Archive | May, 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

28 May

The Iron Queen

Author: Julie Kagawa

Pages [paperback]: 358

Book 3 in the Iron Fey Series
Book 1: The Iron King 
Book 2: The Iron Princess

Favorite Characters: Grim & Puck

Memorable Quote: “But, as no one listens to the cat anymore, I will have to wait until we are completely lost to say ‘I told you so.”

Summary:

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Review:

Every book I read in this series makes me love it even more. The characters are awesome, the plot fantastic, and the entire thing is highly addicting. As soon as I started reading The Iron Queen, I couldn’t put it down. It was non-stop action, romance, and humor. Puck would have me laughing one moment, then Meghan would be in a battle, keeping me on the edge of my seat. I never knew what was going to come next, and I loved that.

I’m Team Puck all the way. He’s adorable, and loveable in every way. The Iron Queen did make me like Ash a lot more-not that I didn’t like him as a character beforehand, but it took until this third installment for me to think of him as someone worthy of rivaling Puck.

I don’t mind books that don’t seem to have any filler space in them, no scenes that sound randomly placed and useless. However, a few points of the novel seemed rushed and not thoroughly explained. I would have liked for things to slow down a bit, just to give me a chance to get used to whatever happened or was going to happen. This didn’t annoy me enough to detract from my enjoyment, it’s just something that I noticed about the book.

The Iron Fey series is one of my all time favorites, and I’m so excited for the fourth book. I didn’t even know there would be another until I reached the end of this one, and that killed me. I can’t stand the wait. I’ve never been the most patient person, and this definitely doesn’t help. But I get to see more of my favorite characters, and that makes it worth it!

The Iron Queen is an awesome book that I really recommend. This is a great series, and the best that focuses on fairies that I’ve ever read. I give this third book 5/5 stars. It was amazing!

A Golden Web – Blog Tour – Tens List

23 May

Today I’m happy to welcome Barbara Quick, author of A Golden Web, to my blog! As part of the tour, she provided a fun list of top disguises to wear.

Top 10 Disguises to Wear

  1. A fly on the wall. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or actor, watching and listening unobserved will help you create three-dimensional and fully believable characters.
  2. Yourself as a boy. Alessandra Giliani did it in A Golden Web because it allowed her to study medicine at a time when females were barred from the university. There are places in the world right now where parents are cross-dressing their girls as boys to allow them to get an education
  3. Yourself as a child. Remember—really remember—what it felt like before the world tried to talk you out of being who you really are. It’s a big help in remembering what’s important to you.
  4. Yourself at the end of your life. There’s nothing like a fantasy of The Very End to help you notice and appreciate the sweet details of your daily life.
  5. A pair of someone else’s shoes (particularly if he or she is someone who seems to be dense, mean, unfair or all three). Fiction writers have to learn to love their villains, too.
  6. An evening gown, a push-up bra and a flower in your hair. (Certainly no explanation is needed.)
  7. A mud queen. Turn over some earth and plant something. Allow yourself to get dirty. Remember that the Earth is your mother.
  8. Julia Child or some other Iron Chef. Download a recipe for something highly delicious you’ve only eaten or seen at restaurants. If something jumps out of the frying pan onto the floor, discreetly throw it back in.
  9. Rock star. The closest I ever got to this one was doing a reading and book signing in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the dead of winter, for my first novel, Northern Edge, when the weather outside was 35 degrees below zero. Lots and lots of people came to see me. (Fairbanks will always have a special place in my heart!).
  10.  A dancer in Carnival! Take it from me: There’s nothing like a set of wings and sequins to put you in a cheerful mood.

Thanks so much, Barbara! This list definitely made my day.

Please check out the rest of this awesome tour, and come back June 1 for my review of A Golden Web!

Sunday, May 15: Ashley at Basically Amazing (Review)
Monday, May 16: Christie at The Fiction Enthusiast (In Her Own Words)
Tuesday, May 17: Erika at Moonlight Book Reviews (Character Interview: Alessandra)
Wednesday, May 18: Danna at Friendly Reader (Review)
Thursday, May 19: Britta at I Like These Books (Guest Post)
Friday, May 20: Lexie at Last  Exile Words (Review)
Saturday, May 21: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (Video Interview)Sunday, May 22: Melissa at Mel’s Books and Info  (Review)
Monday, May 23: Kayla at Caught Between The Pages (Tens List)
Tuesday, May 24: Arya at Sea of Pages (Teenage Garage Sale)
Wednesday, May 25: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (Review)
Thursday, May 26: Corrine at Lost For Words (Cover Post)
Friday, May 27: Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Review)
Saturday, May 28: Cindy at Books Complete Me (Video Interview)

Sunday, May 29: Britta at I Like These Books (Review)
Monday, May 30: Sandy at Pirate Penguin Reads (Editorial Interview)
Tuesday, May 31: Lexie at Last Exile Words  (Character Interview )
Wednesday, June 1: Kayla at Caught Between The Pages  (Review)
Thursday, June 2: Melissa at Mel’s Books and Info (Into the Past)
Friday, June 3: Jessica at A Fanatic Book Blog(Review)
Saturday, June 4: Danna at Friendly Reader (Guest Post)

Sunday, June 5: Christie at The Fiction Enthusias (Review)
Monday, June 6: Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Character Tweets)
Tuesday, June 7: Ashley at Basically Amazing (Tens List)
Wednesday, June 8: Erika at Moonlight Book Reviews (Review)
Thursday, June 9: Kari at A Good Addiction (Video Interview)
 Friday, June 10: Cindy at Books Complete Me (Review)
Saturday, June 11: Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (When I’m Not Writing)

 

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

22 May

What Happened to Goodbye

Author: Sarah Dessen [also wrote Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, and The Truth About Forever]

Pages [hardcover]: 416

Favorite Characters: Deb & Dave

Memorable Quote: When you can’t save yourself or your heart, it helps to be able to save face.

Summary:

In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she’s an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents’ divorce. Sarah Dessen’s novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.

Review:

I love Sarah Dessen’s books. Every single one I’ve read has been addicting from beginning to end, with the most creative characters, wonderful plot twists, and moving revelations-no pun intended. What Happened to Goodbye is about a girl, Mclean, who has moved around so often that she’d not even sure who she is any longer.

As in other Dessen books, the characters are fantastic. While in some the main character may seem lacking as a result of the incredibly defined minor roles, Mclean is wonderfully portrayed, and I quickly grew to love her. Jason from The Truth About Forever, who also makes an appearance in Along for the Ride, is also in this book. I love how every novel connects to the others in some small way. It feels like a game, looking for all the little details that hint at past characters.

I loved this book because I never knew what was going to happen next. Mclean was slowly losing her own identity while her relationship with each parent frayed. The plot could have spun off in several different ways, and I liked the direction it took.

While Dave might not be as mysterious or intriguing as other boys from Dessen books, he’s still awesome in his own way. I love how he’s geeky, knows it, and doesn’t care. He lets people know the real side of him, without being embarrassed about his true self. I think that he’s a really strong character because of this, and I really liked him.

I give What Happened to Goodbye 5/5 stars. I loved it! This is definitely one I will remember for a while and will pick up to read again!

Snow by Tracy Lynn

21 May

Snow

Author: Tracy Lynn

Pages [paperback]: 272

Favorite Characters: Alan, Cat, & Raven

Summary:

Snow white, Rose red
In a tiny Welsh estate, a duke and duchess lived happily, lacking only a child – or, more importantly, a son and heir to the estate. Childbirth ultimately proved fatal for the young duchess. After she died, the duke was dismayed to discover that he was not only a widower, but also a father to a tiny baby girl. He vowed to begin afresh with a new wife, abandoning his daughter in search of elusive contentment.
Independent – virtually ignored – and finding only little animals and a lonely servant boy as her companions, Jessica is pale, lonely, and headstrong… and quick to learn that she has an enemy in her stepmother. “Snow”, as she comes to be known, flees the estate to London and finds herself embraced by a band of urban outcasts. But her stepmother isn’t finished with her, and if Jessica doesn’t take control of her destiny, the wicked witch will certainly harness her youth – and threaten her very life…

Review:

This book was hard to get into, but great at the end. Snow is a retelling of the classic tale of Snow White. While that fairy tale has never been my favorite, as Snow White always seemed a bit, well, naive, this version was interesting. There was a different take on the evil stepmother, her motivations behind trying to kill ‘Snow’, and the way the seven dwarves were translated into this new setting was odd but fitting.

While this story wasn’t exactly edge-of-your-seat material, it worked well enough. Taking away the magical element was disappointing. Everything was scientific, which I think detracted from my enjoyment. Another approach might have made it more unrealistic, but isn’t that the point of fairy tales?

The love story part of it was surprisingly odd, but I ended up liking it in the end. What I’ve noticed about this collection of retold fairy tales, of which I’ve read Midnight Pearls, is that they like to take your original expectations of who will be the girl’s love interest and turn it upside down. It does take away some of the predictability.

I give Snow 3/5 stars. It’s a good read, but not exceptionally impressive in any way.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

14 May

Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Pages [hardcover]: 398

Memorable Quote: I never thought about how important the sky was until I didn’t have one.

Favorite Characters: Elder & Harley

Summary:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Review:

This book surprised me. I though that a novel set on a spaceship, a setting that is utterly unchangeable and can be incredibly monotonous, would bore me. Instead, I ended up falling in love with the plot, characters, and the conspiracy that surrounds Godspeed.

Amy was a great character. She can break down into tears at one moment, and stoically stand up for what she knows is right the next. She’s not perfect, and knows it, but her flaws make her more interesting and realistic. Elder was good, too. He didn’t immediately turn his back on his past, nor did he ignore the new insights Amy brought along. These mixed emotions are fantastically portrayed, making it easy to connect with the confusion and indecision he feels.

The twists to the story were both its shortcomings and saviors. One such revelation I predicted right from the beginning. I’d been hoping I was wrong, but was disappointed that that part of the plot had been so easily solved. Then, a few pages later, another twist popped up that I had not expected at all, immediately making up for the other. In the end, it all balanced out.

This was a surprisingly great read that I think will having me trying out more books like this. I was nearly against the idea, but it quickly won me over. I give Across the Universe 5/5 stars. Definitely recommended!

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

7 May

The Dead-Tossed Waves

Author: Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Book 2
Book 1: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Pages [hardcover]: 407

Favorite Characters: Elias & Cira

Opening Lines: The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going. They said it reminded them of the before time. When they didn’t have to worry about people rising from the dead, when they didn’t have to build fences and walls and barriers to protect themselves from the masses of Mudo constantly seeking human flesh.

Memorable Quote: We’re both just human. Nothing more. But also nothing less.

Summary:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Review:

Nearly a year after I first read the companion book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I decided to pick up The Dead-Tossed Waves. I’m so grateful to commenters that said the second book was much better than the first, and my friends that literally forced me to sit down and read this. I ended up enjoying it much more than I’d expected. It even kept me reading late into the night at some moments!

Carrie Ryan definitely has a gift with plot twists. She can take a simple situation in the book, make it look like the characters will move along with no problem, and all of a sudden drop an unexpected literary bomb that shatters what you thought was going to happen and adds a whole new set of complications to the mix. I loved that, and it definitely kept me hooked. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that there wasn’t a chance to breath, or a spot to stop for the night! Continuous action can be both awesome and exhausting.

The characters still fell a little flat. I’m not sure if Gabry is supposed to really, really annoy me throughout most of the book, but she did. I ended up looking forward to reading about Elias or Catcher, any of the minor characters, really, just to get out of her head for a bit. Her emotions seemed exaggerated, her reactions odd. One thing I did like characterization-wise was how the adults were portrayed. Usually, a main character’s parents aren’t thought of as having their own fears, wants, worries, and dreams. Gabry’s mother is seen in both vulnerable and strong times, much different from most YA books.

I loved how I found out things that were left up in the air in the first book. It was hard to remember details, after so long, but piecing it together was half of the fun. Seeing how the stories ran together was cool. And now I’ll definitely have to pick up the third book, especially with an ending like this. Must I always be left hanging? The final scene annoyed me to no end.

All in all, I give  The Dead-Tossed Waves 4/5 stars. It was twice as good as the first, really kept me interested, and made me want to read more. Very good read, especially for zombie-lovers. (:

April 2011 Wrap Up

6 May

This month, I read:

The Scorch Trials-James Dashner
Tyger Tyger-Kersten Hamilton
You-Charles Benoit
Two Moon Princess-Carmen Fereiro-Esteban
Invincible-Sherrilyn Kenyon
Along for the Ride-Sarah Dessen
Happy Birthday to Me-Brian Rowe
Midnight Pearls-Debbie Viguie
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow-Jessica Day George
Impossible-Nancy Werlin

Books I purchased: 1
Won in Contest: 0
Borrowed from friend: 1
Checked out from library: 6
Review books: 2
Pages read: 2856

Challenge Status:

Show Me the Free: 0/12
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 0/12
Edgar Awards Reading Challenge: 1/5
2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge: 4/15
Retold Fairy Tales: 3/6
Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge: 1/4

April was one of the busiest months I’ve ever had. It was fun while it lasted, but now I’m looking forward to summer weather! With only a short snatch of time until I’m freed from the stresses of school, it’s hard to concentrate on reading. :D

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