Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Read March 2011
  Wither grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let you go. It's set in a world where scientists messed around with genetics so much in the hope for the "perfect" humans, they've doomed all humanity. All of their offsprings time is limited... the girls will die by the age of 20 and the boys will die by 25. 

Rhine's parent's are gone, it's just her and her brother. They are extremely close and look out for each other...especially when there are girls being kidnapped by the Gatherer's. Rhine's brother is very cautious. Then the unthinkable happens....Rhine gets kidnapped and thrown into a van full of other girls.

Jenna, Rhine, and Cecily are the "lucky" ones. They were chosen. The other girls weren't so lucky...The next thing they know they wake up in a luxurious bed and room. They also have food...which they haven't had so readily in awhile. They are given beautiful clothes and servants to help them, also they are all on one floor to share with one another. They soon become fast friends. Cecily is most childlike and naive to me. I found Jenna and Rhine the most likable. 

Rhine quickly becomes Linden's, the man of the house, favorite. Although he is still mourning the death of his 1st wife Rose and their child. Rhine is becoming fond of Gabriel, one of the servants, though. 

You quickly find out who is truly in charge of the house, and it's not Linden. There are also many, many dark deadly secrets going on. Even behind Linden's back. I must say I was crushed when Jenna found out too much...and I will leave it at that, for the people who haven't read it yet. 

When Rhine's thoughts turn to escape, and attempt it. I actually became anxious for her! Bravo to Ms. DeStefano for creating not only such an original Dystopian but characters that actually made my heartache at times and race at other. 

This was a brilliant book. I have been wanting to read something that moved a bit away from the mainstream books that have been out there, and this was the perfect book for that. The feel to it was different, the story line was original and well thought out, and the emotions run rampant. I had a tightness in my chest all through certain scenes, and I literally gasped in others. This book made me want to love, and hate the characters. I felt their sorrow, their loss, their love, their envy. 

I can not wait to get my hands on the next book in this series!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 With Shadow and Bone, you get a generous peppering of Russian nuances without being stormed into actual Russia. You get sorcerers and secret societies without lengthy (and generally unnecessary) details on their history, rules, and individual backstories. You get just enough that you fill out the blanks easily if you have any imagination whatsoever. I absolutely loved it.

  The story was great, the main character Alina was charmingly lost and youthful, and the mixture of commoners, courtiers, sorcerers and military figures blended beautifully without being overwhelming. I felt like I was experiencing something completely new! Like watching a unique movie without seeing the trailer first or reading the reviews. I couldn't wait to turn the next page. I honestly didn't know how it would end, where exactly the story was going, and what sort of transformations to expect from the characters. This is storytelling at its best for the YA market (and adults like me who will take a good story wherever we can find it!)

The Candidates by Inara Scott

Read from September 11 to November 06, 2012

The Candidates wasn't at all what I was expecting, it was even better, maybe because the reviews I've read really weren't so great. I really enjoyed the characters, the mystery, the love interests and the story itself.
Danica is a teenager who has cut herself off from friends and everyone basically besides her grandmother. All because of her "powers" and how out of control she is of them when she feels someone is being taken advantage of in one way or another. Then 2 recruits (one being the most gorgeous guy she's ever seen) come to offer her a chance to attend the prestigious Delcroix Academy, which is where Danica's mother (who is deceased) always dreamed of attending when she was a teenager. I liked Danica's character. She comes from a humble back ground and has been raised by her awesome grandmother. I really adore her Grandmother. Danica and her Grandmother do not live a life of privilege, they just barely get by on Grandma's social security.

Danica is a character who grows into her powers as she learns to accept what she is and what she can do. I really enjoyed the tension between the two love interests for Danica. Jack who is the "bad boy" who just may turn out to be the good one and Cam who is the "good boy" who just may turn out to be the bad one and is also the one who recruited her. My heart goes to Jack, as he's the bad boy who comes form a broken home and wants to protect Danica. After all, she does save his life, twice. There's a genuine friendship that forms between the two of them, as they both can relate to one another. Cam seems to have an agenda and to say I'm still leery of him is an understatement. I can't say more about him with out giving away part of the plot. I'm anxious to see what his motives really are.

As the story moves on you find out that some of the students know they have powers but some don't. The Candidates started out slow ... but I couldn't put it down and stayed up LATE to finish it. I am looking forward to reading the sequel!

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Read in October, 2012

WOW...How in the world can I write a review that will give On Jellicoe Road justice?? This is definitely one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading.
Jellicoe Road is certainly a stylistic departure from Melina Marchetta's other books I've read (Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son). But when you get down to it, they are about many of the same things - the family you are born into and the family that you create, a search for identity, breaking down the walls between people. Taylor Markham is feeling lost in her life, as she has since her mother left her alone on the Jellicoe Road when she was eleven years old. But her schoolmates are expecting her to lead their turf war with the Townies and the Cadets, all while she is negotiating a tumultuous relationship with the leader of the Cadets. Taylor's recurring dreams and a confusing story found in her guardian's house provide a key to Taylor's past, as well as to the story of the conflict.I've heard from a lot of people that the first half of this book was a struggle for them, and I didn't have that experience at all. While I absolutely agree that the second half of Marchetta's book is where the novel finds its heart and soul, I really enjoyed trying to decipher the two threads of the narrative and imagining what the connections between the past and present could be. A careful and curious reader will find clues that point to many of the eventual connections, and when the stories finally do come together, it is absolutely revelatory. So much more than I could ever have imagined.....If you haven't read On Jelicoe Road yet, Please GO to your library or buy your own copy (because after you read it, you'll want to own this book!)

Dearly Deported by Lia Habel

Read in October, 2012

A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to eat you. I was captivated from page one and found it extremely heard to put this book down for even a minute. The futuristic Victorian setting, the unconventional romance, the secrets and mystery - I loved it all!

Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in New Victoria, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Society is both high tech and rooted in the past. Young girls like Nora are expected to listen, smile and find a suitable husband that will do her family proud. Nora has other ideas. Especially after she discovers 'The Laz' - a deadly virus that has the nasty habit of bringing people back from the dead.

I really loved the zombies in this story. They are both typical and wholly original. When you die from The Laz you either return as a mindless drone attacking everything living in site, don't. Some zombies are actually (almost) fully functioning people. Their nature and their upkeep was fascinating. So very different from other zombies books I have read.

Nocturne by Syrie James

Read from July 28 to October 08, 2012

  Nocture was a dark but still sweet book. It's plot was unique in that there are only two characters and it spans over four days, after Michael "rescues" Nicole from her car accident during a blizzard. Then they become snowed in. This is a unique challenge and James does it well. I actually cared for the characters, and in fact, was able to learn so much more about them.
 I really enjoyed the little details that made up Michael's character. He is a complex character with a history and hobbies and interests. Nicole is a young accomplished woman and I was able to connect with her character. She had a great voice, and believable reactions. For instance, she starts becoming very suspicious of Michael's behaviors and his medical condition (hemophiliac)and Nicole reacts in fear (although she is enamored by him) which I'd like to think that the majority of the population would also react in such ways if ever stuck in that situation. But in the majority of vampire novels that I have read, there is never that most basic, common reaction.
  Now, as for the ending ... it is bittersweet. I appreciate what James did and why she did it. It is unique and has stayed with me.
  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a paranormal romance with a vampire and a bit of a twist. But if you are looking for the fairy tale ending, this is not the book for you.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Read from October 11 to 14, 2012

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've ever heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win.”

To be honest it was a little difficult for me to get into this story, maybe it was because of all the rave reviews I've read about it? Maybe I was expecting more? I'm not sure ... The beginning was a little slow paced for me. Tiger Lily was easy enough for me to put down for the 1st half of the book. BUT then it REALLY picked up and I spent my Sunday ignoring my laundry and a sink full of dishes to devour the rest of it.
Tiger Lily is a beautiful story of heartache, love lost, growing apart and growing up. I definitely recommend this book for EVERYONE. And yes, for the people who like a fast read and action ... I say stick with this book it is worth it!

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph receives 5 out of 5 stars.

 In Dark Triumph the book mainly focuses on Sybella. The struggles she endures and the struggles she has endured in her short life. Which all came at the hands of her own father. Sybella at the tender age of 13 had gone threw what no one would wish upon there worst enemy.
 Throughout Dark Triumph you get little glimpses into Sybella's life as a young girl and how it shaped her into the woman she became. Although she is the fiercest  handmaiden of St. Mortain and is following the will of the covenant, Sybella is also quite vulnerable at times and an extremely likeable character.
 I was very thrilled to see Ismae, as well as a handful of other characters from Grave Mercy back in this novel and also very much apart of it!
 Robin Lafevers delivers magnificently in this Brittany historical novel and I am anxiously awaiting her next.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy recieved 5 out of 5 stars.

In Grave Mercy Ismae is a 13 yr old girl whom is rumored to be the daughter of St. Mortain (Angel of Death), for that reason Ismae has been feared and abused by her mother's husband. At the young age of 13, she is sold into marriage to yet another vile, violent man. On her wedding night she is able to escape and runs to the convent of St. Mortain. Which takes her in. She befriends another daughter of Mortain, who is named Sybella. At the convent they value rather than revile her lineage and serve St. Mortain by teaching their young charges, mainly Ismae and Sybella, to carry out his work as assassins. They are trained in the art of seduction, poisons, and fighting. After three years of waiting Ismae is finally ready to take on a task for her father and the convent. She finds herself in the court of the young Duchess, trying to root out those who would betray Brittany to the French so that she may carry out St. Mortain's bidding. 

I knew I was really enjoying this book when I got pass the halfway point and was disappointed I was on the downward slope towards the end. The easy style, great scene setting, well paced plot and yummy romance made me want to stay in it's world for longer, whilst simultaneously being unable to put it down. 

I liked Ismae as a heroine a lot. She started out with a number of flaws; proud; bloodthirsty; naive; impatient; defensive - but she was also smart, kind and brave. Her flaws left her with ample opportunity to grow as a character and her development - along with that of the romantic element - was dealt with subtly and very plausible. I also liked how she never changed her opinion on things simply because someone told her to. The whole time Ismae took in what was happening and analysed it for herself, constantly questioning herself and others to ensure she was doing what was expected of her by her father, without compromising her conscience. I was happy to see Sybella show up again in the book, I absolutely love her character as well. 
I am anxiously awaiting the release of Dark Triumph!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
 First and foremost ... WHY?!? Why did I wait SO long to pick up this book?? Well, I sure am happy I finally did.<br /> Karou is 17 yrs old who lives in Prague and attends an art school. She lives with and works for Brimstone, who is also more like a father figure for her and a hard-working Wishmonger who Karou loves dearly but is also confused by. Brimstone has a workshop that Karou and others can only enter with his permission through portals throughout the world. Regardless of where anyone enters in the world they all arrive in the same place. Leaving on errands can be just as mysterious and dangerous for Karou as the portal door might open in India, Morrocco, the United States, somewhere else in Russia or Italy. She usually never knows until she's there. Karou runs errands for Brimstone, often collecting human teeth from dealers but Brimstone never tells her what he uses the teeth for. In exchange for the errands he replenishes her wish necklace. Every time she makes a small wish one "bead" disappears, bigger wishes take more "beads". Karou has been trained for most of her life because her errands can and have gotten very dangerous. On one of her errands Karou's life changes, as a seraphim appears and fights her in front of many people who were shocked to see an angel. Never-the-less an angel whose wings drop fire. As was Karou. Karou keeps thinking she knows this angel (Akiva). Akiva, as well as other Angels have been burning their handprints into all the portal doorways to Brimstone's workshop around the world ... Karou realizes that her "family" is in grave danger. Laini Taylor has written an exceptional novel and I can't wait dive into the sequel!

Flash Point

Flash Point by Nancy Kress
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In Flash Point the world is different after "the Collapse" destroys the economy (think The Depression times 100). There are only two classes of people. The extremely rich and the extremely poor, the middle class has been eradicated. Children are now deemed adults at the age of 16 because there were so many orphans the country needed to figure out a way to not be responsible for the kids. Amy is 16 and is struggling to support her sick grandmother and younger sister. Amy is working as a waitress when an she gets an opportunity  to interview for a new tv show. Which she knows nothing about, except that it pays MUCH better than her current job. Amy gets one of the roles on the reality show. She now has medical care for her sick grandmother and enough money to pay the rent, finally.<br /> When Amy leaves the studio to go home, she finds a man bleeding on the ground. When she stops to help him, he jumps up and attacks her. Come to find out the same thing happened to everyone who got on the show, and the viewers need to guess correctly how a certain person reacted to win the grand prize. Which is 5 million dollars. The ratings go crazy and they are all instantly famous. Only problem is with each episode its getting more and more dangerous and the kids have no idea when they are apart of a scenario or if it's a real life situation they are dealing with.<br /> I really liked the "cast" of the reality show an how all their different personalities shown through. No one got lost in this book, even though Amy was the main character. It's definitely a book that grabs your attention and doesn't let go  <

The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book! Once it grabbed your attention, which it does from the very beginning, you don't want to put it down. At least I didn't. Unfortunately there is this pesky thing called life and reality that kept forcing me to put it down and when I wasn't reading it, all I wanted to do was get back to it. I found myself reading the last chapter more slowly, just because I didn't want it to end. I haven't read Alexandra Braken's 1st novel, but it is DEFINITELY on my list of must reads now!

Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Absolutly LOVED this book! My only problem with it was it ended way too fast for me. In Carnival of Souls we were introduced to Mallory, Aya, and Kaleb (amongst others). All 3 have a major part to this novel and Melissa Marr did an excellent job of weaving through all their POV's thru-out the novel I came to know and care about all the characters. Then as the plot grew deeper and more exciting I found that I was looking at how little of the book was left and knew it would be hard to close the book when it ended. Now that I have finished it I absolutely can not wait until the next book!! I tried starting a new book but couldn't get into it because I am still thinking about Carnival of THAT rarely happens!

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sharp Objects is a compelling, disturbing, twisted read.<br />The main character, Camille, self harms due to the terrible past she is trying to escape. But when a murder in her hometown brings her back, she's forced to face her past and, along with it, several other disturbing revelations. Although halfway through the book I could tell who the killer was, I felt the need to keep reading to see what would happen next and I'm so happy I did because there were a few things that I never saw coming..A great work, recommended.

Heiress of Lies

Heiress of Lies (Bloodtruth #1) Heiress of Lies by Cege Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
 Although Heiress of Lies is a great take on a "vampire" story. I must be honest and say that I've become a little bored with all the vampire novels out there. So I will take a minute and say BRAVO on Heiress of Lies.<br /> Heiress of Lies is a novel about Angeline Robart, princess of Althea. She was betrothed at a young age to Malin. Who happens to be her father's chief adviser. Heiress of Lies is primarily based on Angeline and Connor's POV. Which gives readers the opportunity to see how events unfold through Connor the vampire's eyes.<br /> Angeline for the past 2 years has been living at the convent, St. Abeth, when she gets word that her father is dying and wishes to see his beautiful daughter. As Angeline is on her way home from the convent her men are attacked and she is taken captive by Connor. During her time with Connar, Angeline recalls some memories and eventually she is introduced to the darker side of her Robart family line. At first Angeline keeps trying to think of a way to escape but Connor always seems to be one step ahead of her. Every time Angeline has strong thoughts, Connor seems to know exactly what she is thinking/feeling. Angeline is very unsure of Connor ... she was told that "his kind" was extinct, as well as vicious monsters. But Angeline is torn by what she was brought up learning about these monsters and how Connor actually makes her feel. To her surprise, Connor is intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful of her and her needs. Connor is equally shocked and surprised by not only Angeline's beauty, but by the fact that she doesn't see him as a "monster".  Later on in the book Cege Smith gives us a glimpse of Connor's past life, when he was still human and how he became a vampire.With this information, you find yourself actually feeling for Connor (if you hadn't yet) as well as gaining deeper insight into why Connor kidnapped Angeline. It also becomes easier to understand Connor. Not only the man, but the vampire that he has become.<br /><br />This book has tons of suspense and ups and downs. I would definitely recommend you read it if you're a fan of Vampires and or Historical Fiction!!

See You Soon

See You Soon by Lindsay Chamberlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
See You Soon was a very quick read. It's a story about Tess and Jimmy (best friends) who grow up in small town, USA. They end up going their separate ways in life and end up "finding each other" again. This love story is not all kittens and rainbows though, there are quite a few twists and turns on this road to love.

The Dream of Doctor Bantam

 I won this book in the Giveaway. Let me just say I am SO thrilled to have the opportunity not only to read this book, but to own it also. This is definitely the kind of book that stays with you well after you have finished reading it. There are many things I'd love to say about this book, but I found that talking about this book is hard to do without giving away spoilers. A few things that i WILL say though...I found my heart breaking for Tabitha, as she was struggling to find "her place" in this world. I absolutely loved Julie's character. She was very raw and real, as well as a complete smartass. Now i usually fly through books but i found myself having to keep putting this book down, due to how VERY frustrating the Institute of Temporal Illusions (Church of Scientology-like Cult) and their member's were, as well as their influence over Patrice!!