Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Review

Enshadowed (Nevermore, #2)Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a long time since I wrote a review for a book. A very long time. Call it life and motherhood and just... well life. In fact, I am not quite the reader I once was. I can honestly say that I maybe read two books a year. If I'm lucky. This year, I've been really lucky.

There are some books that stay with you and make you want to remember their pages. The Nevermore book series is one of those. So, after reading the sequel Enshadowed for a second time after two and a half years, I am ready to write a review.

The first time I read this book I was drowning with excitement. You see, there was a very long wait between the first and the second installment of this series. A two year wait to be exact. And the wait for the third Oblivion, is proving to be even longer. Almost three years now after all.

There are so many elements that make this book good. The refreshing third person point of view in a genre that has been overrun with first person narrative. A very dynamic protagonist who manages to progress even through the sequel, after such a drastic change from the beginning of Nevermore. A fantastical setting that makes you question dreams from reality. And of course, a surprising love story you never would've seen yourself rooting for.

Isobel, our protagonist, was both relatable and yet her own person. Characters are truly what makes a story come alive. And this one has become an all time favorite of mine. She's believable. She's the girl next door, but she's also the girl you can look in the mirror and recognize as part of who you are.

Varen, though missing in large part through-out this sequel, continues to provide mystery and intrigue up until the very end. A lot of Varen's background is shown through memories, inanimate objects, some dreamscape, and other little fun tidbits hidden in the storyline. It's really refreshing to learn about a character in such a new way. Not many stories are able to weave this intricate thread.

Gwen is still a personal favorite as well. For some reason I get the feeling that the author, Kelly Creagh, uses this character to represent her own voice and directing hand in the story. Gwen is quirky, yet highly lovable. And such a comic relief through out this dark tale.

Pinfeathers and the horror aspects of the story continue to propel the suspense forward. That was another thing I absolutely loved was the way that Poe's stories continue to stamp the series in the sequel. And the tale is just scary enough to give me the chills, but not completely freak me out in the middle of the night. And I really did love the inversion of Pinfeathers. He slashes through even more stereotypes after Nevermore stripped them all away already.

This book is amazing, and if there is any doubt as to why I can honestly tell you that if a book keeps you thinking about it for YEARS.... then this series is one you simply have to read. It's one of my favorites. And I am anxiously waiting for Oblivion as I write this, trying to figure out how this dark tale will end for some of the best characters of all time.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Long Time Coming... and SWEETLY by Jackson Pearce.

Ok... So I've been away for a very long time. There's really no excuse for it, but for the past eight months or so I wasn't reading, hardly writing, and barely ever thinking about books period. My mind was elsewhere.

But I'm back... and I honestly didn't know whether I'd get back into reading and writing as passionately as I had in the past, but it was like waking up. One day I'm staring at a bookshelf with a growing number of unread books on it and the next moment I'm in the library, checking out four books at once. I realized that my passion never really went away... it just dimmed a little.

Time to stoke the embers again! Here's a long overdue review. Warning, it's rather short compared to my old ones and a stepping stone to start reading and reviewing once more.

Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2)Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been forever since I've been able to read a book in a day. Lately I've been so busy that if a book didn't grab my attention within the first two chapters or so, I'd give up on it and set it aside for a while. SWEETLY was a very good, very interesting book. I love the author, Jackson Pearce. Her blog and youtube videos are hilarious and insightful and her past two books SISTERS RED and AS YOU WISH are just as cute and interesting. The idea of Hansel and Gretel being retold in such a modern way and the way that she ended up connecting this companion to SISTERS RED was done in a very smooth and elegant fashion.

However, I found that some things were a bit too predictable for me. The book was very good and it obviously kept me interested, but in the end, I felt like there was something missing. It was right there on the brink of being something quite amazing, but it never crossed that point for me.

Still worth the read, and still very well written though.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Legacy (Legacy, #1)Legacy by Cayla Kluver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is freaking amazing!

I'm surprised... I need an hour to think about this... Be back to review this one soon!

**The Next Day**

Alright, I slept on it. And I still feel like this book is one of the best I've read in a long time. It's a fantasy book with a slightly different world that's similar to how ours was in the medieval/renaissance days. We have a princess that is close to getting married and taking the throne with her future husband. We have said future husband gunning for his bride and the throne. And then we have the mysterious stranger that comes in and so inadvertently changes the plan. Intrigue, fantasy, love triangle galore. I was hooked.

I have to say that the characters, each and every one of them, really made this book for me. I really loved being in Alera's point of view and I really loved her interactions with not just the two boys, but her bodyguards, her sister, her family, and the royal court. Kluver is amazing at character development. She managed to make even the smallest characters stand out without detracting our attention away from the main story. With that said, let me talk about the boys for a second. Narian was pretty amazing. He's the mysterious stranger that walks in and steals Alera's attention away from her duties and I love that he's quiet in all the right ways. He also can fight like nobody's business and I liked how he kept stealing weapons and his attitude towards authority really made him all that much more desirable. However, my personal favorite is Steldor. Alera loathes her future husband and it's not something I can exactly blame her for. He IS an arrogant bastard and he isn't always the nicest he could be. But I've always been a sucker for arrogant bastards and Steldor is no exception. He really does seem to love Alera though and I hope that in Allegiance their relationship grows into something more. Perhaps like in Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side her disgust for him will turn to lust and love. **QUICK SPOILER** I know she's waiting for Narian to come back and "save" her, but now that she's actually married to Steldor at the end, that's pretty much it for me. Once you say those vows you better stick to them. I know she can argue that she was forced into it and such, but she actually was given a choice and she still chose to marry Steldor. Narian had a choice too and he could have come to the wedding or told Alera how he felt at the very least and he didn't. So the only way I can see Alera and Narian together is if Steldor dies somehow in the war. Which I really hope doesn't happen because I love him! **QUICK SPOILER OVER**

Now that my rant on the romance part of the story is over I can also comment on how well done the plot and action was. The story itself came together nicely and I was unable to predict the outcome. I also appreciated that something was happening in every chapter that moved the story forward. There wasn't a lot of action in the book, but many parts of the story had me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened. Since it's in Alera's POV and she is pretty much never allowed to be in such a fray, we don't actually get to witness any real fighting, except for the tournament scene.

I am excited however for Allegiance!!! I saw that on Goodreads it says it comes out this year and I will be first in line for that one, my friends. It's going to be amazing! Team Steldor!

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

GracelingGraceling by Kristin Cashore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warning: Mild Spoilers.

This was a pretty extravagant story.

The concept of this fantasy world with the seven kingdoms and people with their graces, or special powers, was different, but not in a bad way. And the characters were very developed and realistic. Seeing as I've been recommended to read this book for over a year, and it took me so long to pluck it from my to-read pile, I understand that I'm very late to the game with this series. While I really liked the story and am looking forward to reading the next installments, I can't say that it was amazing. The story was well written, the characters were each their own, and the ending (while leaving it open-ended) was satisfying. But I'm going to be a little petty about some things...

Katsa kind of annoyed me. I understand some people and their ideals about marriage, but the way she completely freaked out and became an emotional wreck when she found out she was simply falling for Po was a bit irritating. And even then, he goes out and suggests an open-ended relationship (no strings attached comes to mind) and she jumps at it without really thinking about the future. It's a petty thing to mention perhaps, but I kind of saw Katsa as a little selfish in this area. I loved Po, and thought he was great, he really was, but the way Katsa could take on the world, and knew it (even acted like it sometimes) really struck me the wrong way. I hope she'll agree to marry him someday! However, Katsa redeemed herself a little as soon as they found Bitterblue. I absolutely adored that little girl!

All in all, creepy king- check. Kick-ass heroin- check. Swoon-worthy love interest- check. And a whirlwind fantasy/action plot- double check. GRACELING is a very good read.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

The Eternal Ones (Eternal Ones, #1)The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sooo... THE ETERNAL ONES is one of those books that's been sitting on my shelf, at the bottom of my to-read pile. I'd started it way back in August when I'd first gotten it, buuut... Ten pages in and it hadn't really grabbed my attention. There was just something a little off about this book. But first... what I liked:

The concept of this one was pretty unique. The religious aspect sort of mixed together with reincarnation and true love was very eclectic and different. In a good way. And there were a lot of other little things that I liked about the characters and their lives that made this very different world almost realistic. The characters themselves held their own and the world-building was very interesting. This whole society of people with past lives trying to find each other had my interest piqued. There were some parts that were very creepy and anything that can get a rise out of me is applauded.


I didn't like that there were some religious issues that seemed to fall through. I don't particularly like it when authors try to squash a whole bunch of religions together and call it harmonious. It's anything but. One minute you have the antagonist chastising the world for it's minute flaws and the next you have Haven, the protagonist sleeping around with this guy she only just found and realized is her lost soul mate. It was just... very confusing. I didn't quite understand the moral of the story. And the characters annoyed me a lot. Especially Haven. She has trust issues. She was giving me whip lash with how many times she'd trust Iain and then distrust him. Sometimes it wouldn't just be every other day, but several times during ONE day.

I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the sequel whenever it comes out. Still have a lot of mixed feelings about this one.

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Won this one through First Reads.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane (Nightshade, #2)Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Officially, I can't really say much until WOLFSBANE's final copy is released in July, but unofficially, I will say that it was quite good.

I'll make this review short and sweet really. There were several things I really despised about this sequel. For one, the constant story-telling without the added demonstration. The first half of the book is really just the Searchers filling everyone in on their history and occasionally discussing how they're going to go about saving Calla's pack. Add in some tension between the Searchers and the Guardians that isn't as sparked as it could have been and you have even more talking. There was only one action sequence, short-lived, right in the middle of all this talking and even that seemed kind of pointless at best. I also didn't like some of the characters' wishy-washiness. Calla couldn't make up her mind about being with Shay and being happy or writhing in guilt over leaving Ren. This is understandable to a degree, but when she drags Shay along, back and forth, through every mood swing, one must wonder if she is really worthy of Shay's love. Personally, I wouldn't mind it if she ended up with Ren, but I would like it if she'd set her mind on something. As Alpha she needs to be stable and stick with her commitments, not just constantly banter back and forth. Loyalties need to be made. And even Shay annoyed me at times with how much testosterone he insisted on injecting into their interactions. He became very territorial over her and a little pushy about their relationship. But near the end I kind of learned to appreciate this. So this was an interesting change of character that still has me reeling.

What I did love about WOLFSBANE? The second half. If the first half was all talk then the second half was pretty much straight to the action, which I appreciated. This is where I really loved Shay and the little plot twists that kept this story moving forward. There is so much going on and I'm so upset that Cremer left us on such a cliffhanger, but at least it'll make me that much more excited for BLOODROSE. Can't wait!

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Ok... I had this post titled as "Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready" for so long now... How embarrassing. Just goes to show you how incredibly busy I was with school at the time. Please forgive my sluggish, studious ways :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic and straight forward, as long as they still have their beautiful sarcastic wits I'm all for this extra trilogy.

I'm not going to sit here and summarize everything that happened since, frankly, I don't have the time. If you really want to know, you can read the jacket summary in Barnes and Noble or you can simply go online pretty much anywhere books are sold. If that doesn't do it for you, I'm sure there's a review on Goodreads somewhere that has some spoilers for you.

However, with that cleared up, I can delve into a short review of what CoFA did for me as a reader.

I appreciated the new plot lines. Like lacework, Clare has sewn together a new epic storyline with the same beloved characters. I was a bit surprised when I heard that there were going to be three more installments to what I had been told was only a trilogy beforehand. At first, like many others out there, I cynically thought that it was simply another ploy for what has become a mountainous money hoard. Perhaps it partially is, but seeing as I was dissatisfied with the end of City of Glass, I can't really complain that she has decided to continue on with such an epic series.

One thing I love about this series, is each character's own sense of humor. I actually laughed out loud while reading this book, something I haven't done for a while in all honesty. It was refreshing to return to a series that is admittedly very compelling. I returned to adoring Jace, and being slightly annoyed with Clary (slight spoiler: hiding in the hedge, Clary? Really?! Predictable and slightly ridiculous...). I also fell in love with Simon and his own challenges, while not particularly loving his mythological state. I'm so sick of vampires right now... I even rooted for the minor characters that seem to claim bits of my heart and attention with each installment I read. So, these characters are pretty much gold. Even Clary. I have to give her credit for getting a rise out of me.

The only thing that annoys me about these books (other than Clary sometimes) are the villains. Other than the little helpers like Camille (who I think is the bomb), the main evil doers are too... evil. It's so easy to hate them and there isn't anything particularly human that makes me think they could be redeemed. Flannery O'Conner would probably nod her assent in that she has definitely influenced me on how antagonists are supposed to be written. And the demons are so demonic and monstrous that I always picture cartoons when Clare describes them. Seriously, the three headed guard demon at the church of Talto was like an old friend from Dragon Tales. I really pray that Sebastian will regain some of his humanity. Not for any redeemable purchase of his, but so I can at least say that he's not as cliche as a classic Disney movie witch. I mean, even Disney's newer movies have come up with more sympathetic villains than some of Clare's "muhaha" types. This is my only pet peeve really with the whole story.

The rest is golden. Pick it up if you get the chance.

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