Monday, July 30, 2012

Ditched July Books

So in the past when I've ditched a book I just haven't reviewed it because I don't think it's right to review a book that you haven't read from beginning to end. Now what I'm going to do is just at the end of the month make a post about the books I ditched and explain why I ditched them. Hopefully this won't be too many but hey, sometimes a book just isn't for you, you know?

TITLE: The Mephisto Covenant
The Redemption of Ajax Book 1
AUTHOR: Trinity Faegen
WHY I DITCHED IT: You know how sometimes when you start a book you can literally tell within a chapter that you will wind up loathing every minute of the thing? Well, this was me and Mephisto Covenant. Those first few chapters were a huge hot mess and a huge turn off for me. The main character was obviously the selfless flawless Mary Sue type who was going to need rescuing all the time, and to top it off I could smell judgement over non-religious folk from pretty much the first page. Look, I don't hate religion, but I do hate when authors take religion and use it to judge how teenagers/people behave nowadays. If I want to be preached at, I will go to church author. Plus the world building was making absolutely no sense.I think she was going for a Supernatural sort of thing but utterly failed because Supernatural actually makes sense. This, does not. I got about five chapters in before I just couldn't stomach it anymore.

TITLE: Harbinger
AUTHOR: Sara Wilson Etienne
WHY I DITCHED IT: Frankly it was just utterly confusing. I was completely lost about fifty pages in and at that time I had a pile of library books to read and it was due the next day so I just gave up. Maybe I'll get back to it but considering I wasn't feeling it that much...probably not.

TITLE: Deadworld
Book 1 in a series
AUTHOR: J. N. Duncan
WHY I DITCHED IT: Another one that was just utterly confusing. Authors: explain your worlds. I'm not saying you need info dump after info dump. But at least explain the little stuff. It's a bad sign when by the tenth chapter I still have no idea who the main character is or why I should care. Plus the main character was boring as all get out. She didn't appeal to me much.

TITLE: Ascension
Dark Breed series Book 1
AUTHOR: Sable Grace
WHY I DITCHED IT: Because it was frankly just more of the same old same old. I'm addicted to UF/PR as much as the next girl but even I get tired of these plots that all start looking alike after awhile and I was getting extreme deja vu while reading this. Plus the main character didn't do anything for me. Gave up about fifteen chapters in.

Book Review: The Council of Mirrors

TITLE: The Council of Mirrors
Book 9 in the Sisters Grimm series
AUTHOR: Michael Buckley
CATEGORY: Childrens/middle-grade
GENRE: Retellings, mystery, adventure
PREMISE: The Sisters Grimm have their final showdown in this conclusion of The Sisters Grimm.
MY REVIEW: It will forever puzzle me why this series hasn't gained more popularity. Seriously you guys are missing out. I mean sure, at heart this series isn't overly complicated and certainly with things like Fables and Once Upon a Time it isn't even a new idea but gosh is it fun. Especially if you're a fairytale nerd like myself because the author goes by the book versions of fairytales/classic stories instead of the more popular movie versions.
By far the appeal for this series is the humor, there is even a heart to it because the sisters do grow as the series moves along and I love the messages the author sends and how it makes you think about the original tales more. For sure, this ending is kind of obvious and sometimes the scenes are over dramatic. But still this was a solid series from begining to end and I can't rec it enough. Especially if you have kids who are into Disney.
So I for one am really sorry to see this fun series go. But it's been a fun ride and I am definitely satisfied by the conclusion (especially as my OTP Puck/Sabrina got together...). If you haven't picked up this series now is the perfect time to do so as it's finished so you won't have to wait for more books to come out, you lucky dogs you.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1-8, fairytale junkes, Once Upon a Time fans, Fables fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five angry Queen of Hearts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: Cross My Heart

TITLE: Cross My Heart
AUTHOR: Sasha Gould
PUBLISHED: 2012 (in the US)
GENRE: Historical Fiction, drama, mystery
PREMISE: A girl goes to a secret society to escape her arranged marriage...
MY REVIEW: This one is just kind of a shrug book really. I don't have that much to say about it. Historical details were okay, writing was okay, characters were rather blah but not horrible, romance forgettable, mystery was kind of obvious. It was all just sort of ho hum.
There's nothing wrong with the book. It should make for a decent library read at least. But a must read? Not really.
WHO SHOULD READ: historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five masks

Friday, July 27, 2012

August 2012 Book Picks

All the books in August 2012 that I'm looking forward too and that you should probably expect a review for at some point in time.

Heroes of Olympus series: The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan. Do I want to read the diaries of Annabeth and co? Um...hell yes. Release Date: Aug. 14th.
Infinity Ring series Book 1: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner-Historical time travel series written by the author of Maze Runner. Could be cool. Apparently this is a new series by scholastic that will be written by multiple authors. Carrie Ryan has that next book. Release Date: Aug. 28th
Princess Academy Book 2: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale-Yes, a sequel to Princess Academy. You know you want to read it. Release Date: Aug. 21rst

Anna Dressed in Blood Book 2: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. Because I loved Anna Dressed in Blood and can't wait for the sequel. Release date: Aug. 7th.
The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent. Because I have a steampunk addiction. Release date: Aug. 14th.
Spookygirl by Jill Baguchinsky. Cool looking paranormal book. Release date: Aug. 16th.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Long. Damn my weakness for faerie books. Release date: Aug. 16th.
Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Book 2: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel. Because I liked the first book. Release date: Aug. 21rst.
Leviathan illustrated Guide by Scott Westerfield and Keith Thompson. Release Date: Aug. 21rst. Because the art to this trilogy is utterly gorgeous.
The Demon Catchers of Milan Trilogy Book 1 by Kat Beyer. Looks interesting and gorgeous cover. Release Date: Aug. 28th.
Nevermore Trilogy Book 2: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh. YES! FINALLY! The sequel to the awesome book Nevermore. About damn time. Release date: Aug. 28th.
Defiance by C. J. Redwine-Looks cool and I love the cover. Release date: Aug. 28th.

Book Review: Darker Still

TITLE: Darker Still
Book 1 in the Magic Most Foul series
AUTHOR: Leanna Renee Hieber
GENRE: Historical fiction, paranormal, romance
PREMISE: A mute girl gets caught up in a world full of dark magic.
MY REVIEW: Sigh. I had high hopes for this one because the premise sounded so awesome and there was the talk of it being influenced by the Picture of Dorian Gray and so on. Unfortunately it's pretty much same old same old.
There's nothing absolutely horrible about it. Writing and plot are sound. It's just I've read so many plots that follow this path that after she started speaking I basically lost all interest. Girl swooning over slightly jerky love interest? Seen that a million times. Dark plots that naturally involve the boy in question and despite warnings our heroine can't help but get involved in plots too? Total deja vu. Originality is not this book's strong suit.
But hey, if you like these sort of plots with historical fantasy thrown in, go for it. Frankly though if you never read this, you're not missing much. If you want dark historical fantasy, I suggest the Gemma Doyle Trilogy instead.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five pretty gowns

Book Review: Ruby Red

TITLE: Ruby Red
Book 1 in the Ruby Red Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kerstan Gier
PUBLISHED: 2011 (in the US)
GENRE: Time travel, romance,
PREMISE: A girl inherits her family's time travel gene.
MY REVIEW: Okay YA what the hell is up with all the time travel lately? Especially in books from last year. I swear every other book I read lately has had some sort of time-travel plot. Did you all have a group watching of Doctor Who and then challenge each other to different time-travel plots like CS Lewis and Tolkien did way back when or something? Seriously, what the frak?
That said, This is the first one that has actually used time travel in a way that I somewhat get so I give the author points for that. Even though as usual it makes very little sense (A time travel gene? Really?). Honestly I sort of shrug at this. It was fun at parts but annoying in other parts. The MC was rather forgettable as was the male lead. The family members were obviously purposely written to annoy the reader (particularly the aunt and cousin) and it's frankly kind of telling that a week later after finishing this book I can't even remember character's names.
This book was just...okay. I get that there's two more coming but honestly I'm not sure if I'm going to bother with those. I'd read this only if you really like time-travel plots which if you do, you're apparently in luck because that's clearly the thing in YA right now.
WHO SHOULD READ: Time travel plot fans, Hourglass fans,
MY RATING: Three out of Five bored time travelers

Book Review: Behemoth

TITLE: Behemoth
Book 2 in the Leviathan Trilogy
AUTHOR: Scott Westerfield
GENRE: Steampunk, adventure
PREMISE: Alec and Dylan (aka Deryn) continue their journey and adventure through a tricky war.
MY REVIEW: What can I say about this trilogy? Most of the appeal for it admitedly comes from this fascinating world Westerfield has created. I love the illustrations in the book (and yes, I will be buying the artbook coming out for it this summer). It's just plain fun. I definitely rec it for boys too.
Plus it has one of my favorite tropes: a girl dressing up as a boy in the army. Blame Tamora Pierce, I get a kick whenever this idea comes up. I honestly can't wait to read book 3 just because I want to see Alec's oh frak reaction. Going to be good.
Yes, I admit Westerfield does have a bad habit of trumping character development for action, action, action but still. I can't deny the pure fun and solid world-building he does with his books. I defintely get why he has a lot fans. While I'm not a huge Westerfield fan, I definitely rec his stuff. You can do a lot worse. Trust me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Leviathan, boys, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five wth creatures (no seriously, wth? Some of these creatures in there made the ones from Avatar: The Last Airbender look normal)

Book Review: Liesl and Po

TITLE: Liesl and Po
AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver
CATEGORY: Childrens/Middle-Grade
GENRE: Fantasy/drama
PREMISE: Liesl meets a ghost named Po and discover a strange magical box with a apprentice named Will...
MY REVIEW: Lauren Oliver has quickly become another author whose work I just adore. I can't help it, her books are everything I love about writing: thoughtful, creative, and able to make you think about things. Is Liesl and Po the best book ever? No, probably not. But like Oliver's other books it is interesting and absorbing.
Granted being a children's book, it is fast-paced and sometimes I felt a lot of things were left unexplained. But the heart of the story: Liesl and her journey is a good one and I definitely would rec this for any young readers out there into magic. Plus the illustrations are just lovely. If nothing else, it's a beautiful book to have on your shelf.
For a author who mainly writes YA, this book is pretty darn good. As always, I can't wait to see what else Oliver has up her sleeve even after she wraps up the Delirium Trilogy (which I highly rec).
WHO SHOULD READ: Lauren Oliver fans, fantasy fans, younger tweens/children
MY RATING: Four out of Five magical boxes

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy

TITLE: Grave Mercy
Book 1 in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy
AUTHOR: Robin LaFevers
GENRE: Historical fiction, adventure, romance
PREMISE: A girl is trained to be a assassin by a convent but her first assignment is more difficult then she ever imagined...
MY REVIEW: Let me guess, a lot of you thought I would love this book, right? Well, for a large part I did enjoy it. I think it's one of the stronger debuts of this year that I've read so far. Not that this is saying much mind you, I've been slightly disapointed by this years batch of new writers. There've been good books sure, but none I've fell in utter love with yet.
I like Grave Mercy and definitely recomend it, but it's got its problems. First it requires a LOT of suspension of disbelief. You have to believe that nuns would train girls to kill for instance. Yeah, took awhile to wrap my head around that one and after awhile I just gave up and enjoyed the journey the premise gave instead. It is a nice premise. A bit predictable for my taste (I've read much fanfic like this, sorry to say), and I'll admit much of the middle dragged and needed to be cut. Plus the author's writing, while nice descriptive wise and character developement wise, had a bad habit of telling instead of showing and needed quite a bit of polishing.
But for the most part, this was a fun romp. It's got action, intrigue, romance, complications, and basically anything you can think of that would make a entertaining read. I will definitely pick up the next book and rec this especially for fans of Graceling. It's definitely reminded me of that book a lot.
WHO SHOULD READ: Graceling fans, Tamora Pierce fans,
MY RATING: Four out of Five crossbows

Book Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

TITLE: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Book 2 in the Steampunk Chronicles
AUTHOR: Kady Cross
GENRE: Urban fantasy, steampunk,
PREMISE: Finley, Griffon and friends go to America to help out one of their own.
MY REVIEW: Ah, Steampunk Chronicles. Like Mortal Instruments this is one of those series I'm kind of conflicted by. I enjoy it and definitely think others would enjoy it. Certainly I've read worse. It's heavy on the entertainment factor and I will most likely read the next book.
However it's cliche. I mean the fighter ring is a old old old plot device. Almost every supernatural show/series tries to use it at least once. At the top of my head those include: Angel, Kate Daniels series, Justice League animated cartoon (twice), the list goes on. The couples aren't super terrible but they're also kind of super predictable and thus kind of boring. I'm sorry I have little interest in the Finley love triangle. I do however like the friendship aspect that Finley and her group of friends have. There's female friendship! That's not frienimies! Shocker, right? Mostly I keep reading because I find their interaction and care for another interesting and sweet.
So like MI, this series is one of those that I recomend for light reading. I also would use your suspension of disbelief filter a lot for more enjoyment. This is one of those series just to be read for fun.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that read book 1, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five awesome victorian dresses

Book Review: City of Lost Souls

TITLE: City of Lost Souls
Book 5 in the Mortal Instruments series
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
GENRE: Urban fantasy
PREMISE: Clary fights to get Jace back from the clutches of Sebastion.
MY REVIEW: When it comes to Mortal Instruments I'm honestly rather conflicted. A large part of me gets it. I do honestly understand the appeal of this series and why it's gained such huge fans. I myself get many a kick out of it (mostly whenever Magnus and Isabelle is there and when everyone snarks at each other). I cannot deny that this series is entertaining and when the next book  comes I will read it because that is my way.
However...some of the criticisms towards this series, I'm sorry to say, are legit. I definitely have issues with some of the main relationships. Jace/Clary has all kinds of problems (no, not the they thought they were brother sister thing. I'm talking about things like how I STILL don't get why these two are so into each other 5 books later), Simon pretty much made me hate him last book due to his douchebag treatment of Maya and Isabelle (and don't get me started on how Clary and everyone acted like it was hilarious. Um...NO), and I have even more problems with Maya's new relationship then I have with Jace/Clary. About the only relationship in this book that actually is healthy is Magnus/Alec (and maybe the adult relationships). But then the ending happend (damn ending). Even with that the plot to this has honestly become...well tedious. I'm sorry, but these last three books were completely unneccessary. I will still read the next one but really, at this point you're just over milking the cash cow, Clare. So please, END the series at book six. Come up with something new and different because at this point I'm afraid you're starting to look like a one trick pony.
Not that I really expect any of this to stop anyone from reading book 5. By now people have figured out on their own if Mortal Instruments is their thing or not. For me the series is strictly filed under guilty pleasure. It's high on entertainment value but quality...kind of questionable. Won't stop me from reading book six though, damn addiction.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who read and liked books 1-4, Urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of five for addicting entertainment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: July 17th

Last post today you guys, I swear! I'm just trying to catch up on my reviews.

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

This week's Topic: For those that liked X series try...

For those that like Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Try:

1) The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
Urban fantasy trilogy that is fabulous. Is character driven, has interesting plots, much diversity, much entertainment. Plus, like Clare, Brennan used to write HP fanfiction. Though personally I sort of feel Brennan is better then Clare.

2) Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Urban fantasy with vampires. Has lots of action and a huge entertainment factor. Really good for those drawn by the shipping of MI.

3) The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott
Urban fantasy and is action driven like MI.

4) Paranormalcy Trilogy by Kierstan White
UF, action, has a sweet romance and a kick-ass heroine.

5) Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
UF mythology driven, lots of action, lots of quips, and entertainment.

6) The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black
UF and character driven with a absorbing plot.

7) Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
UF, great world building, interesting characters, and a romance I will take over Jace and Clary any day.

8) The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
Adult UF steampunk victorian series that is utterly hilarious and has a fabulous main character.

9) Hex Hall Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins
UF boarding school series with a great hilarious MC and a actual interesting plot.

10) Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
UF series about faeries with fabulous writing and world-building. Good for those who love romance (but don't expect happily ever after for everyone, this series is DARK).

Book Review: Struck

TITLE: Struck
Book 1 in a series?
AUTHOR: Jennifer Bosworth
GENRE: Dystopian, paranormal
PREMISE: Mia was struck by lighting and has become a bit of a lighting addict. Now she lives a world torn apart by a devasting storm.
MY REVIEW: I did like this one a lot better then I thought I would. Granted there are still some things I'm iffy about. Mia could have been better developed, the romance was a bit blah, and there is much question about how plausible it all is. However it does have a enjoyment factor and was suprisingly thoughtful for a dystopian/paranormal and the writing was very nice.
The religious aspect sort of surprised me I have to say but for once, a author managed to write about religion in a way that didn't utterly annoy me. If you must have religious talk at least do it like this where both sides are presented and don't say point blank who's right and who's wrong and let the readers come to their own conclusions. Thank you author. Even with some of my issues that was a nice thing to see. Especially after trying to read The Mephisto Covenant where the author seriously has members of a cult attack the MC for believing in God. Yes, really. The best part is when she sits there and lets them try and stone her (yes, they seriously throw rocks at her) she takes it and spends her time forgiving them instead of getting the hell out of dodge. Needless to say I didn't finish it so it won't be reviewed here. So yeah compared to books like that, Struck is like a breath of fresh air.
This may not be the best book ever but out of all the dystopian-like offerings this year it certainly is a interesting one and it's definitely got a entertainment factor. If you're into the dystopian genre and would like a different kind of dystopian then normal this is definitely worth a look.
WHO SHOULD READ: Dystopian fans, paranormal fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five

Book Review: The Wicked and the Just

TITLE: The Wicked and the Just
AUTHOR: J. Anderson Coats
GENRE: Historical fiction, drama
PREMISE: In old England a girl moves to Welsh country against her wishes and gets caught up in a war.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those books that's difficult to review for me. On one hand it's a darn well written book. The historical parts of it were fabulous as were the character parts of it. On the other's slow. I can imagine a lot of todays readers getting bored by it. Plus Cecily could get very annoying.
So I think I have to rec this for a certain type of reader. If you're a reader who loves historical fiction and has lots of patience and likes details, you will probably love this book. If you're a reader who wants the sweep you off your feet romance with fast paced plots that is popular in YA right now...probably won't be a book for you. Unless you're willing to branch out in which case go for it. And please don't get turned off by Cecily. She gets better. I swear.
But mostly I recomend this to those who just love historical books. This talks about the history of England's opression of Wales in the Thirteenth century which admitedly is not a time period a lot of people talk about but I think it explains it pretty well. Coats is a talented author I hope to see more of her in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fiction fans, readers with patience
MY RATING: Three and a half/Four out of Five castles (I can't make up my mind about which rating to give it but that's the range I waver between)

Book Review: Nation

TITLE: Nation
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
GENRE: Drama, fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Mau lives alone on a island and then a ship washes ashore...
MY REVIEW: I'll be honest: I adore Terry Pratchett with every fiber of my being. He, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Diana Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce, Meg Cabot, and George R. R. Martin have become that group of authors who I just utterly adore and will probably love anything they come out with as result. So keep in mind that whenever these authors pop up in my blog there will be heavy bias in their favor. The only reason John Green isn't on this list is because I haven't read John Green yet, although I have seen a few of his videos and think he's a pretty awesome guy personality wise.
Nation is no exception to my Terry Pratchett love. It's hilarious, it's got the great social commentary that Pratchett is great at, and it's even sort of realistic with how it handled the Mau/Daphne issue though I'm sure there are many readers who protest how that was handled. If you want romance, this really isn't your book. Pratchett isn't about love triangles though there are some great couples in his books in my opinion.
Basically this is a great example of Pratchett's writing if you're not ready to tackle the behemoth series that is Discworld and is a good way to see if his style of writing is for you. If nothing else, trust that there's a good reason it got award nominations.
WHO SHOULD READ: Terry Pratchett fans, Neil Gaiman fans, Discworld fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five spears

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues

TITLE: The Butterfly Clues
AUTHOR: Kate Ellison
GENRE: Contemporary, mystery
PREMISE: Lo investigates her brother's murder.
MY REVIEW: This is one I really wanted to like. The writing was lovely. Nice and simple but gave me a vivid picture of everything without being annoyingly flowery. The OCDness of the MC was also an interesting touch.
Unfortunately the author failed to make me care about it. I found Lo very annoying instead of naively charming which I suspect the author was aiming for. The male lead wasn't interesting and I failed to see how he and Lo made a good couple. The mystery was interesting for a nanosecond but quickly became predictable if you read mysteries a lot or watch a lot of mystery shows which unfortunately for the author I do both of (for those wondering this mainly includes Castle and Bones right now and I'm just starting Lost which, lets face it: is one big mystery).
As a debut it's okayish. It's just not really a OMG you have to read this now book. I'd recomend it as a library read only.
MY RATING: Three out of Five butterflies

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review: Immortal City

TITLE: Immortal City
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Scott Speer
GENRE: Angels, romance
PREMISE: Angels protect people: for a fee. But then the top angel falls for a human...
MY REVIEW: If the last book I reviewed was one big shrug, this book can be summed up with one big sigh. It is everything that has annoyed me about angel books in the past all rolled into one. Judgement of others? Check. Selfless (re: doormat) girl whose life suddenly revolves around her man the minut they meet? Check. Sloppy world building that makes no sense? Double check. Instant romance with no basis? Check.
Basically this book was pretty much everything that is going on in YA right now rolled into one and with even less thought put into it. The only creative idea in here is the angels charging for their services thing but unfortunately that inspired idea is hampered by very sloppy handling of why angels would suddenly do that. See apparently angels were so disgusted by the Civil War they decided we weren't worth protecting and so when capitalist on us and now suddenly they're celebrities. How does that even make sense? Never mind that I'm pretty sure God would have issues if angels suddenly went AWOL. But why would the Civil War be the thing to do it? There were hundreds of incidents before hand that were ten times worse then the Civil War and why would just one war in one country make all the angels in the world decide to jump ship? Because oh yes, Christianity is not just in America. But I guess the author didn't think about that because you know America is the only country that matters so clearly the bad things we do here effect the whole world. Yes, I'm being sarcastic in case it isn't coming through in my typing.
This book isn't uber horrible or anything. It's just very sloppy and frankly more of what has already been done a million times over in YA. I was bored throughout the whole thing.
WHO SHOULD READ: Angel book fans, Fallen fans, Hush Hush fans
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five head shakes

Book Review: Nightwalker

TITLE: Nightwalker
Book 1 in the Dark Days series
AUTHOR: Jocelynn Drake
GENRE: Urban fantasy, vampires
PREMISE: A female vampire teams up with a vampire hunter against her better judgement.
MY REVIEW: My thoughts about this book can be summed up in one action: shrug. It's a pretty standard Urban fantasy book. About the only unique thing going for it is that the main character is a female vampire but even that has been done a few times (Bloodshot by Cherie Priest for example, and Bloodshot did it better in my opinion).
It's got okay world building, okay characters, okay writing. There's nothing really much to whine about and yet it's nothing really memorable either. This series is clearly just there for the people that want more vampire urban fantasy. Which is okay sometimes you have books that are just there to fill a demand for them.
So I don't think this series is a must read. You certainly could do worse. But you could do better also. If you really want a female vampire I'd go with Bloodshot instead.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five shrugs

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: July 10th

TITLE: Unspoken
Book 1 in the The Lynburn Legacy Trilogy
AUTHOR Sarah Rees Brennan
GENRE: Looks like it may be urban fantasy from the summary
Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.
RELEASE DATE: September 11th, 2012
WHY I'M EAGER: Because I fell in love with Brennan's writing in The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy. This sounds like it's going to be just as fun as Demon's Lexicon and I bet it'll be just as creative. Can't wait.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Book Pet Peeves

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

It was another freebie week so the topic I chose was Bookish Pet Peeves. I admit I have a lot of peeves while reading. While reviewing I do try to keep these in check and take into account the story/characters/who you were writing for etc. Like romance I sometimes get annoyed by romance being the only point, however if it's a romance novel then I will judge it based on whether it was a good romance at least, etc. These however are the major peeves that will likely tick me off make me hate a book.

1) Whiny Characters. There are certain circumstances where I will let the whining go. Like when a character does truly have some crappy stuff happening to them. Harry in Order of the Phoenix? Understandable. He was feeling helpless, no one was trusting him, and hey Voldemort was taking over. I don't blame his blowing up every once in awhile. But by book 6 he got over it, matured, and got stuff done. Same with Katniss in Mockingjay. A little whining is not what I mean when I say whiny characters.
No what I'm talking about are those uber emo characters who whine about EVERY LITTLE THING. Number one example: Bella Swan from Twilight. A more recent example: America from The Selection. It especially ticks me off when characters whine about situations that actually AREN'T BAD. That's the main thing for me: if your character is actually going through difficult stuff then okay. A little whining is going to happen. But if the most traumatic thing is they're in a slightly unfair situation and are determined to hate everything and make themselves into this selfless person...then no. I will probably end up hating the character. Have your character shape up and do stuff, otherwise you're going to have problems with likeability.

2) Female characters who basically don't do anything but fall in love. Now again, I do not count this towards books that are supposed to be romance focused. That makes sense. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is when you have say a dystopian novel in a girl's POV but basically just have her going through the motions till she meets the guy and then basically does whatever he tells her too. Best example: Luce from Fallen who doesn't so much as pee unless Daniel tells her too. Call me nuts but I tend to expect modern female heroines to actually do things and move the plot along themselves. If your book is a romance novel then that's one thing, but if you're saying your book is fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi whatever then your main character better damn well have more to do then swoon over her love interest (btw this also includes vice versa with male main characters).

3) Authors who use their characters as mouthpieces to say "this is how you should behave teenagers/whoever is reading!" You know when this happens. Best example is basically the entire House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast. Oh look, Aphrodite is giving a blowjob. She's obviously a whore, so don't act like her! Or Halo with the main character making sure to point out just how good she and her fellow angels are as opposed to her silly teenage peers who gasp! DRINK. The horror of it all. Sometimes it's not even the characters saying anything, it can be what the author has happened to the inappropriately behaved characters. Like in Hush Hush, notice Marcie gets all the crap. Or Twilight where Lena, the horrible feminist, winds up alone. Seriously authors, I do not read YA to be preached too. I'm pretty sure teenagers don't either. You conservative? Fine. Write about it on your blog, make your characters not swear, whatever. But don't sit there and judge every character who acts in a way that you think is immoral or goes against your beliefs. Especially as most of your audience? Probably don't think that way or have done some of the things you're condemning.

4) Douchebag love interests. Ugh, I really dislike this recent badboy phenomenon in YA. Especially as most of them are utter douchebags who in real life would be horrible boyfriends and I really hate that the author has normally smart girls acting like complete idiots once they meet the badboy of their dreams. Number one example: The uber unhealthy Patch/Nora relationship. Yes, that's right: I think Patch is a douche and horrible love interest. He's controlling, he's a jerk to Nora and doesn't respect her, and doesn't tell her things that may help her, and is selfish. But despite the fact that I'm told Nora is smart she continues to swoon after him even after he's proved time and again that he doesn't exactly have her best interests in heart. Yeah...I hate this trend. It needs to stop. NOW.

5) Instant romance. You know the one: Girl meets boy. Have maybe a glance or two and a handful of conversations and boom they're talking about being soulmates. Several books have this, especially in YA. You've got your Twilight, your Firelight by Sophie Jordan, your Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, the list goes on. In some cases I have managed to overlook it. Usually when the couple is actually kind of cute together and does do things like date and have conversations and there's not soulmate talke till at least book 2 and true it's not even something that will make me detest a book. But it will vastly annoy me.

6) Faux Feminism. Faux Feminism is what I call when there's a female character. She acts tough, has the kick-butt thing going, is all "yeah, girl power!" in the beginning and then boom, guy comes. She's suddenly all about him, does whatever he tells her too, etc. Oh and she also has a huge tendancy to judge other females who don't live up to her standards and mananges to find them all lacking in some way. Best example: Anita Blake. Anita is snide towards any female, swoons around every male who of course all seem to have a thing for her. On the YA side of things, Nightshade is a good example. The MC goes on about being Alpha female and loving it. But her pack never listens to her, she does whatever her male counterpart tells her too, and then when her male main love interest shows up her world revolves around him and she also basically does whatever he tells her too (the kicker in this is that earlier in that same book he pointed out to her how unfair it was the males could boss her around but when he's one of them has no problem bossing her around). Simply having your female main character kick a little butt here and there does not automatically make your character or your book feminist so please do not promise me strong female heroine when actually she's not one.

7) The bitchy girly-girl stereotype. How much do I wish this trend would die? You have no idea. Authors: the blond cheerleader mean girl stereotype is OLD. I also would argue that it isn't really relavant nowadays. When I went to high school the cheerleaders were actually kind of sweet. Some of them were even fellow band geeks. Plus I kind of hate this hatred of the girly girl that we nerds like to dish out a lot. It's unfair and frankly kind of hypocritical. I mean you sit there and make the girly-girl vapid and claims she has no depth yet I often see very little depth in main characters beyond "hey, I wear glasses and read!" so please, can we move on from this ridiculous and judgemental stereotype? Some favorite books that stomp all over this stereotype: The Ghost and the Goth, Nevermore, and Mythos Academy.

8) Teen speak. Authors, have your characters speak normally because teenagers actually don't have a secret lingo. They talk like regular people. Yes, I'm looking at you in particular P.C. and Kristin Cast.

9) Theosaurus words obviously thrown in to make your writing look literary. Less is more people. Contrary to Stephanie Meyer's belief, theosaurus words do not automatically make your book "smart". Especially if your book is written in the point of view of a teenager because teenagers do not think or speak like that as a rule. Yes, even the smart ones. It especially doesn't help if you throw it in with modern language and dialogue and don't understand the meaning. I don't need fancy words to appreciate your writing.

10) Love Triangles. Oy to the vey, ENOUGH with the damn love triangles! I hated them before Twilight and I hate them now. Love triangles to me are the poor man's plot device. To me when I see a love triangle that makes me think that you felt your story wasn't interesting enough to grab people so instead of doing work to make it more interesting you came up with multiple love interests instead to keep interest. It screams lazy to me. Especially nowadays since everyone's doing it.
I especially hate it when love triangles take over the entire point of a book. Who knows, maybe Twilight would have been more interesting to me if Meyer had done actual story instead Bella whining about which hunk she should choose.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: Spirit's Princess

TITLE: Spirit's Princess
Book 5 in the Princesses of Myth series
AUTHOR: Esther Friesner
GENRE: Historical fiction, mythology
PREMISE: Himiko trains to be a priestess despite disapproval from her father.
MY REVIEW: To those that read this blog often you probably have figured out I'm a Friesner fangirl. I love these historical princess books she writes (and I've discovered she's written adult books as well, so I may be checking those out soon). This one is no exception.
I found Himiko endlessly interesting. If I wasn't interested in her, I was interested in the world around her because feudal Japan is one of those eras people don't write about often which is odd because the history of Japan is full of potential story telling ideas. I mean, look at Inuyasha. Granted if you want romance this probably won't be your book. It's mostly about Himiko and her struggles and character growth.
But for those looking for historical fiction about a era not covered very often and a historical figure people don't know as much about, this is your book. Even the ending notes on the historical stuff Friesner gives are interesting to me. This series is a must read if you're a historical junkie.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fiction fans, fans of Nobody's Princess/Sphinx's Princess.
MY RATING: Four out of Five kimonos

Book Review: Thief's Covenant

TITLE: Thief's Covenant
Widdershins Adventure series book 1
AUTHOR: Ari Marmell
GENRE: Fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: A girl becomes a thief after going from rags to riches.
MY REVIEW: This is a rather hard book to describe. Best I can come up with is part Tamora Pierce and part Discworld series. It's just pure fun and imagination and I enjoyed every minute of it. Granted, I did get confused a bit, and I felt there were too many points of views going on which didn't help the confusion. But really this book is kind of a breathe of fresh air in a YA world full of love triangles, angsty bad boys, and whiny I-don't-do-anything heroines.
The biggest appeal for me personally is the sense of humor in this series. That's where the Discworld illusions come in because it has the same sort of cheeky humor. It may not be as sophisticated as Discworld but it definitely makes for a fun adventure read. I also think boys may get a kick out of this one. There's no sappy romance, it's pure adventure.
While it may not be a completely original tale it definitely is a stand out amongst today's YA and I for one am looking forward to reading more.
WHO SHOULD READ: Tamora Pierce fans, Discworld fans, adventure book fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome girl thiefs

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: July 8th

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

Downloaded to Kindle:
Elemental Assassin Book 1: Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep-Currently 3.99 on Amazon. I really enjoy Estep's Mythos Academy series so I though I'd give her adult series a try.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce-Retelling I've been meaning to read for awhile and now can because it's 2.99 on Kindle. Heaven knows when I'll actually read it though. ;looks at tbr ebooks on Kindle and sighs in embaressment;

Library haul:
Sisters Grimm series Book 9: The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley-My favorite MG series is coming to an end ;sadface;
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross-I've never read Sarah Cross before but this sounds really interesting.
Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne-2012 debut I've heard very little about.
Ruby Red Trilogy Book 1 by Kerstin Gier-Trilogy that is translated from German that sounds like it could be fun. I've heard decent things.
Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould-2012 debut I've heard very little about.
Magic Most Foul Book 1: Darker Still by Leanna Hieber-2011 new series that sounds interesting.
Anabelle Lee Book 1: Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay-Adult UF series that sounds interesting.
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver-Oliver's first foray into middle-grade fantasy. If it's as wonderful as her other books I'm in for a good time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Masque of the Red Death

TITLE: Masque of the Red Death
AUTHOR: Bethany Griffin
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: In a world where a disease is slowly killing everyone, a girl joins a rebellion...
MY REVIEW: This is one of those books that I think had a good concept and good writing but unfortunately didn't really have a good story. It is what I call the Star Wars conundrum: a fully realized awesome looking world that you want to spend time in...but a rather cliche story. However this was written with less self-awareness then even Star Wars.
For those that don't know this world is based off a short story of Poe's called The Masque of the Red Death which is one of the eeriest short stories I've ever read only rivaled by his other story The Tell Tale Heart. Griffin does do a great job in taking this short story and expanding on it. Unfortunately she does it while writing around so many YA cliches that it winds up being a rather boring book. It doesn't help that the characters are pretty one-dimensional cookie cutter characters who I have a hard time liking. I found the main character especially whiny and emo and it just wound up being dull despite the great idea of the world itself.
This is just another example of why you should work on both writing and story at the same time. If readers have a difficult time liking any of your characters or the plot then what is the point of making a great setting? I do think Griffin has promise for sure because like I mentioned, her writing is very nice. She just needs to work on her story telling skill.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Poe's Masque of the Red Death, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five steampunk zombies

Book Review: The Last Echo

TITLE: The Last Echo
Body Finder series Book 3
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
GENRE: Paranormal, mystery
PREMISE: Violet is now a part of a paranormal gifts detective agency but that doesn't solve all her problems...
MY REVIEW: Now see, if Derting had started off the series with THIS idea (girl investigating mysterys with paranormal gifts team) I would have been as gaga about this series as everyone else was. Because the inclusion of Sarah, Rafe and co. was much needed and much welcomed on my part. Look Violet and her guy are cute and all but the whole "she gets into trouble and finds way out of it" was starting to get old by the second book.
But now, things are getting interesting with a larger story arc intro, more interesting characters and darker villains. Now I'm fully on board with this series whereas before while I liked it I didn't exactly gush all over it because I felt it was pretty average in terms of the paranormal genre. I still think it is but now there's much more interest added that makes me really want the next book. Judging from the ending I'm assuming there's going to be another book. I mean she can't leave it there.
While I am a little irritated that the author felt the need to throw in a love triangle (but at least the author made me understand why Violet was getting into this guy and from what I see pretty much nipped the triangle in the bud. Or I hope so at least). I am definitely eager for this new direction that Derting is taking this series. I now am looking forward to the next Body Finder book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1 and 2, paranormal fans, Clarity fans, Mediator/1-800-WHERE-R-U fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five creepy villains.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: If You Liked X Author...

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Topic: If You Liked X Author Try this...

1) If You liked the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling try: The Sister's Grimm series by Michael Buckley-Same sort of magical feel with fairytale characters and also parallels things like prejudice and it's a good way to learn about how some of the actual written classic fairytales went (hint: Disney got it wrong).

2) If you liked the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer try: Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead for better written and more entertaining vampires and romance.

3) If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins try: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson for similar coming of age fun in Europe.

4) If you liked The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare try: The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan for a similar feeling urban fantasy character driven world.

5) If you liked Graceling by Kristin Cashore try: Tamora Pierce's Tortall series for similar girls who kick ass. The first book is Alanna: The First Adventure but really you can start any of the first books with the girls (I myself picked up Daine's first without realizing it was part of a larger series).

6) If you liked the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr try: the Tithe Trilogy by Holly Black for similar feeling dark faerie world.

7) If you liked Halo by Alexandra Adornetto try: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand for more angels (and in my opinion better written ones).

8) If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins try: Battle Royale to see why people are saying the books are so much alike (I personally don't prescribe to the theory that HG is a BR rip-off but I do think there was definite influence going on).

9) If you liked Tempest by Julie Cross try: Hourglass by Myra McEntire for more time travel shenanigans.

10) If you liked Clarity by Kim Harrington try: 1-800-WHERE-R-U by Meg Cabot (and the Mediator series) for more awesome girls with paranormal gifts.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: River Marked

TITLE: River Marked
Book 6 in the Mercy Thompson series
AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs
GENRE: Urban fantasy, werewolves
PREMISE: Mercy adjust to being Adam's mate while on a new case.
MY REVIEW: There comes a point in time when a long running series should probably come to an end already. I think Mercy Thompson has come to the point that it should be finished. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Mercy still. It's this point I'm satisfied with the series.
I mean the love triangle is solved. Mercy and Adam just got married. Mercy has come full circle and is still her badass self and Adam has no problem with it. I am frankly happy with the ending of this book and would have no problem if Briggs didn't write another one.
But she's going too. I'm just not sure if I'm going to bother to pick it up. I just don't feel a burning desire to read any more because I'm happy with where Mercy is at this point.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read books 1-5, Armstrong fans, Briggs fans, UF fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five satisfied grins

Book Review: The Selection

TITLE: The Selection
Book 1 in The Selection series
AUTHOR: Kiera Cass
GENRE: Dystopian, romance
PREMISE: America is chosen along with 35 other girls to compete for the hand of the crown prince.
MY REVIEW: Since I know someone will most likely bring it up, I will get out my feelings out on the drama surrounding Cass first: I in no way approve of what she and her agent did or how they conducted themselves. It was childish, it was unprofessional, and it reeks of censorship. I am sorry if you got your feelings hurt by a negative review but you know what? There's a better way to handle it. Either ignore it. Or take what the reviewer said into account. More often then not, negative reviews give reasons for why they don't like a book. Perhaps that reviewer has some good points to make. Take the points into consideration and use it to improve your writing. Don't throw a fit and say the reviewer has no idea what they're talking about and then proceed to hate on every negative review you see on sites like Goodreads. It frankly will backfire on you as seen by all the backlash Cass has gotten over this from bloggers. Honestly, what has been with YA authors lately? I'm beginning to think it should be a requirement for all new authors to take a class on how to conduct themselves in public with class and dignity and how to take criticism maturely.
That all said, I'm sorry but the negative review was absolutely right. This book is bad. And yes, I have read the whole thing. The writing is passable and I will say that fans of The Bachelor/Bachlorette will probably get a kick out of this. Unfortunately for the author I detest the Bachelor/Bachlorette so that hindered my enjoyment quite a bit. Then there's the fact that other then the Bachelor parallels this is just all so unimaginative it's not funny. Don't get me started on how not one bit of it even makes sense. Especially the world building. Why on earth is the future US suddenly using a caste system that is even now being slowly disgarded in India? I don't believe this world is possible for a second and the author fails to make me believe any of it. Then there's America. She's ANNOYING. She's the typical "I'm not beautiful really" oh so perfect Mary Sue type that makes me want to scream. To top it off she's a judgemental, slut-shaming (note every time a girl shows cleavage/wears make-up America looks at her in disgust and heavy judgement), and possibly more whiny then Bella Swan. Actually, she pretty much is Bella Swan with red hair. The love interests were equally dull and frankly were douchebags. Especially Aspen who was a sexist douchebag. I despised how once again we have about zero female friendship. Remember girls: you are all in competition with one another. Female support? What's that? Frankly this book hit every one of my pet peeves starting with shoddy world building that makes no sense to boring plot that is predictable (OBVIOUSLY she's going to win; it's just a matter of how and if she'll fall for the prince or cheat on him with Aspen. Which knowing YA lately, she probably will) to utterly boring cookie cutter characters with no depth. This is quite possibly the most boring Dystopian I've ever read. Author of Wither, I owe you an apology. Wither at least has some creativity and interest.
Again, I will say this is obviously aimed at lovers of The Bachelor. So for all of you, this may be a decent read. However I wavered between being utterly bored with it to loathing it. So far, this is my worst book of 2012.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, Bachelor fans, people with high patience
MY RATING: One and a half out of Five utterly boring dystopians