The Shadow Prince is a whopper of a book. It comes in at over 500 pages long , and the only thing I was thinking when I was done with it was, “That wa...moreThe Shadow Prince is a whopper of a book. It comes in at over 500 pages long , and the only thing I was thinking when I was done with it was, “That wasn’t long enough. I want more!” I love mythology and I really enjoyed all of the attention to mythological details that Bree wove into the story. Mythology really was everywhere, throughout the street names in the town to the class lectures at school. It was an immersion into the stories of Persephone and Hades, which just so happens to be one of my very favorite myths. For example, One of Daphne’s teachers was teaching her class about some versions of the Persephone myth and she was describing a thesis paper she wrote in college and I thought even that sounded fascinating. I would totally read her paper. So I may be a bit of a mythology nerd, but this book is perfect for both mythology enthusiasts like me and newbies alike.
I loved how strong willed Daphne was. She is not going to back down from anything or anyone. But she wasn’t so stubborn as to be pig headed. She could admit when she was wrong. That is a balance that I seldom see in main characters. They are normally all or nothing. And I loved how passionate Daphne was about music. She could see music in everything. It was pretty magical, and Bree made all of it come to life in the story through her descriptive writing. This is a book that would have one of the most killer playlists out there- that’s for sure.
Hayden is chosen as a surprising guardian. Right off the bat he is the underdog and I couldn’t help but root for him. I felt bad about the harsh reactions he drew from everyone in his home court. And throughout the book he kept alluding to this big, bad horrible thing that he did to earn his people’s hatred. It was driving me crazy trying to guess what it was. Watching Hayden fall in love with Daphne was really sweet. You know it is going to happen from the start, but even so it will make you smile. I am pretty in love with them myself.
The Shadow Prince is the first book in the Into the Dark Series, and I already know that I am going to freakin’ LOVE this series. Not only did this book have me on the edge of my seat over the action scenes, but it had me laughing out loud and awh-ing at some of Hayden’s parts. It is told in dual narrative, which served the story well. We got to see a peak into Hayden's head as well as get to see into his world. A great book for fans of mythology and for people who are new to the story of Hades and Persephone. This series is a hit! (less)
Lover, Divine is the first book in the Gods and Lovers series. This is an adult series, but it is also a prequel series for the young adult Prophecy o...moreLover, Divine is the first book in the Gods and Lovers series. This is an adult series, but it is also a prequel series for the young adult Prophecy of the Most Beautiful, book 1 in the Oracle of Delphi series. I didn't know this until I had almost finished the book. I read Prophecy of the Most Beautiful towards the end of last year, and I thought it was a great read. I love that there are now two series living in the same world. The Adult series are the stories of the Gods, and the Young Adult series is the story of the demigod children and the Oracle. Two different generations. It's really a cool thing that A. Star/Diantha Jones has created.
Lover Divine is the story of Apollo and a mysterious prophecy that has brought Siobhan into his life. In this world there are "influentional" families on earth that know all about the Gods and their rules and regulations from their land of Myth. These families act as an intermediary for the gods and help them carry out their wishes as their agents on earth. Siobhan is the daughter of one of the oldest influential families, the Law family.
When she meets Apollo, or Liam as she first knows him, she thinks he is an immortal created by one of the gods. I really liked how they clashed. He drove Siobhan crazy. They bickered and went back and forth all the time. I loved how inquisitive and questioning she was. She never took what he said at face value. She hated that he kept things from her and it was a constant source of fights for them. It made me admire her spunk and strength. She was not just going to bend to his will easily. I really liked how so much of their bond was through music. Apollo is the god of music and music is something that is so prominent and important in Siobhan's life as well.
Apollo was annoyingly cryptic throughout the book. He didn't reveal much about the fates and what led him here and he didn't really go into the prophecy in any real detail. He said that it had to be that way. It was very easy to see the differences in the characterizations of the Gods and of the mortals in this story. It felt very true to mythology. I also loved how devoted Apollo seemed to be to Siobhan. He didn't have to be at all, but you can tell that he truly cares for her. I hope in the next book in the series we get to see more of the two of them.
I am loving the world that A. Star has created and I can't wait to continue both series to see how they turn out and how they intertwine. I can't wait to find out more about the other influential families as well. (less)
Afterparty is a tough book to write a review on without just spoiling everything. A lot happens in this story. A LOT! It's kind of one of those books...moreAfterparty is a tough book to write a review on without just spoiling everything. A lot happens in this story. A LOT! It's kind of one of those books that you just have to experience for yourself. The book starts out by teasing you with a flash into the future of the story and then it backtracks and you get to read the whole rest of it to see how it happens. (but even the ending has some surprises up it's sleeve.) Afterparty is not a happy go lucky book. I felt like it explored kind of a darker side to friendship, and peer pressure.
The characters really took center stage in this story. Ann Redisch Stampler did such an amazing job portraying the kinds of inner conflict that a person goes through, especially where friends are involved. Emma is the main character of this story, and for the most part I really liked her. She is a good person at her core, and because of that you could really see her inner struggle with some of the things Siobhan was pushing her into doing. Siobhan is a whirlwind, by the way. And not a good one. Even though she was technically a secondary character, she demanded a lot of the attention throughout the story. She is a manipulative little brat, that's for sure. At least, that was my take on her. Throw in a boy and you know the story is going to get crazy.
Afterparty deals with all sorts of things that teens go through on a daily basis. Lies, betrayal, peer pressure, doing things to please friends, growing and figuring out who you are going to be as a person. Afterparty is something that I could easily see happening. The book just has a very realistic feel to it. Sometimes the characters are over dramatic, sometimes they make bad decisions, and sometimes they are indecisive. But they are 100% teens.
A few times I wanted to shake Emma and get her to see just what kind of person Siobhan was. That was the frustrating part of the story for me. A few times Emma seemed to be too much of a pushover for her own good. I wanted her to grow into her own person. And she does do some growing on her journey, but not always in the ways you would expect. Even though I was frustrated with Emma and Siobhan sometimes (well Siobhan pretty much all the time) the saving grace was the realistic-ness of it all. This is how teens are, especially nowadays. It is something that I have seen happen all too often. Afterparty is an intense and dramatic journey. No matter whether I was loving what was happening or frustrated by the characters, I still could not put the book down. The twists and turns are crazy. This book totally took me by surprise. (less)
I love Sherlock Holmes. Always have. I've read a bunch of his original books, and I've seen all sorts of movie and tv show portrayals about him. Maste...moreI love Sherlock Holmes. Always have. I've read a bunch of his original books, and I've seen all sorts of movie and tv show portrayals about him. Mastermind initially appealed to me because it was all about my favorite part about Sherlock Holmes- his thought process. Sherlock is brilliant. He seems to see everything, and Maria Konnikova claims to be able to unlock the magic of Sherlock's mind.
Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes explores Sherlock's thought process. But it doesn't tell you how to actually think like him. It is more like a study and breakdown of how he thinks. Still a very interesting read, but only if that is what you are looking for. If you are expecting a how- to book, this is not going to turn you into a master of deduction by the time you are done reading it. It felt much more like a scholarly research thesis. She really delves pretty deeply into how Sherlock's mind works. Even though Maria clearly knows her neuroscience and psychology, she manages to keep the book very readable. She takes complicated concepts and does a good job about breaking them down and explaining them in layman's terms. I thought the book had a good flow to it. She breaks down Sherlock's thought process into 4 main parts and then explains each of them. I thought this was good, but a few points in the book it dragged on a little bit. I thought she could have been a little more concise in her explanations. A couple of times while I was reading, I caught myself thinking, "Ok, ok I get it. Let's move on." But the core concepts were so interesting that I couldn't put the book down.
I connected with the authors love of Sherlock Holmes, and I really liked how she incorporated passages from classic Mr. Holmes and then she would tie them into her own research flawlessly. I also loved how she explained how observant we are as children because everything is new and exciting to us, so we absorb everything, and then once we get older everything starts to seem more and more blase and we lose some of that overeager excitement from our surroundings.
Once Maria breaks down the though process that our brain naturally goes through, she lays out the pitfalls that we normally fall into that keep us from going from average to super human Sherlock. Basically I came away from Mastermind with the idea that if I continually practice, the steps that Sherlock goes through to create his methodical approach might become a little bit easier to do. Or at least, you will gain an appreciation for how Sherlock's mind works- theoretically. I enjoyed reading about the ideas Maria presented, and I found them to be helpful, but again I feel like I should note that you are not given ideas of how to implement them for yourself. For example, she says that you need to be able to recall information that you have gathered quickly, and if you cannot access it quickly enough, then it may not be useful to you after all. Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me, but how do you speed up sorting and recalling that information. Well, that is not something found in this book. Which is fine, I enjoyed the book for what it was, but the title can be a bit misleading. Mastermind is very interesting research on how Sherlock thinks. Fans of Sherlock Holmes and of neuroscience or psychology will probably find this book interesting. Maria Konnikova is very straightforward in her writing and presents some very interesting ideas. (less)
Wow! This book was so much fun. It made me feel like I was living it up on the Las Vegas Strip right along side with Peyton, Savannah, and Courtney. T...moreWow! This book was so much fun. It made me feel like I was living it up on the Las Vegas Strip right along side with Peyton, Savannah, and Courtney. The three Diamond sisters are each so unique. The book was split up into multiple different characters views. The chapters each alternated between the diamond sisters and the resident "it" girl at their soon to be high school, Madison. There were also little sections scattered throughout from a school online website, where people were posting rumors and things that were going on. It reminded me of part Twitter, part Gossip girl blog. I thought it was a perfect add in to the atmosphere that the Diamond sisters found themselves living in.
Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah are uprooted to live with their absentee father in Las vegas, and overnight their whole lives changes. I appreciated how well the girls each handled this huge change. Sure Peyton was a little grumpy, and sure Savannah was a little spend happy with all of her new money, but I thought overall, they handled themselves really well in this tough situation. I also thought that the celebrity lifestyle was portrayed to a t! Michelle Madow did such a fantastic job creating an atmosphere that seemed to realistic to how teenage/celebrity lifestyle seems to be. It is like the Las Vegas Gossip Girl. I ate it all up.
I really liked all of the Diamond Sisters because they were each so different and I feel like we got to know each of them really well, but if I had to rank them I like Courtney the most and Peyton the least. Courtney seemed like the most level headed of the three and i thought she made the best decisions overall. I liked Savannah, but I wish she was just one year older. She seemed so young at just 15, and everything she was doing just made her seem so much older. I think that is why I like the idea of her with Nick because he seemed to treat her the best. Peyton just seemed like such a sourpuss all the time and in some ways she acted the most immaturely. I understand where she was coming from, but attitude still bugged sometimes. At the end of the story, I started to get a glimpse of a much nicer Peyton, and that made me like her a lot more.
And then there is Madison. I have no idea what to think of her. I guess she was the "mean girl". And by I guess, I mean that she can be one heck of a B, but for some reason, I just want to believe her soft underbelly. I'm still deciding on who the real Madison is. I will have to get back to you on that one after I read the next book. And you better believe, I will be reading the next book. I am hooked on the world of the Secret Diamond Sisters and I can't wait to go back for more. (less)
Fire and Flood is intense and action packed. I could not put this book down. I gobbled it up in one sitting. The book takes place in multiple settings...moreFire and Flood is intense and action packed. I could not put this book down. I gobbled it up in one sitting. The book takes place in multiple settings, first in a forest and then in a dessert. Each extreme in their own ways. Victoria Scott did such an excellent job bringing these awful conditions to life. The contestants in the Brimstone Bleed competition had to endure so much. Fire and Flood has a very mysterious vibe. The people behind the Brimstone Bleed and the competition itself is all shrouded in mystery. And then there are the pandoras, which are mysterious in and of themselves. I loved getting to know all of the different pandoras and seeing what they can do.
I have seen more than a few comparisons to the Hunger Games, and while I do see some similarities, I feel like Fire and Flood has a different focus than the Hunger Games. Yes, they are both dystopians and a majority of the book takes place in a competition like arena where the stakes are high enough for people to kill, but for me the main focus in Fire and Flood was aimed at uncovering the past of the Brimstone Bleed and discovering what secrets it held. In the Hunger Games everyone knew the history of the games and the focus was mostly on the capitol. I was so curious about the race itself, and I was super surprised at what we learned about it. It was a great plot development. Everyone that goes to the race is trying to win a cure for a loved one in their life. This was one thing that I was questioning while reading. Why was everyone convinced that this single "cure" would work for everyone. How could this brimstone bleed know just what every sick loved one would need. I asked myself that at least 5 times while reading. But that is the only hold up I had.
Not only is the Brimstone Bleed plot super interesting, but you also get a really great romance between Tella and Guy. Tella was pretty awesome all on her own though. She is laugh out loud funny and I adored her connection and love for the pandoras. (which kind of reminded me of pokemon)Each contestant gets their own pandora to help them out in the competition and they are all different. Fire and Flood is an awesome start to a series that I dying to continue. Victoria Scott rocks. (less)
Angie Stanton certainly knows how to write a powerful book. I even shed a few tears while reading Rock and a Hard Place. This is the story of a first...moreAngie Stanton certainly knows how to write a powerful book. I even shed a few tears while reading Rock and a Hard Place. This is the story of a first high school love. It's powerful and real and raw and I loved every second of it. There are a lot of characters that have it rough. They get cut a bad hand in life, but holy cow, I don't think they hold a candle to what Libby had to go through. This poor girl! Her mom and sister died in a car accident. Her dad couldn't deal with his grief so he dropped her off at her awful aunt's house, where she lives in filth and can't do anything except try and stay out of her alcoholic aunts way. And that is just the beginning of the book. That doesn't even begin to cover all the stuff that happens to her throughout the story. I just wanted to give her a hug!
Libby is a strong girl. She has to be to survive. And then she meets Peter. They are so sweet together. Their relationship was so cute and adorable and pure. It was all consuming, just like so many first loves are. They would rush home to try and talk to each other, and stay up late into the night and their whole worlds seemed to revolve around each other. Except that unlike normal high school love, Peter is a rock star. I thought Peter was a breath of fresh air. He seemed so unaffected by his fame. I really liked him.
What I liked about Rock and a Hard Place is that the progression of their relationship felt so realistic to me. There were plenty of bumps in the road but nothing felt forced, nothing seemed contrived. It was just two people trying to be together against everything they were each dealing with. This is just the kind of story that you have to read to appreciate the beauty of it. At first glance it seems like a cute love story that you would take to the beach, but it is far from a light read. There is depth and so many raw emotions that make this a much deeper book. It deals with tough issues. I think Angie Stanton is such a bold writer. I loved that about Rock and a hard Place. Romance fans need to read this book and realistic contemporary fans need to check it out too. I think there is something in this book that will appeal to so many different readers. (less)
I have seen some mixed review for this book. Some people loved how light and fun it was and thought it was a great summer romance, while others though...moreI have seen some mixed review for this book. Some people loved how light and fun it was and thought it was a great summer romance, while others thought it was played out or overdone. Nonetheless, I thought it looked adorable and I was really excited to read it. I am a sucker for fun beachy reads and an even bigger sucker for the boy/girl next door romances. I enjoyed the Summer of No Regrets. I can see what people are saying about a few things being kind of run of the mill in young adult, but it didn't bother me at all. It's a story line that the author can do so much with and it's a winner in my book. Personally, I love when authors take a storyline that may have been done a few times and put their own twist on it. Their writing really shines through that way to me. I get a better sense of the kind of author they are. And I have to say, Katherine Grace Bond really impressed me. I loved her characters and her writing was fun and engaging.
Brigitta is unique and kind of spunky. This is her story and you really get to see a lot of progress and growth from her as a character and as a young lady throughout the Summer of No regrets and that is a huge plus from me. I love being able to go from the first page to the last page and see lots of good character progression. Brigitta comes from a unique family as well. Her dad's religious views rub off on Brigitta in that she becomes almost obsessed with different religions and trying to see what would work best for her. I havent really seen that done in many young adult books before and I thought it was really interesting. And then Brigitta meets Luke. Sigh, oh Luke.
You guessed it, I really liked Luke. Right off the bat, you know he is hiding a secret. And I knew exactly what it was because I knew what the book was about but you get confusion from Brigitta and you go on this emotional rollercoaster ride with her while she is trying to figure it all out. At first, I thought she seemed a little immature about everything but she soon comes into her own and I thought that then her and Luke were a good match. I really liked reading about the two of them.
The Summer of No Regrets is a really interesting read. I think anyone that is looking for a cute and kind of quirky summer romance should check it out. The real star of the book is Katherine Grace Bond. I loved her writing style. She immediately drew me in and I can't wait to read another book of hers. (less)
I have read a few books from Karice Bolton by now, and other than the fact that she is one of the nicest ladies around, she writes great books. I alwa...moreI have read a few books from Karice Bolton by now, and other than the fact that she is one of the nicest ladies around, she writes great books. I always know that the quality level will be high when I pick up one of her books. I have also come to learn that she really steps up her game in the second book in the series. What I mean by this is that second books tend to either be a hit or fall flat for me. But in the Witch Avenue Series, as well as her Watchers trilogy, she takes the characters and plot to a new level. She really keeps on building things and working details into the story and I love that about her books.
Altered Souls was even better than Lonely Souls. I really enjoyed getting to know Triss and Logan better. I mentioned in my review of Lonely Souls that it seemed kind of dark and that was one of my main thoughts while reading Altered Souls as well. Karice Bolton explores some darker magic in this book and it was creepily delicious.
The thing that I loved the most about Altered Souls was Triss. She really seemed to come into her own in this story. She became more confident and sure of herself, which is especially important when you throw in the magical elements of the story. Triss and Logan stay pretty strong throughout the book and I really liked that. It seemed like their relationship only grew. This won't come as a surprise to anyone that has read the book, but Logan is flat out awesome. He just does the sweetest things sometimes.
Altered Souls has plenty of action to keep you entertained the whole time. There was a lot packed into this book. Including some new characters. I don't want to to talk too much about them because they were a new twist in the story and I don't want to ruin anything. I learned a lot and many of my questions from book 1, and from this book, were answered. I appreciated that I wasn't kept in the dark the whole time like I am with some books.
Altered Souls, and the Witch Avenue Series is a unique paranormal series. It is very character driven, but the magic is also front and center. If you liked Karice Bolton's Watchers Trilogy, then you need to check out this series as well. You will love it. (less)
I read the first book Austentatious, when it first came out and I fell in love with the magical love story and that mysterious journal from none other...more I read the first book Austentatious, when it first came out and I fell in love with the magical love story and that mysterious journal from none other than Miss Jane Austen herself. I thought it was such a cool idea to have Jane Austen giving advice through a journal, so I jumped all over this book when I got the opportunity to read it. And guess what? I think I liked it even more than the first one, if that is even possible! This book seemed a bit spunkier and I really liked the dynamic between the two main characters. Cate, and her alter ego Kat, are so spunky and fun. I loved her banter and witticisms. Plus Ethan knows how to push all of her buttons and that is just so much fun to sit back and watch. I really got a kick out of seeing the two of them interact with each other. Cate and Ethan are both teachers and they are also good friends and scrabble buddies. I thought it was hilarious how Cate’s mom kept popping up. She was quite the character. (You will see what I mean when you read the book) As soon as Cate found the journal and got her first response, my excitement about the book doubled because I remembered how much I loved Journal Jane’s responses. And Cate totally took them to heart and she started to step outside of her shell. It was more like a giant leap out of her shell, actually. She became a total bombshell over night. And oh man, the first time Ethan saw her as Kat, was priceless. I loved his reaction. Austensibly Ordinary has plenty of little surprises up its sleeve for the readers. We find out some secrets about a few characters that certainly caught me off guard. There may even be some ghosts creeping around in the book. I love Alyssa Goodnight’s writing style. She creates books that never fail to grab my interest. I love the way magic is woven in through the journal, but the rest of the book is contemporary. Its real life with a dash of magic. Which I think makes everything more interesting. Let’s put it this way, If I could I would be hopping a plane to Austin, TX right now to track down this journal. I could use a little Jane Austen wisdom in my love life!
I was completely surprised by Pantomime. After reading the book, I went back and re-read the summary before I wrote my review. I liked the summary of...moreI was completely surprised by Pantomime. After reading the book, I went back and re-read the summary before I wrote my review. I liked the summary of the book even more after the secrets of the story were revealed. I loved how well thought out Pantomime seemed to be. You can really tell all the thought that Laura Lam put into the details and storylines of the story.
While I wouldn't say the big "twist" is super surprising, it is something that I initially had not expected. But as the book goes on, I caught on pretty quickly as to what was going on. Pantomime is another one of those books where the chapters alternate between present and past. I found it easy to follow and I really liked the backstory that it added. The back and forth chapters made it easy for me to see what the balancing act from the summary was going to be. I felt like I really got to know Gene this way.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about each of the individual characters, except Micah, because I don't want to ruin anything for anyone. I thought that the story was organized in a great way, and honestly it is much better if you can experience it for yourself. I will say this- everyone in this book has their own secrets for you to discover. And I do mean everyone.
Micah is tough. He is scrappy and resourceful and just trying to figure out who he is. He joins the circus and I felt so bad for him when a lot of the other performers gave him a hard time. I will say this, I would have liked to establish everyone's age a little bit more clearly. I kind of just had to guess and I would have liked to know how much younger/older the characters were in relation to Micah.
The world of Pantomime is a fantasy world but it was pretty similar to our own world. I kind of pictured the book taking place in in a location like 18th or 19th century London. The every day life was similar to that in my mind. But there was culture and mythology worked in to create the fantasy aspect of the story. I loved that at the start of each chapter there were quotes or passages from various books and myths from their land. It helped create a fuller picture.
Pantomime is an excellently written book. I thought Laura's writing style really shined and I was able to easily connect with the plot and the characters. It was really descriptive, but not over the top. I could picture all of the circus acts in my head. That is a pretty big accomplishment, because circus's are so visual. A few of the secrets were a little out there for me, but it was all really interesting to read about. I wasn't the biggest fan of the cliffhanger ending, because I really wanted to know what was going to happen but I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the next book!(less)