Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth

Apr
20
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Ghost and the Goth The Ghost and the Goth by
Series: The Ghost and the Goth #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 281
Source:
Goodreads

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?

My Review:

I started this one looking for a light fluffy read. After the trouble I had (and shouldn’t have had) with The Iron Thorn I knew I needed something different. This book certainly had a different feel to it, but it wasn’t the fluff piece I was expecting.



Firstly, I loved the characters. Alona may have been so far from who I was in High School, but I could really relate to her in ways that sometimes don’t work for cheerleader types in stories. Plus I found Will, also very different from me, and the type of person I hung out with, extremely attractive. I have a new book boyfriend! (added to about 100 others, but they don’t know so it’s ok! lol)


I also found the story very engaging. It was kind of a cross between Nevermore and Just Like Heaven (this really cute RomCom with Reese Witherspoon and the guy from 13 going on 30). I love the idea of people who are meant to be together and end up getting a second chance – for a while I was obsessed with the movie The Lake House because I love that kind of storyline. I’m so excited to see where she takes this one, though, since the second chance seems doomed to failure simply because Alona is dead.


In the end, I would definitely recommend this to anyone open to the idea of paranormal romance. It’s so fun, and yet so meaningful at the same time!





Book Review: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter

Apr
14
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Demon Trapper's Daughter The Demon Trapper's Daughter by
Series: The Demon Trappers #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 340
Source:
Goodreads

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps.  The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

My Review:

I’m a little behind on this review – sorry! I actually finished this one a few days ago, but I’ve had other reviews scheduled and I didn’t bother with writing it up. Sorry!


First of all, can I just say “About time!” It seems like urban fantasies like this aren’t nearly as common among YA novels – obviously we have City of Bones but even that gets out of the urban fantasy eventually.  This one is Urban Fantasy all the way through. The only difference from an adult urban fantasy was the lack of racy material, and I’m ok with that.


One of the things I really liked about this book was the detail put into the hierarchy of demons. Magpies and Biblio-fiends sound so cute, though they should keep far away from my library. I’d like to learn more about all the demons, because they seem like there’s more to them than just “gotta kill them all!” I know I say this a lot about books that have new creatures in them, but I want a catalog of pictures and specs on some of these demons! What can I say, I’m that kind of person.


I also enjoyed Riley as a character. She’s tough, and she doesn’t give up. I spent a lot of time feeling bad for her, cause no matter what she did she could not catch a break. Her author was very mean! But it makes for a good story so I’m not going to complain.


In the end, I’d give this one two thumbs up – this is the perfect book for anyone who loves Urban Fantasy or YA. This is a great introduction to either genre!





Book Review: The Goddess Test

Apr
12
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Goddess Test The Goddess Test by
Series: Goddess Test #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 293
Source:
Goodreads

EVERY GIRL who has taken the test has DIED.
Now it's KATE'S TURN.
It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.
If she fails...

My Review:

I may be slightly prejudiced because I am a huge fan of ancient mythology, but I loved this book! The premise is simple – Hades (aka Henry) has lost Persephone, but he cannot rule the underworld alone. For thousands of years he has been trying to find a girl to rule with him, but all eleven have died trying. Kate enters into the bargain anyway, in hope of saving her mother who is dying of cancer.

Firstly, I loved the portrayal of Henry. 99.9% of the time, if Hades shows up in a book, he’s the bad guy. For good reason, obviously, we like to blame the guy who is associated with death for everything, but every once in a while, you gotta feel sorry for the guy. Carter’s portrayal shows him as a sensitive guy who gets blamed for stuff because of who he is, but isn’t actually too bad. In fact, despite the obvious references to mythology, the strongest thread running through this story for me, was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (which just so happens to be my favorite fairy tale, like Persephone is my favorite myth). I actually liked Henry, because he was willing to stand up for Kate and he felt sorry for what he was asking her to do – the evil bad dude that always turns out to be Hades is couldn’t do that without some really good acting skills, and I’m hoping those never surface, because I like Henry the way he is.

I also loved the fact that Kate isn’t going with Henry because she “can’t live without him.” I’ve seen plenty of love stories recently that play with this theme, and while I was willing to put up with it in the beginning, it’s starting to get a little old. But Kate isn’t like that. Even once she begins to realize her feelings for Henry she is willing to leave him once her six months are up, and frankly is more worried about passing the tests so her mother can live than figuring out a relationship with Henry. I find this much more believable than the whole “Love you so much I can never leave you! Nothing else matters in the world!” and I enjoyed the book because of it.

I’m so excited to share this book with everyone, and I cannot wait until the next book comes out! What happens next?





Book Review: Nevermore

Apr
06
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Nevermore Nevermore by
Series: Nevermore #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 543
Source: ,
Goodreads

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game.

Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind.

Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

My Review:

It seems like I had been looking for a copy of this book for forever. No matter where I went, it wasn’t in bookstores, the library seemed to think it didn’t exist, I just could not find it. Now that I’ve read it, that seems oddly appropriate. It’s also kind of a shame, because this book is pretty awesome!

This book was already set to wow me just from the premise. Anyone who looks at my favorites list would see that I like novels where the characters and stories come to life. Add to that a real life mystery and an interesting love story and I’m in! It was so gorgeously done as well. It’s very obvious that not only did Creagh do her research, she loves the topic.

I will warn you – don’t put this down in the middle. The plot is complicated and twisty, as any book about Poe would have to be, and if you don’t keep up with it as you go along, it can be really hard to get back into it. I happened to get distracted by life in the middle of this one and it took me 10 or 15 pages to remember what was going on and really get back into it. Once I did, I was quite frustrated that I had to put it down to sleep.

My only question now is: How on earth does she expect us to wait until 2012 for the next one? I mean, talk about a cliff hanger! Not fair!





Book Review: One of Our Thursdays is Missing

Mar
30
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
One of Our Thursdays is Missing One of Our Thursdays is Missing by
Series: Thursday Next #6
Published by in 2011
Genres:
Pages: 362
Source:
Goodreads

Jasper Fforde's exuberant return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday.

The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons-a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.

My Review:

I have anxiously been awaiting this book ever since I finished TN5 First Among Sequels. Of course, I had to wait quite a while, so that Shade of Grey could come out first, so I was really excited when I saw my library had the book on pre-order – I was first in line on that wait list!

Unfortunately, it had been so long since I read First Among Sequels, that I couldn’t quite remember what happened to make me so excited. I like to re-read the most recent novel before starting the new one any time I have a series like this that is still publishing, just to remind myself what happened, but I just didn’t have time this time, and now I wish that I had. Probably because of this, and because of the insane amount of work I’ve been doing for my project recently, I had a really slow time reading this. It’s not that the story was bad or anything, in fact I found it very interesting. But I just didn’t get that “I cannot put this down even though it’s 5 am and I have to be up again at 7″ feeling like I did for the first 5 books.


The premise of the book is interesting enough – the real Thursday has gone missing and the written Thursday decides it’s her job to find the real one. Shenanigans ensue and when you get to the end, some part of you will probably be going “wait… what happened there?” I certainly didn’t see the ending coming. 

**SPOILERS**
I also thought his characterization of the written Thursday was very well done. Though she had some doubt, I knew all along that she wasn’t the real Thursday, because she didn’t feel like the real Thursday. Real Thursday would have had to undergo some serious hypnosis to make her act so very different from the Thursday I know and love. A part of me wonders if that’s why I had such trouble getting interested in the book – I wanted another book about the real Thursday, and written Thursday just doesn’t read the same.
 
**END SPOILERS**
In the end, I’d give it 3 of 5 stars, just because I had some trouble with it. I still loved it, mind. I’m just not as much a fan as I was of the beginning.




Book Review: Pegasus

Mar
22
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Pegasus Pegasus by
Series: Pegasus #1
Published by in 2010
Genres:
Pages: 404
Source:
Goodreads

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.
But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

My Review:

Robin McKinley’s work tends to be really hit and miss with me. I have really loved some of her books, like Spindle’s End, Rose Daughter and Dragonhaven. But then it took me 3 tries to make it all the way through Deerskin and I still haven’t managed to make it through Outlaws of Sherwood though I’ve tried what seems like a million times. So the fact that I made it through Pegasus is a good sign.

It seems like recently McKinley has been going through the list of paranormals and working on her own version of them. I always love seeing her new look on something – her fairytale retellings are so fresh and new, and her recent tales of dragons and vampires are such interesting tales. Pegasus was in the same vein. No one has ever done pegasi, that I know of, and that fact made the novel unique in itself. She has a gorgeous imagination that she does a very good job of conveying. 


The main complaint I have with this one is the amount of world building she does. The novel was rather slow and hard to get into, and that lasted for more than half the book. In fact, I didn’t feel like the story really picked up 50 or so pages from the end and then it was over. I was frustrated that I didn’t really get the story before it ended. But I will definitely go read the second book, because she will have finished with the world-building and I can finally get to the real meat of the story.


Bottom line: I enjoyed the story, but I would have liked more story and less exposition. I could see how this might not be for everyone, but it is an interesting new view.





Book Review: Knightley Academy

Mar
21
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Knightley Academy Knightley Academy by
Series: Knightley Academy #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 468
Source:
Goodreads

Henry Grim is a servant boy at the Midsummer School—until he passes the elite Knightley Academy exam and suddenly finds himself one of the first commoners at the Academy, studying alongside the cleverest and bravest—and most arrogant—young aristocrats in the country. They thwart Henry’s efforts to become a full-fledged Knight of the Realm, but he and two commoner classmates are determined to succeed. In the process, the boys uncover a conspiracy that violates the Hundred Years’ Peace treaty—and could lead to war! Can Henry manage to save his school and country from their enemies—and continue to study at the Academy?

My Review:

When I first saw this book on someone else’s blog, I didn’t know what to think. The post was a guest post from the author, explaining what “Harry Potter Inspired Novel” meant as the term had been used in describing the book. Basically, she explained, Knightley Academy was what came from having practically grown up reading Harry Potter, and desperately wanting something similar to read next. No wands, no magic, none of that stuff, but still Harry Potter inspired. This explanation made me a little worried. How could anyone even try to compare to Harry Potter? I mean, I read fanfics and all, but I didn’t know what to expect from a novel that wasn’t really fanfic at all. That didn’t stop me from checking it out, of course. The chance that it really was just as great as Harry Potter was too much to pass up.

I shouldn’t have worried. From the time I picked up the book, I could hardly put it down. For the first few pages I spent a lot of time just finding the similarities, but before long I was so busy following the story that I didn’t even notice! In fact, by the end of the book, the thing that stood out to me the most was how unlike Harry Potter it was – and yet how I felt so much like I did when I finished a Harry Potter novel. Books always give me a certain feeling, depending on the type of book, and this one was like reading Harry Potter all over again. It was so wonderful to experience that feeling again! It made me wonder why we haven’t seen more of these “Harry Potter Inspired Novels.” There’s plenty of Twilight inspired type novels after all.

But possibly the best thing about this novel is that it addresses a very serious issue; prejudice. Henry and the other two “common” boys are accepted to a school that is normally reserved for the rich and important and they are bullied because of it. They aren’t the only case of prejudice either: The neighboring country is trying to liberate themselves from class prejudice, but they aren’t going about it the right way. It certainly makes you think really hard about our belief systems and why we govern ourselves the way we do.

In short, this isn’t just a book that is inspired by Harry Potter, it’s a book that is in the best tradition of the Harry Potter story. It is a wonderfully entertaining tale that nods towards its predecessor, but stands on its own two feet with a message that makes you think. Definitely give this one a shot!

If you have a moment, I’m still looking for the book in my post earlier this week Missing: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BOOK? Please help if you can!





Book Review: The Iron Witch

Mar
15
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Iron Witch The Iron Witch by
Series: Iron Witch #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 299
Source:
Goodreads

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

My Review:

This is another one that has received rather mixed reviews. I have to say, I loved it! I love the mixture of science (alchemy) and fae, and I love the fairy tale element too! Besides the fact that I loved the feel of the book – I’m a huge fan of paperbacks, and so the fact that it is a paperback, with such a gorgeous cover design was amazing – I love the fact that it’s small. The recent trend in YA fiction has been tomes of 400-500 pages, which are nice, but every once in a while, it’s good to have something that I know I can finish in a day.  And I love the fact that even though it is a short, fast read she packed a full story in there, somehow.

Usually when I write a review, I try very hard not to take into account what others say, beyond perhaps acknowledging that I am reviewing something that others have a different opinion on. But in this case, I feel the need to defend the book. Many of the reviews I’ve read have pointed to the lack of explanation as their reason for disliking the book. I will admit, there are places where she could have given us more information. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I like it when the author doesn’t tell me everything because a) it gives me a chance to try and work it out for myself and b) it gives me something to look forward to in the next book. One can love something without knowing very much about it. Take for example Xan. Xan is one of my favorite guys in literature, right up there on my fictional Guilt Free Five. Granted, he has temporary placement there, because when I got to the end of the novel, I realized I know next to nothing about him. He’s still awesome, but I want to know more about him, and I sincerely hope (and I’m probably right) that we’ll find out more about him in the next book.

My point is give this book a chance. It tells a wonderful story that leaves you with at least a little mystery at the end – and who couldn’t do with a little more mystery in their lives?





Book Review: Beautiful Creatures

Mar
14
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Beautiful Creatures Beautiful Creatures by ,
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Published by in 2009
Genres: , ,
Pages: 563
Source:
Goodreads

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Review:

Wow, there is a lot of hype around this one! I’ve seen both really positive and really negative reviews for it. If I’m honest, I fall right in the middle. I’m not going to gush and say this book was the best thing ever, because I had some trouble getting into it, and I got really frustrated with the prejudice some characters were showing (I mean come on, I get it already, just get over yourself! Of course, there are people like that in real life, and it wouldn’t be an accurate representation without them, but they’re frustrating nonetheless.)

Once I got past the fairly complicated, and hence rather slow exposition it was a really good book! I read the last 200 pages or so in one sitting last night, even though it was really late and I knew I had school this morning. Some things I really liked that kept me reading:

1) Finally we have a male protagonist/mortal in one of these paranormal novels! I was getting kind of tired of the girl always being the one who “can’t live without him” even if she is a strong woman in other ways. Let’s spread the lovesickness around more often, please?

2) The setting was amazing! I loved the infusion of history in everything, because frankly we all know a whole lot more about the history of our hometown than we really want to (I think we had a lesson at least once per year on the Great Black Swamp growing up, and I bet the majority of you, dear readers have never even heard of it. You lucky, lucky people!) But the history wasn’t just thrown in as part of the atmosphere, it was essential to the story and that is awesome!

3) The Mythology involved in this paranormal is extremely interesting, and I would keep reading just to find out more. They create this extremely intricate and complicated mythology, but somehow they manage to keep it a secret from the readers at the same time as the people in the town. I can’t wait to find out more about the Casters, because I have a feeling they have it all worked out somewhere and just aren’t telling us yet.

Bottom line: If you like this sort of thing, definitely go read it! It’s wonderfully fresh and new and you won’t be disappointed. Just be warned that you should give yourself a little more than your usual time to get into it.





Book Review: Ice

Mar
10
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Ice Ice by
Published by in 2009
Genres: ,
Pages: 308
Source:
Goodreads

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

My Review:

This is what happens when I am on break. I’ll read two or three books simultaneously for a few days and then finish them all at once! I’m very sorry for bombarding your feeds, really!

In essence, this book is a modernized retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I love fairy tale retellings, and though this particular fairy tale isn’t my favorite, it is one of my friends’ favorites and so I have read a fair amount of retellings of this story. Of course, the problem then is I am very picky about my fairytale retellings. I expect a lot from them. This one did a passable job, but it unfortunately hasn’t made my favorites list.

One of the things I really liked was the modern setting of the retelling. Durst did a really good job updating the tale, and making it plausible in modern day, at least at the beginning. I liked the flavor of Native American tales she brought to the story, and I liked that it was up in the Arctic Circle – while the Norse versions are fun they lend themselves more to a fantastical retelling and to truly make this a modern day tale, I think an Arctic Circle research lab was the only way to go.

The main thing that would have pushed this up onto the favorites list was a little more development in the characters. I felt that Durst jumped straight into the story without giving us much time to get to know the main characters, which is ok as long as you give us a chance to get to know them later. I never felt it, though, and I was less invested in what happened as a result.

Overall, though, an interesting retelling that deserves a read by anyone interested in this fairy tale or fairy tale retellings in general.





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