This is what I love about literature. That I can pick up a book like The Aviary and enjoy the story, smile and put it down....moreOriginal review posted here
This is what I love about literature. That I can pick up a book like The Aviary and enjoy the story, smile and put it down. Then, I can pick up a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and see very, very interesting parallels between The Aviary and a story about seven ravens. And all of the sudden, The Aviary takes on entirely different overtones.
So this story is, unfortunately, predictable – but in spite of that, it’s fun. It’s a fantastic story for middle-graders, and even though I guessed everything that was happening just before it was revealed, I still enjoyed the revelation when it happened. There’s elements of The Secret Garden, the Grimm’s Fairy Tale mentioned about, and some other bits and pieces of childhood favorites, and everything meshes together to create a thoroughly enchanting world – I mean, what little girl or boy wouldn’t love the thought of a secret child locked away in an old mansion? (Although, now that I think about it – the story was on par with the Grimm’s Tales in a way!)
This is one I recommend if you are looking for a fairy-tale-like story with a bit of a darker tone to it.(less)
After reading the first book in the Renshai series, The Last of the Renshai, I knew I’d be diving into the second book in s...moreOriginal review posted here
After reading the first book in the Renshai series, The Last of the Renshai, I knew I’d be diving into the second book in short order. I was no longer cowed by the enormous size of the books (600+ paperbacks? Sure.. I didn’t need those hand muscles), and anxious to see what the world held in store for characters like Colbey, Mitrian, Garn, and more. I needed to know – plus I knew at this point that Reichert wouldn’t disappoint me in the action sequences.
I wasn’t wrong.
I wasn’t sure where the story would go after the deaths that occurred in the end of The Last of the Renshai, but what I began to appreciate as I read this book is just how much ground the “grey” area between good and evil covers. Reichert moves her story away from a prominent good and evil bent and throws in chaos and law – just for the fun of it. All I have to say is.. WOW.
I think this is the first series I’ve read that deals actively with chaos and law in addition to good and evil. (When I say evil, by the way, don’t be thinking “evil” as in evil bad guy – there’s a difference in this series.)
I really have come to respect this series. It’s a solid story, solid characters, interesting lore (even though Mickey borrows quite liberally from Norse mythology) and the world is one that immediately gives the reader an awe-inspiring sense of just how vast it is.
The third book blew me away even more… but more on that when I write and publish my review of it.
I cannot stress how much I recommend checking this series out. The descriptions of sword-fighting alone make it a series worth looking at, but there is oh-so-much-more than that.(less)
Bravo, Julie. I’m firmly on Team Puck, but putting The Iron Knight into the words of Ash made me appreciate him more then I...moreOriginal review posted here
Bravo, Julie. I’m firmly on Team Puck, but putting The Iron Knight into the words of Ash made me appreciate him more then I have in books past. Oh, I’m still on Team Puck, but … let’s just say I have a bit of respect now for Ash which I didn’t previously have.
Y’all, The Iron Knight was just about perfect, as far as romping adventures go. A beautiful hero, surprises from the past, a quest for a worthy prize, romance, comedy, friendship and scary things that go BOO. It was all included in this action-packed novel and I loved every single moment of it. I was sucked hook-line-sinker into the world of Meghan, Ash and Puck and without even having to review where the last book left off, I just knew where things stood and remembered what had happened. That was hundreds of books ago people! These stories are just those kind that stick in your head.
I think Julie Kagawa might just be one of my favorite YA writers. I love her characters, her style of adventure and just think she writes a dang good story. The Iron Knight was the perfect conclusion (is it really?) to the Iron Fey series.. but I’m jonesing for some Puck now!(less)
I’ve come to expect awesome things from Maria Snyder. She writes about strong females, the perfect touch of magic, actio...moreOriginal review posted at here
I’ve come to expect awesome things from Maria Snyder. She writes about strong females, the perfect touch of magic, action, a little bit of romance – basically everything that makes the teenager in me giggle with delight. Her latest book, Touch of Power, provided all those things.
Seriously, if you want to lose yourself in a good book, and know you have an entire day to allow yourself to get lost in it, you cannot fail with picking up one of Snyder’s books. With Touch of Power, I found myself trapped away in this world where healing is not considered to be a good thing, and the young heroine is on the run…constantly. So much so, in fact, even I was out of breath reading it!
The imagination of Snyder is to be envied. The Death Lilies were magnificent – so incredibly interesting. The choice having to be made by Avry was heart-breaking .. how would you choose? The combination of interesting characters, rough situations, and action scenes kept me reading from beginning to end in one sitting. And that, my friends, is fun reading.(less)
I love Brandon Sanderson. Seriously, the man is genius when it comes to works of fantasy. He can spin a story like the best...moreOriginal review posted here
I love Brandon Sanderson. Seriously, the man is genius when it comes to works of fantasy. He can spin a story like the best of them but what I love the most is his thorough magic system.
I was lucky enough to hear him speak on how he tests his magic systems and could see just how thorough he was. No breaking rules on his part, Sanderson likes a thorough, thought out system and it really makes a good story sensational.
The Alloy of Law is a fantastic mix of steampunk and western (think Firefly). It mixes magic with gun-slinging and adds a bit of romance in just to flavor the adventure. I was immediately connected to the characters, especially Wax. He was everything I wanted in a hero – especially since there was quite a bit of the inner turmoil going on that just makes a character spark and fly off the page.
I loved The Alloy of Law. I loved being back in that world, seeing the old magics come to life again, experiencing something new in the way of Sanderson’s writing. The western thing is fantastic and I cannot wait to read more.(less)
I am not gonna lie to you – this is some hardcore fantasy. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly well-read at this point i...moreOriginal review posted here
I am not gonna lie to you – this is some hardcore fantasy. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly well-read at this point in the whole fantasy genre thing… but this was nearly out of my league. It was like stepping into this room filled with all sorts of fantastic, historical facts and then made to watch a movie that assumed you had a passing knowledge of at least 50% of those facts. History lessons filled the pages in this first novel, and add into that a fair amount of world-building, in addition to some pretty heavy politics happening and it makes for a book that packs a helluva punch.
What kept me going though was Simon. I loved that moonfaced boy, and I wanted to know what will happen to him. I loved the myth of the three swords, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn – for whom the series is named after. And I ABSOLUTELY adored the Sithi – seriously, I haven’t felt that much love for a race of fantasy creatures since I was introduced to Tolkien’s elves. Loved, loved, loved them.
If you are a fantasy reader, and want a definite challenge – but one that is worth the challenge just for the Sithi and Simon alone, I recommend this series. I do plan to finish it – but first.. I need to recover a bit. I’m telling you, this was a helluva read. (less)
I don’t normally read and review self-published books, but when Mr. Kaelin contacted me with the pitch for Progeny (and af...moreOriginal review posted here.
I don’t normally read and review self-published books, but when Mr. Kaelin contacted me with the pitch for Progeny (and after seeing numerous five star reviews – and a few one star) I decided to give this one a go. My package arrived complete with Progeny bookmark and business cards and a bright, shiny, HUGE book.
Overall, I was not disappointed by Progeny. On a scale of 1-5 I’d give it a solid 3 1/2 stars. There were things that needed fixing, but there were some masterful parts of the story as well and, let’s face it, it’s hard work writing a high fantasy novel the size and length of this one.
In a way, Kaelin’s magic system reminded me of Brandon Sanderson. It was thrilling, unique and very interesting and came across as well thought out. A thorough explanation provided in the story, as well as an Appendix, helped with grasping its intricacies as well as made certain parts of the story even more astounding. I think that the magic system was the best part of this book and will be enough to keep me reading to see if Kaelin has made improvements to the style of the story in Book 2.
So what needed improvements? The length. It was much too long, and much of that was travel time, endless repeating of the background of the characters (we know most of it, we don’t need to hear it retold), some editing errors here and there (pg 627, second to last paragraph for example), and the pace was just too slow. It is possible to give the illusion of time passing without spelling out the endless meals, talks and flirting? of the characters with one another. I felt as if there was this huge story just simmering beneath, this massive conflict, but the book gave me 500 pages of set-up with very little actual action that fit with the storyline.
And I don’t even want to talk about the history that came with the introduction of the character Nundle (whom I loved, the history lesson.. I did not). That soon into the story, when the reader is so overwhelmed with everything, it just induces yawns and made me want to skip over the whole thing.
But I did love the characters! I found Nundle to be perfectly cast, given that he’s a halfling. I found Broedi to be intimidating and comforting at the same time. I’m harboring a bit of a crush on Sargeant Trell, and I loved seeing Zecus come into his own. Sabine was a bit of an annoying distraction, I have to admit, but the addition of Helene made for some great comedic moments.
And most of all, the siblings. I found the bond between Jak, Nik and Kenders to be tightly woven and I admit to even shedding a tear now and then when circumstances and fate seemed to want to play with them more than was necessary.
Overall, Progeny is a promising beginning for R.T. Kaelin, and I’ll be looking for his second book, with the hopes that some of the things I’ve talked about here will be addressed. I’m sure he’s heard them from more than me – and as this was his first venture, it shows great promise!(less)
I’m going to split my review up into two completely opposite views. Because I both loved this book, and there were parts th...moreOriginal review posted here
I’m going to split my review up into two completely opposite views. Because I both loved this book, and there were parts that made me roll my eyes a little bit, even while I understand what the author was trying to do.
What I loved:
I loved that Michael Vey was a sort of outcast and that his “sidekick” friend was insanely smart. I loved that Michael Vey has Tourette’s and that the book attempts to educate younger readers about the disease. I loved the explanation behind the electricity phenomenon. I loved the adventure, the reasoning, the clear good/evil, the message on bullying, peer pressure and doing what’s right. I loved the pace of the book. It was perfect.
Here is what I didn’t like (and it’s a shorter list, but it’s still there):
I didn’t like that Michael had Tourette’s. (Explanation to follow)
That’s it. So, you may have noticed that one of my “didn’t like’s” (the only one!) was also one of my loves. There’s a reason for that. When a character has a disease or abnormality or handicap, I appreciate it quite a bit when the author doesn’t use that as a tool to promote the story, to bring it to the attention to the audience, but instead, portrays the character realistically. You might say that’s a silly thing to expect in a science fiction or fantasy book, but really – it’s not.
Recently I read Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier. His main character was blind. But instead of using the blindness merely as a tool, Auxier worked with the blindness – I never once forgot that Peter was blind. Contrast that with Michael who, quite often, I would forget had Tourette’s. Because it was a tool used by Evans to sell the story.
Does that mean I don’t appreciate what he’s trying to do? Of course not. I do appreciate it, I just wish he’d done more with it. I should not have been surprised when, at certain scenes, the Tourette’s would flare up. By the time I was three-fourths of the way through the book it should have been a common enough occurrence that I wouldn’t have batted an eye at it. But it surprised me, even that far into the book and that tells me that there was something lacking in the translation from a “Character who has Tourette’s” to a “Character who is afflicted with Tourette’s”. I’m not sure really even that afflicted is the right word to use there, but it should have been something that I knew Michael had, and something that I would have come to accept as normal for Michael. But instead, it still felt strange and alien to me when I closed the book.
I’m hoping this changes as the series progresses and Richard Paul Evans finds his footing with Michael – his “most exciting character” as he proclaims on the books jacket. I’m sure I’ll pick up the next book, hoping to see it improve – but if it doesn’t, I’m afraid it’ll just end up being another series that let me down.(less)
The first thing I thought when I put down Firelight was about how torn I was. It’s not often a book will make me feel both...moreOriginal review posted here
The first thing I thought when I put down Firelight was about how torn I was. It’s not often a book will make me feel both giddy and disgusted all at the same time! But Sophie Jordan has done it here, and I think she managed to pull it off because this book is such an incredibly guilty pleasure.
Firelight brought out the teenage rebel in me, but the mature adult in me wanted to smack Jacinda and try to shake some sense into her. The whining, oh the whining – it got to be so much and, while I could appreciate that it was warranted to some degree (what is it with books where the family are such douche-bags? Seriously.) it was so overboard that I felt it was choking the life out of the book.
I loved what little bits of lore were given regarding the Draki and the Hunters, but I wanted, craved more. Instead, I got a lot of teenage angst and sexual tension, and while that’s fine and dandy in its own place, I was needing more substance. I’m still intrigued enough to pick up Vanish, but I sincerely hope the whining has toned down or that may be where I stop.(less)
First, I want to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves. I don’t care if your book is fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi or pa...moreOriginal review posted here
First, I want to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves. I don’t care if your book is fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi or paranormal (or even just regular literature), I don’t like seeing the names of things, popular things or pop-culture, in the text of the book. It makes me feel disjointed and reminds me that I am, indeed, reading a book and still very much living in the real world. When I read, fantasy and science fiction most of all, I read to lose myself in the world and to explore the fantastic places the authors words are creating in my own mind. So when I see reference after reference to everything from Harry Potter to the Smurfs, I get a bit peeved and, for the first time, I actually got angry at a book.
I finished The Magician King, but only just. I’d hoped the story would move more quickly, as this one dealt with a Quentin on a quest, but instead, I was just irritated by him.
I will say, however, in the effort to give some type of positive feedback, that I did enjoy Julia’s story (well, enjoy as in it interested me). She is not nearly the same type of character that Quentin is, but unfortunately her story was not enough to save the rest of the book for me.
If you liked The Magicians, chances are you will still enjoy this book. Don’t let me put you off of reading it if you want to (in fact, I’ll be posting some links to positive reviews here at the end of this review), but if you were left kind of “meh” after reading The Magicians, then I’d steer clear of this one.(less)
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is a stunning, stunning debut novel. Brilliantly conceived, filled wit...moreThis review was first posted to my blog here
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is a stunning, stunning debut novel. Brilliantly conceived, filled with masterful descriptions that provoke not only the imagination with sights, but also with sounds, smells and touch. From the first few paragraphs I was spiraled into a story, much like Alice falling down her rabbit hole, and caught up in a tale of the completely fantastic and I loved every single second of it. Every one.
Now and then I'll pick up a middle grade book and, more often than not, I'll put it down feeling an overwhelming urge to pet a kitten or cuddle a puppy, but sometimes, those rare, few, precious times, I put the book down and feel as if I've been transported back in time and I'm 11 years old again and surrounded by a word of magic and mystery; a world where a boy without eyes can overcome impossible odds, where a knight without bravery can overcome his cowardice, and where a lost fantasyland can be found again. Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is one of those stories.
One of the most brilliant, fantastic things about this book is way Auxier describes not only the people Peter comes in contact with, but also the places he visits and the things he does. Peter is blind, he has no eyes, and since the book (even though it's in third person) is from Peter's main point of view, we're treated to smells, touches and sounds. If a man is tall, we know because of the sound of his tread, if two people are related it's due to their smell. All this is done in such an exquisite way that it slipped by, unnoticed, until a moment came and I felt as if I'd just woken up and the world around me began to sparkle.
Bravo, Jonathan, bravo.
I cannot rave about this book enough. If you loved Gregor and the fantastic world Suzanne Collins made in her books, if you loved Plain Kate by Erin Bow, then you will adore this story of Peter Nimble, the blind thief. There are books I love, books I tolerate, books I cannot stand - but every now and then I come across a book like this one where I feel privileged to be allowed to read and experience the story.
Thank you, Jonathan Auxier, for giving us this story.(less)
The Marked Son is an action-packed story focused around 17 year old Dylan and the “ghost”, Kera, who inhabits his dreams....moreReview originally posted here
The Marked Son is an action-packed story focused around 17 year old Dylan and the “ghost”, Kera, who inhabits his dreams. Dylan struggles, coping with a mother who will not stay in the same place long and goes through men like crazy and, eventually, ends up dumped into the lap of relatives he never knew existed.
Then things get crazy.
What I loved about this book was how much fun it was to finally be seeing things through the eyes of a male – and not just any male, a strong, decisive male who wasn’t wanting to shy away from things and was out to figure things out. I enjoyed the humor contained in the brief interactions he had with friends and I loved the passion Dylan exhibited when faced with some insurmountable odds.
The Marked Son is fast-paced and filled with all sorts of fights and a nicely-paced story, however there were some things that seemed to be a bit glossed over and made for a bit of clunky going, especially as the end drew near. I had a hard time accepting that Dylan was so capable right off the bad of channeling his powers, that he and Kera developed an “all-or-nothing” relationship that fast, and I was really confused as to what exactly went on in Kera’s world. So I guess mostly my issues were on the world and magic building in the book.
There didn’t seem to be any clear-cut explanation of the powers Dylan (and the others in Kera’s world) possessed. Nor was there really an explanation of how the world worked, what people used their powers for, etc. Just that there was a big, bad guy and he was going to take over. I understood that he was bad, but I didn’t really understand why. That’s what made me struggle with this story.
I’m sure I’ll check out the next one when it’s released, because it was interesting – just had issues with what I’ve mentioned. I did appreciate that the book was given a solid ending without a major cliffhanger as trilogy books are wont to have these days.(less)
Elisa is not your typical heroine. She likes to eat, and her figure shows it. She’s the second born girl, with an ol...moreOriginally posted at my blog here.
Elisa is not your typical heroine. She likes to eat, and her figure shows it. She’s the second born girl, with an older sister who has been trained to be a Queen. Elisa loves to read and is incredibly smart, but rarely gets to show that off due to a low self-esteem.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns begins with a wedding. Elisa’s wedding. She is being married to a King and sent away from her family on her 16th birthday, and so begins her adventures.
What I really appreciated about this book was, although Rae Carson went just a little overboard with Elisa’s “fat” figure (references to eating, to calling herself a ‘pig’, etc), she also made sure to give a fairly accurate picture of what it feels like to be large. The whispers and glances, even a wedding night – all made sense, especially during later events. I was worried that this would be one of those stories where the fat girl loses weight and all of the sudden everyone likes her, but Carson manages to skirt around that cliche and still maintain the integrity of the story.
There is a lot of religion on this book, it’s a world based around the premise of religion and of Elisa being the first “chosen-one” in about 100 years. It’s fascinating stuff, but also very, very religious so it was interesting to me to read a fantasy based so heavily on prayer.
I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I loved that, although there is love, it is not the central focus of the story, but rather Elisa’s growth and confidence is. The fantasy world was interesting, but could have been a little more fleshed out (with less prayer next time, please!) and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to see where Carson takes us next.(less)
In A Discovery of Witches, much like the blurb states, I was reminded of my days of reading Anne Rice. I remembered when the idea of vampires chilled...moreIn A Discovery of Witches, much like the blurb states, I was reminded of my days of reading Anne Rice. I remembered when the idea of vampires chilled me to the bone, made me feel a little bit like I needed to watch over my shoulder, and provided me with a touch of forbidden romance. Then came the young adult vampire craze. Girls went gaga over the idea of an Edward, screaming loudly for a man to come and dominate their lives and their sexuality much like Edward did Bella's, and my fascination with vampires spiraled down into a fierce explosion of hate.
But A Discovery of Witches managed to rekindle a little bit of that old love that remained. This book provided me with a little bit of that forbidden thrill, and honestly I was a bit ashamed of myself for liking it as much as I did. I appreciated Diana's boldness and desire to protect herself as much as I resented Michael's desire to protect her and cut her off from the world.
I think that the warring emotions I had while reading A Discovery of Witches speaks mostly as a testament to my own growth. I was a teenager when I discovered Anne Rice and I wanted nothing more than to find a strong man and be protected. Now, as a self-serving adult woman, that same idea is a bit more distasteful to me. But still.. there's that little bit of longing and so I enjoy myself in fiction and laugh about that enjoyment when I put the book down.
A Discovery of Witches is not a fast, quick read - but it reads quickly. It absorbed me completely and I loved nearly every moment of it (the mooning and constant professions of love that overtook the book about halfway through I could have done without). I'm happy I picked this up when the publisher was promoting it, and I'm even more thrilled to have in my possession a copy of the next book in the series because, frankly, I'm not ready to leave Diana and Michael behind for a while yet.(less)
With all the stories of vampires, werewolves, angels, demons and witches/warlocks out there - of course the time of the mermaid was bound to come.
I'v...moreWith all the stories of vampires, werewolves, angels, demons and witches/warlocks out there - of course the time of the mermaid was bound to come.
I've read a few mermaid novels in the past year or so, and Lost Voices has to be the best of the bunch, but that said, it still lacks that extra umph I was hoping for.
Sarah Porter does a beautiful job with crafting a thought-out version of mermaid lore. Gone are the beautiful mermaids in The Little Mermaid a la Disney and, instead, here are mermaids that are more like the ones in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
How do they get that way?
Through intense pain and struggle. Each of the mermaids in this tribe has been abused and now they have formed a band of beautiful girls living under the ocean waters. But for Luce, there's an issue. She cannot bring herself to hate mankind because of the love she had for her father.
Oh, and there is a lot of singing.
The singing is actually what made the book for me. Sarah Porter did a beautiful job describing the sounds, the practice and the results of the songs. The scenes in which the mermaids sing are exquisitely written and I loved them so very much - but they made the dialogue and the juvenile descriptions of the girls interaction that much more painful.
Overall, the book seemed to be a jumbled bit of a mess, background stories tossed in here and there when absolutely necessary, an entire group of girls brought into the story for.. what purpose, I'm not sure. A Queen Bitch added in and a struggle between Luce and her "best" friend that switched around so often I felt like I was getting whiplash just from reading it.
I don't know if I'll pick up the book to follow this one (and it's plainly obvious there will be another). If I do, it'd just be to see if the writing has improved on the character interaction level. I know Porter is capable of doing it - those musical passages in the book really did leave me breathless.(less)
It really is impossible to write a review of A Dance with Dragons without reflecting on the wait any fan of GRRM had to endure to get this book into h...moreIt really is impossible to write a review of A Dance with Dragons without reflecting on the wait any fan of GRRM had to endure to get this book into his or her hands. For years we've been waiting on this book, the other half to A Feast for Crows, and, while it certainly gave more of what we've come to expect of Martin, it also failed to answer many questions that we've had years to dream up.
I've never read a book quite so thick before and come away as dissatisfied as I am right now. Most of that dissatisfaction stems from a fear of having to wait another 5-6 years before given more of the story - and that's a really long time and many, many books between. There were deaths in A Dance with Dragons, rebirths, kings seated and unseated, villains punished (or were they?), factions changed and many other things that occur, yet the ramifications will not be known for quite some time. So, rather than providing us with answers after several years of wait, we're merely left with more questions.
That said, there was one scene in the book that finally provided me with something, a mere scene, that I'd been waiting for. It involves Queen Dany and... it was worth the wait. I was also pleased to note that a few others that played such a large part in A Feast for Crows were included in A Dance with Dragons (as I'd begun it thinking that they would have little to no part at all), and I was happy to finally see what happened to some of my favorites (Jon Snow and Tyrion).
I am still processing this book and, upon re-reading it next year, will probably write a whole different review, but as of right now I can say this - I'm fully satisfied with the story contained within A Dance with Dragons - provided the book following it does not make me wait another several years.(less)
I have rated Angel Burn right dead center of a 1-5 rating system. If I could, I'd rate the first half a good, solid 4 and the second half would waver...moreI have rated Angel Burn right dead center of a 1-5 rating system. If I could, I'd rate the first half a good, solid 4 and the second half would waver between a 1 and a 2.
The first half of Angel Burn is filled with action, interesting characters, a really unique twist on "angel lore", and is fast-paced and just downright fun reading. It's not great literature, but it was fun and it had me reaching to pick up my book whenever I had a few spare minutes to read (and actually, it kept me up until a good two hours after when I should have been asleep last night).
But then, about halfway through the book - just about when the love interest really takes over the relationship between Alex and Willow, the book started to lose its edge. Between the realization that these two teenagers "love" each other, the convenient placement of skills and money (who rides around with that much money, seriously), the overuse of the term "half angel" (I think I counted it five times in two paragraphs), the "you" "no you" "no you" back and forth between Willow and Alex in their lovesickness moments... it all got to be too much. I felt as if Weatherly went from creating what could have been a very kickass story and fell in love with her own characters so much that she went into some daydream world and wrote out a story that, in all honesty, should have been kept in her own mind.
The result? A very unsatisfactory ending and one that really disappointed me. Even the climax, the moment we were all waiting for, was flooded with regrets, teenage angst and moments that had me rolling my eyes so violently that I gave myself a headache.
In short - great idea, great beginning, really crappy ending. I'd hoped for better.(less)
When I was a kid I used to love those "choose your own path" books. I felt like no matter the decision I made, the story would come alive and I'd have...moreWhen I was a kid I used to love those "choose your own path" books. I felt like no matter the decision I made, the story would come alive and I'd have consequences or rewards based on the path of my choosing. Sometimes, when I was in a feisty mood, I'd make the bad choices, or if I was feeling particularly good, the right choices - but either way I was highly entertained.
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior is a "choose your own adventure" book - but with one slight exception. What I remember of those books was that the ending was always affected by your choice - whereas in Cinderella: Ninja Warrior the ending is the same, no matter your choice. So yes - you can have eight different paths through the book, but no matter the path you choose you end up in the same exact spot as all of the others.
This, folks, defeats the purpose of a "choose your own" adventure.
Now, granted, I should have expected something silly and mildly entertaining from a book titled Cinderella: Ninja Warrior - and I think had I been a middle-grade student reading through the book would have been highly entertaining and lots of fun, but even as a pre-teen, I would have been disappointed by the predictable ending. The adult in me was hopeful, thinking if I made the right choices, if I gave Cinderella the opportunity to show that life isn't always about marrying the prince, that the story would change a little bit - but I was disappointed.
So, in short, cute book, but does not live up to the potential that could have been there. (less)
One of the biggest gripes I have when it comes to fantasy is how difficult it can be to get involved in the world. I mean, think about it - when you o...moreOne of the biggest gripes I have when it comes to fantasy is how difficult it can be to get involved in the world. I mean, think about it - when you open a fantasy book you are giving yourself over to that author, that creator of the world and you are trusting them to explain to you just what exactly is going on. Strange words, names, places, things - all these are in abundance and on top of that.. there's a story they have to tell and importantly, that you have to follow.
That paragraph is exactly where I have an issue with Isles of the Forsaken. Now, let me just say that I enjoyed this book, as much as I was able to. I found the story to be an interesting one, the politics to be top-notch, the action kept the story moving at a solid pace, the characters were fleshed out and fun to get to know but, and this is a big BUT, I had no idea what half the words, the religion, the basis for the discord was even about until I was 70% of the way through the book. (Thank you, Kindle, for providing me with that exact percentage.)
Finally, 70% in I got an explanation for what it was the Adainas do, or as much as an explanation as I would get. At this point in the story, I'd just accepted that I wouldn't understand, it wouldn't be explained, and I got some sort of general idea of it but nothing specific and I really am a "love specifics" type of reader when it comes to things like world building and crafting.
So at 70% it really felt as if the book was finally taking off and then, I found I couldn't put it down. And I loved it. I was so excited, I understood what was happening and the significance of events that were unfolding. But then.. a short 30% later, it ended with the promise of a sequel in the future.
I don't want to discourage anyone from reading this book, because I really do think it is worth the read and I found it to be a fascinating look into fantasy through the politics and racism that were heavily involved in making up the story, but I will caution you to be patient, to just accept what you are reading and understand that it will all be made a bit more clear as you read.(less)
It's not often a book moves me to tears. Not the kind of tears that I sometimes shed because I believe that the book is calling for tears and it's oka...moreIt's not often a book moves me to tears. Not the kind of tears that I sometimes shed because I believe that the book is calling for tears and it's okay to push a few out - but aching, heart-break-showing tears that involve looking away from the page because I just cannot bear to continue to read until the weight has left my chest. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness woke something in me, a memory of a feeling, that overwhelmed me and felt as if it was choking me and in spite of ... no, because of that awakening, I walked away from this story feeling as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.
Before I talk about The Map of Time’s story, I want to talk about the binding and jacket of this book.
Seriously, this book should be owned just for the artwork and design. I got chills when I opened the book and saw the first page, I was reverent when I took the jacket off and then cackled with glee at the beautiful lettering on the spine. This is a book made for people who love books – and the story worked like that for me as well.
I think the summary is somewhat misleading, I will say. I expected a great time-travel adventure centered around literary masterpieces, but in truth that was only a small portion of the story. First, the setting and backdrop have to be set, and boy does Felix Palma set them.
At first, I felt a bit lost, but beginning a book with contemplated suicide is nearly always an attention grabber. Before I knew it, I was turning the pages, aware with each turn that I was getting more and more frantic and just when I thought I’d get to a climax in the story……
… it’d slow down again.
This happened more than once. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as I think back on it. I gasped out loud a few times, I shook my head in disbelief – because Palma had me eating out of the palm of his hand. He was taking me through the story on his own terms, and I was helpless. I had to know.
The reward was worth it – oh boy, was it worth it. That said, I still don’t know if I can handle doing a re-read quite yet, or even thinking about one. So for now, this beautiful book will sit on my shelves and, in a few years, maybe I’ll have forgotten enough to want to pick it up again and be teased through the story once again.(less)
I have one major issue with this book - and that's that every single review mentions information about the author. I'm not going to mention that infor...moreI have one major issue with this book - and that's that every single review mentions information about the author. I'm not going to mention that information here, because it clouded my initial impression of the story (in not a positive way). If you want to find the information I'm referring to, you can find it quite easily, but I'd encourage you to wait until you've finished reading Legacy.
Because Legacy, this book, was a good, solid fantasy read. While elements were YA (very clean language, good values), others were quite adult (world building, adult decisions). I was blown away by how easily I got into the story and, quite honestly, I read this in two solid sittings because I needed to know what was going to happen. I had no intention to read it in a day - but everything else took second place to this story.
Every teenage girl can find something to relate to in Alera. She's headstrong, but still dutiful, she wants to fall in love and get married to that love, but she understands putting herself behind her duty as a Princess and future Queen. She struggles with being "lessor" to the males in her kingdom and longs for something different when told how the other side (Cokyri) live. I loved the ups and downs of her struggles, admired her spine when it was needed, wished I had the presence of mind to make the decisions she had to make and just.. thoroughly enjoyed the character.
If you are a regular reader of my reviews you know I like strong female characters. Add Alera of Legacy to that list and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series.(less)
I am so incredibly grateful to the Nebula awards for bringing titles to light that I would have overlooked. Blackout by Connie Willis is one of those...moreI am so incredibly grateful to the Nebula awards for bringing titles to light that I would have overlooked. Blackout by Connie Willis is one of those titles.
I'm a big fantasy lover - but I haven't really delved that much into the world of science fiction and alternative history, so this book was a bit of a stretch for me. I loved it though, I loved how different events were looked at from all points of view, how beliefs were so firmly stated that I had no problem believing them - and then sharing in the disbelief and doubt that began to emerge in the main characters.
And the history.. it was such an intimate picture of unsung heroes at times I felt as if I was standing outside a building, peeking in through the windows to watch these characters, supporting characters and more go about their daily business. It brought home to me a personal, relate-able view of what London during the blackouts was like and just how frightening it had to have been.
Fantastic fun and I cannot wait to check out more of Connie Willis' books. I just love being introduced to a new author!(less)
I'm in the minority here. I took this book with me on a trip for airplane reading on the way out and was... massively disappointed.
It may just be that...moreI'm in the minority here. I took this book with me on a trip for airplane reading on the way out and was... massively disappointed.
It may just be that my tastes have changed, but I chuckled and enjoyed Hex Hall and just.. found that Demonglass lost its charm.
Demonglass picks up right where Hex Hall left off, Sophie is involved in a forbidden romance with a bad boy for her - something that is becoming all too familiar a plot point for me lately. While the story had its ups and downs, they were more like kiddie-rollercoaster ups and downs and felt forced to me. I did not feel any sort of connection to the characters and found myself disliking Sophie more and more as the story progressed. By the time I reached the "cliffhanger" ending I was done with the book and will not be picking up #3.
I wish this book had the charm and wittiness of Hex Hall, but it didn't and as much as I hate writing negative reviews I really can't find anything positive to write here. I was sitting on an airplane, without any other sort of amusement and found myself putting it down several times to thumb through magazines and read advertisements. That's a deal breaker for me, and so I'll write this series off unfortunately.(less)
I can't express how much I loved reading Eona: The Last Dragoneye. Everything that was present in Eon was magnified in this sequel and I fell in love,...moreI can't express how much I loved reading Eona: The Last Dragoneye. Everything that was present in Eon was magnified in this sequel and I fell in love, if that's even possible, even more with Eona and the other characters.
In this sequel, and final to the story of Eona, the Dragoneyes are in shambles and Eona's past finally reveals itself to her. Hard choices have to be made, alliances tested, friendships broken and reforged and, through all of this, epic battles are being waged.
I devoured Eona. I knew I would after reading Eon, but I think I may have liked this book even more. Alison Goodman created a world that was rich, filled with subtle nuances and and so much mystery and magic. Add in an interesting magic system and cultural references and you have a well-rounded, fantastic story that didn't step too far over the bounds in order to achieve that typical "happily ever after" feeling.(less)
I struggled with Merlin. While I loved Taliesin there were aspects of that book as well that I struggled with, mostly the names and places. I took my...moreI struggled with Merlin. While I loved Taliesin there were aspects of that book as well that I struggled with, mostly the names and places. I took my time reading it and then I took my time reading Merlin and with Merlin, I just ended up feeling completely out of my depths.
I felt while I was reading this story, that I should have come into it knowing a little more about the history. As it was, I was surrounded by names and places that I couldn't pronounce and a story that I just couldn't follow, no matter how many times I flipped back and forth trying to remember and put things together. I'm really unhappy about this too, because I desperately wanted to like this book as much as I liked the first.
I will probably give it another try another time. In the meantime, I don't think I'll be moving on to the next book in the series anytime soon.(less)
Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my favorite authors for a reason - he knows how to start a story out, how to give it "flavor". The beginning of The Midnig...moreCarlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my favorite authors for a reason - he knows how to start a story out, how to give it "flavor". The beginning of The Midnight Palace has a deadly chase, a set of babies crying and the backdrop of Calcutta in the early 1900's. Mix in rain, a good dose of mystery and a smattering of horror and you have a perfect beginning to a book.
Sheere and Ben are twins, but they do not know of one another due to an incredible tragedy in their background. Both are raised in different styles, Ben in an orphanage and Sheere as a sort of gypsy, but their worlds collide on their 16th birthdays.
Something that Zafon does so well is create gothic settings and they were in abundance in The Midnight Palace. From the house Sheere has been searching for to the old train station, I never stopped feeling as if I needed to look over my shoulder. This isn't sweet romance-y paranormal young adult fiction, this is a bit edgy, ghost-horror stuff. And it's thrilling.
While I didn't enjoy The Midnight Palace(Niebla #2) as much as I did The Prince of Mist (Niebla #1), I did enjoy it and found it difficult to put down - even at night when every little sound had me looking around the room. My only regret is that I'm unable to read the books in the language they were originally written. That said though - the translation is magnificent, as all of Zafon's books are, and there is more than one phrase that had me reading and re-reading it, enjoying the beauty of the writing.
Though this is an older book in its original language, it's fresh and something new to read in the YA genre and I welcome it.(less)