Saturday, August 31, 2013

Supernaturally by Kiersten White Review

Title: Supernaturally
Author: Kiersten White
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Paranormalcy, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The smashing sequel to Paranormalcy, Supernaturally doesn't disappoint in the least--I loved it and I can't wait to see what happens in Endlessly!

Evie is back--this time, trying to carve her own niche in the human world, after the disastrous events in the previous book. Trying to deal with her own issues, her relationship with Lend, wicked faeries on her tail, high school, and homework, Evie finds herself drawn into the IPCA's clutches again to come work for them--and discovers that her mysterious origins run deeper than she ever realized.

What I enjoyed:
-Evie's hilarious narration, as always--one of my favorite heroines, hands down
-Lend
-Arianna
-David and Raquel
-Jack
-Reth
-The pacing--the book flew and I read it in a few hours!
-The constant trouble Evie found herself in
-The way Evie's origins were hinted at--I can't wait to see what happens!
-Vivian
-The cliffhanger ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times Evie seemed a bit whiny and it irked me, but that's a minor flaw I got through

I loved, loved, loved Supernaturally, as well as the series as a whole! Wonderful, hilarious, and dark! Next on deck: Endlessly by Kiersten White!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White Review

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Paranormalcy, book one
Star Rating: 5 out 5 stars
The bottom line: Hilarious, romantic, and pure fun, Paranormalcy was amazing--especially Evie and her mysterious past. I can't wait to start reading Supernaturally!

Evie is a normal kid in a not so normal situation. Evie works for an agency responsible for controlling and 'tagging' paranormals. All is well until the agents get an alarming call--various paranormals are dropping dead out of nowhere, the only clue of how they died fading light in the middle of their chests. Soon, Evie is drawn into mysterious faerie prophecies, her own origins, and most exhilarating of all: her first love.

What I enjoyed:
-Evie, and her hilarious narration, and her growth as the heroine of the novel, as well as the cliffhanger of her origins
-Reth, and his arrogant faerie self--despite myself, I liked him
-Lend, and his quirky family, as well as his relationship with Evie
-Raquel
-Vivian
-The cliffhanger ending
-The vivid world that Evie lives in

What I didn't enjoy:
-There was honestly nothing I didn't like about Paranormalcy, except for the cliffhanger ending!

Any fan of a funny heroine or paranormal novels should pick this one up--it was lovely! Next on deck: Supernaturally by Kiersten White!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Unnatural by Michael Griffo Review

Title: Unnatural
Author: Michael Griffo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult (Recommended for older teens.)
Genre: Gay Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Series: Archangel Academy, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Intensely romantic, sexually charged, and a legitimate journey of finding oneself, I had my doubts about Unnatural--but I loved it! I can't wait for Unwelcome!

Michael Howard is a gay teenager in Nebraska--so naturally, the kid doesn't fit in. After a shocking, though not entirely unexpected, family tragedy, Michael's enigmatic father resurfaces--offering him the chance of a lifetime: go live in England and enroll at an all-boy's academy called Archangel--or Double A. Once there, he meets Ciaran, Penry, and Roran, and among them finds his new home and family. But unfortunately, there are secrets lurking around every dark corner that even the most perceptive can't foresee..

What I enjoyed:
-The narration, which drew me in right away
-Michael's struggle to grow and be his own person, both in Nebraska and England
-His relationship with Roran
-Every character in the novel seemed very real and very flawed, which made it that much easier to relate--especially Ciaran
-The constant romance that had me swooning the whole book
-Brania and Kano
-The original spin on vampire lore, at the same time staying true to it
-The cliffhanger ending--I can't wait for Unwelcome!

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times I was a little lost--hopefully more will be explained in the second novel
-The sexuality of the novel was a little over the top for my taste, though most of it was appropriate
-I feel at times too little information was divulged about the vampire aspect
-Mauro
-Edwidge

I really liked Unnatural--one of the first gay novels I've read that I loved! Next on deck: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken Review

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/Science Fiction
Series: The Darkest Minds, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lovely, frightening dystopian thriller among many, The Darkest Minds stands out for me because of the heroine, Ruby, and the struggle to stay true to herself amidst adversity and chaos--I can't wait for the next novel!

Ruby lives in a fragmented world where most of the world's children are dead, or infected with a strange disease that manifests in supernatural powers. Locked in a camp for most of her young life, Ruby escapes with the help of a doctor--and discovers three other children, just like her, who want to make it to the mythical East River compound, safe from the units chasing them. Once there, the little ragtag family of misfits finds that the danger may not just be on the outside..

What I enjoyed:
-the cinematic style of the writing that reminded me of the movie Push, or the novel Shatter Me
-the terrifying and dark world that Ruby and the other characters live in, especially the soldiers
-Ruby, and the way that she grows as a person and a hero throughout the novel
-Liam, and the way he leads, and the way he was so caring for others
-Chubs, resident doctor and cynic but with a heart of gold underneath
-Little Zu--she was one of my favorite characters in the novel
-Clancy, and the way Ruby figures it all out at the end
-The cliffhanger in the ending

What I didn't enjoy:
-it took a while to get into, I wasn't hooked until about one hundred pages in
-at times the narration was kind of hard to follow and got too jumbled for my taste
-The ending itself

Despite its flaws, I loved The Darkest Minds and can't wait for its sequel! Next on deck: Unnatural by Michael Griffo!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty Review

Title: A Corner of White
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Colors of Madeleine, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A sparkling, hilarious, whimsical fantasy that delivers more home truths than you'd expect--being yourself, the value of family, and friendship, A Corner of White captured my heart completely--I adored it!

Madeleine Tully is a normal girl, just like everyone else--a teenager trying to find her way, despite her parents painful separation, and the abrupt move to Cambridge, England. But her monotony is interrupted--she finds a note under a parking meter, and starts corresponding with Elliot Baranski--and discovers that there is a world not so different from her own, not necessarily seen so easily.

What I enjoyed:
-The hilarious prose that drew me in right away
-The letters exchanged between the characters, a trademark for Moriarty
-The very real and flawed character of the young Madeleine
-The way the book genre-bent, and very successfully
-Jack and Belle
-Holly
-Elliot, and the amazing, magical world of Cello
-Petra
-Corrie-Lynn
-Derrin
-The people of Cello
-Madeleine's evolution throughout the novel
-The way everything moved so seamlessly together

What I didn't enjoy:
-At first the writing style confused me a little
-It didn't seem to make sense at first, the narrative going back and forth

Aside from its flaws, I loved A Corner of White, it was wonderful! Next on deck: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge Review

Title: The Iron Thorn
Author: Caitlin Kittredge
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy
Series: The Iron Codex, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lush, dark, gorgeous, and an amazing puzzler, The Iron Thorn swept me away into the world of Lovecraft, and I didn't want to leave--I can't wait for The Nightmare Garden!

Aoife Grayson lives in the city of Lovecraft, a city ruled by technology and by the Proctors with iron fists. Forced to bow to the ideals of science rationality, 'heretics'--practitioners of magic and believers of pagan rites, Aoife discovers her brother is missing. Sneaking out of Lovecraft with her best friend, Cal, and the enigmatic heretic Dean Harrison, Aoife unearths the secrets of her heritage--and secrets that could shatter the foundation of her life forever.

What I enjoyed:
-The lush, gorgeous, dark prose
-The frightening but seductive world that Aoife inhabits
-Aoife's spunk and her family loyalty
-Cal
-Dean
-Bethina
-The puzzling secrets that had me rapidly turning pages and freaking out
-Tremaine
-Nerissa and Archibald
-The ending--I can't wait for The Nightmare Garden!
-Draven
-The steampunk mythology laced throughout the novel
-The romance that had me swooning the entire time

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times I felt like the numerous creatures named in the novel weren't explained enough (i.e, nightjars)
-Sometimes the prose lost me
-Cal's sexist comments

I loved The Iron Thorn--it was wonderful! I'm not sure what's next on deck yet, but once I decide, I'll update you guys!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle Review

Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/Horror
Series: The Hallowed Ones, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Terrifying, deep, and thrilling, The Hallowed Ones had me completely on edge the entire time I was reading it--a definite, new favorite! I can't wait for The Outside!

Katie is Amish, and eager for Rumspringa--the period of rebellion in an Amish teen's life, leading up to a choice: go Outside forever, and be outcast, or be baptized and marry, have children, and work in the Plain community. But unfortunately, after a terrifying tragedy, the Bishop issues an edict: No one goes in and out, for the safety of the whole community. But Katie finds a man injured outside of their property and brings him in--and with that defying action, her whole world is thrown out of orbit.

What I enjoyed:
-Katie, and her voice, her doubts, and her bravery
-Alex
-The Hexenmeister
-The cool way Bickle used original vampire lore and didn't try to put a spin on it or be too different
-The philosophical bent that was used to help identify Katie as the main character
-The terrifying scenes that the vampires were in--I was absolutely horrified
-The ending--the cliffhanger that promises a sequel
-Katie's parents
-Sarah
-Ginger
-The dystopian, end of the world feel the whole book exuded, starting with a scary helicopter crash into a field
-The vampires

What I didn't enjoy:
-The Bishop
-The Elders
-Elijah

I really, really loved The Hallowed Ones! Any vampire lover--or dystopian lover--should grab it and not put it down! (By the way? Don't read this gem with the lights off!) Next on deck: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young Review

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: The Program, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Chilling, romantic, and tender, I loved The Program, where dark memories are erased and people are made into numb zombies--faint echoes of themselves--especially the romance between Sloane and James--I really, really liked it!

Sloane lives in a world where suicide--especially teen suicide--is an epidemic. All teenagers are monitored and watched, and if they are 'flagged'--showing symptoms of depression--they all are carted away to The Program, a terrifying place where memories are erased and you are a mere shadow of your true self. After the death of her brother, Sloane knows to fly under the radar, but after a shocking tragedy, she loses it. Dragged into The Program, Sloane discovers that finding your way back to yourself isn't always easy, but it's definitely worth it.

What I enjoyed:
-Sloane's sad, sweet narrative, especially when she went to The Program, and her journey slowly coming back to herself
-James
-Miller
-The truly frightening world that the characters live in--it really freaked me out, I'm not going to lie
-Sloane's past
-The cliffhanger ending, promising a sequel
-Sloane and James's relationship
-Sloane's dad
-Realm
-Lacey
-Tabitha
-Kevin
-Anna

What I didn't enjoy:
-Liam, and the chilling revelation he brings to Sloane's attention
-Sloane's mom
-Dr. Warren
-Roger
-I was constantly crying throughout the novel! (It was so intense.)
-The way the whole world seemed to be implementing their own take on The Program

I loved The Program! Anyone who loves dystopian fiction or romances should pick it up at their local library or bookstore. Next on deck: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blood-Kissed Sky by J.A. London Review (Possible Spoilers!)

Title: Blood-Kissed Sky
Author: J.A. London
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/Horror
Series: Darkness Before Dawn, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Dark, beautiful, action-packed and full of twists, Blood-Kissed Sky filled me with horror and joy all at once--a worthy, awesome sequel, and I can't wait for After Daybreak!

Dawn Montgomery is back in the next installment of this dark vampire series. This time, she's dealing with the aftermath of a disastrous--and deadly--rally for blood, one that has gotten many people killed. As if that wasn't enough, Dawn is asked to step down as delegate, has lost Victor, and has to contend with Sin out running amok. She is asked to go to Los Angeles, where Dawn discovers deadly secrets to her past.. Secrets that might be the end of her.

What I enjoyed:
-Dawn's fresh voice, and her bravery--I enjoy Dawn immensely
-The dark, frightening world that is Dawn's life, which is slowly getting worse
-Tegan
-Victor, whose role expanded in this novel
-Michael
-Sin, and the way he causes terror across the whole book
-The secrets that were revealed at the end of the book, hinted at throughout
-The cliffhanger ending
-Richard and Faith
-Vividly scary, beautiful LA
-Rachel and Jeff

What I didn't enjoy:
-I don't know if it was a fluke, but some of the page numbers near the end of the novel were messed up, making the narration bumpy and hard to follow
-Victor seemed to show up very little in the book, especially at the end
-Roland Hursch
-Lila

I really enjoyed Blood-Kissed Sky--it was deliciously creepy and anyone looking for a good horror series should pick it up! Next on deck: The Program, by Suzanne Young!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay Review

Title: Romeo Redeemed
Author: Stacey Jay
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Juliet Immortal, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The breathtakingly romantic companion to Juliet Immortal, Romeo Redeemed offered a new perspective on the dark, doomed Romeo that I loved!

Romeo is sent into an alternate reality by Juliet's nurse to woo Ariel into loving him. In doing so, he will be granted mercy as an Ambassador--but only if he succeeds. But soon he finds there's a darker side to Ariel--and loving her might not be a lie after all.

-The heady, romantic prose and how the plot tied so seamlessly with the previous novel
-Romeo's slow but steady evolution into a man, and a decent human being
-Ariel, complex and dynamic and wonderful--one of the best characters ever for me
-Gemma
-The ending
-The romance of it all
-The alternate reality Romeo is placed in
-Though not as good as Juliet Immortal, it was a worthy sequel

What I didn't enjoy:
-Nurse--she was such a liar!
-The friar
-Dylan
-Ariel's mother
-At times I was frustrated with Romeo's lust for Ariel

Anyone who loves a good romance or retelling should pick up these novels by Stacey Jay! Next on deck: Blood-Kissed Sky by J.A. London!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London Review

Title: Darkness Before Dawn
Author: J.A. London
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction/Horror
Series: Darkness Before Dawn, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Horrifying, beautiful, and romantic, I loved Darkness Before Dawn--it paints a picture of a not so distant future, and is possibly one of the first vampire novels to scare me in years!

Dawn Montgomery is Denver's delegate--the one person who can journey out safely from the protection of the Wall around the city. In Dawn's world, the globe is ravaged by a war between vampires and humans. Thirty years later, both sides have come to an uneasy peace, forming the VampHu treaty: Humans are guaranteed protection, so long as they give blood to their vampire overlords. It is Dawn's job to be the mediator between both races, and finds her life tossed up in a dangerous political game against her will.

What I enjoyed:
-The prologue, hinting to something deeper in Dawn's origins
-Dawn's voice, and the way she narrates the novel: brave and at the same time fearful, tender yet guarded
-The pacing--the novel flew and I read it all in a day
-The terrifying world that J.A. London paints so vividly
-Tegan
-Sin
-Rachel and Jeff
-Victor
-Lord Valentine
-The complicated politics throughout the novel
-The horror laced through the story that I really enjoyed
-The mystery that took the entire novel to solve
-Victor and Dawn's budding relationship
-The shocking, scary, cliffhanger ending
-Richard
-Faith

What I didn't enjoy:
-Michael--at times I thought he was too overprotective and was just overall a douche
-Lila

I really, really loved Darkness Before Dawn--an original spin on a tired, old genre! It was awesome. Fans of strong heroines, starcrossed lovers, and horror should pick it up. I can't wait until Blood-Kissed Sky! Next on deck: Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters Review

Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A beautifully rendered, tender coming of age story amidst World War I, ghosts, first and lost love, and mystery around every corner, I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds--it was absolutely amazing!

Mary Shelley Black has moved from Oregon to San Diego in an effort to escape the wildfire of influenza raging across the country. Saying goodbye to her first love, Stephen, Mary Shelley must learn to adjust, even as her world is tumbling down about her ears, even with her dour Aunt Eva for company, and soon finds herself wrapped up in the supernatural craze she despises, as well as a mystery she must race against time to solve--before she's next.

What I enjoyed:
-The wonderful narration--I was absolutely riveted, though it started out a little slow
-Mary Shelley's evolution throughout the novel--I was rooting for her all the way
-The rich but terrifying world that is Mary Shelley's evironment
-The way the spiritualism and supernatural are infused into the novel so well
-Stephen, and his ghost
-Aunt Eva
-Mr. Darning
-The clever mystery that was wrapped up in a coming of age tale, as well as historical fact
-How well researched the novel was
-The use of letters in the novel
-The romanticism of the novel
-Julius
-Gracie and Grant
-The way the ending was tied up so neatly

What I didn't enjoy:
-At times it started out a little bit slow
-At points it seemed really very frightening

I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds--it was so lovely and wonderful! Anyone searching for a strong heroine, a good mystery, or exquisite prose should pick it up! Next on deck--Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay Review

Title: Juliet Immortal
Author: Stacey Jay
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Juliet Immortal, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A dark, romantic, supernatural spin on Romeo and Juliet, Juliet Immortal tells the real story of the doomed lovers--with tenderness, romance, and with great skill--this book is one of my favorites of all time, and I can't wait for Romeo Redeemed!

Romeo and Juliet didn't really die as star-crossed lovers. Romeo sacrificed his young bride for the promise of eternal life, and Juliet is an Ambassador of Light--a soul recruited to keep true love alive. Juliet has been sent on yet another job: protect a pair of soulmates from Romeo's wicked lies, and go back to living in the mist. This time, though, it is Juliet who falls in love, and discovers that while she may have been wronged in the past, it is still all right to forgive yourself, and it is still all right to love, even when you've been burned by it.

What I enjoyed:
-the magnetic, beautiful, flowing prose that drew me in from the first sentence
-The flawed, beautiful character of Juliet, who had me bawling the entire time I was reading
-Romeo, the deliciously scary villain of the novel who even interjected with his own narration at times
-The mythology of the novel (i.e., Ambassadors of Light and the Mercenaries)
-Ariel
-Ben
-Gemma
-The way I couldn't put it down
-The heartbreaking romance
-The action
-The promise of a sequel--I can't wait for it!
-The delicious, dark twisted on an always timeless story that I've always enjoyed

I loved Juliet Immortal--anyone looking for a good spin on an old tale, a heartbreaking, melting romance should pick it up--beautiful! Next on deck: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters!