Friday, December 30, 2011

YA Trends of 2011

YA goes through cycles of trends. 2011 was no different. Here are common themes/genres I noticed this year.

1) The Dystopian genre reigned supreme-I think it's safe to say that Dystopian has become the new vampire. It's EVERYWHERE. Practically all the popular books from this year were Dystopian in some fashion. As someone who loves dystopian I am not complaining however I worry that it's becoming a tad overdone. I suppose we shall have to wait and see. I suspect after the release of the Hunger Games movie and with success of stuff like Divergent that we will be seeing lots more as publishers will want to get in on the cash cow.

2) The grand return of ghosts-Has anyone else noticed more ghost stories? Again I love ghosts, they are my favorite paranormal creature so I am not at all complaining even if some of them have been slightly bizarre.

3) The return of the girl sleuth-I've also noticed a increase in girl detectives or at least girls solving mysteries. The part of me that loves mysteries and grew up on Nancy Drew highly approves.

4) Time Travel-Good lord what was with all the time travel this year? I know of at least seven books at the top of my head that dealt with time travel in some way. Unfortunately they didn't really do it in a believeable way for me so I'm not very excited about this trend despite being a Doctor Who fan who loves time travel. Now if a YA book will do it in a way I can buy then okay bring it. But until then I'm going to remain highly skeptical of this trend.

5) Less Bella Swans. FINALLY authors have realized Bella Swan was NOT a good character and I've seen less and less whiny heroines who do nothing. Thank you.

6) More playing around with writing styles. Not particularly thrilled with this. Look, I've sort of had to come to peace with the whole present tense thing. Obviously it's here to stay. But there's a time and place for playing around with writing rules that have been around for centuries for a REASON and for the love of god, use proper grammer like quote marks (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Blood Red Road. Young is lucky her story and actual writing managed transcend that annoyance).

7) A emergence of steampunk?-I've noticed a few popping up here and there and I really hope it catches on. I LOVE steampunk. We need more of it.

8) Paranormal Romances like whoa-Okay I like PNRs, I do. But we're getting a little ridiculous with them I think. It doesn't help that they are all starting to look alike. Someone on Goodreads said that they felt PNRs were becoming the Harlequin romances of YA and I think they are absolutely right. I have had so much deja vu reading new books this year that is not funny.

9) Shifters like whoa-I guess with the sucess of Firelight it was bound to happen but geez.

10) The Bitchy Heroine-This is a common idea popping up that I severely dislike. Authors, just because your heroine is strong does not mean she has to be a jerk. Likewise having her strong does not automatically make her a femenist, especially if she bitches at every other female or male who doesn't worship the ground she walks on. Where on earth did we get the idea that if you make your heroine strong/able to take care of herself then she has to be a jerk?

Book Review: The Dead Tossed Waves


TITLE: The Dead Tossed Waves
Book 3 in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series
AUTHOR: Carrie Ryan
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: zombies, dystopian
PREMISE: Gabry has heard her mother's tales of the Forest but has never contemplated going in it. Until her friends start being Infected...
MY REVIEW: I adored The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It wasn't your typical dystopian. It didn't make zombies into a love interest. It was powerful and well written, and just so interesting. I'm happy to report the sequel/companion is just as good. No sophomore slump here. Condie, take notes.
Granted, it did sort of feel like a redo of the first book at times but with different situations. Plus there's still the annoying love triangle angle that was totally unneccessary. But it's still Ryan's powerful stuff so I'm not complaining too loudly.
If you loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth, you'll enjoy this one. If you haven't read it, you could actually read this one because it's more of a companion to the book instead of a sequel. It just helps more if you've read Forest and Teeth.
WHO SHOULD READ: zombie fans, dystopian fans, fans of Forest of Hands and Teeth
MY RATING: Four out of Five stumbling zombies

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: Crossed


TITLE: Crossed
Book 2 of the Matched Trilogy
AUTHOR: Ally Condie
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: dystopian, romance
PREMISE: Cassia searches for Ky in the outer provinces and they learn of a rebellion against the Society.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing: I WANT to love the Matched Trilogy. Really, I DO. There are things to like here. Some of Condie's prose are lovely and thoughtful, there's some nice messages here about free will and stuff, and even though I still say the world building makes very little sense when one really thinks about it the world is interesting. But it's just so DULL. Condie has a nice writing style but I don't think she knows how to tell a story to keep a reader interested. That is the only explanation I have for the fact that she keeps putting the focus on the boring and predictable (and still with very little basis) Ky/Cassia relationship. I'm sorry but I really DON'T CARE. It's obvious they'll wind up as end game. I get it, they're the destined epic couple. Can we please get back to the far more important business of this rebellion against the Society please?
It doesn't help that I honestly don't really like Cassia that much. She's flat and uninteresting as can be and frankly Ky isn't much better. The switching povs really proved that they literally have no personality because I kept getting confused about who was speaking. They sound exactly alike. If you are going to go this route, MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS SOUND DIFFERENT. Don't even get me started on Cassia being jealous over Indie liking Xander (who she's never even met) who Cassia REJECTED. Did I also mention the book was dull?
I'm sorry, I really want to like this trilogy. But it's honestly just mediocre so I can only give it a okay rating. Especially this book which suffers from extreme second book syndrome. If you want a book about love in a dystopian society may I recomend Delirium by Lauren Oliver? At least that's interesting.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Matched, Dystopian fans
RATING: Three and a half out of Five Hundred Poems

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Star


TITLE: The Name of the Star
Book 1 in the new Shades of London series
AUTHOR: Maureen Johnson
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, paranormal
PREMISE: Rory gets sent to school in England and winds up with the ability to see ghosts. Meanwhile a copycat Ripper killer is taking England by storm.
MY REVIEW: Okay it's official, I'm a Maureen Johnson fan. It started when I actually liked 13 Little Blue Envelopes and continued with the second and by following her posts on Twitter (seriously guys, follow her account she's hilarious). But this book has cemented my loyalty now. Because I loved this. True, the way they see ghosts is a bit odd to me as are some of the ghost mechanics but the rest of it? Utter love.
I really enjoy Johnson's writing. She gives her character voices and has a style for each book she does. Because this is actually quite different from 13 Little Blue Envelopes. More importantly she THINKS OUTSIDE THE BOX. Yes, this has a few tropes in it but she does the tropes in a fresh realistic way and puts her own spin on it so it feels shiny and new. It probably also helped that she put tons of things in it that I love: Europe, boarding school setting, mystery, ghosts, no love triangle, and even has Doctor Who references.
In short, I think this is a darn good book. I'm definitely checking out the rest of her books as well and I can't wait for the next book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Maureen Johnson fans, mystery/thriller fans, ghost fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five boarding schools

Book Review: The Faerie Ring


TITLE: The Faerie Ring
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Kiki Hamilton
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: faeries, historical fiction, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Tiki accidently steals a ring that is part of a truce that keeps faeries from attacking the human world.
MY REVIEW: This is a book I wanted to like more then I did. My problem is it's extremely amateurish. You really can tell this is the author's first book. There's telling instead of showing, Tiki is a extreme Mary Sue, there's the usual YA cliches here and there, and it just feels like it's not a fully formed idea.
But on the other hand I did enjoy Tiki, Mary Sue that she was. She was fiesty and proactive and it was a nice change. I also enjoyed the oliver twist like plot and the twists and turns the author had that sometimes were a genuine surprise. There were some really nice bits of writing here and there. Particularly when Hamilton goes into the historical descriptions. I also loved the world she created.
I just sort of wished she'd polished it a bit more and that more character had gone into Tiki so she didn't feel quite so flat, you know? So this was ultimately a average book. Good for a library read, especially if you love victorian england books.
WHO SHOULD READ: historical fiction fans, Prophecy of the Sisters fans, fans of Oliver Twist
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five magic rings

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Reading Goals for 2012

So next year is next week. I'm overall rather satisfied with my reading this year. Granted I missed reading some the books I meant too but did get a lot accomplished so I'm not too disappointed in myself.

My reading goals for next year:

Do the Debut Author Challenge (note to self, sign up)
Keep up on those new releases (library reserve is going to be my friend this year)
Read at least 250 books (I did around 230 this year, some of which weren't reviewed here because they were nonfiction or didn't fit in with the blog or my thoughts were so scathing I decided to spare you)
Keep that to be read pile low so I can read new ones faster!
Try to keep up on reviews
Try out more memes so people know this blog exists
Finish up the Game of Thrones series
Finish up the Millaneum Trilogy
Try to read one classic a month
Try out Garth Nix (since you got his Sabrial trilogy for your birthday and everything)
Read some John Green (Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns? Someone tell me which one to read first!)
Finish the Uglies series
Finish the Women of the Otherworld series
Explore the adult cozy mystery/urban fantasy/paranormal romance sections (anyone have any recs? Feel free to look at backlogs if you want to see what I've already read)
Since I couldn't get to them this year, read: Forever and Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl, the second Kane Chronicles book and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children, Shatter Me,Night Circus, and Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick.
Catch up on the Wicked books by Gregory Maguire
Try out Sarah Dessen even though I disliked Jodi Piccoult. Who knows? Maybe she'll be better.
Finish all of Neil Gaiman's books.
Read more of Terry Pratchett (maybe try to finish Discworld?)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Review: Witchlanders


TITLE: Witchlanders
AUTHOR: Lena Coakley
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Witches have been in charge for as long as Ryder can remember. Then he learns of his role in a prophecy...
MY REVIEW: I had no idea what to expect from this book because it hasn't been reviewed at like all. It's a darn shame too because this was a pretty good book. It's imaginative, well written, and has a few twists that you don't expect.
But at the same time there's no romance. Which is probably why it hasn't become popular. Well, unless you count the bromance between Farian and Ryder which I totally do for the record ;shamelessly ships them;. So because of the lack of romance probably many young readers will find this dull and I will say it did drag at some points.
However I think this is one that shouldn't be overlooked. The writing is strong, characters are interesting, and it's got good messages about friendship and overcoming prejudices. I don't know if there's going to be a sequel. After that ending, I really hope so.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that don't mind a lack of romance, Knight and Rogue series fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

Book Review: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone


TITLE: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Karou has lived one foot in the magical world and one in the human world all her life. But then someone shows up that changes her life forever.
MY REVIEW: First I will say the few minor issues I had with this. One being the romance was cliche. A well done cliche at least, but nonetheless it's been done before. Also sometimes it dragged, particularly at the end where I felt the retelling of how Akiva and Madrigal fell in love was rather unneccessary because we figured it out earlier.
But other then those minor issues that are more a personal peeve anyway I have to say this was a really good book. May I just say I LOVE Taylor's writing style? Granted once or twice she went a bit overboard with the poetics and had occasional theosaurus words that looked out of place but for the most part her writing was really strong. Also while the romance aspect of it was typical star crossed lover stuff, the rest was so imaginative. Finally a book went in ways I wasn't expecting! There were also some really good lines in it too.
Frankly I loved this book. No not a perfect book but I do see why people are saying it's one of the best YA books of the year (I don't particularly agree with that assessment but to each their own). I am definitely going to be reading the next book and can't wait to see more from Taylor.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angel book fans, anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five teeth

Book Review: Cold Kiss


TITLE: Cold Kiss
AUTHOR: Amy Garvey
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: A girl brings back her dead boyfriend with unforseen consequences.
MY REVIEW: I don't have much to say about this to be honest. Writing was decent enough and I was vaguely interested in the powers that the author came up with but ultimately it was a dull dull dull book. I didn't care for the main character and everything was predictable.
It's not horrible or anything, it's just pretty average and in today's YA world pretty forgettable. Good for a check out from the library to see if it's your thing but not much else.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...not sure, necromancy fans?
MY RATING: Three out of Five stumbling zombies

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: A Girl of Fire and Thorns


TITLE: A Girl of Fire and Thorns
Book 1 in a new series?
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: A girl enters an arranged marriage and becomes a leader.
MY REVIEW: You ever have a book you want to absolutely love? You feel like you SHOULD love it but something in you just can't because of all the flaws? Well, that is me and my feelings on A Girl of Fire and Thorns. By all rights I should adore this book. It does honestly have a lot going for it that I understand why people were gushing over it during BEA time. The world building is splendid, it's very fast paced, while it does follow the typical useless girl becomes useful trope it does it in a somewhat believable manner, and there's a clear plot that doesn't wander too much. Also there were some lovely passages of writing here that make me sit up and pay attention.
HOWEVER, it was very obvious that this was a first book. While there were lovely bits of writing, far too much of it was the tell and show type of writing which I'm sure all of you have figured out that I can't stand. The main character Elisa while kind of awesome was also a huge Mary Sue. Literally the only flaw she had was that she was fat, according to her and we are reminded that she is fat over and over again and of course her being fat come with all the typical fat stereotypes out there such as no confidence in her looks and over eating. Look, I love that finally we have a girl who isn't a white skinny heroine but when you literally make her fat the only flaw she has that actually isn't very progressive or helpful. The romance and characters didn't really do anything for me. About maybe the only one I was intrigued by were Cosme and Alodia and they were relagated to the background. After one realized this was the useless girl becomes useful trope and that Elisa was a Mary Sue it was very obvious what was going to come next the only thing that kept me really going was the imaginative world and the action.
So honestly, this was a bit of a let down for me. I do think it's a good enough debut. I mean I've certainly read worst first books. I will say I'm not sure how she's going to make this a series because for me it all tied up very nicely at the end so I'm honestly not really interested in a sequel. But I do hope to see more from this imaginative author and that she works a bit more on her writing skills for her next book because if she does that and keeps her imagination? We'll get awesomeness.
WHO SHOULD READ: Tamora Pierce fans, fantasy world fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five godstones

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: Circle of Fire


TITLE: Circle of Fire
Book 3 in the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy
AUTHOR: Michelle Zink
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: historical fiction, drama, fantasy
PREMISE: Lea and her sister have their final confrontation.
MY REVIEW: Trilogys are tricky beasts. They can be amazing all the way through (Hunger Games), start off strong and struggle in the middle but have a really good ending (Gemma Doyle Trilogy), or start off strong and just end up being rather underwhelming by the end (every other trilogy out there). Sadly Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those that started off with a huge bang but wimpered the rest of the way through.
It still is very well written and I do love the imagination behind it and the questions Zink asks in it. But ultimately this ending is pretty underwhelming. Logical ending, yes. But underwhelming nonetheless. Nothing happened here that wasn't expected. I just wanted MORE from it, particularly when it came to Alice. I have to wonder if maybe it would have been better to have these last two books in her point of view rather then Lea's because I still have many questions where Alice is concerned and am not totally satisfied with her conclusion. Also how lame did James turn out to be?
Like I said this is still a decent enough read...it's just not as good as when Zink first started this trilogy. I will be very curious about her next series though which apparently starts next year.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two books, Gemma Doyle fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five gloves

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (65)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. All the links in this post go to the books Amazon page if you want more info.

My Weekly library haul (and this week's haul is particularly awesome):

Matched Trilogy Book 2: Crossed by Ally Condie-I was not as in love with Matched like everyone else but I did like it enough that I am rather looking forward to the sequel even though it's gotten mixed reviews. Who knows maybe since people seem to like Matched better I'll end up loving the sequel more?
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey-debut that I've been really interested in reading.
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton-The author had me at historical fiction fantasy with faeries and girl theif. This plus the rave reviews it's been getting has put this at the top of my to read list.
Shades of London Book 1: In the Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson-I'm a recent inductee to Johnson and the minute I read her stuff I wanted her to do something like fantasy or historical fiction because her writing would be perfect for it. Lo and behold this book came out. My expectations are pretty high for this.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor-This has been haled as one of the best books of the year. While normally that would make me go out and buy it, the angel/demon thing made me hesitate because I've had some bad luck with angel books that everyone else has said is great (see Halo).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Queen of the Dead


TITLE: Queen of the Dead
Book 2 in the Ghost and the Goth series
AUTHOR: Stacey Kade
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, romance
PREMISE: Alona and Will run into other ghost talkers.
MY REVIEW: I recently picked up Ghost and the Goth and promptly fell in love. I'm happy to say the second book is just as fun as the first even if I find the whole ghost taking over a person's body thing rather hard to swallow. I'll let it go because it makes for good plot points and it's not the craziest ghost thing I've seen (has anyone seen Being Human? I love Annie but that ghost stuff is eyebrow raising).
This does everything a continuation should do. It expands on the world of ghosts. It brings in new characters, it settles some old issues, and it brings in new issues. It also still has the fun of the first. I still love watching Will and Alona interact. Their relationship is not boring even when they're together, Alona still has her faults after all and Will calls her on it. Likewise Will himself isn't a infallible human being.
All in all it was a satisfying sequel though maybe not as good as the first. I look forward to the next book and whatever else Kade has in store for us.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of The Ghost and the Goth, Mediator book series fans, Meg Cabot fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five red gym shorts

Book Review: Between


TITLE: Between
AUTHOR: Jessica Warman
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, mystery, drama
PREMISE: A ghost tries to figure out what happened to her while spying on her family in the afterlife.
MY REVIEW: Another one I honestly have nothing much to say about. It was vaguely reminiscent of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver but didn't have near the powerful message that book did. I do think Warman is a promising author. She's got good dialogue, does keep suspense going, and manages to flesh out her characters and have a plot.
But I think this novel suffered from underediting. There were several scenes in here that weren't necessary. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters except for Alex and he didn't get nearly enough page time. I'm also not sure what the author was trying to do. Was it about bullying? I mean the girl learns this after she dies and it never gets to her friends who were doing the actual bullying so that's kind of a lost message there. The main character didn't really forgive her sister (which I can totally understand). It just sort of felt like one of those "what's the point of this?" novels and I hate that. I know not every book has to have a big message. But it does kind of help matters if your book says SOMETHING. This one just sent a lot of mixed messages.
So while it was a decently written book...it bored me. The murderer became obvious by the middle of the book and it just wasn't that interesting. A decent enough book but it just didn't do anything for me. I do think other people may find it more enjoyable though. I think it was just one of those things were I wasn't in the mood for it. It probably didn't help that I'm reading Clash of Kings in between these books.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Before I Fall, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five yachts

Book Review: In the Arms of Stone Angels


TITLE: In the Arms of Stone Angels
AUTHOR: Jordan Dane
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, paranormal, romance
PREMISE: A girl goes back to her hometown and winds up reopening a cold case involving her ex boyfriend.
MY REVIEW: I honestly don't have much to say about this book really. It was pretty average to be honest. Writing was decent, plot was average, and it really wasn't anything mind-blowing. It wasn't horrible either. It's just one of those books written to fill a certain market I guess.
I will say this is a total departure from most Harlequin teen paranormals. It's actually quite depressing and not really romance focused at all. If you want sap I'd go elsewhere. Also be warned very few of these characters are likeable. In fact I wanted to smack all of them at one point except maybe the boyfriend but that was only because we got so little of him to begin with. It also does pile on the town against one girl trope that is so eyeroll worthy I won't even bother ranting about it. Just know I find this trope ridiculous.
But really there's not really much memorable stuff or anything that stands out. Some of the paranormal stuff with the indian heritage was interesting but confusing and honestly made very little sense (and sort of felt like a racial stereotype at times). If you don't pick up this book you're not missing out on much.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...not sure...mystery fans maybe?
MY RATING: Three out of Five feathers

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (64)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. All the links go to the books Amazon page if you want more info.

Downloaded to Kindle:
Mythos Academy Book 2: Kiss of Frost-Already read and reviewed. Just as fun as the first.

From the library:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson-This has been getting rave reviews so hopefully it's as good as I want it to be.
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley-debut from this year that I've heard next to nothing about for some reason.
Ghost and the Goth Book 2: Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade-Loved the first Ghost and the Goth and I can't wait to read the next one.
Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy: Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink-Conclusion to Prophecy of the Sisters. Can't believe it's actually over now.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review: Kiss of Frost


TITLE: Kiss of Frost
Book 2 in the Mythos Academy series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, romance, mystery
PREMISE: Gwen deals with a reaper who is out to kill her.
MY REVIEW: I pretty much fell in love with A Touch of Frost last month and almost immediately downloaded book 2 when it came out last month. Granted the series isn't very original. There are deus ex machinas everywhere (including Gwen's gift, particularly in this book) and it's basically Veronica Mars meets Harry Potter with a dash of Percy Jackson thrown in. Also sometimes there is cheesy dialogue/moments. But like Percy Jackson which has those faults what saves the series is the enjoyment factor. It's just entertaining and doesn't try to hard and you get the feeling the author is just having fun. I dig that.
I also frankly just love Gwen. She's a great main character. She's flawed but no so much you want to smack her, she's endearing, she's sassy and proactive, and has more on her mind then who to date. She's just enjoyable and refreshing in a sea of mopey clingy main characters who tend to not do much. Plus there are other enjoyable characters such as Daphne and new guy Oliver.
While this mystery was rather more obvious it did lead into a much larger arc and I'm greatful that the author is not going to drag out the moping after Logan thing because that would have gotten annoying quickly. So I give this series isn't perfect and has tropes and is not original. But is darn fun.
WHO SHOULD READ: Veronica Mars fans, Percy Jackson fans,
MY RATING: Four out of Five skis

TITLE: The Goblin War
Book 3 in the Goblin Wood series
AUTHOR: Hilari Bell
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: The goblins and Mekenna finally make their move.
MY REVIEW: I'm not sure what I was expecting with the final goblin book but honestly I know I wanted something more then this. It's not bad. It's Bell's usual great writing and imagination. The problem is it's just BORING.
I mean part of the draw for Goblin Wood was the complex Mekenna/Tobin relationship. But here they're seperated throughout the whole thing and get very little conclusion at the end and that was a big disappointment for me though I probably should have expected it because Bell doesn't really do romance at like all.
While it was a perfectly decent book it was just boring and slow and reading those short pages felt like it dragged on forever. Honestly I've become less then enamoured with Bell's conclusions lately. I like her first books but her continuations tend to leave a lot to be desired.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hilari Bell fans, fans of Goblin Wood
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five goblins

Book Review: Graveminder

TITLE: Graveminder
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Melissa Marr
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Paranormal Drama
PREMISE: Rebekkah comes back to her home town when her grandmother is killed and discovers old family secrets.
MY REVIEW: Well apparently imageing is not working on blogger so I'm afraid there aren't any pictures of the cover for you guys today. I hope this is fixed soon. Now I was actually quite excited when I learned Marr was venturing into the adult side of books especially as I considered her YA stuff more adult anyway. Now this wasn't perfect because I found it a bit slow sometimes and I was horribly disappointed with the obvious villain. I mean this is Marr who created fabulous 3 dimensional characters in Wicked Lovely. When you consider that, a 2 dimensional character like Cissy feels like a slap in the face and it sucks because I know this author can do better then that.
But other then those issues this was Marr's usual great writing combined with fascinating world building and great complex character dynamics. Not totally sure how she's making this into a series but I do welcome more books.
So it's not quite up to Marr's usual quality but it's still good stuff. I'm also really excited about the fairy tale series she's got coming out next month. Because Marr tackling fairy tales is pretty much my dream come true.
WHO SHOULD READ: Melissa Marr fans, gothic book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five graves

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: The Iron Knight


TITLE: The Iron Knight
Book 4 in the Iron Fey series
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: faeries, fantasy, romance, adventure
PREMISE: Ash goes on a quest to become human along with Puck.
MY REVIEW: I admit I'm a Iron Fey fangirl mostly due to the awesomeness that was Puck and Kagawa's lovely vivid imagination. That said while I did enjoy this as much as the other books I sort of feel it wasn't very necessary. Seriously you could have just had this as the Epilogue to Iron Queen where Meghan waits for Ash and oh look he comes back and you wouldn't have lost anything huge. I mean was anyone really shocked by anything here? I certainly wasn't. It just felt like a tagged on book and mostly written because there was a contract for four books instead of three.
That said for a tagged on book it was still the fun adventure I've come to expect from Kagawa so I'm not complaining too loudly although I'm a little annoyed that Puck never really got a conclusion out of this. I mean he got like NOTHING. Considering he's my favorite character this annoyed me greatly even if part of me does realize not everyone can wind up happily ever after in a love triangle. They just don't work that way. I still ship Ash/Puck/Meghan threesome though and no one will convince me to do otherwise unless Kagawa comes out with a series for Puck that has him meeting someone that's good for him (hint hint, Kagawa).
So yeah. On one hand this was a tad predictable and sort of felt like a prolonged ending but if you've become a fan like me it's enjoyable still and still has all the elements that gets fans into the series in the first place so there you go. This one was obviously written for the fans and I can't argue to loudly about that seeing as how I am one. But I have to say I'm a wee bit more excited for Kagawa's new series because I'm eager for her to move on to more shiny things. I'll be very interested to see what she does with vampires.
WHO SHOULD READ: Iron Fey fans, Twilight fans, faerie book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book Review: Death Catchers


TITLE: The Death Catchers
New series?
AUTHOR: Jennifer Anne Kogler
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy,
PREMISE: A girl discovers she has visions and is the protector of King Arthur's Last Descendant.
MY REVIEW: This is yet another book that sort of got lost in the summer book review rush. There were seriously a lot of books out this summer so it's no one's fault really. Stuff happens. I'm sad this one got overlooked though because I really liked it. I do understand why it may not have gotten big: no huge release, no dramatic love triangle, and all the other stuff that makes books big nowadays. Plus the ending is a bit frustrating.
But really guys this is a good book. I love the characters (Bizzy RULES and so does Jodi), it's a refreshing take on the King Arthur reincarnation trope even if it does sort of remind me a bit at times of Avalon High by Meg Cabot, and I love Kogler's writing style even if I do want her to work on this need she has to describe people's outfits (although Jodi's outfits were fun).
I understand it might not appeal to the masses and that's fine. But if you're looking for a King Arthurian book that's fun, I totally recomend this (and the previously mentioned Avalon High. Much better then the Disney Channel cock up movie I assure you). I definitely give the author points for creativity and hope she continues this.
WHO SHOULD READ: King Arthur fans, Avalon High fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five visions

Book Review: Angel Burn


TITLE: Angel Burn
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: L. A. Weatherly
PUBLISHED: 2011 (in US)
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, romance
PREMISE: A girl finds out she is half angel which actually isn't good because angels are hell bent on destroying the human race as well as her.
MY REVIEW: I'm conflicted over Angel Burn to be honest. Part of me loves the unique take on angels. Weatherly is good at writing action and describing things and there is some ingrueing things going on here that kind of make me want a second book like NOW.
However...it had a definite cheese quality too it. The romance was cheesy (but sweet), some dialogue was cheesy, main character was rather Mary Sueish what with the being half angel thing and of course the common Sue trait of never realizing she's beautiful till people (usually her guy) tells her. Sigh.
It was a decent read. I mean I've certainly read worse from the Angel genre but it never really got past just being a decent read. This is worth a check out from the library at least.
WHO SHOULD READ: angel book fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five churches

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Mailbox (63)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. All the links in this post go to the book's Amazon page if you want more info.

Amazon:
Got a brand new Kindle Fire with my birthday money! It's wonderful. If anyone has any recs for apps (I already have Angry Birds and author tracker) I'd be most eager to hear them.
Witchblade Chronicles Book 1: Honor Bound by C. J. Archer-Kindle Freebie that looks like a fantasy romance type thing.
Samantha Sweet Mysteries Book 1: Sweet Masterpiece by Connie Shelton-Kindle Freebie. Heard of this series but haven't read it yet now that it's free I might as well try it.

From the library:
The Goblin War by Hilari Bell-Final conclusion in the goblin trilogy.
Wildfire by Karsten Knight-mythology book from this year that next to no one has talked about and thus I'm curious.
Graveminder by Melissa Marr-Urban fantasy by the author of Wicked Lovely. Adult.
Between by Jessica Warman-Paranormal mystery type book that looks interesting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Dark Parties


TITLE: Dark Parties
AUTHOR: Sara Grant
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: dystopian
PREMISE: In a world controlled by the government a girl and her friends fight back in the only way they can.
MY REVIEW: Dark Parties was yet another book with a blink and you'll miss it release. There was a little blog tour when it came out but next to no one reviewed it and I don't understand why, this was good! Granted the romance and teen drama was boring and didn't really add anything to the plot but the actual dystopian part of it made me want to melt into a pile of happy reader goo.
I adore Grant's writing. She doesn't go overboard with prose. It's simple. While it's not terribly subtle at times with her message she does at least have a point with this book. I may be confused about one or two details but the premise was all in all well thought out and really interesting and powerful. While I wanted a wee bit more from the ending it was overall satisfying and I think the author is setting it up for a sequel so I won't complain to loudly about the abrupt ending.
Books like this is why dystopians have sort of become my go to genre for good books. Even ones I was passive about like Across the Universe and Wither are good. Dark Parties is an interesting one that's for sure. I don't know about anyone else but I want more. Hopefully I'm right in thinking there's a sequel coming because I want to know more.
WHO SHOULD READ: dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five snowflakes

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Review: Deadly Cool


TITLE: Deadly Cool
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Gemma Halliday
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery
PREMISE: When her ex is accused of murder Hartley does her best to clear his name.
MY REVIEW: This book came out of nowhere and surprised me with how much I loved it. I will warn some that it has some quite frank talk about sex and the fact that teenagers have it. If you're uncomfortable with that sort of talk then this book may not be for you though I will say you're missing out because this book is freaking hilarious and so much fun. Also other then a slight tendancy to name drop it's rather decently written (kudos to author for mentioning Castle).
Hartley is a wonderful MC. She's got personality, uses her brain, doesn't have half a million love interest that she toys with. In fact there's little romance in this, it's mostly her solving the mystery and it is a fun ride my friends. The author has a great character voice going on here, is good at depicting life in high school, and has some utterly brilliant dialogue. True, the mystery becomes a bit obvious by the middle as most of these do, but still it's so much fun and I loved practically all the characters. I even approve of the main couple the author sets up.
I hope this series catches on soon. The next book comes out in Spring of next year and I cannot wait. I found a new mystery addiction. Between this, Mythos Academy, and Clarity I can honestly say it's been a good year for the YA girl detective genre. Nancy Drew would be proud.
WHO SHOULD READ: mystery fans, Nancy Drew fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five magnifying glasses

Book Review: Fury


TITLE: Fury
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Miles
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, drama
PREMISE: Two teens are targeted by furies.
MY REVIEW: I wanted to like this one so much if only because the author is doing something a little different. There is a delicious creepy factor to this book I love and I found the idea fabulous: furies going after wrong doing teenagers. Cool right?
Aparently not. Because instead of a awesome book about furies which the summary promises we get a book that's mainly about Emily and Chase, two selfish teens trying to be popular and all their selfish friends. Furies are not mentioned until like the last fifty pages. Until then it's all yawn worthy teen drama full of unlikeable characters (except for JD who sadly is underused) and angsty romantic shenanigans that I honestly could care less about. I'm sorry but when a summary promises me furies wreaking havoc I expect the book to be about furies wreaking havoc not about the people they target who bring it on themselves anyway and the furies just happen to show up for like ten pages. I just felt very...cheated I guess you could say.
I mean if you like the teen drama then this is your book. But if like me you went into this expecting furies and got teen drama and a brief appearance by furies instead, it's very disappointing. It's not bad, it's just not what it's advertizing and I hate it when summaries promise one thing but give you something else entirely. If there's a purpose okay, but I honestly see no purpose to why I should care one bit about Emily or Chase. Perhaps the next book will explain it but I was just so bored by this one that I most likely will not be bothering with it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of teen drama books
MY RATING: Three out of Five furies

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: The Necromancer


TITLE: The Necromancer
Book 4 in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series
AUTHOR: Michael Scott
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Sophie and Josh continue their journey with the Flamels whether they want to or not...
MY REVIEW: Oh this series is such addictive crack for me. I won't lie, the writing leaves a bit to be desired, there are deus ex machinas everywhere, and times it's rather hectic. I totally understand why it's not everyone's cup of tea. But for me it's gold.
It's got everything I love: historical figures (Joan of Arc! Shakespeare! Billy the Kid!), mythology of all kinds not just greek, historical references, and imagination up the wazoo. You would think all this stuff together wouldn't work but Scott does it such a way that is a kind of genuis in it's own right. Plus characters are interesting and complex. Particularly the Flamels.
No, these aren't perfect books. But like Percy Jackson what drives it is sheer entertainment and enjoyability factor. Sometimes that can trump other stuff if the author works it right and this author most certainly does.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first three books, Percy Jackson fans, history buffs, mythology fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five runes

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Spellbound


TITLE: Spellbound
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Cara Lynn Shultz
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: A girl meets the love of her life at her new school but learns that the two of them are cursed.
MY REVIEW: A review of this book over at Goodreads mentioned that UF/Paranormal romances are becoming the Harlequin romances of YA and as much as I hate to admit it, I think they're absolutely right. While there certainly is nothing wrong with formulaic titles like that (I've enjoyed many in my day) it doesn't make for a very memorable book either.
There isn't anything really wrong with Spellbound. It's average. Average writing, likeable characters (I particularly loved Angelique and Cisco and if I continue reading this series it'll be solely for them), average UF settings, tropes abound, sometimes cliche dialogue, and so on and so forth. There's nothing really horrible about it. But at the same time there's nothing fantastic about it either. It's a fine light read of escapism but that's honestly about it.
It's honestly a pretty forgettable book. I'd recomend checking it out of the library first to see if it's for you but really if you don't you're not missing much.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Twilight, romance fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five school uniforms

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: Dark Souls


TITLE: Dark Souls
AUTHOR: Paula Morris
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal
PREMISE: A girl who sees ghosts travels to York with her parents.
MY REVIEW: Dark Souls like Ruined, will probably not appeal to everyone. It really appealed to me because I freaking love ghosts and the way Morris does them is fantastic. I also love the history she goes into and the way she adds in a personal element with the main character. Plus some of the scenes she comes up with are well...haunting if you'll forgive the pun.
But at the same time the books are a little slow and the style of writing is a wee bit flat. I do understand why they haven't really caught on. There's no real love triangle, and it doesn't have many of the things that draw teen readers in nowadays. Which is fine, to each their own I like to say. But personally I love that Morris doesn't do that. She's old school ghost story teller and I am a huge fan of the old school ghost stories.
If you're a fan of ghosts I say definitely pick this up. Also check out Ruined which is just as fabulously creepy and atmospheric as this one only it's in New Orleans. As for Morris, I hope she does more ghost stories to feed my addiction.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that liked Ruined, ghost story fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five York bars

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (62)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Bought:
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake-Managed to snag a barely used copy of this for FIVE BUCKS at my local used book store. Score! Especially as I've been dying to read this one.

Weekly library haul:
Dark Parties by Sara Grant-There was a smallish blog tour of this book when it was released but other then that I really haven't heard anything about this new dystopian book.
The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler-Another book that literally has had no reviews and sounds really interesting.
Hartley Featherstone series Book 1: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday-mystery that sounds a bit like Veronica Mars which is good for the author because I loved that show.
Fury by Elizabeth Miles-Reviews for this book were really mixed and that made me curious because I'm always interested in what can get such different reactions from people. Sometimes this works out well for me and sometimes it doesn't. We'll see how this one goes.

That's all for me! What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Supernaturally


TITLE: Supernaturally
Book 2 in the Paranormalcy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kierstan White
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Evie's new life isn't turning out how she expected and that brings her right back to IPCA...
MY REVIEW: All the other reviews I've read of this said the book was fine but they missed old Evie and that she was depressed in this. To that, I say huh? Okay, yes she did mope a few times more then she did in the first but those times were perfectly warranted. I mean her life wasn't going how she planned, Lend was gone half the time, faeries were after her, and oh yes she learned everything she thought she knew about herself was a LIE. It would have been unrealistic if she was cheerful throughout the whole book. She hardly got to Bella Swan levels and she still was delightfully snarky and took care of business. So sorry I don't understand this complaint at all.
This did everything a second book in a trilogy should do: expand on character background/world, introduce new elements (Jack was AWESOME well...until that one part), new complications, and sets up for the next book perfectly. It was fast paced, was fun and had White's trademark cheeky humor that I loved from the first book.
In short I loved this just as much as Paranormalcy. No sophomore slump here folks. The next book comes out next year and will be the last book. While I'll be sorry to see Evie and Lend go, White has a new series she's working on and I can't wait.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Paranormalcy, Buffy fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five pink tasers

Book Review: The Body at the Tower


TITLE: The Body at the Tower
Book 2 in The Agency series
AUTHOR: Y. S. Lee
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: historical fiction, mystery
PREMISE: Mary investigates a murder at a construction site.
MY REVIEW: Many have said this isn't as good as the first and I have to say I sort of agree. Granted, it's still good. But it was sort of slow and missed that spark that the first book had.
But it was still well written. Had wonderful historical stuff in it. I still love Mary to pieces even if I find her a bit Sueish. Also James/Mary forever am I right?
Plus it's just so nice reading an old fashioned YA mystery. Not enough of those.
I sort of think this was just a sophomore slump and that the next book we're going to get more of a juicy personal mystery like the last book. At least I hope that's the case because I am horribly fond of this series and want it to continue.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, mystery fans, historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ladys gloves

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: Divergent


TITLE: Divergent
Book 1 in the new Divergent series
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
PUBLISEHD: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: dystopian, action, drama
PREMISE: In a world divided by factions, Tris learns she's suited for three and soon becomes involved in a revolution that will change her world.
MY REVIEW: I admit I was skeptical of Divergent mostly because most of the raved about dystopians this year I just haven't been a huge fan of. Now yes, Divergent isn't totally original. It's dystopian and those ar dime a dozen these days and sometimes while reading it I sometimes felt like I was reading a redux of Hunger Games but with a lesser thought out world. Also villains were obvious from the get go and the romance felt like an afterthought because the author felt we would expect it or something. But for the most part this is a really good book.
While I did wish for more explanations on how this world came to be I did find it really interesting. Also look ma, actual plot! That DOESN'T revolve around a love triangle/romance. How refreshing to see a dystopian that actually is dystopian and not really a romance that just happens to be set in a dystopian environment. Plus I just want to hug Roth because of her good writing and that she's not afraid to have her heroines be bad-ass but also flawed. I even got some hints of a personality from the love interest! Not much because we don't really spend much time on that angle but at least I see some sort of basis for this relationship even if again, it felt like a afterthought.
A few issues aside (that I'm hoping get solved in the next one) this was a darn good book. I am really looking forward to the next one. I see why people went gaga over this. For those interested, the next book Insurgent comes out in May of next year.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans,
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five guns

Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset


TITLE: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Book 1 in the new Steampunk Chronicles
AUTHOR: Kady Cross
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: steampunk, historical fiction, romance, action
PREMISE: A girl with violent powers meets up with a group who has strange powers of their own in historical alternate universe England.
MY REVIEW: If you picture X-Men in a Steampunk world then this is what you come up with. I honestly have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love the world Cross has created here. It's so nice having kick-butt heroines as well as guys, there was no demeaning relationship stuff, it was a clear plot, and some stuff was enjoyable such as banter between characters.
However I cannot stand the writing style. Cross is one of those tell don't show authors. She'll have something happen and then whoever is speaking will tell us what they feel even though from the dialogue that was just spoken I can pretty much already guess it. Literally it felt like the author was holding my hand and telling me I was supposed to feel this about this situation/character and I seriously HATE when authors do that. I am not stupid I can figure out how a character feels from their actions and please let me form my own opinions about characters. It just felt so amateurish so imagine my surprise when I learned this author has apparently written like twenty adult books. It's good when she's describing things and during the action scenes but dialogue and in between parts are very awkward feeling.
Also it's predictable. Not one twist in here I was surprised by. Saw the couples forming. Saw the twist at the end the minute they talked about the Queen Victoria automaton being stolen (seriously, there's a similer plot of this in The Great Mouse Detective which is a DISNEY movie). The entire plot sans world was just unimaginative. I also didn't care for Finley much because she was a giant Mary Sue. Though I did like Emily.
This is just a book I wanted to love more then I did because it has all sorts of things I like but it was just so...cliche. Because of where it ended I will most likely look into the second one but I expect a better plot next time around. It's not bad persay, it just doesn't try very hard.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that don't mind simple plots, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five automatons

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Imaginary Girls


TITLE: Imaginary Girls
AUTHOR: Nova Ren Suma
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: paranormal, drama
PREMISE: Chloe always believed her sister about everything. But then events happen to make her question everything she knew.
MY REVIEW: It's hard for me to review Imaginary Girls because I'm so conflicted by it. A large part of me wants to gush over it. I mean the writing is great, it's imaginative, and it's unlike anything I've read this year. I do seriously want Suma to stick around and give us more well written intrigueing books.
However another part of me cannot ignore the fact that the ending left a lot to be desired. I also didn't particularly care for the characters (particularly Ruby who I wanted to smack upside the head and tell her to get over herself). Plus I was left with a lot of questions by the end. Also there's the honest truth that this book will not appeal to everyone. It's something you'll either love in the extreme or hate in the extreme. Or you'll be like me and you'll not know WHAT you think of it.
So I can't give this book a total pass because there are issues. But I also can't dismiss it because damn there was some good writing here. I guess it's just one of those books you'll have to check out from the library for yourself and see if you like it.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that don't mind quirky books or flawed characters
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five red ribbons

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (61)

Another late one. Sorry. This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what books we've recieved over the week. All the links go to the books Amazon page if you want more info.

Just weekly library haul:
The Agency series 2: The Body at the Tower by Y. S. Lee-I love this series which is a historical mystery sort of thing about a girl spy in victorian England. Tell me that's not awesome.
Dark Souls by Paula Morris-Paranormal book. I really liked Morris' first YA book, Ruined so I picked this one up.
Divergent Book 1 by Veronica Roth-FINALLY got this off reserve. I really hope this is good and is not a case of overhype.
Spellbound Book 1 by Cara Lynn Shultz-Urban fantasy? type thing that looks interesting. Haven't heard much about it.

That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss


TITLE: Anna and the French Kiss
AUTHOR: Stephanie Perkins
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: realistic fiction, romance, drama
PREMISE: Anna gets sent to a Paris boarding school and finds herself wrapped up in a boy who won't go away.
MY REVIEW: Let's be clear, Anna is not a ground breaking novel. But it is a very well written contemporary romance and those are so few and far between that I understand why people went gaga over it last year. I myself am not a huge fan of contemporaries. It's just not my genre, which is why you don't see many of them reviewed on this blog. So the fact that I managed to enjoy this gives a lot of credit to Perkins.
I adored her writing in this. Oh so much good dialogue. She manages to find that wonderful balance between being funny, sweet, and have good character all at the same time. Yes some of the teen drama was a little cliche but it was well done cliche so I didn't particularly mind it. Also I actually liked the couple! Finally a canon couple I can root for. Also it was pretty hilarious. I loved the scene with the Girl Scout cookies in particular. Nothing brings teens together like Girl Scout cookies ;) And yes, Tagalongs are the best thing ever. Sadly those lovelies don't come until after my birthday.
So Anna doesn't get many points for originality. But Perkins does get many points for being a darn good writer. I look forward to reading Lola and the Boy Next Door and anything else she has in store for us. Also apparently John Green mentored her or gave input to this? If that's the case I really need to check out his stuff now too. I was going to anyway but now I really want too.
WHO SHOULD READ: romantic comedy fans, Meg Cabot fans, Sarah Dessen fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five eifle towers

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Nevermore


TITLE: Nevermore
Book 1 in the Nevermore Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kelly Creagh
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: Paranormal romance
PREMISE: Isobel gets paired up with Varen much to her dismay. But the more she gets to know him the more she's drawn to him and he winds up shaking up her entire world.
MY REVIEW: I had no clue what to expect from Nevermore other then, I knew it had to do with Poe which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. I will say my one or two minor issues is that the romance between Isobel and Varen felt rather rushed to me and I still don't get why they're in love but at least it's a bit of a decent couple even if I don't get the relationship. It's definitely a decent friendship at least. Also some of the popular kids were stereotypes.
Other then that, I loved this book to death. Creagh has nice simple prose and utterly fantastic dialogue. She's a clear writer, she knows how to keep you turning the pages, and her characters are a delight. Seriously, Gwen is the best thing ever, only possibly topped by Danny. I even grew to like Isobel though it was a bit tough at first. I also admit there is a sexiness about Varen even if I wish we had gotten more of his character and his backstory. I'm hoping stuff like how he got into the world will be better explained in the next book.
Creagh has created something unique here that is creative and fun to read. I really can't wait to read the next book now. Luckily I won't have long because it comes out in January of next year.
WHO SHOULD READ: Edgar Allen Poe fans, fans of Twilight, anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five Poe poems

Book Review: Angelfire


TITLE: Angelfire
Book 1 in the new Angelfire series
AUTHOR: Courtney Allison Moulton
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: A girl discovers that monsters are after her soul...
MY REVIEW: Angelfire was kind of a ride for me. Most of the time I liked it but then there were a few times when I was like "really?". But a majority of my feelings for this book are positive. My issues mostly come from a few typos here and there, a bit of a rushed romance, and after a bit scenes felt repetitive.
But for the most part, really decent debut. This is coming from someone who is not really a angel book fan. The author actually did some research into mythology here though so the angel stuff didn't bother me as much and she actually even talked about religion! Wierdly I've noticed a lot of angel books avoid that topic even though their subject matter sort of automatically brings it up anyway because hello ANGELS. Hello, Charlie. Sorry, couldn't resist ;) Moulton also has decent writing, her characters actually have some personality (although I did feel there was some name-dropping going on sometimes), and the action is really well done.
So not a bad book considering how much I'm not a fan of angel books. I was mostly just happy that the female actually DID something in this book besides fall in love. Will definitely be picking up the second one after that ending. I hope Moulton sticks around, she's got creativity.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angel book fans, Buffy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Hereafter


TITLE: Hereafter
Book 1 in the new Hereafter series
AUTHOR: Tara Hudson
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal romance
PREMISE: A ghost saves the life of a boy and finds herself caught in the middle of a war.
MY REVIEW: Hereafter is not a horrible book. There are some good things in it. I found the actual plot part surrounding the mechanics of ghosts and the war quite interesting and unique. Unfortunately the author apparently didn't think this was important and instead focused on the cliche poorly done insta romance.
Ugh, I'm so tired of this trend. You have this really interesting world, why on earth are you focusing on the poor part of your story? If authors would actually develop their romances then okay, I wouldn't mind it so much. But no, this one was just as cliche as ever. It did not help that I had no real feelings towards the main character or her leading man anyway. I personally found Eli far more interesting but he was firmly kept in one-dimensional villain land.
I'm sort of hoping the plot becomes more of the focus in the next book now that all of the sappy I love yous have gotten out of the way in the first one. So I'm not totally shrugging off this series. It's okay. It just needs a lot of work. Particularly in the character developement and plot part. Here's to hoping the second one is better.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, ghost book fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five wild raves

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: Texas Gothic


TITLE: Texas Gothic
AUTHOR: Rosemary Clement-Moore
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: mystery, paranormal
PREMISE: Amy is stuck house-sitting in Texas with her wacky sister and finds herself unwillingly dragged into ghost-hunting again.
MY REVIEW: I wish more people knew about Clement-Moore, her books are so refreshing. She has spunky heroines with personalities, well-developed romances that aren't annoying, and her dialogue is great. Plus, she thinks outside the box and each of her stories are different. This is totally different from her last book, The Splendor Falls.
True, Texas Gothic did drag at some points but for the most part it was a fun entertaining read. I adored Amy and Phin (especially Phin) and the dialogue just sparkles in this book. Seriously, it's hilarious. There are some priceless lines about Nancy Drew in here that were particularly amusing.
I don't know if there'll be a sequel to this or if Clement-Moore will be moving on to something else. Either way I look forward to whatever she has in store for us next.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Splendor Falls, mystery fans, paranormal fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five ghost-hunting machines

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Fateful


TITLE: Fateful
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young Adult
GENRE: werewolves, historical fiction, romance
PREMISE: A girl gets drawn into the world of werewolves on board the RMS Titanic.
MY REVIEW: Fateful is a okay book. It's not terribly original (think the Titanic movie with werewolves and even less character depth), it has Gray's somewhat cheesy trademark dialogue/scenes, and the typical insta romance.
It has a few redeeming factors. The plot is somewhat entertaining. The stuff about the werewolves themselves was mildly interesting (but rather hard to believe. I mean all those public attacks and no one on the Titanic put two and two together?) As always Gray is good at setting up scenes and the last bits where she describes the sinking of the Titanic are quite good. But it still felt like an afterthought book that was rather thrown together to meet a contract deadline.
So again, a okay read, just not mind-blowing. Personally I'm more pumped about Balthazars story coming out next year. Yes, the Evernight series is just as cheesy as this, but it's a fun cheesy and more thought out. Plus, Team Balthazar y'all. Hopefully he'll find someone that actually appreciates him this time around.
WHO SHOULD READ: Claudia Gray fans, fans of Titanic
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five daggers

Sunday, November 13, 2011

(In My Mailbox (60)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the past week.
Late again, blame my job. Only have my weekly library haul because I was good and didn't buy books:

Nevermore Trilogy Book 1 by Kelly Creagh-I've been wanting to read this paranormal book dealing with Poe for ages and now I finally can.
Angelfire Book 1 by Courtney Allison Moulton-part of my debut challenge for this year.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins-Everyone and their mother was raving about this book last year. I normally don't do romance contemporaries (not really my genre) but when a book generates that much buzz, I feel a need to check it out at least. Hopefully it's not a case of overhype.
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma-paranormal gothic thing that I've been dying to read.

That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Bloodlines


TITLE: Bloodlines
Book 1 in the new Bloodlines
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: vampires, drama, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Sydney's next job as alchemist is to protect young Jill, the newly discovered royal.
MY REVIEW: I admit, I was nervous when Mead announced a VA spin-off because spin-offs can go two ways: be utterly pointless (see Alyson Noels Immortals series spin-off) or bring something shiny and new to the table. There's usually very little in between room when it comes to spin-offs. Thankfully Bloodlines is the bring something shiny and new to the table type of spin-off. I was beyond pleased with this book. True some plotlines had me feeling deja vu (the Lauren bullying line is similar to the bullying in VA book one, Jill sometimes felt like book one Vissa and so on). But the deja vu was few and far between.
Mead is smart in putting this in Sydneys point of view. She's vastly different from Rose so we don't feel like we're getting Rose 2.0. We get an inside look into the way Alchemists work which is great because I was interested in them from the moment they were introduced in the VA series. Plus we learn more about Sydney herself and we get new perspectives on old characters. Plus previous side characters like Jill and Eddie get to take the spotlight this time around. Also, more Adrian. That's always a plus.
In short I loved this just as much as Vampire Academy. I'll even go as far as to say it's a little better then VA because Mead's writing has matured since book one. If you loved Vampire Academy you will love Bloodlines. If you haven't checked out VA yet, this is a good time to do so. You can probably read Bloodlines without reading VA, but you won't get as much from the book probably because there's a lot of tidbits in here for VA fans.
WHO SHOULD READ: Vampire Academy fans, vampire fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five tattoos

Book Review: The Near Witch


TITLE: The Near Witch
AUTHOR: Victoria Schwab
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: historical fiction, paranormal
PREMISE: When children disapear from her small town a girl investigates the local legend of the near witch.
MY REVIEW: There isn't anything really wrong with The Near Witch. It's actually a very decent first book and I hope the author sticks around because she thinks outside the box. It's decently written, has a clear plot, and there are some nice moments here and there.
Unfortunately that's all it was: decent. It just didn't blow me away. Once you figured out where it was going, it becomes very predictable, the romance is okay but nothing special and honestly rather out of no where, and main character wasn't very relateable. Actually at times the main character felt extremely self-rightous. I mean why does SHE have to be the one to investigate? That was never explained clearly enough for my tates. In fact it felt like she did it just to feel important and special and I tend to find self-rightous characters annoying.
This is definitely worth a check out from the library because it's a very good first book. But I wouldn't buy it unless you're really sure you'll love it.
WHO SHOULD READ: historical fiction fans, fans of The Coven's Daughter, fans of Chime
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five children

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: Blood Red Road


TITLE: Blood Red Road
Book 1 in the new Dustlands series
AUTHOR: Moira Young
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: dystopian, adventure
PREMISE: When Saba's brother is taken by strangers, she goes on a tough journey to bring him back.
MY REVIEW: First I'm going to get off my chest the one huge thing about this book that bugged the hell out of me. Please note, this is mostly a personal preference and therefore doesn't have much to do with the quality of the book. My issue is the no quotation marks thing. Young is not the first to use this style but god do I hate it with a passion. Look, I have no problem with the different way of talking, or no commas or little things like that. But quotation marks help readers know when stuff is dialogue and when it's thoughts. I had to go back and reread several passages of stuff just to be able to tell if it was dialogue or Saba's inner monologue (it didn't help that this was in first person present tense). This does NOT help your book authors. It only serves to irritate readers. So why one earth do you use it? If someone could please explain the reasoning behind this irritating style of writing, please do so because I am at a loss about it. I hope to god it does not catch on like present tense has (I find that irritating enough).
Other then that major irritation, this book was great. Young has a interesting dense world here, the book is a edge-of-your seat page turner along the lines of Hunger Games (though not as good as HG, sorry to say), and while Saba is probably a bit hard to relate too I enjoyed her after awhile. I didn't even mind the rather obvious love interest because the relationship was rather sweet if predictable (plus, Jack was rather hilarious).
I will say I sort of wish this wasn't a trilogy because for me it ended in the perfect place with stuff all tied up so I don't really see the need for sequels. But this is the way of the publishing industry nowadays and at least this world is interesting enough that I don't mind the idea of a trilogy. I do hope in the future books we find out more about the freedom fighter girls because they were seriously interesting to me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five crows

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: A Touch of Frost


TITLE: A Touch of Frost
Book 1 in the new Mythos Academy series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: urban fantasy, mystery
PREMISE: Gwen Frost goes to a magical school complete with ancient warriors because of her gift of touch magic. Doesn't mean she's happy to go there. But then a student is murdered and she feels the need to investigate...
MY REVIEW: What happens when you cross Veronica Mars with Percy Jackson and Harry Potter? You get this series. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, I give it's not really original. But it's so darn entertaining that I find myself not caring very much.
Gwen is a enjoyable main character for a change. She's not whiny, she does stuff, is proactive, and goes through some growth. The side characters are just as enjoyable(Daphne was my favorite which considering her obsession with pink is quite different for me). Estep has some decent writing, snappy dialogue, and is good at setting up twisty mysteries that keep you turning the pages.
In short, this is just FUN. Again, not very original or challenging but in a YA world of weepy heroines who obsess over guys, I will take sassy mystery solving Gwen Frost any day. The second book comes out later this month and I can't wait.
WHO SHOULD READ: Veronica Mars fans (watch the show if you haven't seen it), Harry Potter fans, mystery fans, Percy Jackson fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five snowflake crystals

Book Review: Raised By Wolves


TITLE: Raised by Wolves
Book 1 in the Raised by Wolves series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: werewolves, drama
PREMISE: Bryn has lived among the pack her whole life but then a threat shows up that changes her whole view on her family.
MY REVIEW: I have never read Barnes' work before now even though she has been in the YA business for awhile. I heard next to nothing about Raised by Wolves last year either so I really had no expectations for this book. I have to say I was rather impressed with it. Yes, I still maintain that Bryn is a bit of a Mary Sue, and there are deux ex machinas all over this series (like oh look, suddenly a human can rework pack bonds) that did cause me to raise my eyebrow a little. Also romance was yawn worthy.
But on the whole this is a step above the rest of the YA werewolf books out there (yes Nightshade and Claire de Lune, I'm looking at you). It comments on how the whole you must listen to your alpha thing is rather wrong and takes away a person's independance. A few adult werewolf books have touched on this, but not YA ones which believe me, has bugged me to no end. So I was rather ecstatic that this has a girl fighting to be independant and REMAINING that way. Also while Bryn was a Mary Sue, she was at least an enjoyable sue who went through changes and did stuff. Same with the romance, it was boring but it was sweet at the same time. The author tried to have a message in the books, her dialogue was fabulous, she had entertaining side characters (Devon and Lake were AWESOME), and she had a clear and fast-paced plot.
A few deux ex machinas aside, this was a rare enjoyable werewolf book. I'll definitely be picking up the second book and looking into the rest of Barnes' books.
WHO SHOULD READ: Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans, werewolf fans, Team Jacob fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five of Lake's weapons

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (59)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at the Story Siren that tells people what new books we've gotten over the week. Sorry for lateness. Had family stuff today. As always the links in this post go to the books Amazon page if you want more info.

Downloaded to Kindle:
In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane-Downloaded because my library doesn't have it, virtually no one has reviewed it, and I'm really curious about it.

Bought at Barnes and Noble:
Iron Fey series Book 4: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa-Final book! She apparently has a new series starting up next year. Looking forward to it.
Legend of Beka Cooper Book 3: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce-I've been a faithful Pierce fan for YEARS. Do you have any idea how long we Tortall fans have been waiting for this book? Hopefully her next book won't take as long.

From the library inter-loan system:
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore-I really enjoyed this author's first book, The Splendor Falls so I'm looking forward to this one which is a paranormal mystery apparently.
Fateful by Claudia Gray-I adore the Evernight series and this one looks just as fun. I mean it has werewolves. On the Titanic. You know you want to read it.
Hereafter Book 1 by Tara Hudson-Buzzed about book that has ghosts so you know I want to read it (I have a wee bit of an obsession with ghost books).

That it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Review: Luminous


TITLE: Luminous
AUTHOR: Dawn Metcalf
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: fantasy
PREMISE: Consuela becomes part of the Flow, a fantasy world where she and teens help out the real world. But people start dying in the Flow...
MY REVIEW: I'm having a hard time reviewing this book because I'm very conflicted about it. On one hand, the writing is good, it's very creative, and was actually something new and interesting from the YA genre. For that I give the author utmost props and hope she sticks around.
But on the other hand a lot of it was confusing, Consuela was a bit of a Mary Sue, the romance was lack luster, and did I mention it was confusing? I think that was mostly due to this being the author's first book. So I'm willing to let the confusion go on the account of a lot of it being interesting. But it makes it rather hard for people to get into the book. I myself kept flip flopping between liking and disliking it and I honestly still don't know how I feel about it.
But still: CREATIVITY. In a category full of werewolves/shifters, vamps, faeries, witches, and angels, this book was so refreshing simply because for once, I didn't know what to expect. So I definitely do hope to see more ideas from this author, I just hope she works on fleshing out details more as she grows.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Guardian of the Dead, people who don't mind quirky books
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five butterflies

Book Review: Firelight


TITLE: Firelight
Book 1 in the Draki series
AUTHOR: Sophie Jordan
PUBLISHED: 2010
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: shifters, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Jacinda is a draki who falls in love with a human who hunts her kind.
MY REVIEW: Damn, I wanted to like this one so much. It does have stuff going for it. The writing is good, the Draki stuff was mildly interesting, and I did find the family dynamics interesting to a point. But I'm sorry, where the hell was all that creativity that people kept crowing about last year? From what I saw it was pretty much same old same old. In fact, this book is basically like another book released the same year at about the same time: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (which I also did not like). I was getting extreme deja vu while reading this.
It doesn't help that like Nightshade, it gave me the old "I'm a powerful girl" song and dance but when push came to shove, Jacinda was like all the other whiny heroines whose world revolved around her guy and when other guys showed up and bossed her around, she took it (and all other girls other then Jacinda were shallow and had no depth according to Jacinda). Also like Nightshade the main point is the "epic romance" that doesn't have much basis and there's not much other plot going on. Also I'm sorry but I wanted to smack every single one of these selfish characters. Jacinda was selfish, her mother was selfish, her sister was DEFINITELY selfish (and a bitch), the Draki were selfish, and the hunters were selfish. About the only one I didn't want to go die in a fire was Will but he was so underdeveloped I didn't gain any real feelings for him at all.
It was just a huge disappointment for me. It's okay if you just want a mindless romance novel. But if you want something good...I'd look elsewhere.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Nightshade, dragon fans, Twilight fans
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five drakis

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Passion


TITLE: Passion
Book 3 in the Fallen series
AUTHOR: Lauren Kate
PUBLISHED: 2011
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: angels, romance
PREMISE: Luce jumps from past life to past life in a effort to find answers.
MY REVIEW: Okay I will be the first to admit this series is bad. I seriously don't know why I keep reading it and expecting more from it but there it is. It's like potato chips, I just can't read one. I blame the cliffhangers. So yeah, my opinion on this series is that it's addicting but very mediocre entertainment.
But even by the standards of the Fallen series, this book was pretty bad. I did like the historical stuff but that was it (and honestly the historical stuff was terribly inaccurate). Kate is a decent writer stylistically. She manages to set scenes up well, I can picture everything. That is a talent she has. I just wish her plot and characters were as good as her writing style. This one was especially pointless unless you count the repeating over and over that Luce and Daniel are the epic couple to end all epic couples as a point. I particularly don't.
Nothing was new here. At least the other two had a bit of a point and plot to it. This one just felt like Kate was waffling and writing fanfic till she got the last book done. Honestly this was Fallen's Breaking Dawn book: utterly pointless and obviously just written because there was a contract for more books then was actually needed and to squeeze more money out of a dying cash cow. I will read the fourth one, only to see how the author ends it all. I am in no way expecting it to be epic though.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fallen fans who still love the series
MY RATING: One and a half out of Five face palms for a epic fail