Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: Three

TITLE: Three
Book three in the Article 5 Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kristen Simmons
PUBLISHED: February 11th
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: Ember and Chase take one last stand against the government...
MY REVIEW: Article 5 is one of those quiet dystopians no one ever really talks about. Which is a shame because I think its issues are very relevant to issues going on nowadays.
As an ending...I admit, it was a tad lack luster. There were no major surprises. No character deaths. No big reveals that made me go OMG. But it also ended the thing properly and didn't screw up its continuity. I mean, I'm reading Allegiant now and if I had to choose endings, I'd take this over Allegiant any day (seriously, this book is screwing up the whole trilogy. I'm not even a HUGE Divergent fan and I'm kind of getting pissed on behalf of the fans).
So...not a spectacularly huge ending. But it ends in a satisfactory way that fits the trilogy so I'm not complaining too loudly. Trust me, as any Divergent fan will tell you: we could have it a lot worse.
WHO SHOULD READ: Article 5 fans, dystopian fans (who don't mind quiet dystopian books)
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five nods
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Four out of Five governments run amok

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: The Tyrant's Daughter

TITLE: The Tyrant's Daughter
AUTHOR: J.C. Carleson
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PREMISE: The daughter of a dictator goes into hiding with her family in the United States...
MY REVIEW: This was an interesting one. I'm honestly not sure how to review it. I don't kid myself into thinking this would ever be a commercial friendly sort of read. I highly doubt it's one of those that many readers will actively go looking for unless that happens to be what they were into/in the mood for. 
If you do however, like politically motivated books that talk about issues like this, I would definitely rec this one. It ends a bit abruptly and sometimes is all over the place with the ideas, but it's nice seeing an author take risks and talk about subjects like these.
I can't tell you how accurate its portrayal is (I'm not Muslim, so I don't know what is accurate). But I do think this one is a good one for getting discussions going, which I think is ultimately what the author was trying to achieve.
WHO SHOULD READ: Realistic Fiction fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five hmms

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: The Fiery Heart

TITLE: The Fiery Heart
Book 4 in the Bloodlines series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
PREMISE: Sydney and Adrian try to navigate being in a relationship.
MY REVIEW: At this point in time, there's probably not much I can say about Bloodlines/Vampire Academy that I haven't already said or that you haven't already heard. Just know, I'm very much a fan, so this review is biased.
As an installment this one...stalled a little. Honestly, not a lot happens till the last fifty or so pages which leave you on a rotten cliff hanger (evil, Mead, EVIL). So I advise patience while reading it. Although, if you're into this series for the Adrian/Sydney, you'll probably love all the couple moments.
So, a slow installment till the very cliff hanger like end. Good for fans of the series. Everyone else has probably already made up their mind if they want to bother with this or not.
WHO SHOULD READ: Bloodlines fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five tatoos

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Lady Thief

TITLE: Lady Thief
Book 2 in the Scarlet Trilogy
AUTHOR: A. C. Gaughen
PUBLISHED: February 11th
GENRE: Historical Fiction (sort of), Retelling
PREMISE: Scarlet continues her adventures
MY REVIEW: I was probably one of like ten people or so who thought Scarlet was just okay. I mean, I didn't think it was horrible. But at the same time...I wasn't very impressed either. It was one of those situations where I was kind of scratching my head and wondering why people where going nuts over it which kind of happens to me a lot, sadly.
I happened to see the second book in the library and decided to give it another try. Sometimes second books in series/trilogies are better after all. Look at what happened with Across the Universe. Unfortunately, that didn't happen here. In fact...I think the sequel just magnified the problems I had with the first one. Which was mainly that Scarlet did EVERYTHING. I've been trying to stay away from using the term Mary Sue lately because of the way fans tend to just throw the term at characters they just don't like. But I'm sorry, in Scarlet's case? She's kind of a Mary Sue. She's literally perfect. Has no faults whatsoever. Never screws up, always seen as in the right, etc, etc. Honestly...she's damn boring once you take away the fact that she dressed as a boy and joined the Merry Men (and it's never clear on why she even joined the Merry Men in the first place).
The real sad thing is, I LIKED the idea of Will Scarlet actually being female. That could have been golden. But Scarlet does all the things that WIll Scarlet never did. In the first one, she basically took over the role of Robin Hood (even though Robin Hood was RIGHT THERE, along with Little John and don't even get me started on that ridiculous love triangle). I had wondered in my review where hell Maid Marian was and it turns out, Scarlet is also Marian. What are the odds, right? Literally, she is every good character in Robin Hood EXCEPT Will Scarlet. Oh, and on top of being Maid Marion, turns out she's actually secretly a heir to the throne. Sigh.
I'll give that Gaughen can spin an entertaining and readable tale. But it's all sort of surface quality. Once you actually start to sit and think about the book, the whole thing falls apart. So, I must bid this series farewell. It just is not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Scarlet
MY RATING: Three out of Five kind of annoying main characters

Book Review: Burn Bright

TITLE: Burn Bright
Book 2 in the Dark Star series
AUTHOR: Bethany Frennette
PUBLISHED: February 25th
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Audrey deals with new powers, a new threat in her city, and trying to navigate friends, boyfriend, and a superhero mother.
MY REVIEW: I will forever be puzzled about why Dark Star isn't more popular then it is. Because it really should be more buzzed about. It's got all the things that usually inhabit popular YA titles: likable main character, fun friends, hot guy (who in this case doesn't act like a jerk, yay), fast-paced plot, fun set up. one ever talks about it. Honestly, YA world, what gives?
This one was just as enjoyable as the first one. There's plot twists galore, action, and character growth. It does all the things sequels should do while managing to be entertaining as hell.
If this one slipped by your radar, I beg you to please give it a chance. Especially if you're into urban fantasy/superheroes.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Dark Star, Mortal Instruments fans, comic book fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five superheroes kicking butt

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Mistwalker

TITLE: Mistwalker
AUTHOR: Saundra Mitchell
PUBLISHED: February 4rth, 2014
GENRE: Paranormal
PREMISE: A man tries to lure a girl into taking his spot where he's trapped in a lighthouse collecting souls.
MY REVIEW: Mitchell is one of the many unsung YA authors out there. One of the things I like about her is that you never know what you'll get with her. Each of her books are different, except all have a paranormal spin to them. All are interesting and unique ideas.
This one is no exception. It's a paranormal but with little to no romance in it. It's just a straight up creepy story about a guy trying to get a girl to take his place so he can be free. He does do it by trying to seduce her, but it's made clear that this is not okay. It also throws in some timely observations about economy and its effects on people in a sly way.
Personally, I liked this one. The ending was a bit abrupt, but the story leading to the ending was interesting and it's nice seeing a author do something that is unexpected. Sadly, looks like the masses and I don't agree on this one. Oh well. C'est la vie.
WHO SHOULD READ: Saundra Mitchell fans, Paranormal fans, Stephan King fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five lighthouses

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: What's a Witch to Do?

TITLE: What's a Witch to Do?
Book 1 in the Midnight Magic Mystery series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Harlow
GENRE: Mystery, Romance, Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: A witch tries to figure out who's trying to kill her while nursing an injured wolf, preparing for her sister's wedding, and taking care of two kids...
MY REVIEW: I had picked this one up not realizing that it is actually a bit of a spin-off series of another series called F.R.E.A.K.S. However, the author does give enough info where you can figure out the gist of the world so it doesn't really matter if you haven't read that series.
As far as these cozy mysteries go, it was cute. I got a kick out of the humor. The MC wasn't irritating. It's readable. It's just...very stuck in the cozy mystery formula so I'm not sure how much it's worth continuing because this formula can get stale fast.
But if you're in the mood for a cute romantic story featuring witches and hot werewolves and need your fix, this one should do the trick.
WHO SHOULD READ: cozy mystery fans, F.R.E.A.K.S fans, urban fantasy romance fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five flustered witches

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Split Second

TITLE: Split Second
Book 2 in the Pivot Point series
AUTHOR: Kasie West
PUBLISHED: February 11th, 2014
GENRE: Science Fiction
PREMISE: Addie deals with the choices she made in book one with surprising results....
MY REVIEW: Pivot Point was one of the many pleasant early surprises last year (seriously, January and February were good months in 2013). It was one of those where I had no expectations because it hadn't gotten overhyped and I was able to enjoy it as is. Now, with the sequel, I had bigger expectations because I enjoyed the first one so much. Luckily, the author delivered.
This was such a good sequel. It expanded on ideas from the first one. It grew characters (even the mean girl got some development! Yay!), it continued the plot, and we get more Laila, aka my favorite character.
So I was personally really pleased with this one and I imagine many fans of Pivot Point will be as well.
WHO SHOULD READ: Pivot Point fans, Fringe fans, Sci-fi fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five choices to choose from

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review: Enders

TITLE: Enders
Book 2 in the Starters series
AUTHOR: Lissa Price
PUBLISHED: January 7th, 2014
GENRE: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
PREMISE: Callie's fight isn't over and now she has to deal with the consequences of the deal she made...
MY REVIEW: I wish more people knew about Starters. It's definitely one of the may unsung dystopians out there. It's got an interesting premise, good writing, and a action packed plot. Its sequel, continues that.
I love dystopians that slyly comment on things that are going on now. This series takes the generation gap going on and examines it further. This is why I like dystopians. I like it when they take relevant issues going on today and then twist them around and say what if? That's what dystopians are supposed to be! Sadly, the genre's become a bit warped as of late, so dystopians that actually do this are few and far between (and usually don't become popular).
True, there are a few tropes here I could do without (love triangle, totally not needed, but there for some reason) but this remains one of the more interesting dystopian series out there that I wish more people would give a chance.
WHO SHOULD READ: Starters fans, Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five computer chips

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

TITLE: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
AUTHOR (s): John Green and David Levithan
GENRE: Contemporary/Drama
PREMISE: Two Will Graysons, as different as can be, meet through circumstance.
MY REVIEW: Ever have one of those books where you like what it has to say more then the book itself? That's me and this book. Now, once again, I feel like had I found this book in my teen years I would have been all over it and probably have liked it a whole lot more. So I strongly urge teens to read this because I bet you guys will get more out of this book then I did.
As it is, I just found it a decent read, but don't have quite the strong personal attachment to it that others seem to have. But that seems to be my lot in life when it comes to John Green (and Levithan, whom I've also read before off and on). Ah well. I will say however, I adored Tiny Cooper with every inch of my being. Dude needs his own book.
So decent read. If you're a contemporary fiction fan, I would definitely check it out.
WHO SHOULD READ: John Green fans, David Levithan fans, Realistic fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five guys named Will Grayson

Book Review: The Offering

TITLE: The Offering
Book 3 in the Pledge Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
PUBLISHED: December 2013
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Charlie brings an end to the war in her country...
MY REVIEW: Honestly, I've always had mixed feelings when it comes to this series. If pressed, I will definitely say I prefer Dertings other series, The Body Finder for sure. So if you want a better example of how well this author can do, I would go for that series.
Mostly, my issues is the world-building because this world is still confusing to me two books later and that's...not good.'s not bad. Not the most original thing in the universe but I don't feel like I'm wasting my time with it either. It makes for a decent library read series.
As an ending this book did okay. It wasn't horrible. also didn't really shock or surprise me either. Other then one minor character death that made me sad, I wasn't too shocked by what went down here. So again, mixed feelings. It's not a bad series or anything...I'm just not overwhelmed when I read it. Especially when I know this author can do much better.
WHO SHOULD READ: Derting fans, fans of Pledge 1 and 2, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Book Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies

TITLE: Curtsies and Conspiracies
Book 2 in the Finishing School series
AUTHOR: Gail Carriger
PUBLISHED: November 2013
GENRE: Steampunk, Adventure
PREMISE: Sophronia's adventures at her school continue as she tries to protect her friend who may be in danger...
MY REVIEW: This review comes with a personal pro bias warning. I'm a Carriger fan and have been for awhile now so take this review with a grain of salt when I say I loved it. Because really these books are just right up my alley so I'm probably not the best neutral judge of this series.
I will however admit, even as a fan, the plot around this one stalled a bit and was all over the place. But I am here for the awesomeness that is Sophronia and she remains just as fun as she was in the first so I don't mind it as much.
This series is probably mostly going to be a treat for those of us that loved the Parasol Protectorate. Though if you haven't read it, you should be able to get the gist of this series anyway. Mostly I pick these books up for fun hijink,s and fun hijinks is exactly what I got, so I'm satisfied.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of Etiquette and Espionage, Gail Carriger fans, Steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five tea sets

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Review: The Bride Wore Size 12

TITLE: The Bride Wore Size 12
Book 5 in the Heather Wells series
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot
PUBLISHED: September 2013
CATEGORY: Adult (but older teens can probably read with no issues, this series is pretty clean)
PREMISE: Heather gears up for her wedding and wouldn't you know it: there's another murder in her dorm.
MY REVIEW: All good things must come to an end. I've loved the Heather Wells since the very beginning. From the first chapter even when it called out stores on vanity sizing. This is not surprising though, I've always been an unashamed Meg Cabot fangirl. Literally there has not been one book of hers I haven't at least enjoyed.
This series is no exception. It is just fun. It's got a decent enough mystery sure. But the real joy in these books is Heather herself and the great dialogue/moments between all the characters. Gosh, I wish this series would get made into a dramedy tv show because it would be awesome.
This ended the series in a satisfactory way. I am going to miss Heather Wells something fierce. But I'm sure I'll love whatever project Cabot tackles next. Rumor is she's working on another Mediator book and while I liked the ending of the series, I have no complaints about this.
WHO SHOULD READ: Heather Wells fans, cozy mystery fans, Meg Cabot fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five wedding gowns

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: Her Dark Curiosity

TITLE: Her Dark Curiosity
Book 2 in the Madman's Daughter Trilogy
AUTHOR: Megan Shepard
PUBLISHED: January 28th, 2014
GENRE: Retelling, Historical Fantasyish
PREMISE: Juliet has escaped her father and his mad island but it seems things have followed her back to London...
MY REVIEW: Madman's Daughter was one of the (many) pleasant surprises from last year. I went into it hopeful, but not expecting much, and wound up enjoying it very much. True, the love triangle part is kind of trying (and it sadly continues to be in the sequel), but the overall story and the journey of Juliet makes it very easy to overlook that.
This does all the things a sequel should. It continues the story without bogging you down with info dumps on what happened before. It expands on ideas that were in the first book. It grows central characters and give background info and introduces new ones (I LOVE Lucy and hope she sticks around). It also continues that great way the author incorporated the original tale (which in this book's case is Jekyll and Hyde) into something new without losing the general message of the original material that made me love Madman's Daughter so much.
In terms of anticipated sequels, this one delivered. I'm going to be sorry to see it go next year. But it looks like Shepard already has another series lined up that looks just as interesting so there's that to look forward too when this ends.
WHO SHOULD READ: Madman's Daughter fans, Jekyll and Hyde fans, Retelling fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five creepy murders

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

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

Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

1) Jonathan Frazen-Honestly...I've just never had any interest in his books. Considering his books are like a thousand pages each I think it would be a good idea to at least be INTERESTED. As it is, I look at them and feel no desire to read them.

2) J. R. Ward-I will get to the Black Dagger Brotherhood ONE of these days. It's on the list this year. But it was also on the list last year so...there you go.

3) Sarah Dessen-Dessen is also one that is on the list and has been for awhile now. It's just...I've never felt this huge burning desire to read her. That is purely because contemporary romance is not one of those genres that I actively read/take interest in. I have to be in the mood for them. Nine times out of ten, I'm not in the mood for them.

4) Brandon Sanderson-I've been interested in his stuff for awhile, especially since he's recently crossed over into the YA category but I just keep getting sidetracked by other books.

5) Lisi Harrison-I've had zero interest in reading the Clique series or the Monster High books. Besides, from what I see they're mostly aimed at the tween crowd anyway. While that doesn't always mean bad (one of my favorite series, Sisters Grimm, is a middle-grade series after all) the books just don't look like anything I'd be interested in. Plus, I have to stare at those Monster High dolls at work all day.

6) Sylvia Day-New Adult author. I have pretty much ZERO interest in the New Adult genre. Mostly because it basically feels like adult fiction that plays by YA rules and seriously, what's the point of putting that in a separate category? Just put it in adult fiction and be done with it. But apparently I'm the only one that feels this way. Oh well. So I'm doing everyone (and myself) a favor and not reading books that I'm sure I won't enjoy.

7) Abbi Glines-See the explanation for Sylvia Day.

8) Jamie McGuire-Ditto.

9) Karen Chance-I've been on a bit of a UF burnout lately. Perhaps if I gain interest in the genre again, I'll try this author out.

10) Keri Arthur-See explanation for Karen Chance.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Minders

TITLE: Minders
AUTHOR: Michele Jaffe
PUBLISHED: January 30th, 2014
GENRE: Science Fiction/Dystopian, Mystery
PREMISE: A girl has to monitor a young man for scientific study and gets caught up in his life when he tries to find out who killed his brother.
MY REVIEW: Jaffe is one of those unsung and vastly underrated YA authors. Aside from the Bad Kitty series (of which I NEED MORE Jaffe, come on!), she mostly does one-shot books and they're usually mysteries of some sort.
Minders continues that trend but sets it in dystopian world. A really interesting dystopian world. I honestly wish we'd gotten more then we did because I find the set up she has here really interesting. Some dystopians should be single books and some should be series. This is one that I wish would continue even though I know it won't. But what info we are given is used to move this interesting set up forward. I will warn that this book doesn't shy away from cursing or teens having sex. So younger teens may want to wait till they're older (or mature enough mentally to handle it). But that is the reality of the world Ford lives in so I appreciate that the author didn't shy away from it.
If you're looking for a interesting mystery/romance this one fits the bill. I still wish there would be more, but alas.
WHO SHOULD READ: Mystery fans, Jaffe fans, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five mind readers

Book Review: Cruel Beauty

TITLE: Cruel Beauty
Book 1 in a planned series
AUTHOR: Rosamund Hodge
PUBLISHED: January 28th, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy, Retelling
PREMISE: Fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast where beauty has actually been raised to kill the beast.
MY REVIEW: Okay, you all know I love me my fairy tale retellings. So I was maybe anticipating this book a little more then I should have and had expectations that were higher then they should have been. That's totally on me. You would think I would know better by now.
Honestly...I have really mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, I love the world building. The way the author incorporated aspects of Beauty and the Beast was fun and interesting. The characters were also complicated which I appreciated. Not all characters have to be likable. But the way the relationship was portrayed was...problamatic as well as cheesy. While I appreciated the flaws in the characters, sometimes they became too much and I wanted to reach in and smack everyone. It never reached dangerous levels like it did with Gone Girl or Twilight, but it could be trying.
So I honestly don't know how I feel about this one. Because I do feel likability of characters/relationship shouldn't trump everything else. So...I say check this one out from the library and decide for yourself.
WHO SHOULD READ: Once Upon a Time fans, Beauty and the Beast fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five roses

Book Review: Timestorm

TITLE: Timestorm
Book 3 in the Tempest Trilogy
AUTHOR: Julie Cross
PUBLISHED: January 28th
GENRE: Science Fiction/Time Travel
PREMISE: The final battle between Jackson and his crew and the Enemies of Time begin.
MY REVIEW: This series has been an up and down sort of trilogy for me. Started out okay, got better in the second, and its conclusion is for me somewhere between those two levels.
Thing is...not much here was unexpected despite what the summary promised. Expanding on the world was a nice touch. Relationships are solved. Still not a rabid Jackson/Holly fan, but they are at least a tolerable YA couple. It reached a logical (of sorts) conclusion. feelings on this trilogy are forever going to be mixed. It's a good time travel fix and by far it's one of the better time travel offerings in YA I've read in the genre.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of the first two books, time travel fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five time travel portals
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Three and a half out of Five