Book Review: Sisters Red

Sep
14
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Sisters Red Sisters Red by
Series: Fairytale Retellings #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 328
Source:
Goodreads

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

My Review:

Talk about a change of pace after reading Cloaked! Sisters Red is the polar opposite of Cloaked despite both being about fairy tales.

I have heard so many good things about Jackson Pearce. It seems like everywhere I turn there’s another book blogger raving about her books. Honestly, this one had been on my list for a while, just for peer pressure. That said, it did not disappoint.

I think the thing I liked best about this book is the relationship between the sisters. They often describe their own relationship as being 2 halves of the same heart. While poetically this is a great description, I think it is also a great literary device. In a way, each girl is Red Riding Hood, representing different sides of her personality. Pearce uses this to explore the many facets of human nature. The way she writes it, she shows that both personality types can be good – we feel sorry for each in their turn, and at times I honestly couldn’t decide which I believed was right.

I also really liked the turn around take on the story – the hunted (red riding hood) is actually the huntress. It’s almost like this could be the “what comes next” story instead of just a retelling. There are so many layers to this book! Every time I think about it, I discover something else intriguing and amazing. I’m just a little bit speechless when it comes to what I liked about the book. I want to say “I loved ALL OF IT!” but that wouldn’t be a very interesting review now would it? lol

I’m meandering a bit. The point is, if you’re one of the few people who have been living under a rock (like me!) and somehow managed to miss out reading this one, then I’m telling you DO IT NOW! You won’t regret it.





Book Review: Blood Magic

Sep
02
5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Blood Magic Blood Magic by
Series: The Blood Journals #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 405
Source:
Goodreads

It starts off simply.Draw a circle ... place a dead leaf in the center ... sprinkle some salt ... recite a little Latin ... add a drop of blood ...

Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.

The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick's first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.

My Review:

Yet another debut! I’m going to have to stop with the debuts soon so I can get some others read!
This book is decidedly different from anything I’ve ever read. Sure it’s a teen novel and there’s romance to it, but aside from that it’s got a dark flavor to it that I’ve never really seen before. Part of that is the type of magic it deals with – Blood magic almost always has really negative connotations, probably because it’s almost always portrayed like the antagonist uses it in this one. It is almost never considered as something that could be used in a positive way. Even this novel is ambiguous on that point. There are obviously going to be sequels and I’m curious to see if it turns out it really can be used for good or if it becomes too much of a temptation to Silla and Nick.

The thing about featuring something as dark as Blood magic is it’s rarely thought out in the detail that other, less unsavory magics are (probably because it can get exceedingly gory if the author isn’t careful). This gives the writer tons of space to play with the specifics and give us something completely new. The image of the magic supply trunk, complete with small vials of dust and herbs and a blood-letting quill was so vivid that it is still branded in my mind.
Basically, I really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, something slightly off ordinary, then this one is for you! I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book!

 





Book Review: The Iron Knight

Aug
25
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Iron Knight The Iron Knight by
Series: Iron Fey #4
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 399
Goodreads

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her
irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can  survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review:

WARNING! SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE BOOKS!

This book seems to be one of the most anticipated sequels of the year. After the way Iron Queen left off I’m not surprised. That is not the way you end an epic story like that. Even if the love story isn’t the focus of the story the reader feels gipped if it doesn’t get wrapped up properly.

Iron Knight is definitely the wrap up readers are looking for. It follows Ash, the winter prince, in his quest to find a way around Meghan’s orders. It provides a lot of back story that didn’t particularly belong in the previous books but that I was definitely curious about. It also explores the Wildwood, in my opinion the most interesting part of the NeverNever. Nothing like going to the end of a world to learn what the true limits of that world are.

The only thing I’d say about this one is it still didn’t feel like an ending yet. Well, that’s the wrong way to put it. It is AN ending, but it doesn’t feel like THE ending. There are so many possible future problems that could make for really interesting novels. Even if the future novels don’t have much, if anything, to do with Meghan and Ash.

Maybe I’m just having trouble letting go. Kagawa has created a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite places to read about, and I just don’t want to put it down!





Book Review: Ruby Red

Aug
09
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Ruby Red Ruby Red by
Series: Edelstein Trilogy #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 322
Source:
Goodreads

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My Review:

First, let me apologize if my gushing and dribbling comes out of the screen and hits you in the face. Not sorry for the gushing, but sorry if you got wet.

This book has been added to my Favorites of 2011 list – the list is only 3 books long so far, so it’s pretty exclusive. That is how amazing this book is. It grabbed me soon as I started it and I could not put it down. I had it finished withint 12 hours and at least half that time was devoted to sleep! Then, soon as I set it down I went searching for the sequel, and, finding it was only in German, desperately turned to Twitter to find someone to teach me German, so I could read it now! It’s THAT good people!

Firstly, there’s Gwen, the Ruby of the title. She is so painfully normal at first you can’t help but like her. You feel her pain as everything she knows falls apart around her. It is easy to imagine yourself in her shoes, floundering through this new skill and hurting when she gets blamed for something she couldn’t possibly have known about.

Then we have Gideon, the antagonist/love interest. He starts out as such a jerk! At the beginning I couldn’t imagine Gwen ever liking him, despite the hints in the blurb on the back cover. Slowly though we begin to see another side to him. Sure he’s still mostly a jerk at the end of this book but I can see how he might be redeemed and I’m desperate for the rest of the books to find out how they’re going to do it!

And of course I can’t go without mentioning the plot, for what would be an amazing cast of characters without interesting things for them to do? I love time travel stories but I have never seen one like this. The laws of the world are extremely well planned, accounting for the typical problems of time travel with seeming ease. The plot is complicated enough to keep you on your toes, but not so complicated that you have to work to keep up.

And, of course, I must congratulate the translator. The story and language flowed smoothly and I didn’t ever have to step back from the narrative to realize that the story wasn’t originally in my language.

In short, this is a fabulous book that you must find and read, sooner rather than later!





Book Review: White Cat

Jun
25
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
White Cat White Cat by
Series: Curse Workers #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , , ,
Pages: 320
Source: ,
Goodreads

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

My Review:

I always seem to forget how unique and entertaining Holly Black’s novels are. I read Tithe and Ironside many years ago and enjoyed them but never got around to reading the rest. Then, after all the hype surrounding Red Glove, I decided I’d better see what all the fuss was.

The first thing that really caught my attention on this one was the setting. Cassel comes from a family of “workers” that live to serve their Mob boss overlords. Even though he’s not a worker and isn’t of any use to the crimelords, everything is about the con for him. He even runs a small gambling pool at school to keep his hand in. Holly Black’s edgy style and modern voice fit this setting perfectly, lending to an extremely interesting Urban Fantasy setting.

I tend to divide the books I read into 3 categories: ones where I can see the ending a mile off, ones where I can see the ending but have no clue how to get there, and ones where I have no clue what’s going on in the first place. They can all be good reads, depending on how well they’re written, but the first can get boring and the last can be frustrating. The most interesting, and yet probably the hardest to write, is the second of the three, and I would unreservedly put White Cat in that category. I could see what had to happen coming but I had no idea how they were going to make it happen without screwing over the future books. I was amazed every time she revealed a tidbit and several times I had to stop and read a section over again.

If you’re still on the fence about reading this book, then I’ll tell you it comes with my highest recommendation. This fantasy is a masterpiece and you won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: Some of the facts I’ve told you about the book turn out to be blatant lies. I just couldn’t bring myself to spoil it for you. The opinions on the other hand, are still and will always be 100% truth.





Book Review: Shadow Hills

Jun
15
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Shadow Hills Shadow Hills by
Series: Shadow Hills #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 388
Source:
Goodreads

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach — the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after — seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

My Review:

Yet another boarding school book! (I told you I loved those right?) This one had a slight flavor of Greek Mythology with a tinge of Salem Witch Trials to it, both big plusses in my book!

The premise is pretty typical, but then again not. Phe goes to Devenish after finding a journal of her sister’s that talks about it. She has no clue about anything at this school except that it may be the answer to the strange dreams she’s been having. I thought the mystery of the whole scenario was really interesting. I’m still working it all out in my head, but I loved the fact that it was based in science. The closer and author brings their “magic” to a real possibility, the better. So having her explain it all with completely modern and scientifical terms is extremely exciting. Devenish could actually exist!


And of course there’s always the plus of a gorgeous male lead – Zach sounds too good to be true! He is totally my type, from her descriptions, and he has the charm and gentlemanly manners that I would want from a man. Move over Phe, Zach’s mine!


Anyway, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and especially those who liked books like Haven or Fallen!





Book Review: City of Fallen Angels

Jun
14
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
City of Fallen Angels City of Fallen Angels by
Series: The Mortal Instruments #4
Published by , in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 424
Source:
Goodreads

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

My Review:

Have you ever had one of those books where everyone loves it and you want to too but you just can’t? I mean, it’s not that I didn’t like the book, I did. I just don’t have a very strong opinion about it either way. I’ve been feeling a little burnt out recently so it may be my fault. No matter what the problem is it’s making it extremely difficult to write a review. 

Unfortunately, for me, I felt like this was a filler book. This often happens when a series is extended past its original intention (wasn’t TMI supposed to be only 3 books long?) It certainly wasn’t on par with Clockwork Angel, my favorite of hers. Then again even Cassie Clare’s worst book would be better than many authors’ best books, so what am I complaining about, right?


All that said, there were some things I really liked about this book. It focused a lot on Simon, who has always been my favorite character. (Jace is too angsty and Clary is too drama-y for me.) I thought that the story did move forward, plot-wise which was the intention, though I don’t feel the characters grew as much as they could have.


I guess the bottom line is that this one is essential to the story line so please do read it if you’re into the series. I just didn’t find it quite as good as the rest.





Book Review: Darkest Mercy

May
25
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Darkest Mercy Darkest Mercy by
Series: Wicked Lovely #5
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 327
Source:
Goodreads

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

My Review:

Finally, after far too long a wait, I have been able to read the final installment in the Wicked Lovely series. It was a long wait, but it was well worth it. I have loved this series since I opened the very first book last fall, and it continues to be one of my absolute favorite series’ of all time! That said, this will probably be a rather short review. It is unbelievably easy to spoil earlier books just by talking about this one, and I hate to spoil any book if I can avoid it.

The gang’s all here for one final adventure. It must have been some kind of juggling act keeping up with all the story lines she set up in the earlier books, and I’m well impressed with the result. By the end of the book I found that my curiosity about all the storylines was finally sated, and despite feeling sad that a good thing had ended, I felt that this was the perfect ending to a wonderful series.

If you haven’t read the rest of the series, don’t start here. You’ll be far too confused. Start at the beginning and work your way here, though, it is well worth it!





Book Review: Haven

May
17
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Haven Haven by
Series: Winterhaven #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 401
Goodreads

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

My review:

OK, so I know I’m a little behind on this but I simply must add to the Haven love going around the blogoverse right now. Short version: Haven is AMAZING!

First of all, I’m sure we all know by now I have a weakness for boarding school stories. But a boarding school for the psychically gifted? Uh, yes please! I am so there! I want to know all about it, from how it was started to what classes are offered and all the different “Gifts” over the years. Heck, forget wanting to know all about it, I want to live there!

I also found the cast of characters really enjoyable. I don’t think I loved any one character so much as loving their interactions with each other. They remind me of my group of friends in high school, and even more of the group of friends I wished I had. These girls seem just like normal girls, just with some unusual quirks.

My only complaint, and it’s not really one at all, is that the romance happened just a tiny bit too fast. That said, when I finished the book, I was not upset about it at all. Cook gave us a very reasonable explanation for the sudden initial attraction and the progression of the relationship from there seemed natural. So, like I say, not really a complaint at all.

I’m so looking forward to the next book that I went hunting for release date of book 2 to mark on my calendar (couldn’t find it though – anybody know?) Where will you be?





Book Review: The Faeman Quest

May
10
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Faeman Quest The Faeman Quest by
Series: Faerie Wars #5
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 368
Source:
Goodreads

When Mella, the daughter of King Consort Henry and Queen Holly Blue accidentally travels to the country of Haleklind, she discovers rebel forces preparing an invasion using a terrifying new magical weapon.

My Review:

I think first I need to ask has anyone heard of this series besides me? It’s one of my favorites, but every time I talk about it I get such blank stares! (Including internet *blank stares* which just makes me sad. This wonderful community should have at least one other person in it who knows the wonder of the Faerie Wars!) I’m considering a read-a-thon re-reading these, would anyone be interested in joining in?


I was a little surprised at the time skip from the end of the last book, even though I knew it had to happen. I think it was really well done though. We now get to see Henry as a grown-up – he has a 16-year-old daughter so he has to be at least 35, and is probably 40. It’s rare that we see a character (especially a main character) age that much in a YA or MG series (Faerie Wars is sorta borderline – think Harry Potter mixed with Artemis Fowl). The amazing thing is that Brennan still kept Henry the same and yet believable. He was still the Henry I loved originally but he’s become a father figure while I wasn’t looking.


I also loved the addition of Mella to the cast. She is such a mixture of Henry and Blue that she couldn’t possibly be anyone else’s daughter. She’s spunky independent and slightly quirky and completely loveable.


I’m so glad this isn’t the last book (it better not be!) and I eagerly await the next installment! (ASAP please Mr. Brennan. That wasn’t a very nice place to stop!)







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