Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Hallowed

TITLE: Hallowed
Book 2 in the Unearthly series
AUTHOR: Cynthia Hand
GENRE: Angels, romance, drama
PREMISE: Clara deals with the future and what to do about her purpose now that she's not sure what it is.
MY REVIEW: So last year I really enjoyed Unearthly and this is kind of a big deal for me because as a rule, I have a hard time getting into angel books. Even ones I mildly enjoy I think are rather bad (Hush Hush, Fallen). But not this series. I actually enjoy it as a well written series and say with pride that I love it. While some of the problems I did have persist in the second (Clara flip flops constantly, some of it does drag sometimes, and the ever annoying love triangle though this is one of the better ones out there) it still has Hand's solid writing and again: a big enjoyability factor.
I will say this sort of feels like a filler book? Don't get me wrong, it helps in filling out backstory, and developing Christian, and Clara herself. I am also still mourning the awesomeness that was Clara's Mom (seriously, she needs her own backstory book). I also am getting a bad feeling about Jeffrey. But compared to Unearthly...not many plot points happened. It was rather slow actually. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I feel like this was a stop over on the way to more exciting stuff.
But if you enjoyed Unearthly like I did, chances are you won't be disappointed by this sequel. I just feel much of the better stuff is going to happen in the next book so I can't wait for that to come out.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Unearthly, Fallen fans, Hush Hush fans, angel book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five angels in glory

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: The Gathering Storm

TITLE: The Gathering Storm
Book 1 in the Katerina Trilogy
AUTHOR: Robin Bridges
GENRE: Historical fiction, fantasy
PREMISE: A girl in old Russia learns she has the gift of Necromancy.
MY REVIEW: The historical buff in me loved this book to death. I mean old school Russia with balls and then magic as a bonus! What's not to love right? Bridges did great research and had a really interesting concept going. The world building going on in this book is wonderful.
Sadly I didn't get into that much and I'm trying to put my finger on why. I think it's a mixture of things. The main character was rather flat for my taste. I felt she and other characters were rather two-dimensional (and I felt she was Mary Sueish what with the "I can diagnose someone just by reading a book and better then a practiced doctor!"). While I enjoyed the ideas going on it got to be rather repetitive after awhile I mean, how many balls do you freaking need in a book? There was practically one going on every other chapter. It became kind of annoying really. Then it started to drag in the middle especially.
While I think this was a decent enough first book I sort of wish it had been polished more especially on the editing front. There were a lot of unneccessary scenes going on in here. Makes for a decent library read though.
WHO SHOULD READ: Gemma Doyle Trilogy fans, history buffs
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five furry russian hats

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (73)

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.

Just the usual library haul this week. I'm cooling it with the buying as I'm moving the first week of March and don't need extra stuff to pack:
Everneath Book 1 by Brodi Ashton-For those living under a rock this has become the it novel of January 2012 and I finally got it off reserve. While I do wish YA would pick another myth besides Persephone to do (there are count em THREE series based on the myth currently on-going and I know at least two books that redid it recently) I am still excited to read this.
Gods and Monsters Book 1: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton-This was one of those books I never heard about when it was released and I like to give unsung novels a little love sometimes (assuming I like the book). This is a paranormal taking place in New Orleans and heaven knows I love my southern gothic novels.
The Lying Game Book 2: Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard-Surprisingly I got into the first Lying Game book. I say surprising because I found PLL a chore to get through even though I did dig the mystery (and I'm helplessly addicted to the TV show despite how cheesy bad it is). So I'm continuing the series (and yes, I'm helplessly addicted to Lying Game too, especially after they added Charisma Carpenter who I have a life-long fondness for after Buffy/Angel, plus it has the guy who played Nathan from Heroes)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater-Been meaning read this (and Forever) for awhile now, I've just been sidetracked all year.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Envy

Book 1 in the Empty Coffin series
AUTHOR: Gregg Olsen
GENRE: horror, mystery/thriller
PREMISE: Teen girls look into the apparent accidental death of their neighbor.
MY REVIEW: Well, I give Olsen several points for the concept of the book because that is mildly interesting. Unfortunately I cannot say that this is a good book. While the idea was intrigueing the excution of said idea made this less then three hundred page book a chore to get through. I mean when you make less then three hundred pages seemingly drag on forever and ever, that says something.
The huge beef I have is I detested ALL of the characters. That's right, ALL OF THEM. Even the twin's parents who I mildly tolerated where kind of hypocritical and obviously self inserts of the author himself. I mean the father even wrote true crime like the author! Then the father has the nerve to judge the reporter girl looking for a story when, I'm sorry true crime books do the same damn thing the reporter does so look at yourself before you judge her about exploitation. Especially as this whole book basically exploits the Megan Meier case for its plot so I'm sorry but no, author you don't get to be the morality judge here.
As for the twins, oh my god they made me bang my head agsinst the wall, they were so shallow. I mean they weren't even friends with the girl who died, it's like they're using their gift just to get rid of their slightly guilty conscious. Oh and it's not just the reporter that gets the judgement parade by the way. No, you can practically hear the judgement of todays teens through the narration. Spare me. Then there's the simple thing that the ending of the case was rather lame, it was dull as rocks, and the writing was HORRIBLE. Look, I get the author is a true fiction crime writer but guess what, that kind of writing really doesn't work for YA or for fiction.
As far as I'm concerned this book missed the mark when it came to the enjoyment factor which is a thing that is kind of needed in fiction. I say don't bother with this unless you're really interested in which case just check it out of the library so you don't waste your money. I give it one extra star due to the awesome cover.
WHO SHOULD READ: er...mystery fans but even some of them may not enjoy this.
MY RATING: Two out of Five bathtubs

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: The Alchemy of Forever

TITLE: The Alchemy of Forever
Book 1 in the Incarnation series
AUTHOR: Avery Williams
GENRE: urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Sera has been reincarnated time and again and finally she has had enough and runs from the one reincarnating her, but then he finds her again.
MY REVIEW: Okay here's the thing, when one doesn't really think too hard about this book. It seems really good. There isn't anything completely wrong with it. Writing is decent, a somewhat interesting plot, and so on. The technical aspects of it are all right.
For me I think the problem mostly lies with the main character who is just so...BORING. I mean she seems cool and interesting for the first few chapters but then she quickly falls into Mary Sue category by the middle. I mean really, she has next to NO PROBLEM fitting into this brand new life that she knows NOTHING ABOUT. In fact, she's practically better at this life then the original occupant who gets much judgement from Sera in my opinion even though they've never met and oh yeah, Sera is the one stealing her life when she swore she was never going to do such a thing again. After that it's just little things that kept bugging me such as a million little plot holes, lack of explanation for how any of this is possible, a cheesetastic villian, two-dimensional characters, lackluster instant romance with next to no basis, and a ending that was abrupt. Look, I like cliffhangers and everything, but that was a bad cliffhanger and very anti-climatic.
The thing is this book just wasn't too my taste but I'm fairly certain there are many readers out there who may get a kick out of it. So I don't totally write it off. It's a decent enough debut. I just personally couldn't get into it. I think this is one of those you should check out from the library first to see if it's for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: romance fans, those not bothered by lack of details
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five alchemy books

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ditched Book Review: Halfway to the Grave

TITLE: Halfway to the Grave
Book 1 in the Night Huntress series
AUTHOR: Jeanine Frost
GENRE: Urban fantasy, romance
PREMISE: Cat hunts vampires. Pretty much about it.
REASONS I DITCHED IT: Well first and foremost the main character was SUCH A MARY SUE, of the annoying kind not the tolerable kind. I'm sorry, I can't get into books when the main character does nothing for me. By all rights, I should love this character, she's kickass or so people tell me. But it was pretty clear thirty percent in that Cat is what I call a faux-feminist Mary Sue. She is presented as a kick-butt character so the author can say "see, feminests? This book isn't sexist! You can enjoy it!" But the actions of said Mary Sue pretty much derail any feminist ideals that may be in the book. Because once the guy (whose name I can't even recall now, that's how unremarkable he is) comes along she basically turns into his sex kitten and does his bidding. Yeah, that's feminist all right. See, turns out she was going about things entirely the wrong way and he shows her the right way. Which or course, includes sexing her up (oh and naturally Mary Sue is naive as hell when it comes to sex even though she's HAD SEX and blushes prettily at sexual innuedo. Sigh)
Don't even get me started on the fact that Cat is apparently part human, part vampire. I mean, what? How the hell does that work? That makes no sense whatsoever. Even main guy said that she shouldn't be possible which frankly makes her more of a Mary Sue.
Then there were just little irritating things like the unremarkable writing style, the male lead who was obviously modeled after Spike from Buffy but without any of Spike's character depth or any of the things that made you root for Spike. Literally he treats her like crap and I'm supposed to want these two to get together? Sorry, but no. I got about as far as her using her sex appeal to lure vamps before I finally just said to hell with it and washed my hands of this book. Look, if you want mindless UF with sexyness then this probably fits the bill but it was just too ridiculous for my taste. I will not be trying any of the rest of the series despite people telling me they get better, nor will I be reading any of Frost's other stuff, assuming she's written anything else besides this series. I just can't.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Finally getting off my butt and starting to do this meme. I did it way back when I first started the blog but got out of the habit but this time I'm going to stick too it!

TITLE: Seven Kingdoms Book 3: Bitterblue
AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore
RELEASE DATE: May 1rst, 2012
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
SUMMARY FROM BOOK: Well, there isn't one available yet, I believe but it's about Bitterblue, a character from Graceling who I adored.

WHY I'M EAGER: Frankly I just love the Graceling books. They are epic fantasy at their best. We've been waiting something like what, three years at least for this book? As said above, Bitterblue was one of my favorite things in Graceling and I am most definitely looking forward to a story about her. I'll be honest, this is possibly my most looked forward to book of this year. If you have not taken the time to read Graceling or Fire yet, I totally recomend them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: Under the Never Sky

TITLE: Under the Never Sky
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
GENRE: Dystopian, adventure, romance
PREMISE: In the future Aria is sentanced to exhile from her pod and runs into Perri, a savage who may be her only hope of survival.
MY REVIEW: This is what I call a strong debut. Yes, the romance was predictable and probably the poorest thing in the book but even that was miles ahead of other romances I've run into in the past. Honestly that and lack of explanation for how this world came to be are really my only complaints and those are mostly personal peeves anyway. What the book lacks is more then made up for in the fact that this is some entertaining stuff. I totally see why this has been optioned for a film. Just please, Hollywood cast some unknowns for it. You all need some new blood in the teen scene.
The writing is a wee bit average and could use some polishing in some parts but for the most part it's solid. I love the world that Rossi created even if again, I still don't understand some parts of it. Aria was a refreshing lead as was Perri and again, the author just plain knows how to entertain. All the good writing in the world won't help you if you can't make your book entertaining.
So while some things give me a pause in this book, I give it a enthusiastic thumbs up. I can't wait to read more and I'm sort of hoping the second book will have more backstory on stuff so I won't be confused by things as much.
WHO SHOULD READ: Dystopian fans, Divergent fans, Hunger Games fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five pods

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (72)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren that tells people what new books we got over the week. This is a wee bit late because I had to work all day today.

From NetGalley:
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink-As I've said several times, I'm not a huge angel fan. But if anyone can get me into angels, Zink can. This book will be released on March 20th. Thank you Dial for the eARC.

Downloaded to Kindle:
Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 1: Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke-It's cozy mystery in victorian times with female sleuth. I'm weak to this action you guys, of course I downloaded it.

From the Library:
Iron Witch Book 2: The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney-Iron Witch was rather ho hum in my opinion but it was good enough for me to give the second book a chance. The author gets one more shot to set her series apart from the pack. If she doesn't, I'm giving up on it.
Fracture by Megan Miranda-2012 debut that I haven't heard too much about.
Deviants Book 2: Havoc by Jeff Sampson-Another case where I wasn't overly impressed with Deviant but it was interesting enough that I'm picking up the second book. Hopefully like A Million Suns it's better then the first.
Article 5 Book 1 by Kristen Simmons-2012 dystopian debut that I haven't heard too much about.
The Mockingbirds Book 1 by Daisy Whitney-Another contemporary I've been meaning to read for awhile. What better time then when it's sequel has come out?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

TITLE: Thirteen Reasons Why
AUTHOR: Jay Asher
GENRE: contemporary, drama
PREMISE: Clay receives thirteen tapes from Hannah, a girl who commited suicide explaining why she did what she did.
MY RATING: Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those novels that is constantly recomended and I definitely see why. Yes, it's wee bit angsty so if you're already in a bad mood, I'd advise against reading it at that time. It also doesn't like revolutionize the YA genre. But it is a important book that I sort of wish was required for high schoolers/older middle-schoolers. Because it does something that not many are willing to do: talk openly about teen suicide.
Even better, it manages to do it in a way that doesn't talk down to the reader, doesn't pass judgment on the character commiting suicide or even any of the other characters. I'm sorry but that is a rare thing in these issue books because you can usually tell which way a author leans towards on the subject especially when it's YA. Asher tells an honest story, shows how differently people deal with the matter, and then lets you draw your own conclusions because the book is really trying to just bring up the conversation. Honestly the only thing I can really complain about was the rather abrupt ending last chapter. I just don't get it, sorry Asher. But the rest of it? LOVE. I especially love the idea of the peer communications class. Seriously that should be in ALL HIGH SCHOOLS. Do they have classes like that nowadays? I don't know ;hasn't been in high school in mumble mumble; (what you thought I was going to tell you?)
So I definitely agree, this is one of those books everyone (especially teens) should read at least once. I've heard there's a movie deal out for this one with Selena Gomez as Hannah. Hopefully the Selena Gomez thing isn't true, as fond as I am of her for Wizards of Waverly Place, I don't think this is the right role for her.
WHO SHOULD READ: contemporary drama fans, those not afraid of touchy subjects
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five tape decks

Book Review: A Million Suns

TITLE: A Million Suns
Book 2 in the Across the Universe series
AUTHOR: Beth Revis
GENRE: science fiction, romance
PREMISE: Amy and Elder deal with the fallout that happened after the death of Eldest.
MY REVIEW: Okay I admit it, I wasn't terribly impressed with Across the Universe. It was decent for a first book but I didn't find anything mind-blowing about it. But I picked up the second book because it was good enough to give the author a second chance (I'm doing this with the sequel to Wither as well because I'm hoping the sequel will explain stuff more thouroughly). Now some of the faults I found in the first one still persist here: Amy is Mary Sueish (though at least this time she was a bit helpful), I still can't tell personalities apart which when you're doing alternate points of views is a problem, and it still has more science fiction tropes then you can shake a Wookie at (no Wookies were harmed during the reading of this book ;), though I may have abused the word "illogical" more then Spock).
But I do see a definite improvement from the first book and I actually enjoyed this one more then the first. Mostly because the author focused more on the plot instead of the boring stock romance that is Elder/Amy (sorry, they're a sweet and all, but they're a boring and predictable couple). The plot was actually interesting and sort of gave the character of Orion some depth which I appreciated even if it didn't make me like him more. But plot was much more involved this time which was a nice switch and that cliffhanger was genius.
So while again, not mind blowing, there is definitely improvement here so I give Revis much props for that and where she took the plot. I actually am now much more excited for the third book coming next year.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Across the Universe
MY RATING: Four out of Five spacesuits

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Shatter Me

TITLE: Shatter Me
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Tahereh Mafi
GENRE: Dystopian, romance
PREMISE: Juliet's touch can kill people and so she's been locked in a cell for almost a year now, but then she gets a new cellmate that changes everything...
MY REVIEW: Sigh, I wanted to like this one so much and too be clear it isn't a horrible book. Pacing is good, it's got the entertainment factor going for it, and some of the writing is spectacular. Unfortunately, it just isn't anything new that I haven't read before in a million other dystopians/other forms of entertainment. Literally this book was a mish mash of ideas that have been done in other forms. Girl who can't touch people because they die? Rogue from the X-Men. And actually when it's discovered there are other people with powers it starts feeling awfully X-Menish as well. Locked away for protection? Been done. Boy shows up and she miraculously (with no explanation) can touch him? Done. Even the mildly interesting world that Mafi had going on had a been there, done that feel and there was not enough focus on it for my taste because once again we have an author who apparently thinks the romance is the most interesting part (it kind of isn't).
Then there's my biggest problem which is Juliet herself. I'm sorry but she's a HUGE Mary Sue. And honestly an annoying one. I get it, she's had it rough but does she have to constantly remind us every page or whine about it at least once a chapter? Then there's the whole "you can't love me, I'm a monster!" trope that just annoys me to death. Also I'm sorry but how on earth was she even a weapon or how is this female empowerment? Okay, yeah she can kill people with her touch. Unless she can go around getting to really important leaders (unlikely) she's honestly kind of useless. As for the empowerment thing most of the time she had no backbone. The only time she showed any strength was when her man was being threatened and even then all she did was bitch at the bad guy and didn't back up the bitching because oh look, suddenly we're kissing him and liking it! So sorry, that's what I call a faux-feminist heroine. She is presented as a female empowerment figure but her actions aren't really female empowerment.
But that is totally a beef of mine, who knows maybe next book Juliet will actually gain a backbone. So I give, this is very entertaining and I certainly see why it's gained a lot of fans. I also am pretty sure if it becomes a movie, it'll be a entertaining movie as well. But me personally I just am tired of reading the same ideas like this over and over again. I really am starting to wish YA would cool it with the dystopians for a bit because it's already becoming stale and it's only been a year that the trend really hit.
WHO SHOULD READ: dystopian fans, those not tired of the cliches
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five crossed out emo sentances

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Beauty Queens

TITLE: Beauty Queens
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
GENRE: parody/satire
PREMISE: A group of beauty queen contestants get stranded on a island.
MY REVIEW: Here's the tricky thing about Beauty Queens: it's an issue book as well as satire. Why is that tricky? Well because it's a issue book there's about a fifty fifty chance the reader won't like it whether it be the issues talked about, the point the author is making, etc. The problem with satire is simply that not everyone likes satire and I get it, satire can go very badly sometimes.
Me personally though, I loved every minute of this. It was hilarious (most times, I admit some of the jokes were a bit forced) and I enjoy humor like this that has something to say even if I didn't always agree with what was being said. Is the book revolutionary? No. Is it Bray's best work ever? Hardly. But it was a fun read especially for this feminist. I especially loved all the made up commercials which are so accurate it's painful.
So while I loved this and whole heartedly recomend it, I do so realizing that there is a good chance you yourself may not get into it so I say your best bet is to probably check it out from the library and see if it's for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: feminists, Libba Bray fans, fans of satire
MY RATING: Four out of Five bikinis

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (71)

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

From Net Galley:
Starters by Lissa Price-Book w/lots of buzz coming out March 13th. Thank you to Random House for eARC

From the library:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher-Yes, yes, I know I should have read this AGES ago. My only excuse is that I don't read contemporary books as a rule. I'm trying to get better about that this year. If you want feel free to rec me contemporary that you think I should absolutely read. I've already read Maureen Johnson (love her), Stephanie Perkins (greatly enjoyed), Jodi Picccoult (not a fan), and I'm about to pick up John Green.
Katerina Trilogy Book 1: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges-historical fantasy that I've seen no reviews for at least among my blog list. Strange because it sort of sounds awesome.
Unearthly Book 2: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand-As a rule I don't enjoy angel books that much. It's just one of those genres that I don't get/isn't for me. So when I say I enjoyed Unearthly last year that's saying something about the book. Looking forward to this one.
Empty Coffin Book 1: Envy by Gregg Olsen-Paranormal/horror mystery thing from last year that sounds awesome.
Incarnation Book 1: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams-paranormal romance thing from January that I've seen little to no reviews for for some reason.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: Wildthorn

TITLE: Wildthorn
AUTHOR: Jane Eagland
GENRE: glbt, historical fiction, drama
PREMISE: A girl is sent away to a insane asuylum by her family...
MY REVIEW: First up, this book features a lesbian romance. If you do not like glbt books for whatever reason you come up with then this book will not be for you. I will say again: I will not tolerate any flaming I get for reading or promoting glbt books. You are welcome to believe what you believe but don't expect me to go along with you on it.
That said, this was a decent book. Granted, it's a wee bit slow moving and I sort of feel the author hit you over the head a bit with the feminist message and I felt it was rather biased towards one point of view but for the most part, I enjoyed this. It's a strong character piece that really shows what women had to put up with in Victorian England. I'll give you hint: it wasn't fun.
Maybe not the best book ever but romance was sweet and even while I didn't think it was terribly subtle in the message I did like what it had to say.
WHO SHOULD READ: glbt book fans, historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five gowns

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Juliet Immortal

TITLE: Juliet Immortal
AUTHOR: Stacey Jay
GENRE: retelling, fantasy, romance
PREMISE: The tale of Romeo and Juliet is a big fat lie. In reality Romeo betrayed Juliet for power and she is on a quest for vengence.
MY REVIEW: For the record I LOVE the premise of this book. It has always bugged me how people go on about Romeo and Juliet being so romantic when hello, they commit suicide! Not very romantic there. Plus I fall under the group of people who believe Shakespeare was actually doing satire with this play because when one looks at it as satire, it makes so much more sense. So this concept here? Genuis in my opinion.
I do have some issues with the book, namely much plot devices were convenient, I still don't understand how Juliet and Romeo jump into people's lives and why they do so and I've also read that particular idea earlier before in the book Mercy by Rebecca Lim (though I think this book handled the concept better then Mercy did). Plus I would have liked better characterization for Juliet who seemed to float between badass and whiny girl who needs saving all the time. But other then these things it was a well done book and I agree with my local Barnes and Noble sellers: much better then Twilight.
So if you want a different take on Romeo and Juliet this fits the bill.
WHO SHOULD READ: Romeo and Juliet fans, Twilight fans, romance fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five plays

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Dearly Departed

TITLE: Dearly Departed
Book 1 in the Dearly series
AUTHOR: Lia Habel
GENRE: zombies, dystopian, steampunk, adventure, romance
PREMISE: In a future that mixes technology and old victorian customs a girl and a zombie meet...
MY REVIEW: Okay I won't lie to you: the zombie as a love interest IS a bit wierd and takes some getting used too. I also give there could have been a bit better developement on the romance front. But I honestly find myself not really caring because I for one LOVED THIS BOOK. Seriously, I was grinning the whole way through.
Yeah okay, Nora is a bit Sueish. But she's an enjoyable Sue so she's tolerable. Actually all the characters are enjoyable in this, particularly my favorite characters: Chas, Tom, and Renfield who should all totally have their own show where they discuss things like on the View; it would be awesome. Habel clearly isn't going for deep stuff here (though I say there are one or two little interesting morsels in there) and is obviously trying to just entertain people and by golly she succeeds. She has fun characters you can't help but grow to love, a great concept slightly along the lines in tone of Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, great dialogue (the "vampires are just zombies with good PR" line will never cease to amuse me) and she has a good pace going. I didn't even honestly mind the romance even if again, not very developed (but how awesome is it that they don't even talk about romance till like three-thirds through the book? DO YOU KNOW HOW RARE THAT IS IN YA?).
In short this is a entertaining romp with zombies once you get over the zombie as a love interest idea (which you should be able too after a bit because Bran is so darn fun). No, it's not deep nor will it win any literature awards but if you're looking for fun entertainment with zombies I whole-heartedly rec this book. You'll be in for a good time.
WHO SHOULD READ: zombie fans, steampunk fans, fans of the Parasol Protectorate series
MY RATING: Four out of Five stumbling zombies

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Tempest

TITLE: Tempest
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Julie Cross
GENRE: Time travel, romance, drama
PREMISE: A boy goes back in time to save the girl he loves.
MY REVIEW: Tempest is a hard book to review because honestly as a book it's okay. The writing is decent, the plot is easy to grasp, it doesn't really get dull, and so on. In short: it's readable. I've certainly read worse. I think the thing that will make people decide if they like it or not is just whatever your hang ups are as a reader. If you aren't really a detail oriented reader who doesn't get bothered by the little things (lucky you, how I wish sometimes I was a reader like this, I'd probably enjoy more books then) then you'll probably enjoy this book.
But if you're like me and you tend to get bothered by the whys, the hows, and the what's the point of all this then this novel will most likely drive you bananas like it did with me. I'm sorry but the time travel here like with all YA novels using time travel so far MAKES NO SENSE. I don't understand at all how he can "jump" back into time (which by the way is totally stolen from the movie Jumper) and I REALLY don't understand what the point of the time travel is if jumping back doesn't even change anything. I mean talk about pointless time travel. Nothing changes? Then WHY BOTHER? Just...what? I'm sorry this point here makes absolutely no sense to me. So why did he stay in 2007 then? Why is he researching this ability at all if it's so useless? This one thing makes the character motivations or him as well as his enemies (who have SUCH a ridiculous name. Enemies of Time? Really? If this were Doctor Who the Doctor would be making fun of these guys so badly and it would be rightfully deserved) just make no sense at all. Why are you guys bothering with all of this if nothing you do changes anything? Then there's little stuff like how while the romance is sweet I didn't get much of a connection between Holly and the MC and as usual boy narrator doesn't really sound like a boy. Plus it bugged me how the females in this book were basically useless and just there as love interests.
But as one can see by the wide and varying reviews this book gets how much you like it will probably just depend on you as a reader. Me I just think the book is average with details that slightly bug me but it's not horrible and for a debut could have been a lot worse. It was certainly a ambitious idea. I just sort of wish it had been a little more thought through.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the movie Jumper, time travel fans, readers not bothered by details
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five time travel machines

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (70)

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

Downloaded to Kindle:
Deadwood Mystery book 1: Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles-Paranormal mystery thing that was free. Adult.
Ghost of Granny Apples Book 1: Ghost a La Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian-Another free cozy paranormal type mystery. No I don't have an cozy book addiction, why would you say this? ;)

From Net Galley
Croak by Gina Damico-Upcoming release whose premise sounds a bit like Dead Like Me which if you haven't seen, you totally should because that show is fabulous. Thank you Houghton Mifflin Court for the eARC.
The Iron Codex Book 2: The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge-The Iron Thorn was one of my favorite unsung debuts from last year. I can't wait for book 2. Thank you Delacorte books for the eARC.

From the library:
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray-Female Lord of the Flies done by one of my favorite YA authors? I'm in! Even if it has gotten mixed reviews from her fans (Going Bovine did as well and I loved that so...)
Shatter Me Book 1 by Tahereh Mafi-FINALLY off the reserve list. So much buzz for this one but I'm trying not to let my expectations get too high because the buzz has burned me in the past, especially in 2011.
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock-Never tried any of Murdock's books before. We'll see how this goes.
Across the Universe Book 2: A Million Suns by Beth Revis-I admit, I wasn't as enamoured of Across the Universe as everyone else but it was good enough that I'm checking out the sequel where I hope there's not as much trope attack (the same with Wither, not crazy about it but I'm hoping the author brings it in the second book). If this (and Fever) suffer from second book syndrome though, I'm done. I give authors second chances unless they really just don't appeal to me.
Under the Never Sky Book 1 by Veronica Rossi-Debut that I've heard good things about that sounds right up my alley so I'm a little pumped even if again, I'm trying to keep my expectations in check.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review: Cinder

TITLE: Cinder
Book 1 in the Lunar Chronicles
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
GENRE: fairytale retelling, dystopian/steampunk, fantasy, romance, science fiction
PREMISE: In this modern take on Cinderella, Cinder is a cyborg who is a mechanic working for her stepmother. When the prince comes with a broken android she agrees.
MY REVIEW: Warning, this review will have much bias because I frankly adored this book with every fiber of my being. Now yes, some plot points were pretty obvious which is a problem a lot of retellings have because most of us know these fairytales very well due to them being so ingrained into our culture (blame Disney). So some stuff here is very obvious from the get go and thus not very surprising.
But that's nothing that keeps the book from being fun because it is interesting seeing the twists the author adds to it to keep this from feeling stale which is what retellings should do (and why I love Once Upon a Time, if you haven't seen that show yet give it a try especially if you're a retelling junkie like myself). Plus Meyer's writing is great. Seriously, if I hadn't known this was her first book I wouldn't have guessed on my own she's that good. She knows how to pace, she keeps the prose simple enough so they don't get in the way, her characters are interesting, and her dialogue really nice. Plus I freaking loved Cinder. Such a refreshing heroine.
In short, this is a great book. Maybe not the most amazing book ever but it's definitely one of my top YA books of the year (so far, the year is still young). I don't know about anyone else but I personally can't wait for the next book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fairy tale fans, science fiction fans, anyone inclined to pick it up
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five cyborg parts

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: The Space Between

TITLE: The Space Between
AUTHOR: Brenna Yovanoff
GENRE: angels/demons, drama, romance, urban fantasy
PREMISE: A girl who is part demon/part angel goes to earth in search of her missing brother.
MY REVIEW: Well, before I start this review I will warn readers: this book deals with some dark, potentially triggering material such as suicide, alchoholism, drugs, and I'm pretty sure abuse was implied as well. If stuff like that disturbs you then chances are you won't like this book. This book deals with some pretty heavy stuff and even sort of messes around with the Adam and Eve story so chances are some religious feathers will be ruffled as well.
But if you don't mind stuff like that, this is a very interesting read. It has that uniqueness to it that I've come to expect from Yovanoff and it has a lot to say about stuff like humanity, who your family is, etc. It's not particularly a fun book but it is definitely an interesting book.
So just be warned that it's dark. But if you're willing this could be a interesting read for you. Chances are if you got into The Replacement that you will get into this. Also can I just say that the cover is gorgeous? Internet pictures really don't do it justice.
WHO SHOULD READ: people that don't mind dark books, fans of The Replacement
MY RATING: Four out of Five angel wings

Book Review: So Silver Bright

TITLE: So Silver Bright
Book 3 in the Theatre Illuminate Trilogy
AUTHOR: Lisa Mantchev
GENRE: fantasy, romance, adventure
PREMISE: Bertie and co. return to the theatre for a final showdown.
MY REVIEW: This is a trilogy that I'm sorry to see go. It was creative, fun (have I mentioned I ADORE the fairies?), had a love triangle that didn't irritate me for once, and was just a enjoyable series to read. Yes, I give sometimes it jumped around a lot, there's a lot of what the hell moments, and sometimes humor felt misplaced.
But overall this was a solid series. The author brought it to a logical conclusion. I'm happy with the way things turned out, especially in the love triangle as I was rooting for Nate (nothing against Ariel, but that wouldn't have worked out for reasons shown in this book). It was nice seeing people in a love triangle using their heads and behaving reasonably for a change and not making it out to be this great romantic thing because the truth is being in a love triangle is awkward and probably not fun for anyone. Also I just have to give a lot of love to Bertie. She is so refreshing as a main character. She's not mopey, she deals with her stuff, she owns up to mistakes, and cares about something other then her boyfriend.
If you've loved the first two books in this trilogy, you will be satisfied with this ending. Please Lisa Mantchev, WRITE MORE BOOKS!
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two books, theatre buffs
MY RATING: Four out of Five playbills

Book Review: The Throne of Fire

TITLE: The Throne of Fire
Book 2 in the Kane Chronicles
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
CATEGORY: Childrens/middle-grade
GENRE: mythology, urban fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Sadie and Carter continue their quest in the fight against Apophis.
MY REVIEW: I have had a long love affair with Riordan's books in the past year or so. This book is really no exception. If you have read Percy Jackson or the first book from this series you already know the drill with these books. Yes, they are a bit nutty at times. No, they are not the pinnacle of children's literature or overly complicated.
But they are damn fun and do something that I just have to tip my hat to Riordan for: explain mythology in a way that kids will get. Because Egyptian mythology is wild. You think Greek mythology is bad? Egypt is ten times worse and even more bloody. But Riordan incorporates the Egyptian myths in a well done way that is respectful of the culture and doesn't trample all over the myths for his own purposes. Which is the number one issue I had with The Goddess Test (not reviewed here because I didn't finish it out of disgust at the pushing the Christian principals into the greek mythology. I mean seriously, ZEUS is against pre-marital sex? ZEUS? Plus I thought the tests were lame).
Anyway, by now most of you have probably figured out if you're a fan of these books or not. If you loved the first book or the Percy Jackson series then this one will be no exception.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that read and liked the first book, Percy Jackson fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five egyptian runes