Saturday, June 29, 2013

Defiance by Lili St. Crow Review

Title: Defiance
Author: Lili St. Crow
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Strange Angels, book four
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The second to last book in the Strange Angels series, Defiance was definitely my least favorite book in the whole series so far--with Dru constantly whining or fighting with someone, Graves and Christophe facing off or disappearing, I felt disappointed and I really hope that Reckoning is better.

Dru Anderson is back again--recovering from being shot by Anna, as well as trying to gain a grip on her svetocha powers, and trying to figure out her tangled feelings for both Christophe and Graves. Keep in mind, she's going crazy from being practically locked up in the Schola, and she's now the new head of the Order. Well, honestly, Dru is done taking orders--everywhere she turns she's being led in the wrong direction, and she's being kept in the dark about everything. Deciding to go it alone, though, could be a huge mistake...

What I enjoyed:
-The way Christophe and Dru's relationship was expanded upon--partly, the sexual tension between him and Dru
-Graves
-The Schola
-Dru's mother's origins being expanded upon
-The constant action
-The expansion of the love triangle
-Ash
-Hiro
-The ending
-Nathalie

What I didn't enjoy:
-Dru kept getting on my nerves, she was always whining and it made me angry
-Christophe's constant lies
-Graves not being around for most of the book
-Anna
-The way Dru was constantly having to fight for information
-Anna's guard
-Anna's end
-Leon

I really feel like, as almost the end of the series, Defiance could've been a lot better--my expectations were high and I was sorely disappointed. I'm really hoping hanging on for the ride with Dru is worth it. Next on deck: Reckoning by Lili St. Crow!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Jealousy by Lili St. Crow Review

Title: Jealousy
Author: Lili St. Crow
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Strange Angels, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The third book in the blockbuster series Strange Angels, it actually made me incredibly emotional--I liked it, despite some flaws.

Dru Anderson is back--and now she knows for certain that someone high up in the Order wants to kill her. The only thing is: she doesn't know who it is, she and her friend Graves are kind of sort of an item and she isn't sure exactly where they stand, Christophe still isn't with her, and she's also trying to deal with being the only girl in an all-boys school, and trying to gain control of her svetocha instincts.

What I enjoyed:
-Dru, as always--kicking ass and taking names
-Graves, and the way his relationship with Dru was elaborated on
-The way that Dru's mother's origins were expanded on more, as well as her relationship with Christophe
-Christophe himself, and his protectiveness over Dru
-The wulfen and dhampir dynamic in the Schola
-Graves's wulfen friends
-Dru's hilarious guard
-Benjamen
-The constant punches--I was frantically turning pages and freaking out at each new twist
-The mystery surrounding Elizabeth's betrayal
-Augie

What I didn't enjoy:
-Anna, of course
-The way Christophe didn't show up until the book was almost over
-The Council of the Order
-The cliffhanger ending--I'm still bawling as I write this, actually!
-I wish I knew what 'Dru' was short for!
-Christophe, at times--both he and Graves at times in the novel seemed very hot and cold and I didn't like it very much

I really, really liked Jealousy overall, despite some flaws in the series' third novel. I can't wait for Defiance and Reckoning--I always enjoy a ride with Dru Anderson! Next on deck: Defiance by Lili St. Crow!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst Review

Title: Drink Slay Love
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, sweet, and satiric, Drink Slay Love is a vampire novel with an unlikely anti-heroine that I fell in love with, despite some flaws.

Pearl Sange is a sixteen-year old vampire--she drinks blood, is evil, and can't go out in the sun. That is, until a unicorn stabs her through the heart, and suddenly, she can walk in sunlight. Her family comes up with an idea--get Pearl to enroll in high school, and befriend their food, all in time for the annual Fealty ceremony--only, unfortunately, after getting nearly killed by the unicorn--she starts to develop a conscience, and must cope with her monstrous nature and her new urge to be good--all leading up to a bittersweet ending.

What I enjoyed:
-Pearl, and her carelessness, and the way she was the perfect anti-heroine of the novel--growing into her conscience, despite her murderous, bloodthirsty nature
-Pearl's family
-The way Durst kept to traditional vampire lore, which is not a common thing these days
-Evan, and his family
-Bethany
 -Jadrien
-The traditional vampire hierarchy
-Pearl's ability to walk out into the sun
-The ending
-The constant humor

What I didn't enjoy:
-Some of Pearl's family
-Evan's 'experiment'
-The Vampire King and his cronies
-At times Pearl had me rolling my eyes
-Jadrien did, also, actually
-Most of Pearl's classmates

I thought this was a pretty good attempt for a vampire novel, considering it was Durst's first--I was constantly laughing and I really enjoyed it. Recommended for those of you looking for the opposite of Twilight. Next on deck: Jealousy by Lili St. Crow! (Note: These are subject to change, as I order a lot of them from the library and I like to read books in a series close together, so we'll see!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Betrayals
Author: Lili St. Crow
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Strange Angels, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The explosive sequel to the smash hit Strange Angels, Betrayals, packs as much of a punch as its forebear--and with even more secrets, sexual tension, and action, I couldn't put it down--I can't wait for Jealousy, it's almost too much to bear!

Dru Anderson has had it rough lately--she's killed her dad, turned into a zombie by a sucker who's tried to kill her multiple times, has been stuck between a sexy dhampir and a jealous wulfen best friend, and is stuck helpless at the Schola, not knowing ways to protect herself and trying to deal with someone high up in the mysterious Order hating her and her mother enough to attempt killing them--her mother in the past, Dru in the present.

What I enjoyed:
-Dru, as always, though I didn't like how she was struck helpless at times in the book
-Graves, and his fierce loyalty to Dru, and his protectiveness over her--and how he might be in love with her
-Christophe, always mysterious, but I loved how we got background into his past (Always speaking Polish! I had to go to the computer every two seconds to translate! Lol.)
-The tensions between all three characters
-The tension between dhampir and wulfen
-The Schola itself
-Dylan, though I suspect he could be a traitor
-More background into Dru's parents' deaths
-The accepting of Dru into the wulfen section of the school
-Dru's struggle with her 'rarity'
-The background into Ash's past (The Broken's legends)
-Dibs
-The scary scene where Dru almost loses control and drinks a wulfen's blood

What I didn't enjoy:
-The constant Polish from Christophe
-I wish one of them would just tell Dru how they felt--it'd make everything a hell of a lot easier
-Some of the wulfen at first (Shanks, mostly)
-The fighting scene at the end, it was a little bit scary
-Anna
-The cliffhanger at the end--I'm dying!

I really enjoyed Betrayals--pick up the Strange Angels series if you like badass girls! Next on deck: Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow Review

Title: Strange Angels
Author: Lili St. Crow
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Strange Angels, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Strange Angels is one of my very favorite vampire books--with badass, buttkicking Dru in the spotlight, fighting for her life, along with a werewolf best friend, and a hot dhampir looking after her--and finding out the true secret of her origins.

Dru Anderson is in big trouble--her dad never came home from a hunt. And that isn't normal. Oh, it gets weirder. Dru's dad does in fact come home--as a zombie. Brushing death and suddenly alone, Dru is scrambling to get her bearings--add to this mix a werewolf bitten best friend, and a dhampir who knows more about Dru than he should--and you've got yourself a potent cocktail of action, terror, and secrets--I loved every minute of it!

What I enjoyed:
-Dru, and her hunter origins--and the way she kicks ass consistently throughout the novel
-Graves, the werewolf bitten, sarcastic best friend who may be a little bit in love with Dru
-Christophe, the mysterious dhampir boy who definitely knows more than he's telling
-The novel's pacing--the action didn't stop for a moment, especially with the scenes in the mall and the end of the novel
-Dru's unique, hilarious voice ('I'm all angles except for the breasticles, which are more trouble than they're worth')
-The vampire lore in the novel
-Serjei
-The mysterious Order
-The way it reminded me of the TV show Supernatural, which got me into it in the first place

What I didn't enjoy:
-Dru's dad dying
-What little there was to be said about Dru's 'blooming'
-I would've liked to know more about Dru's mom and the Order

Other than that, I really enjoyed Strange Angels! For those of you looking for a badass heroine and the start to a cool new series, pick it up at your local library--it's worth trying! Next on deck: Betrayals by Lili St. Crow!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead Review

Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Bloodlines, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though I didn't like Bloodlines at first--I definitely preferred Vampire Academy--it really picked up as it went on and I really enjoyed it--especially seeing the old characters I fell in love with--I can't wait for The Golden Lily!

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist--part of a faction of humans charged with keeping vampire secrets, and humans unaware. She is forced out of bed in the middle of the night on an assignment--go to Palm Springs, California and protect the Moroi Princess, Jill Dragomir, even though all Sydney wants is to go to Rome and college, and live her own life. Once there, Sydney has to deal with jealous schoolmates, an unwilling male partner, a moody princess, and murders--as well as getting close to the vampires her kind so despises.

What I enjoyed:
-Sydney--though not at first, since she seemed almost spineless
-Jill
-Adrian
-Rose and Abe's cameo-Eddie as well
-The murder mystery as well as Sydney and Jill's antics at school
-The glimpse into the mysterious, clandestine world of the Alchemists
-Sydney's desire to live her own life, despite her father's expectations
-Zoe
-Sydney's acceptance that not all vampires are bad--in fact, they seem almost human
-Sydney's growing strength throughout the book--and my realization that she wasn't weak, but in fact very strong
-The secret that bind her and Keith unwillingly together

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Sydney's resolve seemed to falter
-Keith--he annoyed me so much I was screaming at times
-Lee
-Laurel
-The ending
-I would've liked to see more of Rose or Lissa
-Sydney's father

I enjoyed Bloodlines, though not nearly so much as Vampire Academy--it was worth picking up, for hardcore fans. Next on deck: Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross Review

Title: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Author: Kady Cross
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: As action-packed as the previous book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar had me both laughing and crying--though there were some definite flaws that sometimes made me upset.

Finley Jayne had returned--this time she and her gang of misfits--sweet Irish Emily, gruff, masculine Sam and the handsome, charismatic Griff King--are in America, looking for their friend Jasper, who was picked up by the law five days earlier in England. What they don't realize is that Jasper is up to his neck in trouble--and against an enemy who is deadly as he is powerful.

What I enjoyed:
-Finley, as always--she changes only for the better in these novels for me
-Griff and Finley's budding relationship
-The background offered as to Jasper
-The gang--Emily and Sam in particular
-Dalton
-The new setting--America
-Wildcat
-The easy integration of immigrant culture in the novel
-The scary new plot

What I didn't enjoy:
-Mei
-Jasper's constant flip-flopping
-Tesla
-The ending--I want to read The Girl with the Iron Touch right now!
-I really feel like as a sequel, this book let me down--I feel like it could've been a lot better, so I'm hoping the Girl with the Iron Touch is worth it

Overall, this was a good book--though not as good as The Girl with The Steel Corset in my opinion. Next on deck: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Last Sacrifice
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Vampire Academy, book six
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The sixth and final book in the bestselling Vampire Academy series, Last Sacrifice tore my heart apart and was beautiful, heartbreaking, thrilling, and still full of surprises--I cannot wait until Bloodlines! I'm already going through withdrawal, and still crying. One of my favorite series of all time, hands down.

Rose Hathaway is in a situation she isn't so sure she can recover from this time: Dimitri is a dhampir again, but he claims he does not love her anymore, cannot love her anymore, and worse, idolizes Lissa for restoring him and refuses to see her. Add to all this a rocky relationship with her boyfriend Adrian, and being wrongfully accused and imprisoned for murder, well... This last adventure before her real job happens could take everything Rose has got, as well as everything she holds dear.

What I enjoyed:
-Rose, and the elaborate adventure in this last novel
-The murder mystery that was so cleverly wrapped up along with everything else
-The constant bombshells
-There was always something going on, either action, romance, or political chessgames
-Christian
-Dimitri
-Lissa
-The way the knowledge in the previous book was used so cleverly
-Adrian
-The pacing--I couldn't put Last Sacrifice down and I'm honestly so sad to see it end!
-The way Sydney got a bigger role
-The Keepers' strange culture
-The bittersweet ending
-Abe and Janine, of course

What I didn't enjoy:
-The way Dimitri idolizes Lissa at the beginning of the novel
-The constant sexual tension between Rose and Dimitri--I kept wanting to scream, "Just sleep together already!"
-Adrian at the end
-The way at times things seemed to hiccup or slow down
-Victor and Robert

I really enjoyed Last Sacrifice, though I'm so sad to see the Vampire Academy series end--I want more. I hope Bloodlines gets delivered to the library soon or I fear I'll go into withdrawal. I'm bawling my eyes out as I type this--I love the Vampire Academy series. One of my favorites of all time, period. Next on deck: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Spirit Bound
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Vampire Academy, book five
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Pulling even more punches than the previous books, Spirit Bound had me laughing, weeping, and screaming in equal measure--I read it all in just three sittings--it was a great book and I can't wait to find out what happens in the last novel, Last Sacrifice!

Rose has once again narrowly escaped trouble--nearly losing her life to her former mentor and lover, Dimitri, now turned Storgoi. Home from Russia, Rose becomes obsessed with a fairy tale told to vampire children--there is a way to bring a Storgoi back from the dead into their original dhampir state, and it leads her on a quest across the country--all the while trying to stay alive and sane. Shock after shock is delivered into the final pages, and it ends with the explosion I've come to expect from Vampire Academy and Richelle Mead.

What I enjoyed:
-As always, Rose and her explosive temper
-Lissa, and her fierce royalty to Rose
-Christian
-The constant quests that are presented throughout the book
-Rose's parents
-Adrian
-The unique vampire lore original to Mead's series
-The war between Moroi, dhampirs, and Storgoi
-The war between Moroi to stop the fear and send guardians out earlier, regardless of the danger
-The twists and turns that had me gasping for breath
-The beautiful romanticism, as always
-Dimitri
-The amazing ending--I can't wait for Last Sacrifice!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Tatiana
-Most of the Moroi royals

I love the Vampire Academy series--one of my favorite series of all time! For those of you who love Twilight, pick up the Vampire Academy books! Next on deck: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray Review

Title: The Sweet Far Thing
Author: Libba Bray
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Gemma Doyle trilogy, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The third and final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Sweet Far Thing lives up to everything a last book in a series should be: with thrills, secrets, darkness, and length--I couldn't put it down!

It has been a year since Gemma has been to the Realms, and coming into her final year at Spence, she realizes that she must learn to control her power for good--or be corrupted by it--all the while losing friends and family, leading to a final climax that I didn't see coming at all--with an ending as enigmatic and beautiful as something I come to expect from Gemma and Libba Bray--I really enjoyed it!

What I enjoyed:
-Gemma, and her growth into her power
-Fee, and her passionate, unrelenting quest for freedom and to be herself
-Pippa, the friend who fell so tragically in the Realms in Rebel Angels--and shows up again until almost the end
-Kartik
-The constant secrets and surprises--especially the climax at the end and the ending, as mysterious as Gemma herself
-The enchanting world that was the Realms--the Winterlands especially
-The creepy-crawlies that come throughout the book

What I didn't enjoy:
-Gemma's family
-Miss Moore
-Some of the clans/characters in the Realms (Philon/Neela/other centaurs)
-At times I was very frustrated with Ann, though I was glad at what happened in the end
-The Gypsy/English feud
-The Rakshana
-Fowlson
-Miss McCleethy

I loved The Sweet Far Thing and the Gemma Doyle Trilogy as a whole--it was wonderful and it will always have a special place in my heart. Next on deck: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Blood Promise
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Vampire Academy, book four
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I haven't been this emotionally invested in a set of characters in a really long time--twist after twist had me feeling like I was gasping for breath and being sucker-punched every few pages--it broke my heart and made me want to scream, laugh, and cry all at the same time--bravo, bravo! I want more!

After the explosive ending of Shadow Kiss, Rose is off to Siberia to find Dimitri and save him from a fate worse than death: becoming one of the undead, a violent, soulless killer, leaving Lissa, Adrian, and Christian behind. What she finds is a world that is a lot different from her own--full of Storgoi and blood whores and killing in plain sight--and her Dimitri, completely changed. Dimitri wants to 'awaken' Rose so they can be together forever--and when she is kidnapped, Rose goes into a self-destructive downward spiral--one that she isn't sure she can pull herself out of this time.

What I enjoyed:
-Rose's determination to find Dimitri and save him
-Lissa's ache for Rose--and with her departure, her downward spiral
-Christian
-Adrian
-Dimka's loving family
-The dangerous environment in Russia
-Sydney
-Janine
-Abe
-Dimitri's change, horrible and seductive all at once
-Jill
-Oksana and Mark
-The constant surprises and twists--my heart broke at least three times!

What I didn't enjoy:
-Avery
-Simon
-Headmaster Lazar
-The downward spiral of both Rose and Lissa
-The ending--I'm dying to know what happens next in Spirit Bound!

I love the Vampire Academy series and cannot wait to see what happens next--I am absolutely in love with Richelle Mead and the world of Vampire Academy! Nothing less than five stars for this reviewer! Next on deck: The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray Review

Title: Rebel Angels
Author: Libba Bray
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Every bit as thrilling, creepy, and lovely as its precursor, Rebel Angels had me utterly entranced--I couldn't put it down!

Gemma Doyle is back--and it's Christmastime at Spence. Struggling to find a balance between herself, Felicity, Ann, and their magic, along with the pressures of normal Victorian society--being courted by Simon Middleton, having to deal with her father's opiate addiction, and her brother's snobbery--Gemma finds herself locked in an even deeper mystery--and this time, she could pay with her own life.

What I enjoyed:
-The way Rebel Angels pulled me immediately under
-Gemma, and her struggle to find a balance between controlling her magic and her normal life
-The mystery, especially the cool riddle near the end
-The background that we learn about Felicity
-Ann
-Kartik
-The Rakshana and the Order's struggle for power
-Gemma's confusion as to who to trust
-Miss Moore
-Asha and the Cave of Sighs
-The gorgon

What I didn't enjoy:
-Pippa, at times
-Simon
-Tom
-Grandmama
-Gemma's father
-The water nymphs

I really, really enjoyed Rebel Angels and can't wait for the Sweet Far Thing! Next on deck: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross Review

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy
Series: The Steampunk Chronicles, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Action-packed, romantic, and dangerous, The Girl in the Steel Corset proves to be the first installment in a series that I can't wait to continue--one of my favorite steampunk novels of all time!

Finley Jayne is not like other sixteen year old English girls of her social class--not even close. She can toss grown men into the air like ragdolls--she has a tangible dark side that takes over when she is threatened or frightened--and one night while defending herself against an employee's son--she meets Griff King and his ragtag gang of misfits: Jasper, the American cowboy, Sam, the mechhead, Griff, the boy with unimaginable power, and Emily, the scientist. As well as finding the reason for her 'fits', Finley discovers a sinister plot is afoot--one that could affect the whole country.

What I enjoyed:
-Finley, and the way she seemed to have two separate personalities
-The setting of 1897 London
-The pacing of the novel--it flew even when bodies weren't flying
-The action--I couldn't put it down!
-Griff and the gang, especially Emily and the love triangle between her, Jasper, and Sam
-The magic of the novel--the Aether
-The writing style fit the time period perfectly
-The villain
-The mystery
-Jack Dandy

What I didn't enjoy:
-The ending--I want to read The Girl with the Clockwork Collar now!
-Cordelia

I loved The Girl in the Steel Corset--it was definitely worth waiting for! Next on deck: Rebel Angels by Libba Bray!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead Review

Title: Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Vampire Academy, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Even better than the last two books, Shadow Kiss was every bit as action-packed, romantic, and heartbreaking--the best book in the series so far!

Rose is once again right back in the middle of some trouble: Hurting over the death of her friend and stressing out over final exams, as well as fighting her still growing attraction to Dimitri, Rose discovers this time around that her already danger-filled life is going to test her to the limits--and she isn't sure that she can take it.

What I enjoyed:
-Rose, and her determination, strong will, and love for her friends
-Lissa
-Dimitri
-Rose and Dimitri's flourishing relationship
-Adrian and his smartass ways
-Christian, and how his role gets even bigger during this third novel
-The pacing
-The 'Mana'
-The dilemma Rose faces as her connection with Lissa gets deeper and has side effects
-The Strogoi
-The battling
-The Moroi and dphamirs working together

What I didn't enjoy:
-Most of the spoiled Moroi royals
-The ending--I feel so cheated! It isn't fair! I am so heartbroken!

I loved, loved, loved Shadow Kiss--it was a real treat and this series has my heart--I want more! Next on deck: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Across the Universe by Beth Revis Review

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Across the Universe, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Terrifying, tender, and claustrophobic, I have mixed feelings about this book--but I feel like the good points outweighed the bad.

Amy Martin is a member of a select group of people--a group of people who board the Godspeed, the spaceship that is on its way to the new Earth, to new natural resources and a new beginning. Amy and her parents have been asleep--literally, frozen--for fifty years. That is, until Amy is unplugged and nearly dies in the process. She meets Elder, the heir to the ship's leader, Eldest, terrifying and forbidding--and finds that other people are being unplugged--and secrets and lies are commonplace on the Godspeed. In the middle of a budding romance, both of them discover the meaning of being human, and of life itself.

What I enjoyed:
-the tense pacing
-the alternating point of views of Elder and Amy, two different voices narrating the same events
-The successful genre-hopping that so few authors can pull off, especially nowadays: science fiction, dystopian fiction, and romance
-Elder and his constant curiosity, despite the 'need' to stay silent
-Amy and her fresh voice--she seemed so real to me and I could relate to her
-The scary descriptions of the cyro-boxes
-The many twists, turns, and secrets, a lot of them catching me off guard
-Harley
-The budding romance between Elder and Amy

What I didn't enjoy:
-Eldest
-Doc
-The Season
-Orion
-Luthe
-A lot of the writing was graphic, violent, and at times a little sickening

I still have mixed feelings about Across the Universe, but I'm very glad that I gave it another chance--it wasn't bad. Next on deck: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray Review

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Series: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lush, dark, and thrilling, A Great and Terrible Beauty is a promising start to a wicked, magical trilogy that I couldn't put down--I can't wait for Rebel Angels!

Gemma Doyle is sixteen, and she longs for London, far away from her home in India--she wants a season, friends, a coming out party, to be around peers her age--even though her mother flatly refuses. Locked in a stalemate, tragedy strikes soon after--and Gemma gets her wish. Once at Spence, she uncovers terrifying visions, atrocities performed long before her time, and the secrets to her past.

What I enjoyed:
-Gemma, and her spunky attitude, as well as her fresh, unique voice
-Felicity, and her desire to rise above being simply a woman
-Pippa, the beauty that wants nothing more than true love
-Ann, and her desire to be accepted and part of a group
-Miss Moore
-The slightly claustrophobic Victorian setting, done to perfection and with real style
-The magic of the novel
-Kartik
-The mystery that was wrapped up in the magic
-The powerful prose
-The fast pacing

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times some of the other girls in Gemma's class annoyed me, but it was minor--this book is a real treat, especially for fans of magic and strong heroines!

A Great and Terrible Beauty is a new favorite and I can't wait for its sequels--I'm really looking forward to seeing the characters evolve and their magic grow--a home run for Miss Libba Bray! Bravo! Next on deck: Across the Universe by Beth Revis!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Frostbite by Richelle Mead Review

Title: Frostbite
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Vampire Academy, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The sequel to the smash hit Vampire Academy, Frostbite introduces a few new characters, new challenges, and a great tale full of romance, action, and danger.

Rose Hathaway is back--causing trouble, breaking hearts, and kicking ass--and this time she's embroiled in another mystery: Moroi and their guardians are being slaughtered wholesale, with little explanation as to why. On top of all this, she's dealing with her growing attraction to her instructor, Dimitri-- who has eyes for someone else, her friend Mason flirting with her, and getting inside her best friend Lissa's head when she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

What I enjoyed:
-Rose, as always, with her fresh, hilarious voice
-Lissa, and her growing bond with Rose
-Rose's growing attraction to Dimitri
-The difference in setting--a ski trip, this time
-The explosive action
-The ending
-Christian
-The way the mythology was explained further
-Janine

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times the pacing seemed to sputter
-Rose's indecision at times

I really liked Frostbite--I can't wait for Shadow Kissed! Next on deck: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fire by Kristin Cashore Review

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Graceling, companion; Bitterblue is the sequel
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The companion to Graceling, Fire swept me away and stole my heart--I liked it even better than Graceling and I cannot wait until I get to read Bitterblue!

Fire is a human-shaped monster, a creature of irresistible beauty who is gifted with the curse of controlling other people's minds--everyone, that is, except Prince Brigan's. Fire learns to use her power judiciously, along the way finding love, betrayal, and the real meaning of family--as well as discovering what it truly means to be a monster.

What I enjoyed:
-Fire, and the fear of her own power, and the frustration at her constant way of sticking out, despite only needing solitude
-Brigan
-Fire's world, and the way her background was explained so thoroughly
-Brigan and his family
-The way Leck's background was explained some as well
-Fire's guard
-Her discovery of family and love
-The beautiful prose ('Not all people who inspired devotion were monsters.')
-The pacing--it flew, and I really, really loved it
-Brocker

What I didn't enjoy:
-Cansrel
-Nax
-Archer

Other than minor blips, I really loved Fire--even more than Graceling--and I cannot wait for Bitterblue--I hope it's as much as a treat as the first two! Next on deck: Frostbite by Richelle Mead!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress Review

Title: The Friday Society
Author: Adrienne Kress
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Mystery
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A hilarious, action-packed caper full of girl power, weapons, and cute boys, I really enjoyed The Friday Society, despite some flaws.

Cora, Nellie, and Michiko are three beautiful, smart young women--all assistants to powerful men, Cora: a scientist's assistant, Nellie, partner to a magician, and Michiko, a samurai in training. When people begin mysteriously dying, the girls resolve to solve the caper--and along the way, find their own callings in life, and love.

What I enjoyed:
-Cora
-Nellie
-Michiko
-The novel's pacing
-The hilarious writing style--I was either laughing or cheering
-The steampunk culture of it
-The action in it--I couldn't put this novel down, it was wonderful
-Mr. White and Mrs. Collins
-Jeff
-Raheem

What I didn't enjoy:
-Andrew
-Callum
-The writing style at times didn't fit with the time period

Otherwise, this was a really light, wonderful read, especially for those of you who like girl power and steampunk novels--it was great! Next on deck: Fire by Kristin Cashore!