Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater Review

Title: Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: A Gathering of Faerie, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Enchanting, romantic, and magical, Lament swept me away completely--I loved it, and can't wait for the sequel!

Dee Monaghan is just a normal girl, wishing her boring summer could be spiced up a little. With the arrival of the mysterious, beautiful Luke Dillion, her wish is granted. Suddenly, she finds herself passionately in love, despite Luke's obvious secrecy, and drawn into the magical, mysterious world of the Fey--beings she thought only haunted songs and fairy tales, along with her best friend, James. Dee must find the strength inside herself to fight back--even if it kills her.

What I enjoyed:
-The magical, magnetic narrative that drew me in from the start
-The pacing--I couldn't put the book down and finished it in a day and a half!
-Dee, and her multi-faceted personality--I rooted for her the entire time
-Luke, the mysterious boy who Dee comes to love
-James, and his fierce devotion to Dee
-The lore, which was well-researched and magical, adding depth to the novel
-Dee's parents
-The ending--I can't wait to see what happens next!

What I didn't enjoy:
-The Faerie Queen
-Delia, especially

I loved Lament--it was one of the best faerie novels I've ever read! I'm not sure what's next on deck, as I have a lot of manga to go through--But I promise I'll keep you guys posted!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Torment by Lauren Kate Review

Title: Torment
Author: Lauren Kate
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Fallen, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The sequel to the smash hit Fallen, Torment make my heart ache and made me cry my eyes out--I can't wait for the sequel to come at the library!

Luce Price is stuck at the Shoreline school in California, after an epic battle at Sword and Cross. Lonely and yearning for her true love, she tries to lose herself in her studies. But she discovers that Daniel is hiding things, acting strange, and plagued by doubt, Luce wonders if Daniel has been lying to her all along, if she's meant to be with someone else.

What I enjoyed:
-The narrative that sucked me in right away--this series was worth continuing, I can't wait
-Luce and Daniel's expanding relationship that made me swoon
-The pacing of the novel--I couldn't put it down--the action kept me practically biting my nails!
-The way the lore was further explained in the novel
-The way the characters expanded, especially Luce and Daniel
-The cliffhanger ending--I can't wait for more!
-Steven and Francesca
-Shelby and Miles
-Roland, Arianne, and Cam, as well as several other characters from the first novel
-The Outcasts

What I didn't enjoy:
-Sometimes I felt myself wanting to strangle Luce and Daniel, with the way they acted

I really, really loved Torment--it was worth reading! If any of you are disappointed by the first novel, give it another chance, it gets better! Next on deck: Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Rules by Stacey Kade Review

Title: The Rules
Author: Stacey Kade
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Series: Project Paper Doll, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, original, and tender, I loved The Rules--it's one of my favorites of 2013 so far!

Ariane Tucker isn't exactly a normal girl: An alien-human hybrid, she's been on the run with her legal guardian, Mark, for a decade, constantly looking over her shoulder for the scientific team searching for her. All she has to do to be safe is follow five simple rules: don't trust anyone, remember they are always searching, don't get involved, keep your head down, and don't fall in love. For ten years Ariane has obeyed these edicts, until she meets Zane Bradshaw, who, like her, is so much more than he seems..

What I enjoyed:
-The fresh, original premise, flawlessly executed
-Ariane's and Zane's corresponding voices, adding layering to the novel that I loved
-Ariane's coming of age and evolution throughout the novel
-Her and Zane's relationship, heartbreakingly romantic and sweet
-The race against time that counteracted beautifully with the romance of the novel
-The twists that had me frantically turning pages
-Dr. Jacobs
-The cliffhanger ending

What I didn't like:
-The only thing I didn't like was that I have to wait next year for the book! I loved this novel, it was amazing!

Anyone who loves a good romance, or a good novel about aliens--look no further and get The Rules from your nearest bookstore or library--it's totally worth it! Next on deck: Torment by Lauren Kate!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs Review

Title: Sweet Venom
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Sweet Venom, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, original, dark, and fun, Sweet Venom swept me away completely--I can't wait for the sequel!

Grace, Gretchen, and Greer are all ordinary teenagers, each girl with a different life and different values. But when they all discover they can see monsters only spoken of in myth, and that they have a startling resemblance to one another, the girls find that they have inherited a dark legacy: they all are descended from the Gorgon Medusa, born to protect the human world from monsters..

What I enjoyed:
-The multiple narrations, which made the novel rich instead of confusing
-The original lore that Childs uses for the novel--I can't wait to find out more
-Gretchen, Grace, and Greer, and how they all come together throughout the story
-The pacing was amazing--I couldn't put Sweet Venom down!
-The constant action that counteracts the swoon-worthy romance of the novel
-The cliffhanger ending
-The clever way the author made mythology accessible and cool, especially to the female set
-Grace's parents

What I didn't enjoy:
-Greer much until the end of the novel
-Greer's parents

I really liked Sweet Venom--it's worth grabbing for any Percy Jackson fan, or anyone looking for strong female protagonists. Next on deck: The Rules by Stacey Kade!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges Review

Title: The Gathering Storm
Author: Robin Bridges
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: The Katerina Trilogy, Volume I
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, magical, and dark, I really enjoyed The Gathering Storm and am looking forward to its sequel, but some of the plotline was really confusing and hard to follow.

Katerina is an ordinary girl living in imperial Russia--but she has a dark and terrifying secret: She can raise the dead. Trying desperately to hide her dark powers, she is unsuccessful, and soon becomes a pawn in a magical political game, all the while trying to figure out what her heart is telling her about the two men she is torn between: dark, seductive Danilo and rude, quiet Georgi.

What I enjoyed:
-Katerina's voice and her growth as the protagonist throughout the novel--it was really a joy to read
-The magical, dark world of imperial Russia--I couldn't put this book down!
-The love triangle, of course!
-The pacing of the novel--it flew in less than a day!
-The cast of characters, all unique and all important to the narrative
-The political web that Bridges creates, difficult to navigate and near impossible to get out of

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times the lore was hard to follow
-I couldn't keep many of the classes of vampires straight
-I didn't understand how vampires and fey related to one another in the same world, but perhaps more will be explained

I liked The Gathering Storm--it was a great fantasy that I loved living in! Next on deck: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James Review

Title: Forbidden
Author: Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: N/A (As far as I know--I want a sequel, but we'll see!)
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Romantic, sweet, and action-packed, I really enjoyed Forbidden--more please!

Claire Brennan is just an ordinary kid, living in L.A., wishing that the boy she liked would just notice her already, and wishing that the freaky visions she has would fade. Alec Mackenzie is a Watcher, part of an ancient order sent to eliminate Nepil--that is, the offspring of humans and angels. He is desperate for a normal life, on the run from his superiors. But once the two meet, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another, despite the consequences, no matter how horrific.

What I enjoyed:
-The narrative, in flowing prose, which goes back and forth between Alec and Claire
-Claire, and the way she grows into her character throughout the novel
-Alec, and the way his origin is explained throughout the story
-Alec and Claire's heart-melting romance
-The mythology of the novel, which totally made sense and wasn't too far-fetched
-Erica and Brian
-Celeste, Javed, and Rico

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Claire's whining had me rolling my eyes
-I wanted to know more about Claire's father (Fingers crossed for a sequel, guys!)

I really enjoyed Forbidden. Anyone looking for a fantasy or a sweet romance should grab it. Next on deck: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Croak by Gina Damico Review

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Series: Croak, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, dark, and original, I loved Croak--I gobbled up this amazing whodunit in  less than two days--I can't wait for Scorch!

Lex Bartleby is a normal sixteen year old--that is, if normal means biting classmates' arms and picking a fight whenever someone's back is turned. Fed up with her behavior and desperate, Lex's parents send her to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer. Lex thinks her life is over--until she finds out that Uncle Mort is a Grim Reaper and wants to teach her the family business. She takes to it like a duck to water, and soon finds herself wrapped up in a mystery that could put the whole town of Croak--as well as reaperdom itself--at risk.

What I enjoyed:
-The hilarious narration that drew me in from the start
-Lex as a protagonist--she became a well-rounded, relatable character by the end of the novel
-The original world of Croak and the mythology of the novel
-Driggs and his friends, as well as his developing friendship with Lex
-The Bartleby family--especially Cordy
-The convincing, well-thought out mystery that kept me frantically turning pages
-Uncle Mort--he was one of my favorite characters of the novel
-The ending--Scorch can't come fast enough!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times the mythology left me a tad confused, since it was a bit fuzzy
-Norwood and Heloise

I really, really enjoyed Croak! Anyone looking for a good mystery or a book about reapers should pick it up. Next on deck: Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vixen by Jillian Larkin Review

Title: Vixen
Author: Jillian Larkin
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Flappers, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I really feel as though this was a copy of The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen--same characters, different names, different setting--though the book was good enough to keep me interested--I look forward to reading Ingenue.

Three young women--Gloria, Lorraine, and Clara--are closely linked teenagers growing up in the turbulent Jazz Age: sheltered Gloria, who wants nothing more than to be free of her restricted life; Lorraine, the spoiled little rich girl everyone loves to hate; and Clara, the flapper from New York who flees to Chicago for a fresh start. But each girl has her own woes--and each girl must face her demons, whether she wants to or not..

What I enjoyed:
-The sweeping narrative of the novel
-The authenticity of the age of the novel--I really felt as though I was in the 1920s
-The different points of view in the novel
-The cliffhanger ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-Carlito and his boys
-At times I thought the language didn't fit the time period
-It felt like it was just a carbon copy of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, just a different time, place, and characters--It really distracted me and I honestly hope Ingenue is better

 I liked Vixen, though I think it could've been better--let's see in Ingenue. Next on deck: Croak by Gina Damico!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Unafraid by Michael Griffo Review

Title: Unafraid
Author: Michael Griffo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Gay Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Series: Archangel Academy, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The third and final book of the Archangel Academy, I really enjoyed it, though the ending and loose ends at times had me confused--overall, I really enjoyed the series, especially the relationship between Michael and Ronan.

Michael and Ronan are back, and in the last installment of this series, both boys discover that sometimes, the past catches up with you. With the arrival of a mysterious new student and the whole school choosing sides, with a war beginning to brew, our boys realize that all that they may truly have is one another, because everything else seems to be crumbling around them.

What I enjoyed:
-The narrative, though it bounces from one character to another, layered and mysterious and completely wonderful
-The relationship between Ronan and Michael, beautifully expanded upon in this last volume
-Ronan's family
-David's origins being expanded on
-The bad baddie in this book, wonderful!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Brania and Imogene had me rolling my eyes
-Some of the facts and loose ends kept me confused--I wanted everything to be worked out!

I really liked Unafraid and The Archangel Academy in general. Though not necessarily the best-written, its plot was enough to keep me going. Next on deck: Vixen by Jillian Larkin!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter Review

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: The White Rabbit Chronicles, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Scary, sexy, and absolutely hilarious, Alice in Zombieland was totally worth the six month wait from my local library--though not quite a retelling, it was a great horror novel! I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of The Walking Dead or any zombie novel.

Alice Bell is in a whole mess of trouble: the daughter of a troubled father who claims to see zombies--hideous monsters who crave human flesh. All she's ever wanted is to go out with friends, and maybe, just maybe, kiss a boy. Over the course of one night, Ali's life has changed: Her parents and little sister are dead, she has to move, and as if all of this isn't bad enough? She might just be seeing zombies too, and there's the fact that the hottest boy in school, Cole Holland, is hot and cold with her. But Ali has bigger problems: If she doesn't figure out what's going on, she might not make it out alive..

What I enjoyed:
-Alice's voice, fresh, original, and hilarious, and her evolution throughout the novel
-Alice's family, especially Emma
-The flowing prose--I gobbled up this book in less than two days!
-The action that had me turning pages frantically
-The sexy, steamy relationship between Alice and Cole
-The cool new twist on traditional zombie lore
-Cole and his ragtag team of misfits, who eventually become Alice's friends
-Nana and Pops
-The horror of the novel that had me practically biting my nails
-The cliffhanger ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times I felt like Alice's whining was going to get under my skin
-I kept wishing that Alice and Cole would just kiss already, darn it

I really, really, really liked Alice in Zombieland! Easily one of my favorites of the last year. Next on deck: Unafraid by Michael Griffo!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Unwelcome by Michael Griffo Review

Title: Unwelcome
Author: Michael Griffo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Gay Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Series: Archangel Academy, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Sequel to Unnatural, Unwelcome provides a great installment in a series I really, really enjoyed--unfortunately, some of the religious allusions in the novel were a little offensive.

Michael is back, and is dealing with his new life as a vampire, with Ronan at his side. As if this wasn't difficult enough? A new headmaster has come to Double A, and with him darkness surrounds our pair of lovers, as well as betrayal, rage, and secrets. Will our boys ever get a break? It isn't looking too good..

What I enjoyed:
-The character development of Michael throughout the novel
-Michael and Ronan's relationship, and how it expanded--definitely a favorite couple of mine
-Ronan's family, especially his sister and brother
-The constant secrets and suspense that kept me on edge
-The further expansion of the vampire lore Griffo has created (Love the riff on Atlantis!)
-David and Brania
-The cliffhanger ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-A lot of the religion that tied into the lore was actually really offensive, I really didn't enjoy that. I hope it doesn't get worse. (i.e., putting someone on a cross to make a point)

I really liked Unwelcome, aside from some hiccups, and I'm looking forward to finishing the series with Unafraid. Next on deck: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Endlessly by Kiersten White Review

Title: Endlessly
Author: Kiersten White
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Paranormalcy, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Gorgeous, hilarious, and heartbreaking, the third and final novel in the Paranormalcy series delivers almost completely, though at times I was left a little confused.

Evie is back--and this time, she isn't sure she's going to make it out alive and whole. Not that she was whole in the first place, but details. Evie discovers that the IPCA is changing, locking up paranormals for no reason at all, and she catches wind of faeries--the dreaded faeries!--are planning something that could rip away everyone that Evie loves.

What I enjoyed:
-Evie, as always--the perfect narrator, and her evolution in the novel and the whole series, into a worthy heroine
-Raquel and David
-The role that the faeries had throughout the novel
-The ending (Sob!)

What I didn't enjoy:
-The Dark Queen
-The whole creepy Faerie Realm
-Raquel's temporary boss (Ugh.)
-At times Evie's whining got on my nerves, but, picking at straws.

I loved Endlessly, and the Paranormalcy series as a whole! Any fans of paranormal novels and funny heroines should pick it up--lovely! Next on deck: Unwelcome by Michael Griffo!