I have to say that I started Winterborne by Augusta Blythe expecting a totally different story than theREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I have to say that I started Winterborne by Augusta Blythe expecting a totally different story than the one that I read. I expected a superhero story from the point of view of Mia, but what I got was a supernatural fey story from the point of view of Mia’s best friend, Loie. I actually think that I prefer what I read to my preconceived notion, and that rarely happens.
Loie has lived with her uncaring, semi verbally abusive grandmother since her parents died when she was younger. Loie’s parents died on the same day that her best friend Mia’s father went missing. Loie spends the majority of the time with Mia at her house, so much so that she has her own room and Mia’s mother treats her as a second child.
Loie and Mia are preparing for their seventeenth birthday when Mia will inherit the Winterborne superpower legacy. Loie is a faithful best friend and seems quite happy with her role of human sidekick. Insert Andreas, Mia’s new British next door neighbor, and the girls’ mutual crush, and things start to go wonky. There are leprechaun attacks, an army of toads and a fairy that wants to stop Mia’s powers from coming into play--along with the mystery of the death of Loie’s parents, the disappearance of Mia’s dad, and the question of who Andreas really is and what he wants--and it leads this story to a twist of an ending with a promise of sequels.
Winterborne is an indie published book. I know a few people who have had some duds and some grammatical nightmares when it comes to indie or self published books, but I have yet to pick one up that has not entertained me completely. Winterborne is no exception. It is a well developed story that is well written and extremely entertaining. Augusta has blended nicely a mix of paranormal mythology with her own mutant-like subculture. I think that this is aimed at the young adult market but would completely entertain any adult reader.
The blurb of On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane posted on NetGalley caught my attention and really made me waREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
The blurb of On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane posted on NetGalley caught my attention and really made me want to read this book. It sounded unique and mysterious. I requested it with hopes that it would become one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I am really on the fence with this book, even after a few days to digest. I still feel that it was just a mediocre book.
Abbey cheated death 5 years ago in a horrible car accident that claimed her mother’s life. She holds herself responsible for the accident and her moms death, and it consumers her life. It doesn’t help that she is constantly surrounded by the dead: she and her father live in the funeral home that he owns and runs. Abbey learns the hard way that death never forgets a person that escapes him and finds herself being stalked by the reaper of souls.
I have to say, I found myself utterly confused, and frankly a little bored, by the first three-quarters of this book. I couldn’t figure out what was really going on. It jumped from point of views and then from locations in a very confusing manner. The paranormal aspect that I had expected just never showed. We got an excessive amount of background info, some random plot points to extend the story, and a lot of mountain climbing information that I could have lived without.
However, I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book. I felt like this was when the story actually started, like it was finally the book that I read the description for. There was a plot that was going somewhere and the characters were amounting to something. If this part of the book could have been extended it would have made it an entirely different book.
Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. I had to push myself to finish. What I had thought from the book blurb would be a really good book turned out to be just middle of the road for me. The thing to keep in mind about reviews is that they are just one person’s opinion. I am sure that this book will appeal to many people, but for me it just fell flat. To find out what others think of this book, I suggest checking out these reviews from Marla at Starting the Next Chapter, Krista at CubicleBlindness Reviews, and Jennifer at Fictitious Musings.
Rating: 3 stars
Disclaimer: This eGalley was provided to me free of charge by the publisher via NetGalley. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this fair and honest review.
I picked up The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann because of the cover tag line which said it was for fans of TheREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I picked up The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann because of the cover tag line which said it was for fans of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Being a huge fan of both series, I had to see if it was able to fulfill that bold statement. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, as I could not put the book down. I was hooked, pulled into this dystopian magical world.
The story centers on Alex, a thirteen-year-old boy. He and his twin brother, Aaron, are citizens of Quill, a colorless, creative void of a town. At the age of thirteen children are sorted into their roles in the society. Alex is deemed an Unwanted, and Unwanteds are purged from society, sent to their deaths. Alex learns that for years the Unwanteds have been saved and taken to a magical creative land called Artime. Artime is led by Mr. Today, and he is training the Unwanteds in creative magical art defense so that if the people of Quill ever discover that the Unwanteds are still alive the Unwanteds can defend themselves. Alex misses his brother and is sure that them being twins means that Aaron must also be a Unwanted. Hellbent on bringing Aaron to Artime, Alex starts a chain of events that will likely change Artime and Quill forever.
I am happy to say that there are elements of both Harry Potter and the Hunger Games in this book. There is a magical world that Alex is part of, but had no idea existed, just like Harry and there is a sorting that puts children to there death that is semi reminiscent of the reaping in the Hunger Games, but that is where the similarities stop. The Unwanteds stands on its own with a unique storyline, and the author created an interesting new world, a magical world influenced by creative arts. Music can stun and paintings can kill in the land of Artime, and Lisa weaves a tale that brings these things visually to life.
The only problem I had with this book was the simplicity of it, and I can look past that because this book was aimed at the upper middle grade market. I will say that despite the simplicity of it, older youth and adults alike will enjoy this fantasy tale. Overall, I was totally smitten with this book, and I am looking forward to subsequent titles to come in this new series.
I usually enjoy modern day versions of fairy tales. I love to see something classic and everlasting beREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I usually enjoy modern day versions of fairy tales. I love to see something classic and everlasting be retold or imagined in new and inventive ways. Unfortunately, Dreaming of Beauty by Kristen White fell flat and disappointed me.
Chloe is 15 and has the seemingly perfect life. She is a good daughter who hardly gets into any trouble, has a great group of friends, and has the perfect prince charming in her boyfriend, Evan. All of that is thought to be true until Logan, the new boy in school, enters Chloe’s life. And then everything she thought she knew is shattered. Chloe starts to get agonizing headaches, sees red spots in her vision, and hears piercing sounds whenever she is around Logan. Her emotions are getting out of check and she can’t decide if she wants her perfect boyfriend, Evan, or the dark, mysterious semi-stalker, Logan. All she can hope is that she can find her happily ever after.
I really wanted to like this book, I truly did. But I found myself just wishing it would end. Despite that, there were things that I did like about Dreaming of Beauty. I like the idea behind this story. Kristen White takes the well known tale of Sleeping Beauty and attempts to give it an alternate ending, allowing her to weave her tale and have it make sense in her timeline. Although she did not execute it smoothly, the idea behind the story was very intriguing and ultimately it is what kept me reading, even when I wanted to abandon the story.
However, there were more things that I disliked about the book. To start with, the pacing was problematic; the book never felt like it found its footing. The story felt rushed, and under worked. I never lost myself in the story because I continually had to stop and think just to figure out what was going on. Also, the book was split into three parts, and while normally I do not mind this, with Dream of Beauty each part felt like it was a brand new story and we were starting all over again. Everything felt off, and the main part of the story felt convoluted and rushed, with only a dream sequence to make the story come together.
My next major disappointment were the characters; they never developed and were one dimensional. I like to feel for the characters when I read a book; I want to be able to visualize them, and feel like they could be alive and breathing. With Chloe and her two love interests, I never felt for them. I got glimpses of their development, but I think with the pacing and organization of the book, it never happened. Throughout the whole book they never felt like anything other than people written on the page.
Ultimately, Dreaming of Beauty did not work for me. I had to force myself to finish. But I am a firm believer that even though I did not enjoy this book, that does not mean that someone else may not love it. That’s the joy of reading.
I read Anathema by Megg Jensen a few months ago, and upon finishing I couldn’t wait to get to Oubliette,REVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I read Anathema by Megg Jensen a few months ago, and upon finishing I couldn’t wait to get to Oubliette, the second book in the trilogy. Megg had created such a fascinating world in Anathema that I couldn’t wait to read more about it. I bought Oubliette right away, but had to find the time to fit it into my TBR pile. I am sorry I waited so long to get to it because it was just as fantastic as Anathema... and maybe a little more so.
Reychel had put all her faith in the council, believing that she was free. Unfortunately she was wrong. Reychel winds up in the Southern Kingdom alone, pushed threw a portal. She is being used as a pawn and is not sure who she can trust. Everyone is telling her that her gift of prophecy is amazing, but she finds it uncontrollable. She longs to be able to control it, but the only person who could help her is a dead madman who left journals that may be able to guide her. Reychel is rushed to learn to control her gift so that she can live up to being the savior to her people in a war that is brewing amongst them.
It is a rare occurrence that the middle book in a trilogy be just as good as the first. It is even more unusual for it to be even better. Oubliette is one of those rare occurrences. Megg has taken this amazing world she created and given it more depth by taking us to a different region and introducing some brand new characters. I find Megg’s characters fascinating because they are so well developed. Each character is identifiable and feels like a unique, real person. She writes them with an air of mystery and aura of uncertainty about their loyalty, and I cannot seem to get them out of my mind.
I loved that fact that this was a middle book yet it still was building a world that could pull me in from beginning to end. The world is still the same but the location has changed, giving a better grasp on the society and basic fundamentals which were introduced in book one. Oubliette ended with such a cliffhanger that I can not wait to pick up and start the final book in this amazing trilogy.
Between, the sequel to Crossroads (read my review HERE), returns us to the vivid world Mary Ting has crREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
Between, the sequel to Crossroads (read my review HERE), returns us to the vivid world Mary Ting has created. We find Claudia trying to live her life, trying to be a “normal” teen in a world that she has learned is anything but. (Side note to Claudia... Normal is soooo last year. Embrace your inner uniqueness, young padawan!)
Okay... I have to say this. *mumbles and says really quickly* There were parts of Crossroads that moved a little slow for me. The same cannot be said about Between. This book totally brings it with the intensity and action. The writing is much more fast pace, the dialogue snappier. The wonderful imagery from Crossroads is present once again, making the settings easily visualized. Ting is awesome at painting with words, in my opinion.
The characters also continue to grow, changing as the words flow across the page. *raises hands and makes sing song gestures, encouraging my lovely BtCers to join me in saying* Character development is vital, and is well done in this book. Ting puts Claudia in real life situations, and I think that is the key to her appeal: watching her struggle with these things makes her much more believable and relatable. Ting is also one of the best at writing YA morals books I have come across, and she does it again in Between... the story reflects the author’s morals, and her belief that right will triumph over wrong, and good over evil is reflected in her books.
Filled with endearing characters, a love triangle (and who doesn’t love a face off between hotties), a battle between good and evil and plot twists I never saw coming, the sequel to Crossroads will draw you in and have you turning the pages well into the night.
Russ Knight is an outsider, someone we all can identify with. But he used to be one of the golden boys,REVIEWED by Karen for Between the Covers blog:
Russ Knight is an outsider, someone we all can identify with. But he used to be one of the golden boys, a basketball player with the perfect, pretty girlfriend and the charmed life. Unfortunately for Russ, the prom changed his life forever. Prom... the night his girlfriend, Cindi, was charged with the attempted murder of her baby. Oh, and by the way, Russ isn’t the father, since he’s a virgin. Apparently, there are a lot of potential candidates for daddy. Cindi swears that the baby isn’t hers, that it’s a faerie changeling, and that her real baby has been taken by the Korrigan queen to be used as a sacrifice to gain power. So, it’s off to the mental hospital for her while she’s awaiting trial for attempted murder.
Then Russ meets Puck, a goth-type girl with blue hair and lots of piercings, and he likes her, despite the fact that she’s so not his type. With her help, he discovers that Cindi was telling the truth about the changeling, and that only the child’s biological father can save the baby – except they still don’t know who the father is. So Puck, Russ, and his best friend, Marcos, investigate to discover who the father is in order to save Cindi’s baby.
The characters were extremely likeable, their interaction memorable with a few plot twists. The scenes that took place in the vampire bar were a nice touch. I enjoyed watching how Russ came to terms with his role and responsibility amidst all the turmoil. We watch him grow and discover what kind of man he will be. The story was a fresh take on faery, and a great YA read.
Every so often a novel is published that is hyped so much you think it could never possibly live up to tREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
Every so often a novel is published that is hyped so much you think it could never possibly live up to the lofty expectations. This is not one of those times and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is not one of those books. It not only meets every expectation set, it surpasses them in leaps and bounds.
Spanning decades, The Night Circus weaves a tale of magic and romance that captivates readers from the very first page. It begins with a contest, an unknown wager struck by two rival magicians which pits their two young apprentices, Celia and Marco, against each other in a competition that will span the apprentices lifetimes. Celia and Marco weave together The Le Cirque des Rêves, the stunning stage that encompasses the heart of the story and the amazing secondary characters who bring the story to life.
It’s hard to put into words why I loved this novel. The characters were superbly written, the story delicately woven, and the scenes painted for you in vivid, colorful words. I literally could not put this book down. I would take it with me to work in hopes that I would have a spare moment to slip back into this world. I was thoroughly engaged, trying to figure out what the strange competition actually entailed or to see what dazzling bit of magic they would come up with next.
Magic, romance, forbidden love, mystery, foretelling, and strange circumstances all add up to one incredibly well put together debut. I suggest that everyone put this on there TBR pile. Then get to it as soon as possible, because it will not disappoint.