Monday, December 31, 2012

January 2013 picks

A new year already! Remember back when we were worried the world was going to end this year? Opps. Anyways, here are my picks for January 2013 that you can probably expect reviews for at some point this year. Links go to the book's Goodreads page if you want more info (I'm doing goodreads now for this because I feel they're more accurate and helpful then Amazon on book info).

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeymoon-Historical Fiction book about Chinese culture in the 1920s. Have I mentioned I love the 1920s/30s? No? Well, you've probably figured it out.

The Pledge Book 2: The Essence by Kimberly Derting-Still don't think The Pledge needs a sequel but I'm giving it a shot.

Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters by Suzanne Weyn-Want to read it for the concept alone.

Altered Book 1: Altered by Jennifer Rush-Slightly low expections for this one but I'm a sucker for genetically enhanced people plots.

The Dragon King Chronicles Book 1: Prophecy by Ellen Oh-Fantasy book! Give me!

Under the Never Sky Book 2: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi-Under the Never Sky was a fabulous guilty pleasure read last year. Look forward to sequel.

Shadowlands Book 1: Shadowlands by Kate Brian-Murder mystery complete with serial killer. Bring it.

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum-Plot sort of sounds like a teen iRobot but in reverse with humans in rebellion instead of robots. See how this one goes.

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff-My favorite underrated author.

Just One Day Book 1 by Gayle Forman-Because it's Gayle Forman, bitch. Do not question the Forman.

Doomed by Tracy Deebs-Cyber gaming plot! Woot!

Delusion by Laura Sullivan-Yay, for historical fantasy, my favorite genre.

Visions Book 1: Crash by Lisa McMann-Remember when I said I was breaking up with McMann's books? Apparently I lied.

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell-Fantasy that promises me a mixture of Game of Thrones and Tamora Pierce. We shall see. I mean Throne of Glass promised me Game of Thrones too and I didn't see that at all so I'm going into this one hesitantly for fear of being burned for my excitement.

Tempest Book 2: Vortex by Julie Cross-Despite being really underwhelmed by Tempest last year, I'm going to give Cross one more shot.

Across the Universe Trilogy Book 3: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis-Because the way Revis ended book 2, I just HAVE to read this.

The Memory Chronicles Book 1: Level 2 by Lenore Applehans-Debut that sounds ridiculously awesome.

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes-Because I've fallen in love with Barnes' writing style.

Everneath Book 2: Everbound by Brodi Ashton-Continuing for the interesting plot idea even though the protagonist drives me up the wall.

At Sommerton Book 1: Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed-Billed as a YA Downton Abbey and DA is my guilty pleasure (so glad it's coming back this month!)

Unearthly Trilogy Book 3: Boundless by Cynthia Hand-Three cheers for a GOOD angel series that I actually like. So sorry to see this one go.

The Archived Book 1: The Archived by Victoria Schwab-Despite being lukewarm to the Near Witch I loved Schwab's writing style and this premise sounds like something I'll enjoy more then the Near Witch.

Slated by Teri Terry-Brits probably already know this one but it's now being released in the US and it sounds kind of awesome.

Angelfire series Book 3: Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton-Another sad farewell to a rather good angel series.

Legend Book 2: Prodigy by Marie Lu-sequel to one of the more interesting dystopians to come out of the dystopian frenzy that happened after the Hunger Games Trilogy ended.

The Madman's Daughter Book 1: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd-Awesome sounding debut that is based on the lesser known The Island of Dr. Moreou. Yay for authors going for the lesser known classics!

Newsoul series Book 2: Asunder by Jodi Meadows-Again, was kind of underwhelmed by Incarnate. But it was decent enough that I'm going to pick up the sequel. Besides, gorgeous cover is gorgeous and just beckons you to read it, no?


The Between series Book 1: Between by Kerry Schafer-Awesome sounding new UF series.

2012 in Review Part 3-New Series and Standalones

A lot of my favorite authors embarked on new projects this year and several new series/books popped up as a result along with in general new series by new authors. Here's some feelings on those books.

Personal Favorite New Series
Everneath series Book 1 by Brodi Ashton
Grisha Trilogy Book 1: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Struck series Book 1 by Jennifer Bosworth
The Diviners series Book 1: The Diviners by Libba Bray
Lynburn Legacy Book 1: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Croak series Book 1 by Gina Damico
Something Strange and Deadly Book 1 by Susan Dennard
Dark Star Book 1 by Bethany Frenette
Spirit's Princess Book 1 by Esther Friesner
Serephina Book 1 by Rachel Hartman
Cahill Witch Chronicles Book 1: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Blood of Eden series Book 1: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 1: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Pretty Crooked Book 1 by Elisa Ludwig
Widdershin's Adventures Book 1: Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell
Lunar Chronicles Book 1: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Unraveling Book 1 by Elizabeth Norris
Starters series Book 1 by Lissa Price
Under the Never Sky Book 1 by Veronica Rossi
Article 5 Book 1 by Kristin Simmons
Raven Cycle Book 1: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Least Favorite New Series
Gilded Wings series Book 1: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Of Poseidon series Book 1 by Anna Banks
The Selection Book 1 by Kiera Cass
The Dead Girls Detective Agency Book 1 by Suzy Cox
Order of Darkness Book 1: Changeling by Phillippa Gregory
Aether Chronicles Book 1: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
The Royal Circle Book 1: Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Arcadia Awakens Trilogy Book 1: Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
Hemlock series book 1 by Kathleen Peacock
White Rabbit Chronicles Book 1: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Personal Favorite Standalone books
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Team Human by Justine Larbelestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Least Favorite Standalone books
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers
Origin by Jessica Koury
Shadows Cast by Stars by Jessica Knuttson
Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Everything Else (aka ones I had no real feelings on)
Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Losers in Space by John Barnes
The Demon Catchers of Milan Book 1 by Kat Beyer
Legacy of Tril book 1: Soulbound by Heather Brewer
The Katerina Trilogy Book 1: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Darkest London series Book 1: Firelight by Kristen Callihan
So Close to You Trilogy Book 1 by Rachel Carter
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Katana Series book 1 by Cole Gibson
Masque of the Red Death Book 1 by Bethany Griffin
Slide series Book 1 by Jill Hathaway
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellison
Ghost Flower by Michelle Jaffe
Tempest Book 1 by Julie Cross
Monument 14 Book 1 by Emmy Laybourne
Throne of Glass Book 1 by Sarah J. Maas
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Incarnate Book 1 by Jodi Meadows
The Innocents Book 1 by Lili Peloquin
Dark Eyes Book 1 by William Richter
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
Queen of the Dead Book 1: Silence by Michelle Sagara
Secret Letters by Leah Scheier
The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Partials Book 1 by Dan Wells

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: December 30th

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews that tell people what new books we've gotten over the week.

Downloaded to Kindle:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margeret Atwood-Amazon has been having some fabulous Kindle deals for the end of the year, this was one of them. I actually have read Handmaid's Tale ages ago for class before this dystopian thing hit big thanks to Hunger Games. May or may not do a reread review for it even though I don't often give reviews for classics because what can I say about a classic like this that hasn't already been said somewhere else? Plus with classics most people have already made up their mind if they are going to give them a shot or not.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steve Chbosky-Meant to read this in 2012 finally but never got around to it. But for the moment it is 3.99 on Amazon so hopefully I'll finally get to it soon.

Bought at Barnes and Noble (aka I got gift cards for Christmas because my parents know what pleases me):

Heather Wells series Book 4: Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot-I adore the Heather Wells mysteries. The only reason it took me so long to get this was lack of funds.

The Iron Fey series Book 5: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa-I tried to resist because I was happy with where Kagawa left the series but damn, the pull was too strong.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Book 5: The Warlock by Michael Scott-This series is my crack. However I wait till it comes out in paperback because thats the way I bought my first book and I have this thing about having all hardcover/paperback for my series.

Also got a awesome Harry Potter cloth tote bag to carry all my library books in.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in Review Part 2: Continuations and Conclusions

Thoughts on series installments and conclusions of series (so many series ended this year ;sad face;).

Personal Favorite 2012 Series/Trilogy Continuations:
Darkness Rising Trilogy Book 2: The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Raised By Wolves Book 3: Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Gallagher Girls Book 5: Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter (I have to wait HOW LONG till the next book?! ;glares at publishers;)
Nevermore Trilogy Book 2: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
The Body Finder Book 3: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (took the series from fun diversion to awesome diversion)
Mythos Academy Book 3: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep (and likely book 4 whenever I get to it)
Unearthly Trilogy Book 2: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (I think I'm still in mourning for Clara's awesome mother)
The Iron Codex Trilogy Book 2: The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittridge
The Agency Book 3: The Traitor and the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee
Delirium Trilogy Book 2: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (evil cliffhanger is evil though)
Across the Universe Trilogy Book 2: A Million Suns by Beth Revis (took a okay start to a trilogy and made it into a really good trilogy)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Book 2: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (my picks for best series continuation are between this one and Pandemonium)

Least Favorite 2012 Series/Trilogy Continuations:
Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 2: Fever by Lauren DeStefano (BORING, BORING, BORING)
Jessica's Guide Book 2: Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky (pointless sequel is pointless)
Hereafter Book 2: Arise by Tara Hudson (DULL. Not sure if I'm going to bother with the third)
Juliet Immortal Book 2: Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay (way to take the one clever thing in a otherwise cliche book and then make him cliche author)

Personal Favorite 2012 Series/Trilogy Conclusions:
The Curse Workers Book 3: Black Heart by Holly Black
Anna Dressed in Blood Book 2: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Sister's Grimm series Book 9: The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley
The Parasol Protectorate series Book 5: Timeless by Gail Carriger (gosh I'm going to miss Alexia SO MUCH)
Caster Chronicles Book 4: Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl (STILL upset about Amma)
Hex Hall Trilogy Book 3: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (so sad that we don't get anymore Sophie but really excited for Izzy)
The Ghost and the Goth Book 3: Body and Soul by Stacey Kade
Theatre Illuminate Trilogy: So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
Shade Trilogy Book 3: Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
Paranormalcy Trilogy Book 3: Endlessly by Kierstan White (Evie! I'm going to miss you so much!)

Least Favorite 2012 Series/Trilogy Conclusions:
Hush Hush Book 4: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick (just finished and wow was that a lot of wasted potential)

Everything Else (good enough that I am continueing the series):
Bad Girls Don't Die Book 3: As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender
Abandon Trilogy Book 2: Underworld by Meg Cabot
Mortal Instruments Book 5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Steampunk Chronicles Book 2: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Magnolia League Book 2: The White Glove War by Katie Crouch
Magic Under Glass Book 2: Magic Under Stone by Jocelyn Dolamore
Gone With the Respite Book 2: Dearly Beloved by Lia Habel
Girl is Murder Book 2: The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Haines
Clarity Book 2: Perception by Kim Harrington
Sookie Stackhouse Book 12: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Need series Book 4: Endure by Carrie Jones
Gods and Monsters Book 2: A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton
The Iron Witch series: The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
Hourglass Book 2: Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Angelfire series Book 2: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
Demon Trappers series Book 3: Forgiven by Jana Oliver
The Lying Game series Book 3: Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard
The Mockingbirds Book 2: The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
Dustlands Book 2: Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Birthright Book 2: Because it is my Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Book Review: Throne of Glass

TITLE: Throne of Glass
Book 1 in the Throne of Glass series
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PUBLISHED: August 2012
GENRE: Fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Celeana is a assassin serving out her sentance when she's brought forth to the crown prince with an offer to become the kingdom's chief assassin.
MY REVIEW: So I was originally under the impression that this was self-published, apparently I'm wrong about that. This was a original fiction universe on Fiction Press that got a book deal which frankly can be just as a mixed bag as self-publishing. Don't misunderstand, I am not bashing authors/people who use Fiction Press. In fact I think the site is good for beginner authors to work on their writing, gain a support group, etc. But that's the key word there: beginner. I don't think one should look for fiction to publish on it. This book is a example of why.
Don't get me wrong, Maas has lots of potential. She's good at pacing, action, and dialogue. However her characters and world building need TONS of work. Especially her characters because I'm sorry but Celeana is flat and excellent example of what a Mary Sue is. She is literally perfect. She reads, she kicks butt all over the place, she's sassy, she is just plain never wrong, and she of course is beautiful. Literally she has no flaws. It also does not help the author that the picture on the cover is basically the author herself so that furthers the implications that this is a self-insert idealized  Mary Sue. The male leads were equally perfect and cookie cutter characters, as was the best friend character. Literally these were the barest minimum stereotypes. To all those saying this is Game of Thrones for teens...NO. Just...NO. These characters are about as morally gray as a Disney princess. Actually, I think Disney princesses have more depth because even Tiana from Princess and the Frog has flaws. And I highly doubt this author is gutsy enough to kill off any of the characters who aren't evil/or sidekicks.
Honestly this was just a nice effort but I could really tell it was a first book by a amateur and I really don't see the Game of Thrones thing AT ALL. Seriously, where the hell did that come from? I think this is one that was guilty of overhype. I think Maas definitely has potential but I would have prefered to read something from her when she had worked on character and setting developement more. Which is basically why this self-publishing trend/looking for original fiction online business just makes me not very happy.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, fans of the authors online fiction
MY RATING: Three out of Five swords

Book Review: The Dead Girls Detective Agency

TITLE: The Dead Girls Detective Agency
Book 1 in a new series?
AUTHOR: Suzy Cox
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Paranormal, mystery
PREMISE: Charlotte wakes up to discover she's been murdered and in order to pass on she must solve her own murder.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those books that I wish I loved more then I did. I mean the idea is just so awesome: ghosts solving murders! That should be interesting, right? Well, apparently not. Instead of a savvy detective agency who solve mysteries like the title implies we're given Charlotte as a protagonist. This I think was the authors major mistake.
Because Charlotte? Is ANNOYING. She's whiny, judgemental, and frankly by the fifth chapter where she was obnoxious to everyone trying to help her I just wanted her GONE. I think the author would have been better served to have this actually be about the agency characters because they were the interesting part. The mystery part? Ridiculous. The main character? Hard to like.l All the stuff I wanted more info on was pushed aside in favor of Charlotte and frankly Charlotte's story was just not that great. The writing and the plot were pretty average but didn't make up for a annoying protagonist.
If the author plans on making this a series like I suspect then she needs for it be about the actual agency characters. Or she needs to come up with better mysteries and characters then this first novel because frankly this one doesn't make me want to read more.
WHO SHOULD READ: paranormal fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five whiny ghosts

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Review: Part 1-Debuts

So I've got a lot of 2012 books I want to pimp, gripe about, mention so I'd thought the easiest way to do that would be to break it down into categories. So here is part 1: 2012 Debuts.

Debuts this year has been a up and down sort of thing. There were a few in the beginning of the year that made me really excited for 2012 but then they all sort of fell flat and then at the end of the year there were several really good ones. It was a bit of a mixed bag, really.

Personal Favorite Debuts:
The Lunar Chronicles Book 1: Cinder by Marissa Meyer-One of two favorite retellings this year. If you must do the fairytale retelling thing, do it like this.
His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 1: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers-Still say nuns training assassins is wierd as hell but it gives us such a awesome premise that I find I don't care that much.
Unraveling series Book 1: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris-Great, well written, and original concept with a likeable main character and a ending that makes me want the second book like NOW.
American Fairy Trilogy Book 1: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel-Studio Ghiblish historical fantasy set in the nineteen thirties with great writing and characters. My favorite Faerie book of the year.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-My pick for best historical fiction book of the year.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson-If pressed I would say best debut of the year is between this one and Code Name Verity.
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard-A fun Zombie Alternate history book.
Serephina Book 1 by Rachel Hartmen-My favorite fantasy book of the year. Someone is finally doing dragons! In a way that I like (sorry, didn't like Eragon). Fabulously written, great world building, and wonderfully diverse characters and great plot. Can't wait for the next one.
Dark Star series Book 1 by Bethany Frenette-A woefully underrated fun urban fantasy with superheroes. I don't know why this hasn't gotten more buzz.
Grisha Trilogy Book 1: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo-Great start to a interesting looking fantasy trilogy. I'm so pleased epic fantasy is making a comeback.

Decent Debuts:
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey-Interesting fantasy from earlier this year. Fabulous cover bonus.
Under the Never Sky Book 1 by Veronica Rossi-Now that I've had more time to think about it, I would have given this a B plus instead of the A minus rating I gave it, but I still think it's strong debut.
Article 5 series Book 1 by Kristin Simmons-one of the more interesting dystopians this year and very apt considering the current political rhetoric.
Everneath series Book 1 by Brodi Ashton-Interesting Persephone take despite a somewhat weak protagonist.
Cahill Witch series Book 1: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood-great historical fantasy series that works despite several familiar YA tropes.
Croak series Book 1: Croak by Gina Damico-fun fast paced urban fantasy/paranormal with shades of Dead Like Me thrown in.
Starters Book 1 by Lissa Price-Refreshing dystopian debut. This genre isn't totally dead yet.
Widdershins Adventure series Book 1: Thief's Covenant by Ari Marmell-Awesome female character is awesome.
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats-Wonderfully written historical fiction novel. Not for the impatient however.
Struck Book 1 by Jennifer Bosworth-A better-than-it-sounds refreshing dystopian.
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron-Sweet family type gothic book which you don't see much of.

Loathed Debuts:
Gilded Wings Book 1: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti-Badly written, unoriginal, plothole fantastic story with uberstereotyped characters and a annoying MC. No thank you.
The Selection Book 1 by Kiera Cass-Sloppy dystopian world building with flat writing, flat cookie cutter characters, and a idea that could have been more awesome then it actually was, and furthers the bitchy female stereotype that abounds in YA. Doesn't help that the author and her agent behaved like five year olds who couldn't take criticism on Goodreads and made that sight rather unpleasant for awhile.
Immortal City Book 1 by Scott Speer-A book that should have been more awesome then it was. Unfortunately the author apparently was trapped in clicheland.
Hemlock series Book 1 by Katherine Peacock-Unoriginal, badly written, and has slightly sexist overtones. Twilight with werewolf focus. No thanks.
Of Poseidon Book 1 by Anna Banks-Concept that would have been more awesome if the writer hadn't been stuck in Twilight mode complete with bad writing, weak female characters, and sexist messages.

Everything Else:
Tempest Book 1 by Julie Cross-Don't get all the hooplah this one received. It was just okay really.
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Katerina Trilogy Book 1: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen-Another one that I don't understand why everyone went nuts over it.
Darkest London Book 1: Firelight by Kristin Callihan (adult)-Average UF is average.
Incarnate series Book 1 by Jodi Meadows-Creative idea but kind of annoying MC and average plot.
Partials Book 1 by Dan Wells
Slide Book 1 by Jill Hathaway-Okay mystery but annoying characters.
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen-Would have been better without the forced love triangle.
Katana Book 1 by Cole Gibson
Arcadia Awakens Book 1 by Kai Meyer-Unoriginal and badly written.
Masque of the Red Death Book 1 by Bethany Griffin
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison
Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
Queen of the Dead series Book 1: Silence by Michelle Sagara-Interesting concept but so filled with familiar tropes to be anything more then a decent library read.
Ripper Book 1 by Amy Carol Reeves
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta-Pretentious Jane Eyre retelling that wasn't as good as the author clearly thought it was.
So Close To You Trilogy Book 1 by Rachel Carter
The Demon Catchers of Milan Book 1 by Kat Beyer
Gilt by Katherine Longshore-Dull historical fiction book is dull. Also inaccurate.
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Secret Letters by Leah Scheier
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
The Innocents Book 1 by Lili Peloquin
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
Breathe Book 1 by Sarah Crossan
Aether Chronicles Book 1: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
Dark Eyes Book 1 by William Richter
Throne of Glass Book 1 by Sarah J. Maas-Just finished (haven't reviewed yet) and sorry but average book is average.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight

TITLE: Days of Blood and Starlight
Book 2 of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUBLISHED: November 2012
GENRE: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy (yes, I swear it's both), drama
PREMISE: Karou has remembered her past life and in attempts to atone for her past mistakes is helping her kind battle the angels.
MY REVIEW: Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of my top ten reads of 2011 and one of my favorite debuts so my expectations were very very high for this one. I'm pleased to say that Taylor delivers. Literally, I can't think of one flaw in this except for maybe if you're reading this purely for the romance part you're going to be disapointed because Karou and Atkiva don't spend much time together and the time they do spend, breaks your heart.
But I felt the strong parts of this was the storytelling part anyway and Taylor delivers on that. She not only develops characters, she develops plots, and she goes in completely unexpected directions. It's not often I'm surprised by YA nowadays but I was definitely surprised by this book and the way the story went. I will say there is one scene that may be dark for some people but it is neccessary for the whopper of a cliffhanger at the end.
Basically I have nothing bad to say about this. Taylor took the plot in a wonderful direction. The writing and the story are just as absorbing as the first one. Honestly my only complaint is how long I have to wait for book 3.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone
MY RATING: Five out of Five chimeras

Book Review: Wings of the Wicked

TITLE: Wings of the Wicked
Book 2 in the Angelfire series
AUTHOR: Courtney Allison Moulton
PUBLISHED: January 2012
GENRE: Angels, romance
PREMISE: Ellie tries her best to balance her life as a warrior angel with her human one.
MY REVIEW: Well, I definitely think this one was a improvement over the first one which I liked but it had several flaws which is why it took me awhile to get to the sequel. This time around Moulton focuses more on plot then melodrama and thus I enjoyed the book much more. Even though I'm upset about a certain person dying.
As I've said many times, angel books are difficult for me to get into. The only other ones besides this series has been Unearthly and a standalone book that I think no one else but me has read. So for me to say I like this series is actually several points in the author's favor. Granted the relationship between Ellie and Will is still rather ho hum for me (I found Ellie's drama about Will rather irksome if I'm honest) and frankly the least interesting thing going on in the book because I know they'll end up together because it's YA. I can count on my hand the number of main YA couples who haven't gotten together in the end and one of them is just because the guy wound up dying. Something tells me this isn't one of those types of endings so I'm not all that worried about the Ellie/Will drama.
But the overall plot is actually rather good this time around. There's twists you don't see coming, it's fast paced for a five hundred page whopper, and there's even character developement of sorts. So I say this is definitely a improvement on the series and I look forward to book 3.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angelfire fans, angel book fans, Unearthly fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five swords

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review: Two Truths and a Lie

TITLE: Two Truths and a Lie
Book 3 in The Lying Game series
AUTHOR: Sara Shepard
PUBLISHED: February 2012
GENRE: Mystery, drama
PREMISE: Emma pokes further into her sister's life and discovers Thayer: the boy that Sutton was cheating on Garrett with.
MY REVIEW: I will not lie to you and say this series is wonderfully written, a must read, and so on. In truth, this series is average. But, it's ADDICTING. Say what you want about Shepards annoying  and sloppy name dropping habit (seriously author, Pandora hasn't been around that long, I doubt Emma and her elementary school friend were using it), her flat writing style, and amatuerish need to describe what everyone's wearing. I'll even give on the plausibility of all of this in the first place. But damn, Shepard knows how to spin a good mystery and keep you coming back for more. There's a reason PLL is as popular as it is. Though personally, I say this series is MUCH better then PLL.
This is mostly due to the one thing PLL is missing: characters I like and who are sympathetic. Sorry but Arya and company are not sympathetic to me. They continue to lie/cheat/do stupid things even while A is on the loose and after she killed their best friend so please tell me how I'm supposed to root for them when they continue to do the things that got them in that situation in the first place. Emma is likeable. I also find the dynamics between Sutton and the whole crew from her friends to her family just fascinating character wise (and again, makes much more sense then PLL). This, combined with the complex mystery is what makes this series worth continuing despite some of Shepards writing flaws.
This was another interesting installment with more twists and turns and insight into the complex drama that was Sutton Mercer's life (and damn did she have a lot of drama; I wasted my time as a teenager apparently). Can't wait to read the next one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1 and 2, PLL fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five fashionista sleuths

Book Review: The Raven Boys

TITLE: The Raven Boys
Book 1 in the Raven Cycle
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Urban fantasy, drama, romance
PREMISE: Four boys search for ley lines with the help of Blue, a girl who if she kisses her true love, he will die.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing I've decided about Steifvater: her writing style/books just aren't for everyone. She has a slower pace then most YA authors do, and even I admit to a lot of frustration with that. She has beautiful writing, no doubt, and I love how she developes characters. But she kind of takes forever to get to the point sometimes. I can see how people would get easily bored with her books.
Personally, I really love her stuff. Still don't at all agree with her on some stuff (particularly her views on reviews) but I tend to seperate authors from their books anyway unless their personal views just tend to utterly take over a book. I despise Orsen Scott Card's homophobic stance for instance but I can't deny that Ender's Game is a good book. I love His Dark Materials but sort of think Phillup Pullman himself is a arrogant jerk. So this is not the first time I've loved an authors book/writing more then the author themselves. The Raven Boys is wonderfully written. I don't think it's the best thing Maggie's ever done (still is Scorpio Races for me) but for a urban fantasy this is wonderfully creative and with interesting characters I like spending time with. I will say however that compared to the boys, Blue was woefully underdeveloped. With the boys, I feel I have a good handle on their personality, backgrounds, and understand them. Blue...I know things ABOUT her. Like I know her family life and whatnot. But Blue's actual personality? I've got nothing except for maybe she's stubborn? I'm hoping this is just because this is the first book and a lot of this was focused on the boys and the ley line stuff though.
So there are a few flaws in this, but still it's Stiefvater so the good far outweighs the bad. This isn't really a stretch for Stiefvater though so if you've decided you don't like her stuff then this probably won't appeal to you either. But for fans or new readers of Stiefvater I definitely recomend this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Maggie Stiefvater fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five ravens

Book Review: The Talents

TITLE: The Talents
Book 1 in the Delcroix Academy series
AUTHOR: Inara Scott
GENRE: Urban fantasy, Romance
PREMISE: Dancia has a strange power that she does her best to hide but then she gets invited to a fancy boarding school where hiding isn't an option.
MY REVIEW: I remember seeing this one back when it first came out and I took note of it but promptly forgot about because of...I don't remember actually, I just forgot about it. But eventually I remembered and I picked it up last week. Turns out there's a reason I forgot about it: it's forgetable.
Literally this is every YA fantasy trope thrown into one: plain heroine (who somehow manages to get two guys into her despite being "plain") finds out she's special? Check. Boarding school with students who have powers/abilities of some sort? Check. Two guys into one girl who isn't really that interesting?Insta romance with no basis? Check and Check. There's also good old fashioned evil mean girl stereotype, main character hating on the pretty girls for no apparent reason that I can see other then her being really petty, and to even top it off plain girl is a orphan. Sigh.
I like the boarding school trope as much as the next girl but due to it being everywhere you have to make it interesting. This? Was not interesting. I pretty much yawned my way through this. If you're really curious about this one, I say check it out from the library and save your money for good boarding school books. Might I suggest Harry Potter?
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...those who really like boarding school books I guess?
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five "I've read this before" moments

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Freebie week so I thought I'd do a topic I missed while my computer was down for repairs and is appropiate for the coming new year:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013:

1) Finishing School Book 1: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (Feb)-One of two upcoming spin-offs of my favorite adult series: the Parasol Protectorate. Is it going to have tropes? Yes. Am I going to care? Not likely because I enjoy Carriger's books so much it just doesn't matter.

2) Lunar Chronicles Book 2: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Feb)-The sequel to one of my favorite 2012 debuts. I can't wait.

3) Delirium Book 3: Reqium by Lauren Oliver (March)-I can't believe the Delirium trilogy is ending soon. And after that evil cliffhanger I can't wait to get my hands on this read.

4) School Spirits Book 1 by Rachel Hawkins (May)-Another spin-off, this one of my personal favorite trilogy Hex Hall.

5) Unearthly Book 3: Boundless by Cynthia Hand (Jan)-Another trilogy coming to end that I don't want to end. But gosh, I can't wait to read.

6) Sookie Stackhouse series Book 13: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (May)-The ending of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I just want to know how the hell Harris is going to be ending all those plots in one book. Also I want to see if my predictiong of Sam/Sookie as endgame comes true.

7) Mind Games Book 1 by Kierstan White (Feb)-New series by the author of my personal favorite trilogy Paranormalcy. Plus it has a action girl in it. I'm all about action girls.

8) Shards and Ashes Short Story Collection (Feb)-Short Stories by tons of my favorite authors. I'll give it a look just on principal.

9) Cainsville Book 1: Omens by Kelley Armstrong (August)-Armstrong's newest series that sounds right up my alley.

10) Age of X Book 1: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (June)-Yes my friends, Mead is doing dystopian. Commence fan freak

Book Review: Black Heart

TITLE: Black Heart
Book 3 in The Curse Workers Trilogy
AUTHOR: Holly Black
PUBLISHED: April 2012
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Cassel Sharpe has gotten himself in deep. The girl he loves is now in the mob and he himself has gotten himself tied to government agents.
MY REVIEW: Curse Workers has been one of those trilogies that I'm sorry has never become as popular as it should have been. Black seems to be one of those authors people either love or hate. I admit, her style probably isn't for everyone.
But her books (the curse workers at least) definitely appeal to me. I love how complicated she makes the plots in this and no character is totally one dimensional. This has often been described as Godfather mixed in with X-Men and yes, it pretty much is, but Black does it in a way that makes it work and in entertaining ways. This third one brought the ending of the series (or at least this trilogy, the way it ended had me smelling spin-off potential) and man, did Black deliver. I was completely satisfied with this and I don't often say that about endings of trilogies. Even if I like the ending, there's usually something that bugs me, but in this one? Nothing.
This a utterly satisfying end to a entertaining trilogy that I'm sorry to see go. As always, I look forward to whatever Black has in store in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Holly Black fans, those that have read the first 2 books, Godfather fans, Soprano fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five gloves

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

TITLE: Shadow and Bone
Book 1 in the Grisha Trilogy
AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo
PUBLISHED: June 2012
GENRE: Fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Alina learns she has a strong power and gets whisked from her life as a lowly apprentice and ignored best friend to the palace to train in magic.
MY REVIEW: So I've noticed a slight increase in epic fantasy these past few months and more are coming next year and all I can say is yes please. Fantasy will always be my favorite genre (hence my handle) and I'm glad it's starting to make a comeback.
This is great debut. Yes, a few flaws are present. Alina was off and on as a character for me personally and I spotted several familiar fantasy tropes so sorry but I don't think it's as original as people claim. It's original if you don't read a lot of fantasy, particularly if you've never picked up Tamora Pierce. However, the world building is great, the plot is interesting and it's got that court intrigue thing going on and I have a weakness for court intrigue plots. I also give Bardugo many points for writing. I honestly couldn't tell that this was her first book, the writing was that good.
So while this does have a few flaws it is one of the stronger debuts of the year and more of what I hope is a continueing trend of epic fantasy. This one is definitely worth a look if you're looking for fantasy that doesn't have vampires, faeries, or werewolves.
WHO SHOULD READ: Tamora pierce fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five court conspiracies

Book Review: Dark Eyes

TITLE: Dark Eyes
Book 1 in the Dark Eyes series
AUTHOR: William Richter
PUBLISHED: March 2012
GENRE: Mystery, adventure
PREMISE: Wally is on the run and in search of her birth mother.
MY REVIEW: This...was not what I was expecting. Not totally a bad thing, I'll give it that. I do definitely get the Girl With the Dragon Tatoo vibes from it. However, I don't think it's nearly as good as that trilogy.
I will warn that this is probably better suited for older or more mature teens as there's some pretty dark stuff going on here. Honestly some of it was a bit over the top for my taste but at least the author didn't try to glamourize living on the streets and making things really convenient for the main character. The plot is interesting and there are twists and turns abound.
As a debut goes, this was a decent start to a series. I wouldn't read this if romance is your thing though, there's very little of it. But if you're a Dragon Tattoo fan, this may be a fun read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five sleuths

Book Review: Eve and Adam

TITLE: Eve and Adam
AUTHOR: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Science fictionish
PREMISE: Eve is given a task by her mother: create the perfect boy.
MY REVIEW: Honestly I don't have much to say about this book. It's a nice book for getting the conversation started about ethics in science but it's certainly not groundbreaking.
Writing is average, characters average, everything is just...okay. This I think is a book whose enjoyability will probably depend entirely on the reader.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...not sure. Science geeks maybe?
MY RATING: Three out of Five apples

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone's having a great Christmas (or happy Tuesday/day off if you don't celebrate Christmas).
Going to be a lot of reviews this week as I wrap up all the reviews for the books I've read this year. Sorry in advance if I clog up your sidebar.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Review: Endure

TITLE: Endure
Book 4 in the Need series
AUTHOR: Carrie Jones
GENRE: Faeries, werewolves, urban fantasy
PREMISE: It's all out war in Zara's town as she deals with becoming the thing she's learned to hate the most.
MY REVIEW: The Need series has been a up and down sort of deal for me. I really enjoyed the first book for its creativity and at the time it was written, Zara was refreshing. Then the second book happened and it was like Zara became all about Nick and that was definitely annoying. Third book was a little better but still sort of meh.
The also okay. It's a satisfying ending, I'll give it that. The author ties up loose ends. Brings all storylines to their logical conclusions. It's all very...neat I guess you could say. It's not horrible, but it's not overwhelming either.
For the overall series...I say a B minus if we were doing letter grades.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1-3, faerie book fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five iron forks
FOR SERIES ITSELF: Three out of Five

Book Review: Innocent Darkness

TITLE: Innocent Darkness
Book 1 in the Aether Chronicles
AUTHOR: Suzanne Lazear
PUBLISHED: August 2012
GENRE: Steampunk, urban fantasy, faeries, romance
PREMISE: Noli gets sent to reform school after one too many hijinks and then gets whisked away into the world of the fae.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. Ever have a book start out so promising only to have it jump quickly into the clicheville pond a few chapters in? That was me and this book. I had such high hopes for this too. I mean steampunk! With faeries!
Noli also started out really promising. I mean I adore female characters who rebel against society's restrictions on women. But then suddenly she's judging other women for not being as awesome as she, then there are one too many emphasis on her so-called "innocence", then the real kicker is just how naive she is. I mean this is a girl who's interested in science, right? So naturally you would think she'd be somewhat in the know about how kissing someone arouses them. But nope. She and one of her beaus (yes, one of, because of course there is a love triangle) start kissing all hot and heavy and he pulls away and she's all mortified and asking what's wrong. Really, author? REALLY? I thought this girl was in her late teens, not ten. Then it falls quickly into sexist territory (so much for that positive feminism in the first few chapters) where the guys fighting over her must totally protect her and she basically does nothing but sit around and be innocent and this of course is her best quality. I've seen better developement for females in Disney movies.
The plot does sort of exist and kind of ties up nicely but that is not enough to erase the poor quality of the plot, all the cliches, as well as the poor female characters in this book. Basically this is one giant book of cliches with unself aware sexism thrown in for good measure (I say unself aware because I get the feeling the author intended for Noli to be a strong female but missed). Very poor debut I'm sorry to say because this could have been a awesome book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...steampunk fans who don't mind weak female characters who do nothing, Twihards
MY RATING: Two out of Five weepy protagonists

Book Review: Rebel Heart

TITLE: Rebel Heart
Book 2 in the Dustlands series
AUTHOR: Moira Young
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Dystopian, adventure
PREMISE: Saba's life is not nearly as simple as she had hoped after she rescued her brother. Now she travels west to reunite with Jack but word travels that Jack has betrayed them...
MY REVIEW: So I will still say this, despite enjoying this series: I still HATE the writing style. As I said in my review last year, no quotation marks is a stupid idea. It is NOT clever. All it does is a) confuse your poor reader who has to read clearly to make sure what is spoken dialogue and what is not when they should be focusing on the story, and b) makes it look like you don't know basic writing rules. I can get past different dialect of your characters because that actually does serve a purpose in giving your characters and world a voice. But no quotation marks hinders your book, it doesn't help it. Unless someone can give me a honest legit reason for this writing style I'm going to continue to loathe it with the fire of a thousand burning suns.
But, when one ignores the stupid no quotation marks, Young's writing content is great. She knows how to pace, she's got a interesting world, and I am frankly dying to see this series made into a film (I know it's been optioned already but as fans of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle can tell you: this means nothing until they actually start to cast it). I will say I was annoyed at how in this one my wonderful kick ass Saba suddenly became all "Jack, Jack, Jack" twenty four seven. No, she wasn't as bad as some YA heroines get but still, it was pretty big departure from book one Saba who was cool and confident on her own.
So I don't think this one was quite as good as book one because I was rather displeased with how suddenly Saba is all insecure and of course we just HAD to introduce a love triangle. Because you know, YA doesn't have enough of those going on. But still, as far as sequels go, it isn't bad. I just hope in book two there's less romantic angst and Saba is back to her more sensible self.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Dustlands, Hunger Games fans,
MY RATING: Four out of Five dustbowls

Book Review: Deadlocked

TITLE: Deadlocked
Book 12 in the Sookie Stackhouse series
AUTHOR: Charlaine Harris
GENRE: Urban fantasy, southern, mystery, vampires, werewolves, faeries
PREMISE: Sookie deals with her distant husband, her faerie relatives, as well as the usual murder mystery in Bon Temps.
MY REVIEW: Long series like Sookie Stackhouse are hard for me to review because really not all books in long series are going to be action packed with reveals a minute. For me the key is to make sure all books build on the story slowly but surely and lead into a ending eventually. So I'm probably in the minority where I think Harris does well with Sookie in that aspect. I certainly prefer her thoughtful character developement over the sloppyness that True Blood has become that's for sure.
For me, this one was all about leading up to the ending of the series because guys? The next book is apparently the last one! No more Sookie! Can you believe it? So really, I think this was all about bringing about change in the Eric/Sookie relationship (not for the better, sorry Team Eric) and bringing the ending that I've always sort of thought was coming: Sookie is going to wind up either a-strong and independant on her own (possibly leaving Bon Temps?) or b-She and Sam are going to be the end game. Which, considering I adore book!Sam is perfectly fine by me (FYI, not nearly as fond of TrueBlood!Sam even if the guy who plays him is seriously hot).
So basically this is more Sookie. I haven't noticed a drop in quality or a gain in quality. Probably by now people have figured out if this series is for them so if you're still a Sookie fan, go for it and gear yourself up for the end. Which is near my friends. Very very near ;sad face;
WHO SHOULD READ: Sookie fans who've read books 1 through 12, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five half naked werewolves

Stacking the Shelves: December 23rd

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews which tells everyone which books we've gotten over the week.

All the links on this post go to the books Amazon page if you want more info.

Bought books:
Bloodlines Book 2: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead-Because I'm trying to get caught up. I meant to buy it sooner but sadly rent takes priority over books.

From the library:

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox-Ghost girls solving their own murder? Sign me up!

Hush Hush Book 4: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick-The Hush Hush series for me are like Twinkies: totally bad but for some reason I can't stop consuming them (Well...was like Twinkies I guess I should say ;mourns her Hostess cupcakes;). I have the lowest of the low expectations for this but I'm going to read it anyway.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch-2012 fantasy debut that looked cool.

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence-2012 debut that looks interesting.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas-Gotta admit, my expectations are low for this one. The summary sounds like every other fantasy I've read and apparently this was a original fic online and frankly all this self publishing has left a bad taste in my mouth (I blame YOU Fifty Shades of Gray and Amanda Hocking). We'll see how this goes.

The Liar Society Book 2: The Lies That Bind by Laura Roecker-This one sounds like it builds on the more interesting parts of Liar Society so I'm giving the series another shot.

Bannon and Clare book 1: The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow-Adult steampunk. Apparently a mystery series in a steampunk world with a buddy cop element. I'm weak to this action, I just had to pick it up.

Delcroix Academy Book 1: The Talents by Inara Scott-Been meaning to look into this one for awhile now.

The Lying Game book 3: Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard-Because I find this series better then PLL and actually want to keep up on it.

Book Review: Dearly Beloved

TITLE: Dearly Beloved
Book 2 in Gone With the Respiration
AUTHOR: Lia Habel
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Zombies, dystopianish, steampunk
PREMISE: Nora and Bram plan their future together as the world around them deals with changing ideas about the undead.
MY REVIEW: So the thing about this book is, it's very much a second book. Meaning you can tell it's a stepping stone to get to the next one. As a result it suffers from a lot of dragging.
But if you were a fan of the first, you should be able to get into this. Granted, I sort of think the author added in too many points of views this time around. It was hard enough in the first book, in this one, there's more people added. Which I'm sorry, was unneccessary in my opinion. Also Nora and Bram get more sappy then they were in the first.
So it does suffer from second book syndrome. But it still is entertaining as the first book so I'm willing to give the author leeway in the hopes that she rewards us with a awesome third book.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Dearly Departed, fans of Something Strange and Deadly, zombie fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five frilly parasols

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday, December 19th

I can finally do these again. ;hugs fixed computer;
This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that lets people know what books we're looking forward too.

TITLE: Perfect Scoundrels
Book 3 in the Heist Society series
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
RELEASE DATE: February 5th, 2013
GENRE: Adventure, mystery
SUMMARY GIVEN BY PUBLISHER: Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting--or stealing--whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir--this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy.

WHY I'M EAGER: Because I am a unashamed, unapologetic Ally Carter fangirl and I need something to tide me over till the next Gallagher Girls book. Thankfully I love Heist Society just as much as Gallagher Girls.

Book Review: Some Girls Bite

TITLE: Some Girls Bite
Book 1 in the Chicogoland Vampires series
AUTHOR: Chloe Neil
GENRE: vampires, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Merit gets made into a vampire against her will but she's not going to let the vampires rule her life.
MY REVIEW: Here's the thing about Urban Fantasy. Specifically adult urban fantasy: there's a LOT of it. Most of it tends to look alike. Some will be about vampires, some about werewolves. Some may have a kick butt heroine, some will....try to have a kick butt heroine. The frank truth of the matter is a lot of urban fantasy has the same tropes, same ideas, same sort of characters etc. You have to have a lot of patience and just read the series one by one to find the ones that appeal to you specifically because honestly for me, it's hard to review urban fantasy because I find it silly to whine about the same tropes when the main point of the genre is mostly familiar formulas for the average reader to consume. It would be like complaining about the mystery part in police procedural shows.
So once again I'm sorry to say: not much to say about this one either. It has plenty of familiar adult UF tropes: tough girl with parent issues becomes vamp, somehow kicks butt despite no previous training, promise of lots of love triangle loving in the future books, sassy best friend/sidekick who is basically the best thing about it (seriously, I love Mallory), okay writing, average plot.
So once again I will say your enjoyment of this will probably depend on whatever you like in your books. I'm sort of indifferent to it but I can see why this has become popular. Merit is at least a likeable heroine. It's a decent library read for sure.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban fantasy fans who love the genre no matter what.
MY RATING: Three out of Five sassy vampires

Book Review: Unspoken

TITLE: Unspoken
Book in the Lynburn Legacy series
AUTHOR: Sarah Rees Brennan
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Urban fantasy, witches, romance, gothic
PREMISE: Kami has always heard Jared's voice in her head. But like everyone else around her, she always assumed he was an imaginary friend until the Lynburns come back to her town and Jared shows up at her school.
MY REVIEW: Sarah Rees Brennan has become a favorite of mine this past year. She is seriously underrated and it makes me sad. In the hands of another author, this book could have been really bad. But Brennan managed to do a rare thing: create the funny gothic novel. Yes my friends it is true: you don't have to have your YA gothic books dripping with angst.
It helps immensely that Kami is just plain adorable. She has become one of my favorite 2012 heroines. The only one that rivals her is Evie from The Diviners and Evie from the Paranormalcy trilogy (so many Evies...good thing the Paranormalcy trilogy ended this year). This one mostly sparkles for the fabulous character interaction. Gosh, I loved pretty much everyone. Even Jared the love interest who is the bad boy cliche done right and again in a likeable way. Yes, there is some angst to be had but it's legit angst and the characters never wallow in it to ridiculous levels.
So basically, I loved this book. There's great humor, fabulous dialogue, likeable characters to root for who keep you invested in it, and a actual interesting plot. Yes, there are several familiar tropes here but the author makes them fun and reminds me of why I enjoy tropes like small sleepy town with rich family in it. Literally my only complaints are that I have to wait so long for Book 2.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gothic book fans, Sarah Rees Brennan fans, anyone inclined
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five awesome book heroines

Book Review: Breathe

TITLE: Breathe
Book 1 in Breathe series
AUTHOR: Sarah Crossan
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Dystopian, drama, adventure
PREMISE: In a world where breathe is a precious resource you have to buy three teens become involve in a rebellion.
MY REVIEW: This book...I honestly don't have much to say about it. It is what it is. Honestly dystopia has become such a heavy genre that it's sort of like the adult urban fantasy genre nowadays: whether or not you like it depends mostly on what your quirks as a reader are and not neccessarily on how good the book is. There are a few occasional exceptions here and there but nowadays the YA genre is starting to become the vampire genre: all alike with a few different plot elements here and there. Thankfully I still like the genre so it hasn't become AS tired as the vampire genre has. YET. considering all the dystopians out next year, I predict a burnout in this genre very very soon. If not next year then most likely when the Hunger Games movies end.
So Breathe...has a few good points. It was a interesting concept, though I saw several plot holes and I don't believe for a moment that this premise could ever come true. We're way too paranoid about replanting trees we cut down for this to ever be a really huge problem. I'm also sure there was flubbed science in there. But the story itself is actually a lot more interesting then the summary makes it sound. The summary makes it sound like a overdramatic love triangle taking place in war time but in actuality the love triangle drama is kept to a minimum which was a nice change of pace. The plot is kept at a decent pace and I understood what was going on.
So this book isn't bad. For a dystopian heavy YA world, it does actually manage to stick out some and I'll probably read the second book when that comes out. All in all a decent first novel and decent YA debut.
WHO SHOULD READ: Dystopian fans, Hunger Game fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five gas masks

Book Review: Dark Frost

TITLE: Dark Frost
Book 3 in the Mythos Academy series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
GENRE: Urban fantasy, mythology
PREMISE: Gwen digs into her mothers past, deals with the difficulty that is Logan, and meanwhile Loki's followers grow stronger and are now directly attacking the school.
MY REVIEW: I have a unashamed deep fondness for the Mythos Academy series. Yes, okay, it's not very original. Basically it's Percy Jackson meets Harry Potter with a dash of Veronica Mars thrown in for good measure. There are several familiar urban fantasy tropes and I do sort of feel Gwen's powers are getting at the silly stage (especially in this last one where apparently she's now Rogue). But for all it's flaws, this series is endlessly entertaining and Gwen is just plain likeable.
This one also was good for revelations as well as evil evil cliff hanger. I will say I like the Logan/Gwen relationship even if I still wish it was better developed because other then his hotness I don't really get why she and Logan are so into each other. But at least they have chemistry which makes up for lack of anything in common I guess. Estep is also kind of guilty of the monologuing villian trope which can be cheesy but at least it's a fun cheesy that doesn't take itself seriously.
Since we're coming up to book four (out next week! Guess what my Christmas money is going towards) people have probably already figured out if this series is for them or not. If you loved the first two, the third is more of the same.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read books 1 and 2, Percy Jackson fans, Harry Potter fans, Veronica Mars fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five charms

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ditched Books Post

Here are the books that I started but wound up ditching half way for various reasons during the months of October/November.

TITLE: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Book 1 in the Mara Dyer series
AUTHOR: Michelle Hodkin
GENRE: Mystery, Paranormalish
PREMISE: Mara wakes up with no memories of the night before to find that her friends are dead and she doesn't remember how they died.
WHY I DITCHED IT: Ever have a book start out so promising but then quickly fall into what the hell category? That was me and Mara Dyer. I liked the idea of the mystery. But that was about all I liked. Mara herself drove me up the wall with her angsting, her characters were just so unlikable that I quickly grew to not care about them. Didn't help that the mystery part quickly got pushed aside for predictable, cheesy romance with the douchebag love interest. I will say it's a readable book. I get why people may be into it but it simply was not for me and I can't really recomend it except for maybe a library read.

TITLE: Romeo Redeemed
Book 2 in the Juliet Immortal series
AUTHOR: Stacey Jay
GENRE: Retelling, romance
PREMISE: Romeo gets a chance at true love and tells his side of the tale.
WHY I DITCHED IT: About the only thing more annoying then when a author takes a perfectly decent villain like Romeo and decides to "redeem" him is when the author uses true love to redeem the character and act like that erases every bad thing the person has done in the past. To add further insult to injury, the love story is utterly cliche and spoils the clever and thoughtful part of Juliet Immortal. Yeah, no thanks.

TITLE: Hanging by a Thread
AUTHOR: Sophie Littlefield
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Girl gets murdered in a small town, teen fashionista investigates.
WHY I DITCHED IT: I have a rule with mysteries: If the murder/mystery part hasn't started by page one hundred, I'm done. I got through one hundred and ten pages and the murder STILL hadn't even happened. But the main character found plenty of time to throw together fabulous outfits and snag a love interest. I'm sorry I don't pick up mysteries to read what everyone is wearing. If I want that, I'll pick up an old Baby-Sitters Club book which has more fun fashion anyway.

TITLE: Shadows Cast by Stars
AUTHOR: Catherine Knuttson
GENRE: Dystopian? Fantasy? I don't know!
PREMISE: Honestly, not sure.
WHY I DITCHED IT: See above, I got through a hundred pages and was utterly lost. Confusing book is confusing. Not sure if it's me or the book all I know is this book was not for me. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reads of 2012

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week: Top Ten Reads of 2012
For the sake of narrowing down this list, I am sticking to books actually published this year.

1) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson-THIS is how you do a retelling folks! Take one thing from a well known story. In this instance Tiger Lily from Peter Pan and then flip it on it's head to look at the story of Peter Pan in a brand new way without tromping all over the original material. As a bonus it's beautifully told.

2) The Diviners Book 1 by Libba Bray-Bray never disapoints me and this book was no exception. It's got it all: Twenties flappers, sassy girl heroine who doesn't take crap, historical accuracy that doesn't hide the dark parts of the twenties, lovely writing, and variety of interesting characters, and even paranormal/ghost murder mystery. It even has a creepy museum! Literally it is every trope I love in one book.

3) Lynburn Legacy Book 1: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan-I haven't reviewed this yet on the blog because I'm still playing review catch up but spoiler alert: I loved the hell out of this book.

4) Anna Dressed in Blood Book 2: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake-I actually just got into the Anna books this past year because I missed it last year. The second book was just as fabulous as the first one in my opinion. I love the ending though I'm sure there are those out there who will disagree with me.

5) Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbelestier-This is the vampire parody I've been waiting for since vampires became popular in YA. It's utterly hilarious and manages to lovingly talk smack on the vampire genre without insulting those of us who manage to enjoy vampire books still.

6) The Lunar Chronicles Book 1: Cinder by Marissa Meyer-Another refreshing retelling and one of my top ten debuts of the year. I suspect this one will end up on lots of people's lists and for good reason. It's just good.

7) Delirium Book 2: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver-Proof that second books don't have to be boring layovers for the third book. Oliver manages to develop the world of Delirium as well as Lena while giving fascinating new characters and leaving us with a evil cliff hanger. Well played, Oliver. Well played.

8) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein-Maybe you haven't heard of this one, it wasn't marketed heavily which is a shame because this was another fabulous debut. I'll sum it up: female spy in WWII gets captured by Nazis. Yeah, you know you want to read that.

9) American Fairy Trilogy Book 1: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel-This is another book that just heavily jived with me because of so many tropes I love. This one is a super creative historical fantasy that takes place in the thirties that has a girl discovering her long lost father is a faerie royal. Very Studio Ghiblish style storytelling with fabulous writing. I can't wait for book 2.

10) The Parasol Protectorate series Book 5: Timeless by Gail Carriger-This list wouldn't be complete without Alexia and the gang. So sorry this series is ending but I can't wait for Carriger's young adult series and the spin-off series.

Other favorites that didn't quite make the cut: Gallagher Girls book 5, Nevermore Trilogy Book 2, Dark Star by Bethany Frennette, Starters by Lissa Price, Endlessly by Kierstan White, Grave Mercy

Books that might have made the list but I haven't quite finished them yet: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead, The Serpant's Shadow by Rick Riordan, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book Review: The Shadow Society

TITLE: The Shadow Society
AUTHOR: Marie Rutkoski
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Darcy doesn't remember anything about her past. Then she meets Conn and realizes perhaps it's good thing she didn't know...
MY REVIEW: This was a interesting first novel. Not ground breaking. There are the usual YA tropes and a certain predictability if you read a lot of these YA UF books like I do. But the world was definitely interesting.
Also I have to give Rutkoski props on the interesting concept of the book: alternate realities. Not something that's written about in YA often so that and the fact that this didn't involve vampires, werewolves, faeries or mermaids made this a slightly interesting read. Romance was about average, characters were average (with the main characters friends being more fun for me personally), and a few plotholes aside the story moved and wrapped up neatly.
So it's a decent book. Makes for a good library read. It's just not oh my god, you must read this now worthy.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban fantasy fans, alternate reality fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five conspiracy plots

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

TITLE: A Discovery of Witches
Book 1 in the All Souls Trilogy
AUTHOR: Deborah Harkness
GENRE: Urban fantasy, witches, vampires, romance
PREMISE: Diana Bishop discovers a book deep in the archives of the Oxford library and soon comes under the attention of the supernatural.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I really wanted to like this. By all means I should: I mean witches! In Oxford! That's a awesome premise, right? But no, the author didn't focus on that. Instead apparently I'm supposed to care more about the oh so predictable and boring romance between "I'm plain, really" Diana and "I'm Edward Cullen minus the sparkles" Matthew. UGH. Once again, I blame Twilight.
This started out so promising too. I loved the idea when it first started out. Diana seemed to have SOME common sense. But then Matthew appeared and it quickly went downhill after he decided he was in love after one dinner with Diana (that I'm not even sure counts as a date). And then Diana gains her magic but still somehow always needs to be rescued and coddled by Matthew despite the author insisting to us over and over again how powerful she supposingly is. Oh, and Matthew is basically Edward Cullen only a thousand years older (which makes the relationship with Diana kind of creepy when one thinks about it) and minus the sparkles.
I will say Harkness has some lovely writing and I give her points for being SOMEWHAT more creative than Twilight and hey, look lesbians! But that doesn't change the slightly sexist tone of this story and huge problamatic love interest that is Matthew who is just as bad as Edward Cullen when it comes to stalking/taking away choices from the woman he supposingly loves etc. I feel like the author was trying to make this the intellectual Twilight but I'm sorry...she failed. Spectacularly.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans
MY RATING: Two out of Five facepalms

Book Review: The Innocents

TITLE: The Innocents
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Lili Peloquin
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Realistic fiction, drama
PREMISE: Two sisters get pulled into the world of the rich which threatens to tear them apart.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I definitely got fooled on the hype with this one. It's not bad persay. The writing is very nice and the family dynamics are somewhat interesting. It's just dreadfully boring if you want something more then melodrama.
I picked this one up against my better judgement because the summary made it sound like a good old fashioned gothic family drama book a la VC Andrews and I have definite weakness for gothic books, plus there was promise of a mystery so I was thinking maybe a little PLL thrown in for good measure. But this is NONE of those things. Basically it's just rich people being petty to each other and all the drama that comes with it. BORING. Yes, this premise can sometimes be interesting. I am a fan of Downton Abbey after all. But none of these characters are as interesting as the characters on Downton Abbey and thus, I was bored.
If you're into contemporary drama, then this will probably be right up your alley. For everyone else...don't bother. Basically it's like a better written version of the series Clique.
WHO SHOULD READ: contemporary drama fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five snores

Book Review: Dark Star

TITLE: Dark Star
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Bethany Frenette
PUBLISHED: October 2012
GENRE: Superheroes, urban fantasy
PREMISE: Audrey's mother is Dark Star, her city's resident vigilante so she's used to general wierdness. But then she discovers that her mother's adventures aren't only about fighting crime...
MY REVIEW: Dear YA, WHY haven't you produced more superhero books? Really, it makes no sense to me. You could go in any direction with superheroes. This is a seriously untapped genre and it surprises me. Especially considering how much teens also read comic books. Thankfully, it looks like Frenette gets this and the result is a fresh feeling enjoyable debut.
This one actually feels new, you guys. Granted there are several superhero tropes as well as a few YA tropes abound but it's done in interesting ways and whiny angst and melodrama is kept at a minimum in favor of more plot. Plus, I love Frenette's writing. She has simple prose, fabulous dialogue, and gives me enough info that I'm not thoroughly confused about everything but also still keeps me in suspense about things. Audrey is also a fun and likeable heroine who I don't want to strangle.
I honestly don't know why this hasn't been more popular then it has been. I blame lack of marketing because this wasn't as in your face as some YA books were when it was released. If you love comics and are looking for a more action oriented series, I totally recomend giving this one a try.
WHO SHOULD READ: Comic book geeks, superhero fans, fans of Buffy
MY RATING: Four out of Five kick butt superheroes

Book Review: Ten

AUTHOR: Gretchen McNeil
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Mystery, Drama
PREMISE: Ten teens get invited by the most popular girl in school to a private island and then start getting killed off, one by one.
MY REVIEW: For those that don't know, this book is basically a retelling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. So if you've read that book, you've pretty much read this. It doesn't really deviate from that novel very much other then having the couple live at the end which to me was kind of a boring ending as opposed to Agatha Christie's more believeable ending.
There's nothing particularly wrong with this. Writing is decent, the author kind of does the psychology of teens well, and it does fit in the retelling well. It's just not very overwhelmingly OMG this is awesome.
I recomend this to mystery fans who have not read And Then There Were None. To those of you who have...I wouldn't bother because you already know what happens.
WHO SHOULD READ: mystery fans, those that haven't read And Then Were None
MY RATING: Three out of Five killers on the loose

Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Review: Dodger

TITLE: Dodger
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Retellingish, Historical Fiction, Drama
PREMISE: Dodger is a young thief who gets caught up in politics when he helps out a damsel in distress who is more then she appears...
MY REVIEW: Dodger is a hard novel to describe (as are most Terry Pratchett books in fact). It is sort of a retelling in that it involves Dodger, a character from Oliver Twist or at least involves a person who serves as a inspiration for Dodger. But it is also a original historical fiction novel that only Pratchett could come up with.
Enjoyment of Dodger will probably depend on just how much you enjoy Terry Pratchett's writing. Thankfully I enjoy it very much. I love writers with dry wit who use that wit to coment on social issues and society itself and Pratchett does that with all his books. Dodger is a funny historical novel with a interesting main protagonist. I don't think it would be possible to hate this book unless you just don't like historical fiction (I've heard a rumor that such people exist...).
Personally I really liked this book even though I realize that there's a chance it won't be for everyone. I recomend it mostly to Terry Pratchett fans and historical fiction fans.
WHO SHOULD READ: Terry Pratchett fans, Oliver Twist fans, historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five sly thieves

Book Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island

TITLE: The Brides of Rollrock Island
AUTHOR: Margo Lanagan
PUBLISHED: September 2012
GENRE: Selkies, Urban Fantasyish
PREMISE: On Rollrock Island a witch can bring a man a wife from the sea. For a price.
MY REVIEW: So confession time: I have never read Tender Morsels. I know, for shame. This is my first time trying out Margo Lanagan. Which from what I've read, may have been a mistake because people keep telling me Tender Morsels is much better.
I certainly can't fault the writing on this. Lanagan's writing is supurb. I can totally buy that she's won writing awards. It is also a wonderful idea. I just don't think the execution works very well. For one, this book jumps around a lot and I spent a lot of the novel being confused trying to keep up with what was going on. I still can't exactly tell you what the point of the novel is either because I never really saw one.
Honestly I think enjoyment of this one will depend on the reader. Because for just as many people like me who were just confused by it, there are people who loved it. I personally love the idea of it, I just don't care for the result.
WHO SHOULD READ: Margo Lanagan fans, fans of Selkie stories
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five for beautiful writing but confusing story.

Note: putting this under my Mermaid tag even though Selkies aren't really Mermaids, I just don't have a Selkie tag because there aren't many Selkie books out. YET.