Black City is the young adult, debut novel of author Elizabeth Richards. It is set in the United Sentry States after a terrible war that has ended with humans and Darklings divided into separate sections of Black City and the USS. Humans have won the war, and Darklings are shut up in ghettos, where they are supposedly only separated but treated well. The story focuses on Natalie Buchanan, the daughter of the Emissary (one of nine government officials, only under the country's ruler), and Ash Fisher, the last twin-blood (half Darkling, half human) left in Black City. The story is told in chapters alternating between Ash and Natalie's first-person points of view.
The Writing of Black City really did not work for me. The characters and plot points were underdeveloped and the plot focused more on the romance going on with everyone in the book than any sort of story line. The book opens with the protagonists breaking the rules in two different ways that intersect, ending with one threatening to kill the other (not kidding). Only hormones and "electricity" take it further than that. I understand that romance novels are extremely popular (and that it is not my favorite genre), but I have read romance-driven stories that are much better executed. Christine Feehan has a similar sort of insta-love between her characters (Life Mates) in her Dark Series, but it's way more sexual than Black City (and the execution did not work for me AT ALL until later in the series).
That being said, Black City is not a book without merit. I think the interactions between the characters will appeal to teen readers because it focuses on the issues they face every day: disagreements with friends over who they are dating, fighting with parents, coming to terms with their parents being adults with their own lives who make choices that are not centered on their children, and finding their places within society and how the choices they make may affect that standing. I am older than the targeted audience, so that may be why the writing did not appeal to me. 1/5 Stars
While the Writing was not for me, the World-Weaving is what kept me with the book. Black City has an interesting paranormal creature - the Darkling - that certainly piqued my interest. (And the Bastet is pretty darn intriguing, too.) There are several species (for lack of a better term) of Darklings, and if I ever read the next book, it will be to learn about them alone. It was completely believable that humans would treat these creatures as inferior, even though they had human characteristics and could have viable offspring with them. We as a species tend to put down anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than we do, and there is plenty of history to back that up. Going from this, I would have liked to know more about the war (I never really understood who was fighting), and I never picked up whether this world was alternate to our own or set in our future. 3/5 Stars
The Pace and Attention Span was greatly affected by the fact that I read this book as a part of an ARC tour. I've never not finished a book from one of these, and I wasn't going to start on this one (no matter the occasional temptation). The Pace was decent enough, I suppose. There really was never a lag in the action or romance - just a lack of attachment from me. It wasn't boring or bad. It never gripped my attention either, because I either knew where it was going (I did miss one plot point) or I didn't care about the angst-fest going on with the characters. Keep in mind - just because I didn't like it does not mean that teens won't eat it up. (I think they will.) 2/5 Stars
You can say what you want about me, but the Extra Magic in this novel was the sheer fact that the Darklings kept me with Black City through its duration. Hooray for Darklings! 2/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book from Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The advance copy was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own....more
Through Everneath, Brodi Ashton reminds me why I love and read books. Some authors and books can take you into another reality and set you down in theThrough Everneath, Brodi Ashton reminds me why I love and read books. Some authors and books can take you into another reality and set you down in the middle of that alternate world. I have been to Narnia, Middle Earth, and many other literary realms thanks to magical books and their word-spinning writers. Now I have been to Park City and the Everneath through Ashton’s masterful storytelling.
Nikki Beckett only wanted to say goodbye. Instead of instantly choosing eternity with Cole, she buys six months on the Surface to be paid off by eternity in the Tunnels – a version of Hell. What she did not expect was to return was a mess that she left behind after her century of the Feed in the Everneath, which was only six months at home. Nikki’s father thinks that she has been on a drug binge, her ten-year-old brother is starving for normalcy, her best friend is distant, and her estranged boyfriend is the biggest mystery to her at all. To complicate her brief return further is Cole, who she gave her life up for initially to receive the numbness he offered.
It is hard for me to explain how I feel about this book. I understood and liked every one of the characters. They were fully formed, believable, well realized, and each of them flawed in some form or another. The story itself was like a vortex, sucking me in and stealing my entire day. It incorporated Greek and Egyptian mythology seamlessly into the story. It holds the perfect formula for escape into this beautiful and heartbreaking literary world. It is a story worth experiencing, but be sure that you have a time block to set aside for it, as it is impossible to put down.
As usual, Philippa Gregory does not fail to please in The Lady of the Rivers. This is the third installment of her series about the War of the Roses (As usual, Philippa Gregory does not fail to please in The Lady of the Rivers. This is the third installment of her series about the War of the Roses (The Cousins' War), and probably my favorite of the three. It follows Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who was the mother of Elizabeth Woodville (wife of Edward IV). One of the main themes in this book was the fine line that a strong woman had to walk in order to survive in such a male-centered, brutal society where the slightest hint of her attempting to rise above her place would have her imprisoned or burned at the stake.
One thing that stood out for me was the almost non-existence of the steamy reading that can be found in Gregory's earlier works. Where The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover (among others) were practical bodice rippers, this was more focused on the relationships between the historical characters and the author's interpretation of why they behaved as they did - fictitiously, of course. It was no less of a gripping read due to this, but I did not have to worry about blushing or breaking a sweat as I read the novel.
The only problem that I had with this otherwise delightful read was at [a very few times] it began to drag. There were some elements that really were not necessary for the book as a whole, and the writing in some chapters read like it was done in Ben Stein's voice. It was not enough to damage a fantastic book, but I found myself skimming. These were few and far between.
I've been wanting to read Wither for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Lauren DeStefano pulled me into Rhine's world where humanity is quickly dI've been wanting to read Wither for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Lauren DeStefano pulled me into Rhine's world where humanity is quickly dying off, and left me with dozens of questions. I want to know what is lies and what is truth, concerning what Rhine has been told her entire life. I want to know the significance of her eyes. I want to know what happens to Linden, the man who she is forced to marry against her will. I want to know what happened to the rest of the world. I cannot wait to read Fever to see which, if any, of my questions are answered.
Crossed by Ally Condie is the highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Matched. IReview originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.
Crossed by Ally Condie is the highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Matched. In it, Cassia Reyes searches for her lost love in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic future United States. It is told from the alternating viewpoints of Cassia and Ky Markham. (You should probably stop reading right here unless you don't mind getting some Matched spoilers.)
Cassia walked away from the society's plans for her in order to search for Ky, who was taken to the Outer Provinces due to a decision she made. She goes to work camps and slaves away alongside Aberrations on her various assignments, hoping for any chance to find Ky. Ky himself is on a decoy farm in the Outer Provinces. He fights to stay alive though each march, air attack, and supply shortage so he can find a way to return to Cassia.
Ally Condie missed out on her sophomore slump with this novel. If anything, it was better than Matched. Cassia is no longer the indecisive, naive little girl that she was in the first book. She knows exactly what she wants, and she will stop at nothing to find the one she loves. The only hesitation she has is brought on by her memories with Xander. Ky loses some of his mystery (finally!) because having his point of view gives more insight into who he is as a character.
Although there was minimal action or major events in Crossed, the addition of more characters and secrets kept the story gripping and suspenseful. I was constantly wondering why each character wanted to find the Rising and if they were, perhaps, a Society agent. It is also revealed that Xander Carrow, Cassia's "match", has been holding some secrets of his own up his sleeve. I did not get nearly enough of him, but the next book in the trilogy, Reached, has been set up perfectly.
Overall, Crossed was a good book with rich characters, fascinating history of that future society, and enough mystery to keep me on board. I have become a much bigger fan of Ally Condie and cannot wait to find out how everything will play out in Reached.
*This is one of my reviews that have somehow slipped through the cracks and never got posted. Recently written reviews will still be done in the new style. This book was acquired from the local public library....more
Masque of the Red Death is Bethany Griffin's Gothic horror novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It is classifiMasque of the Red Death is Bethany Griffin's Gothic horror novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It is classified as Young Adult.
Araby Worth's world has crumbled around her - literally. Not only has she and her family lost her twin brother, Finn, to the Weeping Sickness contagion three years previous to the events in the novel, but the disease is still running rampant in the city. Corpse collectors walk the streets every morning for the infected dead, and those who can afford it wear their masks constantly. Prince Prospero rules over the city with an iron fist, with whispers of revolution blowing through the streets. People are disappearing, churches are burning, and some even say that the world is ending.
I found Griffin's Masque of the Red Death to be a grotesquely beautiful reimagining of Poe's original work. It lost none of the aristocratic fallacy or nail-biting suspense that oozed from Poe's terrifying horror story. If nothing else, Griffin expanded upon it, giving depth to the faceless dancers at the original, damned masque. As its own body of work, Masque of the Red Death picked up some entirely new themes. The main one that stood out to me was the twin theme. One entity represented light and the other darkness, one embodied joy and the other melancholy, and so on. With the opposing twins, there can only be one, and a choice must be made (or made for you). This most certainly applied to Miss Araby Worth on many levels.
There were some romantic elements and a bit of a love triangle in the story, but it was all so overshadowed by the decaying city that it was not obnoxious or overwhelming. The romance was never unbelievable (if that is possible in a dystopian, apocalyptic novel), and Griffin does not use it as a crutch. Both boys have many strengths, and Araby herself is such a bewitching character that it makes it plausible for both boys to fall in love with her. However, should Araby choose not to stick with Elliot, he is welcome in my home at any time.
Masque of the Red Death will suck you in, hold you, and dump you breathlessly back into reality, leaving your yelling "Wait! What the Hell is this?!" at it like a mad woman once you finish. Or maybe that's just me. But I don't think so.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
Dust Girl is the first young adult novel written by Sarah Zettel, who is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. It is a fantasy and theDust Girl is the first young adult novel written by Sarah Zettel, who is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. It is a fantasy and the first planned in The American Fairy Trilogy. Dust Girl focuses on a girl was raised by her mother in Kansas during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Callie LeRoux always had to lie about her heritage. It was not just her blue-gray eyes and freckled, creamy skin that made it necessary for her to cover herself, wear a hat, and wear gloves when she went outside. It is after her mother goes missing that she discovers that her father’s dark skin may not be the family secret that is most dangerous to her. As Callie searches for her parents, she is thrown in the middle of the on-going war between the two fae kingdoms. Luckily, she finds an ally in Jack – a young man with his own secrets.
This is one of the rare books that I was able to read in less than twenty-four hours. With my work schedule and kindergartner, it has been uncommon for me to get a book read at all that does not have short words and bright illustrations. Happily though, I was sucked into the strange, changing world of Callie LeRoux and Jack Holland. It is probably due to the magnificent storytelling ability of the author, Sarah Zettel. The story is like a trail of breadcrumbs – no, Hershey kisses – that keeps you following along, starving for more.
Dust Girl is the perfect blend of history, folk lore, and individuality in the face of prejudice. It reminded me of American Gods by Neil Gaiman with its fantastical spin on mythology set in the “real” world. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys new takes on American folklore or is in the mood for a beautifully written historical, rural (as opposed to urban) fantasy. I enjoyed ti beyond words, and I cannot wait to read it again once it is released.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, aReview originally posted on my blog, Bibliophilia, Please
The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, and the fourth installment in her Reincarnationist series. It is full of intrigue, mystery, a race for a historical artifact, family, and timeless romance. Although it is a part of a series, the book is a standalone novel.
The story contains a host of minor characters from ancient Egypt, 18th century France, and modern day, but focuses mostly on Jacinthe L'Etoile and, to an extent, Xie Ping. Xie is an artist living in China who has a secret, and is trying to survive under the watchful eye and heavy hand of the Chinese government. Jac is a mythologist television personality whose family perfume business is on the verge of collapse. When her father's declining mental facilities forces him to retire and her brother goes missing, Jac's life begins to spin out of control. She only has days to find her brother and his mysterious, ancient Egyptian pottery shards that hold the potential to save the family business from financial ruin. Xie and Jac are on opposite sides of the world, but are thrust into the midst of intrigue, murder, and the age-old question of whether or not the possibility of reincarnation truly exists.
I found The Book of Lost Fragrances to be a beautiful and well-written novel. The story flowed seamlessly across time and continents to tell a story of the search for the scent of memory. I was never bored by the flashbacks of the past or by the steady change in character focus. I would be reading what is going on in modern day Paris, then suddenly find the book describing events in ancient Egypt. The only problem that I had with the book was something that slightly offended my old-fashioned sensibilities. It was not a huge deal, but it made me a bit uncomfortable. However, it served a purpose at the end of the novel. The ending would not have been as powerful if not for that particular plot point.
As I stated in my summary, the book contains a multitude of characters. I think in this instance they were beneficial to the pacing and wove the story together more completely. Each was necessary to develop a major character or better explain a scene. Jac may have been the diamond, but she would not have shown without the never-seen little girl, Elsie. The assassin for the Chinese mafia added another dimension to Xie, in my opinion. The relationships between the characters were also stunningly lovely threads that wove this engrossing story together. To say more than that could potentially ruin the surprise of how everything was tied.
In the end, The Book of Lost Fragrances is a story about love. It is about the love between strangers, the love between family, and that intense love of a sweetheart (for lack of a better word). Anyone who enjoys a love story without a lot of romantic elements, a murder mystery without the gore, and a treasure hunt without an insane amount of twists and turns will enjoy this book. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to review it, and I look forward to starting the series at the beginning. This is a book that I will definitely read again.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
Jodi Meadow’s debut, Incarnate, is a beautifully written young adult novel, in which she builds a fresh, new world made of very old souls. In it, humaJodi Meadow’s debut, Incarnate, is a beautifully written young adult novel, in which she builds a fresh, new world made of very old souls. In it, humanity consists of a million souls that are reborn repeatedly in a magical land of dragons and sylphs.
The story focuses on Ana, a Newsoul who is born, taking the place of another who disappears mysteriously after five thousand years of existence. After eighteen years of being mistreated by her birth mother, who believes that Ana is a nosoul, she sets out into the city of Heart to find out the answer to the question everyone has asked at some point – why am I here? During her journey, she meets Sam, the first person who she has real contact with besides her mother. Even though he has lived in different bodies for five thousand years, he also seems to be searching for something.
I found Incarnate to be a lovely example of science fiction/fantasy. Ana is a sweet, likeable character. Although she seems overly childlike at times, it works well in the story since all of the other characters have been around for millennia. The supporting characters were either deliciously dreadful or endearingly sweet, and played well off of Ana. Sam is an interesting character, to say the least, but he creeped me out a little for various reasons. Overall, I found the book to be a great read, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
Fractured Light is Rachel McClellan’s debut and a young adult science fiction novel set in present day. The focus is on an orphan named Llona, who isFractured Light is Rachel McClellan’s debut and a young adult science fiction novel set in present day. The focus is on an orphan named Llona, who is facing the typical teenage struggle: how to be normal while figuring out who she is and who she wants to be.
Llona is different from other girls. She is pretty (and can be sweet when she chooses), but goes out of her way to avoid building relationships with other people. This is because Llona is an Aura, a being of Light that consists only of females and passes from mother to daughter. While she is able to manipulate light and other awesome perks, she also has an entire race, the Vykens, who will kill her if they ever find her. To Llona, this means she must choose between living a normal life with friends or facing a gruesome from those who would see her dead.
This novel is a very inventive and imaginative read. The mythology is bright and the two races, the Auras and the Vykens, do not fall under the classification of any current paranormal beings hanging out in popular literature. They are a new interpretation of the forces of good and evil. There are also two other groups (one paranormal) introduced, one of which is represented by a fantastic supporting character who can potentially play a big part in future books. The abilities of these races are fascinating, but the Vykens do show a few characteristics typical of vampires.
I was completely surprised by this novel. When I downloaded it from NetGalley, I thought that I would be reading a science fiction novel set in an alternate universe, focusing on the struggle between Auras and Vykens. I found instead is Llona as she tried to find the balance between survival and living her life. Much of the book explores her relationships with her friends, as well as her remaining family. The one problem that I had with this was how quickly and easily the characters solved their problems. However, as fast-paced as the novel was, something had to be sacrificed. If it was not for the eventual battle between Good and Evil, I could almost call it contemporary. (And the semi-horror parts, but I will not ruin that surprise.)
Overall, I found the book to be a lovely debut for McClellan. Other than the minor issues with character development, the book is a good read. I look forward to reading more of her work, and this series, in the future.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free through NetGalley. It in no way affected the outcome of my review....more
In Pure, Julianna Baggott creates a post-apocalyptic world where the various survivors of the DetonationsReview originally posted at Krazy Book Lady.
In Pure, Julianna Baggott creates a post-apocalyptic world where the various survivors of the Detonations are pushed together in this dystopian thriller. There are two factions of survivors – the Pures, who were in a radiation-resistant Dome when the Detonations struck; and the Wretches, the poor souls who were unfortunate enough to be in the unprotected outside.
The story itself focuses on two very different individuals – Pressia Belze and Partridge Willux. Pressia lives in the remains of a city outside of the Dome and is nearing her sixteenth birthday. She and her grandfather are plotting a way to hide her from the OSR, the outside militia government that takes away surviving children once they turn sixteen, never to be seen or heard from again. Inside the Dome, Partridge lives a privileged life as the son of one of the most important men in the protected environment. Despite his advantaged status, he finds himself asking questions about why he made it into the Dome and what really happened to his mother who died in the Detonations.
I am not going to comment too much on the plot. There are so many twists and turns, that I could easily give something away without meaning to do it. All of that aside, this is an exquisitely written story about survival and relationships in a very ugly, filthy, and violent world. Unlike more popular post-apocalyptic young adult novels, this one is far more believable for me. I do not believe something could change the entire structure of humanity without changing the people and their environment. It is probable and, to be honest, terrifying. The former English major in me immediately wanted to dissect this story into all of its glorious pieces.
The secondary characters were one of my favorite aspects of the story, and it would not have been as successful without them. The Mothers are one example. Their mere existence in the story is important because of what they represent in that horrible world. One of my favorite lines in the story concerns them. “And some have no children, and, next to all of the others, they seem stripped, pared down, as if whittled to some smaller version of themselves.” (Chapter 32 – Uncorrected ARC) Pure is a novel of so much loss, and that line speaks volumes in itself. It made me ask myself if that description could also be applied to the Pures. Near the end of the story, there is a Special Forces soldier who tells one of the main characters, “I was. And now I am not.” That is something that each character in the entire book can say.
It was a slow start for me, but I ended up loving this book. It is gritty, graphic, and horrifying throughout, but one of the most beautiful reads that I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
A copy was provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley....more
The Selection is the Big Six debut of young adult author, Kiera Cass. In a national lottery to chooseReview originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.
The Selection is the Big Six debut of young adult author, Kiera Cass. In a national lottery to choose the next queen of Illea in a post-apocalyptic United States, teenaged America Singer is chosen as one of the 35 contenders for Prince Maxon's heart and the crown.
One of the things I loved best about The Selection was the Writing. It is the literary equivalent of cotton candy - delicious, sweet, and gone in no time. (Cotton candy is NOT a bad thing in Kayla Land.) It is written in such a way that it is accessible to pre-teens all the way to older adults. Dystopias and post-apocalyptic books have saturated the YA [non]genre, so it is difficult to stand apart. However, Kiera Cass accomplished this by writing a clean book with characters who weren't that bad (except for jerk-face Aspen). I do have to say that I don't consider the book to be a truly dystopian novel because the government is not horribly corrupt from what I've seen so far, and the girls chosen in the lottery don't have to stay. Yes, the caste system sucked, too, but it's something American teens can relate to in the present economic situation. Not many people move out of their social class despite the (now lessening) opportunities to do so. I won't go too far into that because it would take away from the essence of the book. (I don't believe it was written to be much of a political statement.) We can discuss this in the comments if you like.
I've been including characters in the writing portion, and I'll continue that for now. America is probably one of my favorite heroines in 2012. She was easy to relate to, and I never found myself questioning any decisions she made, except a really stupid one at the end of the novel. (I still want to shake her.) On the other hand, the love of her life, Aspen, really pissed me off almost immediately. He made the decision for her to put her name in the lottery, and he was so crappy to her for being chosen. In my opinion, he's just as bad as Vampire Bill (who I would gladly stake). The other person in the "love triangle", Prince Maxon, is an A-plus sort of fellow, and he definitely left me feeling cougarish. *growls* 5/5 Stars
The World-Weaving really worked for me. The futuristic society was more believable than that in other books *cough*Divergent*cough*, and I really didn't challenge the way Cass built the world too much. I would like to know more about the rebellion, but I'm sure more will come along later in the trilogy. 4.5/5 Stars
The Pacing of the novel was perfect - as I touched upon in the Writing portion. I read the book in less than twenty-four hours, as have my library patrons to whom I've recommended this book. If you like princesses, frillery, and just a twinge of suspense and romance, you will be able to breeze through this book. 5/5 Stars
I suppose it goes without saying that my Attention Span was completely in tune with the the novel through its entirety. I found myself so deeply absorbed in America's time at the castle that I did not ever want to come back to reality. I could have read this book in just a few hours if not for work, a five year old, and other annoying responsibilities. ;-) 5/5 Stars
The Extra Magic of The Selection was how easy it was to read, in addition to what the book was not. It has been compared to The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. I found it to be neither as it lacked the darkness, ugliness, and horrible, wretched women (like in The Bachelor). Sure, there was a mean girl, but she wasn't nearly as disgusting as many women on the reality show. It was a good clean story and exactly what I needed when I read it. 5/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a signed ARC of The Selection via a giveaway from the author. It has in no way affected the outcome of the review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. The copy of the book I reviewed was a finished copy checked out from the local library....more
Linger is the sequel to Shiver and second in Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Where Shiver focused on Sam and Grace finding eachLinger is the sequel to Shiver and second in Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Where Shiver focused on Sam and Grace finding each other and a way to be together, Linger is their fight to keep what they have. Cole and Isabel's points of view are added to the narration of the story, with each trying to find a way out of their personal darkness.
Sam and Grace's story is a basic "teenage angst" love story, except with a paranormal element. The world (i.e. Grace's parents) is trying to keep them apart, and they're doing everything possible to keep their love alive forever. The catch is that Grace is sick and believes that she must be dying. Cole is a young man with a past, and Sam does not believe that he is right for the pack, questioning Beck's decision to turn him. Isabel is still grappling with the death of her brother and finding herself drawn to Cole.
I enjoyed the book more than I did Shiver. I did not intend to read it as it does not exactly fall into my genres of choice, but I ended up with the audiobook. The addition of Cole and Isabel telling part of the story was really worthwhile. They are the two most interesting characters in the book, and they provided a nice break from Sam and Grace's angst and rebellion. There were more twists and turns in this book, but they were mostly predictable. However, I must admit that I checked the book out from the library because the audiobook was not going quickly enough. Since Linger was so much better than Shiver, I will almost assuredly be finishing the series by reading Forever....more
Tricked by Kevin Hearne is the fourth installment in his urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles. In this book, our hero (and my book boyfriend), Atticus O'Sullivan; his dog, Oberon; and his apprentice, Granuaile face the repercussions of Atticus' trip to Asgard, as well as a few new issues thanks to the Navajo trickster god, Coyote.
The Writing of Tricked reminded me of precisely why I love to read. It's easy for me to lose interest in books because I'm such a picky reader. (Yes, I am an avid reader, but I'm not an easy one to please. I try to tone that down here on the blog.) Kevin Hearne's quirky humor and heavy use of both nerdy pop culture and literary references lovingly caresses the inner dweeb in me. Tricked is also obviously heavily researched. The book (and series) is loaded with facts about various mythologies and poisons, as well many other trivial knowledge that went over my head (such as mining equipment) - not that it was boring. I just used that time to pretended that I could beat up Granuaile and take her place roaming the world with Atticus and Oberon. Anywho, research is always appreciated, even if it's something I do not exactly understand. At least someone does, right?
As far as character development goes, it was not quite as deep as Hammered (where we were offered an EPIC male-bonding/past history scene), but it was well done as far as Atticus goes. A deeper glance is given into Atticus' time in Africa with his wife, what brought him to the New World, and we learned a bit more about his archdruid master/trainer. (I'd bet money that this guy comes up in the next book or two.) However, there is still much more that I'd like to learn about Granuaile since she's becoming such a major character in the series. Oberon, on the other paw (see what I did there?), requires no development as he sprang from Hearne's brain fully equipped with all of the awesomeness allowed in a literary character without the world imploding. He has easily become my favorite character in the series, despite my very creepily real crush on Atticus. 4.5/5 Stars
Kevin Hearne's created reality in Tricked is one that I often fantasize about being the one we actually live in, so the World-Weaving is successful for me. Everything exists as it is in our own world except that all the gods of all religions are real and able to walk among us, along with other paranormal and supernatural creatures. All of the creatures and myths are used successfully in the world-building and execution of the story and are never too much. Again, it is his research that makes this aspect of the story shine. 5/5 Stars
The Pacing of the story was a little off compared to the other novels in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and never lost interest, but the ride was a little bit bumpier than the first three novels. If you want me to be honest, I was somewhat disappointed in the outcome of Mrs. MacDonagh, who was one of my favorite characters. I've been waiting a year to find out what happened to her since the end of Hammered, and the letdown made me grip the book slightly less tightly throughout the rest of it. 4/5 Stars
As always, the Extra Magic in Hearne's novels are the unapologetic nerdiness found within the pages. The first Star Wars reference is made on page two, and the hilarity continues throughout the book, even when things get serious. Two of my favorite quotations happen very early on in Tricked.
As I shampooed Oberon's coat, I explained how to craft hypotheses and test them empirically using a control. And then I stressed safety while I rinsed him off.
"It's best not to experiment on yourself. Bacon practically froze himself to death in one of his experiements and died of pneumonia."
Right! Bacon must be heated. Knew that already, but thanks for the reminder.
I love my hound. — Tricked, Page 16
That, my friends, is what a book needs to make me giggle and love it. And I loved Tricked. Even if Fragarach was not the main sword, and I did not get to sing the Fraggle Rock theme song in my head every time Atticus drew it. Maybe I should refer to the first three books in the series as the "Fraggle Rock Trilogy" from now on. *grins* 5/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I have not received any sort of compensation for my review. The book was purchased by me with money that I made from my jobs that do not pay me nearly enough. All opinions expressed are fangirly, honest, and completely my own. ...more
This was a really good short story, but I'm glad that I read Cinder before I read this one. It gives a slightly deeper insight into the characters weThis was a really good short story, but I'm glad that I read Cinder before I read this one. It gives a slightly deeper insight into the characters we meet in the novel. That being said, I'm not recommending that you wait to read this until you read Cinder, I just liked that I did so....more
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is a historical romance novel that is aimed at the young adult audience. It has a small mix of the paranormal and mytholGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is a historical romance novel that is aimed at the young adult audience. It has a small mix of the paranormal and mythology that lends to its story about Ismae Rienne, Death's handmaiden.
Life was hard in the 15th century. Surviving an attempted abortion and being raised by a hateful father had to make it even harder. Throw in an abusive husband, and that describes the life of Ismae Rienne. That is, until she is rescued by the followers of the Old Ways in the countryside, who recognize her for what she is. Her life changes for the better when she is taken in by the convent of Saint Mortain, the pre-Christianity god of death. Ismae finds her calling in the walls of the convent - she is an assassin, a genius with poisons, and an adept student. However, all of that may prove to not be enough when she faces an assignment that places her in a dangerous political struggle and in a partnership with the equally dangerous Gavriel Duval.
I love historical fantasy novels (okay, and some historical romance), so I was more than excited to get my hands on Grave Mercy. Reading about imaginary assassin nuns in the 15th century was a huge factor in my starting the book ahead of others on my review pile. Unfortunately, I overheard talk of a romance that played a pretty major role in the book. I was almost turned off and nearly put it down.
I have never been happier to stick with a book.
Grave Mercy is a beautiful story of a young girl who tries to serve her god and country, but must question whether her orders from the convent are right or best. Watching this low-born peasant try to navigate the intrigues of court was never dull. (Who wants to be trained as a courtier anyway?) Ismae was brave, loyal, and she is probably one of the most endearing young adult characters I've ever read.
The only thing better than Ismae's colorful character in Grave Mercy would have to be Gavriel Duval. While I am a bitter old toad when it comes to romance, I found myself swooning at every long look, brush of skin, and witty retort. Robin LaFevers wrote Duval to be so incredibly realistic that I am currently nesting and fantasizing about having little Duval babies. That is no small feat.
I enjoyed Grave Mercy very much and had it read in nearly no time at all. While it was a historical romance, it had enough of a fantasy aspect to keep me interested. I will happily recommend it to most teens and any adult. I would hesitate in giving it to a younger teenager due to the violence and some sexual situations (though nothing compared to adult historical romance).
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
As far as Writing goes, Splintered was a very easy read that had many of the same qualities of the classic work to which it pays homage. It does notAs far as Writing goes, Splintered was a very easy read that had many of the same qualities of the classic work to which it pays homage. It does not have the scope of oddities and poetry as Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, but A.G. Howard does plant poetry that plays off nursery rhymes and other bits of the classic story. Many of Carroll's original characters emerge in the story, but they are used in such a way that they are utterly unique creations. Anything more that I could share would potentially be a spoiler, and this is a book you do not want to have spoiled in the slightest.
While I'm thinking about the characters, I should bring up some of the major ones. Alyssa is the heir of Alice Liddell, in that she's been called to Wonderland to fix Alice's mess, which she left behind as a child. Alyssa is a spunky character, and just a bit of a stubborn brat. This is a breath of fresh air in itself, since she is not a simpering airhead who is waiting on Prince Charming to love her and justify her existence or a depressed hard-ass who wallows in self-loathing because she is strong enough to survive. She's tough, she's powerful, and, most importantly, she embraces it. (You're shocked, right?) And, of course, she's the peak of a YA favorite - the love triangle. Taking up the other two places are Jebediah "Jeb" Holt, her best friend and "big brother", who follows her to Wonderland, and Morpheus, her secret childhood playmate that is much more than he seems. (I really don't want to tell you anything. Sorry.) I will go so far as to say that I'm leaning toward being Team Morpheus, as Jeb broke one of my very important "boyfriend material" rules.
The only complaint about the writing in the book is that about halfway through it, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what was going on. I was so distracted by Howard's lovely writing style and Wonderland itself that I was clueless as to what the point behind everything was. Yes, the answers are given at the end, but I'm hesitant to call anything a twist because I was not provided enough information to not see whatever it was coming. 4/5 Stars
The World-Weaving of Splintered was so magnificent that I was distracted from some gaps in the storytelling itself. A.G. Howard takes Carroll's delectable madness and runs with it, making a quirky, new dark world that has a broader appeal to modern reluctant readers. The creatures are almost like the originals, but spun off in such a way to make them more frightening and interesting. There is also a little similarity to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland a few years ago, but not enough to raise any eyebrows. Splintered is probably my favorite Alice adaption, and I'm beyond excited to see Howard's original worlds in the future. 4.5/5 Stars
As far as where the Pacing of the novel is concerned, the novel never failed to please. Splintered was action-packed, and there were no dragging plot points. Events were constantly occurring and scenery always changing, so I never once had time to get bored or distracted. 4.5/5 Stars
I think the best way to describe the Extra Magic of Splintered is to say that while Howard borrows heavily from Carroll's world and writing style, she makes her book quite different. Alyssa is not a naive little Alice, and there is some pretty heavy sexy time. (Don't worry - it's nothing over PG. I said "sexy", not "sex".) As far as the twist about Alyssa's family - definitely something out of Howard's own imagination that I never would have come up with in my wildest fantasies on my own in a million years. Also, the cover is one of my all-time favorites, and those are some pretty heavy words coming from me. 5/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a the traveling ARC of the book for a brief period of time from Krazy Book Lady in exchange for an honest review. Though the author provided the book to the tour, it has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own....more
O Endicott travels to Caledon to spend the summer with her elderly aunt, Emily, after her father takes offReview originally posted at Krazy Book Lady.
O Endicott travels to Caledon to spend the summer with her elderly aunt, Emily, after her father takes off to Italy for research. Emily owns the otherworldly Green Man bookshop, and lives in the apartment above it. O dabbles in poetry during her stay, but she questions her decision to write it because so many poets are insane. But are the queer things occurring around the bookshop really poet madness, or is there some kind of evil afoot?
I was about halfway through The Green Man when I found out that it was a part of a series. However, I never felt as if I was missing anything because there were various flashbacks with sufficient backstory. I only had two problems with the book. There were a few plot points that I felt did not lead anywhere, such as O seeing a young version of her father. It could have had a potentially interesting twist, but it only served descriptive purposes. My other issue was that the climax was very brief. I found myself asking, “Was that it?!” Other than that, I found this to be a very enjoyable read. The writing is lovely, and the pace is ideal for the young adult reader. I would even like to go back and read the previous two books in the series.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free through NetGalley. It in no way affected the outcome of my review.
The Wolf Gift is Anne Rice’s literary return to her horror roots. She became famous with her Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches books and retuThe Wolf Gift is Anne Rice’s literary return to her horror roots. She became famous with her Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches books and returns to the darker, paranormal themes with her latest novel.
Reuben Golding is a San Francisco reporter who travels to a mansion on the California coast to do a story on it for its owner, heiress Marchent Nideck, who was hoping to sell it. She inherited the house from an uncle who disappeared twenty years previously. After a terrible bloodbath at Nideck Point the first night in the mansion, Reuben finds that his entire life has changed.
I absolutely love Anne Rice. The Vampire Chronicles are some of my favorite books, and I even named one of my cats after a Mayfair witch. I grew up reading the mistress of horror, and she is one of my all-time favorite authors. The writing in The Wolf Gift is beautifully descriptive and exactly what I expected from Mrs. Rice. Unfortunately, I had trouble connecting to any of the characters. Reuben is an arrogant man-child who is offended by his own youth and beauty. His girlfriend and family are equally distasteful in their own rights. Rice’s books are always fraught with immoral and reprehensible characters (Lestat himself was deliciously terrible), so I was able to look past them. I was even excited about the Man Wolf superhero. The background crimes were engaging. However, this book is not for me.
I am embarrassed to admit that I could not finish this book. There are few things in a novel that I cannot stomach, and bestiality (even implied) is one of them. The situation leading up to it was also extremely unbelievable. I still think Anne Rice is one of the most talented story-spinners that I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I am sure that The Wolf Gift continued just as absorbing as it began. I can even happily recommend this to others who enjoy horror or extremely dark books. I, sadly, cannot continue it myself, and I write that with a very heavy heart.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free through NetGalley from the publisher. It in no way affected the outcome of my review....more
In this installment of the 39 Clues series by Jude Watson, we find our main characters, Amy and Dan Cahill, in Egypt. They are racing against their reIn this installment of the 39 Clues series by Jude Watson, we find our main characters, Amy and Dan Cahill, in Egypt. They are racing against their relatives to find the clue hidden by Katherine Cahill, the founding member of the Ekaterina branch of the Cahill family. Amy and Dan not only face the danger of their perilous scavenger hunt, but also their doubts of Grace Cahill's (their grandmother) love for them. They meet a host of new characters that are just as exciting and conniving as the opposing Cahills, which are mostly absent in this book.
This is probably one of my favorite of the series, thus far, because it really explored the relationships between Grace and a few of her relatives. Of course, there is the ever-important Amy and Dan, but Irina Spasky also shares some of her Grace memories during her POV. It makes Irina a more three-dimensional character, and I like her so much more because of it. She has always been one of my favorite Cahill contenders (along with Alistair Oh), but now I'm dying to see more of her in future books to see how she turns out. This is a fun book to listen to, and I have already started The Black Circle....more
Emerald City by Alicia Leppert is a young adult romance that could easily be classified as contempThis review was originally posted at Krazy Book Lady
Emerald City by Alicia Leppert is a young adult romance that could easily be classified as contemporary, with just a hint of paranormal romance. It is Leppert’s debut novel, published by Cedar Fort Books.
Olivia Tate found herself in a very dark place. She had numbed any emotions that she may have had since the death of her mother. Her father was long gone, having left her and her mother fifteen years prior. She was able to go through the motions of life until finally everything becomes too much. A bottle of Valium later, she finds her life has changed (and been saved) due to the concern of her mysterious neighbor, Jude West.
When I started reading this book, I wanted to put it down. I do not usually enjoy reading about others floundering at the bottom of the deep void of depression, but I am so glad that I stayed with it. This is a story of survival, hope, sacrifice, and how just the little things can turn someone’s life around completely. The characters were very sweet, and it was easy to become attached to them. I am not usually a fan of romance, but this one was palatable. The book had a bit of a twist, but I had picked up on it almost immediately. (It's been done before.) However, it did not detract from the story or my enjoyment of it at all.
The book only had a few minor issues, with the main one being Olivia (and the only one really worth mentioning). I know how realistic it is for teenagers to feel so very hopeless, but I was irritated by what instigated her Valium consumption. (This is not a spoiler – it happens very early in the book.) She does not mourn the death of her mother or her loss of other personal relationships in her life. However, when she is called a freak at work after someone wanting a different waitress than her, she is driven to suicide. Olivia spent the first pages of the novel describing how numb she feels, but she gives up so quickly. It galled me a bit, even though I am aware that sometimes the burden can just become too heavy. Also, she was a very ill individual. I just wish she would have gotten stronger for herself. I will grant that she did see a mental health professional, but Jude was the driving force.
All in all, Emerald City is a lovely debut novel for Leppert. I finished it in two days and did not want to put it down. Due to the suicide attempt at the beginning of the story, I would only recommend it for the older young adult audience. That being said, maybe reading this would inspire someone in pain to seek help. Not everyone gets a Jude, and it is just important for someone to learn to stand on his or her own two feet. I think anyone who enjoys romance and contemporary books with a hint of the supernatural would be happy to get their hands on this book.
If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome....more
The Black Circleis the fifth installment of the multi-author collaborative series, The 39 ClThis review was originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.
The Black Circle is the fifth installment of the multi-author collaborative series, The 39 Clues. These middle-grade books focus on Amy and Dan Cahill's race to find the thirty-nine clues their ancestors have hidden across the world, after the death of their grandmother. This novel was written by Patrick Carman, who has written more than twenty books.
Dan, Amy, and their au pair, Nellie, are still in Cairo following Beyond the Grave. As the children search out a hidden message, they find themselves caught in a whirlwind, time sensitive mini-treasure hunt. Since they are forced to leave Nellie in Egypt, Amy and Dan find themselves in Russia at the mercy of their secret helper (who may be leading them into a trap). They must form alliances with former opponents for the clues in order to find their fifth clue before their time runs out.
I really enjoyed The Black Circle because of the extensive character development. We are given a more positive insight into the Holt family, as well as Irina's relationships with other members of the Lucian branch. I would have enjoyed seeing more of Nellie and the Kabras, but Irina Spasky and Hamilton Holt are now two of my favorite Cahills in the series. I am still in love with these books, and I began In Too Deep immediately after this one....more
In Too Deep is the sixth installment of The 39 Clues series and is written by Jude Watson, who also wrote the fourth book - Beyond the Grave. It begins with Dan and Amy Cahill after they wrap up their business in Russia in The Black Circle. The children travel to Australia, being as it is the last trip they knew their parents to take. Along with their au pair, Nellie Gomez, and Saladin the cat, they go Down Under to meet their father's cousin, Shep Trent.
As usual, their adventure is filled with danger and their opposing Cahill cousins - namely Irina Spasky, Natalie and Ian Kabra, and the newly arrived Isobel Kabra. (She is the mother of Natalie and Ian, as well as the co-leader of the Lucian branch along with her husband.) Amy has a major plot point in this book, due to Irina pushing her to remember the night of her parents' deaths. While she is trying to find answers, Amy also facing down Kabras, sharks, and flying Holts. Dan and Amy also discover that their beloved Nellie Gomez may not be who she says she is.
This book maintains the same level of excitement and adventure as the rest of the series. Each of the characters is becoming more developed, and despite the answers we get, we are left asking more questions. I do not want to spoil too much, but I had a nice long Ugly Cry at the end of the book. I also have a new person to add to my list of favorite literary characters. And, of course, I have already started The Viper's Nest....more
In Robin Wasserman's latest young adult novel, readers are swept away into a story of intrigue, thrillReview originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please
In Robin Wasserman's latest young adult novel, readers are swept away into a story of intrigue, thrills, murder, betrayal, alchemy, and conspiracy five hundred years in the making. The Book of Blood and Shadow is a history-laden treasure hunt unlike anything in its genre.
When Nora Kane's older brother Andy died, she had to slip away into a new life. Her parents were closed off, and high school would never be the same again. She changed schools and made all new friends who knew nothing of her past life (for the most part). Unfortunately for her, things fell apart once again after she, her boyfriend, and best friend began to crack the code in the ancient Voynich manuscript. As her life is turned upside down, she is forced to go halfway across the world in search of truths about the distant past, her friends, and what really happened the night that her best friend was murdered.
There are few things that I love more than an author who does a lot of research. The amount of work Wasserman spent studying the settings, plot points, and historical references in the book really shines through the pages. The historical truths have been beautifully fictionalized, and my enjoyment of it overall surpassed that of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I also appreciate Wasserman detailing what is real and what is used in a purely imaginary fashion in the Afterward of the book. It made me a very happy quasi-historian.
I generally love action-packed, twisty thrillers with history filler, but I hit a few bumps while reading this. I had a hard time getting into the first person narration, which usually is not a problem for me. It may have had something to do with the huge influx of background information at the beginning of the novel. However, once I got into the swing of things, I was sucked into the story. The biggest problem that I had with the book was the majority of the second third of it. With all of the historical and geographical references and five hundred years old letters written by Elizabeth Weston, the plot dragged. It broke up the pacing of the story so much that I became disconnected from the characters both from the present, as well as the past. Fear not, because once again, the story picked right back up.
Overall, The Book of Blood and Shadow was an exciting, fun read that kept me guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed National Treasure, The Da Vinci Code, and other conspiracy, treasure hunt thrillers.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome. ...more
The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow is Lorin Barber’s first work of fiction about Copernicus “Nick” H. Stringfellow – a Twinkies-powered, super-genius superhero who lives his life to help others. It is published by Cedar Fort books with a March 13th, 2012 release date. Its target audience seems to be young adult, although all ages could find enjoyment in this book.
Nick Stringfellow is a strange fellow. He drives cross-country in his 1969 Chevy Impala SS 427, picking up hitchhikers and helping his fellow man when/wherever possible. When the wind blows him to Seattle, Washington, he calls in a favor to one of his old friends to get a job at the Harborview Medical Center as a “nurse at large”. While there, he makes new friends and tries to come up with ways to make these various individuals’ lives better.
I found The Secret Life of Copernicus H. Stringfellow to be a very sweet, funny, and enjoyable read. The protagonist, Nick, is a man on a mission to make the world a better place. He goes out of his way to be helpful to everyone he meets and is quite endearing. His backstory is filled with a little bit of sadness, and he reminds me a bit of T. S. Garp from The World According to Garp by John Irving (minus the sex). The Secret Life is littered with a multitude of minor characters, and the housekeeper, Jemima, is my favorite. The best line of the book is when Nick offers her three thousand dollars a month to clean his house a few hours a day. She tells him, “Honey, for $3000 a month, I’d clean between your toes with a Q-tip.” (ARC, Page 30) I laughed out loud. These minor characters are used to show us the facets of Nick and give him opportunities to grow (as much as a super-genius can).
Something I enjoyed the most of this novel was the little tidbits of information that Nick would rattle off randomly. He was a well of knowledge and was quick to share it, whether his listener liked it or not. Mr. Barber had to have researched a good bit of miscellaneous trivia to provide so many extra facts to the story. I also found the Twinkie-related consonance to be hilarious, even if it began to go a little overboard.
On the downside, I had a few problems with The Secret Life. The main one was that Mr. Barber used stereotypes as a crutch. Every character that was introduced in the story had his or her age, height, weight, race, beauty, and level of hygiene presented. The fat, less than hygienic men were the bad guys that had to be punished (and seemed to be drunks also); the less than pretty or older females were waiting to be swept off their feet by the just as unattractive man; and the beautiful, intelligent woman who had a great career was only being successful while waiting on someone with whom she could start a family. Despite them being so wonderfully described, each one lacked development in the book. There were also a few plot points that went absolutely nowhere. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this novel, but that brings me to my last issue. I would say the book stopped more than ended. Each chapter of the book was its own little story that, while fitting in with the flow of the book, mostly wrapped up at the end of its own little section. I cannot say the same for the book. The only end that was even remotely tied was with one of the villainous minor characters, and the book ended with him. I was left staring at my Nook, asking “Is this it?!”
Although I had my problems with the aforementioned items, I found myself enjoying the book. I think anyone looking for a quick, fun read would relish going on an adventure with Copernicus H. Stringfellow.
A copy was provided by the publisher through Net Galley for review....more