Review: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, book 1
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: hardback
Rating: 4.5/5
Read for: 2011 Urban Fantasy challenge

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself.
Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.
Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends–one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena–will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My Thoughts

I was SO excited to read this. So excited. I love Greek mythology (seriously–I have Cerberus tattooed on my right shoulder).
The book starts a little slow, but it picks up pretty quickly and by chapter three I was hooked.
The book is a little predictable at times, especially if you know Greek mythology pretty well, so I was able to guess the characters before Percy did, but I was still pretty impressed with it. The whole novel takes Greek mythology and runs with it, and even the encounters with the Big Three (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) are awesome.
I don’t want to say too much about the book, because there are spoilers around every corner and the beginning of the book is tied with the end, thanks to the Oracle’s prophecy, but suffice to say I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to picking up book two as soon as I can.


Review: Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance

     Title: Midnight’s Daughter
Author: Karen Chance
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Onyx (Penguin)
Format: paperback
Rating: 4/5
Read for: 2011 Urban Fantasy Challenge

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.
Now Dory’s vampire father has come back into her life. Her uncle Dracula (yes, the Dracula) infamous even among vampires for his cruelty and murderous ways, has escaped his prison. And her father wants Dory to work with the gorgeous master vampire Louis-Cesare to put him back there.
Vampires and dhampirs are mortal enemies, and Dory prefers to work alone. But Dracula is the only thing on earth that truly scares her, and when Dory has to go up against him, she’ll take all the help she can get…

My Thoughts

As I read the first few pages, I had a lot of hesitations. Dorina, or Dory, seemed like a walking cliche–a hard, tough-talking narrator with nothing to back it up. Fortunately, my hesitations only lasted a few pages, and I flew through the book. I couldn’t put it down.
The book is very fast-paced. There’s not a lot of time for standing around, although Dory does seem to spend a lot of her time injured or disoriented, either from her rages, during which she blacks out, or from simply being beat up during fights.
I really liked Louis-Cesare, and I hope I see a lot more of him in the second novel in this series. I liked the interaction between him and Dory, right from the moment they met.
I’m definitely going to have to pick up the next book in the series… And probably start reading the Cassandra Palmer series, starting with Touch the Dark.

Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title: Darkfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #1
Obtained: purchased
Publisher: Dell (Random House)
Rating: 4/5
Read for: 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge // 2011 Urban Fantasy Challenge

Blurb (from back cover)

When MacKayla’s sister is murdered, she leaves a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cellphone. Journeying to Ireland in search of answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of Man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, while at the same time, the ruthless V’lane–an immortal Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-knowing powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of both worlds in their hands.

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Review: The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson

Title: Where Are You Now?
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: hardback
Rating: 3/5
Read for: 2011 Urban Fantasy Challenge

Blurb (from dust jacket)

It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. (“Mack”) went missing. A columbia University senior, about to graduate and already accepted at Duke University Law School, he walked out of his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side without a word to his college roommates and has never been seen again. However, he does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother’s Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, refuses to answer her frantic questions, then hangs up. Even the death of his father, a corporate lawyer, in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls.
Mack’s sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them. So this year when Mack makes his annual Mother’s Day call, Carolyn interrupts to announce her intention to track him down, no matter what it takes. The next morning after Mass, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: “Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me.”
Mack’s cryptic warning does nothing to deter his sister from taking up the search, despite the angry reaction of her mother, Olivia, and the polite disapproval of Elliott Wallace, Carolyn’s honorary uncle, who is clearly in love with Olivia.
Carolyn’s pursuit of the truth about Mack’s disappearance swiftly plunges her into a world of unexpected danger and unanswered questions. What is the secret that Gus and Lil Kramer, the superintendents of the building in which Mack was living, have to hide? What do Mack’s old roommates, the charismatic club owner Nick DeMarco and the cold and wealthy real estate tycoon Bruce Galbraith, know about Mack’s disappearance? Is Nick connected to the disappearance of Leesey Andrews, who had last been seen in his trendy club? Can the police possibly believe that Mack is not only alive, but a serial killer, a shadowy predator of young women? Was Mack also guilty of the brutal murder of his drama teacher and the theft of his taped sessions with her?
Carolyn’s passionate search for the truth about her brother–and for her brother himself–leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal.

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Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Title: Glass Houses
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires #1
Obtained: purchased
Publisher: New American Library (Penguin)
Format: paperback omnibus with The Dead Girls’ Dance
Rating: 4/5
Read for: 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge

Blurb (from back cover)

Morganville is a small college town in the heart of Texas that has its share of quirky characters–and some evil ones too. When student Claire Danvers moves off campus into one of Morganville’s oldest houses, she finds that her roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

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Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Southern Vampire Series #1
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Ace
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 1/5
Read for: 2011 Urban Fantasy Challenge

Blurb (from dust jacket)

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability.” She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too datable. Then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome–and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…
But Bill has a disability of his own: he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. But he is an interesting addition to the town, and Sookie can’t help but listen to what everyone else thinks about Bill…especially since she’s starting to fall for the buff bloodsucker. But when a string of murders hits town–along with a gang of truly nasty vampires looking for Bill–Sookie wonders if having an undead boyfriend is such a bright idea.
And when one of her coworkers is killed, Sookie realizes that Bill and his friends may have some special plans for a woman who can read minds…

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan

Title: Queen of Shadows
Series: The Shadow World #1
Author: Dianne Sylvan
Obtained: purchased
Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin)//Ace Books
Rating: 5/5


Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires who feed off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman’s madness will drive her into a world that few people ever see–or even know exists…

Shortly after she picked up a guitar, Miranda Grey conquered the Austin music scene with a newfound ability to psychically manipulate her audience’s emotions. But as her powers outgrow her control, her mind is increasingly invaded by haunting secrets and overwhelming sadness. Unable to look anyone in the eye, Miranda’s fast approaching the edge of insanity–with no one to catch her fall…

When he outlawed killing humans, David Solomon, Prime of the South, ignited a civil war among Austin’s vampires. His sympathy for mortals angers the old guard who refuse to control their violent urges. David has his hands full with the growing insurgency, but he takes in a broken-down woman, a musician in need of supernatural guidance. He doesn’t know that Miranda Grey has the power to change his world as well…

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