Book Review: Cloaked

Sep
12
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Cloaked Cloaked by
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 341
Source:
Goodreads

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.

My Review:

I adore Alex Flinn. Case in point: When I returned from vacation nearly a month ago, I’d racked up something like 10 reviews to write so I put myself on a book reading ban – read slowly, if at all, reread so there’s no review to write, and read multiple at once so you don’t finish any of them. I picked up Cloaked and that all flew out the window. I raced through the book in a day, unable to stop myself or slow down.

One of the things I love about Flinn’s books is her accessible, informal tone. Her stories read like The Princess Diaries or  Anna and the French Kiss but they have magic. They tell the ancient, wonderful stories we first heard as kids, reworking them and making us believe in them.

I especially enjoyed Cloaked because it draws on some of the much lesser known fairy tales. As a fairy tale junkie myself I recognized most of them, but she pulled out a few even I didn’t know! As some of my favorites are these lesser known tales (my only mainstream favorite is Beauty and the Beast) I was really excited for this one. I was not disappointed in the least. The tales worked themselves out with true poetic justice and the fairy tale flavor just lightly colors the real world love story.

With all 3 of her fairy tale books on my favorites list, Flinn has officially made it on to my “Favorite Authors” list. I will read anything she puts out as soon as I can get my hands on it. She’s THAT good people!





Book Review: Starcrossed

Sep
03
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Starcrossed Starcrossed by
Series: Starcrossed #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 487
Goodreads

How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

My Review:

I. Love. This. Book! It’s got all my favorites – Mythology, a sizzling romance, a twisty complicated plot – I just loved it!

I have to admit it wasn’t always like that. At first I did a lot of eye rolling. The first 40 pages or so read like a semi-retelling of Twilight – New guy moves into town with his strangely reclusive family and the girl “doesn’t care” though you know she’ll end up with him somehow. Before long, though, that “been there, done that” feeling pretty much blows up in your face.

From the time Helen meets Lucas this novel is extremely fast paced and action packed. I finished the book before I even realized it and was left turning invisible pages looking for more! And Lucas! I’d take him over a vampire any day! He’s kind, thoughtful, smart and loyal, and of course absolutely gorgeous!

I realize I haven’t actually said that much about what’s actually in  the book so far. In fact, I don’t think I will. One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was how it kept me on my toes constantly and every twist took me completely by surprise. If I say much more, I could be spoiling a wonderful experience for someone else. Suffice to say it is a fabulous book that you NEED to read now!

 





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: Delirium

May
17
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Delirium Delirium by
Series: Delirium #1
Published by in 2012
Genres: ,
Pages: 441
Source:
Goodreads

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:

I’m having a hard time pulling my thoughts together on this one, so I apologize if I seem less than coherent (or less than normal anyways). Delirium was definitely not what I was expecting. Somehow I’d forgotten everything I’d read in the reviews because all I knew was it was a society without love, going into it. What makes the book so intriguing is how centered on the theme of love the book actually is. Sure we have other love-less societies in dystopia; all the adults take pills to cure it in The Giver and in Ayn Rand’s Anthem, they’re brainwashed out of it. But in Delirium, love as a disease is so prominent it’s almost a character.

The scariest thing about this book for me is how logical the whole thing sounds. I doubt we could really connect love as the cause of all those diseases directly, but love causes stress which does cause a lot of diseases. When the crazy theories of the “bad guy” governments start making sense to me, I get real scared, because there are lots of people out there it would be even easier to convince! On the other hand, could we really convince all of society to give up love? For all we’re a “post-modern, disillusioned” society, we really are quite obsessed with the idea of “true love.”


Overall, though, an amazing read that makes you think! I would definitely recommend it to a friend.





Book Review: A Tale of Two Castles

Apr
24
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
A Tale of Two Castles A Tale of Two Castles by
Series: A Tale of Two Castles #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 328
Source:
Goodreads
Twelve-year-old Elodie dreams of becoming a mansioner--an actress. She journeys across the sea to the town of Two Castles in hopes of becoming an apprentice to a mansioning troupe, but things do not go according to plan. In spite of Elodie's great talent, the troupe already has plenty of apprentices. Elodie is out of luck: She has no money, no apprenticeship, and no home.
But an opportunity arises. The wise dragon Meenore is in need of an assistant to proclaim ITs powers of deduction and induction. Elodie is in need of a position. And so she becomes the dragon's assistant. When the town's hated ogre, Count Jonty Um, seeks the dragon's help in finding his stolen dog, Elodie is sent to the ogre's castle to get to the bottom of the mystery. More is afoot than just a missing dog. The ogre is in grave danger, and Elodie must use her mansioning skills and her powers of deduction to discover the source of the threat.

My Review:

I have loved Gail Carson Levine for a very long time. Ever since I read Ella Enchanted back in elementary school I knew I had to read anything I could manage. So, when I saw this book up on NetGalley for review, I jumped at the chance.

I will admit, I’ve grown out of MG novels, in general. Even when I was the right age for them, I was very picky – I hated books that were condescending (or that I thought were condescending) just because they were geared toward a younger audience. Levine never does that, and that was why I loved her. And I still love her, but it did take me a while to readjust to a MG novel after not reading any for many years.

This book did not disappoint. Levine sets up her cast of interesting characters well, leaving just enough mystery to keep us interested. I particularly enjoyed the character of Meenore – hints of Sherlock Holmes ran through it’s characterization, but they all seemed to fit really well. I also really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the “monsters” and the “people” and how the definitions of both change through the book.

But the best thing about this book for me, was the story. I genuinely enjoyed this book simply for the pleasure of hearing a story told (or reading one, rather). I enjoyed the twists and turns of the mystery, felt sorry for Jonty Um the ogre, and felt hurt with Elodie. This book was pure fun all the way through, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent story!





Book Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope

Apr
19
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Last Little Blue Envelope The Last Little Blue Envelope by
Series: Little Blue Envelope #2
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 282
Source:
Goodreads

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack-and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure, and Ginny finds she must hold onto her wits-and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

My Review:

When I read 13 Little Blue Envelopes I was a Freshman in college. I was young and naïve. I’d only ever been overseas on tours with music groups and even then we didn’t do much outside our itinerary. I loved to travel though and the idea of traveling around the way Ginny did really impressed me. I was sure I could never do what Ginny had done, but I sure wished I could.

Oh, how things can change.

4 years later, here I am about to graduate and I have a totally different perspective. I have now spent a year abroad and wonder of wonders, I had my own Little Blue Envelopes trip (though not quite so extreme). I’ve grown as Ginny did, and now I can relate to her again, in a different way.

First stop: Paris. Such a glamorous city! Aunt Peg is right, there is no way you can “know” a city from just one visit. This time instead of being green with envy, I was able to sit back a bit and recognize some of the places I’d been and reacquaint myself with them. I like to think Les Petits Chiens was just around the corner from the Hostel we stayed in, next to the quaint little bookshop I had to visit. You can really tell that Johnson has done this at some point and it is so wonderful that she can share the experience so vividly through her characters’ eyes.

But my perspective was not the only new thing this time. I really loved the addition of Oliver to the cast. He was pleasantly frustrating and mysterious, and his story was part of the reason that I couldn’t put the book down.

View Spoilers »
I was never very sure about Keith the first time around and I am so glad that Ginny didn’t end up with him forever. Oliver seems so much better for her than Keith would have been, even if he did some things I don’t really approve of. We all do things like that sometimes. Ellis was also a nice addition, though her character was used mostly for Keith/Ginny conflict. She seems like the kind of girl I would love to be friends with, even if she was dating the guy I still had a crush on

In the end, this wasn’t just a book about traveling. It’s about creativity and art and finding beauty where you least expect it. As an artist myself this really spoke to me. Two quotes from Aunt Peg really stuck with me and I’d like to leave you with them:

“People always say they can’t do things, that they’re impossible. They just haven’t been creative enough.” – pg. 48 (advance e-proof copy, page numbers may not be the same in finished copy) The Last Little Blue Envelope, Maureen Johnson

“I think something is art when it is created with intention.” – pg. 156 (advance e-proof copy, page numbers may not be the same in finished copy) The Last Little Blue Envelope, Maureen Johnson

Thank you, Maureen Johnson. You inspire me to find my art, no matter what anyone else thinks, and that is the greatest inspiration any artist can have.





Book Review: I am Number Four

Mar
17
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
I am Number Four I am Number Four by
Series: Lorien Legacies #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 440
Source:
Goodreads

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

My Review:

When I first saw this book around the blogosphere, I was kind of skeptical. I’m getting a little tired of the “New guy/girl falls for the wrong person but they were meant to be together  so they work it out in the end” and that’s exactly what this sounded like. I’m so glad to be proven wrong!


First of all, this is the first time I have ever seen one of these where one of them is an alien, and I like it! I’ve seen thousands of Vampire/Werewolf/Angel/Witch/whatever paranormal you fancy versions of this, and it’s getting to the point that they have to be absolutely fabulous for me to enjoy them because they’ve been done so often. But aliens have rarely been touched, and I think it’s a really good idea! We need to bring back YA sci-fi, and here’s a great start.


The thing I really liked about this one is that, even though there’s a love story to it, it’s not the main story. John loves Sarah but the important part of the story is the Mogadorians trying to kill Loriens, and that always comes first in the story. I really like this – many paranormal stories are all about the forbidden romance these days, and while that’s nice, I’m so ready for one that is more about the actual story not the romance. 

Oh, and of course I love the fact that it’s set in Ohio! We tend to be considered a boring place to live, and while I don’t disagree, it’s nice to read a story  that makes it seem at least a little more interesting.


I’m so excited to go see this  film someday, and I’m so glad I gave the book a chance!





Book Review: Radiant Shadows

Feb
01
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Radiant Shadows Radiant Shadows by
Series: Wicked Lovely #4
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 340
Source:
Goodreads

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.
Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

My Review:

Wow! This book was amazing! It reminded me of the very first in the series, when I was just discovering this world that she’d built. One of the things I especially love about this series is the way she tells the story from a different point of view each time – first Aislinn, then Leslie, then Seth and this time Ani. We still see the characters we came to love in earlier books but they’re peripheral characters. This allows us something unique – we get to learn about them through the eyes of other people. Novels that focus on a single character tend to get rather “self-centric” and we only see what the character thinks about themselves. The other characters see things the way that a person cannot see themselves.

The other thing I loved about this novel was the pacing. I had actually planned to read another book before this one, but I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. Ani is the type of character who craves action, and it shows in her story. And even though Ani is the only main character who was never fully mortal, she’s relatable. She is an outcast from both the faerie and mortal worlds, and we’ve all been outcasts at one time or another, and we all wish we had someone like Devlin to rescue us from our exile.

Which brings me to another thing I loved about this book – Devlin. He’s the kind of character I love. He’s in a place that isn’t right for him, and yet he doesn’t feel like he can leave it. It didn’t take me long to figure out the ending, but that was ok, because I was able to spend the rest of the novel yelling at the characters for being so absolutely thick about it!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone (though I’d recommend they read the rest of the series first) and I cannot wait until Darkest Mercy comes out!





Book Review: Fragile Eternity

Jan
31
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Fragile Eternity Fragile Eternity by
Series: Wicked Lovely #3
Published by in 2009
Genres: , ,
Pages: 389
Source:
Goodreads

Aislinn, who became a faerie in the first book, now has to deal with the awkward--verging on impossible--position of still being in love with her mortal boyfriend Seth, whom she can't even touch without burning. To complicate things further, as the new Summer Queen, Aislinn is eternally bonded to Keenan, the Summer King, and the attraction between them is palpable and constant. In the doomed loves that permeate these books, Marr deftly explores the essence of longing as she questions notions of fated love. Her characters are strong, with even the nastiest of the faerie troublemakers coming through as absolutely compelling and sympathetic. And their situations are rife with conflict, from the impossible mortal-faerie relationships to the ancient familial and courtly spats within the faerie realm.

My Review:

I was really excited to pick this book up after the first two. I was especially excited to return to the story of Aislinn and Keenan, because the first book left me wanting more. Unfortunately (and funnily enough) this book felt much like the fifth Harry Potter – the Pillar of Angst of the series. The whole book was one huge angsty problem of Aislinn’s immortality and Seth’s lack of it. Not that it wouldn’t be something I would worry about, but a whole book that’s mostly made up of thoughts and worries isn’t my favourite thing. I wanted a little more action.

Honestly the whole point of the book was to

View Spoilers »
make Seth into a Faerie
. That was the only plot point that I could see affecting the rest of the series, and I would have preferred it in a short story format so that I could get on with the rest of the story.

Still, I love Marr’s writing style, and I do love the characters. I am glad I read this one, as it will probably be integral to the series and I’ll be able to see how later. I’m so excited to get started on Radiant Shadows!

More reviews coming soon – having the flu gives me an excuse to just sit around all day and read, no matter how much it sucks in other ways.





Book Review: Eric

Jan
14
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Eric Eric by
Series: Discworld #9
Published by in 2002
Genres:
Pages: 224
Source:
Goodreads

An inept demonologist wants three wishes granted--to be immortal, to rule the world, and to have a beautiful woman fall in love with him. But instead of a demon, he calls up Rincewind, the most incompetent wizard in the universe. Because Eric gives him no other choice, Rincewind tries to grant him his wishes--with hysterical results.

My Review:

This book is supposed to be a satire on the story of Faust (in fact, many of the covers for other editions list it as Faust with a strikethrough and rewritten as Eric). I will be the first to admit that I know practically nothing about the Faust legend and what I do know is filtered through retelling upon retelling in various mediums. I don’t really feel qualified to judge it in relation to Faust, because I don’t know the original.

In relation to the rest of Pratchett’s work though, I’d say this is the runt of the litter – mediocre at best. Rincewind was never my favourite storyline of his (what can I say, I have a thing for Sam Vimes and Captain Carrot!). Without knowing what he is parodying and honestly having trouble finding the “funny” I’m just not impressed.

The one redeeming factor, for me, was Pratchett’s portrayal of Hell. I like the idea of boredom as Hell, because he’s right, once you’re dead, you have no body and therefore shouldn’t be able to feel the pain of the fires… Anyway, that bit made me chuckle a bit, and was actually quite good, though I lost track of what was going on towards the end.

So, overall, a mediocre read – I would only recommend it to someone who is desperate for a new Pratchett book, not someone looking to read Pratchett for the first time.





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