Monday, December 16, 2013
I am a broken record. Doesn’t change the importance of the message though: Do not read this review on Golden Girl until you have already read the first book Dust Girl!
Haven’t read Dust Girl? Check out my review here. It’s a terrific book!
If you have read Dust Girl, then go ahead and proceed to a brief synopsis and then review of Golden Girl…
It was not long ago that Callie LeRoux was in Kansas, deep in the midst of the Dust Bowl.
Now Callie is in search of her mother and a father she’s never known – whom she now knows is a fairy prince.
Making her half-fairy. And heir to his throne.
Her search has brought her and her friend Jack to California, knowing that amidst the great weather and glamorous starlets the fairies are sure to be thriving.
It doesn’t take long to realize that Callie is now in enemy territory.
It’d be great if that prophecy about her started yielding some results about now…
Golden Girl is a truly unique fantasy.
It has a genuine, awesome feel of the 1930s – and the Hollywood golden age has such a nostalgic impression.
Just as in Dust Girl, the fairy/magical aspect of the plot manages to be down to Earth. When faced with new creatures, there is a surreal, incredible sense of real danger, suspense and creepiness.
Personally, I am finding The American Fairy Trilogy to be increasingly impressive with this second book. The characters are great – scrappy and likable – and the storyline is engrossing, putting a new, historical spin on a fairy plot.
Plus, the villains are villainous! Seriously, these books truly go into the creepy realm – definitely good stuff here!
By the end, my notes generally boil down to, “Excellent! Excellent!”
Final verdict? I want the final book!!!
Definitely a book, and trilogy, to read and spread the word about!
Friday, December 13, 2013
Kennedy’s life has changed drastically.
When one night her beloved cat Elvis slipped out of the house (out of the ordinary as it is) and she chased him to a cemetery (not the best place to be at night, kinda creepy), her eyes became glued on an apparition.
After grabbing her cat and heading home, Kennedy convinced herself that what she saw wasn’t really what she saw and headed out to the movie theater with her best friend in new boots her awesome Mom just bought her.
It was when she came home that the world shattered around her.
Her Mom was dead.
They said heart failure.
But then, four weeks later, as Kennedy is spending her last, tearful night in her bedroom before starting what she thinks will be her new life at a boarding school, identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break in and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.
Suddenly it’s all too clear that her Mom did not die of heart failure.
As Kennedy listens, shell-shocked, she learns that there is a secret society called the Legion of the Black Dove that has been around for generations fighting ghosts and a particularly vengeful demon – and all five members were murdered on the same night.
Her Mom being one of them.
Swept away with the haphazard replacement group, of which she is told she is one of, Kennedy realizes that she is missing any special skill as to which to help.
And she might not stay alive long enough to find out the truth about her Mom’s life in the Legion…
Unbreakable is a fast-paced book fraught with some early sad emotions and decently creepy scenes.
As the novel continued, I have to say I was not sure how invested I was in Kennedy. I was enjoying the story, though it seemed to have shades of a lot of familiar concepts without being awfully original about it. Yet one of my biggest issues was that I wanted Kennedy to start being tougher – or at least less in need of rescuing so often.
It’s an action novel, a clue-following story as they work to destroy a demon that is responsible for the recent Legion’s mass murder. Not to mention it features lots of demon/spirit fighting. Kinda fun, but I feel it could’ve been even better.
Unbreakable is definitely a quick read – and entertaining. The relationships (and attractions) between characters happen a little quicker than I prefer, but I can’t say I was bored in the slightest.
In my opinion Unbreakable is a good fit for fans of Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series, though it’s not as atmospheric or – just speaking from personal taste – filled with as many believable, likable characters.
After finishing it, I am interested in book two – but not clamoring.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Yet again this is a review that you want to avoid unless you’ve read Darkbeast first (review here).
Keara and Caw are fleeing for their lives with their previous Traveler companions Goran and Taggart. Only recently has Keara found that they too spared their darkbeasts instead of sacrificing them on their twelfth birthday as is the law.
Caw is more than a creature that takes on her darker deeds and thoughts and gives her an emotional boost. He’s her friend. She could not, and will not, kill him.
Now that they are being hunted by the ruthless Inquisitors, Taggart is convinced that he can take them all to a safe haven for darkers – a group of people who have spared their darkbeasts and live in secrecy.
But they are freezing and exhausted and the journey just might kill them…
Just as in the first novel Darkbeast, Darkbeast Rebellion portrays a sweet bonding between man and animal as its focus. A friendship that runs deep. As an animal lover, that is a win!
At times, I will admit, I felt that the book was a little meandering – but the prose fleshes Keara out so well. She’s a three-dimensional, flawed, likable, brave girl that tends to be an outsider no matter whom she’s around.
Darkbeast Rebellion is an increasingly suspenseful read – at times utterly nerve-wrangling as its twists surprise and worry you. This is truly well done world building, if not always completed riveting in so doing.
Bursting with emotion and raw feeling, I feel this book is a survival story – not just for the human characters we follow, but those they love – their darkbeasts.
It’s a touching story with an ending that I can be satisfied with as a conclusion or (preferably) an opening to another book.
Friday, December 6, 2013
The first book, Unspoken, was amazing – as you can read in my review here.
The second book, Untold, is also amazing – which you can read below.
HOWEVER, if you haven’t read Unspoken yet don’t you dare!!! You don’t want to know ANYTHING about book two before you read book one, ya hear?
Okay then. If you’re still reading this that better mean you’ve read Unspoken…
Sorry-in-the-Vale is a small, quiet town in England.
Or so it seems.
Actually it is the center of a terrifying sorceress family called the Lynburn’s, where they ruled for generations through blood and power. It’s been some time since it’s been that way.
But Rob Lynburn is determined to bring the old ways back.
That’s why Rob brought his family back to Sorry-in-the-Vale, including his troubled nephew Jared – though they didn’t know that was the reason initially.
The battle for Sorry-in-the-Vale is gearing up to be a tough one as there are more sorcerers in town than originally believed. And Rob’s tactics of swaying by fear seem to be working.
For Kami, however, things are personal. Kami and Jared have been linked since birth – always in each other’s minds, never alone – and before they met they each they thought the other may just be imaginary. Perhaps proof that they were crazy.
But each is real. And the bond that developed between the years is unique – not able to be understood by others.
Now that bond is broken.
Kami is free. But it doesn’t feel that way…
Wow, Untold is immediately hilarious and spooky – wait till you see what inanimate objects come to life in the first chapter!
We get a smart recap with Angela’s brother Rusty, which really helped me out. I didn’t have time to reread Unspoken and it gave me a good little refresher.
Untold is surprisingly funny while also being heartbreaking. It made me laugh out loud, caused my heart to break and made me want to cry.
Talk about causing a range of emotions effectively, Ms. Brennan!
Plus, Kami is one of my favorite modern-day literary heroines. Period.
She’s smart, witty, strong-willed yet vulnerable in a believable way. Truly a girl that would be an awesome friend.
The Lynburn Legacy features on of the deepest, most soulful romances I’ve read, also. Especially for YA. It’s honestly beyond the superficial and never feels forced or cheesy. This is about a connection like no other, and knowing someone through and through.
Amidst all the awesomeness is a line-up of equally excellent supporting characters like Angela, Rusty, Holly and (of course) Jared.
Untold manages to be horrifying, suspenseful, and nail biting.
And oh my gosh I need the next book NOW.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Having lived with his odd, less-than-pleasant paternal grandmother (along with his mother, fraternal grandmother, and secretive uncle), Charlie has always known that she has thought little of him. That he wasn’t “special”.
What Charlie didn’t realize is just how “special” she expected him to be.
When he discovers a sudden ability to hear the conversations of people in photographs when he looks at them, his grandmother makes it clear this is what she’s been waiting for.
Suddenly he’s being pushed to go to an elite private school for the magically endowed – a place Charlie would rather not go.
But once he’s roped into a mystery involving a dangerously sought after item and a missing girl, Charlie realizes he may find more answers at the school…
A British children’s fantasy? I was VERY ready to give it a shot.
It had a little bit of an eccentric, pleasant tone – but sadly that was all, and even that grew thin, for me.
Midnight for Charlie Bone lacked any real humor or a strong enough plot to truly snare me. I wasn’t fully uninterested, but by the end I didn’t really feel it went anywhere.
Charlie’s magical talents are never really utilized, I never had a sense of him as a character, and the plot felt very unclear and nonsensical (and not in a fun way).
At times I honestly felt like Nimmo was trying to write another Harry Potter, and I’m sorry to say didn’t even come close.
Midnight for Charlie Bone had some admirable qualities, it wasn’t wholly boring or offensive to me in any way, but I just felt consistently ho-hum.
As I already have the second book Charlie Bone and the Time Twister, I will give it a shot and see if it improves. However, if it is more of the same – I don’t see me continuing this series.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Of course, you want to read Bones of Faerie and Faerie Winter before Faerie After – click on the titles to read my reviews.
In my opinion spoilers are never good, so even though it probably wouldn’t be dire to the overall story, I recommend you don’t read my review/synopsis of Faerie After until you’ve read those first two books…
Liza has been away from her home, learning more about her magic from Karin over the last few months. Though she misses her mother, Matthew, Kyle and others at home, life has been steadier than it was for quite some time. And the spring seems strong.
But when Liza stumbles across a new danger – piles of ash where living creatures once stood – Liza comes to the realization that both the world of Faerie and the human realm are still deteriorating since the War.
Everything will eventually turn to dust.
Searching for a solution may mean crossing over into Faerie – and putting all she knows and cares about in danger.
Will Liza sacrifice herself to heal both worlds and save her family and friends?
Faerie After is a sad, complicated yet straightforward conclusion.
The entire Bones of Faerie trilogy has a sweet, slow building romance that never takes center stage but manages to be very effective. Anyone who has read the books knows what I’m talking about. It’s a subtle but lovely side story.
In the world Simner has created, magic has morose consequences. In this world, she shows how people (and faeries) can be both terribly cruel and beautifully courageous.
At times I felt like this final novel was a bit of a jumble, in and out of various circumstances, but still good. There were moments that were heart-wrenching. It cannot be denied that Simner creates a gorgeously told narrative, a dark faerie tale with strong characterizations.
I also appreciated what ended up being a very cool, meaningful twist and revelation near the end.
And despite my misgivings at times of Faerie After truly meeting its full potential, by the end, what do you know? I felt like sobbing. And I was covered in goose bumps!!!
The goose bumps don’t lie.
Monday, November 25, 2013
The Raven Boys, the first book in this cycle, is undeniably fantastic – so if you have yet to read it, check out my review here and then go grab a copy, you crazy person!!!
In other words, you may want to avoid this review of the second book until you’ve already sunk your teeth into book one. Only looking out for you, bibliophile!
Final chance to turn away…
Blue and her Raven Boys all have secrets.
Ronan’s is that he can steal things from dreams.
While Blue, haunted Ronan, damaged Adam and the always-charismatic Gansey continue their search for the dead king Glendower amidst the enigmatic ley lines of their small town, Ronan begins to realize that his ability to take things out of his dreams may be an ability sought after by others.
And may be connected to his father’s brutal murder…
Okay, this synopsis is pretty bare-bones, I agree.
But, really, if you read The Raven Boys (um, you better have since you’re reading this!!), should you really want more?
All I knew is that I HAD TO READ The Dream Thieves.
It almost wasn’t a choice – more of a bibliophile compulsion.
Anywho, Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. She is now firmly cemented in my I-have-to-read-everything-by-her-no-matter-what category.
The Dream Thieves is written in words that wrap you up into them. There’s a sensation of magic, of mystery, of longing. The characters can be dark – a few of them have been through very dark things – and they are oftentimes deeply flawed, but oh so sympathetic and real-feeling.
Presenting switching viewpoints keeps The Dream Thieves moving, while maintaining a carefully moderated pace – never ceasing to be magnetic and utterly compelling.
Personally, mixing mythology and fantasy elements with such a purely character driven yearning, friendship and romance is irresistible – when done so very right, as it is here.
I was already anticipating book three before book two was over!
The Dream Thieves is heartbreaking, upsetting, but oh-so-well-written, hypnotizing and stunning.
Give. Me. Book. Three.
Friday, November 22, 2013
You know what I’m going to say. If you haven’t yet read The Dark Unwinding, you should avoid this review for potential spoilers of the first book. Read my review of The Dark Unwinding here.
Last chance to avert your eyes before the synopsis begins!
Katherine Tulman has been in life threatening situations before.
That’s why when she wakes in the middle of the night to hear strange men’s voices, she is instantly alert.
It doesn’t take much to deduce that they want to kidnap her uncle – a man with childlike innocence yet a mind with genius enviable by nations at war.
Katherine’s Uncle Tully’s sprawling manor Stranwyne Keep is not as secure as they need as the Crimean War creates an ever stronger desire for his elusive inventions.
So, Katherine decides to have them flee to Paris.
And while she is there she will search for Lane – the young man who knows her Uncle Tully even better than she – the young man that she’s given her heart to – the young man feared dead.
But as Katherine is swept up into the political intrigue of Napoleon III’s court, she finds herself quickly in danger once more…
I very much enjoyed The Dark Unwinding, so I was thrilled when I found out there was going to be a sequel!
As in the prior novel, A Spark Unseen presents us with strong, smart women in a glorious time period (in my opinion).
Here we are provided with suspense, nail-biting political intrigue, surprises, heart break, and a wonderful sense of family and of mystery.
I have to say that I did not find A Spark Unseen to have as much of a gothic or steampunk tone as The Dark Unwinding, however – which was too bad.
Yet, even still, A Spark Unseen – with its spunky heroine and gripping story – was a good sequel!
Monday, November 18, 2013
I am absolutely serious when I say this trilogy is far too remarkable to spoil yourself by reading this review – or book – without reading the first two books.
So, if you are a lucky duck and haven’t yet read The Goblin Wars novels, therefore getting a chance to experience them for the first time, you can check out my review of Tyger Tyger here and In the Forests of the Night here.
Don’t go perusing this review and ruining any surprises!
They are TOO excellent for that!!!
Okay, now on to When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears:
Teagan has declared war on the Dark Man – knowing that her family will always be hunted unless she faces those who wish them harm head-on.
But the danger is very real.
Creatures of destruction and death are spilling out of Mag Mell into the streets of Chicago, Teagan’s little brother Aiden has been marked with a new song that is frightening him, and Teagan finds herself facing the fact that she is now almost all goblin in DNA – and fighting it.
Not to mention that her relationship with Finn, the Mac Cumhaill who is bound to fight goblins, is riddled with the concerns over her very ancestry being a wall between them.
Yet as Teagan finds the Dark Man pulling her and her loved ones into a life-threatening trap, she knows she must find a way to destroy him once and for all…
Oh my goodness!!!
I finished the last pages of When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears in the lunch room of my workplace and had to hold back some serious emotion.
As any fan of The Goblin Wars would agree, I’m sure; Kersten Hamilton has created a charming, eccentric, truly lovable group of people. Teagan’s strong love of animals is only part of the deep compassion rooted in the trilogy – there’s also a marvelous sense of family at its greatest.
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears is the conclusion to what is in its entirety a beautifully original fantasy, mixing Irish mythology with contemporary humor and nail-biting suspense. Of course there’s also the romance aspect, which is nothing to scoff at either.
There’s so much I could say – but I dare not give anything about this conclusion away. There were moments that my heart was so terribly saddened, other times I laughed out loud, and almost always I felt a sense of understated, soaring emotion from the excellence of the storytelling.
To me, it is a mark of an honestly great book, when I feel so incredibly touched multiple times. I cared, and still care, about these characters. Because of that, Kersten was able to break my heart – as well as make me feel joyful.
This is not a conclusion to miss!!!
Friday, November 15, 2013
When Becky Randle reaches her eighteenth birthday, life isn’t so great. Her mom has died, and she won’t be able to afford the trailer she’s lived in all her life if her fast food job lays her off.
Then she meets Tom Kelly.
A recognizable name to almost anyone in the world – Tom Kelly has a hand in almost any industry, but primarily is known for fashion – and being insanely wealthy.
He offers to make her three dresses – one red, one white, and one black. He tells her that by wearing these dresses Becky will be transformed into the most beautiful woman in the entire world.
Thinking he’s insane, but not seeing a better offer, Becky accepts.
And Becky becomes Rebecca – gorgeous, stunning, publicity-hounded Rebecca.
Underneath, though, isn’t she still just Becky?
First off I want to say that the cover of Gorgeous, I think, is very pretty and eye-catching. Agree?
Second, what was the first thought that came to mind when I finished Gorgeous?
I’m glad it’s over.
I know! It’s terrible!!! As a bibliophile, I really hate giving negative reviews (seems to be happening more lately, been having a ho-hum streak), and I never want to dissuade readers!
I also want to be honest.
For me, even when Gorgeous was trying for an optimistic tone, it was pessimistic. There was a lot of negativity, mostly through gossip. I know that Paul Rudnick has written for Entertainment Weekly, and at times it almost felt like I was reading a book length rant on social commentary or something. Not pleasant. I usually skip those articles anyway.
Also, there’s a TON of swearing. Listen, I deal with swearing – I get it, people swear. But, really?! This was pretty much every single page – excessive! The Lord’s name was taken in vain a TON, too. Again, I have to deal with this in novels, but my goodness! Talk about pushing the boundaries on what is tolerable! This language limitation only spurred on the negative vibe Gorgeous gave off.
Then, there’s the fact that Gorgeous has long winded, purposeless narration. We read pages of gossip-column like “memories” or information on fictional celebrities. It just went on and on. Again, felt more like a long, real-life gossip column than a book.
For me, the story was not that original and was full of crass, crude moments – sucking the class out of what little was redeeming about the novel.
You know, I hate to disagree with Meg Cabot – who has a praising blurb on the book and a high rating for the novel on Goodreads – but Gorgeous was NOT a book for me.
Maybe it will be for you?