Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck Review

Title: Tiger's Curse
Author: Colleen Houck
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Tiger Saga, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: This book was just okay, but the protagonist kind of ruined it for me.

Kelsey Hayes is just out of high school and is looking for a summer job. Because of this, she ends up at a circus, and meets a white tiger named Ren. Soon, though, she is sent on a trip to India to break a centuries old curse, and falls in love, all the while battling ancient forces of evil.

What I enjoyed:
-Ren and his brother, Kishan
-Mr. Kadam
-The Indian roots of the mythology of the series
-The way tigers were implemented in the foundation of it all
-Durga and the other stories of Indian gods
-the romance
-the pacing--It flew!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Kelsey, the main character. One minute she was laughing and the next she was crying and it just bothered me for some reason, and actually bugged me so much that I couldn't concentrate on much else.

If you guys enjoy books about magic and secrets, pick up Tiger's Curse. I will be reading the rest, just to see if the series gets better. Next on deck: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Raven Cycle, book one
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Despite the hype of this novel and its interesting premise, something about it just fell flat for me.

Blue Sargent, a normal girl in a family of powerful psychics, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she kisses her true love, he dies. She doesn't ever worry about it, until one Saint Mark's eve, she hears a boy's voice rising out of the mist. She meets Gansey, Roran, Adam, and Noah, and is soon drawn into their mysterious quest to find the remains of an ancient Welsh king.

What I liked:
-Blue and her sassy way of speaking
-Roran and his fierce attitude
-Adam and his determination to be independent and make his own way in life
-the mystery that the Welsh King presented

What I didn't like:
-the pacing--it seemed like it took forever to get to the real bones of the story, so I'm hoping that cleared up in The Dream Thieves
-the ending-I felt like the buildup to it was barely there, and that it fell flat
-Roran's secret
-the severe lack of romance

Overall, I think this book was just okay, despite raves from reviewers about it and her previous books. I'm hoping The Dream Thieves turns out better. I think the plot was interesting, but something just got lost in the constant melodrama with Blue and the others.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers Review

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Series: His Fair Assassin, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lush, thrilling, with an amazing mythology and great heroine, I couldn't put Grave Mercy down!

Ismae Rienne, at fourteen, is saved from an arranged marriage by becoming a handmaiden of Death--literally. She grows up to be a weapon of Mortain, and at seventeen, is given her first assignment. Once in place, Ismae is caught in a web of intrigue and lies, and she must find out who is telling the truth and who isn't--or the cost could be her life.

What I enjoyed:
-Ismae, and her evolution from a cold killing machine to just a young woman in love
-Gavriel Duval, and his family as well as the intrigue in his court
-The mythology of it all--it was so intriguing and I cannot wait for the sequel so I can learn more
-Sybella--psst! She's the focus of the sequel! Yay!
-The palace intrigue itself, so much like real history's accounts of royals battling it out
-The beautiful prose that didn't miss a single detail
-De Lornay

What I didn't enjoy:
-How many people there were--there seemed like almost too many to actually keep track of
-How little Ismae's parentage was explained
-How little is divulged about the culture of the society, as well as its various gods
-Lady Hivern
-the abbess
-I would've liked to see more of the herbwitch

If any of you enjoy mysteries, historical fiction, or powerful women as your protagonists, I would suggest picking up Grave Mercy! I can't wait for Dark Triumph in the spring! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver Review

Title: The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Demon Trappers, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though a little slow at spots, The Demon Trapper's Daughter is a fun, rollicking thrill ride through a twisted world where demons run amok--and its main character, Riley, is one of my favorite female protagonists ever!

Riley Blackthorne, at seventeen, wants nothing more in this world than to be like her father, Paul Blackthorne: a demon trapper. Though she is sometimes discriminated against, Riley loves her job and being able to work beside her father. On a seemingly routine gig, events roll into motion that make Riley realize that she is in deep trouble, and tragedy strikes.

What I enjoyed:
-Riley--I loved her; she is such a badass and she isn't afraid to be herself
-Riley's dad, Paul, a loving father mixed up in a dangerous profession
-Beck, Paul's partner, well-meaning but overbearing at times
-The mythology of the whole book--I was wanting to be a Trapper right beside Riley the entire time
-The promise of a sequel--I'm so excited for the next one
-The mostly fast pacing--at points I couldn't put it down!
-The secrets of it all-I want more. Now.

What I didn't enjoy:
-the narrative seemed to hiccup at points

I loved this book. Anyone who loves an action novel with a cool heroine would love this, I'm certain of it, as well as fans of the Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas Review

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An intriguing, thrilling fantasy ride, Throne of Glass is perfect for any girl looking for a strong heroine.

Caelena Sardothien is an assassin in prison, locked up for crimes against the empire; suddenly, she is pulled out of prison, only to be asked to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime: defeat twenty-three other criminals like herself, become the King's Champion, serve as his weapon for four years, and earn her freedom. Along the way, Caelena finds love, friendship, deceit, desire, leading to the book's explosive conclusion.

What I enjoyed:
-Caelena, and her badass attitude--even though at times I found her very rude, I was rooting for her all the way
-Dorian, the Crown Prince
-Chaol, Captain of the Guard
-the endless surprises in the novel
-the way almost every character, no matter how minor, tied together as the book went on
-the mythology of the world
-the villain
-Caelena's commitment to survival, no matter the cost

What I didn't like:
There pretty much was nothing I disliked about this book! In my opinion, this book was a knockout. Anyone who loves fantasy will be duly impressed by this--I guarantee it. I couldn't put it down, and finished it in two sittings!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Review

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Futuristic/Dystopian Fiction
Series: Shatter Me, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Chilling, erratic, and beautiful, Shatter Me rocked me to my core.

Juliette Ferrars is held in prison by The Reestablishment, for a murder she did not mean to commit. Her life is changed forever when Adam Kent comes into her cell--Juliette discovers that she is coveted by many for a power she cannot even begin to hope to control--and finds herself along the way.

What I liked:
-Juliette and her tortured past
-Warner--he makes an amazing villain!
-The twins
-Mr. Castle
-The prose was so beautiful and lovely, even though at times I was left reeling at how quickly the story jumped from spot to spot
-The journal format of it all
-The whole premise of the novel--like X-Men and a dystopian society all mixed together

What I didn't like:
-How it barely mentioned anything about any of the characters' families and upbringing and how it made them the person they were in the novel
-The way Juliette's narration seemed a tad erratic at times
-The way the story jumped about so suddenly at points

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Review

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I liked this novel. It wasn't hard to get into, but it seemed like I was waiting for something more--perhaps I'll learn more in its sequel, Scarlet.

Cinder Lihn is a cyborg mechanic, leaving with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Forced to do everything Adri doesn't want her to do, and she is hated by her and her stepsister Pearl: her two shining lights are her stepsister, Peony, and her mechanic both in New Beijing, a futuristic society where cyborgs are considered less than normal humans. Soon Cinder finds herself locked in a battle for freedom, and she discovers the secrets of her past.

What I liked:
-Cinder was an amazing heroine I rooted for throughout the entire novel
-New Beijing and its culture, as well as Luna and its customs--the worldbuilding in this series is awesome
-Prince Kai
-the emphasis on Asian culture
-how believable everything was
-The ending left me wanting more, anxious to get my hands on Scarlet, which was just released on Tuesday
-Queen Levana
-Dr. Erland

What I didn't like:
-The way that nothing was given on Cinder's past until almost the end of the novel
-There was just something missing for me, I hope that Scarlet gives more information on New Beijing and everything going on

I liked this novel, though I didn't absolutely love it. But anyone who loves steampunk, futuristic novels and fairy tale reinterpretations will like this book, I believe. Next up: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent Review

Title: The Unnaturalists
Author: Tiffany Trent
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Fans of fantasy and of steampunk environments will love this novel of hidden magic and technology--I couldn't put it down!

Vespa Nyx is a young woman living in Scientia, New London--a strange country that thrives under the laws of science and technology. She meets a young boy, Syrus, and her life changes forever--she finds secrets in her past and finds that only she can save New London--and the entire world.

What I liked:
-Vespa! She was a fiesty, fun heroine who lived by her own rules
-The Tinker culture
-The way the author went seamlessly back and forth between Vespa and Syrus
-The way Vespa and Syrus's world contrasted so beautifully and sharply--one absorbed in technology and the other focused on nature
-The nonstop action and surprises
-The villain
-Depictions of Unnaturals
-Vespa's evolution as a protagonist 
-the way everything was revealed at the end and tied up so neatly

What I didn't like:
-Vespa's father
-The villain (double sided)
-Occasionally, Aunt Minta

I loved this novel! Anyone who loves steampunk as well as fantasy novels would love it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones Review

Title: The Faerie Path
Author: Frewin Jones
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Faerie Path, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The Faerie Path is an entertaining novel for fans of fantasy and of faeries, though at times I was a little confused.

Anita Palmer, a normal British girl with an ordinary life, discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she is Tania, the seventh daughter of Lord Oberon and Lady Titania, and she has been lost from them and her sisters for the past five hundred years. Once learning of her true origins, Tania finds herself trying to remember her past--for only she can save Faerie.

What I liked:
-Anita/Tania and her constant cheekiness and sass, as well as the way she grew in the novel, able to find courage
-Tania's six sisters, all different and all kind and sweet to their long lost sister
-The villains of the novel
-The open ending that guarantees a sequel

What I didn't like:
-The way Anita is swept into the world of Fae and she isn't able to go back to the Mortal World
-The slightly confusing way the magic works in the novel--I would've liked it explained a little bit better

Overall, this novel was great for me and I'm looking forward to reading more about Tania's journey--Any fans of Julie Kawaga, Lesley Livingston, and Melissa Marr should enjoy this, although the faeries in this series are slightly less sinister and frightening.