Short and Sweet: For the longest time, I avoided Rampant. Come on... killer unicorns? But once I sat down with it, I could not pull myself away. Peter...moreShort and Sweet: For the longest time, I avoided Rampant. Come on... killer unicorns? But once I sat down with it, I could not pull myself away. Peterfreund's writing style is wonderful. It flows easily. The characters are full of life. And there is just enough humor to make everything work. Peterfreund really makes you want to believe that there are unicorns amoungst us.. whether they be the killer kind or not is up to you.
Final Verdict: This novel rocks! With strong female characters, plenty of twist and turns, and loads of action, you will not want to put Rampant down until the very last page is turned.(less)
Dreams of the Dead has been sitting on my bookcase for probably over a year. Every time I looked at it, I was not sure it was going to be a book for m...moreDreams of the Dead has been sitting on my bookcase for probably over a year. Every time I looked at it, I was not sure it was going to be a book for me. It was not until I read the summary for the second book in the series that I felt the calling to dive into Dreams of the Dead's pages. The tale starts off with a haunting beginning: "Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love." From there, I was hooked.
Dreams of the Dead's main selling point is its focus on Japanese history. Having studied Japanese language and history in college plus having a very healthy love of manga / anime, I was completely at home in this novel. Randall beautifully describes not only the scenery but also everything about the Japanese culture. Throughout the whole novel, I felt like I was right there beside Kara, taking everything in as she did.
Truth be told, I loved this book. Didn't think that I would.. but I absolutely did. From the very first page, I could not put it down. And when I found that I absolutely had to, my brain kept going back to it. Wondering what would happen to Kara and her friends next. Wondering what was it that was lurking in the shadows. Now, this book may not be for everyone. But for those that love a great spooky story or Japanese culture, this book will have glued to its pages to the very end. And craving more. I know I am!(less)
The third novel in the Beautiful Dead series focuses on Summer. The once beautiful girl who it seemed had everything until she was shot by an unknown...moreThe third novel in the Beautiful Dead series focuses on Summer. The once beautiful girl who it seemed had everything until she was shot by an unknown assailant. Now it is up to Darina to solve this crime so that Summer will be able to move now. But things will not be so easy for Darina this time around.
Like the previous novels, Summer begins a little on the slow side. Honestly, I think this just maybe Maguire style. And either way, it is what it is. I have gotten use to it by this point in the game, and it really does not bother me. Actually, I kinda like it. The slowness allows me to become reacquainted with Darina's world and the Beautiful Dead.
There is something about this series that keeps me always wanting more. And Summer's story is no exception. It truly amazes me how powerful these novels are. And in Summer, readers really get a sense of what Maguire is capable of. Most of the time, it can really take a lot for me to feel an emotional connection with a novel, but with Summer, my emotions felt like they were on a roller coaster. I had no idea where Maguire was leading me.
All in all, I am saddened that the third novel of the series has now come and gone. It means that we have one novel left. And I am foreseeing that it will be a doozy. Can't wait. (less)
Short and Sweet: I am a dystopian junky. No matter how hard I try to get away from these type of books... they just keep pulling me back in. When Birt...moreShort and Sweet: I am a dystopian junky. No matter how hard I try to get away from these type of books... they just keep pulling me back in. When Birthmarked first released, I was dying to get my hands on it. Months later, I have finally had the chance to get my hands on it. First impression? Birthmarked was certainly worth the wait. A brave character. An enticing world. A romance that was a sweet as it was frustrating. Yep, I am sure glad I had a chance to dive into these pages.
Final Verdict: A very satisfying dystopian. Well-written with plenty of action and romance. And an ending that made me want more. O'Brien certainly impressed me. If you have not given Birthmarked a try, you are missing out on something special. I cannot wait for the sequel!(less)
Ever since I first glimpsed the cover and read the synopsis months ago for The False Princess, I have been eagerly awaiting its release. And now that...moreEver since I first glimpsed the cover and read the synopsis months ago for The False Princess, I have been eagerly awaiting its release. And now that I have read it, all I can think is that it was well worth the wait.
The False Princess takes a pinch of false identities, a dash of royal intrigue, and sprinkles it all together with a heap of magical powers and romance. The tale centers around Nalia (aka Sinda) who grew up believing that one day she would inherit the royal throne of Thorvaldor. Unbeknownst to her, she is really Sinda, a young girl who was pretty much was born to a lead humble life. After having the carpet pulled out from beneath her feet, quite literally, she is force to find her place in her country not as a princess but as just a normal citizen.
The tale starts off slowly... building the world, the characters, the intrigue. But once O'Neal got started, it was an action-packed ride after that. The False Princess has so much going for it starting with its characters. Sinda is an extraordinary girl. Brought up having everything to only have it taken away. Yet that does not effect who she is inside. She remains strong, independent, and a girl who young women can definitely look up to. The supporting characters are no less amazing. Each is complex and so fun to read about.
As I have said, there is A LOT going on in The False Princess. Yet, I think it is needed. It all blends well together making the story feel complete. And I have to say, I think that adding magic into the tale was quite a nice touch. Maybe not fully needed, but it added a nice extra level to the novel that I wasn't originally expecting. All things considered, The False Princess was a fantastic read. And I am looking forward to whatever Eilis O'Neal comes up with next. (less)
Celeb turned author is all the rage today. You simply have to walk into any random bookstore to find one celeb or another writing about this or that....moreCeleb turned author is all the rage today. You simply have to walk into any random bookstore to find one celeb or another writing about this or that. Thankfully, the Young Adult genre has been slightly untouched by this new phenomenon. Enter Hillary Duff. When I first heard of Elixir, my inital reaction was "ooo, pretty cover." My next, more realistic, reaction was "she can write?" Going into the novel. I had tons of assumptions about Elixir. Some were right on and some were way off.
Elixir is surprisingly a quick read. You might not think that based on the 327 page count. But for some reason, I flew through this novel. Duff and Allen have created a decent setting with characters that made me wish I was a few years younger, so that I might be able to fully appreciate them. From the beginning, these characters and I had a problem clicking. Maybe it was the way they acted, maybe it was the way they talked, or maybe it was just everything. I really don't know. But whatever it was, it was not what I was wanting it to be. The plot of Elixir, unfortunately, did the same.
I will be really honest. I wanted to like Elixir... heck, I wanted to love this book. But I couldn't. Yes, there are elements to the novel that were promising. Past lives, soul mates, mythology. However, all this was ruined by sloppy writing and characters that made me want to pull my hair out. It is every paranormal YA cookie-cutter formula pulled into one book.
Ulitimately, Elixir was not for me. Duff's debut novel had promise, but as author, she needs a lot more polish. And to add insult to injury, due to Elixir's abrupt ending, I have tons of unanswered questions. With the sequel on the horizon, I am not sure if I will be able to put aside my issues to venture back into this world. Hopefully, Duff and Allen can think outside a little bit on the next novel and turn things around. But I am not holding my breath. (less)
Arata was very different than what I was expecting... in a good way. If you have ever read anything by Yuu Watase, such as Fushigi Yugi, then you know...moreArata was very different than what I was expecting... in a good way. If you have ever read anything by Yuu Watase, such as Fushigi Yugi, then you know that her writing involves adventure, action, and romance with the first two come behind the romance aspect. This made lead some readers to believe that her novels are geared toward the female reader. This is not the case with Arata. This novel is high in action and adventure with a microscopic hint of romance. While I can that the novel is not targeted mainly at males, I can say that males may enjoy this series more than her previous work. However, this is based on the first volume, so my opinion may change.
But what will not change is the Watase sparkle. Every manga I have ever read of Watase's has this sparkle that I find so rarely in other novels. So what is the sparkle? It is a novel filled with memorable characters that you will think of long after you have read the last page, amazing premises that keep you on the edge of your seat, and outstanding drawings that can take your breath away. For me, there is nothing like a work by Watase. They are a joy to read, and I have yet to find one that I have not devoured.
I am happy to report that Arata follows in this great tradition. This is an action packed novel that involves world travel, action, intrigue, and quite a few twists. Arata will pull you in and not let go till the last page. There is a lot here for both male and female readers to enjoy. And I will be waiting excitedly to see what happens next. (less)
Deep below the surface lies a group of people. They are fierce, fearless, and absolute in their quest for survival. A people who will do whatever it t...moreDeep below the surface lies a group of people. They are fierce, fearless, and absolute in their quest for survival. A people who will do whatever it takes.. and I mean whatever. In the Enclave, each person has their own special task: breeder, builder, hunter. For Deuce, there is only only option.. to become a huntress. The bravest of the brave. No longer will she just be Girl15, but rather a person of value within her society. But just has you think you have gotten all that you have ever dreamed of, fate has a way of stepping in.
It is not every day that you find a novel like Enclave. I am so enthralled with it that I simply do not know where to start. The one of a kind characters? The intense world? It is all so perfect that I sometimes wonder if I imagined half of this book. It is like Ann Aguirre read my mind. She gave me everything that I have been dreaming about in a dystopian novel all in one pretty package.
In this world, freaks, kinda like zombies, roam the planet in search of their next meal. Earth as we know it is pretty much devoid of life and resources. This is a world where it is everyone and everything for themselves. And Deuce fit perfectly into this world. I probably cannot give her enough credit. I loved her attitude. Her thirst to prove herself in a world that does not want to accept her. But she is not all tough. She has the gooey inside that makes her relatable to.
Enclave is exactly what a dystopian novel should be. It is gritty and down right brutal. And I love every moment of this book. Based on what I have seen, there will at least be a sequel, and to that I say BRING IT ON! (less)
When I picked up Clare de Lune, strangely enough, I was in a werewolf mood (that doesn't happen very often). And for the most part, the novel satisifi...moreWhen I picked up Clare de Lune, strangely enough, I was in a werewolf mood (that doesn't happen very often). And for the most part, the novel satisified me. The plot was very suspenseful, more so than what I was expecting. Claire was a great character, and you could not help but sympathize with everything that she was going through. And I loved Christine Johnson's take on werewolves. Completely unique.
Although, Clare de Lune cured me of my werewolf novel longings, it was not everything that I was hoping it would be. However, Johnson gets mega kudos from me for creating a completely new twist on werewolf lore and making me second guess EVERYTHING. I seriously had to smack my hand a few times to stop myself from skipping to the end of the novel just to find out who the bad guy.. err.. wolf was. If you are want a hardcore paranormal werewolf novel, then Clare de Lune may not be for you. But you if are looking for a lighter paranormal novel with great characters and plenty of suspense, then pick up Clare de Lune... you will not be disappointed. (less)
With the YA selection overflowing with paranormal reads, Clarity stands out from all the same old, same old to offer something completely new and refr...moreWith the YA selection overflowing with paranormal reads, Clarity stands out from all the same old, same old to offer something completely new and refreshing.
Clare Fern is one part of a family with special abilities. Her mother is a telepath, her brother is a medium, Clare is a physic... and the father? Not much is known about him. Clare's family have craved out a special niche as the local "entertainers" in a small New England town. They do readings and the like which has most of the town classifying them as freaks. But when the town experiences an ultra rare murder, it is up to Clare and her family to find out who-done-it.
Going into Clarity, I had low expectations. The summary lead me to believe that the novel would primarily focus on the paranormal, and not so much on the murder mystery aspect. But actually, the opposite occurred. The powers were there.. the characters use them.. but it does not define who they are. And for that alone, I adored Clarity.
But there is so much more to this novel. Ms. Harrington, my hat goes off to you for creating a paranormal novel that defies everything that is on the shelf right now. Fantastic characters, a murder mystery that will leave you guessing up until the very end, and a romance that is FAR from typical.
I have gotten to the point where romances in YA paranormal novels annoy me. They are easy to predict, and usually offer nothing new. But Harrington took all of this a step further.. in the opposite direction. Nothing in Clarity is as it seems. Which makes me love it all the more.
Clarity is hands down one of the best YA paranormal reads of this year. And Harrington is a debut author to boot. If you are looking for something that strays for the typical path, give Harrington's Clarity a try. You will not be disappointed. (less)
Short and Sweet: The Water Wars takes place in the not too distant future. In this world, water has become the be all to end all. It is more valued th...moreShort and Sweet: The Water Wars takes place in the not too distant future. In this world, water has become the be all to end all. It is more valued than gas... food... it is what makes the world go round... governments fight over it... I think you get the idea. Before The Water Wars was released, I was really excited about this book. The premise sounded promising. The concept seemed different. But once I dived into the pages, I was surprised to find it as dry as the landscapes that Stracher describes. The characters were on point. I loved Vera, Will, and most of the secondary characters (there is nothing like a soft-hearted pirate to pull on the heart strings). But Kai left something to be desired. I never really understood exactly why Vera would go through as much as she did for someone she barely knew. And the romance between her and Kai seemed forced.
Final Verdict: Not only did I want to like The Water Wars, I actually wanted to fall head over heels for it. But the later half of the novel turned my joy into mild disappointment. Between the jarring action sequences and the plot seeming to fade into almost nonexistance, I found myself lost in a sea of I don't know what. Did I hate The Water Wars? Surpringly no. But it feel completely short of my expectations.(less)
Short and Sweet: Haven... oh Haven. I picked you up on a whim. You had so much promise. Hex Hall with a mix of X-Men?! You sounded so heavenly. But yo...moreShort and Sweet: Haven... oh Haven. I picked you up on a whim. You had so much promise. Hex Hall with a mix of X-Men?! You sounded so heavenly. But you broke my heart. Well, not really. But my frustration mixed with your promise... it was all that I could do to finish you. And it is all due to one thing... and one thing only. VAMPIRES!!! Grrr.
Final Verdict: I hate when I fall for a book only to be disappointed. Haven, in all honesty, was not a complete disappointment. But it was pretty close. Do I hate vampires? No. But I hate the stereotypes. And Haven had a bunch of them. I think that if that one little thing had been something different, my whole opinion would be changed. So.. bottom line.. Haven was a good read. Loved the premise and the characters. And even the science behind Aiden... it was just too much angst for me. Would I recommend it? To the right person, yes. For everyone else, maybe. (less)
Darkness Becomes Her takes place in the not so distant future, mainly in New Orleans (aka New 2). This city, which in real life has overcome so much,...moreDarkness Becomes Her takes place in the not so distant future, mainly in New Orleans (aka New 2). This city, which in real life has overcome so much, has been hit (fictionally) harder than one city deserves by not one but two category 4 hurricanes in a very short period of time. Due to the carnage, the Federal Government simply gave up on the once great city, and allowed a group of families to buy the land. In this strange new territory, people are free to live life as they see fit. But not all is as it appears as our heroine, Ari, quickly discovers.
Darkness Becomes Her is a paranormal lovers dream. This tale basically has it all: vampires, witches, ghosts, and everything in between. And just when you think Keaton has nothing left up her sleeve, she includes snippets of Greek myths. While I adore Greek myths and believe they add a lot of depth to Darkness Becomes Her, I am not too sure that I love the paranormal and the myth elements together. Yes, I applaud Keaton for her originally. But truth be told, it felt like overkill.
As for the characters, they are fabulous with Ari by far being my favorite. She is tough, can take care of herself, and has the squishy inside that I love for my heroines to have. The other main characters I found to be just as great. However, the secondary character, I will admit, felt flat. Even now days after reading the novel, I cannot recall many details about them. I wish I did, but I don't.
Very rarely does a novel so deserve its title, but deserves all that and more! From the very early pages, I realized that I was going to absolutely love this novel... and I did. Darkness Becomes Her is an engaging novel that has stolen my heart. I look forward to more from Keaton and this series. (less)
Short and Sweet: The Game starts out as your regular every day dystopian, and then does a complete U-Turn into something different. There is so much t...moreShort and Sweet: The Game starts out as your regular every day dystopian, and then does a complete U-Turn into something different. There is so much that I would love to say about this book. But most of it would give the "surprise" away. So in steering away from that.. what I can say is that The Game is completely different than what I expected. Some of it good.. some bad.. most of it, completely unexpected.
Final Verdict: There are books that are completely original and surprise you with said originality. The Game is one of these books. A fun bunch of characters are thrown in together for a wild ride. A twist that is out of this world. The only thing that drags the book down is the ending. Everything has built up to this pivotal moment. You get the twist.. then the novel wraps everything up as quickly as possible and you are done. I really wish that Hughes has spent more time developing the ending. But as it stands, The Game is going to be a hard book to forget.(less)