Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Genre: Ghosts & the Undead

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy Pon

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Serpentine by Cindy PonSerpentine by Cindy Pon
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: ,
Published by Audible Studios on 29 December 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Asian Mythology, Death & Dying, Demons, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix, Blue Skies

Place(s) Traveled To: Kingdom of Xia

First Line(s): The mountain was still shrouded in mist.

SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon was one of my most anticipated reads for 2015 as I adored her two other books SILVER PHOENIX (my review) and FURY OF THE PHOENIX (my review). As such I think that I fell victim to my own hype. SERPENTINE is set in the same world as the PHOENIX books but its a whole new story with a whole new cast of characters and can be read completely separate from the first books. The biggest difference between the two series is that Skybright is no Ai Ling. I adored Ai Ling so and I think part of me kept hoping that Sky would be a lot like her. This was a totally unfair comparison to make but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing so.

Perhaps part of my issues with SERPENTINE was the fact that I listened to it on audio. The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, is a very good narrator but she read slowly. Which made the book progress slowly for me. I didn’t have that burning need to stay in the car as I’ve had with some audios as there wasn’t a whole ton of action going on or urgency in the narration. Where I was so super grateful to the audiobook version of SERPENTINE was with pronunciations. There is just so much that I would have totally bungled if left to my own reading devices.

Serpentine Quote

SERPENTINE is filled with rich details and mythology and I really wanted to love it but there was just something about the story that didn’t connect with me. Despite all the detail I’m not entirely sure that I got the whole story and felt a bit lost at times with what was happening the world. Or why I should care about these various characters. This could also be a result of the slow narration where I can’t say with 100% certainty that I didn’t zone out during my listen. Zeller has such a soothing and even toned voice that I found it to be quite relaxing.

Even though I didn’t love SERPENTINE I am still curious to see where things are going. I want to learn more about Sky’s origins and what the deal with with Stone. I want her to find her HEA with Kai-Son and for Zhen Ji to find her happiness as well. SERPENTINE is an interesting read and I think there is a lot of potential to the world and the characters. I just need to make sure that I am in the right mind frame for its sequel and to loosen up my expectations because SERPENTINE is its own book and story and I need to separate it from the PHOENIX books.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Serpentine

Add The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi to Goodreads.

Add Hunter by Mercedes Lackey to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mini Review: Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Mini Review: Please Remain Calm by Courtney SummersPlease Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
Series: This is Not a Test, Book 2
Published by St Martin's Press on 20 January 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Ghosts & the Undead, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 96
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Some Girls Are, All the Rage, Violent Ends

Place(s) Traveled To: Cortege, unknown // Fairfield

First Line(s): The little girl limps to our car.

Please Remain Calm is a followup novella to Courtney Summer’s 2012 zombie novel, This is Not a Test (my review.) It picks up immediately where This is Not a Test leaves us and gives us all a hint on what happens to Sloane and Rhys. Unlike This is Not a TestPlease Remain Calm is told from the point of view of Rhys and I think I liked the story a bit better as a result. I liked being in Rhys’s head and seeing things through his eyes. He’s a little more hopeful than Sloane and even though the world around them is falling apart he still holds out hope for humanity and for life.

The journey that Sloane and Rhys take in this novella isn’t an easy one. Life outside the school is rough and fraught with dangers similar to those that you see if you watch The Walking Dead. And like with the tv show its more other people that you have to worry about than the brainless zombies that infest the world. There is danger around ever corner and Courtney Summers excels at keeping the reader on the edge of ones seat. Nowhere is safe and the uninfected are far and few between and there is no telling who you can trust.

For a short novella, Please Remain Calm, feels longer and while I wished that there were more pages I was satisfied with how things played out. Even if I didn’t always agree with the choices that Summers made. But that’s what I like about a Courtney Summers book. You never know what she is going to do and she does often take the unexpected path. She could give everyone a happily ever after and tie everything up in a neat little bow but that isn’t real life and that isn’t what I expect from a book by Summers. I like that her books are raw and emotional. I like how they always make you feel something. If you liked This is Not a Test then you will have to read this book. Its not enough, its never enough, but its something more than what we had before.

 

irishdarkblue

Please Remain Calm Quote

three-stars
Divider

Friday, May 8, 2015

Review: Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph DelaneyNight of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane
Published by Greenwillow Books on 28 August 2007
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 489
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane

Place(s) Traveled To: Chipenden // Anglezarke // Adlington // Blackrod

First line(s): It was a cold, dark November night, and Alice and I were sitting by the kitchen fire with my master, the Spook.

I had high hopes for Night of the Soul Stealer after reading the previous installment in the series, Curse of the Bane (my review) and was filled with action and suspense. Sadly though, Night of the Soul Stealer, did not live up to my expectations and felt more like a second novel while Curse of the Bane felt like it should have been later in the series. Night of the Soul Stealer sees Tom, Alice and the Spook retiring to the Spook’s winter house in Anglezarke. Which is a cold and desolate place and also where the Spook keeps Meg, a witch and also his love. Theirs is a complex relationship and one that made me really uncomfortable since the Spook keeps Meg drugged and when he’s not in Anglezarke he keeps her in an induced sleep until he returns. That is just no ok on so many levels and it really squicked me out.

Meg may be a witch but the Spook has ways of dealing with witches and he should have used one of those methods. So I couldn’t feel too bad for the Spook when certain events happened as they did. I also got frustrated with Tom, a lot. There where times when he was crazy and over the top smart and then there were many other moments when he just seemed to be deliberately obtuse. This makes for a frustrating read since he never seems to learn from his mistakes. Granted, Night of the Soul Stealer, is set only a few months after the series starts but still when you make the same mistakes over and over you should start to learn from them.

Night of the Soul Stealer Quote

Plot wise, Night of the Soul Stealer, was well paced and it was a fairly quick and easy read. The mystery wasn’t a huge mystery and the suspense really wasn’t as great as that in the previous book but overall it wasn’t a bad story. I like Alice and how her character continues to develop as she struggles with being a witch and all that it entails. I like her friendship with Tom and think that they could work well together if only the Spook didn’t keep getting in the way. The Spook is sometimes his own worst enemy and he does himself and Tom no favors by letting his prejudices get in the way. Especially when the Spook is a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to his actions.

As I said above, the things with Meg really bothered me and as a result I’ve stalled in this series. I’m not sure if I want to continue as there are just things about the Spook that I do not like. He tries to come across as morally above everyone else but what he thinks is right isn’t always the case. I’m also not entirely sure if Tom will ever grow up and change. While I expect to suspend a certain level of belief when it comes to a fantasy novel this series just has moments that it can be hard to wrap my head around. Tom can’t be both a wunderkind as well as a clumsy apprentice. He can’t always be the one to save the day while his mentor is incapacitated in some way. Its a formula that has seen itself play out over the course of three books. While it happening once, I can believe it as a fluke or beginners luck or something but not in every book. It just strains belief too much. So I think I’m going to put this series on hold for a bit and reevaluate at a later date.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph DelaneyRevenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Harper Audio on 09 September 2005
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards
Length: 5 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled To: The County – Horshaw // Chipenden

First Line(s): When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail.

I first became interested in Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney when I learned that there was going to be a movie released based on the series. Looking for a new audio I downloaded this from audible and quite enjoyed the narrator for the most part though he doesn’t do the best job with the female voices. The story is quick moving and while Revenge of the Witch is filled with a ton of set up there is a lot of promise for the series.

I enjoyed this book but felt it dragged a lot in portions and didn’t seem as action filled as movie previews appeared. The movie previews also look like nothing in this book so I wonder how many books that the movie pulls from to make up its story. For the most part, I liked the character of Tomas Ward but he does annoy me at the same time. He does some very stupid things and yet is also really smart and despite being a new apprentice often manages to save the day. The two sides of himself just don’t seem to mesh and I hope that he becomes more cohesive as the series progresses.

Revenge of the Witch Quote

The story is also told mostly in first person present but every once in awhile there is this foreshadowing/flashback-eske comment that just really took me out of the story. Tom would be talking about something and then make a statement along the lines of ‘this would come back to haunt me later’ or ‘by the time I did this it was already too late.’ I’m fine with the bulk of a book being mostly a flashback, heck that’s mostly how Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is told. I just want these things to be more clear from the get go and not mentioned in random, cryptic comments.

Revenge of the Witch was an enjoyable audio and I will be reading other books in the series but as they are short, quick reads I will probably be switching over to print. I do plan on seeing the movie at some point but may way until DVD to do so as I can hopefully get most, if not all of the books read before then. That way I won’t be spoiled in the books if the movie pulls from the full series. This is a series I’d recommend if you are looking for a quick read and its a world that I look forward to getting to know better.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda JonesSeventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson,
Also in this series: Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge
Published by St Martin's Press on 21 October 2014
Genres: Adult, Angels, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge

 Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico

First Line(s): If the howling from the backseat of Agent Carson’s black SUV weren’t already dead, I would’ve strangled her. Gladly.

Seventh Grave and No Body is the seventh installment in Darynda Jones’s Charlie Davidson series and picks up not long after Sixth Grave on the Edge ends. While I wasn’t thrilled with the previous installment I was looking forward to Seventh Grave as I thought that maybe some of the bigger story ARC mysteries would be dealt with. However, I ended up being more disappointed in this story than I’d hoped and think that its really losing steam. The start of this series was so fresh and unique and now its just dragging on and getting a little repetitive in its telling. Charlie is getting a little annoying with her constant naming of things and constantly rushing off into danger.

In the beginning you could almost excuse her leaps into danger as there was always a bigger end game going on. But this aspect was missing in Seventh Grave and when you add into it that Charlie is pregnant its just reckless and irresponsible. The mystery that is started in this book is mediocre at best and as with the previous installment not much is accomplished with the overall story ARC. Other than re-hashing things that happened before there wasn’t anything new here and so that made Seventh Grave all the more frustrating and I am really starting to question if I want to continue reading this series or not.

Seventh Grave and No Body Quote

There are still elements of the story that I like, I do enjoy the humor though as I said above I do wish that some things would get toned down. The secondary characters continue to shine though why they continue to put up with some of Charlie’s antics I’ll never know. So in the end I sighed more than I laughed in this one and it just took longer to get through than it should have. There were also moments in this book that were impossible to believe because its hard to feel tension and think that characters are in peril when there are 4 more books to come in the series.

For me, its starting to seem as though there is no end point to the series and I think that does this world and characters a disservice. It just drags things out too much and so not much really happens in the story. While I do like how there is less than a year to wait between the next installment I am just not sure if I have the time or the energy to devote to books 8, 9, 10 and 11.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Seventh Grave
three-stars
Divider

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Horrorstor by Grady HendrixHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Published by Quirk Books on 23 September 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 243
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Cleveland, Ohio

First Line(s): It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward the massive beige box at the far end.

 I remember when I started to read Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix someone in my Twitter stream made a comment that they didn’t think that a book set in an Ikea could be scary. My response was to ask if they’d ever worked in a large department store, because if you’ve ever been in one after hours when all the main lights are off then you know just how spooky they can be. With the lights off and the customers gone every sound seems to echos and your fellow employees are just shadows in the dim light if you spy them across the store. So I think that my experience working in such a chain store helped to make Horrorstor just a little more scary than it might for those who haven’t.

One thing that I really liked about Horrorstor was how the book was formatted. It was set up like it was a furniture store catalog with pictures and diagrams and descriptions that got creepier and creepier as the story progressed. The story starts off innocently enough but then as it moves along and you learn more about the store and the back story of the area it all begins to come together and the creep factor intensifies. To me Horrorstor reminded me a little of the movie Poltergeist which terrified me royally when I was a child so if you like that movie then you will probably like this book. Though, luckily for me and my over active imagination, this book wasn’t as scary as Poltergeist.

 horrorstor quote

 

Horrorstor is a quick read and I read it in a single sitting as I wanted to see just how this story would progress. Even with all of its supernatural bits I found it to be believable and a very odd little book. It made me laugh at times and cringe in others and at the end I wanted there to be more to the story. There are parts of me that hopes for a sequel and then there are other parts that are happy with how it ended. Its not a story where everything is tied up in a neat little bow so if you like that sort of thing then you will be disappointed. Horrorstor is more open ended in which there is an ending but there are still open threads so that we, as readers, are left to imagine where the story goes from the final page and that is something that I like….from certain types of books. Hendrix wrote a good story that was evenly paced and while this was my first read by this author it won’t be my last.

irishdarkblue

 

Irish Recommends - Horrorstor
four-stars
Divider

Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review2 Comments

Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda JonesSixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson,
Also in this series: Fifth Grave Past the Light, Seventh Grave and No Body
Published by St Martin's Press on 20 May 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Angels, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Ghosts & the Undead, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal
Pages: 326
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Seventh Grave and No Body

Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico // Other locations in New Mexico

First Line(s): “A girl, a mocha latte, and a naked dead man walk into a bar,” I said, turning to the naked dead man sitting in my passenger seat.

 

Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones was among my most anticipated titles of 2014 as I just love the humor of this series. So I was really excited when I received an ARC of it as part of Andi’s Spring Book ExchangeSixth Grave on the Edge is filled with all the humor and shenanigans that I’ve come to expect from a Charlie Davidson book and despite many of the same tricks and ploys used in previous books Darynda Jones manages to keep the story fresh. I think this is due in part ot how these books aren’t a mystery of the week sort of story anymore and while there is always a mystery story ARC in the book there is this larger backstory/mystery going on that spans multiple books.

The big mystery is intriguing and I look forward to gaining new clues to the big mystery of just what Charlie’s full purpose is here on Earth. I love seeing more of Cookie, Uncle Bob, Reyes, and all the rest as they all continualy grow and become a bit more real as the series progesses. However, in this book I have to admit to being a little disappointed in it. It just didn’t seem as if much of anything happened in the bigger storyline and the main mystery of the book was just so-so. Overall, Sixth Grave felt more like book 2 in a trilogy in the sense that there was a lot of build up but not a lot of action. There were lots of hints about things to come but not major revels. At least, not until the end. Even the question proposed at the end of Fifth Grave Past the Light wasn’t fully answered until towards the end of this book.

As with all the other books Sixth Grave was entertaining but I just wanted a little more depth to it. A bit more of the big mystery revelead. Or even more development among the various characters as they all just sort of stood still in this one. With the exception of Mr Wong who had some cryptic remarks made about him and now I’m more curious than ever about Charlie’s roommate than I was before. Though despite not being as fully satisfied in this installment as I normally am in a Charlie Davidson book I still managed to read it pretty fast. This series is alwys good fun and even with the added minor cliff-hangers that are appearing at the end of each book I do find myself excited for the next one. And you can be sure that I’m uber excited that Seventh Grave and No Body will be released in October 2014 and a year from now in 2015. I just hope that there is a bit more substance to that one than was in this one.

 .

irishdarkblue

 

.

.

.

Sixth Grave Quote

three-half-stars
Divider

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy TalkingtonLiv, Forever by Amy Talkington
Published by Soho Teen on 11 March 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 280
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, New Hampshire (2015)

First Line(s): Chances of a girl like me ending up at Wickham Hall were next to nothing.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I picked up Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington other than it was a murder mystery set at a boarding school. I do enjoy mysteries and boarding schools so I thought that I would give it a shot. Liv, Forever was a quick read and I read it in just a couple of sittings but it was also a little formulaic. Only in this case when the most popular boy in school is drawn to the outcast girl she isn’t just shunned and tormented further instead she is killed.

Liv, Forever is a bit cliched with its insta-love set up between Liv and Malcolm and I much preferred her interactions with her BFF Gabe over those very few with Malcolm. A part of me wishes that the romance was with her and Gabe as I often felt that there was a bit more chemistry between them.Even though Gabe was a little too eager to help Liv at all costs no matter the consequences to himself. There was a little bit too much world revolving around Liv in this book which made things a bit cliched. And there were lots of cliches in this book and while they are things that normally bug the bejeesus out of me in this case they didn’t bother me as much and I don’t know why.

There was just something about Liv, Forever that sucked me into it and made it so I couldn’t stop reading. Perhaps if I’d taken more time on it I may have obsessed over its imperfections more but as it was I was able to just get lost in the story. The mystery was a bit predictable but I liked the language of this story. I liked how it was written and how Talkington chose to unfold her mystery. I also liked the little side stories about the other ghosts on Wickham Hall’s campus who remained trapped within its boundaries as Liv was.

Liv, Forever is paranormal light, even though Liv is a ghost for a portion of the novel. Partly because she never really feels like a ghost as the whole story is told from her POV. She’s a bit of a surface character and yet you do cheer her on and hope that somehow things will all work out for the best. Which is hard because once you are dead, you are dead so there is no real happily ever after to be had in this story. Despite that though there is hope to Liv’s journey and things don’t end on a sad note. While I did have issues with Liv, Forever I do think that it was a solid debut novel and will be looking forward to reading Amy Talkington’s next book.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
Divider