Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet - Darynda Jones Donovan was definitely my favorite character in this installment of the Charley Davidson series. He is boss, y'all. I rated this a bit lower than the other books because I didn't find it as witty though it was no less entertaining and funny. Considering the somber ending of the last book I can understand the fallout spilling onto this one but while there were answers provided as to Charley's Grim Reaper tendencies, I wish they would have been more definitive. I'm going to continue on with the series because with the sort-of-happy ending I see more mischief and fun times in Charley's future. Plus I can't wait to find out what she names her life; should be good. :)
The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken Considering the fact that I cannot get Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu out of my head, it seems only appropriate to rate this 5 out of 5 stars. (Or an A, on my scale.)
The Awakening - Kate Chopin Loved it immensely!
Anthem - Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff Loved it!
Awaken - Katie Kacvinsky I sincerely enjoyed Awaken because while the romance was a bit predictable, the originality of the plot was entertaining enough to keep me reading.

Cons: It is a short read that could have had a more fulfilling ending and the uneven pacing left me a little disoriented when the main character went from running away from the authorities to walks on the beach. The pacing resembled an erratic heart beat with multiple roller coaster dives and inclines that were, to say the least, a bit dizzying. Sadly, while reading the book, I tended to shift toward the negative aspects more than the positive. There were too many elements that I couldn't overlook because of their frequency. One thing that was constantly annoying me was the preaching. It is made clear throughout the novel that the main character, Madeline, is intelligent academically and has a knack for technology. A very useful capability in her world. However, this was negated by the fact that she was being preached at every other page by Justin, the love interest and quasi leader of the rebels against Digital School. It really made Madeline look stupid and naive whenever Justin explained things to her. I can understand that she was inexperienced in many things due to her "grounding" but there's a huge difference between teaching someone things normally foreign to them and treating them like an invalid. That was exceptionally annoying. In addition to that, there were many moral cliches being thrown around in the book plus a repetition of previously stated concepts or opinions.

Pros: I know you're probably wondering why I gave this book three stars instead of one, and I have to admit that it has to do with the story line and the future the author created that was detailed and realistically relatable. I also admired Maddie's character for being as daring as she was to go against her own father for what she believed was right for her country. She had the drive and tenacity to support a rebellion even after seeing the effects it had on her family and especially to the relationship between her and her father. She also admitted to herself that she was in love with Justin because he was her savior in a sense that he was reintroducing the outside world to her in a whole new light. And for all of Justin's condescending flaws I can at least say that he was a decent person and was generous with his time to gradually transform America back to a nation whose citizens were motivated, independent and uniquely amazing.

As for whether or not I'm going to attempt the sequel, Middle Ground, I don't think I'm going to run out for a copy any time soon. Because even though I found the story rich and thorough, it doesn't make up for what I found lacking in Awaken.
Vessel - Sarah Beth Durst Very well done!
Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones, Tony Tanner, Claire Lamont, Jane Austen A bit too verbose for me but I absolutely loved the ending and I loved all the characters, so it worked out better than I initially thought. As with my other summer required reading book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's, I think it was to my advantage that I had seen the movie before I read the book, otherwise the wordiness would have gotten to me.
Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

I honestly started this series with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite enjoy Sookie's candid naïveté and the pacing kept things moving pretty quickly. It certainly has its differences from the TV show True Blood but I'm finding that I prefer it that way. Meaning that, while the book does have its sex scenes, they're more watered down than the show makes them out to be. And while I don't mind a graphic sex scene now and again, I can appreciate how this glossed over version suits the more conservative Southern vibe that Sookie wears like a cloak.
Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson This was one batch of characters that you connect to so intensely that you need to know the endings to their individual stories, and how whole they shape Second Chance Summer out to be.
The Assassin and the Princess - Sarah J. Maas Adarlan's Assassin was never supposed to be more than that. The Crown Prince saw her as an escape from the routine life of royalty, the Captain of the Guard saw her as nothing more than a killer for hire, and the King has nothing but a means to an end. Nobody expected her to be their savior, but that's exactly what she was.

After suffering through Endovier's torture of a jail, after being betrayed by someone she thought was the most loyal, Celaena Sardothien has to agree to win the fight to be the King of Adarlan's Champion. She knows she has what it takes to put up with four years of following the King's orders to get her freedom, but the challenges soon become nothing to worry about when Champion candidates start turning up mauled to death.

I liked the fact that Throne of Glass was told through third-person perspective as well as from multiple points of view because it gave this mythical yet medieval world more depth. The love triangle could be spotted a mile away in this book, but I do have to give it points for originality. However, with all the little hints made that Celaena came from Terrasen's royal family, I got the vibe that the Crown Prince and Celaena would do better as siblings than love interests. I was probably far off in that assumption but I can't really say that they go well together, romantically speaking. I guess this puts me in a more Team Captain Chaol than Team Prince Dorian. Chaol was more of a repressed character in this book and I would like to see him subtly get closer to Celaena, as well as both of them getting to know each other better.

As far as the writing goes, I had no problem with the flow of the novel, and have to say that the descriptive portions with the creatures and otherworldly power was honestly spot on and thrilling. I know this has to do more with the plot than with the writing, but I liked that Ms. Maas was able to incoporate the gruesome scenes and Celaena's fighting scenes so flawlessly into the story line. The true problem that I had with the plot was that there were so many hints and clues that there was more going on with the kingdom, the castle, and its King, but there were very little answers. I understand that there's going to be more installments but I would have appreciated a more concrete standing in this world that these amazingly dynamic characters live in.Overall I think it was a decent start to a series with a haunted assassin with too many demons and only freedom in mind. Though there were too many questions about her past that were not addressed in this installment and perhaps a bit too many secret plots, there's hope for Celaena and her mismatched crew that consists of a besotted Crown Prince, a no-nonsense foreign Princess, and the hardy Captain of the King's Guard.

Also, for those who really liked this book I would highly recommend reading Maria V. Snyder's works, especially Poison Study, the first in the Study series.

Third Grave Dead Ahead  - Darynda Jones So, I've become a bit numb to the word "series" since it is so often used nowadays. For this reason alone, I was subconsciously waiting for that tipping point. You know the one...(most basic example, House of Night series). It's the point where even though you loved the books in the beginning, it just became to be too much to continue on with the series, even if you desperately want to know what happened to the characters because really, they weren't all that bad, right? However, with the very adult and funny as hell Charley Davidson series, I'm thinking that if it does evidently have a tipping point, it was not in this installment. Hah, if half of the YA authors could be as talented as Darynda Jones, I wouldn't have three shelves full of books that I'm still trying to get rid of. It just seems that publishing houses are maximizing on the word "series", and I don't know about you guys, but it is becoming such a huge turn off.

Anyway, we were all heartbroken when Reyes didn't want Charley to see him at the prison. I mean really, who wouldn't be? But of course, Charley being the cool cat she is, completely ignores this--or tries to--and throws herself into another case of a missing woman. Really, they're selling those like hot cakes. After meeting Dr. Nathan Yost, her would-be client and the missing woman's husband, dick Charley immediately knows that he's guilty. It's what he's guilty of that soon becomes confusing and a bit too tangled for her to just be rid of the case so soon. Alas, what more could possibly add to her troubles except being carjacked by an escaped convict who also claims to be the son of Satan and innocent of killing his cruel kidnapper of a father?

Charley is still the sassy, smart mouth that we all know and love, but Ms. Jones decided to bestow some just development on our girl that really made her shine. More of her beacon-light shown through as we got more of an insight into the supernatural world that overlooks her reality. I'm looking forward to the "powers" she supposedly possesses because the glimpse I got in Third Grave Dead Ahead was abso-freaking-lutely awesome. Reyes, of course, is always a bonus in these books. Even though they love each other but don't ever say it, I got the feeling that the romance took a back seat in this book and let the other sub-plots dominate. Not to say there weren't any Yummy, Sexy Times, but throughout the majority of the novel, I liked the fact that Charley was able to show more of her bad-assness and crime-fighting, mystery-solving skill.

Once again, I must applaud the rest of the cast of characters because really, they just add to Charley's charm. All the men that we know and love, like Garret Swopes and Reyes, and all the new men we are introduced to, like the bikers, are all so...delectable. Cookie, with her spunky mama-bearness; Uncle Bob for his resiliency when it comes to putting up with his adorably, misunderstood niece; Mr. Wong for his consistency of doing nothing. I love them all.

And that ending. Oh God, it wasn't till I got to the last chapter that I started bawling. I knew it was coming but why, oh why did it have to be him? For the sake of not revealing too much--and because it's wonderful to watch you squirm--I'm going to end it here. Parting with a mention that Ms. Jones can do no wrong.

Eon  - Alison Goodman When I first attempted to read Eon, I was all for it; as in, I loved the Chinese Zodiac animals and how they were incorporated into the book was genius. However, when I actually started to read the book, this is how my mind spoke to me: "Nice visuals I'm getting with all the descriptive detail...whoa, the dragons are so majestic...gah, more descriptive detail? Where's the action?....I can't take it anymore, must know how it ends..." In fact, I only ended up reading the first quarter of the book and then skimming the rest. That, I knew later, made for a very bad understanding of the series of events that occurred in the book. So that is why I decided to give Eon another chance.

Take Two:

Eona was in a serious dilemma when she was approached by her new master while she was working the salt farms. She had seen so many of her "colleagues" and friends die from a coughing sickness induced by just being there. If she wanted to survive and have a chance to come into riches herself, she would have to follow her new masters orders and become a boy forevermore. Eon was then known as one of the twelve candidates vying for the position of Rat Dragoneye Apprentice. Being cripple and one of the smallest boys in the bunch, the odds were not in his favor. (Actually, since the ceremony of the choosing would be somewhere the whole town could watch, they were placing bets and Eon's was 1:1000. Yikes.)

Characters: Eon was going through what manga readers know as a "gender-bender" situation, meaning he was so undercover that he couldn't be a girl if he tried. Pros of his character would be his ambition (ironically, enough), his...Well, there wasn't much else. Cons of his character is a different story; his constant fears and worries of what others would do to him if they knew the truth got annoying real fast. His cowardice to face the problems and deal with them made me want to punch him numerous and say, "Grow a pair." His indecisiveness was frustrating and the constant doubt made me want to skip pages again. Through all of this, I still didn't think badly of him because I knew the full extent of the circumstances he was in. All of the pressure that was on him to succeed was overwhelming to say the least. In one interaction that Eon had with another very important character made me question, "Has anyone ever told Eon that they love him?"

The other characters and people who are introduced became far more prudent to plot line than side characters would normally be. In fact, while I enjoyed every interaction that Eon had with all the other characters, Eon would barely speak twice in their whole conversation. Rilla and Chart were most dear to my heart because their loyalty to Eon's master's house was unquestionable, and Chart's "deformity" just pulled at my heartstrings. Speaking of Eon's master, Heuris Brannon was indeed a terrifying man but it was clear the underlying emotion he felt toward his trainee. Lady Dela and Ryko were two of my favorite characters because they made a great team and their opinion of him mattered very much to Eon. Now, I must mention the dragons because their role in this book meant everything to the other characters in the story. Like I said before, these beasts were definitely majestic, but they were also calculating, cunning and cooperative in times of worldly distress. Their faculty was to help when the land was in crisis, whether it be to a monsoon, an earthshake, or anything else that could affect the land and its harvest from prospering.

Plot: Eon was one of those books that follows the constant of taking the hero/heroine to their lowest point before even thinking of capitalizing on their strength and courage to help others. I was dreading the time when all his secrets would come light and the possible punishment it would mean for all who helped get to where he is. And this is where the twists and surprises in the plot came in, because I remember when I first skimmed the book, I spoiled one of the best secrets for myself, so when I went back to read it the second time, I knew the best thing that could happen and didn't have anything to look forward too. But boy was it a good secret...and it made Eon look like an absolute fool which I liked because I knew that he could only grow as a character from that point on. His desperate decisions and his deception were all seen to by the end of this book

Another consistency that I read through more thoroughly the second time around was the descriptive detail, and yes it drove me crazy to read through it all but I was able to fully appreciate the pain-staking process the author went through to provide such vivid imaginings and in my mind's eye it was beautiful.

Originality: Its obvious how much thought and love went into creating Eon because after reading all about all its characters and the world-building, there's no doubt in my mind that this book is one of a kind. Where else will you find a society that depends on the magical power of a multitude of twelve dragons and their handlers to keep you and your property safe from natural disaster? However, while the mythical aspect of this book is unique, the protagonist and his struggles were interesting but more of the same: rookie mistakes, slow learning curve, and final revealing revelation.

Overall: I have to recommend this to readers who have been in a reading slump but only to those who want to slowly get back in the game. Mostly due to the fact that while there are battle and fight scenes, the book isn't as fast-paced as an action-packed book would be.

Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins I liked the second half better than the first half but overall it was a well-written book. However, with the length that it was I would have much preferred it to be a stand-alone--which I don't think it is considering the cliffhangers at the end. And speaking of the ending, it killed me. I did not like it in the least. I do think that it was a great read but I'm tired of series. Plus, considering how thick the book was, it would have been an awesome book by itself (with a better ending, of course). The plot building was indeed very detailed and thorough, it wasn't difficult to comprehend, and included a variety of characters whom I have of course fallen in love with.

For those who have read it already, Kope is my favorite. (I mean, seriously, how could he not be?) And I do believe that Kaidan is a bit of a coward.

Grade: B
Kiss the Dead - Laurell K. Hamilton Great addition. As usual, there's way too much description of every single character that was mentioned and I loved every single minute of it. LKH is really not scared to tackle anything in her books, sex-wise and kill-wise.
The Hedgewitch Queen (Romances of Arquitaine, #1 ) - Lilith Saintcrow The story was way too disappointing to warrant more than 2 stars/D+. I honestly thought I would give the overall plot a solid 3 stars because I liked the fantastical world Ms. Saintcrow created but honestly, the ending really killed the book for me. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Fat Cat - Robin Brande Absolutely amazing read. So freaking hilarious that I would not recommend reading in public, because you will snort. Wonderfully inspiring and brilliantly original, I really want to read more of this author's works. My hardback copy was a Random Act of Kindness; and I think the story, more than the generosity, was the gift given to me.

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