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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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. 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.

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
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
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

Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Miles
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