Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones, Book Review

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to go into the light. But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

Rating: 4/5

Let me start off this review by thanking St. Martin's Press for donating a review copy of First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones in exchange for a 100% honest review. I rated this book four (4) out of five (5) stars.

What instantly caught my eye about this book was the cover, which can be seen at the very beginning of this review. The cover depicts the main protagonist, Charlotte "Charley" Davidson holding a Gothic scythe. This cover depicts the story and the personality of the heroine perfectly.

I found the characters, especially the heroine. Charley Davidson is a part-time P.I. (private investigator) and full-time shrink to dead people. Ever since birth, Charley has seen "Big Bad" she she calls him--and he has always seemed to protect her, as if he's somehow her guardian angel watching over her, but this book is anything but angelic.

First Grave on the Right is the beginning of a strong, independent woman who channels her femininity while kicking some series butt. Charley is a fictional character who feels like flesh and bone to me; she is someone real--someone you'd very much like to be friends with.

First Grave on the Right reminded me of a mash-up of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Mystery Woman, and Medium. The details and forensics that all went into this book required research and observation, that much was obvious. I enjoyed the psychological thriller/curious female sleuth/ and supernatural/paranormal romance that blended together to create a great book.

I do recommend this book to fans of crime dramas or books about characters who touch the "other side" and communicate with vacant spirits. I found that First Grave on the Right is targeted primarily towards adults. Me, being a young adult, felt like the story as a whole would've appealed to me more if Charley was a teenager and dealing with teenage problems, rather than being an adult and facing more mature, adult themes and topics. I didn't feel that the material is out of a young adults maturity, but the overall effect did seem very adult-oriented.

I thought that Darynda's writing style was very free-flowing and funny. I found myself laughing at many exchanges of dialogue between the characters, especially the dialogue coming from Charley. Charley is my kind of heroine--strong, independent, cynical, intelligent, and very feminine but doesn't let her female side override the power that makes her so free.

If you enjoy mystery, thrillers, romance, and anything dealing with paranormal, I suggest you'd give this book a try--whether you check it out from the library, borrow it from a friend, or buy it from your local bookstore.

I also received an ARC of the sequel to First Grave on the Right: Second Grave on the Left and hope to read that very soon. Again, thank you so much to St. Martin's Press/Griffin for their kindness and generosity.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater Book Review


When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.


That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.


Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Rating: 5/5

[ARC Review]

In the third and final installment in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, you immediately start off with an action packed prologue, prompting you to read on.

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Forever from Scholastic Press, and I thank them for that. Maggie Stiefvater is truly one of a kind and one of my favorite authors and inspirations for writing. Maggie and I are kindred spirits, and I found her trademark brand of humor to be very witty and recognizable.

The first time that I read Shiver, I fell in love. I couldn't help but absolutely fall head over heels for Sam and Grace. In Linger, I was bummed out by the fact that Grace wasn't involved in the book as much as I'd hoped she would be, because Grace is an amazing heroine because she is strong, smart, kind, caring, generous, studious, and independent. When Forever came in the mail, I literally dropped everything and tore into the packaging once I saw the Scholastic insignia printed on the front of the package. When Forever slipped out into my hands, my heart race quickened and my fingertips trembled in anticipation to read it.

I quickly finished the current book that I was reading at the time, Torment (Fallen, #2) by Lauren Kate and tore into Forever. Going into Forever, I knew the end would be hard but I honestly didn't know it would hit me so hard and with so much force that I would literally be left reeling afterwards, much like I was after finishing Shiver and Linger, the first two books in the epic trilogy.

I was ruthless in reading Forever; it was just that good. I wanted to finish, because I wanted to know the outcome of the story, but I had to literally pull myself away to save some of the story for later, because I knew I would suffer from wolf withdrawal. However, I was weak and ended up reading it in 1 1/2-2 days. Now, onto my opinion....

I decided to rate Forever with five out of five stars because I found Forever challenging Shiver in epic greatness. The writing, plot development, visual effects, and characters all added up to the perfect equation for a book. The setting of the story is Mercy Falls, Minnesota. Mercy Falls is a fictional town, but is based on a very real small town in Minnesota called Ely. One of the many things I love about Maggie Stiefvater is her descriptive phrases and how she describes her settings and where she creates lives and loves for her characters. Mercy Falls is definitely one of my favorite settings (real or fake.)

Every time Maggie Stiefvater sits down at a computer and touches the keyboard, imagine a brilliant light followed by the Hallelujah chorus...and you have Forever.

I never say anything is perfect, but Forever really was perfect. I found relationships, both romantic and platonic, being tested at every single corner and I felt comfort while reading this book because the dialogue and vivid descriptions were so enjoyable.

If I were trapped on a deserted island and only allowed to have one book for the rest of my life, it would probably be Forever.

If you have watched any of Maggie Stiefvater's interviews or been to one of her book signings, she explains that the inspiration behind The Wolves of Mercy Falls series came after she read The Time Traveler's Wife for the second time and bawled like a baby. From that moment on, she knew that she wanted to write a love story that will make you cry, particularly while wearing mascara or while in your place of business. Well, Maggie, you succeeded! After I finished Forever, I cried. Tear drops fell from my eyes and rolled down my cheeks like raindrops from the heavens. I know, it may sound lame, right? Well, it's true and I'm not ashamed, as a teenage male, to admit that I cried. For an author to make me feel so much emotion, so much...passion, they have to be pretty darn good.

Towards the end of the novel was when I literally could not stop reading. I felt so much power and energy flowing off the page that my adrenaline was pumping and when something HUGE happened (no, I'm not going to tell you. You're going to have to buy and read the book to find out!) I jumped up and screamed, "NO!" and cried for the first time over a book (except at the end of Breaking Dawn...but those were happily ever after tears. The tears that Maggie had extracted from me in Forever were full of sorrow and shredded heart. To put it simply, Maggie ripped out my heart and poured salt on the open wound.

Anyway, I do not want to drone on and on about Forever because I want every single action to come as a complete and utter surprise to you as they were to me. OH, and when I read the author's note...ugh, tragic, TRAGIC I tell you!

*Reminder: Forever comes out on July 12, 2011 where ever books are sold. If you want more information on Maggie or the wolves, head over to her website: If you pre-order a copy of Forever from Maggie's local indie bookstore, Fountain Bookstore, you will receive a signed/doodled copy. Check out their website here:

Before I end this post and officially say good-bye to the wolves of Mercy Falls, I would like to announce to y'all that on July 31st, I will be going to Maggie Stiefvater's book signing in Nashville and cannot wait. Also, on August 8th, I will be attending a book signing in Nashville including the following authors: Beth Revis, Myra McEntire, Victoria Schwab, Rachel Hawkins, Julie Kagawa AND MORE! If you would like more information, check out the following blog: Finally, authors are touring the rural south! SOUTHERN PEOPLE READ TOO!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Torment (Fallen, #2) by Lauren Kate, Book Review

Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive
Fallen series . . . where love never dies.

Rating: 4.5/5

In the second installment in Lauren Kate's New York Times bestselling book series about angels and demons, the book opens with the protagonist, Lucinda "Luce" Price traveling across the country from the muggy pastoral setting of Savannah, Georgia to the rural dimension of a heavily-wooded area in San Francisco, California.

In Fallen, Luce and Daniel fought to be together and now, in Torment, they fight tooth and nail to stay together. I quite enjoyed the difference in scenery. Shoreline and its students created a magical atmosphere that I found quite enjoyable.

At first, I was disappointed in the fact that characters from Fallen weren't going to be featured in Torment, but I found it delightful that some of my favorite characters made a cameo or two. Characters that you loved from Fallen, such as Arriane and Gabbe, and Roland, as well as some characters that you may have not found as pleasurable: Molly.

As usual, I felt the intense emotions that Lauren Kate is able to create through visual effects. I felt the contemplation that Luce felt while battling feelings for more than one man. I felt sorry for Daniel, one of my favorite literary characters, and desperately wanted to console him in his time of need. I often have the desire to root for the underdogs in books and take them under my wing. Daniel was portrayed as a golden god in Fallen, and I was glad to see a different side to him in Torment. I felt the pain and suffering that he felt, as well as the light radiating from within himself when he finally reunited with Luce.

I missed Daniel in Torment, but when he finally returned to Luce and they had a wonderful, magical reuniting, it literally tugs at your heart strings and makes you want to cry happy tears and hug them.

I was on my seat the entire time, biting my nails, constantly wondering what would happen next. Torment was a fantastic installment in Lauren Kate's Fallen series and I cannot wait to see how Luce and Daniel's love grows further in later installments.

The third book, Passion, is out already and my SIGNED copy is in the mail as we speak. I hope it will come in the mail tomorrow, on Monday. *Fingers crossed*

Right now, I am reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and will finish that up very soon and review it ASAP for you guys. Thanks for following my blog and make sure to share with other book lovers!

Up next: Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater [ARC review]

Casey :)