At first I did not plan on reading this book, because I did not like the cover design. With the flames at the bottom and the strange title font, it juAt first I did not plan on reading this book, because I did not like the cover design. With the flames at the bottom and the strange title font, it just looked too cheesy to be appealing. However, I was swayed to try giving a go by reading several other people's reviews, and I'm glad I did. Cover design aside, this was a terrific book.
Liani Taylor has written three lush, fantastic stories that lure you in, and enchant. The first story, "Goblin Fruit," is inspired by Christina Rossetti's sensuous poem, "The Goblin Market." The story is about the granddaughter of Rossetti's heroine, Lizzie. Kizzy knows about the goblins, but is tempted nonetheless when a new, mysterious boy comes to school. The next tale, "Spicy Little Curses Such as These," takes place in British colonial India. A woman bargains with a demon to save the lives of children, but at the price of placing a powerful curse. In "Hatchling," the final tale, a young girl wakes up to find one of her eyes is no longer her own, and her mother's past in a mysterious land is revealed.
There was real depth to these stories, and both the writing and illustrations draw from older literary and artistic traditions, grounding them in a way that much of today's YA lit is not. Taylor is able to meld bits of various traditions to create new, layered worlds and characters that actually feel real. The illustrations by her husband, Jim Di Bartolo, are equally ethereal and compliment the stories nicely....more
Alexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure isAlexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure is a bit more generous than fashionable, and she has no soul. In the universe of Soulless, vampires and werewolves are a well-known cultural group, and have been assimilated into society in the British Empire. However, after Alexia is rudely attacked by a strange vampire, it becomes apparent that something strange is happening in the supernatural community. Werewolves and vampires have been going missing, while others seem to appear out of thin air. Working with the hot, alpha werewolf Lord Maccon, Alexia will work to uncover who is behind the disappearances, all while having a good time in the process.
Soulless is a fun, cheeky reimagining of the Victorian era, with a strong, witty heroine. The plot moves fairly quickly, and there is enough action and romance to keep the story going. I really enjoyed Alexia's character. Being soulless and a resolute spinster, she feels she is able to take more liberties than the age would normally allow. She's very intelligent and unafraid to speak her mind. I also really enjoyed Lord Maccon's character, in all his rough animalism and passion, and Lord Akeldama, a foppish and lovable vampire. The story had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, and more than enough humor to keep me constantly laughing. I can't wait for Changeless, the second of the three-part series....more
When Jess is assigned to be the new, super hot Russian guy's buddy at school, her reaction isn't what we would expect. All of the other girls swoon ovWhen Jess is assigned to be the new, super hot Russian guy's buddy at school, her reaction isn't what we would expect. All of the other girls swoon over him, but she decides immediately she hates him. There's a thin line between love and hate, however, and when Pietr shares that he has a crush on her, she knows that she reciprocates. The only problem is that her friend (who used to be her enemy, but then lost her memories...it gets complicated) also has it bad for him. Romantic tension and frustration ensues, along with a werewolf/Russian spy plotline.
I was really looking forward to reading this, but just couldn't get into it. Jess makes comments about the girls in the vampire books she reads being too stupid to live, but I thought she had the same problem. Pietr even tells her at one point that he's a werewolf, but then she's surprised by it later in the story? The romance also developed way too quickly for me. Jess also encourages her best friend to date Pietr, but then hooks up with him regularly behind her back. It just made no sense whatsoever. The story was a giant leadup to what I can only guess is a series that will hopefully become more interesting when it gets into the meat of the Russian/werewolf intrigue. I really wish there had been more of that in this book and less of the silly high school romance politics....more
The town of Gentry has always done well. During the Great Depression, its citizens seemed unaffected. But this is because Gentry has a secret--somethiThe town of Gentry has always done well. During the Great Depression, its citizens seemed unaffected. But this is because Gentry has a secret--something nobody talks about. Children regularly die in Gentry, children who one morning wake up different, feral and strange. Mackie Doyle is one of these children, except he didn't die. Mackie struggles with the knowledge that he's not human, he's a changeling, and the human world is slowly killing him. When another changeling child dies, Mackie is put into a situation where he cannot help but do something, even if it puts him and those he cares about in mortal danger.
In some ways, The Replacement reminded me of Holly Black's books, especially Tithe. This book is different, however, because Mackie is fully aware that he is a changeling. The book lets the readers know this right at the beginning. I was also really glad that Yovanoff didn't name the two fairy houses the Seelie and Unseelie, as seems to be the case in almost all fairy lit these days. The House of Mayhem was extremely interesting and dark, as was the Morrigan, the childlike leader of that house. I loved Mackie's character, and thought that the family dynamic with his parents (a preacher and a mother who seems to know too much about the dark other world) and sister was well thought-out and honest. I recommend this for those who like their fairies creepy but are tired of reading the same book over and over....more
Evie is pretty normal for being a teenage agent with the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She's home-schooled, lives in the agency center,Evie is pretty normal for being a teenage agent with the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She's home-schooled, lives in the agency center, and is best friends with a mermaid. But then paranormals around the world start showing up inexplicably dead, and Evie is on the job. Why? Because Evie is the only person who is able to see through paranormals' glamors. However, Evie is in way deeper than she can even begin to guess, and starts to wonder why exactly she can do what she does, and why the agency is so keen to keep her close.
I thoroughly enjoyed Paranormalcy. Its fast pace and humor kept me reading, and the mystery had me hooked. Throw in a hot (but sometimes nearly invisible) love interest and a fairy prophecy and you've got a winner. I'm definitely planning on picking up the next book in the series when it comes out.
Tessa's best friend, Noelle, disappeared two years ago. Everybody seems to have given her up for dead, but they still hold out hope that she'll be aliTessa's best friend, Noelle, disappeared two years ago. Everybody seems to have given her up for dead, but they still hold out hope that she'll be alive and rescued. It turns out that Noelle was abducted, and reaches out to police to help her escape. Tessa couldn't be happier, but now that Noelle is back, she's different. Really different. Tessa wants things to be back they way they were, but Noelle always seems just out of reach. In the mean time, a hot new guy is pursuing Tessa. Tessa, however, can't seem to let herself let go of watching Noelle enough to give him a chance.
I thought that The Tension of Opposites was a fascinating psychological exploration of what life is like after a traumatic experience is over. The trauma that Noelle experienced reaches much further than Noelle's life: it has affected her family, her friends, her entire town, the whole country. I could see Tessa's frustration with how life is now, and the guilt she feels that her friend was the one who was taken and had to go through what she did. However, at times I felt very frustrated with Tessa's character. I think readers will be drawn into this novel and will wonder what they would do if in the same place as both Tessa and Noelle....more
Alona Dare is seemingly on top of the world: she's the most beautiful, popular girl in school, and she has a hot boyfriend. Then she gets hit by a busAlona Dare is seemingly on top of the world: she's the most beautiful, popular girl in school, and she has a hot boyfriend. Then she gets hit by a bus and finds out what everybody really thinks of her. Her classmates barely wait for her to be cold to talk about how much they hated her, and her best friend and boyfriend don't wait a moment to start hooking up in public. The only person who can see her is the freaky Will Killian. Killian has problems of his own, though, since the principal is out to get him and his mom thinks he has schizophrenia. Alona and Will grudgingly team up to help each other out, and to help Alona move on.
I went into this book expecting to hate it. From page one Alona got on my nerves. But then...she started to grow on me. Her character is slowly revealed to have three dimensions, and a go-get-'em attitude. Killian also turned out to be a surprisingly compelling character. The story wasn't entirely as predictable as I thought it would be, either. I'd say for people to give this one a chance, because there is some actual substance to it, and turned out to be a lot of fun!...more
Sophie Mercer knows that she is a witch--she's known since she's had her powers. However, Sophie isn't so good at keeping her magic under control. WheSophie Mercer knows that she is a witch--she's known since she's had her powers. However, Sophie isn't so good at keeping her magic under control. When a prom love spell goes bad, Sophie's shipped off to Hecate Hall, a boarding/reform school for magical people, including witches, werewolves, fairies, and even a vampire or two. All is not well at Hex Hall, however. Young witches are dying from apparent vampire bites, and all eyes point at Sophie's friend. As the story unravels, she not only learns who is responsible, but what she really is.
Hex Hall is a fun story full of supernatural high school shenanigans. Sadly, I didn't feel that this was original enough to impress me, but it was an enjoyable read and will appeal to people who can't get enough of supes in school. Sophie is fine as a character, but some of the other characters weren't fleshed out enough. I especially didn't buy the relationship between Sophie and queen bee Elodie later in the story. The book does take a nice twist toward the end, but overall I felt I had read it all before....more
Rachel lives with her mother at the edge of The Line, where the nation ends and the forbidden area beyond begins. As Rachel's curiosity about the worlRachel lives with her mother at the edge of The Line, where the nation ends and the forbidden area beyond begins. As Rachel's curiosity about the world beyond grows, she begins to suspect there are large secrets her mother and her mother's employer, Ms. Moore, are withholding from her. After finding evidence of the people beyond, Rachel needs to find out more information, and a way to escape The Line.
I found this to be a very interesting dystopian novel, with a mostly believable future for the US. I do wish that there would have been more discovery of the events that led up to this point, rather than having the main character list the history off as lessons. The beginning was a little slow, as well, but once the story got moving it became more engaging. I look forward to reading the next one, because I think it will explain more of the politics of the world in which the book takes place....more
Twelve-year-old Kat has always been feisty. The story opens with her cutting off her hair, dressing like a boy, and trying to go to London to make a lTwelve-year-old Kat has always been feisty. The story opens with her cutting off her hair, dressing like a boy, and trying to go to London to make a living. This is because her oldest sister is about to be married off to a terrible man, all to bring money into the family to cover Kat’s brother’s debts. However, Kat has inherited her mother’s magical capabilities, drawing her into a society of magic workers. Kat does not want to play by their rules, and uses her powers to get into a series of hilarious situations while trying to save the day, and her sister.
Kat, Incorrigible is a light-hearted middle grade novel set in Regency England, and full of magic and mayhem. I normally am very skeptical of historical fiction, but this was written in such a way that it doesn’t try to hard to convince the reader that it is strictly adhering to history. Rather, the focus is on characters, lively situations, and, best of all, magic.
Kat is a very likable heroine, and readers will be rooting for her and laughing along as she gets into trouble and finds a way to always have fun, even when society doesn’t want her to. She doesn’t always know when to keep her mouth shut, and is unafraid to speak her mind. In fact, her stubbornness is one of her best traits when doing magic.
The other characters rounded out the story well: Kat’s two sisters, one prissy (Elissa) and the other sassy (Angeline), Step-Mama who is always trying to better herself within society, Angeline’s dashing true-love, Elissa’s bumbling but sweet paramour, the Guardian who wants to teach Kat magic, and the dastardly Sir Neville.
All in all, Kat, Incorrigible was a great read when you want to be taken away by a story, but don’t want the fuss and muss of stress and over-emotional involvement. This book is recommended for middle grade readers, as well as adults who want something light and pleasant that won’t take too much effort to slog through.
Plus, the cover art is gorgeous! It really captures the whimsy of the story....more
Brightly Woven is a story that follows the journey Sydelle has with wizard Wayland North. They are on a race against time to present evidence in orderBrightly Woven is a story that follows the journey Sydelle has with wizard Wayland North. They are on a race against time to present evidence in order to halt a war. Something I liked about this book is the way that magic is manipulated by wizards through a magical object and based on color. The romance that slowly develops pleasantly reminded me of that between Wizard Howl and Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle. The writing was a problem for me at times, however. There were points while reading the story that became lost in what was happening. It was as if connections were missing between plot points and character actions, causing me to have to read passages over and over again to understand what was going on. This jarred me out of the story, something that I don't like when reading fantasy. I think the writing could have used stronger editing on the part of the publisher....more
It's been about a year since the murder of high school student Carly Ribelli. Her murderer-uncle is behind bars, and most people have moved on. HoweveIt's been about a year since the murder of high school student Carly Ribelli. Her murderer-uncle is behind bars, and most people have moved on. However, her ex-boyfriend Neily is still tormented by the loss, as is Carly's cousin and murderer's daughter Audrey. After Audrey convinces Neily that her father is innocent, the two former enemies team up to try to find the identity of the real killer. They soon learn that digging up the past can be dangerous. How far are they willing to go for justice?
All Unquiet Things is a thrilling mystery that keeps readers guessing until the end. The point of view switches between Neily and Audrey, both of whom are slowly finding new information about who Carly was and what she did. I felt really irritated at times with Carly's character. She wasn't the best person, and I spent much of my time reading just thinking that, while she may not have deserved to be murdered, she definitely deserved something. Neily and Audrey were both interesting, if not always the smartest, characters. Jarzab throws in the requisite red herrings, which don't always make the most sense, but they do keep the story moving. I thought that All Unquiet Things worked better as a story about grieving and loss than as a mystery. This book kept me reading way past my bedtime, and was a well-written YA title....more