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Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

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First, I must apologize for the tardiness of this review. I read this book while I was living on the road (out of my RV) during my cross-country move from Massachusetts to California. Because of this, it probably didn't get the full attention it deserved as my mind was so often preoccupied with all sorts of major real-life decisions, and I often went for days on end—sometimes even a whole week—without reading, and then when I came back to it, I had sometimes forgotten important details and found myself having to read previous chapters to refresh my memory. With that disclaimer out of the way, let me now attempt to give a fair review of this book despite my lengthy and erratic reading of it.Andy Warner has recently lost his wife, his home, and all that he owns, including his own life! Yes, you heard correctly. Both Andy and his wife died in a car accident along Santa Cruz's Route 17, a steep, curvy road that winds through the Santa Cruz mountains in California. After his death however, Andy came back to life as a zombie, while his wife did not. Though zombies are now accepted as a normal but undesirable part of society, they are not afforded any rights and are treated as second class citizens, or worse! Zombies aren't allowed to live on their own and must have a legal guardian so Andy is living in his parents' basement while attending Undead Anonymous meetings to learn to cope with his situation.As one of several zombies in his area, Andy and his friends do their best to remain under the radar and avoid confrontations with the extreme zombie-hating Breathers. But unfortunately, trouble has a way of finding him, and while Andy does his best to try to readjust to society, society isn't being so kind in return. Andy's story is a multifaceted one that will at times pull at your heart strings, while on the next page crack you up with its dark humor. I shall be on the lookout for more from this talented, new author.
The Hunger Games

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In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.This was a great book. The characters were all so very likeable, especially Katniss, who has taken care of putting food on the table for her family ever since she was 11 years old and is now fighting for her life in the Hunger Games. She's one tough girl whom you can't help but admire. Several times while in the middle of reading, I found myself cheering her on, saying "woohoo", or even chuckling out loud.The author did a really good job setting the pace of the story; it was chock full of action right from the get go and there weren't really any slow parts. The only teeny weeny thing I didn't care for so much, even though I understood it's necessity to the story, was the killing and eating of the wild rabbits. Those who know me know I have two pet rabbits whom I love dearly so even though I recognize the difference between hunting wild rabbits for game and domesticated rabbits as pets, that was probably the only part of the story I didn't love. But hey, I was the same way with Lord of the Rings too. :)I am soooo looking forward to reading Catching Fire, the next book in the Hunger Games series!!
Lord of the Shadows (The Saga of Darren Shan, Book 11)

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Eighteen years after he was pronounced dead and buried, Darren Shan is heading home. The Cirque du Freak is performing in Darren's home town, and though there's the chance he might run into people he used to know and have to explain why he hasn't aged, the greater threat is that this is where destiny has led him, and the fate of both the Vampire and Vampaneze races will be determined by a single battle that is to take place here with the Vampaneze Lord.This is the 11th book and second to last in the Cirque du Freak series. As usual, it was a super quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really like the author's way with words as he describes everything so vividly. And also, he throws in reminders of past characters and events as needed in the story line so even if you've gone awhile in between books, you can easily pick up and recall relevant events from previous books. I noticed at one point they tried to make a movie out of these books, but it didn't do well at all. I don't recall the details but I remember that it didn't follow the book at all, way too many differences, and the screenplay didn't appear to be written very well at all. It's too bad really because if done right, this 12 book series could easily fit into a couple of 2 hour movies. And they'd be great!
The Lake of Souls (The Saga of Darren Shan, Book 10)

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In The Lake of Souls, the 10th book in the Cirque du Freak series, Half-Vampire Darren Shan and Little Person Harkat Mulds set off on a quest to discover the person that Harket used to be, before Desmond Tiny remade him into a "Little Person". As they step through the mysteriously glowing arched doorway, suspended midair in the middle of a field, to the strange world beyond, they have no idea of the kinds of odd and fantastical creatures they will soon encounter in the land beyond, nor if they'll even make it back alive. This was another great but fast read in the Cirque du Freak series, which is very nearly at the end. Book 12 is the last in the series. Though it's been several years since I read my last Cirque du Freak book, the author is great about dropping in extra description at appropriate points to remind you of past events when necessary. It may even be easy enough for a new reader to pick up any book in the series without having read the previous ones, though they wouldn't know the characters nearly as well as someone who's followed the story from the beginning. As usual, the writing style is swift and the action is quick, which I believe makes it quite suitable in the young adult genre, and definitely had a hard time putting it down once I started reading. I have a library book I have to tend to now, but I look forward to returning to the world of Darren Shan again really soon.
All Together Dead

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Sookie has agreed to accompany Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq to the Vampire Summit in Rhodes. Also in tow are several of the other Louisiana vampires including Bill, Eric, Pam, and a few of the other area sheriffs. During the summit, the Queen is set to stand trial for the charges of killing her short-time husband, Peter Threadgill, King of Arkansas, and Sookie is prepared to serve as witness in the case. Unfortunately, due to the disastrous events of Katrina, the Queen's kingdom is in a much weakened state and so of course, many of the other vampires present are attempting to take advantage, and Sookie's telepath duties prove quite useful to the queen during all the wheeling and dealing and power struggles going on.While in Rhodes (this is near Chicago, not the island in Greece), Sookie also meets up with the only other telepath she's ever met, Barry the Bellyboy, who now works for the Vampire King of Texas. Together, Sookie and Barry manage to uncover a deadly plot perpetrated by a group of haters wanting to take down a large number of vampires at the hotel where the summit is being held.In addition to the summit events, there are several other sub-plots going on. Sookie's relationship with Quinn starts to get a bit complicated as he realizes how deeply she's tied to the vampires. In particular, her ties to Eric have grown stronger with the forced taking of more of his blood. (Yay!) One can only hope that Sookie and Eric wind up together from here on out, but of course Sookie will keep trying to deny their bond, even though it's apparent that Eric really cares deeply for her.In the end, all is well, and Sookie saves the day, although several vampires (and humans) are indeed lost in another terrible tragedy. Though the main plot is wrapped up nicely, it's the underlying sub-plots which have you drooling for the next installment. I can't wait to see what happens next!!Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite Sookie books in a long time! The action was non-stop and the underlying chemistry between Eric and Sookie is once again beginning to heat up. Woohoo!! Bring it on!! :)
Kule u zraku

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The final book in the Millennium trilogy, after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, brings to conclusion the saga of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.As Lisbeth lies in a hospital bed with a bullet hole in her head, her fate is being determined by the people and forces beyond her locked hospital room door. She's set to stand trial for at least three murders, yet she is also determined to find a way to fight back against the people and government officials who allowed the system to lock up a 12 year old girl in a mental institution.As the final book in the trilogy, this book seemed the least polished of the three. I agree with another Amazon reviewer who thought that most likely the author had meant to go back and do a bit of fine tuning on this final manuscript, and I would have to agree as some parts rambled on aimlessly with an overabundance of detail that didn't really contribute much to the story. I'm certain the author's untimely death after delivering the 3 manuscripts undoubtedly played a role in this. Anyone who's read all three books would agree that this final one didn't have quite the same zip to the plot, and I picked up on a few grammatical and contextual errors as well. Despite these criticisms, I still felt this book a worthy successor to the trilogy as it wraps everything up quite nicely. And actually, the last part of the book took on more of the snappy dialogue and plot line of the first two so by the time I reached Part 4, I began to have that same "can't put it down" feeling that I did with the first two. :)
Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister: A Novel

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The year is 1502, and seven-year-old Bianca de Nevada lives perched high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria at Montefiore, the farm of her beloved father, Don Vicente. But one day a noble entourage makes its way up the winding slopes to the farm -- and the world comes to Montefiore.

In the presence of Cesare Borgia and his sister, the lovely and vain Lucrezia -- decadent children of a wicked pope -- no one can claim innocence for very long. When Borgia sends Don Vicente on a years-long quest, he leaves Bianca under the care -- so to speak -- of Lucrezia.

She plots a dire fate for the young girl in the woods below the farm, but in the dark forest salvation can be found as well ...

A lyrical work of stunning creative vision, Mirror Mirror gives fresh life to the classic story of Snow White -- and has a truth and beauty all its own.

I had a difficult time making it through this one. The pace was pretty slow all the way through, and the dialog and phrasing would often set my mind to wandering so next thing I knew, I wasn't even comprehending what I was reading. That's usually a strong indicator that I'm pretty bored, which sadly I have to say that I was throughout most of this book. :( I decided to plod through anyway. Perhaps it was because I enjoyed Wicked so much--both the book and the theater production--that I thought Mirror Mirror would eventually get there too, but alas it did not, and I was left feeling that my time could've been better spend with my nose in the next Sookie book which has been lying in wait on my night stand. :)

The reason I'm not giving this book a lesser rating is that even though I didn't enjoy it, I still felt that the author himself is a good writer. I didn't find myself criticizing the story itself as I was reading as I do with other books with really bad writing. So just because this book wasn't my cup of tea, and I'm sure others will agree that it's a bit slow-paced, there may be others who enjoy it a lot more than I too.

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand

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Kitty and Ben, now the dominant alphas of the Denver area, have decided to tie the knot and make it official human-style now as well. Despite her mother's objections, a big, expensive wedding doesn't appeal to either Kitty or Ben, so they've decided to elope to Las Vegas instead. But trouble seems to follow Kitty no matter where she runs off to, and beneath all the glitz and glamour of the Vegas strip lies a darker secret... one that will put the lives of both Kitty and Ben in grave danger.This fourth book in the Kitty the Werewolf series is a bit lighter on the action than the previous books, but only slightly so. It focuses a bit more on Kitty and Ben's personal life and lets you see a bit deeper into that side of them, further endearing their characters to you. It may be the action which initially draws you in to this series, but it's the characters that will keep you coming back for more. Kitty and Ben rock!! :)
Afraid

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A helicopter crash just outside the small town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin has unleashed a group of terrifying fighters on a mission. These top-notch special forces mercenaries have government training, a strong thirst for murder, and even stranger, brains that have actually been chemically altered to allow them to be controlled by outside influences. The mayhem they release on this small Wisconsin town is the stuff that nightmares are made of! Though this book may tend to get a bit gory at times, true lovers of the horror genre won't mind one bit as it only adds to the terror. What will happen in the end? Will anyone in town escape the hands of these madmen? Will the Red-ops team get what they came for?Jack Kilborn is a pseudonym for author J.A. Konrath, known previously for his police thriller Jack Daniels Mystery series. Though this book is his first foray into the horror genre, it clearly shows that he's certainly no amateur when it comes to writing some well and scary horror!
Personal Demons

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Megan Chase is host to a new radio show that promises to help callers slay their demons. Too bad the demons are taking that literally and are now coming after Megan themselves. But there are some who would prefer to work with rather than against her, including a particularly hot, chiseled and sexy fire demon named Greyson Dante. He's helping Megan stand up to the personal demons who are after her, and along with his team of crazy, cockney guard demons, they're chasing down all the demons that get in her face. :)This was a cute, fun read. What it lacked in substance, it made up for in quirkiness and humor. While I found a few parts to be a little predictable, the author put a few new twists on typical demon lore to spice things up a bit, like the whole Meegra "family" thing. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and once I get caught up on some of my other reads, I may peek in on Megan and Greyson again in their sequel. :)
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