Archive | March 2012

COVER REVEAL: The Essence (Pledge #2) by Kimberly Derting

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There’s no synopsis yet but the release date is January 1st 2013. I’m excited!

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REVIEW: Halflings by Heather Burch

Pub. Date: February 1st 2012
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing
Pages: 288
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Rating: ★

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

I have to say, this book started a wee bit too fast to me. One second it’s hi this is Nikki – oh she’s running from her life from some massive wolves (which turn out to be Hell Hounds) okay. It jumped the gun a little too soon out of the gate. Then came the plot, or what I think the author called the plot. It felt contrived and cliched.

There’s a girl and her name is Nikki. Apparently, she’s this badass chick that does karate, paints and rides a motorcycle. She has a normal life, normal upbringing, everything is daisies. That is, until, she starts getting attacked by evil creatures from hell out of nowhere. Shock, gasp, oh no! Sigh. But I figured it’s okay I’ll go on, even if this has the odour of a MarySue in the works, I will continue on in hopes of something to redeem it.

I really, really wanted to like this book and it had all the ingredients that made me think I would: Hell Hounds, badass sounding heroine, angels, and violence. But it kills me to say that I couldn’t find that redeeming quality. It was hard to continue. It was even harder to finish. I hate, hate, hate saying that about any book but I’m being honest. It was hard. There were too many holes, too many things thrown at you at once at times and the writing was weak. It skipped around and felt like the author barely finished a thought before blundering into the next scene mid-conversation with no real idea why or how they got there. I honestly felt like I was back in grade 9 reading Twilight, if it were about half-angels instead of glittery vampires.

There are things which I won’t spoil, if someone reading this wants to read it anyway, that were brought up, have potential, only to never make an appearance again. I just… I was left thinking why did I bother? I will not be reading book two.

 

REVIEW: Legend by Marie Lu

Pub. Date: November 29th 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 305
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia, Science-Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America’s two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history….

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family’s door with an X—the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles’ wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic’s most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country’s highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country—until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it’s June’s mission to hunt him down. The truth they’ll uncover will become legend.

I wanted to read this book from the second I read the synopsis on GoodReads. It sounded like it had everything I wanted in a dystopia so I was surprised to find it took me a while to get into. For whatever reason, the story just couldn’t catch my interest until after about 100 pages. But I will say, after that, I was hooked and found it hard to put down.

The story is told from two different people’s POVs and the story wouldn’t have worked if that were the case. You see the Republic, the war, and everything else from two very different – yet very similar, we realize – people. If it was only told from Day’s POV, or only from June’s, I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book as much as I did. With Day, you see someone who was born into slums, who grew up with little and who became a vigilante of sorts. With June, you get to see the life of a prodigy, born into luxury who will be an agent for her Republic. Then it all comes together perfectly.

If you’ve read The Hunger GamesDivergentShatter Me or any other traditional dystopian novel, you will definitely like Legend. It has all the classic characteristic: a sense of a utopia, but with obvious flaws if you look beneath the surface. What happens after the Trials? What of those who fail? Is it really true that they go to labour camps? There is a sense of very little questioning of the Government, until Day comes along.

Overall I was left feeling satisfied. There are still questions and things left unanswered but the wait until book 2 won’t be excruciating because it didn’t end on a cliffhanger.

REVIEW: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Pub. Date: November 15th 2011
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 338
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia, Science-Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war— and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Originally this got my attention because I thought oh, her touch can kill! How Rouge! For weeks it sat on my shelf but after finishing another book I was wondering, what the hell can I read next? Shatter Me was really shiny and let’s face it, I’m a kid so I grabbed off of my shelf and dove right in.

I was hooked immediately. The writing style is what got me. It’s first person but it’s like being inside of Juliette’s fractured mind. It seems like you’re reading a diary, almost. Now, I said almost. While Juliette has a notebook, that’s not what we’re reading. It’s talked about a lot in the beginning, then some after the middle, but it’s not what we’re reading. These are her uttermost thoughts and at times they’re fractured, fast, jumbled, or clear. Also, the use of strike throughs is fabulous. You get to know Juliette even more. You areinside of her mind. I’ve never read a book that used this strike through technique. It’s new, it’s fresh and it is so, so wonderful.

YA dystopia is a genre on fire. It’s everywhere now with The Hunger Games, Divergent, Gone, etc, but this book, ladies and gents, is so so great it kind of puts them all to shame. Yes, even THG. To me, anyway. Shatter Me has elements of The Hunger Games but also of XMen. You begin to realize there are superheroes in a world gone mad. In a country where the government (The Reestablishment) is a bucket of corrupted lies. Where the citizens are cold and broken. But in all dystopias, there is hope.

As in all dystopias, in most YAs, there is a romance. Of course there’s a romance. But I find Juliette and Adam so refreshing, so different from most of the ones out there now. I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes every so often at them as I find with even ships I love. Adam needs Juliette as much as she needs him. It’s a perfectly crafted romance that made me have to put the book down and go find someone – or Twitter – to gush about. Because damn, it gave me all of the feelings and then some. That hasn’t happened in a while, YA ship book wise.

The plot is wonderful. Not too slow and not too fast. It’s just the right pacing that leaves you staying up till 4 in the morning wondering where the last four hours of your life have gone. There are twists, turns, action and romance, all structured superbly. Then there’s the characters. You will fall for each one in their own way, mark my words. Even Sector leader, Waren. Is he a monster? Is he human? Is he misunderstood? Or is he insane? I’m still not sure.

There is no cliffhanger with this book. There is a wonderful ending that will lead right into the sequel set to come out in Feb. 2013. That wait is going to be torture, let me tell you. But I’m sure I will re-read this book many times over between then.

REVIEW: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Pub. Date: January 17th 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 403
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

It’s a bittersweet feeling, when a new book in a series you love is released. On one hand, you cannot wait to get your hands on it and devour it. On the other hand, you don’t want it to end because you’ll be left with a sense of nothingness as you wait the year or more for the next installment. This is exactly how I feel with Hallowed. How I feel right this second as I type this review. (According to GoodReads there will be a third, so.)

I will keep this spoiler free, fyi, so if it’s a little ambiguous in parts that is on purpose because I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone.

Let me start off by saying I was weary of how this would go. Sometimes, sequels never quite measure up to what the first book was, even if the series is a lengthy one. That is especially true for the YA paranormal romance genre. Boy, was I blown away. Ms. Hand – not that you’re reading this – let me give you a round of applause, a standing O and maybe a big hug. Actually I’d like to shake you a bit as well for giving me all the feels and making me cry like a baby at 3:30 in the morning. But I digress.

Hallowed, as I said, gave me all the feels. One second I was smiling from ear to ear at how adorable and realistic Clara and Tucker’s young romance was then I was aching and sad at all the weight Clara has on her shoulders – the looming death of someone she loves very much. It’s hard being a 17 year old girl with the weight of all her problems plus the knowledge of a loved one dying. It broke my heart for her.

I wasn’t entirely sure how the Christian/Clara/Tucker triangle was going to unfold. I honestly adore both boys, and both relationships Clara has with each individual. I have never been so torn between two relationships in a book in my life. The love Tucker and Clara have for each other is so real and raw and strong that it’s hard not to root for them. But then there’s Christian; an angel-blood and definitely part of Clara’s purpose that it’s hard not to root for him too. But in the end, I can say while a little sad for one of the parties, I am content with the outcome. Clara for sure made the right choice in my mind.

In Hallowed you also get to meet many more angel-bloods, many more characters to fall in love with. And boy did I ever. There’s Billy – Clara’s mothers old friend from way back, and countless others; an entire congregation!

Hallowed is full of twists, turns and moments that make you go whaaaaaat? Be warned – it’s also filled with lots of heartache. Like I said, I was crying at 3:30 in the morning! I was crying until I read the last page of the book and closed it. If I’m being totally honest – I was crying after that. There is only one bad thing I can say about this book: why did it end!? I need more. I truly hope there is a third. I’m not quite ready to let go of Clara just yet. Bravo, Ms. Hand, you’ve done it again.

REVIEW: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Pub. Date: February 22nd 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very…different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

I’ll admit it: it was the cover that originally drew me into this book. It happens to the best of us. It didn’t even sit on my shelf long. I bought it and maybe a week later I picked it up and started to read. It had a really strong start; jumped right into the swing of things. Ari is a freak with her silver hair and teal eyes “like a neon sea”. The drama and story begin to unfold when Ari finds a letter her dead mother wrote to her. Now, the letter was a catalyst, a springboard, to get the story going. I understand that but one things that bothered me about it was that it wasn’t really explained. It was nothing more than a blurb and that bothered me. I was left wondering, um, why? However, I quickly got over that.

Darkness is fast paced, something I like. Ari quickly heads to New 2 – which was once New Orleans but thirteen years ago, Katrina hit and the government sold it to a group called the Novem. I liked this concept. A hint of dystopia in an urban fantasy.

Ari is a badass. She’s not your typical heroin of a YA series. She’s a sarcastic, clever, kick-ass, gun wielding chick determined to find more about who and what she is. And she has a bit of a potty mouth – something I wasn’t expecting. It’s rare to find a YA book throw around fuck.

The world this book takes place in is great – one I wouldn’t mind stumbling down the rabbit hole into. New 2 is home to vampires, shifters, witches, and wait for it, Greek Gods. One to be exact but that’s a spoiler and I definitely don’t want to spoil you. I found that the book was a little short, 273 pages wasn’t enough to fully develop the other characters, the relationships and everything else. But with that said, it has such potential and I really did enjoy it. I read 200 pages in one go of it at 4 in the morning and that’s saying something. It has some great twists, turns and moments that make you go whaaaaaaaaaat? Suffice it to say, I’m counting down the days till February when A Beautiful Evil comes out.

REVIEW: Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Pub. Date: September 6th 2011
Publisher: New American Library
Pages: 302
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: ★★★★

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she’s whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she’s determined to do so, because to fail doesn’t mean dishonor-it means death.

I know, I know, vampires are over-done, yada yada, blah blah blah. But I can’t escape them. What can I say? I’m a sucker for them. I’ve loved vampire books, stories, etc since I was a kid, back when Buffy was cool. I noticed this book on GoodReads a while back and marked it as to-buy till I could find my copy. Fast forward a few months and I finally had it in my hands. Once in, I immediately fell in love with Annelise. Clever, witty, and a brain to boot. She’s strong. You see that as the series goes on, constantly having to overcome another obstacle when she’s already have a rougher than rough life. But then again, you wouldn’t find yourself on the Isle if you hadn’t.

What I like is this book isn’t driven on a romance, or a love triangle. While yes, there are hot guys in this – Ronan for one – Annelise is driven to survive and get the hell off of the island. Isle of Night is kind of Vampire Academy meets The Hunger Games. Only the fittest of the girls will become Watchers, only five. This is a world where only men can become vampires, but women, girls like Annelise, become Watchers. The elite of the elite, the strongest, most ruthless. I’m not sure I could survive a place like the Isle. I’ve got my wits but I’m definitely not the strongest person out there.

Isle of Night is not slow, either. When one problem “ends” another begins. There’s never a lull, never a moment where you want to put it down and keep turning the page to find out more abou thte Isle, the mysterious vampires, which girls are the next to go since they drop like flies in the book. I’m pleased to have a fresh vampire story to sink my teeth into. I cannot wait for the next installment.