This was a quick and suspenseful read with the romance taking a backseat to the main story. One thing I did not like about the romance aspect is thatThis was a quick and suspenseful read with the romance taking a backseat to the main story. One thing I did not like about the romance aspect is that Kaylee keeps questioning why Nash would want to be with her. Thankfully the novel focuses on the race to save Addison's soul. There is greater explanation of Kaylee's, Tod's, and Nash's abilities and the concept of the Netherworld is intriguing. Kaylee's desire to help people regardless of personal danger was very touching. ...more
On the surface Wish might seem like a shallow fairy tale retelling but to judge this book by its cover would be a mistake. The magic is just a means tOn the surface Wish might seem like a shallow fairy tale retelling but to judge this book by its cover would be a mistake. The magic is just a means to an end and not the important part of the story. The focus of Wish is the relationship between Olivia and Violet, Olivia's grief, and the way Violet's family seems to be adrift without her. I liked the character of Olivia. She is shy and bookish which I can relate to. Violet is also likeable as she coaxes Olivia out of her shell, encouraging and helping her to make friends and move on. The best part of the book is seeing this close friendship between the sisters. It is very sweet and moving. Olivia's parents are also grieving although her workaholic mother Bridget doesn't show it and her father Mac is coping by slowly working on their house and retreating into silence.
At school, Olivia doesn't have any friends except for geeky Miles and his outgoing younger stepsister Bowie. With Violet's help, Olivia is able to overcome her shyness and forge friendships with some of the popular kids at school and she even has the chance for romance. Unfortunately the new friendships that Olivia makes take a back seat in comparison to her friendship with her dead sister. Her romance with a forbidden boy at school is sweet but some of the other social interactions seem forced like Olivia is behaving the way Violet would and not being herself. Overall I really liked this book, particularly the closeness between Olivia and Violet and the end relationship between Olivia and her parents. That is the strength of the novel-not the romance or Olivia's school life but in the quiet memories and family moments. I look forward to reading more books by the talented Alexandra Bullen. ...more
Claudette is an admirable character. She faces a lot of sorrow and hardship but she remains strong and holds on to hope. Her attitude also helps thoseClaudette is an admirable character. She faces a lot of sorrow and hardship but she remains strong and holds on to hope. Her attitude also helps those around her like her newfound friend Beatrice, a young widow with a little girl. Together Claudette, Beatrice, and her daughter Marguerite become a family of sorts as they work as servants for a British family and later on as they make dolls. Claudette is the strong one who keeps them motivated and comes up with creative ideas that lead to the success of her dollmaking venture. Claudette has two love interests , one is her childhood love Jean-Phillipe and the other is the dashing William Greycliffe. Both are interesting characters and have important roles to play in her life. There are other interesting side characters such as Elizabeth Preston, an English heiress who befriends Claudette when she first journeys to London, the prentious Mrs. Ashby, and the vile servant Jassy Brickford. The historical figures are some of the most fascinating characters that are presented, particularly Marie Antoinette and Count Axel Fersen. Other prominent real figures included are King Louis XVI and their children, Marie Grosholz (the future Madame Tussaud of waxwork fame), and the Princesse de Lamballe, a close friend of the French queen.
The historical details surrounding the life of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution are really brought to life in the novel. I really felt that I learned a lot about the time period while I enjoyed the story. I also liked the details about dollmaking and fashion. Something that makes this novel unique is that we see events and life from the perspective of people of all walks of life from the nobility to the working classes of England and France. It is evident that Christine Trent did a lot of research when she wrote The Queen's Dollmaker and for me it really added to my enjoyment of a great story.
There were times when the narrative read a little more like a popular biography of Marie Antoinette rather than fiction. This just happened a couple of times mostly early in the novel (chapter 3) and it didn't bother me that much because I enjoy popular biographies like those by Antonia Fraser or Alison Weir, which are very readable. Once there was more interaction with the historical figures and dialogue was included between characters that was not an issue at all. Overall, I think this is a fantastic historical fiction novel with a lot of interesting characters and a suspenseful story....more
Vampire Academy combines suspense and romance in a very addictive story. The mythology of Mead's vampires is detailed and fascinating. In a lot of vamVampire Academy combines suspense and romance in a very addictive story. The mythology of Mead's vampires is detailed and fascinating. In a lot of vampire novels there is usually a vampire/human relationship where the main female character is usually human and the male is the vampire bad boy and I was so relieved to find something unique in Vampire Academy. The characters are not human and best of all, the protagonist, Rose, is a strong female character. She is flawed but I found her to be likeable. She can be headstrong but she has a good heart and she is brave. Lissa may be more physically frail than Rose but she is strong in her own way in the face of danger. Dimitri would have to be my favorite character. He is the perfect counterpoint to Rose and he helps her to mature throughout the book. The mystery was well crafted and I was actually caught by surprise. The romance between Lissa and Christian is sweet but the attraction between Rose and Dimitri is electric. The ending resolves part of the mystery but the danger is never over. Don't be surprised if you find yourself devouring Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, and Blood Promise in short order.
I found Vampire Academy to be a very enjoyable and different take on the YA vampire romance. I would recommend this to those who enjoy paranormal romance and like strong female characters. ...more
This was a moving and nail-biting novel. At times I had to stop reading because it was so painful to read about Emma's suffering. In spite of all sheThis was a moving and nail-biting novel. At times I had to stop reading because it was so painful to read about Emma's suffering. In spite of all she goes through, Emma emerges as a strong young woman. Luke is a multifaceted hero and he also has struggles to deal with, such as realizing that it is God who will save Emma, not himself. Throughout the novel there are people who see what is happening to Emma and some like Luke want to help her but they don't know how. Judge Littleton who is investingating a murder comes across their traveling expedition and he brings comfort and wisdom to both Luke and Emma.
The themes of father/child relationship echoes throughout the novel. Luke's relationship with his dad and his fear of disappointing him by choosing not to be a farmer, Emma's close relationship to her father, Eric's relationship to his father and its influence on his life, and the relationship between John Sumner and his "fallen" daughter Maggie all play an important part in the story and the journey of the characters.
The resolution of the novel took me by surprise. Once again Jamie Carie has delivered a touching story of redemption and faith. Angel's Den is a story you won't soon forget. ...more
I really liked the first book in this series, Need. I love the character of Zara with her quirky way of reciting phobias when she is scared and her deI really liked the first book in this series, Need. I love the character of Zara with her quirky way of reciting phobias when she is scared and her desire to help people around the world through groups like Amnesty International and letter writing campaigns. I also love the relationship between Zara and Nick. In Captivate, we learn more about pixie lore and Zara's own situation. The novel blends suspense, romance, fantasy, and humor as we see both normal teen situations and emotions alongside dealing with the paranormal elements. There is another mystery to solve and new characters are introduced, most notably Astley who is an intriguing character. Unlike Need, Captivate ends with a cliffhanger ending that will leave you waiting anxiously for the next book. Once again Carrie Jones has written a spellbinding novel. ...more
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is more a romantic comedy than a historical fiction novel. Most of the novel takes place in the past, followiThe Secret History of the Pink Carnation is more a romantic comedy than a historical fiction novel. Most of the novel takes place in the past, following the adventures of foolhardy Amy de Balcourt and Lord Richard Selwick, the young nobleman Amy can't stand because of his close association with Napoleon. We learn right away the identity of The Purple Gentian and Amy's ideas of who he might be and her attempts at espionage are rather funny. There were some moments that I laughed out loud while reading this novel.
What I did not enjoy was the fact that Amy is supposed to be a well educated young lady yet she makes some really stupid decisions and draws some remarkably stupid conclusions. There were times when I just wanted to shake some sense into her. I guess that her knowledge would be limited to what she's read in books and the fact that she has lived a sheltered life until she arrives in France which could explain some of her naivety but I felt that her character should have had more common sense. As the heroine of the novel I felt disappointed in her. I also expected better scenes of espionage. I am a fan of The Scarlet Pimpernel so I guess I expected more from this novel than what was delivered.
What made this novel enjoyable for me was the humor. Miss Gwen provided ample comedic jabs (with her pointed parasol) and there is some fun comedic dialog between Lord Selwick and Amy. I am sure that the series will improve as it goes on and I plan to read the rest of the books. I hope that I will like the other heroines more than Amy. Her cousin Jane in particular proved to be very intelligent and creative so I look forward to reading more about her in the books.
I would suggest this novel to those who enjoy romance novels, particularly historical romance. Fans of Julia Quinn would like this series. ...more
Colleen Coble is known for writing suspenseful contemporary Christian fiction. I was surprised to learn that her new book would be a historical fictioColleen Coble is known for writing suspenseful contemporary Christian fiction. I was surprised to learn that her new book would be a historical fiction novel set in the early 20th century and I wasn't sure if I would like it. However all my fears were laid to rest as she brought her trademark blend of romance and suspense to a historical setting. There are surprising plot twists that keep the pages turning and an unexpected resolution. Addie and John's romance is sweet and both characters are likeable. Addie has a lot of strengths and talents and as this is the first in a series I hope to see more of her in the rest of the books. I really liked the theme of family relationships and parent-child relationships in this novel. Addie's desire to be part of a family, John's concerns for his son's well being, the relationship between Addie and Josephine and the relationships between Addie and the other Eatons all added to the story. The novel made me think about where you draw the line when it comes to gaining approval from your family or honoring your parents' wishes and being true to yourself.
I would recommend The Lightkeeper's Daughter to fans of Tracie Peterson and general readers of Christian romance. ...more
Tangled tells the story of four teens who vacation at the same resort at the same time and how their lives are changed by their encounters. Jena and hTangled tells the story of four teens who vacation at the same resort at the same time and how their lives are changed by their encounters. Jena and her mom go to the Paradise resort at the invitation of her mom's wealthy best friend. Jena does not want to spend her spring break at Paradise because it will mean hanging out with the beautiful, perfect, sophisticated Skye, daughter of her mom's best friend. Next to Skye, Jenna feels positively frumpy. Skye's life is far from perfect however even though on the surface she seems to have everything she could possibly want. Handsome and charming Dakota has secrets of his own and Owen is too busy blogging to notice what is going on around him.
The novel starts with Jena's perspective in April while at the resort and then switches to Dakota in May, Skye in June, and finally ends with Owen in July. It is not until we read each character's perspective that we reach the full picture. Each character has their own voice and it works very well. I only wish we could spend more time with each of the characters. There are moments of humor and sadness as we see what the characters are going through. The teens are written very realistically and they face realistic situations. All four of the teens have grown by the end of the book. Skye and Dakota who both come across as jerks at one point or another during the novel are given depth. There is more to their stories and it is revealed slowly. The novel has layers and it builds to a very satisfying conclusion.
I would suggest this novel to fans of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott and to those who like contemporary teen fiction....more
Magic Under Glass is set in a Victorian-like world where magic is part of the every day experience yet magical creatures like fairies are not trusted.Magic Under Glass is set in a Victorian-like world where magic is part of the every day experience yet magical creatures like fairies are not trusted. Nimira is from Tiansher, a country where people value music, dancing, and the arts. She is made to feel out of place in Lorinar where she is ridiculed as a "trouser girl" and for her darker skin. Hollin Parry seems to value Nimira and her talent and he defends her against the rude treatment of the other Lorinarians. Nimira may be treated well at Parry's home of Vestenveld but there are strange occurrences that unsettle her and the menace of dark magic hovers. This sense of the gothic adds to the suspensefulness of the novel as does the creepy sorcerer Mr. Smollings. Nimira's friendship with Erris happens quickly and in no time at all the two of them are in love even though they can only communicate through the tapping of the piano keys.
Overall I really enjoyed Magic Under Glass although it does have some minor flaws. I like how the novel examines racism, prejudice, and personal responsibility. Nimira grows as a person through her interactions with Erris, Hollin Parry, and the other characters. She examines her decisions and the way she looks at herself. I do wish that more time was devoted to developing the relationship between Erris and Nimira and the ending begs for a sequel. I would like to see more world building as well including more about the fairies and the sorcerers. I hope that Jaclyn Dolamore will write a sequel so all my questions will be answered! For a first novel this was a good read. I would recommend Magic Under Glass to fans of Jessica Day George (Princess of the Midnight Ball), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy), and Julie Berry (The Amaranth Enchantment). I look forward to seeing more from this author! ...more
I found The Oracle of Dating to be a delightful and lighthearted look at relationships. Kayla is a funny and engaging character who is in some ways wiI found The Oracle of Dating to be a delightful and lighthearted look at relationships. Kayla is a funny and engaging character who is in some ways wise beyond her years. She offers usually sage advice to her older sister and her Oracle customers even though she has only been in two brief relationships herself. She does have a useful reference shelf of relationship self-help books of the Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus variety to augment her own wisdom. However she is in other ways just like any other regular teen facing dating woes, hanging out with friends, and dealing with school. Kayla and her friends party a little bit, sneaking into clubs with fake I.D.s, etc. so Kayla does act like a teen when not working as the Oracle of Dating.
From the beginning there are obvious sparks between Kayla and Jared and it is humorous to see Kayla try to keep from having any sort of attraction to him. Jared's character is also interesting and he perfectly complements Kayla. Kayla's friends unfortunately fall flat. They exist not as individuals but as interchangeable sidekicks for the most part. That is the one really disappointing thing about this novel. Hopefully in future books in the series we will get to know her friends better. Kayla's mother and stepfather are barely around but that is typical for YA novels. When they are around however they are likeable, especially Kayla's stepfather. Kayla's sister is important to Kayla and it is funny to see them interact. Kayla really cares for her sister and does her best to give her older sister good dating advice which I think is sweet.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable and entertaining novel. I even laughed out loud at times. I think that teen girls who enjoy authors like Meg Cabot will really like The Oracle of Dating.
Ash has always loved hearing fairy tales and after her mother's death and father's remarriage the fairy tales are what help her through the tough timeAsh has always loved hearing fairy tales and after her mother's death and father's remarriage the fairy tales are what help her through the tough times. When her dad dies suddenly, Ash is forced to work as a servant for her cruel stepmother and stepsisters since her father left so much debt behind. Ash is miserable with missing her mother and father and longing for her old home until she meets Sidhean, a powerful fairy who is taken with her, and Kaisa, the King's Huntress. Sidhean represents everything Ash used to long for as she read her fairy tales but her relationship with Kaisa becomes more real to her. Now she must make a difficult choice between the real world and the fairy tale.
Ash is a retelling of Cinderella with a twist. The elements of the original are there with the cruel stepmother and stepsisters but Ash goes beyond that to examine what happens when someone relies too much on the fairy tale/fantasy. There are fairytales sprinkled throughout the narrative but these are not the sanitized Disney-type fairytales. They are somewhat dark tales used by parents to teach children about living safely and wisely. For Ash, these tales have always represented a connection with her mother and it is only after she meets Sidhean and other fairies that she realizes the truth behind the stories. The love that grows between Kaisa and Ash and the intense connection between Ash and Sidhean are at the heart of the novel. Both relationships help Ash as she grieves the loss of her parents and deals with the new reality of being a servant.
The novel is beautifully written. I loved the use of fairytales. It reminded me a lot of Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt, one of my favorite YA novels. The scenes with the fairies were fantastically creepy and the world in which Ash lives is well drawn. I liked the character of Ash and I could connect with her. Unfortunately I could not connect with Kaisa or Sidhean very well and had trouble buying into the romance aspects of the novel. I was a little disappointed by the way the novel ended also. I felt it was abrupt. There were some story threads that I had hoped to see tied up. However I still enjoyed Ash and I hope to see more novels from Malinda Lo. She is definitely a YA author to watch. ...more
Ethan Wate looks forward to the day he graduates high school so he can leave Gatlin, South Carolina for good. Then this stifling community with its smEthan Wate looks forward to the day he graduates high school so he can leave Gatlin, South Carolina for good. Then this stifling community with its small-minded citizens and traditions is stirred up with the arrival of Lena Duchannes, the beautiful niece of Macon Ravenwood, the town recluse. Ethan is shocked when he sees Lena because he recognizes her from his nightmarish dreams. While the town does its best to make Lena feel unwelcome, Ethan tries to find a way to save her from her fate.
Beautiful Creatures is a Southern gothic novel, a paranormal romance, and a suspense novel all rolled into one. The novel is told from the point of Ethan and his voice sounds authentic. Usually paranormal romance is told from the viewpoint of the girl so I found this refreshing. Lena is a strong yet fragile girl who has faced a lifetime of loss and not fitting in. I love the way she fights back against the girls who try to antagonize her. I also liked the supporting characters, particularly Amma, the Wate family's supersitious housekeeper and cook, and Macon, Lena's mysterious uncle. Even the locations take on a character of their own, especially Ravenwood Manor, Lena's home.
I don't want to give away too much about the novel but it is beautifully written with haunting language. I particularly enjoyed the song that provided clues for Ethan and Lena throughout the novel. I would have to say that this is the best novel I've read this year and it is definitely one of my favorite YA novels. I would highly recommend this novel, especially to those who enjoy well written paranormal romance like Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. I would also suggest this as a crossover novel for women who enjoyed Twilight, although I believe Beautiful Creatures to be infinitely superior. If you haven't read Beautiful Creatures, add it to your TBR list. You won't be disappointed. ...more
In this sequel to Beautiful Creatures, Ethan realizes that the danger isn't over for Lena. He continues to have unsettling visions and he keeps hearinIn this sequel to Beautiful Creatures, Ethan realizes that the danger isn't over for Lena. He continues to have unsettling visions and he keeps hearing a new song, Seventeen Moons, which suggests that Lena still has a choice to make. Lena is struggling with guilt which leads her to pull away from Ethan and question where she belongs. More than Ethan's love for Lena is on the line when a deadly enemy returns to Gatlin.
Beautiful Darkness is an appropriate title for the second book in The Caster Chronicles series. Things are definitely much darker and there are many twists and turns throughout the novel. Although the plot centers around a decision Lena must make, this book feels more like Ethan's story because the focus is on him. We learn more about Ethan, his mom's research, and Macon Ravenwood. Some interesting new characters are also introduced.
I enjoyed Beautiful Darkness but I liked Beautiful Creatures a little bit more. There were some parts in this book where I was confused and wished I had a copy of Beautiful Creatures on hand to refer back to. I was also annoyed with Lena at times but by the end of the book I understood why she behaved the way she did. Overall, this is another great installment in The Caster Chronicles. The setting is fantastic, including a side trip to Savannah, Georgia, and the characters are memorable. It is a long book but I was drawn into the story from the beginning. I think more questions were asked than answered during the course of the novel so I am really looking forward to reading book three to find out what happens next.
Readalikes:Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink, Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater ...more
Katarina Bishop thought she'd left her life as a thief behind for good and set herself on a better path. She worked hard to get into a prestigious priKatarina Bishop thought she'd left her life as a thief behind for good and set herself on a better path. She worked hard to get into a prestigious private school but in a matter of moments that future is gone. To save her father's life after he is falsely accused of stealing the art collection of a dangerous man, Kat must pull off an impossible heist and her only help is her teenage crew of thieves.
Heist Society has been compared to the Ocean's Eleven films and I would have to agree. The novel is fast paced as Kat and her gang travel the globe in pursuit of priceless art and the actual thief. Just like in Ocean's Eleven there is a crew of thieves working to pull off an impossible heist and there is plenty of humor and danger along the way. Kat is a strong character with a lot of street smarts and her best friend Hale exudes the charm of George Clooney. The other members of Kat's crew added comedy and the villain was suitably creepy. Of course with this type of story, there are plenty of implausible moments but I thought Heist Society was a fun read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted read, pick up Heist Society. I would suggest this book to fans of the Gallagher Girls series, and to those who enjoy YA chick lit. The rights to the film have been bought and I am hoping (probably futilely) that George Clooney will make a cameo appearance! ...more