To say that I love faeries is an understatement. I have also loved the magic and mischief of them and so I love when I hear about a new book dealing w...moreTo say that I love faeries is an understatement. I have also loved the magic and mischief of them and so I love when I hear about a new book dealing with this mythology because I am always curious to see new takes on the old stories. Some authors don't do such a good job while others knock the old stories on their butts and really breath new life into them. Julie Kagawa's The Iron King falls into the second category. With The Iron King she creates this magical world that fits so seamlessly with the world that we exist in. Meghan is a believable character and for the most part I liked her. But she wasn't my favorite character as the girl never seemed to learn the rules of faery. Yes its great that you are willing to risk all for someone you love, but there does come a point when you can be too careless. After all how much can you do to help if you've given away everything that you are? I applaud her love of her friends and family but she just seemed a bit too reckless for me at times.
Fortunately for Meghan the cast of characters that surround her more then make up for her personality flaws. Her best friend, Robin Goodfell, is filled with mischief and fun. Then there is Ash, the swoon worthy youngest sun of the Queen Mab of the Winter Fey. I loved loved loved the interactions between Robin and and Ash. These two frenemies were a delight to watch and it was always hard to decided which one to cheer for since they are both so loveble. And then of course there is Grimalkin, a cait sith, who is willing to help out....so long as the helpee doesn't mind giving him a small favor in return. There were also lots of fun little faeries that you meet along the way that really flesh out this world, like the dryads, Twig, and the pack rats.
I became so absorbed in this book that the ending came as an abrupt shock. I kept hitting the page flip button on Anne the eReader in the vain hopes that more words would appear. But they never did and if it wasn't for the fact that my train was pulling into my station stop I might have started the whole book over again. It was just that much fun. Kagawa is a gifted story teller and I am so glad that I don't have to wait a year for the next book to come out. Harlequin Teen plans on publishing all 3 books in the series at 6 month intervals. And between Book 1 and 2 there will be a short story that will help tide one over until August. At least if I keep telling myself it won't be hard to wait then it really won't be....but gah! I so could have kept reading for another 300 pages and not been bored! I want more. Now!
I want to say more but don't know where to find the words. Iron King was just such a wonderful twist on the mytholoy that I've been reading about for years. There were so many old faces like Oberon, Tatiana and Mab and yet they weren't the same old faeries of yore. Their is new life in them, more defined personalities and I look forward to seeing what Kagawa will do with them next. There are also many new faeries...and have I mentioned the swoon worthy Ash? If not then he's one to look out for.
Interested in learning more? You can learn some faery terms here and be sure to check out the expert here or better yet just head out to your nearest book store tomorrow, 01 Feb, and pick up a copy for yourself! I think that you're going to love the world that Kagawa has created.
As originally posted on my blog: Ticket to Anywhere(less)
When I first picked up Bite Me by Parker Blue I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Would it be another run of the mill vampire story? Or would there...moreWhen I first picked up Bite Me by Parker Blue I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Would it be another run of the mill vampire story? Or would there be something new in it? My very first impression wasn't a good one when in the first chapter I was jarred out of the false reality of the book when the main character, Val, gave her name to a vampire she was trying to kill. A vampire who didn't know her and yet immediately jumped to the fact that her name was Valentine. Now I don't know about you but my first thought when hearing the name Val isn't Valentine. But I shook that off, I shouldn't focus on such a minor detail I should just let the story come. And come it did. I whizzed through this book in about a day. I loved the world that Parker has created.
The main character isn't a know it all teenager with special skills who is near perfect and is able to save the world in a single bound. Val is older then in most young adult books, she's 18 and was home schooled because she harbors an inner demon, literally. This sets her apart from other people her age as well as her family. And it doesn't help that on her 18th birthday she finds herself without a job, without a home and without a family to help her figure things out. She is lost and clueless and that just makes her so very real. Val's half sister is also a character to like...well, one that you like to dislike because she's a real teen. She's a 16 year old girl who thinks she knows everything and like most little sisters she is annoying and gets into trouble. But the character that makes this book is Fang. He tends to steal the scene and add a dose of comedy in with all the life drama and vampire slaying.
As I've said I love the world that Blue has created, but this is a first book in a series by a new author so its flawed. There were several times when random scenes would knock me out of the false reality and make me go huh? Forcing me to reread passages in order to try and figure out if I missed something or if an event/statement really did just come out of nowhere. But it wasn't so flawed that I was turned off. In fact I am really excited for the second book, Try Me, to come out. Though very sad that it won't be until February!!
What to say about Moonstone by Marilee Brothers? This is a tough one to review because its hard to pinpoint just what I didn't like about it. Perhaps...moreWhat to say about Moonstone by Marilee Brothers? This is a tough one to review because its hard to pinpoint just what I didn't like about it. Perhaps its the plot that only seemed to build and then never fully delivered? Or maybe it was the characters. Most seemed to be just there, some held no real purpose and others just made you go huh? Allie, the main character was likeable enough but I also found her to be a bit annoying. She'd go from leaps of intellect and "ah-ha!" moments to moments of pure stupidity. I don't know it just didn't ring true to me, but maybe its just part of being a normal teenager. Her mother....well....don't get me started there. She's in her 30's mooching off pseudo-relatives and expects her 15 year old daughter to do all the caretaking because she's "retired from life"....lady you are a single mother you don't get to make that choice. You do what you need to raise your daughter. The writing while nothing to write home about wasn't as bad as other books I've read but it was never enough to lure me into the plot. Which I found to be a bit muddled and all over the place. If I didn't already have the sequel I'm not sure that I would read it. But I asked for both books to review and review both of them I will. Who knows...maybe book 2 will be a turning point in the series and things will take a turn for the better. Stay tuned to my blog to find out.(less)
***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***
Island Sting by Bonnie J Doerr was a book that I was really excited about when I first heard a...more***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***
Island Sting by Bonnie J Doerr was a book that I was really excited about when I first heard about it last year. Its setting, the Florida Keys, is a place where I want to spend more time in...I have visited once but that was just for a few hours during a trip to Florida a few years back. So not only is it a place that I want to know more of its an eco-based mystery....which means science and environmental facts. Island Sting is told from the point of view of Kenzie - who just moved to the Keys with her mom from New York. Her first day there she falls into a canal and helps to save one of the Key Deer and somehow gets involved in a mystery of someone who is killing the deer for sport.
I think I expected more from Island Sting then I got. I expected a mystery something that I'd have to try and figure out but there was no real mystery. Everything was handed to reader so it was very unfulfilling. I don't know maybe I just read too many mysteries and so for me this one was no challenge. I also found the writing to be more middle grade in nature than young adult even though all the teens were 16 or so. Although if it wasn't for the occasional reference to driving a car or high school I'd swear they were more 12 than 16. There were several times I felt like I was being talked down to as things were being explained to Kenzie. For as new girl on the island, the city chick, there was much about island life that she was clueless about.
I also had some issues with the dialogue. It just came across as stilted and didn't always ring true for a teen voice. The description to dialogue transitions didn't always work for me either. There just seemed to be a bunch of words that were edited out so there were these random jumps in events. The character of Angelo also annoyed me. His mood swings were just out of control and I just didn't see anything about him to like. So it was hard to believe that Kenzie was so head over heels for him....especially in the short amount of time in which this book takes place.
For me, this book suffered from having too high expectations. I think if I'd expected less I would have enjoyed it more. Perhaps if it were billed more as middle grade that too would have helped me enjoy it more as then the juvenile language of the book would have had more of a place. I've been reading a lot of YA over the last few years and I know that a more complex writing style and story can really thrive. There will be at least two more books involving Kenzie Ryan and I think that I will check out the next one before completely abandoning her story. Kenzie has potential and perhaps Island Sting just suffered a bit from being a debut book and that with time the writing and the crafting of a mystery will grow and become more of what I like to see when reading a mystery. Until then this is a book that I can only recommend to the younger reader.
***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***(less)
Any regular reader of my blog knows that I am a fan of Sarah Maclean. She is an author who writes really good heartfelt stories. Her heroines aren't y...moreAny regular reader of my blog knows that I am a fan of Sarah Maclean. She is an author who writes really good heartfelt stories. Her heroines aren't your typical girls. They are usually a bit awkward, bookish and perhaps a bit plumper than what is considered the norm. They are girls that defy the conventions in their own ways in order to blaze their own path. They are girls in which you can see yourself in and become really attached to. But there is something about Isabel Townsend that really sets her apart for me. I think it might have begun in part because of the roof incident (see vlog reading).
This may seem odd to you but roofs hold a special place in my heart and were a big part in my growing up years. You see the house I grew up in had a porch - it wrapped around most of the building and went under all of our second floor windows. Reading books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn made me long for a place like Francie Nolan's fire escape. And since I couldn't convince my parents to move to a place with one I had my roof. Only the roof was FORBIDDEN.
My dad had few rules but they were meant to be followed to a T. We weren't allowed on the roof. We weren't allowed in the attic. We weren't allowed to dig holes in the yard. We aren't allowed to take things apart (along with a long hard stare at me). There were others to be sure but those were repeated. Often. Probably because they were the ones we broke the most. Especially after The Incident - which involved my brother, a friend, the attic and a hole in the ceiling. After The Incident there were so many talks on not going in the attic that even now in my 30s when my mom sends me to fetch something my first response is 'but I'm not allowed' followed by a sigh, a look and an exasperated that was when you were a child. So you can only imagine my glee to find Isabel ON THE ROOF....which she got to by GOING THROUGH THE ATTIC. (Yes I am weird, I know.)
Its not just the roof though, Isabel is such a strong character who bears a HUGE weight on her shoulders. She has relied only on herself for so long that she has forgotten what its like to lean on someone else. This is both good and bad as you can imagine. She is smart and resourceful and also can get so lost in her thoughts sometimes that she doesn't always see what's around her. Which is like me in some ways. Her first meeting with Nick St. John....yeah that could so happen to me - well something similar since I don't live in 1823 England. (Now if only I could find me a Nick too...*wanders off to dreamland*
As with many romances the plot is pretty standard in that the heroine is poor, about to lose her home, has some secrets and is searching for a solution to all her woes. Our hero, the very swoon worthy Nick, is trying to escape the marriage minded mamas on the ton and so leaps at a chance to escape to the country. Especially after being named London's most eligible bachelor. (Eep! poor Nick lol) The two meet and the reader is taken on a fun and wonderful journey as you watch them struggle with what you know is gonna happen. Added to the mix are some of the best side characters ever. I ADORE Rock almost as much, if not more than Nick. He is this great and wonderful teddy bear of man with some laugh out loud lines. Rock is such a perfect counter point to Nick you can see why they are friends. Isabel's house staff also add in some amusement and her younger brother is both endearing and the sort of boy who just makes your heart melt.
As of this posting, I think that Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, is my favorite book by Sarah Maclean yet. Which is saying a lot since I LOVE LOVE LOVED The Season! (my review) (Speaking of I STILL want more of that story Sarah! The girls need swoon worthy boys and Freddie needs to meet his Petunia!!) Ten Ways isn't as naughty as Nine Rules but there was less head jumping and I felt that the story was just a bit tighter. Although I missed the lack of Callie and Gabriel. (I know I know Yorkshire is a long way from London but still...I just want EVERYTHING lol). I really just can't say enough how much I loved this book. I just couldn't stop reading it once I had begun. I laughed out loud and would have happily moved into the story if such a thing were possible. Don't believe me...well here is a wee snippet from the book that is will hopefully tease your appetite a bit:
"Minutes later, Isabel was pressing her ear to the heavy mahogany door of the earl's study. She could detect the low hum of masculine voices from within, but their words were impossible to understand. She leaned closer, cursing the ancestor who had selected such a sturdy portal. While she appreciated that had in question likely had goings-on that he had not wanted overheard, the choice of two-inch-thick wood showed an obvious lack of foresight when it came to the requirements of future generations." (Note: Text is taken from the ARC and may not be the same as in the finished version.)
Seriously folks, this is a book that I can gush on at length. I really could. This is the sort of book that I will reread. I don't do that with many books but I just know that Nick and Isabel will become good friends and a welcome distraction when I am sick or my life is just so chaotic that I can't focus on anything new. I also want it said that I think that Rock deserves his own novella. I want to know what he was doing when Nick and Isabel were busy on rooftops. So Sarah, please make that happen. pretty please?
Now begins the long wait until the release of the third book in this series, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart which won't be out until June 2011. *le sigh* Until then I guess I'll just have to pick up a hard copy of Nine Ways (out 26 Oct) and reread it for any clues to what might happen in Eleven Scandals. Hmm...I might just have to reread Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake as well.....you know....for the clues. (less)
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean is the third and final book in her Love by Numbers series. The first two books dealt w...moreEleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean is the third and final book in her Love by Numbers series. The first two books dealt with twin brothers Nick and Gabriel St John who were both a bit rakish and (at least with Gabriel) seemed to enjoy breaking the rules of society. But of all the members of the St. John clan no one breaks as many rules as Nick and Gabriel's younger half-sister Juliana Fiori. Although, in her case, all the rule breaking is unintentional...mostly. You see, Juliana was raised in Italy where the rules of conduct are different. She is shipped to England to live with previously unknown brothers on the death of her father and has to quickly learn to navigate in a society that loves rules and has a quick disdain for those that don't quite fit in. And no one dishes out disdain more than Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton. Which just means that he and Juliana are going to have one heck of a roller coaster ride to love.
I loved this book. I think its safe to say that Eleven Scandals is my favorite Sarah MacLean book to date. Juliana is such a fun character filled with spunk and strength and I couldn't get enough of her. Simon could be a total jerk at times with his condensation but I often felt sorry for this fictional man as he was no match for the feisty Juliana. And before anyone gets on me for spoiling this *IS* a romance novel so of course the two MCs are going to get together in the end. Although I have to admit that even this long time romance reader had her doubts that MacLean would be able to pull these two very strong willed characters together! But she managed to do so in a believable and totally heart achey way that left me a bit breathless from the non-stop push and pull of these two fabulous characters.
Another think that Sarah MacLean managed to do with her book was to make me gasp aloud. This isn't something that I do with books. Laugh out loud yes. Yell at books when a character makes me angry (more often then I care to admit) but gasp? I can't recall the last time that happened. But it did in Eleven Scandals, right around page 159 where something happened that I never expected and so I gasped in pleasant surprise. That same scene was already a fun one as it saw the appearance of a beloved character from MacLean's YA book The Season and that had made me all giddy. Then you have this bit of shock and....well....it just further shows just what a roller coaster ride this book was.
In the end, Eleven Scandals, was a lot of fun. Juliana is a total fish out of water and I loved her little mistakes in coming up with the right vocabulary when trying to describe something. She was bold and unapologetic and despite her mistakes she was always honest about her self. She wasn't perfect but she never pretended to be. She simply tried her best and people had to accept her or not for who she was and because of that she makes a great role model for girls of today. Because who doesn't struggle with identity and tries to fit in? I loved this book and recommend it to all...and I also learned recently that the heroine of Sarah MacLean's next book actually makes her debut here for those observant enough to catch it. I admit i rushed through my first reading of this book but I think that trying to figure out the heroine of A Rogue by Any Other Name is more than enough reason for a reread of Eleven Scandals...not that I need a reason but it helps in rationalizing why I am ignore the bagillion other books in my house waiting to be read. ;-)(less)