Tag Archives: published: 2012-05

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

The Serpent's Shadow

Book Info

Title: The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles, Book 3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: May 1, 2012
Pages: 406
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane still haven’t put a final stop to Apophis and his quest to bring darkness to the world. On top of that, the leadership of the House of Life has turned against them and see them and everyone else in Brooklyn House as the enemy. It would definitely be an understatement to say they must prepare to face their biggest challenges yet. To overcome it, they plan to seek out an ancient spell that will allow them to defeat Apophis, but tracking it down won’t be easy. There’s a reason the magic has been lost to the ages and Apophis isn’t going to let them dig it back up with any sort of ease. Their Brooklyn House allies are behind them, but with multiple forces moving against them, the question of what they might be able to achieve is certainly an open-ended one…

Rick Riordan’s skill for creating these worlds that are so neatly spun together with mythology never ceases to impress and amaze me. He tells original stories in vibrant worlds, drawing just the right amount of inspiration and information from the stories of the past without relying on them to the point that we just get a retelling of the mythical legends of old. Carter and Sadie have such strong character voices–particularly important when you tell something from a first person perspective.

Honestly, I was really only disappointed that this ended. I would have loved to have spent more time with these characters if there was room to do so.

One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

13186809Title: One Small Thing (One Thing, Book 1)
Author: Piper Vaughn & M.J. O’Shea
Published: May 3, 2012
Pages: 214
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

Rue Murray is in for a real surprise when the woman he slept with on a whim to see if he really could turns up pregnant. Even more surprising is the fact that she doesn’t want to keep the baby. Though he never expected to be a father, Rue can’t just abandon the child and agrees to take her, even though he knows it will be challenging on top of going to school during the day and working in a club at night.

Eric Van Nuys is definitely not a “people person”. A struggling sci-fi author who suffers from social anxiety, he’s not one for children either. But his books just aren’t selling like they used to and his agent doesn’t seem hopeful that will turn around unless Eric decides to make a major change to what he writes. When Rue approaches him looking for someone to take care of his new daughter Alice during the day, he is resistant at first, but eventually agrees.

Neither Eric nor Rue know what to expect–this is all new to both of them. But as they both share a fondness for Alice, they begin to realize they might share another fondness if they can each admit to themselves what they want and what they’re willing to do to get it.

This was an incredibly cute and adorable story. There are moments where I really just wanted to reach through the pages and shake both Eric and Rue, but they’re a total delight. It’s an engaging and easy read, and definitely worth spending the time to get to know these two…

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

11735983Title: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: May 1, 2012
Pages: 525
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

After the attack on Abnegation, it is clear to Tris and Four that there is something much larger going on than they ever could have imagined. All-out war among the factions is inevitable and it’s difficult to know where everyone stands. Together, they need to unite those who are willing to stand up against Jeanine and the other forces threatening to bring down everything upon which their society is built. But there are secrets that Tris and Four have yet to uncover–about themselves and about the real reasons for Jeanine’s actions…

In some ways, I think I liked this better than the first novel. We get the chance to see how some of the other factions live that we didn’t get to see in the first book. It’s also very interesting to see the layers to the political dynamics and understand how the events at the end of the first book were likely brewing for some time, but there was no real mechanism to shut it down. There are, of course, several moments where I wanted to reach through the pages and shake Tris, but what else is new there? Definitely looking forward to seeing this adapted to the big screen this weekend…

Gambling Men: The Novel by Amy Lane

13594871Title: Gambling Men: The Novel
Author: Amy Lane
Published: May 7, 2012
Pages: 220
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

Quent and Jason are business partners who have been friends since their freshman year of college. Everything they’ve done has been based on Jason’s outlook that life is poker and he lives it like he’s in one constant game. But when one night they give in to passion, can they beat the odds and ensure their friendship-turned-romance is based on a winning hand.

I struggled with this one a bit. I know the poker metaphor is a large part of this book, but I feel like it overshadowed things quite a bit. I also felt like Jason’s personality was off-putting and a bit inconsistent at times–especially in terms of him being in control and possessive vs. indecisive with no real rhyme or reason that I could discern. Ultimately, though, it is a nice little romance and I did enjoy the dynamic between the two of them.

Captive Prince: Volume Two by C.S. Pacat

17158513Title: Captive Prince: Volume Two
Author: C.S. Pacat
Published: May 22, 2012
Pages: 216
Publisher: C.S. Pacat (rereleased by Berkley Books)
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review:
The intrigue, the tension, and the stakes are all intensified in the second volume of the Captive Prince series. Damen is still enslaved to Prince Laurent and has managed to keep his true identity–that of crown prince of the neighboring kingdom and the one who slayed Laurent’s brother in battle–a secret. But Damen still hasn’t given up the hope of returning home and reclaiming his rightful place on the throne.

When Laurent’s uncle, the Regent, begins to move against him, however, Damen and Laurent find themselves force to move from the castle and instead to the country’s borders. But faced with potential battles, Damen cannot hide his own skill and prowess. And although he might be able to strike a tense peace with his master, will he be able to keep the truth of his identity a secret until he can earn his freedom?

Everything about this book is amazing. The story builds in an almost incredible way, with every single element of the plot seeming to be part of a perfect mathematical equation. C.S. Pacat proves to be a masterful storyteller and there were times when I was literally on the edge of my seat while reading this one.

Be warned, though, this one builds to an incredible cliffhanger finale that you may not see coming and that will leave you screaming out loud for the final book in this trilogy…

Title: Measure of Devotion
Author: Caethes Faron
Publication Date: May 21, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Wonderful. That truly sums this one up in a single word. I was a bit nervous about reading a story in which one of the MCs is a slave – the idea of a forced relationship isn’t something I’m too keen on reading – but this one really surprised me. I found myself connecting with the characters and the story, and it really turned out to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. And even though I saw the ending coming, I really, really was hoping for it to turn out differently. Guess that just means I’ll need to pick up the next book to hope everything changes…

Title: Diva and the Frat Boy
Author: Daisy Harris
Publication Date: May 14, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Another wonderful little story involving college students from Daisy Harris. I very much enjoyed the first book in this series and was definitely looking forward to the second. And I cannot say I was disappointed. It’s fun, quirky, and well-written.

Why 3 stars, then? There was something about the way Greg kept information from Nathaniel so that he wouldn’t mess up their relationship that really struck me in a not-so-positive way. And the fact that he didn’t stand up for Nathaniel to his fraternity brothers rubbed me the wrong way, too. And while I know it happens, it just seemed to glorify that treatment a bit and I’m not really a fan.

Title: Into the Bermuda Triangle
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publication Date: May 11, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Another first installment in a serial. I really should plan to attack these by just reading all of the installments in succession because the problem I have is that they don’t always tell enough of a story in each installment. I’m very curious about what’s going to happen with Paul, but in this one we barely meet him and don’t really get a sense of him as a protagonist at all before it’s cutting off for the next installment. I do intend to read the next one (I already have the entire series ready to go), but I’m skeptical at this point because of the way this first installment ended.

Title: Into Deep Waters
Author: Kaje Harper
Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
From the moment Daniel first saw Jacob on the deck of the Gageway, he was drawn to him. There was something about the young man that caught his attention and when the two of them finally connected, it’s not surprising that the attraction is mutual. But in the U.S. Navy during World Ware II, being gay is misunderstood and certainly not tolerated. In a world that isn’t going to make it easy, can Daniel and Jacob build a relationship that will survive – not to mention surviving the enemy planes and the bombs and the guns?

Overall, I liked this one. Daniel and Jacob’s interactions are great, and I really feel like the reader can get a good sense of what life would have been like for a couple like them during the span of time portrayed in the story. (The only real detractor for me were a few occasional bathroom-related thoughts by Daniel that left me making a face – they just didn’t seem to be necessary in the story. Nothing overly inappropriate, though.)

Title: Running in Bed
Author: Jeffrey Sharlach
Publication Date: May 15, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I had some difficulty getting into this book. For about the first third, there’s almost a level of superficiality to it all. I found it hard to connect with the characters and the narration just didn’t seem that engaging. But I decided to keep going and, in the end, I found it to be enjoyable.

There are parts that some might find difficult to read. As a story centering on gay men in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s, the characters are greatly affected by the emergence of the AIDS epidemic – the realities of which are presented in great detail by Sharlach. And, in the end, it really has a great message, even if it gets there via a roundabout set of twists and turns and superficial connections between the reader and the characters.