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: 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!





Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Aug
17
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Anna and the French Kiss Anna and the French Kiss by
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: , ,
Pages: 372
Source: ,
Goodreads

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

My Review:

If I had to think of a word to describe this book it would without a doubt be “cute!” And not in the small children and baby animals kind of way but the “They’re so adorable I might have to squee!” kind of way!

First off, I love the fact that this is not only a boarding school novel but also a foreign exchange novel. I know when I was growing up “foreign exchange” was something people from other countries did to come here. That most certainly is not the case, and I fully support anyone and anything that encourages young Americans to experience other cultures. In a global economy like ours, it is important to understand other cultures, and even make friends with them, and the best way to do that is to experience them for yourself!


But what I really love, love, loved was Anna and Étienne. They have what I would consider the perfect love story. So many novels that involve romance these days are more concerned with the problems that happen after a relationship has started so they have the leading pair fall in love fast and then stay in love through all obstacles. This book focuses on the journey to falling in love instead. It feels so much more realistic to me to have Anna and Étienne be best friends before everything else, and I just loved it!


I honestly cannot find a single negative thing to say about this book no matter how I try. It really is a very fun, cute novel and I’d recommend it to everyone!





Book Review: Enclave

Aug
12
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Enclave Enclave by
Series: Razorland #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 259
Source:
Goodreads

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Review:

This book was an interesting experience for me. I read it while driving to Chicago to catch my plane. One of the best places for me to read is scrunched into the car on a long journey, and because of that I sped through it. At the same time I kind of felt disappointed. There had been such hype over the book when it first came out and between the blurb and the reviews, I lusted after the book something fierce! 


That said, I think the book was very good. Maybe my slight disappointment was merely due to the recent let down off the high of finishing Divergent in less than 12 hours. While none of the characters particularly stood out, the setting and the way Aguirre deals with the emotional and psychological problems after such a disaster is phenomenal. The zombie men also reminded me a little of the reavers from Firefly – one of my favorite shows, and therefore a major plus in my book!


In the end, I’d say this book is an entertaining and thought provoking read that is definitely worth your time, but with all the competition out there, don’t expect it to be the next Hunger Games.





Mini Book Review: Divergent

Aug
11
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Divergent Divergent by
Series: Divergent #1
Published by in 2012
Genres: , ,
Pages: 487
Source:
Goodreads

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

My Review:

There certainly are a lot of dystopian novels coming out recently! I have wanted to get my hands on this one for quite a while, especially after all the hype around its release! There was a time whe it seemed like everyone in the blogosphere had either read and loved this one or was desperate to get their hands on a copy.

Even though the hype has pretty much died down by now I am glad to say I found Divergent deserving of everything said about it. The plot was engaging and the world was detailed. The book seemed like the perfect mixture of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Harry Potter. My only concern is how very long the book is. I think the length is necessary and the plot is fast-paced enough to keep the reader interested, but some readers might be put off. I’m telling you now, don’t be! It is well worth it!





Book Review: The Emerald Atlas

Jul
02
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Emerald Atlas The Emerald Atlas by
Series: The Books of Beginning #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 417
Source:
Goodreads

Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage "care"; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers.

My Review:

Sometimes the books we love are huge bestsellers we hear about for weeks before they’re published. Then again sometimes we pick something on a whim, based on title, blurb or whatever, just to see. For me The Emerald Atlas was one of the latter. I’m actually really surprised, with so many people doing the Debut Author Challenge, that I haven’t seen one single review of this book yet, good or bad. This is especially surprising considering how much I loved the book!
Of course, it’s not all that surprising that I loved the book in the first place, since it really is a mixture of all my favorite YA/MG series’ rolled into one. Take Harry Potter, add in a good dose of Series of Unfortunate Events and Percy Jackson, and just a touch of Faerie Wars, Peter Pan, and The Mortal Instruments and you’d have something very similar to The Emerald Atlas. Stephens gets the blend of reality and fantasy just right to create my own personal Neverland. (As an aside, I love it when authors create a world so well that it seems to explain other stories as well as their own, and this seems like the perfect explanation of Peter Pan too!)

But the thing I love the most, I think, is that there’s someone and something for everyone in this book. Younger readers will identify with Emma and her need to be different from her siblings, while older readers will identify with Kate, who feels a responsibility to protect Michael and Emma, despite their best efforts at getting into trouble. Those of us much older than the intended audience will see the similarities to the novels we grew up with – Harry Potter and His Dark Materials among others – while reveling in the new and interesting ways these tropes have been put together.

The point, if you haven’t guessed already, is that this book, and it’s sequels, are books to look forward to, to read and to cherish. Find yourself a copy, if you haven’t already, and help spread the word!





Book Review: Department 19

Jun
28
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Department 19 Department 19 by
Series: Department 19 #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 540
Source:
Goodreads

Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

My Review:

Yet another debut novel. Officially my twelfth, so YAY I completed the Debut Author Challenge, though of course I will continue to read debuts as they present themselves to me.

The best way to describe Department 19 is a combination of James Bond and Dracula. At the age of 14 Jamie Carpenter watches as his father is gunned down for terrorism. 2 years later he discovers just what kind of group his father was in, and it wasn’t terrorists! Jamie soon meets Frankenstein (yes The Frankenstein) and the descendants of several famous characters from the original Vampire story, Dracula. The mix was so interesting  – the mixture of spy thriller and paranormal makes for an action novel that can appeal to all.


Just one disclaimer: this novel is extremely violent and gory. More than once I found myself gagging and passing over several paragraphs. So, if you have an easily turned stomach, this is NOT the book for you, no matter how good it sounds. Sorry.





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.





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