Synopsis from ARC "Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father's debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misseSynopsis from ARC "Pushed into indentured servitude for her stepmother in the City to pay off her father's debts, Ash is consumed with grief. She misses her family and her happy life at the edge of the Wood where old magic used to linger in the air like fairy breath. Her only joy comes from the brief, stolen walks in the woods with the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean. Ash's single, unspoken hope is that someday he might steal her away, as fairies are said to do.
But on the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, from Kaisa she learns the art of the hunt, how to ride and track. Their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, but it grows and changes, and with it, Ash reawakens her capacity for love - and her desire to live."
This book really had an unfair advantage with me from the start. I'd read some good reviews of it, I LOVE a good fairy tale re-telling, and I was completely captivated by the cover. I mean, look at it, that is a wow factor cover.
Ash pulled me in from the beginning. I've been reading a lot of realistic fiction lately so I was ready for a good bit of magic, especially dark, creepy magic. I love that the fairies are so dangerous. They're beautiful and humans are drawn to them, but they are not the fun sprites of Daisy Meadows. It had more of a realistic feel, since fairy tales were never meant to be the Disney-fied fun that they are today. Try reading an original Grimm's version of one of your favorites. I know I was horrified to read the actual Grimm's version of Cinderella as a young teen. It was so violent! The darkness of the fairies provide an interesting point of view. Ash's life is so dark and dismal that she actually views being taken to live with the fairies as a way to better her life.
I love the decision placed before Ash. Go with Sidean (pronounced "Sheen") and, for all practical purposes, die or stay and live with Kaisa. It's a familiar choice in teen paranormal romances, but this one is different, in a really good way.
This is a great book. It seems like to often teen GLBT fiction is in the form of the issue novel. How does the character come out, how do they deal with it, what are the repercussions, etc. Its nice that teens can read books like this that just happen to have same sex relationships because why shouldn't they? ...more
I think I've probably said this before, and anyone who knows me knows this, I don't like fairies, at all. They freak me out just a little bit. They'reI think I've probably said this before, and anyone who knows me knows this, I don't like fairies, at all. They freak me out just a little bit. They're like little human mosquitoes, or, you know, crazed psycho killers. I think that's why I loved this book so much, because the fairies (well faeries I guess) are the bad guys! Yay! They were really scary, at least I thought so. The fact that they could be anywhere and that Deirdre can't always see them, although she's becoming more able to, was really creepy to me.
Luke was a great bad boy/good boy love interest, although, I'm getting a little tired of guys who are supposed to or want to kill the girl. What is up with that?! And why is it so hot?! My common sense kept saying, "C'mon, murder is not the basis of a healthy relationship," but the rest of me kept shouting, "Makeoutmakeoutmakeoutmakeout!!" This may be something I think about more later.
My favorite character in the book, other than Deirdre, was James. He was sweet, funny, and everyone's dream best friend. He was always there for Deirdre, he believed her even when she sounded nuts, and, like all fictious opposite sex best friends, was completely in love with her. Even with all of that going for him, and the fact that I liked him so much, I still wanted Deirdre to be with Luke instead.
I will now dive right into my covers with Ballad! ...more
James Morgan has just started at a new school for musically gifted teenagers, but he's not just gifted. He's the best bag-piper in the state of VirginJames Morgan has just started at a new school for musically gifted teenagers, but he's not just gifted. He's the best bag-piper in the state of Virginia, and maybe even better then that. He's so good that he starts to attract the "wrong kind" of attention. The fey have taken special notice of his skill, on faerie in particular, Nuala, would use his skill to sustain her own life, unless she falls in love with him first.
Oh no, more scary faeries! This is the companion novel to Lament which I read right before this one. I love when I miss a series for a little while so that I don't have to wait between books. I finished the last page of Lament and just reached over to pick up Ballad.
My favorite character in Lament was James. I wanted to know more about him and I was dying for a little narration from him, so I was thrilled that Ballad was his story this time. The story is told in alternating chapters from either James or Nuala's point of view. I love when romances unfold this way. I like knowing that each character is falling for the other, not only being inside one of their heads. This worked really well in Maggie Stiefvater's book Shiver too. She's got a really great style that jumps from one character's head to the other's seamlessly.
Once again the faeries in this novel are the bad guys. They don't seem to be actually evil, not like human villains or monsters. They are described as not having souls and it just seems to be in their nature to be a little duplicitous. The image of the King of the Dead was really scary to me and I loved the image of James running after him after hearing his music.
These novels are obviously really well researched. I love the level of detail that is put into the story. It's an interesting mix of Celtic folklore and modern paranormal romance, and I found it completely engrossing.
Maggie Stiefvater is ridiculously creative. Not only is she a great author, she's also a composer, a musician, and an artist. Check out her website and listen to some of her arrangements and original compositions for Lament and Ballad. Then, watch this great book trailer, made by the author!...more
This book had me at totally hot cover. I know, I'm such a shallow reader. I will completely pass over a probably awesome book with a sub par cover forThis book had me at totally hot cover. I know, I'm such a shallow reader. I will completely pass over a probably awesome book with a sub par cover for a sub par book with an awesome cover! Thankfully, this time my insatiable cover lust did not land me in boring narrative land.
Need caught my attention from the beginning. The place descriptions were so vivid that it was easy for me to slip out of my living room and into the cold, snowy woods of Maine. I love stories that take on a life of their own. That beg to be read in one sitting and scoff at the presence of a bookmark. This was definitely one of those stories.
Zara is an interesting character. She has all the classic hallmarks of a paranormal romance damsel in distress; she's petite, apparently ridiculously good looking, but unaware of it, adorably unique and quirky, and, most importantly, incredibly sad. Think about it, pretty much sums up every paranormal female romantic lead doesn't it, and yet, it gets me every time! The fun thing about Zara is that she doesn't just wait around to be saved. She stands on her own two feet and has a unique way of coping with her life - she chants phobias; alphabetically, in order of relevance, however, but it's how she calms herself down.
The story of Need was just what I Need-ed. I was in the mood for something romantic, dark, and a little bit paranormal. While the story certainly doesn't break any new ground, it did satisfy my craving for some spooky-fied fantasy lovin', and, most importantly, it did so in less then 350 pages which was just right. Sometimes I start to feel that books go on for too long, but not this one. I got just what I wanted and still have lots of time to start another book.
Final thought, I love all these books lately about evil fairies. Yes, I know Need is about pixies, but hey, they're pretty much the same thing; tiny evil human mosquitoes. I wish that Zara would figure out the name of the fear of fairies. Feyphobia...Pixiephobia...something probably more latin sounding, but whatever it is, I have it. Freaking fairies. Yeesh. ...more
I read Need a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for Captivate. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed. The book started outI read Need a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for Captivate. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed. The book started out focusing pretty much solely on Zara and Nick's relationship. Obviously trying to convince the reader that they're really really in love, soul mates, etc. Sadly, I wasn't buying it. I thought that they probably liked each other, but weren't really in love. Nick is lost and in need of someone to protect and Zara is just desperate to deny her non-human half.
There was a relationship I believed in though. I thought Zara was better suited to being with Astley. Just being around him brought out a different side of her. She couldn't stay away from him, she trusted him even though she knew she probably shouldn't, and he understands her better than Nick. There are definitely those who will not agree with me, but I can't help it. Apparently I'm a fan of a lusty pixie (which is weird based on my previously stated fear of all things fairy).
Overall I did enjoy this book and am now dying for another. The characters might be a little flat, but the action is pretty intriguing. I loved my second trip to the snowy woods of Maine and, as always, I love scary fairies, well pixies, same thing. I may have nightmares tonight about sharp toothed pixies coming to bite me....more
It seems that the scary fairies are following me wherever I go. I really don't seek out these sort of books, they just find me. This one, for instanceIt seems that the scary fairies are following me wherever I go. I really don't seek out these sort of books, they just find me. This one, for instance, landed in my lap (well not really, it landed in the youth services department mailbox and I called dibs) and immediately started giving me the fairy creeps.
Tanya feels very alone for most of the book. Her mother can't handle her, her grandmother doesn't want her around, and, like all good fantasy-esque heroines, her weirdness keeps her from really having any friends. She does have her dog, but I was happy when she started to get closer to Fabian. She really needed a human friend her own age, someone with his own weirdness who would be able to understand her.
The plot of the story overall was very enthralling. I was in turns confused, intrigued, excited, and a little freaked out. The characters and setting felt so real it was like watching a movie play out in my head. I love a book that makes me feel like my couch is transported into the middle of a thick, misty wood filled with mystery. This is the type of story that you can really get deeply into, I definitely enjoyed it.
Michelle Harrison is the type of writer who really understands young teens and how to portray them, and their relationships with adults. At one point, during breakfast, there is a perfect exchange between Tanya, Fabian, and their respective adults.
"Fabian had succeeded. She caught his eye and the two of them shared a look; it was the kind of look children wear when they know they've gotten away with something. At the same moment, Warwick and Florence also shared a look. Theirs was the kind of look adults wear when they know that somehow they have been well and truly hoodwinked, but are clueless as to the how and why, and know only that there's absolutely nothing they can do about it." (ARC p. 224)
I will be recommending this to lots of kids in the coming months and hopefully, they'll enjoy it as much as I did! ...more
Meghan Chase has always been inconsequential: people forget her moments after seeing her, if they notice her at all. Her own step-father seems to be hMeghan Chase has always been inconsequential: people forget her moments after seeing her, if they notice her at all. Her own step-father seems to be hardly aware of her. She is hoping that things will start to change for her on her sixteenth birthday, the most romantic, important birthday a girl can have. Meghan's is going to be about more than boys and driving cars though. On her birthday she finds out that her four year old brother has been kidnapped and switched for a faerie changeling. Just when it seems that she won't be able to do anything to save him, her best friend Robbie tells her that he is actually the immortal fey, Robin Goodfellow/Puck. He offers to bring Meghan into the land of the fey to save her brother, but the adventure will be more dangerous and eye opening than she can imagine.
First things first, this cover is gorgeous, Julie Kagawa hit the jackpot with this one. This is the type of cover that makes teens stop and pick up the book without knowing anything about it, well teens and grown up librarians! After seeing it on so many other blogs, I had to pick up a copy. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
This story really sucks the reader in. I found myself completely transported to the Nevernever with Kagawa's lush descriptions. The Nevernever is really a character all to itself and, like all good protagonists, it's equal parts good and evil, with lots of gray areas mixed in. I loved it.
I've read some criticisms of Meghan as a character, that she just follows along too much while the two male leads do all the work, but I have to say I disagree. I mean yes, she is a little bit of a reactionary character, but that made her more real for me. Meghan reads like a real, 100% normal girl who finds herself thrown into an adventure that she never wanted. I could relate to her because her reactions to things felt like how I'd react. With wide eyed, full blown terror and a little bit of wonder. Meghan's character also develops a lot as she spends more time in the Nevernever, until she becomes just as strong as the male leads.
As soon as I finished this book, I had to run out and get the sequel, The Iron Daughter, which was just as good, if not better than this one! And with another super hot cover to boot. If you haven't already checked out this series, do yourself a favor, turn off the computer and GO GET IT! You won't be sorry!...more
I hate/love racing through a book, loving it, feeling like I'll freak out if I can't read the next one and then realizing that technically this one isI hate/love racing through a book, loving it, feeling like I'll freak out if I can't read the next one and then realizing that technically this one isn't even out yet! AAHHGG! So long to wait for Iron Knight!...more