If you'd like to see my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Beyond the Grave, by Mara Purnhagen ****+ The final (I think) book in this series/trilogy is very good! Like the first one, this had a strong mystery and was nicely creepy throughout. I liked Charlotte in all three books, but in this one, she really expressed her strengths and vulnerabilities well. The ghost aspect was very creepy and the stakes were high -- as it appears as though the bad ghost (the Watcher) is coming after Noah, Charlotte's boyfriend. There were some things which weren't explained that well in places, but other things were not only clear but pretty cool (like the Protectors -- even though I didn't completely get the mechanics of it). All in all, a solid and enjoyable read! The story: Charlotte's life hasn't gotten any easier in the four months since the attack on her mom. Although her mom is still alive (barely), and despite the fact that everyone claims Charlotte got rid of the Watcher, Charlotte can tell something is not right -- her first clue being the bruise on Noah's neck which won't go away. Then, as Noah begins his senior year, his behavior becomes more and more erratic, and Charlotte is terrified that she's losing him...and her mom's coma is deepening. Charlotte, along with two new friends, begins looking for the answers -- and is shocked and terrified at what she finds. She can only hope her determination to save those she loves is enough. (YA paranormal/ghost, released 8/11, publisher: Harlequin)
Epic Fail, by Claire LaZebnik **** This was a fun read! A clear Pride & Prejudice retell/reworking, it follows the original enough to make it entertaining and yet deviates enough to hold your interest. Of course, I like to read these types of stories just to see how they remain true and how they wander away from the original :) In this rendition, there are four sisters, and "Jane" (now Juliana), "Lizzy" (now Elise), and "Lydia" (now Layla) are fairly true to form -- in a very contemporary, teenage-y way. I liked Elise's loyalty to Juliana, though the relationship between both Juliana and Elisa and Layla was...well, weird. Layla was a horrible person throughout most of this (ie, a complete brat), and although I've never liked Lydia, either, I felt like Lizzy handled it better than Elise did. But that's a minor quibble -- overall, it's a fun and easy read. The story: Elise and Juliana move to a new school, where not only are the students rich and famous, but the girls' mom is the new (and already hated) principal. Juliana falls head over heels for one of the richer boys, but his sister, with a vendetta against Elise's and Juliana's mom, does all she can to break the two up. In the meantime, Elise likes Derek, but he's so famous, and she's certain he couldn't be as wonderful as he seems...will she move beyond her pride (or is it her prejudice) to find out? (YA contemporary, released 8/11, publisher: Harper Teen)
Cover of Night, by Linda Howard (R) ***** Yep, it was time for my annual reread of one of my favorites -- and I loved it! The plot is strong, the characters are likable and sympathetic, the setting is great (tiny town in Idaho) -- what's not to love? :) I won't go on and on, since I have before, but it remains one of my favorites. (Adult Romantic Suspense, released 5/07, publisher: Ballantine Books)
Ice, by Linda Howard (R) **** You know, while I'm at it...this is also entertaining. Although not as strong (imo) as CoN, it's still an enjoyable read. The setting is Maine (in December), and it's also strong. I like the main characters, but they're not as fleshed out as in CoN -- plus, the story arc is much less complex (and more coincidental) -- but it's fun. :) (Adult Romantic Suspense, released 11/10, publisher: Ballantine Books)
Currently Reading: I'll probably continue my trend and read Veil of Night next. ;)
On Deck: Glow (I've already started this -- but it's intense and I needed to break it up with other books); Bargains and Betrayals