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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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warning: Some spoilers...

WITHER was a different kind of dystopian novel. I really loved and yet I'm still not quite sure what to think about it. I felt that it was too short. What I initially had thought it would be like turned out to be fairly different and in a good way, but there were certain characters and relationships that I felt were still undeveloped.The ending felt like it was lacking for me also.

For instance, there was such an important relationship between Rhine and Gabriel and yet at the end, I felt like there was still something missing. Perhaps it was Gabriel's development in the story. I still feel like we don't know very much about him. I do know that this is a trilogy and that more information will be given in the sequels, which I can't wait for, but I still really wish she could have told us more about him.

Now that I've given my reasoning for that one missing star, I can say just how much I loved everything else about this book. It was really beautifully written. Rhine was a lovely character, with hopes and dreams, and this insatiable need to be free. Everything about her was admirable. Housemaster Vaughn was perfectly creepy and his "experiments" in the basement were enough to create that desired ominous effect fort this reader. I grew to Love Governor Linden as well. I had a lot of conflicts, just as Rhine did, on how I should feel about him, but in the end I've come to the conclusion that I feel just as she feels; he is an oblivious, yet lovable and kind person that was raised in a corrupt fashion. I even think that Rhine really did fall for him in the end, which leaves me wondering if he will become another interest in future books. As for the sisters, I loved them too. While Cecily was difficult to love and quite annoying at times, I can't help but feel a pinch of compassion for her in this twisted world they live in. Jenna was absolutely beautiful and such a wonderful person that I came quite close to crying at one part in the book. Basically, all of the characters were amazing. Even Deirdre, Adair, and Elle. I felt reader's love for all of them.

I'm still thinking about this one, which makes it great, but I'm still stuck on this feeling of it being too short. I want more and the ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. Perhaps it was because it seemed to play out so easily when I expected a dramatic mess that would have left me on a cliffhanger for the next book. Either way, I'll definitely be reading the sequel next year.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before I continue crying some more, I promised I'd actually get to a review on time for once.

I'm very late to the game on this one. I kept hearing about it and hearing about it, and hearing so much PRAISE about it, that I should have picked it up a long time ago. But to be honest, I think I was scared to. The title and the cover, and then the jacket as well, all let you know that this story is about a girl that dies. She dies. There's no point in letting you think that once the seven days are up, she can somehow win her life back with a good deed or two. And I knew that it would probably be very amazing. But I didn't tell myself that. No, I tried to keep myself from reading it by saying that it wasn't fantasy, and it was probably about catty popular girls and somehow still depressing because one of them dies. So, I put it off.

Then I read DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver. I was enraptured and totally caught up with this author's way of describing the world, even in a futuristic fictional one that would probably never be, I totally understood that she was, and could only be, talking about our world. Us. I fell in love with that story. And then I thought, why not? Pick up BEFORE I FALL. It might be depressing, but Lauren Oliver's already opened your eyes once, maybe she'll do it again. And I expected BEFORE I FALL to be good. I expected it to be sad, but oh so powerful. What I didn't expect?

That it would literally grab a hold of my soul and transform me. That it would literally open my eyes up to myself.

That probably sounds pretty dramatic. Probably something that a sap would say and probably not as reliable coming from an unknown source that's trying to recommend a book to you. But it's true...

I can't explain how this book has touched me. It's a personal story. All I want to say about it is that I cried during all of Sam's scenes with Izzy (her little sister) because I once had an older brother, and I wondered what he might've been thinking those couple of years in the hospital when he was spending time with his baby sister. I couldn't stop crying when Sam accepted her fate and during her last moment in her own fictional world. That's how good this story is.

I just know that Lauren Oliver has this ability to make the most amazing characters. Characters so real that you feel like you've known them your whole life. I can't stand letting Sam go. And even after I turned the last page, trying really hard to ignore the tears running down my cheeks, my fingers kept fumbling for more, not wanting to let go of her. Not wanting her life to end. And I knew how it would end all along, but like she says in the book. We still hope. We're still human...

If there's any book in the world, I could say without a doubt has helped shape me or moved my heart in some form or another, it's BEFORE I FALL. Read it and you'll know. I hope you do.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE GODDESS TEST was excellent!

It was so refreshing to read a book that was beautiful yet simplistic in it's appeal. The plot was unique for it's genre and the characters were to die for. I really loved Kate as a protagonist. She was going through some true pain with her mother dying from cancer. Based on personal experience with family members and this particular disease, I can say that the emotion there was raw enough to bring me to tears. Even Henry, who I was skeptical of at first in the prologue, really won me over.

I also loved Ava and James. They were real friends. What was so refreshing about them was that they weren't perfect though. They weren't just sideline characters that cause some trouble on the side and whatnot. They were just as immersed in the plot as Kate was. In fact, almost every character served a purpose one way or another and that can't be easy to do as a writer.

The love story was unique in it's own right, and I thought Carter's way of turning Greek mythology on it's head and really making it her own was just fine. For others, I can see how it might bother them that the Gods and Goddesses weren't as mythological legend says they are, but I didn't have a problem with this. I felt that her recreation of them was unique and interesting. Henry completely revamped Hades and made himself the complete opposite of what one might think that an Underworld-ruling-God should be. His interactions with Kate were soft and heart-aching. I felt what Kate felt for him and it's not easy to make that connection with readers sometimes. Hats off to Carter!

i have to say though, that I figured out the murderer pretty fast once I started eliminating the suspects in each chapter. Wonderful twist though!

Personally, I'll be among those vying for the sequel, GODDESS INTERRUPTED. I just have that I have so much longer to wait now.

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Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)Hereafter by Tara Hudson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

HEREAFTER is another one of those recycled plots you'll see in almost every book in the Young Adult section these days. Plot: insert supernatural girl who is "alone" in the world, meets the boy of her dreams after some life saving dilemma, they fall in love instantly, conflict = they can't be together because of some supernatural drama, annnd just for kicks and to add originality let's add in a boogey man who's more hot than scary.

I've read it all before in different shapes and forms. It's old and tiresome. When reading becomes a labor, then the book is seriously disappointing.

Lately, I've been coming across lots of books with GORGEOUS cover art, but miraculously all of the plots are the same old boring schtick that everyone's using to get published these days. The Twilight Fad. I really hate comparing any story to this book. It was a break out novel for it's genre and for readers around the world, but with the over rated phenomenon, I really don't understand why there are so many writers out there stuck on this mind set of supernatural "die for you" romance.

But I wouldn't have rated HEREAFTER this high if I didn't enjoy it a little. Despite the dated plotline, I still felt that some of the aspects in this story were sincere, and I cannot hate it for that. Amelia seemed like a good person and her relationship with Joshua was fine. I just wish that the plot hadn't been so slow. Nothing really happens until the last five or six chapters out of thirty in the whole book. I wanted more action. Less talk. Less romance that didn't really have anything unique about it.

I may or may not read the sequel, but I'm just sorry to say that this story didn't really hold any interest to me. Perhaps it will for others, but if you're looking for something completely new, I'm not sure that it's here...

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really, really wanted to get into this one. The cover is drop dead gorgeous, but unfortunately the plot and characters for me were just drop dead boring. Perhaps I've just read too many paranormal YA lit these days and I've seen too many similar plot holes. But Helen wasn't relatable for me. Her love story with Lucas was too played out. The villain was too... "muhahaha" for me (the everyday archetype). And the writing wasn't engaging enough to keep my attention.

The idea itself was so promising. There were so many ways that Angelini could've taken this. Recreating the Trojan War and adding some starcrossed love drama would have been so epic. That's what I expected. And where there were expectations, there were short comings. It's a shame.

Not that I won't give credit where it's due. The fact that there were a few lines once in a while that held my attention would have kept me reading. And believe me, I'm not one to not finish a book. However, the timing for this one just sucks right now. I have work and school and a million other books to read. But I will recommend Starcrossed to anyone who hasn't read a billion paranormal YA books and those of the younger generation that want a dramatic teenage romance to read.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

The Demon Trapper's Daughter (The Demon Trappers #1)The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely an interesting take on Angels and Demons.

I'd say that this book is pretty complex and refreshing. Oliver really did well in the world-building department. It's 2018 and the world is all going to hell. Literally. It seems that there are so many little details, I'm surprised that she got all of them in there. Or at least, so many of them.

It's hard to go back and recall each and every thing that I liked about this one. There were a lot of good points. Riley's a tough character and I really loved that she could hold her own in a fight, but at the same time be a totally normal girl. She was very grown up also, which was refreshing. She had to deal with so much loss and at the same time had to worry about bills. Beck is also one of my favorites now. He was very complex and I feel like there's so much more we have to learn from him. I'm interested to see how things develop between him and Riley. They're more like family right now, but I have a feeling that's going to change.

The only few things that I disliked about this book were the pace, the easy fix ups, and the small stereotypes. The pacing seemed a bit off. It was slow in parts that should have been more meaningul, but left you wondering when you moved on. And then when action DID hit, it would all be over in a flash. The final battle was so fixed and quickly done, I'm not quite sure what happened or why. It really annoyed me that one moment Riley's in this life or death battle with a freaking Geo-fiend and the next she's all safe in the cemetery. I mean... what. just. happened? And the stereotypical way that the demons looked was a little annoying. Big furry monsters, not very intelligent, horns, claws, red eyes, fire, etc. I didn't see a lot of originality there.

Over all, I really liked this book. I thought it was an interesting new take on the angels and demons genre that seems so popular lately. I will read the next book simply for the characters that I enjoyed so much, but I hope that some of these pacing issues and short conflicts will be better in the next go-around. On to the next one, folks!

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Captive by Lisa Kumar

CaptiveCaptive by Lisa Kumar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can I say?

This is not my usual cup of tea. For one, it's a short story. Secondly, it's an adult fantasy romance. For three, it's about elves.

And it's very, very good. I'd take a refill of this new tea, please!

I would like to add that this is definitely an adult short story and probably wouldn't recommend it for young readers. However, once said readers are of a more mature age, I would definitely advise giving CAPTIVE a shot.

I like to think that I know Ms. Kumar fairly well. She's in my group Goodwriters for Goodreads and has always been kind, VERY creative, and from what I've read thus far and CAPTIVE has proved quite tremendously, a tremendous writer. I absolutely loved her use of vocabulary in this short story. Her use of description was also just lovely. I have no doubt in my mind as to her ability to control language.

As for the characters, I thought they were also very well written. Emma was a well-rounded woman held captive by an arrogant, yet complex Elvin Lord. Why wouldn't you want to read about these people? Cian (Emma's captor), proves to be a tough mystery for Emma to solve. One minute she detects a tenderness to him that she can't help, but be drawn to and the next he's ordering her around and referring to her as his 'human pet'. The plot was simply captivating! Pun intended, but nonetheless true!

So why not give it the whole five stars? Because it's a short story. I felt like CAPTIVE was more of a preview, like it simply couldn't be this short! It's a full-fledged story cut down to the most important and intense scenes. I would've really loved seeing those inbetween scenes! I wanted to make this journey with Emma from the very first step. Basically, in all my greedy appetite I'm saying I want more. I want a novel! It's simply too good to condense.

However, if there cannot be more then I will finish the review and give CAPTIVE four stars. It's a beautiful story about love and trust. The fantastical element of Elves gives it something unique (I would really love to learn more about Kumar's fair folk in general) and there seems to be so many good opportunities to expand. Ameon for example. The wilderness for another. The whole prospect of the story that lies behind this short story just generates so much anxious excitement in me!

So, anyone who hasn't read this yet, please do so. And then help me enlist an army to petition for more of Emma and Cian! Absolutely lovely and quite fresh!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All Just Glass

All Just GlassAll Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ALL JUST GLASS was a sequel long overdue.

I've been waiting and waiting to see what happened next after Sarah was turned into a vampire in SHATTERED MIRROR. There were too many loose ends that Miss Amelia didn't tie up. Now, I am satisfied. This is an ending. I was very happy with the emotional play that was presented from several view points. My favorite was in Adia's. It was nice to see how the older sister was dealing with this taboo of the greatest kind in her kin. The action was non-stop and very rewarding. I was transported back to my sophomore year when I first read this book. It was pure nostalgia for me. I missed the Den of Shadows and it's characters. Why Amelia hadn't continued on was beyond me. Though I have to say HAWKSONG is my favorite out of all of her books.

The only thing that didn't suit well with me was the romance portion. It was hard to glean any sort of feelings other than confusion from Sarah. I feel like she wants to be with Nikolas more than Kristopher, but she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. I don't think she realizes this herself though. It was also refreshing however, to not have the romantic relationship in the story predominant over the rest of the plot. It was there, right under the surface. But I felt that a little more clarity would have been better. Some things other than the romance portion were left unended though. Which fit in a way. This is only 24 hours. But I would have liked to see a nice, tidy conclusion. Unless she plans on doing more of course. But for now, I am sated. ALL JUST GLASS is good enough and that's all I can ask for.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Misguided Angel by Melissa De La Cruz

Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, #5)Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked it. Although, I'm starting to agree with some other reviews that this seemed like a filler book. A few things annoyed me, and I'll start off with those before listing off the things I liked.

One, these books are too short. With such an epic plot and so many view points, it's really not long enough to live up to it's content. There are so many things that De La Cruz does well with her Blue Bloods cast. I have always been invested in their lives, since my sophomore year of high school. But if you're going to continue a series in such a way, then you need to seriously give this book some weight.

Two, they're spaced too far apart. As I've said above, I've been reading these books since my sophomore year of high school. Now I'm in my second year at college and I'm still reading this series. It's good. It's addicting and it captured my loyalty from the beginning. But when it takes a whole year to come out with the next book, I just can't remember all of the details that the author fleshes out.

Three, now that we're into the fifth book, it's time to stick with what you have. De La Cruz just keeps adding characters in and multiplying her view points. Where is Bliss? Her view point has turned into such a vital part of the story, and now in MISGUIDED ANGEL she's no where to be found. She's barely mentioned! Instead, we are met with Deming Chen. Who is a lovely addition, but is she really necessary? I was confused as to why her point of view was thrown into this book. And with this third point about POVs, I'm still a little surprised that nothing really happened to propel the series forward in this novel. Everything that happens could mostly be mentioned in the first fifty pages of another book. One that would hopefully tie up some ends instead of loosening more.

What I love about Blue Bloods is that it has such an epic story. It's original and unique and the characters are fairly well developed. The lives of the priveleged splayed out before us to see. It holds a promise of something truly epic and fulfilling in the end. However, I'm starting to get annoyed with all of this running around in circles. I'm about ready to just put it down until she decides to wrap it up. The only phrase I am left with after MISGUIDED ANGEL is:

Get to the point, already.

And with that said, I only have one more thing to add.

Please, please, please bring back Kingsley in LOST IN TIME!

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Low Red MoonLow Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a library book.

I'd already gathered that it was going to be average from the various reviews. But surprisingly, because I'd started with such low expectations, I actually thought it was a little better than what some other people had to say about it.

For one, I liked the intensity and the suspense that Devlin added in, It was nice to see that side of a werewolf YA. However, the romance section of the plot was a bit of an overkill considering that this book is only 244 pages. A little less smooching, perhaps, and a little more story-telling. That was one thing that bugged me. I thought Ben's and Avery's relationship could have been pretty endearing had it not been for Devlin's attempt at soul mate intensity. If I had to read another page about how beautiful Ben was and how there was just SOMETHING about him that Avery couldn't help but be drawn to, I might have put the book down.

As for the villain, I thought she did an okay job. I had a couple suspects, and when I found out who it was I wasn't that surprised. However, I would have been more satisfied if it had been Grandma. Just saying. Let's go Red Riding Hood on werewolf YA folks. Throw in a real twist.

One last thing that I couldn't make heads or tails of was Avery's voice. There were a lot of instances where she uses the '--' mid sentence and cuts herself off, only to pick up with a new sentence. I understand that people talk like this on more than one occasion, but sometimes it just felt like Devlin was trying too hard to make Avery a sympathetic character. I understood that Avery had been through a lot. And I loved that she is found in the first chapter, covered from hair to toenails in her parents' blood. Well, I loved the dramatic start off and the thrilling aspect of it. Not so much that she lost her parents. Thus, I understand why Avery is traumatized, but she didn't need to get a speech impediment while she's thinking, right? I don't know...

In the end though, I was satisfied. It's a short read and I love werewolves, I just sort of wish that it had been developed more before going to print. It could have been so much more.

A promising premise. If there's a sequel I hope it's a little longer. I might pick it up then.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead BeautifulDead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zombies... I guess I should have figured that out from the title.

I'll give Woon one thing, she WAS original with the whole 'dead' thing. Or I guess I should say 'undead'. She sort of romanticized the zombie in a way. But then again, what supernatural creature hasn't been romanticized in some attempt or another?

What I liked:

It kept me guessing. I appreciated the steps that Renee took to find out this big mystery. I was just as curious as she. I also appreciated characters like her grandfather. And I didn't mind the boarding school so much. Lately boarding school has become a popular YA setting. It's very cool when done right. Gottfried was creepy.

What I didn't like:

If I had the chance to sit here and depict every similarity to TWILIGHT then this review would be longer than a presidential speech, most likely. There were just too many similarities for my taste, which detracted from Woon's originality. Dante (the supernatural love interest) and Renee (the human girl that allures to him so much) meet in Crude Sciences class. They share a lab table. He's inexplicably drawn to her. She can't help noticing how undeniably beautiful he is. His profile like that of a Roman coin. He's cold-skinned. He doesn't eat food. He doesn't sleep. Yada, yada, yada. Sometimes it felt like Woon turned Edward into a zombie named Dante and plopped him into a boarding school on the opposite side of the country. So he can fall in love with another, irritatingly reckless at times, girl who can't help but love him even though he's one of the undead. Yeah... I just wasn't feeling the repetitiveness of the genre. Sometimes it felt like the characters were stereotypes. And the very end where all of the action comes into play wasn't very well drawn out. We have all this mystery and suspense, and when it comes down to the big reveal and consequence of it, it's all rushed and thrown into a hole, quite literally. The villains were very much outsiders. And we never really find out about them. And then bada bing, one of them gets dealt with like it's nothing.

DEAD BEAUTIFUL is more about romance. Turning zombies into another romanticized figure. It was unique in some ways, since most stories about zombies are more traditional, and I really liked the involvement of Latin (a dead language) and how Woon played with it very creatively. Unfortunately, I wasn't digging the way that DEAD BEAUTIFUL seemed to follow TWILIGHT's plot. I liked TWILIGHT a lot. But there can only be one successful play on it. Lately there's just been too many YA novels that seem to be riding on it's coat tails. This story would have been so much better if it hadn't fallen into the same plot niches.

In the end, it was a fairly good story. It was mildly entertaining and original for it's supernatural element. I would recommend it to anyone that loved TWILIGHT and would like a different monster to romanticize. I may or may not read the sequel.

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Entwined by Heather Dixon

EntwinedEntwined by Heather Dixon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All I will say right now is that this book has entwined itself into my heart forever. Wrapped up in a tie with FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Mellina Marchetta, ENTWINED by Heather Dixon has become one of two books that are my ultimate favorites.

I will post a better review at a later date. When I can give it the justice it deserves.

Official Review:

I wish I could describe how wonderful and magical this book is. I absolutely could NOT put it down. I did some research on the artist and discovered that she is a story board artist. Which clicked, considering how she wrote ENTWINED. The description and setting is just so... fairy tale like. I adored it. It's such a classic tale that when you combine these well developed characters in such a defined setting with wonderful, fluid elements like Dixon does, it just comes together like... like Mary Poppins pulled it out of her carpet bag herself.

The cover is just gorgeous to start off with. Who wouldn't at least pick it up and read the summary just for that beautiful cover?

Azalea: the lead character and eldest sister of twelve. I related with her the most. I felt like she was compassionate, strong, and intelligent. She was always constantly looking out for her family and I really loved that she knew how to take charge. It was just perfect getting to see the story through her eyes.

The family: was downright adorable as buttons. Bramble reminded me of one of my cousins; feisty and troublesome, but lovable just the same. Clover, Delphinium, and everyone else right down to their newborn sister Lily had their own matching personality. They complimented each of their siblings perfectly. And the King, their father was so developed and complex I was always caught inbetween sides. Do I side with Azalea and her sisters and acknowledge that the King hasn't been a good father since their mother died, or do I side with the father that has just lost his wife and true love and needs time to adjust? It was so well written that I wanted to vouch for each character.

The suitors: I just can't get over Captain Bradford, the Prime Minister, and Sir Teddie. They were all so perfect for their counterparts and just so scintillating in their own rights.

The Keeper: It's obvious from the first moment you open the front cover and read the summary who the villain is. But I thought that he was just complex enough to work. I appreciated the fact that he was double sided, just like the blade of a knife. At one moment you almost feel bad for him, and at the next you think he rose from the very pit of Hell. Just perfect. And not to mention the several parts that I was truly creeped out by him. His spider-like position on the ceiling, his affinity for dark magic, and his cruelty channeled fully towards revenge made him scary not only to the characters but to the reader as well. Which is just... awesome!

Throw all of these into a victorian setting and Dixon's way of capturing a picturesque fairy tale style of writing, and you get ENTWINED. Five stars. Without a doubt one of the best books I've ever read and will ever read. Just amazing.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine,  #2)The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am very impressed with this sequel.

THE DARK DIVINE had been a pretty good book. When I first bought it and started reading it I had no idea that it was about werewolves. And since I love, love, love werewolves it was a happy surprise.

I felt that Daniel and Grace's relationship was very sincere and I liked that they grew up knowing each other. It wasn't some sort of mysterious 'oh my gosh! that guy is hot!' type of moment a la Bella and Edwardesque.

The added mystery was a plus, even though I usually tend to stay away from that genre. I felt like this was a good kind of mystery. Just the right kind of puzzle pieces along the way.

I loved the family drama, and I really appreciated a supernatural work with the added religious (christian) references. It was refreshing that Despain could add God in so fearlessly. It works since Grace's father is the pastor of their church. Even for those who aren't religious, it's still a good read. It's not preachy. But these characters have a lot of faith, and if that makes you uncomfortable then I suggest not reading it.

The story itself was just terrific. THE LOST SAINT was even better than THE DARK DIVINE. And I just can't wait to see what Bree Despain comes out with next in this thrilling series.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine (Vespertine, #1)The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an outstanding debut [into my life]. I was really surprised and delighted that I was able to read this ARC. Saundra Mitchell is a writer to look out for.

THE VESPERTINE is about a young girl named Amelia who goes in search of a well-formed marriage in Baltimore. Add in forbidden romance, supernatural awesomeness, gift-turns-to-curse plotlines and you're in for a whirlwind that will catch your attention on fire.

The characters were so well developed I couldn't help but love them. Amelia was an excellent heroine. Zora was the best friend that any girl could ask for and completely believable. Nathaniel was definitely interesting and not without his quirks that made the connection between Amelia and he so entirely original.

I loved that Amelia's power to tell fortunes started out much like a parlor trick. It reminds me of how excited one gets when they ask someone to read their tarot cards and such. And then it turns into such a horrific curse. It proved that the power wasn't fun and games and it wasn't always a gift-- it was a heavy burden that Amelia had to bear.

I also felt that the way certain side characters reacted to some of these fortunes coming true was simply perfect. It proved the duplicity that each human shares and really fleshed out their society.

The only thing I wish is that it could have been a lot longer. At times there were long gaps, which was both refreshing and curiosu at the same time. The way that Mitchell goes back and forth from the present to the past to tell Amelia's story could have been developed a little bit more. I would have liked to see more of the present Amelia and how the past had shaped her since, but all in all it was a satisfying end to a story. If there's more, I will gladly read it.

Excellent debut into my literary life, Miss Mitchell.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kavincsky

AwakenAwaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

AWAKEN was a great dystopian novel. Kacvinsky really built Madeline's world up to creepy, digital awesomeness. And then she throws in a hot guy named Justin to start all sorts of rebellions. Against DS, against Madeline's father, against everything that Maddie's ever known, even against Maddie's own personal walls.

"Life's too short to say maybe." He says.

What I thought Kacvinsky did really well was send her message through. Because honestly, with the way this world's going our future might not be that far off from what Maddie's world has become. Digital school... Digital friends... We're already headed in that direction. And it's scary to think how much our computers seem to rule our lives. So props to Kacvinsky because I definitely agree with her. And I appreciate the fact that she didn't make Justin a radical that wanted to obliterate technology. He simply didn't want technology to rule our lives.

The love story between Maddie and Justin was good. I enjoyed watching their feelings grow and develop towards one another. I thought it was original in it's own right, but at the same time I was hoping for something a little different. Every girl wants a protector, and Justin is a great one. But at times I felt he was a little too protective and a little too guarded. It was kind of the whole "I like you too, but I can't be with you because you'll get hurt!" Which is fine. I just think that if you're going to do that, you need to make sure you trail those bread crumbs from the very beginning. And those bread crumbs ought to be very original. I guess more than Justin's over protectiveness going on, I was just a little annoyed that their whole relationship seemed kind of... predictable. But nonetheless enjoyable. I wanted them to work out just as much as the next reader. I'm a sap that way.

I really liked the story, but I felt the action should have been more involved. Once you get into the love story, the action sequences suffer. Perhaps because it's in Maddie's point of view, rather than Justin who leads interceptions and such, but it still would've been nice to witness a huge event. Or find out what exactly the freedom fighters do when they're not intercepting cops and such. Perhaps that's for book two?

I really liked AWAKEN though. It was different. And I felt like her message came through strong and clear. My suggestion for book two (since it left off on an obvious cliff hanger, I mean... you can't leave it as a stand alone with such a high drop), would be to add in lots of action and more world-building. You can't go wrong with world-building. Or at least, until you start describing every leaf on a tree. Don't do that... 4 stars out of 5 for AWAKEN! Pick it up when it comes out!

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