Sunday, July 31, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells (review)

4ish stars (yes I'm a little wishy-washy on this point)

Variant is one of those books that's hard to review. (Yes I know I say that a lot!).

It's a book with a First Half. Then a Second Half. And I want to judge them separately. Because by the end I couldn't put the book down, almost finishing it in a loud chinese restaurant because I was that engaged. But as much as I enjoyed the second half, I can't ignore the first half of the book.

The first half I kinda wanted to smack the main character. Have you heard that famous Albert Einstein quote? "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." For me that's the first half of this book. Benson has only one thing on his mind. And it's something he SHOULD have on his mind. Only problem is that Benson has a bad case of the "doesn't stop and think."

"No one talked about escape. I tried to bring up the subject once, but it died out fairly quickly." Benson my friend, I hate to tell you this but you did not bring it up once. I searched on my Kindle. The word escape appears 76 times. You might have been a wee bit obsessed.

BUT then comes the second half where everything changed. And I could not put the book down. The problem? I can't actually TELL you much about the second half without ruining the nicely done twist.

When we first meet Benson (which FYI had me thinking of Law & Order SVU every time they said his name) he's on his way to Maxfield Academy. He thinks a scholarship to an elite private school is his escape from the foster system. But Maxfield Academy is not what he thinks. It's not a wonderful opportunity, it's more like a prison than school. Instead he's trapped behind bullet proof glass and barbed wire fences, with no adults. The school is controlled by 3 different gangs and breaking a rule equals detention and detention equals death. It's not exactly the bright future Benson hopes for .

I feel like I should be able to sympathize with Benson. Maxfield Academy is horrible and it does suck. He's RIGHT about pretty much everything. But his approach is wrong. He is single-mindly obsessed with escape. He's practically banging his head against the wall hoping to knock a stone loose. I spent the first half of the book wanting to shout at him. "QUIT RUNNING HEADLONG INTO DANGER! STOP AND THINK!!!!!" Benson is not much of a thinker, at least not at first.

But then about halfway through the book, just when Benson is finally calming down, falling for a girl and starting to get complacent, everything suddenly changes. Like BOOM I'm going to be a different book now. Like me better now? As a matter of fact yes I do like you better. You should have dyed your hair this color pages ago, does wonders for your pacing! Honestly the second half of this book made me question my opinion of the first. "Surely it can't be that annoying Cassi? Look how much you like it now!" So I suppose there's always the chance I was in a bad mood when I read the first half. I don't think so, but you never know.

Suddenly you can't trust anyone. Benson finally stops running in circles and starts thinking strategically. For me that's when the book gets good. When he stops banging his head against the proverbial wall and starts planning. Finally he's trying to figure out the big mystery of the school and tries to come up with a feasible escape plan (whereas his plan before was just jump the wall and hope not to die). This gives the reader the opportunity to follow his investigation and put the pieces of the puzzle together along with Benson.

Then ending is twisty, leaving the reader on a cliffhanger that made me say "HUH". I re-read the passage and I was still confused, but it was a good confusion (I was a Lost fan, clearly I have a thing for confusing cliffhangers). The ending left me curious enough that I want to read book 2.

This book has a Dystopian-vibe without actually being a Dystopia. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit thriller and a little bit something else that I can't place my finger on. But overall I liked it. The first portion may be a 3, but the last part is solidly 4+. In fictional math that equals a 4 star review for me.

So even though Benson is a little obnoxious at the beginning of the book, bear with him because he gets smarter. There's an interesting mystery, a creepy school and life or death stakes. The book is clearly meant to be part of a series (trilogy is my guess) because you don't get all the answers in this book. Assuming that the new and improved Benson plans to make an appearance in the next book I want to continue this series. And the cliffhanger better be worth it! Not just a shark with a random dharma logo!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vacation part 3: West Virginia

Wanted to share some photos about my vacation in West Virginia. I wanted to right a whole blog about how empowering it was to vacation alone as a single female and all that jazz BUT what more needs to be said? Blackwater Falls WV is a great place to go if you're a girl who likes hiking and doesn't have a travel buddy. It's a laid back area with a just enough of a hippie-vibe to be enticing.

Seriously it's the type of place I would live if I knew how to drive in the snow. Highly recommended. More pictures to come!!

I do not believe I've ever seen a better reading spot.

Blackwater Falls (no tripod so not greatest photo). I stayed in the lodge at Blackwater Falls State Park which was nice but little outdated.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. <3 everything about it. From the nice little old lady who gave me trail map to the trails.
This is where I fell in love with West Virginia.

Amazing large purple wildflowers in the refuge.

So continues my strange obsession with bridges. Give me a bridge & I will hike to it.

Lindy Point overlook. I want to spend the rest of my life with this view.
Can you marry an overlook?

Me with Lindy Point, the overlook I'm going to pretend is my boyfriend now. Tell me that's not gorgeous?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Raging Quiet (review)

The Raging Quiet is a book I never would have read. The cover is juvenile at best, cheesy at worst. It's a romance and I'm a tomboy. Yes sometimes I have girly moments (Archer Cross, Peeta Mellark, I'm looking at you) but I didn't think I could read a straight-up romance. My friends over on goodreads told me to read this book. They said it was a romance, but it wasn't that type of romance.

They were right.

The Raging Quiet is not like the romances I've avoided. The characters are well developed and the romance takes time. The story is a historical romance without a specific time period, something that adds to the timeless fairytale feel. The story lacks the magic that's normally associated with such myths, relying on realistic events and the chemistry between the two main characters to push the story forward instead of devices like fairy godmothers and cursed apples. I like that.

The book starts with Marnie leaving her home, wed to Sir William Isherwood's son. She's only 16 and he's twice her age. She marries for the pragmatic reasons of the past: to protect her families livelihood after her father falls ill and to escape the rumors circulating about her. This is not glorified or turned into a horror, the book appropriately shows the fears of a reluctant bride without making her husband Isake fully hero or bad guy.
"Her face was striking, with astonishing blue eyes and forthright look that got her into trouble on the farm. Various youths, reading her boldness as brazenness had at different times tried to grab her in the hay barn or behind the stables, and been soundly walloped for their trouble." (Description of Marnie)
When Marnie arrives at her new home Torcurra they're beating the devils out of the local mad boy. It's a chilling image of the times and the town Marnie lives in. Two days after her arrival her husband dies and the town, leery of anyone different or unknown, becomes suspicious.

Facing a town that doesn't like or understand her, Marnie doesn't cower but continues to do what she thinks is right regardless of the consequences. She befriends the local madman, a young man who grunts and rages, but is unable to communicate. The villagers think he's possessed by demons but he reminds Marnie of her sick father. In some ways Marnie is too good to be true, too good for the world that she lives in, but that's part of what makes her such a lovable heroine. She's sweet and kind, with a rare empathetic heart that she always follows. That's why she helps the madman and it's one of the truest examples of Christian-love I've ever seen in a novel. (This isn't a "Christian novel" but it's set in a Christian time period/village). Even the town priest learns from Marnie's example. Though the madman scares her, she also pities him, understands his isolation and eventually tries to find ways to communicate with him.

I worry that talking much about Raven would be considered spoilers. But this is as much his story as Marnie's and I really admire what the author has done with his character. She's created a believable character with a disability and plopped him into a time period that is unwilling to accept him. Once you understand Raven, his fits of anger and confusion are completely understandable. I'll leave it at that and let you discover Raven on your own.

Calling The Raging Quiet a "romance" doesn't seem to do this book justice. Yes there is a love story at it's center. But for me romance has become a dirty word in books. This book isn't about love at first site or long overwrought crushes. It's about the friendship that blossoms between two people and over time becomes something more. To me that's what love is. It's not this flashy, sparkly, mopey or otherwise unbelievable stuff we normally see in books. It's friendship that grows until it's so big there aren't words to describe it anymore.

In some ways this book is as much about friendship and kindness as love. That's what I feel like most romances are lacking. That's what pulled me in and made this book different. It's a simple story, but a believable story. The relationship builds naturally and nothing ever feels forced.

I'm glad that people pushed me to read this book. I'll probably always be leery of romance novels, but this book proves that sometimes a story can surpass it's label. This book worked because it gave me what I want from EVERY book--likable main characters, believable character development and a story that deserves to be told.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tiny garden update (literally)

Friends I think I need gardening advice. See those onions tiny? See a fair sized tomato. But see those LITTLE BITY THINGS...Pimento peppers. I don't understand why this is happening.

The small onions don't bother me that much because they are perfect for scrambled eggs. But I'd kind of like to know how to grow a big honking onion. But I don't understand why my peppers are smaller than the dime sitting next to them. This seems horribly wrong. I do not use miracle-grow, only composted cow-maure or organic compost from k-mart (yes probably not the best but I'm not allowed to compost where I live). I'm ending up with lots of little fruit. Any advice on how to fix this problem?

(There's a reason that I didn't post pictures of my actual garden. It's rather unpretty right now. My week at camp and then vacation made the weeds very happy and the plants not so happy. My parents watered them but I could not ask for much more. Nothing completely died. That's good right?)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter & Me

I've seen sentimental posts about Harry Potter all over the internet so of course I feel the need to chime in. My favorite blog in their Harry Potter recap talked about how they wanted a great big therapy session in the room of requirement. (Read that article HERE) So I'm using my blog for my personal Harry-therapy.

I feel like Harry Potter has been one of those defining things in my life. In my small town high school it was the first time where I'd ever felt judged. And why? Because I read a book. It was the first time anyone attempted censorship on me and the first time I've battled ignorance. I actually had someone ask me, "I thought you were a Christian?" As you can imagine I was very offended. Very. I've taken that experience with me everywhere I've gone.

But despite all the negativity, I loved Harry Potter. It introduced me to fantasy as a genre. I've been reading and writing YA ever since. The first 4 books were out when I met Harry, but I went to release parties for books 5-7. I stayed up all night reading. I spent time on message boards theorizing. If you look hard you may even find Harry Potter fanfiction that I wrote.

People always talk about books as "The next Harry Potter." There will never be another Harry Potter. Nothing can compare to the experience, the phenomenon, the fandom or the friends I've made. Harry Potter is a incredible book but it was more than that. It was an incredible experience. It was magical. It still is magical. I hope the magic of Harry Potter never fades, even if you missed the initial experience.

This is the first scarf I knitted (modeled this evening). I'm a Hufflepuff through and through. Don't ever insult my house. Hufflepuff is everything I want to be. I learned to knit partially to make Harry Potter scarves. I've made quite a few over the years.

This is my Ginny Weasley Halloween costume. It's also my go-to costume whenever I'm in a pinch. Another scarf knitted by me and the robe made by me. This was taken at the small Christian college where I went. As you can tell I never started caring what others might say where Harry was concerned. I knew Harry. They did not. (Not everyone there was anti-HP, but there will always be factions)

This is just silliness on my hall (with my friend Kelly taking pictures). And yes I made a diary and whittled a wand. This is dedication my friends.

For the 6th book I went to a release party when my family was on vacation in Myrtle Beach. This required some work beforehand. My little brother went with me and ended up deciding he wanted the book too. He had his first Starbucks that night and it's one of my favorite memories of him. I stayed up all night in the hotel reading the book.

This is the Deathly Hallows release party. Those are my two best friends in the world. We left the summer camp where I worked, drove to Huntington, West Virginia, and waited in line to buy the books. That's me as Ginny Weasley, Lauren as Tonks, Maggie as Luna. Maggie, love her soul, had not even read one of the books yet. Now she's a fan like the rest of us. After the party we went to her house for a reading marathon. She made sure we were fed. Trust me we needed it after Deathly Hallows.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Feed by Mira Grant (review)

5/5 Star Review!!!

Zombies have been trendy for awhile, from the more satiric retelling of classics to lots of YA books that take place in a society ravaged by zombies. I know Scott Westerfeld compared high school to a dystopia, but I don't quite think a zombie-apocalypse is the same thing.

And while there are zombies and lots of them, Feed is NOT a zombie book. It's more a political thriller where zombies are the backdrop. This feels fitting to me. By now we know about zombies. They're the undead, they eat brains and they amble around falling apart until someone puts a bullet in their brain. Do we really need to re-hash zombie lore? Feed does explain how the Kellis-Amberlee virus, aka the zombie bug, came into existence, but it doesn't treat the reader like a zombie novice.

Feed follows the story of a group of bloggers selected to follow a presidential campaign. Senator Ryman is a rising star in the Republican party, a veritable Boy Scout in a world where everyone has an angle. The other candidates are caricatures, but sadly believable in a world where the internet is the main avenue of human interactions. There's Kirsten "Knockers" Wagman, a woman with massive breast implants and very little to actually say. I picture her as a thousand different youtubers, using a breast shot to get hits or in this case votes. There's Governor Tate who believes that zombies are a judgement from God and preaches a message of fear.

In a world where people are afraid to leave their home for fear of an outbreak, campaigning is dangerous and sometimes deadly. Following a presidential candidate across the country has no guarantee of safety, as Georgia, Shaun and Buffy find out. But is the danger really from the undead? Or from the political game they've become part of? The zombies are not the villains in this book.

I could probably ramble for awhile about everything I liked about this book. My degree is in journalism. Georgia is a Journalist with a capital J. She's what blogging circles call Newsies but what I call "Exactly how every journalist should be." As the main character she channels all the journalistic greats, digging for the whole truth no matter the cost. She's the legendary fourth estate, keeping the powers-that-be in line not with power, but with truth. Georgia is ethical, fair and a damn good journalist. There was a point in time when I wanted to be just like Georgia (minus zombies & potential death). She's a hero armed with words, not a sword (though she carries a gun. She'd be stupid not too). Sometimes we have an overly simplistic view of female heroines, but Georgia is just as much a hero as Alanna, Hermione, or Katniss, her weapons are just different.

A lot of people underestimate the value of journalism. But a free press is necessary for the political process. Sometimes the press can be stupid and suck, but this book emphasizes how a good journalist by only telling the truth can change the world. (And an aside, trust me this is true. Until the local newspaper filed a freedom of information act request and followed through on a story despite threats, my county has a very very VERY corrupt sheriff. Yes my sheriff was evil)

This book will appeal to many. If you like zombies there's a fair share of blood and brains. If you political you'll enjoy the postulating of the candidate and following the way zombies have changed politics. If you like a mystery (or journalism) you'll want to uncover the truth.

Some people thought this book started slow. Maybe it did but I didn't really noticed. I was enamored from the beginning, fascinated by how the zombie outbreak had changed journalism, then later got caught up in the political campaign. So that's my warning: even with a slow beginning the book is worth it. It's daring, different and I completely loved it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation part 2: The Ridges, Athens OH

The Ridges, aka The Athens Lunatic Asylum, is an imposing complex that stands on a hill in Athens, Ohio. Many people consider it haunted but I'm a skeptic where most ghost stories are concerned. So if you're looking to be afraid, alas, I am not your blogger.

However I find the building beautiful in that falling-apart sad way that I love. I wish I'd had a tripod and different lens so I could get better pictures. However I didn't have either with me.

The Ridges also has a fascinating history and sometimes I geek-out for stuff like that. It was open from 1873-1993. It's easy to see how it would've been beautiful in it's heyday. The grounds are scenic with wonderful old trees. Apparently for awhile it had a greenhouse, dairy farm and was nearly self-sustaining.

Below are some pictures of The Ridges (the outside, I do not try to get arrested on vacation) and the cemetery along with some of my commentary of course.

Each floor had a different pattern to the bars. Creepy & Pretty.

Some kind of art project. My first reaction was "interactive art you can play with."
But alas a sign told me not to touch. I hate art like this that you're not suppose to touch.
Paintings I do not touch. But weird 3D sculptures outside in public places should be playgrounds.
Yes that may have been a mini-rant.

I like to try to imagine the building on shiny and new. It must've been impressive.

Courtyard for the patients to play in but apparently not for me to play it.
Sad day. (Not that the fence could've kept me out, except you know nothing illegal on vacation).

Keep the dang door closed people! Safety first! Or something...

This is where I start getting philosophical and sad. The tombstones for the mental institution were of the cheapest
stone available and didn't even have the persons name.
Can you image your life boiling down to be #9 in a hillside cemetery?
And only until your stone decayed at that.

It made me even sadder when we read about how many of the patients were civil war veterans.

That's that's The Ridges, as seen by me. I'm not going to tell you ghost stories I don't believe in. I just find the whole thing both sad and fascinating. I'm sure the hospital was built with the best intentions. Pictures of the early days of The Ridges show a ballroom, recreation and a beautiful location. But eventually it became overcrowded and fell into disrepair. If you want to read more about the Ridges here is a website The Ridges that despite poor graphic design (really creepy red font?) seems to provide some interesting information. From there google is your friend.

Stay tuned for pictures of my adventures in West Virginia and hopefully some more book reviews now that I've returned to my real life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation part 1: Hike in Athens OH

I probably won't be posting many book-related things this week. I'm on vacation. First I went and visited my best friend who lives in Athens Ohio (it took me years to visit her and now I'm not sure why!). Like any of my adventures, one of the first things we did was go hiking. The trail was called Rockhouse Trail and it's close to her house. Sells Park? Something like that? I forgot to take a picture of the sign and see what happens, I don't know where I am.

Strange windchime that was along the trail without any explanation.
I'm assuming it's a public art project of some kind.
(I should mention it's massive)

This is probably my favorite picture.
I was channeling Ivy from Soulless.

I may have went off trail for awhile. We found blackberries.
We also forgot to pack lunch & I was starving.

Weird rock formation.
Maggie compared it to a belly-button.

I'm not sure why I do the things that I do.
Sounded like a good idea at the time.

We also walked around "The Ridges" which is a closed insane asylum (outside, I'm a law abiding citizen). I'll try to post some of the pictures/research we did afterwards. It was a sad place.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Plain Kate is simple & wonderful (review)

Plain Kate is an orphaned girl, talented with the carving knife, and cursed with witch eyes (two different colors) living alone in a town where being different is met with suspicion. When her unusual carving talent draws the wrong kind of attention she's left with a choice: Leave the only home she knows or wait and probably burn in the town square.

An albino stranger, an actual witch, comes along and makes a bargain for Kate's shadow, taking away any semblance of a choice. She must leave immediately or be burned as a witch. The book follows Kate's adventures as she makes her way across the increasingly dark and foggy landscape. This is the story of how a lonely girl, with only her talking cat (a gift from the witch), goes from victim to reluctant hero.

Kate is a likable main character. She's overly innocent and allows herself to be used by the witch. I find her naiveté believable, especially considering the time frame the novel is set. She's just a small girl caught up in a plot thats so much bigger than her. When she finally realizes the role she's playing its nearly too late. Kate isn't a weak MC, just young, vulnerable and lost.

The book is a little bit like fairytale with more of an Eastern European vibe than most stories. It's told in the simple language of a village girl. The simplicity is beautiful, helping the reader really understand Plain Kate. I think overly flowery language would have been a disservice to this story.
Her shadow looked strange and thinned. It seemed not cast against the ground, but floating above it, like a fog. What Linay had said was true: No one would notice this at first.
Plain Kate is younger than a lot of YA without being juvenile. It could easily be classified as Middle Grade or YA and I think it's a good book for both audiences. I heard someone on Goodreads compare it to Tamora Pierce, but without the romance. Those who enjoy Tamora Pierce's Tortall series will probably like Plain Kate, though I feel I need to say that Kate is less Alanna and more Daine as far as characters ago. It's a nice divergence from the mopey or snarky teenagers populating the genre, it's got the feel of a much older but timeless story.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Breakdown of a Heroine: Desi Bascomb

So I read these books awhile ago, got distracted and never posted a review. But I think Desi Bascomb from Princess for Hire & The Royal Treatment (by the lovely Lindsey Leavitt) deserves the Breakdown of a Heroine treatment.

Who is Desi?
Desi is a 14-year-old girl who works at a pet store as Gladys the Groundhog and makes her own t-shirts. She's cool beyond her years, which of course sets her back in social structure known as high school. But you know what? Desi's okay with being her own person. She'd like to avoid the tragedy of high school embarrassment (which with her job, is impossible) but she doesn't try to change herself to fit in.

Strength of Character
Desi is herself at the beginning of the book, when she's masquerading as Princess needing substitutes, and at the end of the book. Desi never loses herself. She tries to make a difference and do the right thing, not with a sword and epic quest, but with her Magical Potential and by following her heart.

Desi's Storyline
Desi's story really starts when she sees an ad in the paper. She's looking for a new job because who wouldn't be if they found themselves walking around the mall in a groundhog costume? Turns out that Desi has Magical Potential (or MP). Add some MP and an ancient Egyptian rouge and viola you have an instant look-a-like Princess. Desi just needs to prove she's Princess material by passing a few trial runs. Only problem? Desi's a bit of a meddler, but only for the good of the Princesses, she swears!

Romantic Entanglements
Desi is old enough for crushes, but too young for any real romance. Lindsey Leavitt beautifully toes the line. In the second book Desi points out (many times) that she's too young to really know what it's like to be in love. The book has enough flirting without going overboard. The second book has a little more than the first book, but it sweet and builds nicely.

I really love these books. Desi is quirky and relatable. In some ways I see my high school self in her (I may have been in love with Clark Gable when I was 15, never mind that he was already dead). The books are fun and frothy, a little bit like a Disney channel movie but with better writing (though seriously when is Disney going to make these into a movie? They're all ready to be Disney-fied). They're lighthearted, young, not-mopey and just the right amount of teen flirting. They're a good quick read when you need something upbeat with a realistic heroine and a lot of heart. You don't have to be a girly-girly to appreciate this Princess story (Desi isn't!).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Adventures at Girl Scout Camp

You may have noticed that my blog was a little quiet. Work was crazy and ended up with me spending a week helping a Backpacking 101 unit at Girl Scout camp. I thought I would share a few pictures of my adventures so you know what I'm doing when I'm not reading books, gardening or blogging.

Drying fruit to take on our hike. The concept of dehydrated watermelon baffled the girls.
But it was yummy!

This is totally a legitimate use of tie-dye.

Going down the trail.

Sometimes bizarre things happen in the woods.
Actually we were just removing a dead branch hanging above the campsite.
(I'm buffer than I look. Crouched down, let her climb on my shoulders then stood.)

The girls used little handmade stoves (buddy burners). We used my lovely stove.
They were jealous! (This is my friend & assistant unit leader for the week)

Yes that's a tent walking around and dancing. Do you really want to know?

We were sitting in the tents lap. Just like Santa Clause.
And I only look deformed because I'm laughing hysterically and keeping the kids awake at night.

Note: I only show faces of the grownups for a reason. Otherwise there would be more pictures. But gotta protect the kiddos.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hold me Closer, Necromancer (review)

4 out of 5 stars
I'm just going to say it. I love Sam LaCroix from Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Not crush-love but friend love and that's rare. But he's a cool guy that I want to hang out with. He's a bit of a slacker (which becomes understandable eventually), but sometimes slackers make great friends. He's a vegetarian, with a hippy mom, totally protective of his friend Brooke in a not-creepy way, polite to old women and a bit of a smart-ass. Basically he's perfect to spend 300 pages bonding with.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is different from a lot of the teen urban fantasy/paranormals out there. It's completely non-mopey for starters! Despite death, spirits and necromancy the book reads as pretty up-beat. It has a dark sense of humor that I love. There's minimal romance (and what there is leaves me wanting more). Instead the story focuses on Sam and his friends--Ramon, Brooke and Frank. That's refreshing. Sometimes I feel like books focus on romance and forget about friendship. In my experience friendship has more impact on teenage life than anything else.

One of my favorite things about this book is the age bracket it tackles. Most YA focus on 14-17 year olds. Most adult books seem to be 30s+. Sam and his friends are in the 19-25 age demographic. There is a lack of books with college aged protagonists despite the fact it's one of the most interesting phases of life. College is where you really find yourself (or at summer camp during college). For most people, 19-25 is when you get your first job, fall in love, move out of your house and start figuring your life out. Sam is a college drop-out working fast food. He's a good kid, but a little lost and completely clueless about where his life is going. Doesn't that describe almost every 19-year-old boy you've met?

The book has some flaws but they don't really interfere with the story. The main thing that bothered me was the fact that paranormal abilities seems very common but the world remained the same as the world we live in. There were werewolves, witches, necromancers and fey who answered to a Council but all of this seemed below the surface of an otherwise normal world. The book never explained how they kept the world so separate. It just seemed a little off to me.

Hold me Closer, Necromancer is a fun fast one-day read. Sam is realistic, engaging and a sweetheart. The plot is fast-moving and easy to follow (despite switching from 3rd to 1st person POV too many times to count). Just checked the author's website and there is a sequel planned. So YAY! Don't let that deter you. This is a stand-alone book that left me wanting more.

Sometimes you read a book and you think "I wish more people would write books like this." I've said it with Hex Hall and I'll say it with Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. The urban fantasy/paranormal genre can be FUN! No need for all the mopey heroines or tear laden pages. Give me a Sophie Mercer or Sam LaCroix any day! I want main characters that I can laugh with. Characters I can be friend with! By most standards Sam may be a bit of a failure. But he's a good friend, a good son and a good brother. For me, that's all the success he needs.