Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither Review

Title: Falls the Shadow
Author: Stefanie Gaither
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A dark, moody, creepy thriller, I loved this debut--a thriller, a murder mystery, and an ethics study all at once, Falls the Shadow was just wonderful--highly recommended!

This book was given to me by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

When Cate Benson was twelve, her big sister, Violet, died. And then, thanks to Huxley, a scientific unit that advocates cloning. With arrival of post-cloning Violet, Cate's life is back to normal--or so she thinks. Violet is soon accused of murdering a popular girl, and in so doing, she sets off a chain reaction of events: both sides of the cloning debate want to get their hands on the Benson sisters. Cate realizes that she must find answers.. Or she could be next on the hit list..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the stark, moody prose, and the setting of Haven, stifling and frightening--I was feeling creeped out within ten pages of reading the book
-The stifling setting that Cate lives in, particularly her school and her home, where clones are commonplace
-Cate, the girl who so desperately loves her parents and especially her sister, who wants so bad for a happy home life, and ends up in the middle of a violent war involving ethics, religion, and doing the right thing--I really rooted for her as the novel went on and I really related to her
-Violet, at times creepy and at others loving--I really felt bad for her as the novel went on, because who can help being born a clone, after all?
-Jaxon, and his growing relationship with Catelyn, as well as his mother
-Seth
-The twists and turns of the novel--I was on the edge of my seat as the novel continued to speed up--an amazing thriller!
-The ending--I can't wait for more from this debut author!

What could've been better:
-At times the pacing suffered through this book as the ethics situation mounted
-Samantha

Overall, I really enjoyed this thrilling, dark debut novel. Highly recommended for thriller fans! Next on deck: The Undelightened by Bentz Deyo!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch Review

Title: Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter
Author: Phoebe Damrosch
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction/Humor
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A hilarious memoir of a waitress in trendy New York, I loved Service Included--a triumph from a spunky, quirky, honest female chef! Wonderful, and absolutely hilarious!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Phoebe, a young woman trying to make it in expensive, artsy New York, chronicles her journey waitressing at the famous Per Se restaurant. Surrounded by a quirky cast of characters, she battles on bravely through the trials of being a waiter: accommodating guests, changing menus, setting tables. Soon, she finds that she had a lot of fun at her job, especially talking to the sweet, quiet Andre and their mutual bond of food--and it sets the background for Phoebe's cooking career for years to come.

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the tone of this novel--self-depreciating, quirky, hilarious--I loved the way the author didn't take herself too seriously, it really made this memoir enjoyable
-The antics at Per Se, in particular with Andre and the other staff--I found myself laughing out loud more than once as I read
-Phoebe, the hilarious narrator, clearly new to the restaurant business but also obviously in love with the food industry
-The food porn that peppered this novel in droves--I loved, loved, loved that part of the book--it was wonderful--I found my mouth watering as I continued to read
-The fly on the way perspective into the complicated world of fine dining restaurants--there's actually a lot more work involved with the waitstaff than I could've ever imagined!
-The hilarity involving celebrities and food reviewers
-The ending, especially with the menus!

What could've been better:
-At times I found myself rolling my eyes at the craziness that ensued in this book
-Phoebe's ex
-At times the drama between Andre and Phoebe had me wanting to scream in frustration
-Leigh
-Corey

Overall, I really enjoyed Service Included! A light, hilarious read that definitely brightened my day! Next on deck: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Review

Title: To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Author: Christy English
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lush, sensual novel about a queen I knew nothing about, I absolutely loved this--an intimate view of one of the most powerful women of that time! Wonderful, and well-researched! Lovely!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, at fifteen, becomes one of the most eligible women in France after her father's untimely death. Schooled by her father in the ways of court politics, and how to inspire love in her people, her life changes forever when she catches the eye of young Louis VII, and becomes his wife, and Queen of France. But when she discovers that the price of power--her own self and happiness--she realizes that she is trapped in a loveless marriage, and trapped in a castle of those who despise her, she realizes that her own happiness may not be that far away.. If she just could fight for it..

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical, almost musical prose of Eleanor's point of view throughout the book
-The pacing of this novel was nice--I could follow everything very well and it was quick
-Eleanor, the woman who wants power and wants to set her own path--but discovers that it might not be possible to have both--I really identified and sympathized with her--I found myself crying for her
-Louis, who in himself wasn't bad, but was good at all a good fit for our fiery Eleanor
-Eleanor's passionate lovers--I loved the way she was never afraid to go after what she wanted, whether it was power or a man
-Petra and Amaria
-I really enjoyed Eleanor's family as well, particularly her father
-The cast of characters surrounding Eleanor, particularly her enemies--it was fun to see her triumph in all things
-Henry
-I really enjoyed the way everything was so well researched

What could've been better:
-At times I was full of frustration for Louis
-It was infuriating for me sometimes to read about Eleanor's "failings", particularly in childbed

Overall, I really enjoyed To Be Queen--especially the political intrigue in it! Highly recommended for historical fiction fans! Next on deck: Service Included: Four Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset Review

Title: The Girl Who Never Was
Author: Skylar Dorset
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Otherworld, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An absolutely enchanting debut, I loved The Girl Who Never Was--I couldn't put this sweet, fantastic debut down! Absolutely amazing, and I can't wait for more from Skylar Dorset!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Selkie Stewart is finally turning seventeen. Thrilled at the prospect of trying to find her absent mother, along with her gorgeous, unattainable best friend, Ben, she begins to dig for answers--and finds so much more than she bargained for. Not only is her mother a Seelie queen who wants to kill her, that means that not only is Selkie, too, half-fairie, but she is also half-ogre. Unwittingly drawn into a glittering, enchanting world full of beauty and peril, Selkie must find it in herself to remain true to who she is.. Or lose herself to her heritage forevermore..

What I enjoyed:
-Sweet, insecure, adorable Selkie, who becomes a hero in her own right--I loved the way she stormed into the Otherworld for Ben, and to find answers for herself
-Ben, and his unmistakable attraction to Selkie, driving her to spend a good amount of life (and strength) to protect her--their romance really sold this book for me
-The pacing of this novel was great--I really couldn't put it down
-The frightening, perilous world of Other--I really enjoyed the foray into the fey world
-Selkie's mother, a powerful, truly terrifying villain with her own agenda for her young daughter
-The hilarious cast of characters that surrounds our heroes--Selkie's father, aunts, and of course, Will!
-The ending--I can't wait to see what happens next!

What could've been better:
-I wish more had been explained about Ben's heritage
-I wish there had been more explained about the prophecy involving Selkie as well

I loved, loved, loved The Girl Who Never Was! A smashing success of a debut! Amazing! Next on deck: The Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell Review

Title: Vienna Nocturne
Author: Vivien Shotwell
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Lush, romantic, and glittering, Vienna Nocturne captivated me entirely--a gorgeous love story told with grace, style, and tenderness in 1770s Vienna--just amazing!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Anna Storace is a young ingenue, passionately in love with opera and singing on stage. Rising quickly through the ranks to become a prima donna, despite some mistakes and personal issues. Happy and in love with her craft, this all changes when Anna meets Wolfgang Mozart--and falls passionately in love. Indulging in a doomed romance, our two lovers find that even love requires great sacrifice..

What I enjoyed:
-First off, I absolutely loved that the book was written by someone who knew the opera industry--I really felt like I was getting a backstage look into the glittering, secret world of fine opera and culture
-The lush, glittering world of 1770s Vienna, beautiful and yet still very perilous in many ways
-Anna, the fragile young ingenue who grows up to be a star, and a strong woman in her own right--her character development was almost painful as it went on
-Mozart, the tortured genius who Anna falls for, despite being married to other people
-The vibrant cast of characters surrounding the two star-crossed lovers
-The pacing of this novel was lovely--I couldn't put it down
-The detailed prose
-The ending--it did justice to everyone involved
-I loved the research that went into this novel

What could've been better:
-I was kind of hoping that more could've been divulged out of Anna and Mozart's whirlwind passion
-I was hoping that Lidia could've been more of a main character in the story

Overall, I really enjoyed Vienna Nocturne--truly it was a treat! Next on deck: The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I Am The Weapon by Allen Zadoff Review

Title: I Am The Weapon
Author: Allen Zadoff
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Action/Thriller
Series: Boy Nobody, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Though I had misgivings at first--this was obviously a book marketed to male audiences--this book was a fun, breakneck thrill ride! Highly recommended to those looking for the next adventure!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Meet Boy Nobody: a nondescript, plain teenage boy. A normal kid. But here's the catch: Kidnapped as a child by the shadowy organization known only as The Program, he is sent on yet another mission, and Boy Nobody gets unwittingly involved with a young woman at the local high school. In doing so, memories and feelings long forgotten begin to resurface, and with them, he realizes that there just might be a normal kid just under the surface.. And he's fighting for what's left of his life..

What I enjoyed:
-I really loved the premise of this novel--I love spy novels when they're executed in the right way
-Our narrator, a soldier, assassin, and spy, raised to do his job without question, but struggling with first love and with finding his own identity, struggling with doubt--I really felt for him as the novel went on
-The pacing--at first it took a while for me to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't put it down!
-Sam, Howard, and the cast of characters that surround our antihero, especially the mayor and Sam herself
-I loved the way the book was constantly leading me on turns and twists, especially with his former comrade
-Mother and Father
-The secretive, dark peeks into Boy Nobody's fleeting past
-The ending--I can't wait to read the sequel!

What could've been better:
-It took me a bit to actually get into the story
-It kind of bugged me that the book was so obviously marketed to a teen boy/male audience, despite the growing romance between the narrator and Sam


Overall, I really enjoyed I Am The Weapon--it was a great thrill ride! Next on deck: Vienna Nocturne: A Novel by Vivien Shotwell!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier Review

Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Shadowfell, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An epic, deeply-layered adventure sure to be a hit with fans of Lord of the Rings, Shadowfell was simply amazing, a triumph that I simply had to start over because I was enjoying it so much!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Welcome to Alban, the land where magic reigns. A place where humans and the Otherfolk, the Fair Folk, live together side by side. But fifteen years ago, the wicked King Keldec conquered the land, and by so doing, has scattered the Fair Folk and those who are 'canny': people gifted with abilities from said Fair Folk. Meet Neryn, a fifteen year old girl who is gifted with The Sight: She can see faeries. On the run from the King's Enforcers, she finds herself drawn into an epic quest that she, or even the country of Alban, may survive..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the high fantasy vibe of this novel--it was very refreshing, because every reader needs a good adventure now and then!
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down
-I loved the premise--faerie books are a dime a dozen these days, but this was unique and I was glued to the book--I loved it so much I even started it over
-Neryn, the meek young girl who becomes a heroine--her character development was rich and real, and I was cheering for her the entire way
-The motley crew of faeries Neryn encounters, especially toward the end of the novel
-Flint, the boy caught between two sides of a dark, brutal war--I will definitely be watching him throughout this series
-The dark, rich, sometimes gruesome environment of Alban--I want more!
-The ending

What could've been better:
-There was absolutely nothing I didn't love about this lovely novel--amazing!

I loved, loved, loved, Shadowfell--definitely a favorite of the year! Next on deck: I Am The Weapon by Allen Zadoff!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Beast of Callaire by Saruuh Kelsey Review

Title: The Beast of Callaire
Author: Saruuh Kelsey
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Gay Fiction
Series: The Legend Mirror, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A brand new series starring a feisty, diverse lesbian protagonist, I enjoyed The Beast of Callaire--however, there were some serious worldbuilding issues--I didn't understand it all that well.

This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Yasmin is a Manticore, a creature straight out of Persian mythology. Despite being a creature with unstoppable power, she becomes a beast on every full moon, unable to control herself and stem her desire for bloodlust. When she is found by a girl in the woods and begins to hear voices in her head, she wonders just what she is getting herself into, and all the while, finding that maybe love is not so out of reach..

What I enjoyed:
-Yasmin, the feisty main character, who uses sarcasm and anger to deflect and to protect herself--I really liked her and was rooting for her the entire time
-Fray
-I liked that Yasmin's abilities were unique in the paranormal sense, nothing usual at all
-Yasmin's relationship with her peers, especially Guy and Fray, as the novel went on
-The relationship between Yasmin and Fray--I loved watching their relationship develop
 -Yasmin's peers

What could've been better:
-I was really confused by the worldbuilding and the mythology of this novel--it was hard to follow and didn't really work for me
-The hunters weren't really relatable to me
-The ending was hard to follow, and unsatisfying

I really think that The Beast of Callaire had some potential, but for some reason it just fell short for me. Next on deck: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer Review

Title: Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots
Author: Jessica Soffer
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A tale of food, family, and love, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is one of those rare stories that leaves the reader feeling satisfied, and above all, hopeful--a marvelous debut!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lorca is desperate for any sort of attention from her distracted, distant, icy mother. So desperate, in fact, that she turns to desperate measures. Lost and alone, she signs up for Iraqi cooking classes. In doing so, she meets the lonely, recently widowed Victoria, the woman unmoored by her own losses and secrets. Brought together by a passionate bond of food, the two women, young and old, but in real need of love and friendship, realize that in opening up to each other, they just might have a chance at redemption.. If they let themselves have it.

What I enjoyed:
-The breathtaking, tender, sometimes brutal prose, peppered with exquisite descriptions of various dishes
-The pacing of this novel was also very good--it made it impossible to put down
-The dual point of view of both Lorca and Victoria, two women who are more alike than they realize, looking for love and redemption, often in the wrong places--both of them were very human and it was easy to feel for them, to love them--almost to the point of pain
-Lorca, the poor little girl who wants nothing more than a distracted mother's love and approval, sparingly given in tiny amounts--I really hurt for her
-Lorca's father
-Victoria, the poor, bitter old woman trying to run from her own mistakes, and finding redemption in her relationship to Lorca
-Joseph, Victoria's late husband, all too human himself--I wish we could've heard more about him
-Blot
-The ending--it was perfect, and did justice to them both

What could've been better:
-I did not like Lorca's mother
-Aunt Lou
-Dottie
-All three of these characters made it very hard to read at some points
-The self-harm in the novel was brutal and disturbing--at times it really hurt me and I felt myself in tears

I loved Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots--simply wonderful! Highly recommended for foodies! Next on deck: The Beast of Callaire by Saruuh Kelsey!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough Review

Title: The Fire Wish
Author: Amber Lough
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Jinni Wars, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A magical, enchanting debut, overall I loved The Fire Wish--a diverse, new novel that I loved and will definitely read once more, highly recommended for fans of Aladdin and The Arabian Nights!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In a brutal war between jinni and humans in the rich setting of medieval Baghdad, two girls unwittingly cross paths.. And when they do, their worlds are changed forever. Najwa must pretend to be a human princess, and Zayele must pretend to be a jinni, a being of sand, fire, and magic. Rushing to find a way to fix their mistake in the midst of a bloody war, the girls must find their way back home, and to each other, before it's too late..

What I enjoyed:
-The unique, brand new premise of the novel--jinni!--and that alone meant I had to have it!
-The rich, glittering setting of medieval Baghdad, beautiful and enchanting--it was definitely different and I really felt like I was there, experiencing everything
-Najwa and Zayele, two equally sympathetic main characters, in entirely different ways--I also liked that the novel took place in medieval Baghdad--the characters were diverse
-The dual point of view, giving a layer of humanity and depth to the novel
-The equally magical, enchanting Jinni Kingdom
-Atish and Kamal
-The vizier, at times reminiscent of Jafar from Aladdin
-The endless twists and turns
-The ending--it was perfect and I can't wait to see what happens next

What could've been better:
-At times for me the pacing suffered and I found the novel difficult to follow
-I wish more had been explained about the girls' origin, and about the magical world they live in

I really enjoyed The Fire Wish, despite some minor issues--an excellent book! Next on deck: Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer!  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner Review

Title: Deception's Princess
Author: Esther Friesner
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Series: Deception's Princess, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A fun, deeply researched tale of a princess in first century Ireland, I really enjoyed Deception's Princess--a wonderfully, multi-layered adventure!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Maeve is a princess, independent, spirited, the youngest of five. Her father's favorite of all because of her courage and strength, she wants nothing more than to live independent, free to choose the path for her own life. But when a visiting druid comes to the stronghold, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with his son. Forced to choose between family loyalty and her own choices, Maeve discovers that even the strongest girl must fight against being broken..

What I enjoyed:
-I really liked the way the cover and premise reminded me of the film Brave--it drew me in immediately
-Maeve, and her fierce independence, despite being 'just a girl'--her determination and bravery, and wanting to live her own life, was refreshing--but it was also nice to see her somewhat softened by romance
-The pacing of this novel--I couldn't put it down!
-The rich, intricately researched setting of first century Ireland
-Odran, the tender druid's son who becomes a dear friend to Maeve
-Maeve's family
-The ending--it was perfect and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

What could've been better:
-I really didn't like Iobar--he was awful
-Maeve's father pissed me off to no end, doing everything he could to own Maeve

I really, really enjoyed Deception's Princess--a refreshing read! Next on deck: The Fire Wish by Amber Lough!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt Review

Title: We Are The Goldens
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A tale of the relationship we all have with our sisters, We Are The Goldens is a poignant, tender, heartbreaking coming of age novel that I adored--absolutely beautiful!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nell and Layla Golden are as close as two sisters can be. So close, in fact, that when Nell was young, she never realized that they were two separate people. Now a freshman, Nell cannot wait to start school and become somebody, and to be close to her sister. But Layla begins to pull away, hiding secrets and acting strange. When Nell finds out that Layla is seeing a teacher, she is torn between guarding her sister's secret and doing the right thing.. And she discovers that she must make the choice soon, before things spiral out of control..

What I enjoyed:
-The lovely, beautiful prose, told to the reader in first person, poignant and wise and so sweet
-The pacing of this novel was perfect--I couldn't put it down!
-Nell, the sweet young woman who wants nothing more than to be just like Layla
-Layla, the misguided, faux-worldly girl that falls hard for her teacher--so hard that things spiral out of control
-Felix--he was one of the selling points of the novel for me, hilarious and human and a great foil for wise, introspective Nell
-I loved the way Nell was actually speaking to the reader
-The situation the author presents: Is it ethical for a teacher to get involved with one of his students?
-The ending--it was perfect

What could've been better:
-I wish there had been more relationship development between Nell and Felix
-I wish there had been more development in Mr. B's character--I would've liked to know more about him

I really enjoyed We Are The Goldens--wonderful! Next on deck: Deception's Princess by Esther M. Friesner!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill Review

Title: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I
Author: Anne Clinard Barnhill
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A deeply-layered, finely wrought tale of the Elizabethan court, Queen Elizabeth's Daughter had me completely hooked--I loved it!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Mistress Mary Shelton knows she lives a life of comfort, luxury, and privilege. As the queen's ward, she is given everything--a powerful position, fine clothes, and of course, the glittering, merry life of a courtier in Queen Elizabeth's court. But when the queen pushes her into a wealthy courtier's arms, Mary realizes for the first time she wants to live for herself. When she marries a Catholic in a time of political unrest, without the queen's consent, she finds herself wondering just what she may have to sacrifice for love..

What I enjoyed:
-The lush, glittering, but treacherous setting of Queen Elizabeth's court, beautifully and brutally rendered
-The pacing of this novel was part of what sold it for me--the author did a really good job of bouncing between Mary's life and the political trenches of Elizabethan England
-Mary herself, at first the timid young girl wanting to please her queen, then realizing she wants to live for herself--she was a strong heroine and I was rooting for her all the way
-Queen Elizabeth, that virgin monarch with a fiery temper, all hiding the fact that love hurts when you lose it--I really felt for her as well as Mary as the novel went on
-The large cast of characters surrounding Mary and the Queen, particularly Lord Robert and Nora
-I also really enjoyed the letters from Elizabeth to various advisers, giving readers perspective into her character
-John, the man who so quickly falls for Mary
-The ending--it was absolutely perfect and I really enjoyed it

What could've been better:
-I wish more perspective could've been gained on Elizabeth's past--it would've made her easier to understand, especially in dealing with Mary
-I wish more had been said about Mary's origins
-It was kind of hard to navigate the political parts of the book--there were so many names to keep track of

All in all, I really enjoyed Queen Elizabeth's Daughter! A true treat for any historical fiction/Tudor fan! Next on deck: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Review

Title: Second Star
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A contemporary spin on the classic tale Peter Pan, Second Star had me completely riveted--an amazing retelling and a new favorite beach read! Wonderful!

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wendy Darling hasn't been the same since the disappearance of her beloved brothers, John and Michael. Still reeling from their disappearance and determined to find them--knowing that they are still out there, somewhere--after graduation, she sets out to find them, and bring them home. But soon she gets mixed up with two very different young men: Pete, the gorgeous surfer who lives in a nearby cove with his fellow misfits, and Jas, the drug dealer on the other side of the cove, capable of horrible things but trying to find his way back to normal. Wendy discovers that by trying to find her brothers, she just might find someone else as well.. Herself.

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the prose--it really felt like it was a contemporary, grown up Wendy telling the story of her fateful summer
-The poignant, moody setting of beachy Southern California, painted with grace and poise--I really felt like I was there with Wendy, breathing in the salty sea air
-Wendy herself, the little girl lost, trying to find her beloved brothers, as well as her own identity, and stuck between two very different boys
-Pete and his misfits--Pete especially, so much like his inspiration, but different and more grown-up as well, almost jaded
-Jas, the boy who is trying to find his way back to a normal path, stuck in a situation that he didn't really want in the first place--my heart ached for him
-Belle
-Wendy's parents

What could've been better:
-I wish there could've been more background about John and Michael, and why they ended up where they did
-The ending--I really felt like it was unfair to Wendy and the reader, and I would've wanted a happier one

Overall, I really, really enjoyed Second Star--a wonderful retelling that all Peter Pan fans should read! Next on deck: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Nova by A.P. Kensey

Title: Nova
Author: A.P. Kensey
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure
Series: The Bloom Trilogy, book three
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The final novel in an action-packed, fast-paced superhero series, Nova was a great end to the series--I was left satisfied in every way!

*This review pertains to the third book in the ebook box set I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Haven and Colton are back for the final battle. Faced with a threat that could decimate not only Sources and Conduits, but the entire human race, and left reeling from the aftermath of the last battle, they must band together to save themselves and the whole country, because if they do not, the consequences could affect not only them, but their futures as well..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I was glued to my Nook the entire duration of the novel and I couldn't put it down!
-I loved the way the action was kicked up several notches--there was action throughout the whole book and my heart was pounding the entire time
-Haven, and her evolution throughout the novel into a hero worthy of her role
-Colton, and his fierce loyalty to the Dome and to Haven
-The always hilarious cast surrounding the two
-Reece
-The constant twists
-Alistair
-The ending--it was perfect!

What could've been better:
-At first the prologue and the way things tied together in the beginning were really confusing

Despite some minor issues, I really enjoyed Nova, and The Bloom Trilogy as a whole! A new favorite! Next on deck: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fade by A.P. Kensey Review

Title: Fade
Author: A.P. Kensey
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Action/Adventure
Series:The Bloom Trilogy, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A worthy sequel to the smash hit Bloom, I loved Fade--it was every bit as good as the first one--I can't wait to read Nova and see how the trilogy ends!

*This review pertains to the ebook box set I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Haven and Colton are back, both nursing wounds from the battle that took place a year ago. With random violence occurring throughout the country between Sources, Conduits, and humans, the gang are just trying to get back on their feet when a new threat arises on the horizon: Kamiko, a girl with frightening power, and what she wants is Haven's head. With a deadly virus being spread to other Sources and Cons, Haven and Colton must find a way to deal with this new threat.. Because now, everything is at stake..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of this novel was perfect--I couldn't put it down, in fact!
-Haven, and her determination to use her powers so no one else--human or otherwise--gets hurt--her character development was rich and a treat to watch
-Colton, and his fierce loyalty to Haven and his friends at the Dome
-Kamiko, a brand-new, scary villain who I enjoyed trying to manipulate everyone around her
-The fun cast of characters at the Dome, particularly Noah, Micah, and June
-The new characters that came into play in this book, especially Bastian and Roku
-The ending--it was absolutely heartbreaking!

What could've been better:
-I wish more background could've been provided on Kamiko--it would've made her villainy more real to me


I loved, loved, loved Fade! Amazing! A must-read for fans of Shatter Me and Mystic City! Next on deck: Nova by A.P. Kensey!