The Passage by Justin Cronin

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010: You don’t have to be a fan of vampire fiction to be enthralled by The Passage, Justin Cronin‘s blazing new novel. Cronin is a remarkable storyteller (just ask adoring fans of his award-winning Mary and O’Neil), whose gorgeous writing brings depth and vitality to this ambitious epic about a virus that nearly destroys the world, and a six-year-old girl who holds the key to bringing it back. The Passage takes readers on a journey from the early days of the virus to the aftermath of the destruction, where packs of hungry infected scour the razed, charred cities looking for food, and the survivors eke out a bleak, brutal existence shadowed by fear. Cronin doesn’t shy away from identifying his “virals” as vampires. But, these are not sexy, angsty vampires (you won’t be seeing “Team Babcock” t-shirts any time soon), and they are not old-school, evil Nosferatus, either. These are a creation all Cronin’s own–hairless, insectile, glow-in-the-dark mutations who are inextricably linked to their makers and the one girl who could destroy them all. A huge departure from Cronin’s first two novels, The Passage is a grand mashup of literary and supernatural, a stunning beginning to a trilogy that is sure to dazzle readers of both genres. —Daphne Durham

 

A few hours ago I finished The Passage by Justin Cronin and I’m still a little numb.  I can see why it’s been called the “buzz book of  the Summer” or the “must read book of the Summer” because it has it all, events happening in the present, past and future, character descriptions so vivid you feel you “know” them, familiar locations and structures known to all and used in an unfamiliar way. It has love, heart-break,sadness, joy, panic, devastation, murder, gore,elation, the loss of all hope, deserts, plains, snow covered mountians and the ruins of Las Vegas. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough( or push the next page button since I was reading this on my Kindle) and the more I read the fastest I wanted to go until I was about 80% through the book and then I wanted to slow down and not get to the end too soon- I wanted to make it last.  When I did get to the very end I literally “gasped”(like Bella does at the end of New Moon, the movie), I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t and that’s why I’m a bit numb.  I’m going to go back and re-read the last few pages and see if I  get a different reaction, but I don’t think I will and that’s okay because it means Justin Cronin has done his job in making The Passage a book I will never forget. 

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Synopsis

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

Review-

I thought Stephenie Meyer did a good job bringing the character of Bree Tanner, the newborn vampire, to life and making her a “real person” for us.  You can’t help but feel bad and very sad for Bree and at the end I want to scream, “STOP, you can’t do this”, but the law is the law  and she is killed by Jane  and  life for everyone else goes on.  Sad.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

From Publishers Weekly

The legions of readers who are hooked on the romantic struggles of Bella and the vampire Edward will ecstatically devour this third installment of the story begun in Twilight, but it’s unlikely to win over any newcomers. Jake, the werewolf met in New Moon, pursues Bella with renewed vigilance. However, when repercussions from an episode in Twilight place Bella in the mortal danger that series fans have come to expect, Jake and Edward forge an uneasy alliance. The plot patterns have begun to show here, but Meyer’s other strengths remain intact. The supernatural elements accentuate the ordinary human dramas of growing up. Jake and Edward’s competition for Bella feels particularly authentic, especially in their apparent desire to best each other as much as to win Bella. Once again the author presents teenage love as an almost inhuman force: “[He] would have been my soul mate still,” says Bella, “if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world.” According to Meyer, the fourth book should tie up at least the Edward story, if not the whole shebang. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis

 

Edward’s soft voice came from behind me.

I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again. This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine–like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob–knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

 

Review –

With the movie coming out in less than a week I decided to read this again (for the third time).  I wanted to re-aquaint myself with all the characters and their interactions. I am ready now for the movie and can’t wait to see what they do with the “tent scene”.

Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton

Product Description

The music came back up and the next group of little girls, slightly older, came out. There was a lot of that in the next hour and change. I liked dance, and it was no reflection on the kids, but my will to live began to seep away on about the fifth group of sequined children…

Anita Blake is back in St. Louis and trying to live a normal life-as normal as possible for someone who is a legal vampire executioner and a U. S. Marshal. There are lovers, friends and their children, school programs to attend. In the midst of all the ordinary happiness a vampire from Anita’s past reaches out. She was supposed to be dead, killed in an explosion, but the Mother of All Darkness is the first vampire, their dark creator. It’s hard to kill a god. This dark goddess has reached out to her here-in St. Louis, home of everyone Anita loves most. The Mother of All Darkness has decided she has to act now or never, to control Anita, and all the vampires in America.

The Mother of All Darkness believes that the triumvirate created by master vampire Jean-Claude with Anita and the werewolf Richard Zeeman has enough power for her to regain a body and to immigrate to the New World. But the body she wants to possess is already taken. Anita is about to learn a whole new meaning to sharing her body, one that has nothing to do with the bedroom. And if the Mother of All Darkness can’t succeed in taking over Anita’s body for herself, she means to see that no one else has the use of it, ever again. Even Belle Morte, not always a friend to Anita, has sent word: “Run if you can…”

Review-
My enthusiasm for this series(Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner) has been revitalized with this latest installment.  The one before this, Flirt, fell flat for me.
But in this one I think I can see that a real change might ne coming. I feel that way because finally Richard is trying to right the wrongs he has committed against Anita and I  think Richard will  begin to take more of a role in the books to come.  I hope so. Looking forward to reading the next one.
 
Side Note –
Yes, there is  a LOT of sex in this series but  to me if doesn’t take away from the story but shows how loyalties and bounds are made in the vampire, were-animal  world of Anita Blake.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Shroeder

From the Publisher

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back…

…sort of.

Ava can’t see him or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear hisvoice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’scrazy, but she knows he’s here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

 

Review-

This is a story of loss, grief, loss and moving on and is written in verse form which makes it a very fast read.  I loved and story and was moved to tears a few time(what else is new).  I liked the author’s style so I think I’ll see what else she has written that I can add to my “to read” list.

Rooms by James L. Rubart

Synopsis

A young software tycoon inherits a coastal Oregon home that is really a physical manifestation of his soul being used by God to heal the man’s greatest wounds.

Publishers Weekly

Debut author and professional marketer Rubart has created a suspenseful tale in the vein of Ted Dekker’s House, in which inexplicable happenings take over and direct a character’s life. Twenty-five-year-old Micah Taylor receives a mysterious letter from a great-uncle he never knew informing him of a home built for him by said uncle. His interest piqued, Micah, a wealthy software company owner, takes off for the Oregon coast to visit his newly acquired 9,000-square-foot house. What he finds is a shape-shifting, mind-boggling revisiting of his past that jeopardizes his future. With only a handful of letters as his guide, Micah tries to summon up the courage to face old wounds that somehow are connected to various rooms in the house itself. As soon as Taylor opens one door, in floods a sea of memories that he must choose to face or run from. Rubart’s work clips along nicely, and his premise is compelling. (Apr.)

 

Review-

When I started this book I wasn’t aware it was Christian literature and  I normally try to stay away from that genre because most are “too preachy”  This, however, was a wonderful, spirtual story and glad Kindle offered  it for FREE or I never would have tried it.

Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Synopsis

When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames…. Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her.  But how?  He will have to die to do so, the Vampyre High Council stipulates.  And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left…  Enter  BFF Stevie Rae.  She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own.  The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences.  Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good.  The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world. In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it).  She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not.  Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance. Three girls… playing with fire… if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

Review-

I loved, loved, loved this book.  I laughed and I cried and any book that can do that is a winner.  I’m not going to say too much because not everyone has read the previous books and I don’t want to spoil it for them but I’m happy with the way things and relationships turned out in the Otherworld and the museum.  Now I have to wait for Awakened to be released and it can’t be too soon for me.

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

Synopsis

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. 

When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger.  Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.

Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening—to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president.  Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

Review-

I loved this book and read it in one sitting.  It was a combination ghost story, love story and mystery.Katie Alender kept the “creepy” feel going throughout the book and what about that cover!  There was no sex, drugs or cussing so anyone that has a problem with that sort of thing being in YA literature will like this story.  

Crime de Cocoa by Joanna Carl

Three Chocoholic Mysteries!

The Chocolate Cat Caper (originally published in March 2002)

Enjoy the Guilt
After giving up her career as a Texas trophy wife, Lee McKinney finds herself in a Michigan resort town, keeping the books for her aunt Nettie’s luxury chocolate business. But she soon discovers that her new life isn’t all truffles and bonbons….

Clementine Ripley, the defense attorney everyone loves to hate, is throwing a party that calls for several thousand dollars’ worth of custom chocolates—some made in the image of her champion cat. Lee jumps at the job, but sweet success takes a bitter turn when someone adds an extra ingredient—cyanide—to one of their delicious chocolates and it finds its way into Ms. Ripley’s mouth. Now it’s up to Lee to figure out who tampered with the family recipe before she and her aunt end up behind not- so-chocolate bars.

The Chocolate Bear Burglary (originally published in November 2002)

Confessions of a Confectioner
After leaving her bad-new husband back in Texas, Lee McKinney moved up north to a quaint resort town. Now she keeps the books for her aunt’s luxury chocolate shops. But Lee soon finds that Michigan winters can be murder…. Lee and Aunt Nettie can’t believe their luck. A teddy bear promotion will have tourists flocking to Warner Pier, which could mean skyrocketing sales for TenHuis Chocolade. To help decorate the scrumptious tore, Gail, an antique dealer, lends them a collection of valuable chocolate molds. But after a burglary at the shop, Gail meets with a grisly fate—and the main suspect in her murder is Lee’s troubled teenage stepson. Lee sets out to clear his name, but awakening long-hibernating family secrets might be more than this daring crime solver can bear….

The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (originally published in December 2003)

Chocolate Chicanery
The quaint resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan, is abuzz with preparations for the Fourth of July. Things are going swimmingly for Lee McKinney and her aunt Nettie, as they debut their latest confections at TenHuis Chocolade– chocolate frogs, fish, and lizards of all sizes. The first customer to buy a chocolate croaker is the town crank, Hershel Perkins—only minutes after having a public altercation in the post office with Lee’s boyfriend, Joe Woodyard. Lee and Joe are planning a romantic cruise up the Warner River in an antique wooden boat, but their plans are smashed when Hershel’s canoe, the Toadfrog, is found half submerged near Joe’s boat shop. Hershel has disappeared—and the police presume foul play. Joe seems the most likely suspect, but Lee thinks he’s being framed. And it’s a chocolate clue that leads her to the killer….

Review-

I have read these before but wanted a change from the vampire/werewolf genre that I ususally read and this book fit the bill.

The stories are light and dotted with descriptions of gourmet chocolate bon bons and chocolate trivia.

If you’re in the mood for a fun read-give this series a try.  You won’t be sorry.

Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur

Synopsis

Some nights never end.
Some desires never die. . . .
 
Shape-shifting werewolf and vampire Riley Jenson is through with death—causing it, solving it, surviving it. Her soul mate, Kye Murphy, is dead—and at Riley’s own hands. Not even the seductive embrace of her vampire lover, Quinn, can fully ease her mind, for she has begun questioning everything that makes her Riley—including her job at the Directorate.

Now, the ritualistically slain bodies of ex-cons have started turning up. Reluctantly, Riley takes the case, but something even worse is waiting in the wings. A vicious enemy from her past is determined to strip Riley of everything that gives her life any meaning: her lover, her brother—and even her own identity. Can Riley survive this ultimate assault? All she knows is, she must fight one last time to find answers, before everything goes dark forever.

                                                                  Review-

This is the 9th and final book in the Guardian series and I was a bit disappointed.  It had a great start, a very confusing middle but a fantastic ending.(I loved the arena scenes) but when you invest 8 volumes to one character you just expect more but I didn’t get that here.  I’m sad to see the series end and I think one more volume would have fully explained some things and made for a cleaner ending.