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
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 Billy the Kid!), mythology of all kinds not just greek, historical references, and imagination up the wazoo.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
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
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.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Guardian of the Gate

TITLE: Guardian of the Gate
Book 2 of Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy
AUTHOR: Michelle Zink
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: historical fiction, fantasy
PREMISE: Lia and Alice seperately plot and gear up for the final confrontation.
MY REVIEW: There is honestly nothing hugely wrong with this book. It's just as enjoyable and well written and interesting as Prophecy of the Sisters. Unfortunately it suffered from what I call the second book curse.
Second books in trilogys are tough to write, many authors will tell you that. Any reader will tell you that many second books in trilogys stink, with a few exceptions (Catching Fire, The Two Towers). This is not fair because most second books in trilogy's are really stepping stones to the final book of the trilogy. So to the reader, it feels long and trudging no matter how much the author tries.
That is Guardian of the Gate's curse. It's trying to set up the story for the final book. Therefore it feels long and boring even if it is good and necessary for the plot. I'm hoping the final book will be more exciting which it probably will be.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Prophecy of the Sisters, Gemma Doyle Trilogy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five medallions

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Hourglass

TITLE: Hourglass
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: paranormal, romance
PREMISE: A girl who sees ghosts learns there are other people like her.
MY REVIEW: The thing with Hourglass is it's a very decent first book. Unfortunately for the author my expectations for this one got so high because of all the OMG this is so creative/unique whatever reviews. I'll be honest: there's nothing new here. This is actually very typical stuff in the YA genre right now. The only real unique thing here is the time travel and I've run into quite a few books with that idea in it in the past few months. Seriously YA ENOUGH WITH THE TIME TRAVEL. You don't use it right anyway so please, don't do it unless you have a plausible legit way/reason for the time travel. While it was slightly better here then from what I've seen it still was a very flimsy idea. Her trying explain it with science, did not help matters.
Other then the fact that I wasn't blown away by creativity like people said I was going to be the book was okay. The writing is decent, characters are tolerable, and the last one hundred pages have twists galore that you don't see coming. I wish the author hadn't spent so much time on the lame romance which was as usual predictable cookie cutter stuff, but all in all it's a decent read.
But I wasn't blown away. So once again, I have to be a naysayer for a popular book. ;sigh; Maybe the second one will be better. I do look forward to more ideas from this author as she matures more in her writing though. Because if this is her first book then we're in for some real good stuff down the road.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of time travel, romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five TARDIS's (the cool way to time travel)