Monday, July 26, 2010

Mystery Mondays: Review: Revenge Served Cold

Title: Revenge Served Cold
Author: Jackie Fullerton
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Pub Date: May 2010, Thomas House Publishing
Paperback, 287 pages
Book Source: Received a review copy from The Cadence Group--many thanks!


Kathy Spence awakens in the middle of the night and finds herself in a living nightmare. Her husband has been run down and she is the primary suspect. With an eyewitness to the crime and proof that her car was the murder weapon, it appears to be an open-and-shut case.

Terrified for her future, Kathy turns to amateur sleuth, Ann Marshall, for help. Believing in Kathy's innocence, Anne launches her own investigation, uncovering proof of a conspiracy that reaches from Kathy's past and threatens her own life.

In a race against time, Anne must count on her close friends and even the ghost of her father to help her bring a killer to justice before it's too late.

My Thoughts

Many thanks to the folks at The Cadence Group for providing me with Ms. Fullerton's latest thriller, Revenge Served Cold. My thoughts in this book ran the gamut of emotions from the moment I picked it up until I finished the last page.

I will admit that as I worked through the first 40-50 pages, this book read like a soap opera and I began to wonder if I would make it through the story. Then, however, Fullerton starts putting the pieces in place and I was hooked. Yes, we know that Kathy Spence is not the murderer, but we are left guessing as to who it might be--from two possible suspects. I was pretty sure I knew who did it all along and upon reading the inevitable (though relatively minor) "twist" I learned that I was right! Paced rather quickly, Revenge Served Cold is an easy read with just enough pull to keep you turning pages. The writing and dialogues may lack color, but I finished it easily in one morning and it was nice to whip through the pages and forget the outside world for a few hours. I could have done without the ghostly encounters with Anne's father, mainly because she likely wouldn't have been able to solve this mystery without her deceased father's help, and that point bugs me just a bit.

For the most part, though, I was enjoying my escape into this book until the last couple of chapters of the book when our heroine did something so ridiculously reckless and stupid, I found myself annoyed through what was meant to be the most suspenseful part of the book. I just don't see how anyone with half a brain at all would do what Anne did towards the end of the story--particularly upon learning that the case should be wrapped up fairly shortly. I will leave it at that. Sadly, the way things played out with Anne further tainted my feelings on this book, but if you are looking for a tidy little mystery that won't occupy too much of your time, Revenge Served Cold is just the book for you!

My Rating: 3 stars

Other reviews of Revenge Served Cold:

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Hunger

Title: Hunger
Author: Michael Grant
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Pub Date: May 2009, HarperCollins Publishers
Book Source: Purchased at B&N@GT





Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers.

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous.

But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.
The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.

My Thoughts

This review has been a long time coming but I really haven't had time to sit down and put my thoughts together to write it thanks to work. Today I finally am doing just that, even though it's been awhile (for me) since I finished it. The final verdict? A worthy effort, but Hunger just doesn't live up to Gone, in my opinion.

Given how long this novel was--nearly 600 pages--I expected a lot from it, and I have to admit I found it a bit wanting. As with Gone, I was rather sucked in, but by the time I read the last page, the realization hit me that Grant really didn't advance the plot along all that much for all the many, many words between the covers. I was also slightly turned off by the increased violence and gore, but once again I think that Grant does a good job portraying what would truly be happening in a situation like the one that these kids find themselves in. There were certainly some tense and exciting moments, but overall the pacing was not as fast as it probably needed to be for a book as long as Hunger is. However, Grant's imagination is truly unbelievable and unforgettable as you read about the powers that children are developing or the mutating creatures in FAYZ. I always marvel at the creativity that goes into developing stories like these.

We do see some hints of things to come and given bits of new information about some of the key characters and their powers, but I felt that Little Pete ultimately did not get his fair share of the storyline. This kid seems like he is going to be important, but I would like to have learned a little more about him than we did in this book. I guess in the end, the only way to say it is that this book felt like mostly fluff and filler, and I sincerely hope we return to the meat of the story in the next book, Lies.

My Rating: 3 stars

Other reviews of Hunger:

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Mister Monday

Book cover
Title: Mister Monday
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Pub Date: June 2003, Scholastic, Inc.
Paperback, 361 pages
Book Source: Purchased from B&N@Ga Tech


Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.

Arthur is safe--but his world is not. Along with the key comes a plague brought by bizarre creatures from another realm. A stranger named Mister Monday, his avenging messengers with bloodstained wings, and an army of dog-faced Fetchers will stop at nothing to get the key back--even if it means destroying Arthur and everything around him.

Desperate, Arthur ventures into a mysterious house--a house that only he can see. It is in this house that Arthur must unravel the secrets of the key--and discover his true fate.

My Thoughts

Mister Monday is the first book I have read by Garth Nix and I decided to pick it up because I have heard many good things about this author from many other book bloggers out there. I must say it was an interesting story--quite bizarre, actually, though also very intriguing and ultimately difficult to put down.

Poor Arthur certainly doesn't seem like much of a hero throughout most of the book--though he does desperately want to save his own world from the dreaded "sleepy plague." But for the most part he struggles--fighting against his own health issues and his fears of the new realm in which he finds himself. Along the way Arthur meets many strange characters, a few of whom will prove to be on his side and help him in his quest to find the mate for his minute-hand-key. The sequence of events and location are truly out-of-this-world and often left me shaking my head, but somehow in the end the story does make sense.

Engaging and often sprinkled with wit and humor, Mister Monday is a fine start to what I imagine will prove to be a fascinating series. I'm only sorry I am so late in getting into it, but as they say, better late than never! I don't know if I would have picked this book up without having heard more about Garth Nix beforehand, so I am glad I decided to. It's quirky and a bit different, but the adventure and characters make the story worth reading.

My Rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of Mister Monday:

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

WINNER: Demon's Bane!

Good morning and Happy Sunday! Time to announce the winner of last week's contest for Demon's Bane. This week, congratulations are in order for...

Please join me in congratulating her! I have sent out an email, but if I do not hear back from her within 48 hours I will choose a new winner.

I will be taking a break from giveaways this week, but don't worry--a new one will be posted next Sunday, so stay tuned! I should have a review or two coming later this week, as well.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

GIVEAWAY: Demon's Bane

Book cover
Welcome to this week's giveaway: my paperback copy of Demon's Bane by David Douglas ! You might remember that I reviewed this book earlier this year, so please check it out to refresh your memory and see if you're interested in reading it!

Here's how to enter (as always, my preference is for one comment with all your entries, but it's not required):

+1 entry ~ Comment on this post and tell me why you want to win this book. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can easily reach you if you're the lucky winner!

+2 entries each ~ Become a follower on Google Friend Connect, Twitter (@Melsbookshelf), Facebook's Networked Blogs and tell me that you did in your comment.

+3 entries each ~ Join the Melissa's Bookshelf Facebook Page, Stumble, Digg, or bookmark this post on del.i.cious, post about the giveaway on your blog (sidebar or a separate post is accepted), tweet about the giveaway (please include @Melsbookshelf in your tweet). Be sure to let me know you've done these in your comment and include any applicable links.

As always, there are a lot of ways you can enter and increase your chances of winning... Once again, this contest is open internationally! You have until midnight EST on Saturday, July 10th to enter and the winner will be announced sometime on Sunday, July 11th, as will the next giveaway! Good luck!

WINNER: Storm Born!

Book cover
It's Sunday morning, time to announce the winner of last week's contest for my copy of Storm Born! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. This week has chosen...


Please join me in congratulating her! I have sent out an email, but as always, if I do not hear back within 48 hours I will choose a new winner. Keep your eyes out for this week's giveaway, which I'll be posting shortly.

And Happy Independence Day to those of you in the U.S. Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend!! :-)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Review: Dragon Slippers

Book cover
Title: Dragon Slippers
Author: Jessica Day George
Genre: Young Adult, MG, Fiction, Fantasy
Pub Date: March 2007, Bloomsbury USA
Hardcover,  pages
Book Source: Purchased at B&N @ Georgia Tech


Many stories tell of damsels in distress who are rescued from the clutches of fire-breathing dragons by knights in shining armor and swept off to live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, this is not one of those stories.

True, when Creel's aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon, it is with the hope that a knight will marry Creel and that everyone (aunt and family included) will benefit handsomely. Yet it's Creel who talks her way out of the dragon's clutches. And it's Creel who walks for days on end to seek her fortune in the king's city with only a bit of embroidery thread and a strange pair of slippers in her possession.

But even Creel could not have guessed the outcome of this tale. For in a country on the verge of war, Creel unknowingly possesses not just any pair of shoes, but a tool that could be used to save her kingdom... or destroy it.

 My Thoughts

Do you ever read a book by a "new-to-you" author and think, "where has this person been all my life?!" Well, that is how I felt about Jessica Day George as I read Dragon Slippers. I have seen reviews of her more recent titles but wasn't really driven to pick them up (who knows why?), and now I can't wait to get my hands on every book she's ever written. Imagine my excitement when I discovered there are actually sequels to this book, as well!

Yes, that's just how much I enjoyed Dragon Slippers. It is definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year--perhaps even since I have been reading. I honestly loved everything about this story: the characters, the plot, the dialogues, the fictional world George created... I actually finished this book a few days ago but have really been savoring it mentally before writing this review. Lately I have felt my reviews have become stagnant and I haven't always felt inspired when I write them, but this one just poured right out of me. Jessica Day George has really taken the meaning of fairytale, dusted it off, and given it a new shine. There were so many scenes and quips that made me smile or laugh out loud, making this book a true pleasure to simply get lost in. Indeed, just reading the excerpt on the back cover was enough to tell me I was going to enjoy reading Dragon Slippers.

I often compare how I enjoy books now to how I might have reacted to them when I was younger, and this is one of those books that I know I would have read over and over again. Maybe I just didn't have as much exposure to the right books when I was a young reader growing up, but I often feel that the selection today is quite a bit richer than it was when I was little. Thank goodness I can still appreciate wonderful books such as this one even now, and I imagine I will for the rest of my life. If anything I've said in this review has given you cause to think you might like to pick this book up, trust me, you definitely want to and should grab a copy as soon as you possibly can.

My Rating: 5 stars

Other reviews of Dragon Slippers:

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review!