Thursday, June 27

Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Book Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor

Little, Brown & Company
September 27th 2011
Young Adult | Fantasy
Angel | Demon
Official Blurb - 
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Compelling and original.
A desperate frenzy powered my reading with this book. Frantically I was attempting to read faster in order to get more words and story in my head. Like a man dying of thirst who comes upon an oasis.
Not your traditional angel/demon book. Not religious or anything like you would expect. That isn't to say that Laini Taylor doesn't use your preconceived ideas to her advantage. Her writing is much like her character Karou. Tells you truth with a wry smile. Then lets you assume what you will. Time and time again your notions will mislead you. Laini Taylor pulls out surprise after surprise. I had to go back and re-read just to see if I missed the signs. Sure enough in hindsight they were all there. It was nice not to know where the story was going exactly. 
A delicious delight like a many layered dessert. So much emotion packed into the little characters. Not that they are physically little. Far from it in so many ways. 
A bit of a Romeo and Juliet tale. Drama abounds and tragedy follows.
In the midst of this world steeped in violence is woven the whimsical. A balance that allows enough hope to give you the power to turn another page. Surely all possibility of happiness and good isn't lost. The whimsical mostly all comes from Karou. Raised amidst violence she yet remains unfettered and untainted by it. She makes wishes silly and fun.
Cold not put this book down. Even after the last page my mind refused to quit this world. Visions of possible scenarios for the future filled my dreams.
Surely there isn't a more tortured soul than Akiva. My heart goes out to him. I wish for the best.

I can't wait until I get an opportunity to pick up the next book.

Language: Moderate
Sexual: Mild to moderate
Violence: Moderate to heavy
Moments Divine:
"Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles--drug or tattoo--and . . . no inessential penises, either."
"Inessential penises?" Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. "Is there any such thing as an essential one?"
"Right? I know. How much does your life have to suck to want the Apocalypse?"
"It would have to suck so much that your bunny slippers are your only friends."
"It would have to suck so much that your dog wags its tail when you leave."
"That you know all Celine Dion's lyrics."
"That you wish the entire world would end so you don't have to wake up one more day in your crappy house--which, by the way, has no art in it whatsoever--feed your surly kids, and go to a mind-numbing job where someone is sure to have brought doughnuts to make your ass even fatter. That is how much your life has to suck to want the Apocalypse."
"Oh, hell. Must. Mate. Immediately."
"No, really," said Zuzana. "Right now. It's like, a biological imperative, right, to get the best genetic material? And this"-- she made spokesmodel hands at Akiva--"is the best genetic material I have ever seen."

Tuesday, June 25

Incarnate: Book Review


Jodi Meadows

Katherine Tegen Books
January 31st 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy
Official Blurb - 
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Very weird.
I definitely had some hang ups in this book. Several things I just couldn't get past or accept. To know you are going to die and be reborn endlessly and even in different genders is hard to swallow.
Aside from the a few things I struggled with I really enjoyed the story. It was such different book. A highly advanced society that is being attacked by fantastical creatures. Plus this group of people were all once basically cave men. And they live in a city that is basically alive and there long before they arrived. Very strange. What perplexed me most is why the dragons were so very single minded on destroying the temple. I couldn't help but wonder if it is putting out some high pitched tone that only they can hear. And it is driving them crazy so they can't help but die trying to destroy it.

The romance in this book is very subtle. Or at least at first. A masquerade sure brings out the wild side in our characters. I guess there is something to be said for having your face half hid behind a mask. That semi anonymity sure allows freedom from inhibitions. Talk about passion. You would almost think all these people were hanging out at a fairy dance party. Crazy out of control.
This book is definitely a page turner. It will definitely leave you wondering. How did things get to be this way and just what sort of trouble is Ana going to get up to next.

Violence: Moderate

Thursday, June 20

Blurred: Book Review


Kissed by Death #2

Tara Fuller

Entangled Teen
July 2nd 2013
Young Adult | Romance | Paranormal
Official Blurb - 
Cash is haunted by things. Hungry, hollow things. They only leave him alone when Anaya, Heaven’s beautiful reaper, is around. Cash has always been good with girls, but Anaya isn’t like the others. She’s dead. And with his deteriorating health, Cash might soon be as well.

Anaya never breaks the rules, but the night of the fire she recognized part of Cash’s soul—and doomed him to something worse than death. Cash’s soul now resides in an expired body, making him a shadow walker—a rare, coveted being that can walk between worlds. A being creatures of the underworld would do anything to get their hands on.

The lines between life and death are blurring, and Anaya and Cash find themselves falling helplessly over the edge. Trapped in a world where the living don’t belong, can Cash make it out alive?

Better than the first book, Inbetween! Still a messed up place but having Cash as our focal point was a delight.

The end did feel a bit like a cop out. Once again we get an eyeful of just how messed up a place this is. The justice scales seem to be off the wall crazy broken and yet nothing is being done to fix it. Why does it seem like the second in command to the Almighty is off drinking margaritas while the world of life and death goes to pot? It just isn't right.

Cash is funny and so entertaining. I love his t-shirt collection. Makes me want to start one of my own.

Good read. Easy to follow plot with only a few itsy bitsy holes. I am not sure where this story will go with another installment but maybe Easton will star in the next book.

Language: Moderate

Tuesday, June 18

Vesper: Book Review


Jeff Sampson

Balzer + Bray
January 25th 2011
Young Adult | Paranormal
Official Blurb - 

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.
The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?
As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?
This is a very different take on the whole werewolf story. No typical full moon or savage bite. In fact we know only snippets of the origination of this particular bunch of werewolves. I suppose this story is more of a science fiction version of werewolves. Even the onset of the transformation is really strange. Not sure if that is because our main character has a split personality disorder or if it is something else. Even the "romantic interest" which is a term I use very lightly is not typical. He is short and a nerd. The best thing that can be said about him is he supposedly possesses a sense of humor.

Emily was an interesting character. She is so very quite and shy. Here view of herself and how others perceive her is extreme. I liked her lifestyle and her father. It is too bad they don't hang out like they used to. Nighttime Emily is highly unstable. There is a fine line between confidence and cocky stupidity. She is definitely on the latter. It is amazing she didn't get in more trouble than she did. Wolf Emily wasn't highly intelligent either. Driven by smell more than brain isn't always the best idea. So sometimes with all her changes is was really hard to get to like her.

In the beginning I was pleasantly surprised by this story. While it was different it was still entertaining. I really wanted to figure out just what was going on. But as the book began to close it seemed that there just wasn't enough character development. I didn't feel highly invested in the characters and their future. I ended up feeling a bit lost when the last chapter occurs. I think a sizable gap of time has passed between the last two chapters. So many things must have happened to form alliances and confidence. Perhaps much of this is explained or expounded in the second book.

I liked the book but just felt that a bit more explanation or insight would have helped it be a bit better.

Violence: Moderate

Thursday, June 13

Reached: Book Review


Matched #3

Ally Condie

November 13th 2012
Young Adult | Dystopian
Official Blurb - 
After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.



Loved the scientific stuff all the virology insight. So fascinating since I was a science major in college.

Never really understood who the Society was. They always seem to be this unidentifiable entity. Be afraid of the bogeyman sort of scenario. Since they are so elusive the ending wasn't surprising. All the lines are blurred and the future is uncertain.

The biggest drawback for this final book was the middle. At first I was struggling to remember the characters and what had previously occurred in the other two books. Once I felt I had a decent grasp on that nothing much happened. I got bored. It was a struggle to match this third book to the other two. I remember the other two being page turners. Characters that were amazing. But for the longest time these characters just went to work ate and slept. Nothing happened. Dull and boring. Even when the plague mutated I felt too sleepy to really see the import of it. Until suddenly it was of dire importance to find a cure.

A world where no one trusts anyone even their own memory. Barely any knowledge to be had. And nothing is happening. The Rising seems like an elaborate hoax. Something out of the Matrix just to keep the people in line.

Poor Ky really does have the brunt end of the stick. At least he gets one good thing out of all his suffering.

Xander is something else. He is the energizer bunny of hope and belief. He just keeps going when all others have given up. Well that is until he finds his breaking point as well. Yikes.

There wasn't as much action as you would hope for in a final. Everything is fought on a microscopic level. Instead of fighting the big bad guy people are just hoping to live to see another day. The ending was far more deep than I expected. Cassia really waxes poetic and wise. Still even though it wasn't what I hoped for or expected it worked out to be a good read.

Violence: Heavy

Wednesday, June 12

Fiction Prediction: After Daybreak

So you just finished the first or second book in a trilogy and you find yourself wishing for more. Yet the wait is long and there is nothing to be done but wait. Or is there? Ever sat and pondered just where the sequel will take the story? Are you reluctant to let go of the story and so content yourself with ideas of just what might happen?

I do.

Fiction Prediction

From serious to farce here are some of the ideas I have of what will happen next. These of course have no fact to them but are just the imaginations of my mind. Don't read further if you haven't read the previous books predictions may contain spoilers.

Victor has the Thirst

Victor turns Dawn and the "pull" between them stops so they go their separate ways.

Sin abandons his current plan and decides to build himself an army of demented hyenas and monkeys.

Sin turns Dawn so she can still have the sun and lead his incredibly misguided army into a better more harmonious future.

Victor and Dawn claim irreconcilable difference.

Tegan is a Day Walker.  

Dawn's Montgomery bloodline will make her even more an impossible match for Victor.

Care to share any predictions your might have in mind?  

If you actually do know what will happen please keep it to yourself. This is all in fun and not meant to spoil the book.

Tuesday, June 11

Blood-Kissed Sky: Book Review

Blood-Kissed Sky

J. A. London

December 26th 2012
Young Adult | Paranormal
Official Blurb - 
There's nowhere left to hide.

I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever.

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers.

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.

That ending was really jarring. As in it didn't feel like an ending but an intermission. No cliff hanger or lingering lead. It just sort of cuts out in the middle of a scene. I was left thinking "Wait. . .that is it?" You just reveal a bunch of reality altering stuff and then the bad guy goes off on a laughing spree around the desert. Sort of hard to take him seriously as a bad guy when he is acting like a monkey.

A very safe emotional read especially for a dystopian story. No one gets killed or seriously injured. In fact, very little actually happens. The entire novel is simply a set up for the knowledge session right at the end. Everything else is a goose chase or teaser. Could probably be summed up in a couple of pages. But even so I enjoyed reading it. I imagine that now all of that slightly lame stuff is out of the way we can get back to the good stuff. 

Not as good as A Darkness Before Dawn but I am still interested in more. I am crossing my fingers that there will be more Victor in the next book.   

Language: Mild
Violence: Mild to Moderate

Thursday, June 6

Falling Kingdoms: Book Review

Falling Kingdoms

Morgan Rhodes

December 11th 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy
Official Blurb - 
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

"Falling Kingdoms will gut you emotionally. It will make you ache, cry, and beg for the sequel as you turn the last page. I absolutely loved it." —Julie Kagawa, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Queen

"This triple-layered tale of bloodshed, heartbreak, and tangled court intrigue kept me turning pages very late into the night." —Lesley Livingston, award-winning author of Wondrous Strange

Be prepared to switch allegiances frequently. There is no starch evil or good for the main characters. Sure their is evil abounding everywhere and this world is full of selfish people. Even worse than the selfish persons are those so blindly trusting and ignorant that their way of thinking is the only path possible. Dark are their deeds under the banner of love and loyalty.

Magnus very early on became my champion. My heart went out to his plight. Unloved and burdened with heavy responsibility. But instead of building a back bone when the time approaches he makes one bad decision after another. And just like that he had lost my favor.

All the characters have both good and bad choices marking their past. I guess that is what makes them feel so real. It is easy to begin justifying their actions when you know just why they did it.

I was awed in the first few pages. I can't accurately describe how much l was in love with this book after only a handful of pages. I just knew the book would be awesome. But as the pages fled I was left very conflicted. Just who deserved my hope and backing? Before long it became apparent that happiness is not a part of this story. No one is happy. Death visits far too frequently and without a care. Nothing lasts long, especially happiness. If you start to get even a little bit complacent death will knock on the door.

By the end I just couldn't believe the predicament the characters were in. It was almost like they made every bad decision possible. How in the world the next book will work out I don't know. It doesn't look like things will go well. The Bloody King will definitely be having too much fun in the days to come.

My biggest wish is that we had a little more to route for. But aside from dethroning a tyrant the future looks bleak. Is happiness possible after so much horror and pain? Guess we will have to wait and find out.

Violence: Heavy

Tuesday, June 4

Faithful: Book Review


Janet Fox

May 13th 2010
Young Adult | Historical
Official Blurb - 
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

I love the west and thought this would be a delightful read. Unfortunately, this was more like an advertisement. It feels safe to say that the author has a great love for Yellowstone National Park. The detail and amount of time spent on that subject are a bit too much. Compounding the problem is a girl who is very bratty. She feels the world revolves around her and isn't afraid to demand her own family to live up to her expectations no matter the sacrifice. After all their sacrifice is of little concern to herself. She is the type that charges forward without a thought and will be in a pickle before long. I got to the point where I didn't care if she entangled herself in an unhappy marriage. If you are consistently going to be dumb it is about time to pay the consequences. So obviously I gave up on this read.