Monday, June 30, 2014

Flora by Gail Godwin Review

Title: Flora
Author: Gail Godwin
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lyrical, creepy Gothic drama, Flora hooked me from the first page--an amazing, finely wrought tale of love, revenge, and ultimately, redemption--a new favorite of all time!

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

Helen, a fiercely imaginative little girl on the cusp of her eleventh birthday, is left with her twenty-two year old caretaker, sweet, simple Flora. Almost taking advantage of Flora becomes a fun pastime for Helen in her otherwise boring summer, in the midst of the end of World War II. But when a handsome young man named Finn comes by the house, and Helen begins to have feelings for him, her indifference toward Flora starts to turn into jealousy. When that jealousy comes to a climax one night, Helen doesn't realize the consequences of her actions until years later.. And they are anything but repairable..

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical prose, narrated by angry, bitter, sometimes precocious Helen, seemingly so much older and wiser than her eleven year old self, wisdom that comes far too late, caught up as she is in her own problems
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down and I read it in about a day and a half
-I loved the way this novel reminded me of Ian McEwan's bestseller Atonement, only, possibly, even better, with Gothic elements done so artfully
-Helen, the child who is so caught up in her own mind she refuses to see the consequences of her own actions, rippling until many years later
-The sweet, kind, simple Flora, who wants nothing more than her own place in the world, even just as a young teacher or a young married one, unfortunately trapped in Helen's web
-Nonie, the wise and sometimes cold old woman who mothers both Helen and Flora
-Finn, the sweet, kind young man that comes between Flora and our narrator
-I loved the supernatural elements peppered throughout this creepy novel, especially Helen hearing Nonie on some occasions
-The ending--it was perfect, and utterly heartbreaking

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this creepy Gothic thriller! Simply amazing!

I loved Flora--a literary triumph from a seasoned veteran of an author! Next on deck: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw Review

Title: Five Corners: The Marked Ones
Author: Cathi Shaw
Age Group: Young Adult/Teen
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Marked Ones, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A solid fantasy debut, I really enjoyed The Marked Ones, despite some errors, grammatically and plotwise. An enjoyable book for fantasy fans.

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

Sisters Kiara, Mina, and Thia are all bound by the same thing: They each have a mysterious mark on their bodies. Told by their mother that they are the only ones with this birthmark, the girls' lives are shattered when a group of strangers come to their inn. Forced to leave their home in search of safety and answers after a string of murders--all children with the very same mark--the girls discover that no one can be trusted, magic can come from just about anywhere, and love is closer than any of them could've imagined..

What I enjoyed:
-I liked the pacing of the novel--I honestly couldn't put it down, despite the misgivings I initially had
-The high-fantasy feel of the novel--I crave high fantasies every now and then and this honestly didn't disappoint, full of journeys, prophecies, forbidden love, and mysterious creatures
-Kiara, the strong-willed warrior girl who hides her soft heart behind a tough exterior
-Mina, the sweetheart, the dreamer who wants nothing more than to leave her area of The Five Corners and see what's outside her little village
-Thia, the youngest of the sisters, the resident cook and musician who has frightening, mysterious visions, and who learns a lot about herself as the novel goes on
-Caedmon, Teague, and Meldiron
-Brijit
-The compelling mystery that unwinds as the novel goes on
-The ending that left open for a sequel

What could've been better:
-This novel seriously needed more editing; at times there were serious grammatical errors and it was distracting
-At times I found myself rolling my eyes, because the plot became a bit predictable after a while
-I wish more had been said about the Elders and the other races encountered in the novel
-I found myself rolling my eyes more than once at the silly romance throughout the novel

Overall, I really liked The Five Corners! Next on deck: Flora by Gail Godwin!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe Review

Title: Paradigm
Author: Ceri A. Lowe
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: Paradigm, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The interesting thing about this dystopian novel is that it explains not the destruction of such a society, but the formation of one--a solid, interesting debut, even if it was a little hard to follow.

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

Alice Davenport has seen the destruction of the world as she knows it. Carter Warren is a boy who wants to change the world. Their stories intertwine as Alice works to implement a new world order, and Carter races to find the secrets of the past.. And just what Paradigm Industries has to do with it.. Because if he doesn't hurry, he and his whole family, and his future, could be in jeopardy..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel, new and different and yet somehow familiar--I loved the way it went between the formation of the dystopian society, and Carter racing to figure out how to overthrow it--it was novel and original
-The chilling, frightening world in which Alice and Carter live, in which people are doomed to just survival and not having actual lives
-Alice, the young woman who doesn't have a purpose until she works to reform society as we all know it, and in so doing, potentially dooms the human race to just exist and survive, and not to actually live
-Carter, the strong-willed boy who wants nothing more than to change the world for the better and make a mark on society--even if that society is utterly totalitarian
-The pacing of the novel was completely breakneck--I couldn't put it down
-Jonah, the boy that Alice falls in love with
-Filip
-The character development of Alice and Carter was rich and relatable to me, Carter especially
-The ending--it was perfect and I can't wait to see what's next!

What could've been better:
-At times it seemed like it was moving too fast
-The idea seemed a bit far fetched as the novel went on

Overall, I really enjoyed Paradigm--a heart-racing, un-put-downable thriller! Next on deck: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Til Death by Kate Evangelista Review

Title: Til Death
Author: Kate Evangelista
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Fractured Souls, book one
Star Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I really struggled with his novel--with a main character that I couldn't relate to, an angry, abusive alpha male, and a weak plot, I wasn't feeling this book--I really tried, but it just wasn't for me.

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

Selena Fallon is a dreamer--not a daydreamer, but she literally sees visions of the future. As if this wasn't freaky enough, a mysterious boy named Dillan comes to town, and with him, dark forces. Dogs are being killed, her friends are acting strange, her ex is acting like a psycho, and her visions are getting more frightening: They tell of her death. Despite this, and her growing attraction to Dillan, she must dig into her heritage, or she might not survive to figure out what's going on..

What I enjoyed:
-I really liked the novel idea of this book--it was a valiant try

What could've been better:
-Selena seemed unrelatable, and boy-crazy--the way she narrated the novel was insipid and I found myself rolling my eyes more than once
-Dillan, the brainless brute of an alpha male that Selena falls for--despite attempts to make him relatable, human, and deep, I really didn't like him and I found myself screaming more than once in my head
-The plot was predictable and very, very juvenile
-I didn't like Penny or Kyle
-I didn't like the ending at all
-I really feel that this book would be cater well to Twilight fans, it just wasn't for me

I didn't like this novel in the least. I really, really tried, but it just wasn't for me. Next on deck: Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Sword of the Realm by Mark Wheaton Review

Title: The Sword of the Realm
Author: Mark Wheaton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Action/Adventure
Series: Finders and Keepers, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A cinematic, action-packed debut full of history, humor, and ancient artifacts, The Sword of the Realm is highly recommended for young adults and adults alike, especially for fans of The Da Vinci Code!

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

Chris Dashwood isn't the most normal of fourteen-year-olds. Working with his beloved grandfather in their antique shop, pining fruitlessly after a gorgeous classmate, randomly knowing facts that no one his age would even think of. But that all changes when a mysterious girl named Iris appears in his family's shop, and tells him she needs his help: A sinister band of people called The Hellfire Club are after Excalibur--yes, that Excalibur, and there might be more than an ancient antiquity on the line if our gang isn't quick enough..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of this novel was absolutely breakneck, grabbing me by the throat and not letting go
-Chris, the hilarious, smart-aleck history nut that ends up solving an age-old mystery--and saving all of Britain while he's at it
-Iris, the quirky, funny, serious young woman who draws Chris into a world of high-speed chases, mystical objects, friendship, and travel
-Baz, the hilarious daredevil able to charm the pants off of everyone he meets
-The almost identified Brazilian girl who is an expert on historical objects and not bad at languages either
-Sang-Yoon
-Big Dan--I really liked him
-Merdaut, the frightening psycho who was the villain
-Chris's family history, especially with his father and his Grandfather Alf
-The ending--I can't wait for the sequel, The Golden Fleet!

What could've been better:
-At times the pacing moved so fast what was happening got muddled up and I had to go back and reread
-Though the historical facts were definitely interesting, it got a little hard to keep up with as the action sped up

I loved The Sword of the Realm--a great book for adventure/action fans! Next on deck: 'Til Death by Kate Evangelista!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

1000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names by Mario Giordano Review

Title: 1000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names
Author, Illustrator: Mario Giordano, Ray Fenwick
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Humor/Inspiration
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A hilarious little volume rife with humor, inspiration, and a bit of dark comedy, this book is highly recommended to humor fans or people just looking for a bit of unconventional inspiration!

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

Looking for humor? Inspiration? Hilarious jokes and dark truths that no one in their right mind would ever say? How about a fun little ice-breaker? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, this book is for you! An excellent source of amusement for any adults! An amazing ice-breaker for parties, as well! A triumph of humor and inspiration!

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the art of this cute little volume--it was spot on and fit the mood perfectly
-The hilarious, dark, sometimes unpleasant humor that is rife throughout the book
-It was a nice, quick read that I enjoyed

What could've been better:
-Sometimes it was a little bit too dark for my taste

Overall, I really liked this volume, plump with helpful inspiration and side-splitting humor! Next on deck: The Sword of the Realm by Mark Wheaton!

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman Review

Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A chilling, fast-paced historical debut that is marvelously researched, rooted in fact, Prisoner of Night and Fog completely swept me away--simply amazing, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

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

Gretchen Muller's life is easy, simple. Despite the rations, the war, the growing unrest, she enjoys a privileged position: She is Adolf Hitler's pet, his favorite child. Her father died protecting her beloved Fuhrer, and in so doing, has cemented her position in society. But when she meets a young Jew named Daniel, she begins to realize that Hitler's version of things don't quite add up.. And when she begins to dig for answers in Hitler's past and her own, the truth may just need to stay buried, if she is to live..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the tense, terse, stark atmosphere of fanatic, maniacal post-World War I Germany--it was definitely scary and I got chills more than once as I read the book--I really felt like I was there, and that's the highest praise I can give to a historical fiction novel, especially for a debut author!
-The pacing--I was completely glued to the book and I couldn't put it down, breathless as I turned the pages, frantic to see what would happen
-Gretchen, the sweet, impressionable girl who loves Hitler just as much as her own father, but as the novel goes on, her character development was satisfying--I enjoyed watching her learn how to think for herself
-Daniel, the sweet Jewish boy who will stop at nothing to get to the truth--and ends up falling for the beautiful, stubborn, spoiled Gretchen in the process--their romance really sold this book for me
-Hitler, the man who is clearly psychotic--he was definitely horrifying, and scary, and made for a very convincing, and yet somehow, sympathetic, villain
-Reinhard, the boy who ends up following in Hitler's footsteps, and is clearly disturbed--he really frightened me as the book went on, the violence escalating
-Gretchen's parents
-The historical figures peppered throughout the book, particularly Geli and Eva Braun
-The ending--I can't wait to see what's in store for Gretchen and Daniel!

What could've been better:
-As I read, there were times when the cast of historical figures got so muddled up I had trouble remembering who was who, exactly

I simply adored Prisoner of Night and Fog, and I cannot wait for the sequel! An amazing triumph of historical fiction! Next on deck: 1000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names by Mario Giordano!

Reread in April 2015: Wow. Holy crap. This book was just as frightening, arresting, and intense the second time around. A must-read for historical fiction buffs, and those who love well-researched novels! Next on deck: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hidden by Catherine McKenzie Review

Title: Hidden
Author: Catherine McKenzie
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An amazingly tender, poetic drama from an amazing author, I simply loved Hidden--highly recommended for contemporary fiction fans!

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

Meet three people: Jeff, his wife Claire, and his coworker, Tish. They are ordinary adults, struggling to chase after The American Dream, and their own happiness. But when tragedy strikes--Jeff is killed by an oncoming car--Claire's world--and Tish's--are shattered. Reeling at the loss, the reader is told the story through three different voices, on how all the characters are connected, and how they relate to one another. This novel showcases brilliantly the flaws of the human condition through three very real, flawed, and sympathetic characters, the mystery unwinding as the pages dwindle..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the way this book was unlike any I'd ever read: a contemporary drama told through three different points of view
-The pacing of this novel--it was so quick, I couldn't put it down, I was completely glued to the page and read it in a matter of mere hours that flew by
-I love how human all the characters seemed; it didn't seem like they were characters in a fictional book, but like real, human people you could see on the street every day
-Jeff, the man who is trying so hard to stay afloat despite his own issues, particularly in his marriage and family--I found myself crying for him a number of times
-Claire, the beautiful wife with the loving husband and kid, seemingly perfect on the outside, but hiding her own cracks and flaws on the inside--I really sympathized with her as well
-Tish, the young woman who grows to be Jeff's friend and maybe, just maybe, something more, despite having her own family to look after--and it's never out and out stated about the affair implied in the novel, it was genius
-Seth, Zoe, Brian, and the cast of characters that surrounds our little triangle of people
-The ending--it was perfect and very satisfying

What could've been better:
-At times, the narration grew a little too fast for me
-I would've liked to know more about Zoe's health issues

Overall, Hidden was a mostly perfect book, an amazing drama. Highly recommended, and absolutely beautiful! Next on deck: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman!

Firebug by Lish McBride Review

Title: Firebug
Author: Lish McBride
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Firebug, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A new novel in a brand-new series, Firebug had everything I want in an urban fantasy--a spunky, sympathetic heroine, a psychotic despot, magic, action, blood, and two hot boys! I want more, please!

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

Ava is a firebug, which is to say, she can start fires with her mind. Trying to lay low in a human world and take as much normal as she possibly can, she does her best to keep under the radar. Unfortunately, that's pretty hard, considering she's the most powerful hitman for the magical mafia, and they pretty much own her. Yep, like cattle. When Ava denies a job, for the first time ever, and runs, she realizes that a war bigger than any she's ever seen is being to brew.. And with her crappy luck, she just might be right smack in the middle of it..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel, a unique urban fantasy that involves magic, murder, the Mafia, and romance
-The pacing of this novel was cutthroat--I couldn't put it down, and I'm discovering this as the author's signature
-Ava, the strong, hilarious young woman who realizes that her power may not come from just her fire-starting, but the strength of her will, and her love for her family--I was really cheering for her the entire novel
-Lock, the boy who clearly has it bad for our girl Ava, and stands by her come hell or high water, quite literally, I might add
-Ezra, the hilarious were-fox and resident playboy--he provided a lot of essential comic relief in an otherwise heavy novel
-The weres, especially Ikka, Sid, and of course, tough little Olive
-Duncan
-Cade
-Venus, the resident villain and despot--I was genuinely freaked out by her, and she made an amazing foil to Ava
-The ending

What could've been better:
-I didn't much like Brittany or Ryan
-I felt bad for Ava when Lock's relatives came into play
-Sometimes it got a tad too violent for my tastes

Overall, Firebug was an amazing, hilarious thrill ride--I loved it! Next on deck: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg Review

Title: Dream Boy
Author(s): Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Fantasy
Series: Dream Boy, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A strong, well-written debut of fantasy and horror, Dream Boy had me hooked--the only problem I had with it was I want more!

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

Annabelle Manning has always been a big dreamer--so much so she even has a dream dictionary app on her phone. But when a boy comes to her school straight out of her fantasies, she is shocked. Immediately drawn to the sexy Martin, despite her misgivings, she discovers that while dreams can come true--literally--so can nightmares, and one is chasing her, intent on taking her life.. And if she isn't careful, Annabelle and her friends just not make it out unscathed..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of Dream Boy--it was breakneck and I was hooked immediately from the first paragraph
-I couldn't get enough of this book's unique mythology--dreams becoming real!--it was so cool, like something out of a fairy tale
-Annabelle, the sweet girl who always has her head in the clouds and almost ends up paying the price for it--her character development, as well as her chemistry with Martin, was really fun to read
-Martin, the mysterious boy straight out of a girl's most intimate fantasies, who clearly has something to hide despite being undeniably attracted to Annabelle
-Will, the snarky, quirky best friend who is obviously carrying a torch for Annabelle--I really liked him, though half the book I'll admit I was lusting after Martin
-The nightmare that targets Annabelle through terrifying dreams
-I loved the horror in this book as well--it kept ratcheting up until at times I was shivering and almost biting my nails
-The hilarious cast of characters surrounding Martin, Annabelle, and Will
-Annabelle's family, particularly Nick
-The ending--it was perfect and I can't wait for more!

What could've been better:
-I didn't like Annabelle's dad
-Stephanie

I loved, loved, loved Dream Boy, and I can't wait for the sequel! Simply wonderful! Next on deck: Take Back The Skies by Lucy Saxon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Than This by Patrick Ness Review

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An amazing, breathtaking novel about redemption, friendship, and death, I loved More Than This--one of my favorite reads of all time, hands down, bar none!

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

A boy wakes up in purgatory, hell, or limbo. Stuck in the in-between, realizing that he has passed away, he realizes that he is alone. Struggling to remember what happened to him and how he got there, he discovers that he is not alone after all, and he must team up with his new friends to discover his past, and his way to forgiving himself..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the writing style, creepy and cutthroat, heartbreaking and gut-wrenching--this book completely wrung out my heart like a used sponge--and I've discovered that this is signature for Ness
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--once I was sucked in, from the very first chapter, I couldn't put it down
-Seth, the sweet, confused boy who wakes up in a world he thought was his own--and his journey--his character development as I read made me cry more than once, and my heart broke for him
-Regine, the tough, angry, bitter young woman who ends up becoming Seth's friend on the other side, who does everything to protect her friends--I really enjoyed her, and seeing how she ended up with Seth was heartbreaking in every way
-Tomasz, the sweet little boy who clings to Regine like a child to their parent--I highly enjoyed him as well, especially with the colorful Polish curse words
-I love the way this spine-tingling, nail-biting novel pulled no punches--I felt like I was constantly getting mind-screwed, in a way that I really liked--there's not an author out there like Ness today
-The vibrant cast of characters that surrounds Seth, Gudmund in particular
-The creepy world that our three heroes find themselves trapped in
-The ending--it was simply perfect

What could've been better:
-There was nothing I didn't love about this amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking novel! Highly recommended!

I loved, loved, loved More Than This--a new, all time favorite that I will treasure forever! Next on deck: Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Undelightened by Bentz Deyo Review

Title: The Undelightened
Author: Bentz Deyo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Undelightened, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An excellent debut, I loved The Undelightened--an adventure and a coming of age story rife with romance, humor, magic, and danger--I can't wait for the sequel, and to see what's in store for Leam next! Highly recommended!

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

Leam Holt, simply put, is a loser. Once a prodigy in a family of Dark magic practitioners, he fails his delightenment--the magical ceremony every Dark child goes through at the age of eighteen--and his family shuns him, for he has stained their honor. A year later, his younger brother, Zach, has delightened. Hopeless as well as dejected, Leam is shocked when Gideon--king of Dark magic practitioners--offers him a second chance. Eager to prove himself, he jumps at it. But when he meets a beautiful young woman of Light named Eloa, he finds himself torn between what he could've had, and what he will have. And when he discovers disturbing secrets on both sides of a bloody war, he finds that he will never be the same..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the concept of this novel--good and evil premises are really stale, but Deyo refreshed it--I really liked this creative spin on a classic idea, and it really sold the book for me
-Leam, the shunned young man who wants nothing more than to be accepted into his family, and yet the same time be himself--I really enjoyed reading his evolution from a beaten young man into a worthy hero
-The flashbacks and visions
-Zach, the snotnosed little brother who makes Leam's life hell, and makes quite the impressive, if a little goonish, villain
-Sara, the evil stepmother who plays her role to a tee--I really, really disliked her
-Bram, the man who makes the mistake of loving the wrong person and paying the price for it--I really felt sympathetic for him, despite his obvious evil
-Gideon--Gideon, easily one of the creepiest, most twisted villains I've ever had the pleasure of reading--he really, really gave me quite the case of heebie-jeebies
-The dark cast of characters surrounding the wicked leader of the dark
-Eloa, the beautiful young woman who gets caught unwillingly in a war she almost didn't have any intention of participating in
-Jace
-Sebastian and Miller
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down, as there was action, humor, and danger on every page, ripe in every chapter for picking
-The ending--I can't wait to see what's next for Leam, and I'm so excited for the sequel!

What could've been better:
-At times Zach really got on my nerves (But that was honestly, probably the point. Lol.)
-I really wish more had been divulged about Leam's origins, as well as the Duncans

Overall, I really, really enjoyed The Undelightened! Highly recommended for fans of Harry Potter, a new favorite! Next on deck: More Than This by Patrick Ness!

Contact by Laurisa White Reyes Review

Title: Contact
Author: Laurisa White Reyes
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Contact, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: I simply loved Contact--a well-written, spine-tingling thriller from a debut author! I can't wait for the sequel!

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

Can you imagine a world where mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia are entirely eradicated? Well now, thanks to the new wonder drug, Gaudium, these things are possible. The daughter of one of the creators of Gaudium, Mira has a very strange ability: Skin to skin contact makes it possible for her to see inside your mind. Considered crazy by most after the second suicide attempt, she is angry and wants to die to save herself from emotional pain. But when she discovers that people have died as a result of prolonged use of the drug, Mira begins to dig deeper.. And when she realizes that she may be more closely connected than anyone involved, she realizes she may have to risk her very life for the truth to come out..

What I enjoyed:
-I liked the premise of this novel--it seems that telepathic teens are a dime a dozen these days, but this was different
-Mira, the girl struggling to rein in her telepathic abilities, and all the while trying to find the way to the truth--her character development was rich and real and I really felt for her throughout the whole book
-David, the boy Mira almost unwillingly allows into her heart--their romance was sweet and I really felt for them both--I was cheering for them through the whole book
-The pacing--The twists and turns of this book left me breathless and I couldn't put it down--it was a definite nail-biter of a mystery for me
-Mira's parents--her dad, the golden politician, and her mother, who truly loves Mira and it shows--they were really great characters too
-Dr. Walsh, who truly wants to help Mira
-Jordan
-The ending--it was perfect and I can't wait for the sequel!'

What could've been better:
-At times, Mira's dad really annoyed me with his distance

Overall, Contact was a great mystery, and all I have to say is: More please! Next on deck: The Undelightened by Bentz Deyo!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Elemental Hunger by Elana Johnson Review

Title: Elemental Hunger
Author: Elana Johnson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Series: Elemental, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A fun, action-packed start to a new series, I loved Elemental Hunger--I was totally hooked from the first page! Just wonderful, and I can't wait for more of this series!

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

Welcome to the United Territories, where the Supremist rules all, and Elementals walk among normal people. Meet Gabriella Kilpatrick, a girl who has a meager job in the kitchens in her village of Crylon. But she has a life-changing secret: Despite being a girl, she is a Firemaker. Forced to go undercover as "Gabe", she flees her village in the middle of political unrest. Teaming up with Adam, a boy who has secrets himself, Gabby scrambles to rescue her friends. But the net around her is closing quickly, and she realizes she must discover who is trustworthy, and how to be true to herself.. Or it could mean her very life..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the premise of this novel--it was unique and still had the classic themes of girl-power, self-discovery, and first love--it really appealed to me
-I liked the world-building as well--it was easy to understand as well as believable
-Gabby, the fiery girl who struggles with love, trust, and with remaining true to herself as she comes into her own as a Firemaker in her own right--I really felt for her the entire book, and I was cheering for her the whole time
-Adam, the boy who is so much more than he seems, who falls hard for Gabby and yet frustrated me because he was lying to her and trying to possess her
-Hanai, the sweet boy who also falls for Gabby--he was definitely my favorite of the two boys
-Cat and Isaiah
-The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't put it down, I was so entirely hooked
-The action--It was almost like a movie or video game, there was so much fighting!
-Alex
-The ending--it was perfect

What could've been better:
-The love triangle was a little predictable and at times I caught myself rolling my eyes
-Adam, at times
-Felix
-Patches

Overall, I really, really enjoyed Elemental Hunger, and I can't wait for the sequel! Definitely a new favorite, highly recommended for fantasy and action fans! Next on deck: Contact by Laurisa White Reyes!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart Review

Title: Shattered Veil
Author: Tracy E. Banghart
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Diatous Wars, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A great debut from an amazing author, Shattered Veil captivated me completely--an amazing girl-power book that had me laughing, crying, and cheering--just amazing!

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

Aris Haan loves to do one thing: fly. Even though flying is frowned upon as a woman of her social standing, she can't help it. The only thing she loves more is her boyfriend, Calix. She is convinced they will be Selected, get married, and live happily ever after. But her dreams are shattered when Calix is called to fight in the coming war. Determined to make her own way, Aris finds herself in the Military, the place where women are forbidden. And she must keep her secret safe.. Or the consequences could reach farther than she could've ever imagined..

What I enjoyed:
-I loved the pacing of the novel--it was a little slow at first, but then the action started and I couldn't put it down!
-Aris, the brave, almost reckless main character willing to jeopardize her entire future to have a real purpose in life, and for true love--her character development hit me at the heart and I was cheering for her throughout the whole book, and she made this novel truly shine
-I loved the way this novel had the whole feel of Mulan, and girl-power--it was lovely and it was really refreshing, I really enjoyed it!
-Dysis
-Aris's flighty friends back in Lux, some of them with actual hearts--it's actually pretty weird to think that Aris is just like them in the beginning of the book
-Pyralis
-Galena
-Dianthe
-The unique, hilarious cast of male characters that surrounds Aris in the military, especially Galec, and Melik
-The ending--it was perfect, and I can't wait for the next book!

What could've been better:
-The world-building was very vague and I had a lot of trouble understanding it--I wish it had been explained thoroughly, instead of implicated and hinted at
-Calix--he really made me angry, enough to make me cry
-I really felt cheated at Calix and Aris's reunion--I felt like, at first, that Aris had done all of that for nothing
-I didn't really like many of Aris's friends from Lux, especially Phaedra, save Echo

Overall, this book was just lovely! Highly recommended to those readers who are craving a real girl-power book! Next on deck: Elemental Hunger by Elana Johnson!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

One Fine Day by Kat Ross Review

Title: One Fine Day
Author: Kat Ross
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A refreshingly different dystopian debut, I really enjoyed One Fine Day--highly recommended for dystopian fans!

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

Meet Jansin Nordqvist, the resident darling of our story. She knows what everyone does: When the surface world flooded from freak weather, there was no one left on the surface. She is content with her life: She knows her place and knows she will go on to succeed in the safe society in which she resides. But when a family vacation to the surface goes horribly awry, Jansin realizes that not only was she lied to, but that love and friendship are not nearly as far away as she thinks.. That is, if she lives to see it all through..

What I enjoyed:
-I really liked the stark, cold, and frightening world that Jansin lives in--it was really creepy, stifling, and yet I could easily imagine why people would choose such a lifestyle after what happened
-Jansin herself, the girl who is so sure about her course in life--her character development was rich and realistic, and I really enjoyed it
-The contrast between surface people--cold, sometimes ruthless survivors--and the underground residents, almost spoiled and pampered in their dystopian society
-Will, Banjeree, and the rest of the surface dwellers--I really grew to love them, Will especially
-The relationship between Will and Jansin, heated and yet fraught with serious problems
-Jansin's parents
-I really enjoyed all the twists and turns--though it was a little slow at first, it picked up toward the end and there was no putting it down
-The toads--that was genius, and I felt so bad for them
-The ending

What could've been better:
-At the beginning the pacing could've done with some work
-The idea of the hypercanes was just a bit too far-fetched for me and I had a hard time picturing it
-Jake, Rebekah, and most of the other underground residents

Overall, I really enjoyed One Fine Day--a solid debut! Next on deck: Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart!

Friday, June 6, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare Review

Title: City of Heavenly Fire
Author: Cassandra Clare
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Mortal Instruments, book six
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: The final and sixth novel in the explosive bestselling series, City of Heavenly Fire is everything a series finale should be--amazing, simply amazing! A story that will stay with me forever!

Clary, Jace, Simon and the gang have returned: This time, with a threat so big they may not even be able to defeat it. With Clary's wicked brother on the move, they realize that help may be too far away, or too late..

What I enjoyed:
-The pacing of this novel, even for Cassandra Clare, was amazing--I couldn't put it down and when I had to, I wasn't too happy about it--it was breakneck and the constant twists and turns had me screaming, crying, or both
-I loved the way that this novel explained everything--no question was unanswered and I was feeling satisfied
-Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, and Isabelle, and Clare's unique way of fleshing out every character--she did this especially well with Sebastian, Clary, and Jace
-The way the gang had to go into an unexpected quarter, multiple times, to defeat Sebastian
 -Maia, Jordan, and Lily
-Emma and Julian--I can't wait to see more of these two feisty Shadowhunters in The Dark Artifices next year!
-The rest of the Blackthorn children, Ty and Helen in particular
-Magnus
-I loved the way I couldn't guess anything that I was happening--I was practically having cardiac arrest at some parts
-Sebastian--he was perfect, frightening, and yet undeniably in ways human and sympathetic throughout the novel
-I loved the ending and the way it wrapped everything up so neatly--I'm just so sad it's over!

What could've been better:
-The only thing I'm sad about is that this saga is over--I'm heartbroken! Everything else was absolutely top-notch, done with signature flair!


I loved, loved, loved City of Heavenly Fire! A favorite series of all time! Brava! Next on deck: Some Fine Day by Kat Ross!