out for weeks with everything on the line…and it was all about to go down in flames.  One call whether right or wrong on both the part of the sniper and the commander (pardon me if I got the terms/titles wrong!) could make history for better or worse.  The moment comes.  The order is given.  The choice is made.  The outcome…not what you’d expect from an upstanding soldier so highly regarded amongst his peers and yet you may have a hard time condemning him.  (You’ll have to decide for yourself…)

It’s that unexpected edge, that twist you didn’t see coming that keeps this story moving as the off-the-grid officers check off those on their list that have definitely been naughty, not nice.  They are an elite group of misfits (hey, if the shoe fits…) specially trained by the world’s finest to carry out the dirty deeds those ahead of them would or could not accomplish.  It puts them in peril time and again while giving you a party to root for along the way.  We’re not talking elephants and donkeys here either…I’m talking about the Outcasts themselves. 

Their leader and our narrator is Alex; his partners in crime are Pancho, John, and Cat.  Each have a story they could tell that led them to their current assignment, but I will not divulge that here.  What I will share is that whilst this motley crew of officers starts off rubbing each other the wrong way, they grow to be a cohesive unit; each watching the others back and for some…even a little more.  Yes, there is a bit of a romance as well as bromance (ha!  Sounds funny coming from me even as I type it…) but those “human” aspects are what help us to connect even more with them.  Alex’s back story of how he came to be a soldier will bring a tear to your eye, while John’s makes you wonder about people sometimes.  Pancho is a go with the flow kinda guy but can always be counted on to come through when it counts and Cat, well there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye and that depth was much appreciated.  Now, on to the story…

As you can tell from the synopsis up there, it’s centered in the here and now around events much like those that played out both on American soil and afar.  The look it gives you “behind enemy lines” is startling, downright scary at times.  To think that some people actually teach their children to be that way, to act as if they are superior to one and all, to forgo their fellow man if it doesn’t suit their needs in the present moment…it sickens me.  The acts carried out without a second glance, without even a spare thought for the countless lives that it would change were astounding.  I suppose those on the other side of the coin could look at these events and be thinking those thoughts right back at us…but that’s not a topic I’m even going to attempt to broach.  Moving on…

Let’s talk about the ending …now that was horse of another color and something I needed to work through before I wrote this review.  The rest of the story is so action packed between the plotting and the carrying out of plans, the chasing and the running, the hits and near misses that the final scene, kinda put me out.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of chase and “OMG-are-they-gonna-make-it” moments, but the actual face off was just kind of …POOF …one of us is over.  It could have ruined the book for me actually, especially since it’s over 300 pages; who wants to read that much and then be let down, you know?  BUT...here’s the part I had to consider.  This work of fiction was written by those that have been in situations similar to that which is described in the book at some point or another in their careers. That scene, that big build up and then a quick over and out for one of the parties, is probably more realistic than most of those we read.  Does it mean it should have been so less dramatic in a work of fiction?  No…but it stands to reason, they wrote what they know and with everything else considered, I still enjoyed the work overall.

In conclusion because I know you’re just dying for me to hush up already so you can get along with your day, this is definitely one for the boys…AND the girls!  If you like stories of good versus evil (check!), stories that introduce you to characters that are a bit rough around the edges but mean well in the end (check!), and stories filled with action that’ll have you on the edge of your seat numerous times (sometimes, check!)…this is definitely one to add to your wish list.  With enough military ins and outs to satisfy the guys and enough heart for the ladies, it’s a worldwide trek to the ends of the earth and back in the name of those three things we hold dear; life…liberty…and the pursuit of happiness.

Review copy courtesy of Ayelet at Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster.  (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, be sure to visit them online, like them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  Looking to connect with the authors?  Feel free to click on any of the links embedded within this post.  This book was released May of this year and should be readily available on a bookstore shelf near you.  Now remember, this is the start of their fiction series...to read all about Wasdin's real life story, check out Seal Team Six.

Until next time…happy reading!




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