I was a little weirded out by this installment. I was confused, upset, bored a time or two, and just plain astounded--though, not exactly in a good waI was a little weirded out by this installment. I was confused, upset, bored a time or two, and just plain astounded--though, not exactly in a good way. I still stand by my original feelings for book one: I only liked this sequel.
It's that Dana again, that's been giving me trouble. I'm pretty pleased to announce that my feelings for her have solidified, as I mentioned they probably would after reviewing Glimmerglass. And those feelings mostly slide under the dislike category. I know, so disappointing! But, it's not my fault, honest. It's just that Dana annoys me more than she amuses me or entertains me. More, it's not I like I can connect with her. Sympathize with her, maybe. After all, she hasn't had it any easier in Avalon than she did in the States. But, whatever connection I could've had disappeared after every stupid move she made. To me, Dana is heading dangerously close to the Too Stupid To Live slot. And I have a thing for those types of characters--a bad thing.
However, Dana is NOT the only one that aggravates me to no end. Nuh-uh, no. The characterization is shady at best. Ethan still hasn't gotten any points with me, other than for being hot, which doesn't really count. I still couldn't get into Kim, either, Ethan's sister and Dana's best friend. She didn't come off as BFFish to me.
Surprisingly, though, Keane wasn't the only character I enjoyed. The Erlking. Now, THAT is hot, wicked stuff. His whole attitude screams Mess with me at your own risk. You do NOT want to tangle with him. He's bad news, but the delicious, irresistible kind. He's self-serving and cruel, certainly, but he's just so good-looking and there's something about him that I can't turn away from. And while I found his bargain with Dana a tad creepy and a bit confusing--I mean, that is the key to his gaining more power..? Granted I've seen similar processes, but still--at the same time, the idea had appeal.
Even so, with ridiculously gorgeous men swarming the story, I feel like Dana may be spreading herself a bit thin. All these guys under her belt--not that she's done anything with ALL of them, but you know she has feelings for all of them-it seems like a lot to... er, handle.
I was driven to further disappointment, when, again, I didn't get the kind of action I desired. *KIND OF SPOILERY* And, STILL, the faerie queens remain these elusive puppet masters. I wanted to meet them, feel their deadliness. Maybe have some action sequences thrown in. *END OF POTENTIAL SPOILER* Alas, that did not happen. The entire story itself makes me want to scream, WHAT IS THE POINT? Because, nothing has been done about the fact that--yes, as established repeatedly--Dana is a Faeriewalker, with the power to do immense damage for good or evil. Sexy boys and perilous, nutty aunt aside, there's not much happening for this series. I want some QUESTING. Battles. Kissing, but with a guy I actually like (Keane, anyone?).
Why am I still planning on continuing with this series, you ask? (You must be looking at me as though I was a head-case, for pursuing this series despite everything else.) Because of the world-building. That tantalizing potential for so much more. For adventure. For hazardous quests and threatening faerie politics. AND to root for my guy... which is, at this point, still Keane. That possibility for all of this is what is pushing me to go forward.
Sirensong has to be better, or else I doubt I will continue after that. ...more
"Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you're going?" I ignored Robin Goodfellow as we wove through the gray murk of the wyldwood, pushing farther into"Oy, ice-boy! You sure you know where you're going?" I ignored Robin Goodfellow as we wove through the gray murk of the wyldwood, pushing farther into the soggy swamp known as the Bone Marsh...
I'm sorry to all non-readers of the series or previous books, but I couldn't not be spoilery for this book.
Let me just say that had she not written another book and cut it off after The Iron Queen, Julie Kagawa would've made me a very unhappy young woman. Possibly scarred me for life. And for those fans of the series, you probably already know why. But let me say it anyway. It wouldn't have been right, on any front, from any angle. It wasn't just that there would be no more Meghan and Ash--at least that we would've seen, but what about Meghan and her bestfriendship with Puck? Two of the most important people in her life unable to be with her forever? That's just sick and wrong. The Iron Queen made me cried, but had I not discovered that there was going to be a fourth book I would've BAWLED, MOURNED. Thankfully, my household was spared the drama.
The best part of this whole reading experience for this fourth installment was the unexpected. I had no idea what to look forward to. Sure, I knew Ash's overall goal, I knew that Puck and Grimalkin were bound to join in the, um, fun. But, what kind of perilous tests and troublesome decisions was Ash going to encounter? And would reading the ending of this story in Ash's POV satisfy me? was all I could think. It certainly gave me a jolt, being inside Ash's head instead of Meghan's. After a little while, though, I grew accustomed to him and I realized just how much goes on behind Ash's nearly unshakable barricades. It was absorbing, yes. But, do YOU find it appealing once you discover that your big, bad, brave hero has a vulnerable center? I was content in books one through three to know that it was there, to catch glimpses of Ash's very human reactions to certain things, but seeing him this way, in a whole new light, unguarded, well... it shattered my very likable illusion that Ash is Mr. Tough Guy and nothing gets to him. AND I missed being inside Meghan's head, ESPECIALLY after her growth per The Iron Queen.
Despite my conflicted feelings on the change in POV, having Puck, and, eventually, Grimalkin there softened any lingering discontent. Puck... never changes. While I saw many newly uncovered facets to his character, and the deeper emotions he manages to conceal well and often, it was nice to see that my favorite prankster would hardly have a sudden shift in his all-too attractive, charming, and hilarious personality just because of a deadly, perilous mission that would bring his frenemy and his love together again. He provided ample comic relief, which was great for me when things got too serious or too tense. At the same time, it was nice learning about what really went down between he and Ash, seeing his own pain and shame. And even better, I could always expect humorous sarcasm from my favorite feline to-date. Grimalkin didn't change, either, even in the most dangerous, the scariest situations!
The additional characters introduced were... a definite surprise. One's inclusion was downright shocking, jaw-dropping. And the other, well, who can resist the allure of a very big, very bad... canine. Even more gratifying were the countless fights and tests in the book. Me and my never-satisfied love of battles were sated and content. There were so many kick-ass fight scenes, and the adventure did wonders for preventing boredom. Any abiding sadness or longings for Meghan to show up were easily, however temporarily, dispelled.
The tests, though the least bit amusing or entertaining, were... perfect. I felt like Ash NEEDED to see the things that were shown to him, needed to see what things would be like with a soul. These challenges made sense, were logical yet emotional and very necessary. They hurt, and oh, how they hurt for me, too. Seeing Ash suffer was no picnic. But I think it made Ash a better person, and gave him some closure and acceptance, and perhaps even a way to rid himself of any guilt that still clung to him. Any doubts were faced and resolved. Without these tests, things would've been too easy and had he returned to Meghan without enduring them, things would've eventually fallen apart. However painful, it was realistic. And I appreciated that, and Julie's insight.
It was all worth it in the end. For Ash, and for me. And this much-needed conclusion to the series did all of the following: served it's purpose well, entertained, delighted, and above all, SATISFIED. My unrest and my discontent dissipated with my reading this excellent finale, and I dream of what Julie Kagawa has in store for us fans, including the new Iron Fey series coming up starring Ethan, Meghan's younger brother! If this first series is any indication, I know how much I'm going to love Julie's future works. And I can't wait.
"Hey, ice-boy, you okay? You've got your brooding face on again." "I'm fine." "You're so full of crap." Puck lounged in the cradle of a tree, hands behind his head, one foot dangling in the air. "Lighten up already. We finally found the cat--which we should get a freaking medal for, the search for the Golden Fleece wasn't this hard--and you look like you're going to engage Mab in single combat first thing in the morning." "I'm thinking. You should try it sometime." "Ooh, witty." Puck snorted, pulled an apple out of his pocket, and bit into it. "Suit yourself, ice-boy. But you really should try to smile sometimes, or your face will freeze like that forever. Or so I've been told."
"Bad dreams?" The tone of his voice wasn't exactly a question. I shrugged. "A nightmare. Nothing I can't handle." "I would not be so sure of that, were I you." I glanced up sharply, narrowing my eyes. "You know something," I accused, and Grimalkin yawned. "What aren't you telling me?"
"Prince...Ash?" He blinked several times, as if doubting his own eyes. "What...what are you doing here?" "I could ask you the same." I didn't approach the fallen warrior, standing several feet away with my sword at my side. "It's forbidden for your kind to be here. Why aren't you in the Iron Realm protecting the queen?" "The queen." The knight's eyes widened, and he held a hand out. "You... you have to warn the queen--"
my thoughts in a few sentences: I was really in the mood for some hardcore fantasy and Graceling deliRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Purchased/Gift
my thoughts in a few sentences: I was really in the mood for some hardcore fantasy and Graceling delivered with it's fascinating facets of a world as equally well-defined as the heroine. More, I hadn't expected to enjoy the sexy romance between two characters who become the closest of friends, a sweet relationship that sucked me into the story even more than the rest. Drawn in by Cashore's vivid, imaginative prose as well as her awesome array of characters, I'm looking forward to reading on in the series.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I was disappointed by what I found in Switched, given the tremendous hypRating: Guilty Pleasure Source: Gifted
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I was disappointed by what I found in Switched, given the tremendous hype shrouding it, potential lingers in the cast of characters, the mythology, and the storytelling. With a likable heroine front-and-center and her handsome stoic tracker, Finn, by her side, I picture the story reaching more engaging heights in the long run. However, I couldn't immerse myself in the tedious moments in her new home, lack of interesting interactions, and the touch of romance that follows the same overdone path, in which the leading man must protect the heroine from her own desires, insinuating what's better for her future. More action, less tedium is the order of the day!
It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life...
This book made me feel small and innocent again, like before the illusion oIt starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life...
This book made me feel small and innocent again, like before the illusion of Santa was shattered, like Lexi's younger sister Wren, tiny and gullible. Because before school and homework and college applications, and all that other real world crap, this took me back to that time when my mom and dad would sit with me at night and read to me the requisite bedtime story. The writing, gosh, how can I explain it? It's poetic and dreamy and fairy tale-like. It flows beautifully and feels almost as if you're floating in a dream. The way the setting is depicted is just like that - surreal and immersive. The descriptions are lush with fantastical imagery, so that you're sitting there completely in awe of Schwab's writing ability.
The Near Witch truly didn't disappoint me in any way. Not in the heroine, Lexi, another Serious Supergirl with an HoG and such wisdom and open-mindedness. Her courage, her sense of duty, and loyalty and love for her family is just remarkable really. The fact that her well-loved father is dead, her mother's a ghost of a person, and her uncle doesn't believe in her, wishes to hold her back and do the protecting, does not deter her from learning about the enigmatic stranger that suddenly pops up in the town, or from searching for the vanishing children. Despite the consequences, she befriends and allows this stranger to help her hunt for the answers. Her unflinching trust in him - Cole - endeared her to me.
The mystery of the disappearing children, I thought, was NOT going to hold the book throughout. But I was wrong. The plot is eerie and intense, and it keeps you suspended in suspense. As you read on, you grow as hungry for the truths of the town's history and the secrets kept by the town witches as Lexi. It becomes imperative, because Schwab masterfully wraps Lexi's feelings in beautiful packaging so that you get to know everyone in the town, and feel sorry for the children's parents. I felt the sudden loss of the children strongly because of this, because of Lexi's firm connection to everyone there. And it made me worry all the more for Lexi's younger sister, because she could be kidnapped next at any moment. Lexi's love for Wren is palpable, and you don't want anything to happen to her.
I got so FREAKING ANGRY at the townspeople for their unwillingness to believe in and listen to Lexi, for their close-mindedness toward Cole and the Thorne sisters, and for the lies and premature blame placed on innocent people. How and why their children begin disappearing from their beds in the night is connected to this quick-to-blame attitude within the town. And that's another reason why I found this story to be so, well, beautiful. Because, like with all children's fairy tales, there's a lesson to be gleaned from this book. The Near Witch isn't just another book; it has strong themes of acceptance and delivers that age-old, sometimes trite saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover," in a non-preachy and breath-stealing manner. It's timeless, this story.
And the romance is like the cherry on top of a perfect sundae of epic and magical proportions. Cole is sad and in pain and basically introverted. He's not an Agressive Alpha in the least, but he falls under the Sentimental Sweetheart category, which I love nearly as much. And, to me, he fits in perfectly with this mystifying tale. The attraction that sparks between he and Lexi is undeniable and evident, but sweetness can be found in Lexi's prying for details of his life. They swap anecdotes about their lives - well, Lexi does more of the talking - and exchange personal, heartwrenching memories. I wanted to physically reach into this book and give them bone-crushing hugs. They brought each other out of their darkest periods and believed in each other, working together seamlessly to save the children of Near. There's nothing more heartwarming than that, watching them press forward in spite of the towering obstacles.
The Near Witch is like an old bedtime story to be passed down - both original and familiar - or a cherished fairy tale to bring you out of the gloom and believe in happy endings, no matter how bad things get. I want to clutch this story to my chest and hug it, reread it, and then share the magic of it with everyone around me. The Near Witch is memorable and will stay with me for, I imagine, a very long time.
Between the Sea and Sky was a much better-suited mermaid story. Going back to the built up image of mermaid life going all the way back to The LittleBetween the Sea and Sky was a much better-suited mermaid story. Going back to the built up image of mermaid life going all the way back to The Little Mermaid, the truth is I don't like when tellers of tales change what I know and love. I find that's harder to get into the book otherwise. I like my mermaid tales light and sweet and fun, and the mermaid almost always has to have a human lover (sometimes, I can dig the mermen). While Between the Sea and Sky wasn't a flawless read, the romance, the fantasy-ish world, and easy-peasy plot compelled me to continue reading.
Esmerine is the kind of MC I can get behind, a girl who is loyal to her family, curious by nature, a MERMAID, and adoring of books. I like that, while at first, she comes across as submissive and someone who is anxious for approval, she shatters all conceptions gained toward her character when she runs off to track down her kidnapped sister. Embarking on this terrifying quest to discover her sister's whereabouts requires her to invoke the help of Alan, a winged boy she knew long ago but was forced to expel all contact with at the demands of their separate races. At first the reunion was rocky and so were my feelings for Alan. I had doubts as to his rude and all-knowing personality, but they were quickly smushed as Esmerine's journey progresses and their romance sparks.
I liked this book for the laidback plot with minor tension flares, "feel good" romance, the attraction which isn't based on "instaluv," and that requisite happily ever after at the closing of the book.
Um, guys whaddup with the lack of sequel talk? Yeah, so, the book came out last month. I WANT TO KNOW IF THERE'S A SEQUEL NOW. I don't need it right tUm, guys whaddup with the lack of sequel talk? Yeah, so, the book came out last month. I WANT TO KNOW IF THERE'S A SEQUEL NOW. I don't need it right this minute, but I'd like to know dammit. Not be left in suspense. Because that would be one hell of an opening ending...
Points for Deebs for giving readers a heroine who KNOWS that she is a paranormal creature that only exists in myth. Yes, you guessed it, Tempest is a mermaid. But, she's aware that her mom was one and now she stands to become one with her seventeenth birthday fast-approaching. So, no surprises. Well, that's kind of lie. Because, unfortunately for Tempest, her mom left a few years back to return to the sea for reasons that remain unknown... until you read the book. So as all these... developments are happening, there's no one there to really explain things to her, to help her understand and acclimate to the changes. Which definitely sucks. I know I'd want my mommy with me if the lower half of my body started to get scaly on me, especially if she was the only one who knew what the hell was happening to me! Poor, Tempest, I could really sympathize with her. I didn't even mind that every time her mother was brought up, her thoughts turned to the bitter, resentful, and hurtful. Can you blame her? I, for one, have no idea what it feels like to be abandoned, so I'm stuck with imagining. And imagining my life without my mom... well, my life comes up pretty much blank, especially at this point in my life. The dreadful teenage years. Kinda need her. So I get it, Tempest. Totally.
Then while she's trying to handle all these things happening to her body, her boyfriend is getting temperamental because Tempest, as always it seems, is a closed book. He's reasonably frustrated at the fact that she won't open up to him. So, poor Mark, too. As much as I liked Mark though, I was Team Kona the whole way. Tall, dark, and I'll trade brooding for enigmatic. Not only is he yummy surfer dude, but he also seems to know a heck of a lot more about Tempest's metamorphosis, more about her mother's world than she. Can I call it instaluv? Mmmm, not sure really. Did they have heart-to-hearts in which they learned loads and loads of stuff about each other? I'd say not. But, then can you blame Tempest for falling for the guy after he, like, consistently risked bodily harm several times in order to save her stubborn butt? Uh, no, didn't think so. And I understood his falling for her. After all, she's funny... and, most likable, loyal.
On top of all the other drama piling onto her now stressful life, she has to deal with being the center of a prophecy, the object of no-good, completely evil sea witch's interest, AND with having to make the decision of staying on land or living in the sea. I could understand her reluctance. Her mom left. All her father and brothers have is her. It couldn't have been easy. And I adored her more for being so unwilling to leave them.
Now, I make Tempest sound just adorable. But she's stubborn, in a sometimes, annoying manner. Then there's the sarcasm. Though, I delight in that aspect of a character. But, overall, I liked her. And I enjoyed her story. So where the HELL is the news for the sequel? Deebs better not even THINK that she can leave me hanging like that. Things just started getting REALLY good. I want a big battle under the sea to look forward to. Tempest Rising was a good read indeed, but I need more, more, more. Big time.
Kona reached for me but I stumbled just out of his grasp, almost certain that I was going to be sick. "Let me go!" I screamed as he walked toward me, a wealth of purpose in every step he took. "Just let me go!" "I can't. Don't you think I would if I could?" The rain had plastered his long, ebony hair to his skull and shoulders, had made his chest gleam and his tattoos shimmer until he looked more like an avenging god than a man. More like the fallen angel I had first compared him to than the mortal I had fallen half in love with over these last few days. "Don't you think I see how this whole change is tearing you apart?" He grabbed me, his huge, calloused hands closing around my biceps as he forced me to hold my ground. "I need you, Tempest. I need you!" (227)...more
♥ This Scene- "Yeah, sure!" The words were just spilling out of me. "If you've been trained for your life as a time traveler only half as thoroughly a♥ This Scene- "Yeah, sure!" The words were just spilling out of me. "If you've been trained for your life as a time traveler only half as thoroughly as Charlotte, then you've had no time to make any friends at all, and your opinion of what you call average girls comes from observations you made when you were standing about the school yard alone. Or are you telling me that the other kids at your school thought your hobbies, like Latin, dancing the gavotte, and driving horse-drawn carriages, were really cool?" Instead of being insulted, Gideon looked amused. "You left out playing the violin." He leaned back and crossed his arms. "The violin? Really?" My anger had gone away again as fast as it had come over me. Playing the violin! Honestly!
I don't know if I was supposed to love this book as I much as I do, but there it is. Ruby Red and I fell madly in love and are currently planning our honeymoon to 1890 (my favorite time period ever). With this book I've discovered my love of time travel. Sure, I liked the concept, I enjoyed it immensely in books like Timeless and Warped, but now I truly love it. And Ruby Red really makes you think about all that goes into it, makes you see how much thought and care go into the whole thing. It's not as easy as just flying back in time with nothing but the clothes on your back. Oh, no. If you intend to make a visit into the past, you have to be conscientious of clothing, speak, skills, etc.
And Gier couldn't have picked a better place to set her ideas loose--London, England! I find this so cool because I go crazy over how English people say things, like Mum instead of Mom, for example. (After reading this book, I proceeded to drive my mom crazy for a few minutes of her life by calling her Mum over and over and ov... Well, you get the idea.) The world-building and history that went into this whole story dazzled me. I hungered to know more about these families of time-travelers, their secret societies, prophecies, and so on. I couldn't get enough!
And instead of dampening this bedazzled setting and extraordinary plot to go with, the characters helped build up my awe of this book. I loved Gwen! The seemingly ordinary, sort of wide-eyed, bona fide teenage heroine. There was a point in the novel where it was necessary for her to learn a special password, and throughout the entire second half of the book she could not remember it for the life of her, mixing up the words repeatedly. Oh, no. What was that stupid password? Qua thingummy thingsitis. (197) (Other variations: Quark edit bisquitis, Qua nesquick mosquitoes. Actual words: Qua redit nescitis.) I thought it was cool how she didn't want to accept her... special talents and wanted to revert to normalcy, yet she also found herself plagued by curiosity. The pull of wanting to stay away versus the allure of learning the ever-guarded mystery. A realistic struggle.
Her relationship with other characters endeared her to me further. She depends on and loves her best friend, doesn't refrain from telling her the big Daunting Secrets. (Notice how tons of heroines do that--leave out the Daunting Secrets with their best friends.) She isn't afraid to ask questions. And she somehow manages to break through others' resolves against her, and charm them. All by being authentically her. Even better, that doesn't exclude the audacious and judgmental Gideon (love that name!) de Villiers, who she's constantly engaging in a battle of wits and sarcasm. These two, from the moment they meet, have it out for each other. And I can't tell you what I love more than watching these two types of characters take the Big Fall. Though, I can guarantee it'll be awhile before they'll admit it (to my chagrin). Still, their slow progression in the falling in love aspect of their relationship is, simultaneously, another tasty element in this book.
Amazing adventure, winning characters, and beguiling secrets that pique the curiosity until stopping becomes impossible, Ruby Red is the kind of book I won't ever get tired of and will find myself wanting to re-read. It's been AWHILE since I've had the good fortune to find That Special Book I('ll) Repeatedly Go Back To. I want to be there when the bad guy gets taken down, when the secrets behind Gwenyth's birth are unveiled, and when Gwen and Gideon finally admit the depth of their feelings for each other. This book has a good grip on me and I'm holding on tight, more than willing to ride out the rest of the series and read the end of this fantastic quest for answers into the past to save the present and future! I can see why this is an international best-seller! Count me in for Sapphire Blue!
Abandon is the first in Cabot's new trilogy, based on the myth of Hades and Persephone, a story with a twist on the classic Greek myth we've all prettAbandon is the first in Cabot's new trilogy, based on the myth of Hades and Persephone, a story with a twist on the classic Greek myth we've all pretty much encountered before. I've experienced Cabot's writing before and so I was excited to learn that she was putting a spin on a myth I love, one which I feel has yet to be beautifully, perfectly portrayed. Unfortunately, Abandon began as the read I'd hoped it to be but then slowly dwindled into something less than spectacular, although it's a much better retelling than the one I found in The Goddess Test.
One thing that remains true is my love for Meg Cabot's writing. It's simplistic, easy to read, and definitely entertaining. But Pierce's voice didn't shine through. I loved to speculate what had happened to her in the past, how this connected her to the mysterious "he" that seems to find her everywhere and how this connected to the Underworld. But Pierce as a character didn't quite work for me. I'm a character girl as much as I'm a romance girl, and despite the first person narrative, I couldn't fully connect with this relatively quiet, haunted girl. There's a lot of potential in Pierce, being that she's a sweetheart and very caring. But her narrative overall disappointed me, as a character she wasn't enough of a draw for me.
It's a good thing the suspense held me captivated, because otherwise my reading pace would've faltered out of boredom. I was much more concerned with the paranormal element, this dark, unexplained connection to the underworld, the enigmatic John, than I was with strolling through high school with Pierce. Who is John? What does he have to do with that ostentatious necklace Pierce keeps hidden beneath her clothes? And all the strange deaths, disappearances, and just general trouble that seems to follow Pierce wherever she goes? Although there wasn't much action, the mystery propelled the story and I didn't want to stop until my questions began being answered. When the truths did surface, however, I wasn't entirely wowed by what I discovered. Cabot's spin on certain aspects of the myth wasn't nearly as engaging, as exciting as the mystery shrouding it for most of the book. I found Pierce's backstory to be so much more compelling to read about than any other aspect of the book!
It didn't help that Pierce was so resistant to John. While I can't say I'm in full obsessive crush-mode over this handsome, moodilicious guy, I definitely wanted Pierce to stop being so... stubborn. If this sexy young man wanted to keep me with him, possibly sleep in his lush canopy bed, you'd get no complaints from me! In this sense, Pierce was reminiscent of Alera (minus the whining!) toward Steldor, and that just didn't bode well with me. The romance wasn't the deliciously frustrating kind, where you want to shove the protagonists in each other's faces to get them to make out already. Pierce is the girl you want to smack around and say, Oh, honey, what the EFF is wrong with you? Have your eyes disintegrated when I wasn't looking? It got to be very tedious and annoying at times, the Chronicles of John and Pierce's Anticlimactic Love Situation.
Overall, I wasn't floored by Abandon, but I am intrigued by it enough to want to read the sequel and see where Cabot twirls the story next. I expect big things from Pierce and even bigger things from her notso great romance...
Flames engulfed the boat, and my lungs ached as dark, noxious smoke filled the air. I struggled off the dirty makeshift bed and shuffled across the flFlames engulfed the boat, and my lungs ached as dark, noxious smoke filled the air. I struggled off the dirty makeshift bed and shuffled across the floor, the cable ties binding my hands and feet making my progress slow...
I could not, for the life of me, figure out WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL about this book. The pacing is dreadfully slow, and I struggled to finish it. It's like this giant tease. One minute something interesting started to grab hold of my attention, and then it let go. And I'm bored again. But the reason why this didn't totally suck for me? There's an addictive quality, that, despite my reluctance to continue with it, kept me from dropping the book and chalking it up as a Total Waste of Precious Reading Time.
The sad thing about Carrier of the Mark is that it had so much potential! It has an interesting concept at its base, one that I wouldn't mind exploring further. There were just so many directions Fallon could've mapped out for this book that, when it didn't deliver, it turned out to be a giant disappointment. It's a little difficult to write this review about a month later because I can barely remember anything other than the notes I wrote down to remind myself. A book's memorability is a great indicator of whether the book is worth a person's time.
Megan Rosenberg is a relatable yet boring heroine. She acts as a typical teenager in mannerisms and thoughts, but as far as personality traits she's less than average. At least average people have interests! This girl is all sorts of bland, dull, and paranormal romance books, in my opinion, need a hearty, strong heroine who is remarkable and makes an IMPACT. I should admire her and ogle her bravery. Instead, Megan comes across as irrational and totally (annoyingly) impulsive - especially when it came to the "romantic lead."
The biggest defect though? The instaluv romance *head-desk*. How many times must I read the same exact formula for teen romance (which really feels like a slap in the face - I mean, are all of us really that shallow?!), and how many times must I groan and whine and gripe about it before I get a thorough, well-written one? And then to throw in the Forbidden Love angle ON TOP OF THAT? Can this "romance" get anymore predictable?
You see, without giving away spoilers, Megan and Adam are unmistakably and irresistibly drawn together (enter Bella Swan!) and the author presents what I'm sure SEEMED like a logical explanation, one where she could get away with writing this. But rather than be fooled, what was supposed to be dramatic and romantic just came off as selfish and foolish. How are these two perfect for each other? And couldn't Megan end up with the cooler of the two brothers, Ryan? I'd date a hot-headed flame-thrower (in spite of possible deadly explosions and random burns) over a perty water user anytime anywhere!
Where it actually went right... The magic and the mythology were awesomesauce! Not to mention the setting! I really enjoy reading spin-offs of Irish mythology and I find their stories some of the most fascinating. Still, even this is hampered by the lack of real action, despite the promise of dastardly enemies coming to rain hell down on everybody. And this, ultimately, is why I struggled so much with Carrier of the Mark. There wasn't much motivation (other than, for me, meeting the bad guys) to get engrossed! Will I read the sequel (is there one??)? Maybe, just for the sake of the mythology. Other than that, no, I wouldn't.
Normally, I jump to any fantasy books I have in hand first, and then move onto what's left in my reading pile. I love the fantasy genre! Yet, for someNormally, I jump to any fantasy books I have in hand first, and then move onto what's left in my reading pile. I love the fantasy genre! Yet, for some reason I held off reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns in favor of other things. When I actually sat down and started reading, I discovered Rae Carson delivered an intense, outstanding debut that chewed up my nerves and spat them out onto the ground with its thrilling, action-packed adventure-plot and awesome characters! It gave me a few disappointments, frustrated me, had me tearing a little, and mostly pushed me to the edge of my seat.
Obviously Carson did her homework, because the backstory, the history, the surroundings, all have an intricacy that shows that Carson knows her world well. The language she made up, the traditions, wow! It all felt very real and it was easy for me to become entrenched in the story and enjoy the world-building. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is very much unlike anything else I've ever read. I liked seeing all sides of the spectrum--the good guys' land, the bad guys', and the ones in between. It was incredibly fascinating, being in each of these totally different places!
Elisa is mostly kindhearted, really down on herself, at least at first, because she's chubby, but very likable. I think what made me like her the most, though, was the character growth I got to witness throughout the book. Elisa starts out as this shy girl with low self-esteem, dreaming about love, and turns into a... warrior. One who regains confidence, stops caring so much about how people look at her, and ultimately makes choices and promises that endear her to me. Finding herself to be desirable and wanted gave her new perspective, and it was rewarding to see her change. I loved that she turns into a hero, despite how she started out. Watching her fall in love was even better.
The romance element... I really liked, up until the last section of the book. I'm really mad at Carson for the direction she took this romance, but to say too much would give it away. In everything I read, the romance is the center of my attention. I tried not to let that be the case this time around, because it has so many other excellent aspects to focus on. The brewing war and anything battle-related I reveled in.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns serves up a gut-wrenching, deep plot based in an amazing fantasy world and delivers a beautiful message. I'm not one for preaching-type messages executed in books, but when it's done well and subtly so that I can make up my own mind and open up to it, I definitely don't mind. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, kinda like The River of Time series, is full of faith, love, sacrifice, and choice. Elisa, I clearly adored, because this isn't a book about her whining about being fat. It shows her growth from an ordinary, diffident young girl into a brave person willing to take action for what is right, even in the face of dire consequences, who triumphs against all odds. And the characters who love her because they see that she's wonderful, able, and beautiful I couldn't help but be smitten with.
This book holds an epic adventure, and my only warning is to take into account that one of the focal points is the war that's raging, and we all know how unpretty war is. There's blood and death, and Carson doesn't hold back. And the best things about this book is that it supersedes trend and goes beyond, and that the world-building is so strong, so vivid but info-dumps and tedious backstory is absent. No, Carson shows rather than tells and that's what made it so easy to get engrossed in her world. With a breathtaking heroine, wonderful, vigorous characters, and the engaging, thrilling plot (the romance doesn't hurt... oh, wait it does) The Girl of Fire and Thorns blew me away and I can't wait to find out where Carson is going to take Elisa's story next!
---------------------------------------------------------- He will know that I am easily bored, that my dresses grow larger with every fitting, that I sweat like a beast during the desert summer. I pray we can be a match in some way. Maybe he had the pox when he was young. Maybe he can barely walk. I want a reason not to care when he turns away in disgust.
"You're ignoring me." "Yes." I sigh with exasperation. "I've never had a friend before. Just tutors and nurses and servants and... a sister. So I'm not very good at being a friend. I don't know why I upset you and I don't know what to do about it." ... "You didn't tell me you were married." "I'm not in the habit of revealing state secrets to kidnappers," I snap. "Of course I said nothing. And see? You're angry." "No. I just feel... foolish."
my thoughts in a few sentences: While Dearly, Departed starts out tortuously slow, failing to keep me utterly immerseRating: Sud-Kissed Source: Bought
my thoughts in a few sentences: While Dearly, Departed starts out tortuously slow, failing to keep me utterly immersed within the first hundred pages, the story suddenly picks up speed, jumpstarting a fascinating thrill-ride into a post-apocalyptic, technologically advanced New Victoria, in which everything has reverted to the ways of historical Victorian London with a futuristic spin to form a relaxed, peaceful society. Stirring my interests with rebels hateful of these changes and a secret pocket of government-trained zombies, mindless cannibalistic ones aside, Dearly, Departed shot me into a riveting mash-up of genre elements and fed me (har har) a sweet, heart-aching romance that made me want to bear-hug the couple. An AMAZING cast, constant action, equal parts witty and sober, Dearly, Departed definitely recovered from its unhurried beginning, delivering a story I hoped I would find behind its stunning cover.
I swear to you, I almost didn't finish reading this. There were so many things that had initially attracted me to Legacy. One, I was amazed that a teeI swear to you, I almost didn't finish reading this. There were so many things that had initially attracted me to Legacy. One, I was amazed that a teen author like Cayla was doing so well for herself--I wanted to see and be impressed by her book. Two, it's fantasy--like the kind of fantasy stuff you'd find in The Legend of Zelda and Avatar: The Last Airbender. So, here I thought I was going to be swept off my feet and find myself staggered by its brilliance. Yet, while I didn't find that with Legacy, there was something about it that kept me coming back for more. I tell you, I tried. I really tried to stop reading. But, then I kept thinking about what was going to happen next. And, you guys, I have a thing for Steldor--but more on that a little later... Somehow, Kluver still managed to snag my attention throughout the whole book. Before I knew it, the story was over and I'd read the entire thing! I don't know how it happened, but I've been reeled in!
The disappointment could have stemmed from the snail pacing found in the storytelling. How long does it take for a person to get from one room to the next? For the opposite team to attack the home team? There was all these little pieces of information that had no place in the story. I found myself getting bored from the extensive detail of the scenery and the rooms and on and on it went. Worse, though, it was probably Alera herself. I didn't hate her. At times, I actually felt sympathetic toward her. But, then there were those times that Alera just made no sense. Tattling on a long-time friend, stomping and pouting all the freaking time, really? I won't deny that she got on my nerves more than a few times. But, it was really her narration that bugged me. She bored me. There's no other way to put it. Being inside her head was like pulling teeth for me. I couldn't get a grip on the story and I felt detached throughout because of this.
And was it me, or did anyone expect more... action? Where were the fights to the death, the dueling and combating and battling? I found myself reaching for my River of Time series books. Now, Lisa knows how to plant some battle sequences. If there was a copy + paste feature somewhere, I would've definitely implemented it for this. This book was seriously lacking in excitement! I kept wishing and wishing for things to happen. And when something even remotely interesting cropped up, it still wasn't satisfying enough. Like the Cokyrian priestess and the super scary Evil Overlord (not sure if that's what he went by, exactly, but I'm sure it's close enough)! I loved them on the spot, because they intrigued me. All dark and elusive. And I love the idea that the Cokyrians tended to submit to women. All so fascinating, but oh so far away!
However, a small save was the abundant amount of sexy bodyguards. I was crushing majorly on London and Alera's younger sister's bodyguard--whose name, obviously, has escaped me by this time. While the other characters were mostly bland, London added some color to the monotonous characterizations AND plot. I wanted a POV switch. I'd rather learn all about London--Mr. Gorgeous-slash-Enigmatic-slash-Sarcastic-slash-Arrogant--and his super secret past. I'd rather be in the throng of his battles and missions. London was the embodiment of my bookish desires and hopes for Legacy. Too bad what I wanted didn't happen.
Speaking of hunky, though more pompous, males, somehow I did something I'd never thought I'd do. I fell for the wrong guy. So, Narian waltzes in and, shockingly, I barely gave him the time of day. It was Steldor, instead, who caught my eye. *moans* How did this happen? I always end up loving the guy that the heroine is most likely going to tango with, with the secondary love interest as a side-benefit and fuel for personal fantasies. I ended up doing a complete 180 and, oddly enough, I became a cheerleader for the guy I'd been wholly prepared to resist and detest. But, I couldn't help but feel for this guy. I saw a glimmer of something lovable in him, and over the course of the story, that glimmer grew into a beacon of possibility. I kept cursing Alera for going the totally predictable route, rather than basking in what was right in front of her. It was clear that Steldor would've made changes in himself had Alera so kindly given him affection and some loving. Sure, Steldor could be mean and over-bearing and self-absorbed, but I think that's just masking something much deeper. Or maybe I've just uncovered a secret soft spot for the underdog. Either way, I'm Team Steldor all the way. Narian can go stay hidden away in his mountains.
After that particularly long read though, it was, I have to admit, a tiny bit hard to judge my feelings. One side of me liked this story and the other intensely disliked it. But, I've come to the conclusion that this is an okay read, one that, on the one hand, hooked me, and, on the other, repelled me. Hopefully, I'll be impressed with the sequel--the second book to which I'm envisioning fantastic battle scenes for. With a little action, a push to the right love interest, and a little more personality for Alera, I think I could really enjoy this series.
my thoughts in a few sentences: I've found myself with another spectacular read, you guys. In the same week! AnRating: Special Shelf Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: I've found myself with another spectacular read, you guys. In the same week! An engrossing, fascinating tale that is as imaginative and reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful stories, including Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, The Star Shard is a wondrous fantasy read that reminded me why I adore the genre so much and granted me characters I was surprised, but thrilled, to love.
Excitement swelled in massive waves when I first caught a glimpse of The Gathering Storm. Besides my love for historical fiction, I have a serious fasExcitement swelled in massive waves when I first caught a glimpse of The Gathering Storm. Besides my love for historical fiction, I have a serious fascination with the Russian culture, the language and history in particular, so of course I was thrilled to happen upon a novel set in Imperial Russia! From the lush scenery painted for us by Bridges's very talented hands, which makes us feel very much a part of a world we've only seen in snatches in the history books, to the riveting paranormal element embedded in the story, I'm content with the story I unearthed in The Gathering Storm, although I wasn't pitched over the moon by insurmountable joy and love.
Katerina, or Katiya, as she is called, a young woman too forward for her time, harbors a disturbingly dark power that she has kept buried since early childhood. At our first meeting, Katiya seems to be a strong, independent female capable of thinking without direction from others, who is admirably advanced in her desires for life. Yet, there were points where a connection wouldn't sprout from the seed Bridges carefully planted; there were moments where her character struck me with a certain lack of believability or general intelligence, which drove a formidable wedge between us. Brilliant potential emanates from Katiya but I haven't hopped on board her fanclub train yet; I'm still waiting to be wowed by her. And shadowing that thought comes the feelings of aloofness pervading the other characters, a missing connection that bothered me while I was reading. I desperately wanted to like these characters for their dazzling personalities, but I wasn't awed by them, including the romantic lead, merely enjoying them at a few points here or there.
During the first half or so of The Gathering Storm, I was enthralled by what I found within its pages. An intriguing mystery would surface here and there, and then everywhere. I was constantly being swiped at by the mounting suspicion and puzzlement over these seemingly normal Russian aristocrats. And when the clues were peeled away to reveal the ripe supernatural secrets smeared over each of the members of Russian royalty, I was ecstatic! I thought, this, this, is where the novel will get explosive! And in those first few moments of shining discovery, the paranormal aspect was totally engrossing. But then between the confusing names and royal titles and the bewildering histories, throwing in a supernatural element seemed to overwhelm the story and changed it so that the plot appeared foggy, dare I say a tad cluttered. When the latter half ended, I was left with this faint disappointment at the turn of events headed toward the ending.
I am content with the story overall, but it had its bumps and awful spins that nearly eclipsed my comfortable liking for this book. Although I wanted to be sucker-punched by it's awesomeness, The Gathering Storm is, at best, a decent, likable novel. I'm hopeful that the rest of the series will turn out to surprise me in the best possible ways.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade woRating: Special Shelf Source: Publicist from Scholastic
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade work? Well, I’m delighted to say that another favorite book of the year has turned out to be middle grade lit, and it’s stunningly poignant, wonderfully emotional, and entirely memorable. Maintaining any kind of objectivity is an impossible goal when you’re reading about a girl torn down by cruelty, beaten by loss, and was raised to care by a beautiful man who always saw the beauty in her—beauty that will be nothing less than a hardship for her to see over the course of her journey beyond the memory of Plain Kate and to a confident, stronger self. You will recognize her from the wrenching beginnings of some fairy tales, only you will leave her not to a conventional happily ever after, but to an ending far more true to that self she’s bound to discover.
my thoughts in a few sentences: ... I'm still attempting to sort out my very complex feelings toward this noveRating: Guilty Pleasure Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: ... I'm still attempting to sort out my very complex feelings toward this novel. While I did feel that the sequel served as a better, more solid novel than the first, there are so many conflicting emotions at war within me, as a result of the strangely paced plot, disappointment, surprising grief, and my equally troubling feelings toward the series' heroine. Yet I find myself still in anticipation of the final chapter to these set of books.
I didn't grow up with Robin Hood. I'd heard of him, sure, but the only interpretation I could recall was the pompous ass they made out of the legendarI didn't grow up with Robin Hood. I'd heard of him, sure, but the only interpretation I could recall was the pompous ass they made out of the legendary character in Shrek. I roughly knew the story, the basic details of the legend, but I didn't know much about it in-depth. I'm ecstatic that this Rob is the very first one I encountered, because every one of the past—had I read earlier versions—would've been nothing more than a pale comparison. Where do I even begin? I'm almost scared to attempt to describe Scarlet's absolute and unquantifiable exquisiteness.
How long has it been since a rag-tag group of phenomenal characters came to your attention? Well, meet Scarlet. And Rob, John, and Much. If you're not familiar with the general tale of Robin Hood, the whole concept behind the legend is a mysterious man, who is worshiped by the people, steals from the rich to give to the poor. But, I'd find that an unbelievably difficult, near-impossible task for one man alone. And so we have Rob and his band of thieves. Scarlet is the latest addition to the team, coming to them an impeccable thief able to teach the perfect maneuvers and to pick out the best targets. She has a rough commoner accent that leaks into her narrative—which is a bit jarring initially but grows on you, another detail to a fabulous heroine—and is wicked with knives. A girl packed with so much emotion and secrets, one who carries a deeply scored heart but has so much compassion and bravery that she never ceases to amaze us with her unyielding generosity. Better yet, she has excellent taste in men—oh, ROB—but is endearingly naive to the workings of the male mind, which tends to be the cause of delicious frustration. She knows her own mind, is completely headstrong, and she serves as a wonderful heroine to look up to, especially when we consider the time period. This heroine is far from overshadowed by her leading man, no matter how INSANELY fascinating, gorgeous, and lovable he is.
The emotion laced into the pages is so powerful, brimming over in scenes which we choke back horror and exude sympathy for starving people, broken families, and piercing sacrifices that make us hurt all the more. And each turn of the pages leads to a new striking plot development that breaks our tremulous control on our own emotions, as they overwhelm their drawers and leak into reality (igniting the stares of our fellow classmates and that cute guy friend who decides to ask us what we're reading), causing us to grip our e-readers with white knuckles. Yet there is that brilliant spark of hope as well. The battling—as in knife throwing, flying arrows, severe punches, and hacking swords—is equally darkly thrilling and tension-inducing, as we care to a ridiculous degree for these characters, and we gather a fierce urge to break out our GO TEAM! sweatshirts.
But the slippery, syrupy romance takes the cake. Weirdly enough we DON'T whip out the rifles when an inkling of a love triangle catches our notice, because, deep down, we know who Scarlet really belongs with, a conclusion that strikes her down in the most brutally stunning and exciting way, as we've been waiting for her to make that realization FOREVER. It isn't even worthy of spoilers; it has to be experienced.
I have no idea if Scarlet will develop into a series—goodreads and the author's website are being annoyingly close-mouthed about it—but I fervently hope so, because I don't know how much longer I can last without this gang and their ballsy plots to end wrongs and manipulate situations so that the right win out. I'm totally book bullying you people: buy it. NOW!!
EDIT: After discussing it with my mom, who IS familiar with Robin Hood, much more than I, if you're a fan, you will definitely pick up on the references and delight in the twists the author has created. It made the book that much cooler for me when I learned more about him.
my thoughts in a few sentences: No one was more surprised than me when I turned out liking Goddess Interrupted so mRating: Sud-Kissed Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: No one was more surprised than me when I turned out liking Goddess Interrupted so much. If ya'll remember, I wasn't very fond of The Goddess Test, and that was mostly because of the lack of action and had nothing whatsoever to do with Kate and Henry. Carter was dancing around the good stuff in Goddess Interrupted's predecessor, but dancing no more she does with this sequel. Within the first few chapters the impact of all those fateful final decisions in book one materializes with the force of a several thousand ton sledgehammer, and the urgency crackles swiftly and powerfully. The threat is very real this time and very straightforward, as opposed to the mystery horrors hidden behind the doors of Eden Manor, which actually had far less appeal. This time there's traipsing through the Underworld, sneak peeks at a restless all-powerful titan, a goddess gone totally loca, and so much more, but the pacing kept me actively turning the pages and avidly seeking the next thrill.
A dark, mystifying read that features a quirky, strange heroine of darker origins, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone hypnotizes its captives wA dark, mystifying read that features a quirky, strange heroine of darker origins, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone hypnotizes its captives with sumptuous prose and intriguing mystery. Magic, angels, and much more that tests the boundaries of your imagination, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the embodiment of talent, vision, and pure artistry. It is these aspects which make the story so attractive, but, for me, wasn't enough to hold me throughout the book. The first half of the novel evoked boundless awe, but the latter half dampened what I was starting to love about the story. The unfolding of events kept me riveted to the words on the pages--it's nearly impossible to be bored when Taylor is doing the storytelling--and the details, paranormal elements, and settings are dazzling, but I was dissatisfied with the romance, supporting characters, and the familiarly written ending.
There's a world of uniqueness and imagination in which I daresay most authors couldn't tap into, even if they tried. The workings of Laini's mind are splashed onto the pages of this story with such vibrancy and elegance it's hard to tear your eyes away. It's so easy to get engrossed in what's happening when Laini is painting such an exciting scene. The confusion induced by the mystery is more than welcome and adds this addictiveness to the book. I'd never read such beautifully different writing before now. Her writing style is that man/woman dressed in the most extraordinary hues and tasteful style, and you and everyone else on the street continue to stare until he/she is out of sight. So what's the problem?
I wanted to tattoo 'FASCINATING' across Karou's forehead, she is so cool. Her hair is 'peacock blue,' she's beautiful, and tough. And then there are all these minor details, like the fact that she can speak a million different languages and she works for a wishmonger who collects teeth and her family are made of an unlikely combination of... things we recognize in our world. She lives in Prague--FYI the most amazing place on this great big planet, it seems--and is an incredible artist. Who wouldn't want to be her? She is the kind of heroine I live for in paranormal romance stories. So when Akiva comes along and bungles that up--my connection with her and adoration of her--I couldn't help but resent their instaluv (though reasonable and explained) romance. I just couldn't get into it. He wasn't enough for me, I didn't fall for his personality (I couldn't find one though). For someone as awesome as Karou, the romantic lead should be equally awesome in some way.
And while I connected with Karou despite the absurdities scripted in her life, I couldn't do the same with the supporting characters. They are like beautiful pieces of art--you admire them, they are beautiful, but you're as close to understanding them as you are to unraveling the mystery of the banana. Impossible. They were too perfect sometimes, too. Too inhumanlike in nature (which some may have an excuse, but still).
The second half of the novel is consumed in what felt like an info-dump, even though it sorta isn't. It basically delves into Karou's past, which has been elusive to her all her life, and while Laini weaved the telling of it in the same tone she uses throughout, I just couldn't get into it. Unique? Definitely. But I started losing interest; I was more concerned with the Now instead. And with this crazy plot an unpredictable ending should follow, but I found that I guessed what the conclusion would be even before the set-up. It was disappointing! I expected to be left craving more, but that stopped being the case. I can wait for the next book.
Undermining qualities aside, I'm capable of sitting down with this book and enjoying it a second time around. However, though the story is just beginning, I can't name excitement as one of my feelings toward future books. Just a moderate interest and curiosity. My hopes are that Taylor fleshes out the romance and Co. and implements a more original ending so that I can fall just as madly in love as everyone else.
Review: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a tReview: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a total ewww factor!). Yet, Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorn books make the desert strangely and fascinatingly appealing. THE MIND BOGGLES. This series of books incorporates evocative fantasy, compelling intrigue, and character growth that is wholly phenomenal in portraying common internal struggles with identity and self-confidence. The Fire and Thorn books demonstrate the power of faith in a wholly non-preachy, non-zealously religious manner and the good ol’ fashion theme of what it means and takes to become a hero. Elisa may just be my personal hero for all time.
Prophecy is a tricky thing, I have learned, full of edges and secret meanings and mischief. Prophecy can feel like the betrayal of a dear friend, the disappointment of a lifetime, the hope of a nation. (198)
Last year, war brewed and overflowed, drenching all the land with death, violence, and despair, and was ended at the hands of a once lost, hopeless girl whom the desert brutally fashioned into a proud, confident, shrewd warrior queen. But, the effects of war haven’t diminished, and Elisa must suffer the games played by the plotting noblemen at court while surviving the decisions she makes to reinforce her power. In Girl of Fire and Thorns, her transformation from shy, malleable, studious princess into a woman slowly realizing her own strength is one of the most fist-pump-worthy moments I’ve read. Carson takes it a step further in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson—Elisa has grown even more, though she is split between that of a clever woman and a timid ruler, fiercely trying to rectify the latter in order to ultimately be recognized as an improvement from the ruler before her. Being surrounded by the palace and overruled by the generals and counts with favor in her meetings, her confidence is shaken. She doesn’t slip into the role of an obedient, submissive queen—she has been reformed with steel, pride, and dignity, but she no longer believes her own power to be enough, a lacking in herself she believes can only be fixed by some outside force to back her. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson is, essentially, her discovery of the confidence to be a true queen and shouldering all that the effort entails.
“This could be it, Elisa,” Ximena says, and her black eyes spark with something fierce. “What you need to rule. To finally grasp the destiny I know God has prepared for you.” (198)
That is the thread woven beneath it all, but as she quests to realize this—literally and metaphorically—there’s so much else happening. Traitors are forged into newly forgiven allies, old withstanding, comforting presences are removed for proper growth, and love is realized anew in a friend, confidant, and loyal guardian who is every bit what I hoped he would be for Elisa. And evil dark-magic-bearing sorcerers plus cunning ploys for revenge spin together to tie in the rest of the plot, filtering a sense of urgency that surpasses the dire circumstances of the previous book.
While Elisa’s growth never fails to stun me blind and conjure admiration in my heart, I’m trembling with unhindered excitement for the rematch sure to go down between the two enemy nations whose feud runs too deep to be permanently squashed because of the events of the first book. I’ll be thrilled to witness Elisa’s next move, for the character left on the final page is no longer just a girl struggling to balance the crown teetering on her head but a woman ready and willing to wage destruction on her oppositions with ferocity and aggressive determination all wrapped underneath an outwardly formidable construction. Elisa won’t be messing around in the next book, and the next steps she takes are sure to be friggin' glorious.
Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: As a huge fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I can safely write to fans of this series that it is absolutely impossible to be disappointed in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. If you fell in love with Elisa’s profound character growth, the vividly presented fantasy world, and Carson’s amazing plot structuring abilities, then you will love Crown of Embers by Rae Carson with an intensity that provokes an anticipation for the third book that completely exceeds what you felt in wait for this second book. Lovers of traditional high fantasy, which is essentially a story of epic scope riddled with your age-old themes of self-growth and good vs. evil as well as some fantastical elements, you will revel in Carson’s innovative world, manipulation of themes that give a layered texture to a well-structured plot, and Elisa’s becoming of a hero.
Content Warning: There is some detailed violence, in which the main character witnesses several vicious variations of death that can be explored thoroughly enough to warn away a middle grade audience. Implications of having and preludes to sex are included, however they are written with weight and romance rather than handled tastelessly and/or superficially.
my thoughts in a few sentences: So I'm a bit of a book racist. I generally refrain from readingRating: Guilty Pleasure Source: Received from Publicist
my thoughts in a few sentences: So I'm a bit of a book racist. I generally refrain from reading angel books—there's just something about them that annoys me. Could it be the twist on religious figures? The typical cliche love triangle (Tucker and Christian aside) that is just about mandatory? I don't know, but that's my rule, and very rarely do I ever break it. With all the buzz making the rounds for Embrace, I was secretly ecstatic, because the premise just sounded amazing, though I refused to admit it. Despite not being WOWED by Embrace—Violet Eden may have had something to do with that—I enjoyed the hell out of the angel lore and the sizzling two-for-one-girl package of smokin' hot boys that liven up the pages. Authentic dialogue, fun characters, and some pretty decent action, Embrace is an intriguing addition to the bunches of angel books already out in YA fiction.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last peopleMr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious...
I can never fully express to you how deeply I regret not embarking on this series sooner. I'm so late! Now the movies are over and its less likely I can parade my enthusiasm and the sheer joy I got from reading this. From the first chapter alone, it became increasingly obvious as to how J.K. Rowling ended up a millionaire (or is bigillionaire...?). I'd always been a BIG fan of the movies, but I didn't read the books based on my pre-Reading Obsession years when I didn't very much enjoy them. I realized, though, that at the time, I didn't have it in me to appreciate this series. Now, I do. Boy, do I! This book incites the fan girl (or boy) in you!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is full of magic and adventure, sparkling story-telling, and is the embodiment of nearly every child's dream to run off to some foreign, magical place where excitement and danger is around every corner to chase off the boredom. What is so purely great about this first book (and I'm sure the others as well) is the effortless world-building that mirrors our own world in past and present spaces in our history. Nothing is over-done and it's plain how deep Rowling's knowledge of the world runs. From wands and cauldrons to magical beasts to wizarding sports, The Sorcerer's Stone will fascinate you at every plot turn and through every character. It ensnares your attention and leaves you craving the next book!
I loved Harry. His book portrayal made me much more sensitive to his circumstances and feelings. Gosh, I can't tell you how many times this boy succeeded in making me cry! The cruelty of his care-givers had me fuming and crying all at the same time. And the feeling of loss for his parents strikes you throughout the course of the movie series, but it hits much harder after reading the books. Growing up with the movies, the movie adapted characters stuck with me while I was reading. I saw Emma Watson when I read Hermione, and Radcliffe and Grint and so on. It honestly made me love the book that much more!
I appreciated the Big Mystery, and it was nice to go through the motions of unraveling it, because I had forgotten almost everything from the first movie. It was like starting fresh, and as I read the book I slowly began to recall what was going to happen. Strangely, that made it all the more exciting.
Perhaps it is because Harry Potter has been dear to my heart all this time, being apart of the Harry Potter generation, that the entire book captivated me from start to finish, but I can truly say, without bias, that The Sorcerer's Stone is an enthralling, unique, and astoundingly overwhelming read! I can promise that I was as bewitched as Harry when, together, we stumbled upon the wizarding world, and absolutely guarantee that my friends will be finding the Harry Potter books in my bag until I'm done with the series!
Thought up by the lovely Small Review, Special Shelf books are unforgettable books that hold beautiful stories inside and characters you will forever be in love with... (My Rating System In-Depth)
"FRED, YOU NEXT," THE PLUMP WOMAN SAID. "I'M NOT FRED, I'M GEORGE," SAID THE BY. "HONESTLY, WOMAN, YOU CALL YOURSELF OUR MOTHER? CAN'T YOU TELL I'M GEORGE?" "SORRY, GEORGE, DEAR." "ONLY JOKING, I AM FRED," SAID THE BOY. (92)
"HAS ANYONE SEEN A TOAD? NEVILLE'S LOST ONE," SHE SAID. SHE HAD A BOSSY SORT OF VOICE, LOTS OF BUSHY BROWN HAIR, AND RATHER LARGE FRONT TEETH... "OH, ARE YOU DOING MAGIC? LET'S SEE IT, THEN." SHE SAT DOWN. RON LOOKED TAKEN ABACK... "SUNSHINE, DAISIES, BUTTER MELLOW, TURN THIS STUPID, FAT RAT YELLOW." HE WAVED HIS WAND, BUT NOTHING HAPPENED. SCABBERS STAYED GRAY AND FAST ASLEEP. "ARE YOU SURE THAT'S A REAL SPELL?" SAID THE GIRL. "WELL, IT'S NOT VERY GOOD, IS IT?" (105)
HARRY GRIPPED THE EDGES OF THE STOOL AND THOUGHT, NOT SLYTHERIN, NOT SLYTHERIN. "NOT SLYTHERIN, EH?" SAID THE SMALL VOICE. "ARE YOU SURE? YOU COULD BE GREAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL HERE IN YOUR HEAD, AND SLYTHERIN WILL HELP YOU ON THE WAY TO GREATNESS, NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT--NO? WELL, IF YOU'RE SURE--BETTER BE GRYFFINDOR!" HARRY HEARD THE HAT SHOUT THE LAST WORD TO THE WHOLE HALL. HE TOOK OFF THE HAT AND WALKED SHAKILY TOWARD THE GRYFFINDOR TABLE. HE WAS SO RELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOT PUT IN SLYTHERIN, HE HARDLY NOTICED THAT HE WAS GEETTING THE LOUDEST CHEER YET. PERCY THE PREFECT GOT UP AND SHOOK HIS HAND VIGOROUSLY, WHILE THE WEASLEY TWINS YELLED, "WE GOT POTTER! WE GOT POTTER!" (121-122)...more
Alyxandra Harvey's books are like pockets of gleaming treasure; they typically have everything I want - great romance, a fast-paced, blood-pounding stAlyxandra Harvey's books are like pockets of gleaming treasure; they typically have everything I want - great romance, a fast-paced, blood-pounding story, and characters and prose that are full of charm and humor. Personally, I think Harvey is a writing genius, so after hitting up vampires and ghosts, I was ecstatic for her take on faeries! Which are creatures Eloise Hart never imagined encountering in her relatively ordinary life. After being sought out in an open crowd by a guy clothed in an outrageously old-fashioned get-up, spouting out obvious nonsense about mysterious kidnappers on the hunt for her, Eloise hasn't a clue about the hidden supernatural world that's about to clash with hers. And it'll be up to the teamwork of she and her friends, along with unlikely relatives, to untangle the muddled mess born from this complicated, unbidden merging.
An inseparable, witty, hysterical trio, Devin, Eloise, and Jo are such enjoyable characters to read about, with their entertaining interactions being some of the highlights of this read, however they weren't as fleshed out as I typically come to expect from Harvey or as I'd've liked. Unlike with her other novels, I felt as if we absorb the surface of these characters and don't acquire a deeper look inside. Still, although I wouldn't say the three became my best buds by the end of the book, I loved how each of them balanced out their friendship and truly came through for each other, even when that meant trying to save their best friend from the capture of one power-hungry faery king or enduring the company of an irritated, bitter ancient faery with a penchant for insulting their intelligence. Despite their pitiable lack of knowledge for faery lore, they each brashly bust in guns blazing for those they care about, though the situation could be termed dire. It's damn near impossible to refrain from liking and admiring them.
With rapidly flourishing romances, the two couples that emerge in the story could be chalked up to 'instaluv.' But here's the thing: even when writing an instaluv-esque romance, Harvey still knows how put the swoon in swoon-worthy when it comes to the chemistry, and, oh, THE KISSING. Harvey should definitely be written down as one of the Kiss Scene Mastahs. I like how the romance was woven into the story, although I do wish there was more of it. And I enjoyed watching the sweet, tension-filled build-up in each relationship, leading to that first kiss, that first admission of feelings for one another. It was sweet and happy at times, sexy at others, and even wrenching. I'm no fan of a romance without substance, but I thought Harvey did a wonderful job considering the circumstances within the novel.
What's shouting in my brain is, I wish there had been more! I wish there was going to be more! Stolen Away did feel a bit rushed and not as thorough as I've know Harvey's novels to be; it should've been either lengthier or stretched out into, at minimum, a two-story arcing plot. While I won't say Stolen Away outshined the faery books that have dazzled the market, it was a fun, fast-paced adventurous tale that colors faeries in a sinister and exciting shade, and gave me another reason to love Alyxandra Harvey!
Touch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing thTouch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing that if she does, she'll be executed for doing so, instantly pulls us in and leaps onto us, one part of us begging her to save the little girl screaming for relief warring with the part that urges her to stay hidden for fear of the horrors that are sure to follow. An overcast of the dark and the bleak blankets the opening chapter, giving us the keen sense that Avry's world isn't a joyful one. Avry's kind, the healer kind, are proclaimed war criminals, treated like abominations to be killed or handed over for money for reasons fortified by indistinct proof, in a world ravaged by disease and plagued by war and dreadful politics. It's deeply evident that Avry is tired of running, so when the inevitable happens, along with the fear moves a swift feeling of relief at no longer having to hide in abiding anxiety.
Rapidly and suddenly Avry finds herself in the company of five men eager for her to heal their close friend, a prince of a relatively distant land who has caught the horrible plague that has swept all the Fifteen Realms. He is meant for great things and only Avry can save him, but at a price so final Avry must decide what and who is worth actually saving. And the five men who desire her help are five characters that stole into my heart and warmed it, melted it, and, at points, cut scars into it, who not only move Avry into admirable action but moved me in ways I always hope for when I pick up the next novel. I found Avry and Belen's deep and swift friendship a sweet reprieve from their rough travels, her attachment to the other men in the group warming me while reading as events unfolded in the cold of their world. And her syrupy slow romance with a certain resistant, stone-faced character ignited feelings that overlapped from wishful to happiness that could barely be contained!
A few people have asked me how closely Touch of Power resembles Maria's Poison Study series, if at all, and whether or not it's better or worse. Keep in mind that I read Touch of Power first, but I instantly went in search of this highly acclaimed series and fell just as deeply in love. The two stories are matching in similar threads found in the plot, the characters, and even the romance, yet Touch of Power is completely, freshly it's own. I think fans of Poison Study will be pleased with the tenacious, lovable heroine, charmed by the amazing brood of men who traverse with Avry, defending her to the best of their abilities, persevering alongside her, and the enthralling, magical fantasy that paints the book's pages. Touch of Power is presented with a vividness that can't be ignored, a story that has thoroughly earned a place on my hard-to-reach Special Shelf.
my thoughts in a few sentences: While in many ways For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is as fabulous asRating: Sud-Kissed Source: Bought
my thoughts in a few sentences: While in many ways For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is as fabulous as people have made it out to be, my mind wasn’t shattered and my heart wasn’t blown to smithereens as a result of indulging in this intriguing world full of interesting characters. There’s nothing particularly flawed or unpleasant about the story; For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, for some reason, was incapable of reaching beneath skin and bone to get to my vulnerable emotional places. There’s nothing overly striking about the story as a whole and that in itself left me underwhelmed. Overall, however, I do think fans of retellings will enjoy what they find in For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund so long as they’re willing to be sympathetic toward the characters and patient with the story.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Welcome to 15th century Brittany, a country holding down a tremulous peaceRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: Welcome to 15th century Brittany, a country holding down a tremulous peace with France and it's protectors are searching for a means to keep their homes and their sovereign safe. With this comes a game of deceit brewing at court and among the lords and ladies filling it betrayal and treason sit heavily in the air. Who is friend to the Duchess, to Brittany, and who is not? The intrigue and slow unraveling of lies and spies along the subtly spun web of deception and duplicity fascinates the mind and lures it into yet another game of puzzle-solving. Frauds are abundant, and Ismae, an eerily well-trained assassin working in the name of St. Mortain (or Death), with her heart vulnerable to a certain brisk, protective, and warm Breton working fiercely to secure his sister's crown and her competent, death-dealing hands quick to whip out a crossbow or a dagger and aim true, meticulously untangles shocking truths about those she has blindly served and the "allies" with whom the Duchess seeks advice. LaFevers' writing is thin with overbearing prose and ripe with authenticity and vibrancy, as scrupulously depicted as Ismae's methods for scrounging facts and separating it from illusions of loyalty and done so with beauty in its simplicity.
I was exquisitely surprised by this book! Cinder is billed as a revitalization of the Cinderella fairy tale, and while it has undertones of a fairy taI was exquisitely surprised by this book! Cinder is billed as a revitalization of the Cinderella fairy tale, and while it has undertones of a fairy tale retelling, the overarching plot is so much more than that! I don't even know what to dub this one: sci-fi? dystopian? paranormal? It really is a striking, albeit crazy mash-up of things, as if Meyer plucked elements from different genres and rearranged them meticulously into her own unique tale. Cinder, the MC, may be portrayed as the renowned mechanic, with a penchant for breathing new life into the dull, the irreparable. But when I think of Cinder, I envision Meyer with a toolbelt and a mask to resist flames, rebuilding something that has been done before, a retelling of Cinderella like no other, plugging and twisting and tightening the nuts and bolts of a fascinating new thing.
Cinder makes an extraordinary Cinderella! At a glance, there are subtle and concrete allusions to the Cinderella tale we all know and love throughout the book, and it's the same with the heroine, but there's so much more to it than meets the eye. On the surface, Cinder has got the Cinderella life, working and submitting to brutal "chores" for a stepmother who doesn't love, want, or appreciate her, a girl who doesn't classify herself as beautiful and lacks inward confidence that we recognize when she attempts to hide her... eccentricities. But, she's also loyal, hardworking, with the makings of true spunkiness, and, despite her life being in terrible jeopardy in multiple instances, emanates a disarming bravery and strength that endears her to us all the more. In the depths of her thoughts and feelings, there is a girl with hopes for acceptance, but on the outside she gathers to her a formidable illusion of cool confidence.
One evil Lunar queen who governs a vicious race, one mad scientist who owns the keys to Cinder's mysterious past, one dashing prince with a desire to do right by his people and growing feelings for Cinder, one death which cuts deep, later and Cinder gives us a riveting story about loneliness, loss, and the will to do what is right despite the life-altering consequences. My only true disappointment with the book is the romance with the prince. I found the slow development to be sweet and full of promise, but I'm holding out for much more in the ensuing sequels. I mean, IT'S THE PRINCE. There has to be a breathstealing romance!
With simple, yet elegant writing, entrancing, detailed world-building that draws in even the skeptical reader who repels sci-fi and the like, and a main character that tugs at the heartstrings, Cinder is a one-of-a-kind, gripping debut that is everything it says and infinitely more! A debut novel that has made my favorites list from a debut author I can't wait to see more from! Really, what will she come up with next?