Friday, July 27, 2012

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce ★

Sisters Red
by Jackson Pearce
June 2010
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The wolf opened its long jaws.  Rows of teeth stretching for her.  A thought locked itself in Scarlett's mind:  I am the only one left to fight.  So now I must kill you.

A few months back I read Sweetly by Jackson Pearce and absolutely loved her twisted retelling of Hansel and Gretel.  I was delighted to learn that Sweetly was in fact book two, or at least a companion novel to an earlier book, Sisters Red.  Happily, they are definitely companion novels in that they one can be read individually, out of order.  But I did learn a lot about the history and methods of the villains that appeared in Sweetly by reading this book, which focuses on a retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Scarlett and Rosie March hunt Fenris - werewolves that not only killed their grandmother, but also stole Scarlett's eye when she was a young girl.  Using red cloaks, sweet perfume, and their feminine charms, the sisters lure the wolves out before slaying them with hatchets and throwing knives.  Scarlett has always lived for the hunt, and ridding the world of one Fenris after another is her passion.  But even though Rosie excels at hunting, she doesn't enjoy it, and longs for a different life where her feelings for a young woodsman wouldn't mean betraying Scarlett.

This book's premise had me devouring page after page, eager to delve deeper into the darkness that is a Jackson Pearce fairy tale.  I only had one disappointment, and that revolved around the romance.  There was a sister that I thought needed a little love in her life and I wasn't thrilled with the way it was resolved . . .   Nevertheless, this book is an excellent addition to Pearce's fairy tale collection and I can't wait for more!

For more fairy tale awesomeness check out this list of retellings!

Companion Novels
Sisters Red
Fathomless (TBR September 2012)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley ★

The Council of Mirrors (Sisters Grimm, Book 9)
by Michael Buckley
April 2012
Amulet Books

Once upon a time there was a sleepy river town called Ferryport Landing . . . 

So begins the last book in the Sisters Grimm series about a town full of fairy tale characters constantly getting themselves into trouble.  Luckily for the townsfolk, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are on the case, ready to take on their own possessed Grandmother as well as an entire army of magical creatures in order to finally end the Everafter War.  This is a series that would be very difficult to read out of order so be sure to read it from book one!

I have never understood why these books aren't more widely known and read as I think they are absolutely fantastic!  That said, and this being the last book I really wasn't looking forward to ANY kind of ending the author was going to give me.  But then, in a surprise twist of fate, I got my wish and instead of everything being wrapped up prettily in the last chapter, it turned into the book that would not end.  First the book ended.  Then it had an epilogue.  Then it had another epilogue.  Now normally this might be okay, except that it actually opened up way more questions than it resolved!  I wasn't curious about Sabrina's adult life before, but now I am!  And I'll never know.  Unless of course there's a new market for Sisters Grimm fan fiction . . . ?  Just putting that out there . . . You're more than welcome to write me some . . .

The Sisters Grimm
The Fairy-Tale Detectives
The Unusual Suspects
The Problem Child
Once Upon A Crime
Magic and Other Misdemeanors
Tales from the Hood
The Everafter War
The Inside Story
The Council of Mirrors

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Shamer Chronicles by Lene Kaaberbol

The Shamer's Daughter (The Shamer Chronicles, Book 1)
by Lene Kaaberbol
First published in English in 2002
Henry Holt and Company, LLC

Who dares look into her eyes?

If I had stopped reading this series after the first book, I believe I would have given it a star.  Instead, I found myself desperately slogging through book after book waiting for things to pick up and improve.  Sadly, for me they didn't.  Even sadder is the fact that I liked the characters less and less the more I got to know them.  By the end of the series, I was completely disgusted with even my favorite characters from book one. I think what I'm trying to say here is, if you're going to read these books, try to be satisfied with the ending in book one, because it honestly doesn't get much better.

Dina's mother is a Shamer, a person gifted with the ability to reveal the soul's deepest secrets simply by looking into their eyes.  Frequently called upon to look at hard criminals and common thieves alike, Dina knows the stress and sadness of her mother's lonely life.  For who would willingly look into the eyes of someone who knows all your darkest thoughts and actions?  Which is why Dina is so unsure and even a little ashamed of her new power when she learns she has inherited the Shamer's ability.  But when her mother is called to Dunark castle to assist in the investigation of a triple murder, Dina will come to know the true burden of the Shamer's gift.

Dina is a plucky little heroine all throughout the first book and I enjoyed her adventures and encounters.  Young fans of literature that features dragons, magic, and a little political intrigue may enjoy this series.

The Shamer Chronicles
The Shamer's Daughter
The Shamer's Signet
The Serpent Gift
The Shamer's War

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green

The Man With the Golden Torc (Secret History, Book 1)
by Simon R. Green 
June 2007
Roc Hardcover

All those things you heard about as a kid?  The boogeyman under the bed?  The creature in the closet?  The ghost in the . . . er . . . garage?  They're for real, people.  Believe me, I know.  I'm Eddie Drood.  And if it weren't for me and my family, all the things that go bump in the night would be mucking the world up, big-time.

You can call him Bond.  Shaman Bond.  Or at least that's what he goes by when he's on the job, working for "the family" as a secret agent who quietly dispatches those too familiar bumps in the night.  And he's good at it too, or at least he thought he was until the family sent an entire army of dark elves, aliens, and witches to kill him.  Now Eddie's running for his life, from the most elite agents in the world, looking for the answer to questions such as "Why does my family want me dead?", "What secrets are the droods hiding from the world?", and "When did Molly the evil witch get so dang hot?!"  Together with a few new friends, Eddie will go deep into the world of the evil creatures he's hunted his entire life in order to expose the dark truth about the family he's always held so dear.

Filled with plenty of fun parody, action, magic, and even a little romance, Eddie's adventures as the world's most top secret agent won't disappoint!  It may not be my new favorite book, but when you're in the mood for a little Bond action with a sci-fi twist then give this series a try!

The Secret Histories
The Man with the Golden Torc
Daemons Are Forever
The Spy Who Haunted Me
From Hell with Love
For Heaven's Eyes Only