Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen & Jonathan Case

Title: Green River Killer: A True Detective Story
Author: Jeff Jensen, Jonathan Case
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: 10/11/2011
ISBN: 1595825606

Before I start this review I want you to know that I love true crime books. Nothing is as frightening or as chilling as the tales of real people being murdered by monsters more heinous than anything Stephen King or Hollywood could dream up. Why? Because these monsters are very human & very real. That's why I was so eager to read this graphic novel, but unfortunately it just didn't live up to even my most modest expectations.

The story of one of America''s most notorious killers is revealed in this true-crime comic unlike any other! Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. But in 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen and fellow detectives spent 188 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets-an epic confrontation with evil that proved as disturbing and surreal as can be imagined. Written by Jensen''s own son, acclaimed entertainment journalist Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story presents the ultimate insider''s account of America's most prolific serial killer.

Where did this book go wrong? I'd say it went wrong when the authors decided to jump from time period to time period rather than telling the story in a more linear fashion. The book's format assumes that the reader is at least passingly familiar with the details of the story, which sometimes works against itself. Someone who has never really heard of the GRK will probably feel a little lost at times reading this, while others who have some familiarity will be able to keep up with it fine. I'm familiar with the GRK, so I was able to keep up but I couldn't help but feel that the jumps in the timeline just drew away from the story.

As a result of the jarring jumps I wasn't really able to feel the tension that the book tried to impart, nor was I really able to get a good clear feeling for Tom Jensen's personality. Forgive me, but this really seemed to be a shallow telling & I couldn't help but feel that the creepy story of the GRK was really given the treatment it deserves. I wasn't looking for some overly sensationalized & gory treatment of the GRK & his victims, but I was hoping for something more than this book put out.

There are, however, a few parts in the book where our authors did manage to capture my attention, such as the epilogue (which was very good), the emotional scenes where Jensen has to pass along bad news to family members, as well as Ridgway's chilling admission of "I just needed to kill".

One thing I do have to give praise for is the artwork. It manages to look good without going the "flashy, slick, attention grabbing" route that you see in many comics. The artwork here is understated, which helps keep the work from appearing too unreal & story-like. Others have compared it to the works of Charles Burns, which I agree is a good comparison. It's just that even the excellent artwork in this book was unable to keep this book from being an overall dull & forgettable read.

I'd really only recommend this if you can read it at your local library or glance through it on the shelves of a bookstore. True crime completists will probably want to pick this up since it's one of the few graphic novel versions of any murder's grisly accomplishments, but if you're looking to learn about the GRK then there's better resources out there.

2 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For a good cause: American Refugee Committee

Hi everyone! I know this is sort of out of my normal scope of blogging, but a little research for a book I'm reading (I'm a nerd, I google stuff mentioned in the books to get a better mental picture of everything) eventually lead me to to discover the American Refugee Committee.

While we're all enjoying our books & the freedom to read what we like, we should remember that not everyone enjoys the same privileges we do. There are many people
in areas such as Somalia that have to live in refugee camps, go to bed hungry, & try to raise children in areas that make some of the worse neighborhoods in the USA look like Disney World. Right now there's a terrible famine going on, leaving many adults & children without any food.

Because of this I wanted to highlight a group that's doing an awful lot of good in the world: the American Refugee Committee. They're not only taking donations but they're also taking on volunteers to help with anything from reaching out to people in needy places such as Somalia & Darfur to simply spending time in the ARC home base here in the States.

Even if you can only help out by spreading the word about this or similar groups (or even just trying to help out by donating to your favorite local charity), we should all do what we can!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Evelyn Evelyn by Amanda Palmer

Title: Evelyn Evelyn
Author: Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley
Artist: Cynthia von Buhler
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: 09/14/2011
ISBN: 1595825789

Ever read A Series of Unfortunate Events & thought "It would be really cool if instead of focusing on a trio of orphans & mysterious events, it'd be cool if Snicket wrote about conjoined twins?" If you've ever thought that, then you're in luck. Dresden Dolls genius Amanda Palmer has you covered in spades. (Oh yeah, and Jason Webley. I'm not too familiar with his stuff.)

Enthusiasts of genuine tragedy and celebrity intrique, gird your mental loins for an authentic tale of unbelievable hardship and epic catastrophe!

This wholly true and accurate account details the extraordinary lives of Evelyn and Evelyn, a darling but unfortunate pair of conjoined twins who brave extreme circumstances of calamity and adversity, such as the bizarre and bloody night of their birth and subsequent orphaning; their early years on a chicken farm; shocking encounters with depraved gentlemen; life in the circus; the terrible fates of their dearest friends; and concluding with the sisters' rise to international fame via the internet!

Fans of Amanda Palmer won't be surprised at how completely twisted & strange this collection is. A story like this can really only be properly told by someone as wickedly unique as her. It's not PC, but that's not the point of this story. The point is to showcase two talents that have been here all along.

The storyline of the book is quite frankly very dark. If you saw this & thought "oh how cute, a kid's book" then you'll be incredibly mistaken. There's nothing in this that's appropriate for children. The book starts off with the twins' sad beginning & from there goes through a pretty tragic course of events. I don't want to spoil the book for you but there's stuff in here ranging from child abuse to pedophilia. None of it is especially graphic. You never see it "on screen" or directly called out for what it was by the twins, but it is there. People who prefer not to read books with this sort of material will probably want to steer clear or at least get this for a library read. (Hey, nothing wrong with that. I avoid overly tragic movies for the same reason.)

Artwork-wise, it really fits the tone of the story. The artwork is sad and depressing, but intentionally so. After all, it's not like this is a story about two happy-go-lucky girls fighting evil with magical powers given to them by a stray cat. There was a lot of time & care put into the art in this book & I can't help but admire it even as I wince at some of the things inferred in it. (We can thank the uber-talented Cynthia von Buhler for this artwork!)

Overall this was a pretty great read, but I think it'll really only appeal to a specific group of people. It's definitely worth reading but I recommend this as a library read first for anyone who is on the fence about purchasing this book. There will be people for whom this will be an absolutely buy immediately book, but others will be content to read this once, bask in its glow for a while, then remain content to keep up with the twins via the internet.

(By the way, if you haven't checked them out on youtube, do so. It's worth the watch. By the time the video is over the musical stylings of Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley, erm... I mean Evelyn Evelyn will have stolen your heart away. I've included this video below. It's entirely kid-friendly.)

4/5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Book Review: Beyond the Grave by Mara Purnhagen

Title: Beyond the Grave (Past Midnight #3)
Author: Mara Purnhagen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: 08/23/2011
ISBN: 0373210310

I'm going to have to tone down my geekthusiam while writing this review because quite frankly, I thought this book was awesome. It's one of the best in the Past Midnight series so far, in my humble opinion.

A haunting new tale in the Past Midnight series...

I can’t move forward with my life until I know my demons are confined to the past...

Being Charlotte Silver, the daughter of famous paranormal investigators, means my life isn’t like that of other teenage girls. Especially after what happened to my parents. Things changed. I missed prom and deferred my big college plans. But I still have my boyfriend, Noah. He’s everything I could want—if I can figure out what’s up with him. Suddenly Noah is secretive.

I fear it has something to do with what happened to us three months ago. The bruise Noah suffered during a paranormal attack has never completely faded. Now I’ve learned Noah is researching demons. And when he disappears, it’s up to me to find him—before something else does.

If you couldn't guess from my earlier statement, I loved this book. I loved that it was such a quick & easy read. Also great was that we get a deeper look into the character of Bliss, someone that many will recognize as the former Queen of Mean that she used to be in some of the previous books. We get a better look into her character, showing us things that really help explain how & why she's acted like she has in the past. It really was a good look into a character that could stand to have a series of her own eventually. (After you read this book you'll understand why this could work.)

What really impressed me was that there weren't a lot of punches pulled in this book. People who are a little squeamish will probably wince at the ending since it can get a little on the gory side. You also have to have read the previous books in the series in order to really appreciate everything that's going on here. Enough is explained that new readers will be able to keep up but it probably won't be as fun for them as it would for someone who has read the entire run so far.

I'm not sure if this is the last book in the series or not, to be honest. There's a definite "ending" feel to this book & if Purnhagen did decide to end the series, this would be a terrific ending. I hope she continues the series in some form or fashion (whether with Charlotte or with another character) because there's still a whole world here to explore, especially the world of the Protectors, a group of people whose entire purpose is to protect people like Charlotte.

This is definitely one of my top 10 books of the year. If you haven't read any of Purnhagen's previous books, you need to get them & read them just so you can read Beyond the Grave. It's that good. I have to say, this book is making me want to start over at the beginning of the series & re-read them all, including 1.5.

This is a must read for anyone who loves supernatural fiction! Not a teen? Don't worry because you don't have to be under 18 in order to love this book.

5 out of 5 stars!

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

P.S. I read on the author's blog that this has been optioned for a TV series! I'm definitely crossing my fingers that the bigwigs at CBS realize that they've got a good thing here!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How not to respond to a review: Fandom version

Hi everyone! I've got two things to mention, one that's good & another that's not so good. First the good: I should be posting a new set of authors & books to check out along with a contest, so look back in a week or two!

The other thing isn't really so good.

/rant mode on

I was a little bored earlier tonight so I decided to flip through my little stock pile of books. While doing so, I re-discovered a book that I'd wanted to read but had put off for one specific reason. What was that reason?

The fan reaction. I'm not going to name the author. If you haven't discovered this author then I want you to find her without this hanging over you. If you've already read her stuff then I don't want to ruin the reading experience for you.

This author is relatively popular on amazon, but of course with any amount of positive reviews you're going to get some negative reviews. Hey- it comes with the territory. Nobody is going to agree 100% on anything. No matter how well you think something is written, there's always going to be someone who doesn't agree with you. This doesn't mean that they're stupid or that they're attacking your opinions. It also doesn't mean that they're jealous or that they're trying to sabotage the author. It just means that for whatever reason, this book just wasn't for them.

In this particular instance the negative reviews for this author were getting bombarded by people saying all sorts of things about the reviewers. One memorable commenter asked how many books the reviewer had written. (This same reviewer commented on quite a few of the negative reviews.) Others were lambasted for various reasons from not finishing the book to the bad grammar of the reviewer. It got sort of nasty.

The really awful thing about this? The author did actually comment in one of the reviews & was nothing but nice. Unfortunately her comment was lost in a sea full of well-meaning but overly rabid fans out to "get" anyone who said something they didn't agree with.

Seriously, if you find yourself doing this or tempted to do this... take a step away from the computer and take a deep breath. I know that you want to defend your author & that you feel if you only vent to the reviewer that they'll see the light, but STOP. It doesn't make you look good and most importantly, it doesn't make the author look good either. You might have good intentions but commenting back to a negative review rarely ends well. The same goes for down-voting because nine times out of ten you're down voting it because you don't agree with the opinion, not because the review is actually unhelpful.

I still have the book because I'm hoping that eventually I'll be able to forget the horrible behavior by the fandom. I just can't bring myself to read it because each time I remember the fan reaction & I get worried that if I were to read & dislike it, would I be attacked if I reviewed the book? Then I end up turning to another story because I just don't want to knowingly put myself through that.

So what to do when you're looking up your favorite author & see a negative review? The same thing you should do if you're an author & you see a negative review. Ignore it. If you're on amazon, don't even bother down-voting it. If you absolutely positively feel that you have to respond, remember that online comments don't usually give off the proper meaning and/or inflection that you want it to. That rather innocuous comment that you planned on posting might come across as a condescending fan rant.

The best thing to do would be to make sure that you've given that book a positive review once you've finished it. Don't mention the negative reviews or any of the comments. That comes across like you're only posting because of the negative reviews. Isn't that insulting the author, for his or her work to share second billing with a rant against negative reviewers?

(Although it should be said that if your negative review contains personal information about the author that has absolutely nothing to do with the book or you're commenting on a book that you haven't even picked up, then you should hold off on that review for right now. Just because you're angry that George R.R. Martin takes years to release a book or you hate that everyone's into the Twilight craze is no reason to post a review.)

So in any case, so ends my little rant. I know that everyone's been in this situation on both sides, both seeing the comments & getting put off of them as well as wanting to comment on a negative review (this is why I don't read reviews on Scott Sigler books). We just have to make sure that we don't turn into one of the fan ranters. It only hurts the author in the long run, which is the exact opposite of what we want to accomplish.

/rant mode off

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: The Fifth Kingdom by Caridad Piñeiro

Title: The Fifth Kingdom
Author: Caridad Piñeiro
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 07/11/2011

There's just something about books involving long lost treasures & historical mysteries that just lure me in. The promise of a steamy pairing doesn't hurt either. I got both, but I'll admit that this book was heavier on the steamy pairing than it was on the historical mystery. And I didn't mind a bit.

Dr. Deanna Vasquez hasn't spoken to her mother in years, not since the renowned archaeologist abandoned her family in her quest to find the lost tomb of Montezuma. When CIA agent Bill Santana shows up in her classroom with the news that her mother has been abducted by terrorists, Deanna has to help in any way she can.

Bill needs Deanna's expertise to determine the location of her mother's latest find, before her kidnappers do. He fears whatever mysteries the tomb holds could be deadly in the wrong hands. In an effort to make contact with the terrorist cell, Bill accompanies Deanna to Mexico posing as her fiancé—a ruse made doubly dangerous because of the very real heat between them...

What made this book was the awesome pairing of Bill & Deanna. It's hot, it's tangible, & it's very easy to get wrapped up in. Piñeiro might have gone a little lighter on the anthropological side with this book, but she stepped it up with the romance. One of the more intriguing & inviting things of the romance here is that the gender roles are switched. Normally when it comes to initiating sex it's the man who takes charge, but in this book the women are the ones who are large & in charge. It's really a nice turn of pace to see a woman doing this.

The action scenes are tense and fast paced, but a good chunk of this book focuses on the romantic & emotional state of our two main characters. It might seem a little risky, but it does seem to work here. I really felt myself connect with Deanna, although I'll admit that at times I was a little impatient for the plot to shift towards the inevitable action & discovery scenes. This might result in some readers getting a little anxious to get to the action, but trust me- the first sex scene more than makes up for it. (Yowza!)

I really enjoyed Piñeiro's Aztec Gold & this is no exception. I'm really looking forward to the next book she puts out along these lines. Caridad Piñeiro has a wonderful way of bringing a scene to life that's really exciting.


(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Google+ enabled!

Hi everyone! This isn't really all that book related, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm on Google+ now, so if any of you are on you should look me up. I'm listed under "Book Goggles". (And of course if anyone needs/wants an invite, let me know- I'll see what I can do.)

So far it's pretty interesting. It's pretty similar to facebook (no gaming just yet). It seems a little more professional, so I'd liken it to facebook & twitter's older cousin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten

Title: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten
Author: Harrison Geillor
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: 10/18/2011
ISBN: 1597802840

You don't have to be a Twilight fan to like this book, although I do recommend that you have a rudimentary knowledge of the series. This is a lot of fun to read, especially for the nice little twists that the author throws on the various characters. If you're worried about someone poking fun at the Twilight series, then relax. There's nothing particularly horrible in this that you or a friend haven't already poked fun at yourselves.

A small town... a plucky heroin, a shiny vampire, and a hunkey Native American rival with a secret. But all is not as it seems in Lake Woebegotten. Let Harrison Geillor reveal what lies beneath the seemingly placid surface. You'll Laugh. We promise.

When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz California to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she's leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student - the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they're actually vampires. But they're the kind who don't eat people, so it's okay.)

Once Bonnie realizes what her new lover really is, she isn't afraid. Instead, she sees potential. Because while Bonnie seems to her friends and family to be an ordinary, slightly clumsy, easily-distracted girl, she's really manipulative, calculating, power hungry, and not above committing murder to get her way - or even just to amuse herself. This is a love story about monsters... but the vampire isn't the monster.

I have to admit that what really drew me to this book was that the author was parodying two separate groups: Harrison Keillor and Twilight. It's a pretty unusual mixture, which is probably why this book works so well as a parody. It's not the typical Twilight parody that's out there & I also liked that this wasn't as mean spirited as some of the other parodies out there can be. (Although in fairness I'm referring more to the various parodies out there in the fanfic-verse, so they weren't polished up like this book was.)

It really was a great idea to make Bonnie into a sociopath, which made a lot of sense in this story. It explains a lot of her actions as well as providing just enough entertainment value to keep me interested. I also liked how the book tries very hard to follow the storyline of the Twilight saga. It's just close enough to where you can spot when the shifts to the plots of each different book happens, but not to the point where it's overly awkward or jarring.

It's not all sunshine & puppies, though. While I did enjoy the book I also found that it just got a little old after a while. I would get into the book, only to find my attention wandering every once in a while. I'd enjoy the bits and pieces I read, but this really is something that I'd recommend more in small doses. It's the type of book that you read along with another book & flip through when you need a little something to clear your mind. It's more of an aperitif than a main course.

This is sort of par for the course, though. It's very difficult to find a parody novel that you'd want to read the entire way through. The problem with novel-length parodies is that it's pretty hard to keep the same level of entertainment & humor throughout the book. Geillor does an admirable job of this, but falls short of being something that held my attention non-stop throughout the entire book. I can't really see this as a major flaw since most parody books aren't really meant to be the attention grabbers that their more serious bretheren are.

For what this is, it's pretty good. Fans of Twilight will enjoy the spoof & the anti-fans will love seeing the sendups of the various characters. It's not a "ZOMG! BUY IT NOW!1!" type of read, but it's the type of book that will undoubtedly get a lot of readers through word of mouth. It's something that you absolutely must get if you see it at the library & a possible buy if you see it at the bookstore & like what you see.


(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Title: Ultraviolet
Author: R.J. Anderson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Release Date: 09/01/2011
ISBN: 0761374086

Before I go on with this review, I just want people to understand that this book was published in the UK & is set in Canada. My reasons for mentioning this are semi-spoilerish, so if you want to read a spoiler-free review then you might want to stop at this paragraph. I'll summarize my review here: I enjoyed this book & would recommend it, but I really felt like the last 1/4th of the book deserved to be stretched out more- it was too good to be as short as it was. Otherwise this was a very good sci-fi/fantasy read.

"Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her."

Sixteen-year-old Alison wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she’s confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated—into nothing.

But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind—like her mother always feared she would.

For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood—until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her—and that she’s capable of far more than anyone else would believe.

I'll talk about the good before I start going into the other aspects of the book. First off, I loved that this wasn't your typical YA read. There are a few basic tropes in this book but when you write a story of any sort (YA or otherwise), you're going to have to utilize some of them. Anderson does an excellent job of giving us something new as far as the "teen girl with (maybe) superpowers" genre goes. It was wonderful to see something new in this genre. Maybe it was this uniqueness that made me get so attached to Alison, as I found myself eagerly following along with everything that happened to her. I will admit though, that I found the character of Tori (Alison's rival) far more interesting for what little screen time & mentions she received.

The book does have its imperfections though. I found that even though I liked the slow buildup, there's a lot of time spent on Alison's time in the group home & very little time spent on the actual reveal in the last part of the book. I can't go into this without spoiling it, but I felt that it was incredibly underserved. It's developed enough to where you can read it without being horribly disappointed, but the reveal was so interesting that I really wish that the author had spent a little less time with Alison's time at the asylum & interactions with Faraday (a & more time on this aspect of the book. It was just too cool for how little "screen time" it gets.

This also brings me to the reason why I mentioned that this whole thing takes place in Canada & was published in the UK. This is somewhat spoilerish so if you don't want to read this then just skip over this paragraph. The reason I mention this is because there's a little bit of romance between a 16 year old & a 24 year old, which really sort of bothered me. I know that the age of consent in Canada & the UK is lower than here in the US (although some states do have AOC at 16), but this just sort of creeped me out a little & I know it'll do the same for other readers. My reason for mentioning this isn't to keep people from reading the book but to mention that this age gap is brought up by the older of the two characters & there's no sex. I debated about whether or not to include this in my review at all, but I know that others have mentioned it so I felt like it was worth mentioning.

Overall this really was a good read & if the author puts out another book in this series (preferably surrounding the character of Tori) I'll definitely read it. This author has a great style that I would really love to see more of. Once again Carolrhoda Labs has put out a YA title that refuses to play by the same rules as the other publishers in the field & I love them for it.

4/5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: An Unusual Journey Through Royal History by Victoria Martinez

Title: An Unusual Journey Through Royal History
Author: Victoria Martinez
Publisher: Who Dares Wins Publishing
Release Date: 04/18/2011

This is not your typical royal history book. The table of contents reads more like a menu at a good restaurant, where there’s something for everyone’s taste. Each of the 18 chapters tells a unique story about an overlooked or unusual aspect of royal history, spanning centuries and countries, but in no particular order. From first to last, they will take you on a journey through royal history you’ve probably never seen or thought of before.

In few – if any – other books will you find the British Monarchy compared to London’s sewer system, or read of the challenges of finding a suitable husband for a 200-plus pound Victorian princess who was nonetheless a “remarkably light dancer.” Rarely are the lives of historic and modern royals from Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great to Prince Charles and Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark “illustrated” not by paintings but by tattoos. Even more intimate topics, like the practice of circumcision among royals – including Princes William and Harry – are explored for the sake of inquiring minds.

Chances are, even readers who usually find historic royalty boring and stuffy or modern royalty anachronistic and detached will find something to enjoy. Who wouldn’t feel a bit satisfied reading about a celebrated 19th century courtesan being paid to steal the thunder of an old and frumpy queen just to prove that queens are expected to be beautiful? It can also be quite amusing to find that a supposedly formal portrait of the current British Royal Family holds hidden, enigmatic clues to family dynamics and individual personalities that amuse and baffle.

In short (much like the Court dwarfs you’ll read about), this book will leave you with a sense that you not only know royal history – and enjoy it – but that you have also journeyed through it and know the royals personally, from who exterminates their palaces right down to their infamous last words.

Everyone knows the basics about royalty. You know that there's a King, a Queen, & veritable hordes of Princes, Princesses, & various other titles. But did you know that the royalty helped usher in London's sewer system? Or that they used to be tattooed? Little tidbits like these are what makes this book so interesting to read & believe me, I'm not a history reader.

Victoria Martinez has managed to do a very difficult task with this book. Not only does she do the research to find the stuff that you won't find in your normal textbooks, but she manages to make it fun to read & best of all- EASY to read. There's no dry, boring lines of chewed over text in this book.

If you hate history then you need to read this book. If you like history well, it goes without saying that this is a "must download" for you. I have to admit, if more books were written like this then I'd be a bigger history buff.


(Review copy provided by author)

Book Review: Mayhem by Artist Arthur

Title: Mayhemn (Mystyx #3)
Author: Artist Arthur
Publisher: Kimani Tru
Release Date: 07/19/2011
ISBN: 0373229933

This book in the series really seemed to strike a chord with me. Maybe it's that I've become a huge fan of this series or perhaps it's because I was bullied in school, albeit not to the extent that Jake was. Maybe it's all of the above, but let me tell you- this was easily the strongest book in the series so far. (No pun on Jake's abilities intended.)

A lot can change in a few months. Jake Palmer is living proof of that. In a short time, the once-shy loner has discovered his incredible supernatural abilities and forged a tight bond with his fellow Mystyx. What’s more—he’s fallen for his best friend, Krystal. And fallen hard.

Still, some things remain the same—like the jocks who keep bullying him. Even though they have no idea how powerful Jake has become. And while he tries to follow Krystal’s advice, he may not be able to keep his cool much longer. But there are bigger problems ahead, because the darkness that’s been hovering nearby is about to descend on the town of Lincoln, Connecticut. And when it does, the Mystyx will learn who to trust, who to fear and just how much is at stake…

You don't have to have been bullied to appreciate how Arthur approaches it. She doesn't get preachy, nor does she make Jake out to be some frail creature that never reacts or only acts ineffectively. Jake gives as good as he gets. Aside from the obvious addition of supernatural powers & evil forces, this was a pretty honest portrayal of what bullying is & was like for so many of us out there. This part of the book was extremely easy to get into & Jake's emotions were also easy to relate to. I think everyone's been a Jake at some point in their lives.

Now as far as the series as a whole goes, this is literally the turning point in the series for just about everything. We finally get more answers to the questions & although I can't divulge them without spoiling anything for you, this really was fun to read. I just couldn't put it down! We've got about two more books in the series & things are really building up to an explosive finale. I'm more excited to read the finish than ever! (Plus there's awesome Jake/Krystal goodness in this book!)

One thing I do want to note is that while there is cussing in this book, it was censored in my copy via asterisks. This might just be because it's a galley, but it could end up being censored in the final product. I actually don't have a problem with this & the main reason I'm mentioning it is because I know that there's a lot of people who don't like reading curse words in their YA books.

With all of the various teen series getting made into TV shows, I'm really mystified (lol) that this hasn't been picked up by someone. This book series really is a winner!

4/5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Another LA Banks auction!

Hi everyone!

I should have posted this a few days ago when it officially opened, but here it is:

Wicked Little Pixie's LA Banks auction!

There's a lot of awesome stuff here, from signed books to hotel stays! It's just as awesome as the first auction & it looks like it's off to a great start!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

LA Banks auction results!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to give you a quick update on the results from the most recent auction for LA Banks!

I did a quick calculation from the end results from the official auction page & it looks like about $26,000 was raised!

There's also going to be another auction on the 6th, so keep your eyes out for any announcements via Wicked Lil Pixie's website!