4 stars · Fantasy · fiction · young adult

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves

The Raven Cycle #2

author : maggie stiefvater

pages : [hardcover] 439

memorable quote In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.

favorite character : noah

summary :

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps form others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

review :

I was super excited to read The Dream Thieves because I absolutely loved the first book! Unfortunately up until I started to read these books I was never a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater. This series, somehow, is the one for me. I love most of the characters, can never predict what’s going to happen next, and definitely want more.

The last book left me wanting to know more about the raven boys and I’m glad that more was told about Ronan and even Adam’s motivations. I still want more about Noah. I want to know what he was like in the past, because I’m sure that he was much different than how he is now! He’s my favorite of the boys, mostly because he manages to be a good balance of extremely cute and mysterious. Gansey has been growing on me a lot. And Blue . . . She’s the one that frustrates me. I wish that her role in the books was more than the prophecy of her killing her true love if she kisses him. I mean, all of these boys get cool backstories and motivations and, well, lives . . . And she’s left with romance. Blue, they tease you about being a crazy feminist (I’m not even going to go there) but you aren’t exactly helping yourself out.

I loved the plot twists in this book, though there were a few involving the mysterious Grey Man that I thought were a little odd, convenient, and forced. I’m still super excited to see what’s going to happen in book three (and slightly confused because I thought this was a trilogy and apparently book four is coming out sometime next year). Again, the ones with Ronan were my favorite twists because I wanted to know more about him and there were some developments, and new villains, I never saw coming.

These are the Maggie Stiefvater books I’d recommend as of now. While I still am not a fan of her other work, the magical mayhem in this Raven Cycle is perfect for me.

4/5 stars

4 stars · fiction · paranormal · romance · series · young adult

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys
The Raven Cycle #1

author : maggie stiefvater [also wrote: the scorpio races; shiver]

pages : 409

memorable quote “My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

favorite characters : ronan & adam

summary :

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of theShiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

review :

This is the third book I’ve read by Maggie Stiefvater and I’m so glad that I kept trying her work! Shiver and The Scorpio Races just had little things about them that I couldn’t get over so I could enjoy the book, but The Raven Boys was fantastic! I loved the mystical setting, the mysterious predictions, the colorful cast of characters. I’m so glad that I’ve started the Raven Cycle, because now I can’t wait to read the next book!

Blue is an interesting character. I don’t know what it’d be like to know that you can’t really get close to anyone, because giving your true love a kiss will kill them. Blue’s been told that her entire life but it never really became a problem until she was old enough to become interested in boys and that’s where the store really begins. Although I really liked reading about the Raven Boys more than the chapters from Blue’s perspective, it was only from personal preference and not because there was something I truly disliked about her.

I love how I could never predict what was going to happen next! I think that this was what I really wanted to see in one of her books, something that moved at a faster pace. This took me a little while to get into but after the first third of the book I just couldn’t put it down! I really recommend this book for people who like surprises, a magical and paranormal element, and a group of characters you won’t forget!

4/5 stars

3 stars · fiction · paranormal · romance · series · young adult

Shadowland by Alyson Noel

Shadowland

Author: Alyson Noel

Pages: [hardcover] 339

Book #3 in The Immortals series
Book 2: Blue Moon

Favorite Characters: Ever & Paul

Memorable Quote: So you’ve made a friend. How sad for them.

Summary:

Enter the realm of the Immortals—the #1 New York Times bestselling series that’s been acclaimed as breathtaking, mesmerizing, flawless and extraordinary.

 

Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever.  But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything.  Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into the Shadowland.   Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…a surfer named Jude.

 

Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar.  Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past.  She’s always believed Damen to be her soulmate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true.  But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…

Review:

Oh, boy. I really don’t know what to think about this book. Because I’ve grown to love this series, wanting to desperately know what’s going to happen with Damon and Ever. I already have the next book sitting on my TBR pile. And while Shadowland doesn’t make me regret getting into the series, it’s definitely giving me doubts as to where this is going. While there were some good points to the story, I feel like nothing actually happened the entire time. Things were hinted to that might hold significance in the future, but they don’t make anything interesting now. There were long stretches of no action, just weak plot building, with some character decisions that made no sense.

I loved the introduction of Jude, who definitely made everything brighter for a while, because of his new importance. Yet his entire relationship with Ever barely registered with me, and she seemed to do some completely stupid things while claiming she wanted nothing to do with him.

On the other hand, Roman definitely fell flat. All of that ‘I don’t need to do anything, you’re already doing what I want you to do’ attitude may be creepy, but it takes away from the suspense. The action. The what-could-possibly-happen-next. He was just . . . boring. As the main villain, that’s something you never want. Fear, not indifference.

This book seemed like build up for later in the series. Nothing of real significance happened except for a smattering of incidents, and the entire novel could have been a lot shorter. If some pages were taken out, it probably would have been better. I’ll still keeping reading the Immortals series, but I need to regain my enthusiasm. Here’s hoping Dark Flame will be amazing. I give Shadowland 3/5 stars.

5 stars · fiction · mystery · young adult

Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy

Author: Gregg Olsen

Pages [hardcover]: 352

Empty Coffin #1

Favorite Characters: Taylor & Hayley

Summary:

Murder is such a dirty word…

New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with EMPTY COFFIN, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.

Crime lives–and dies–in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen–and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town’s victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins’ old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out–and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge–and push you right over.

Review:

Because I’m just starting to get into crime writing, I wondered whether I’d like Envy, even if it was young adult. But I shouldn’t have doubted that gorgeous cover (the greatest mix of creepy/mystery/curiosity I’ve seen in a while) because from the first page, I couldn’t put this book down.

The novel switches points of view several times, mainly focusing on the twins, Taylor and Hayley, as they look into their not-really-a-friend, Katelyn’s, death. There are a host of original, interesting characters to back them up, from the reporter that seems intent on stalking their lives to the woman next door who never leaves her house. Even the most minor ones seemed to have something gripping and real about them.

The plot twisted and turned in ways that I could never have expected, and I loved that! I wanted to figure out what had happened to Katelyn, and what was going on with the twins, but only began to suspect about a page before I was actually told what was going on. With so many books easily predictable, Envy definitely different in that respect. And what makes it even more interesting is that nearly all of it is based on a true crime.

The only complaint I have is that sometimes it felt like the writing was strained into being some representation of what someone who isn’t a young adult thinks that young adults talk like. Or text like. One of my favorite parts of the book was that it showed text conversations between some characters. Yet the words were abbreviated so much, it was obvious that it was more work to figure out how to not spell out a word than to actually do so. No one I know would text like that.

Despite that tiny detail, I loved Envy, and give it 5/5 stars. I really hope to continue on with this series, and see where it goes from here! I recommend this to anyone, even those who haven’t read crime/murder mysteries. I haven’t, and I ended up enjoying it immensely.

Envy is set to release Sept. 6, 2011! Look for it in stores then, or preorder it now!

4 stars · Fantasy · fiction · history · romance · series · young adult

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray



A Great and Terrible Beauty

Author: Libba Bray

Pages [hardcover]: 403

Memorable Quote: “How can my ankles and arms be obscene?”

Favorite Characters: Pippa and her knight, Reginald

Summary:

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

Review:

 I didn’t expect to like this book. It started very slow for me, with several attempts at starting it, setting it aside, and then starting over once again. Finally, I convinced myself to read it, and once I was about a third of the way through, I began to like it, though there were a few things that hindered my enjoyment.

Gemma wants to make friends. In that respect, she’s exactly like any other teen girl. But she complains about how Ann immediately abandons her whenever it looks like it will make her more popular. A few chapters later she’s willing to do anything to keep the friends she’s managed to make, despite not actually wanting to participate. She’s a hypocrite, but then again, many people are. This irked me, and made me dislike her, because combined with her selfish attitude, she seemed exactly like the people she did not like.

I did think the supporting characters were wonderfully defined, and raised the plot immensely. Kartik was delightfully mysterious, though sometimes it seemed forced, and Pippa was the group’s romantic, though air-headed member. Even the teachers, so often neglected in young adult novels, had personalities and lives of their own.

While it isn’t one of the best books I’ve read, the plot of A Great and Terrible Beauty was unique and gripping. I kept wanting to see what would happen next-if the danger level would rise-but perhaps the great event I’ve been looking forward to happening will occur in the next book. I’ll definitely have to get that, and read more of Gemma’s journey of discovering herself.

I give A Great and Terrible Beauty 4/5 stars. Recommended for those who like historical fiction with fantasy thrown in.

fiction · romance · science fiction · series · young adult

Missing You by Meg Cabot

Missing You

Author: Meg Cabot [also wrote Avalon High, Size 12 is Not Fat, and Airhead]

Pages [paperback]: 288

The 5th and final book in the 1-800-Where-R-You Series!
Book 1: When Lightning Strikes Book 2: Code Name Cassandra
Book 3: Safe House Book 4: Sanctuary

Opening LinesMy name is Jessica Mastriani. You might have heard of me. It’s fine with me if you haven’t, though. In fact, I kind of prefer it that way.

Favorite Characters: Jess & Rob

Summary:

Ever since a walk home on a particularly stormy day, Jessica Mastriani has had an ability like no other. She became known worldwide as Lightning Girl — a psychic who could find the location of anyone, dead or alive. Jess finally had no choice but to embrace her newfound talent, and ended up lending her skills to the U.S. government.

But her work for them has taken a terrible toll, and Jess resurfaces months later a shadow of her former self, her powers gone, Lightning Girl no more. Her only hope is starting over in a new place, a big city where nobody knows her. It’s only when Rob Wilkins unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep that she’s forced to face her past. Rob, all the way from back home, needs her help. But how can Jess, her powers gone, find anyone, let alone the sister of a man she once loved . . . when she can’t even find herself?

Missing You, the fifth and final book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series

Review:

First off, I absolutely loved this book. When I found out it almost wasn’t written . . . Well, that would have been a bleak moment for humanity. Or, at least, for me. And probably a few other fans. I digress.

Rob and Jess . . . Rob has truly proved himself, and doesn’t let me down in this final installment. Jess is as awesome as before. Oh, how I’ll miss these characters!

The plot, like that of books 1-4, is simple, yet doesn’t drag in the slightest. Full of twists and turns, romance, and annoying siblings, this book has a bit of everything. I love the humor it’s written with-even in the most suspenseful moments, Jess can make me laugh.

This is exactly the type of book I wanted to read right now. I give Missing You 5/5 stars. It’s a quick, fun read that will satisfy every question you have about the series. You even find out about Rob’s probation. 😉

fiction · romance · science fiction · series · young adult

Code Name Cassandra by Meg Cabot

Code Name Cassandra

Author: Meg Cabot [also wrote Avalon High, Size 12 is Not Fat, and Airhead]

Pages [paperback]: 272

Available now!

Book 2 of the 1-800-Where-R-U series
Book 1: When Lightning Strikes

Opening Lines: I don’t know why I’m doing this. Writing this down, I mean. It’s not like anybody is making me. Not this time.

Memorable Quote: “Didn’t your mother ever tell you,” Rob asked, “that you’re supposed to play hard to get?”

Favorite Character: Rob

Summary:

JESS MASTRIANI

was dubbed “Lightning Girl” by the press when she developed a psychic ability to find missing children after she was struck by lightning during a huge storm. Now Jess has lost her miraculous powers…or at least she would like the media and the government to think so. All she wants is to be left alone.

But it doesn’t look like Jess is going to get her wish — especially not while working at a summer camp for musically gifted kids. When the father of a missing girl shows up to beg Jess to find his daughter, Jess can’t say no. Now the Feds are on her tail again, as is one ornery stepdad, who’d like to see Lightning Girl…well, dead.

Review

Meg Cabot has made me fall in love with yet another one of her books. Taking up just after book one, When Lightning Strikes, lets off, Code Name Cassandra reintroduces the cast of characters. This time, it’s summer, and Jess is looking forward to weeks of french-braiding little girls’ hair, lounging by the pool, and hanging out with her best friend, Ruth.

Of course, for a girl who can figure out where lost children are when she falls asleep, things don’t always go exactly according to plan.

I love the concept of this series, and can’t wait to read on. The only negative thing I can think of is that the action slacked off a little just before the climax. I didn’t really think much more was going to happen, then BAM!, the plot twisted! That definitely made me love the book 100% more-just as soon as I was fearing it would turn out mediocre, it pulled a complete 180 and was fantastic.

I love Jess-she’s so headstrong, and knows how to work for what she wants. She doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and considers rules optional. Though she may be a bit extreme when it comes to anger management, I think there definitely need to be more female characters like her. Independent, working for what they want. I like her as a role model, if you can take just the good parts of her personality.

I give Code Name Cassandra a whole-hearted 5/5 stars. I loved it, and can’t wait to read the third book in this series!

fiction · mystery · science fiction · young adult

The Third Eye by Lois Duncan

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The Third Eye

Author: Lois Duncan

Pages [paperback]: 220

Available Now

Opening Lines: Bobby Zenner disappeared sometime between noon and one o’clock on the third Saturday in April. Later, under police questioning, Karen would not be able to pinpoint it any more closely than that.

Favorite Character: Ron

Summary:

When Karen closes her eyes, the visions come. Through time and space, she sees a place where stolen children sleep. And if Karen denies a young policeman’s request for help, the children may never go home again.

Review:

I borrowed this book from a friend last week, not knowing much about it but thinking it looked pretty interesting. And it was interesting. The plot moved along quickly and kept me coming back for more. But the characters were dry and hard to picture. I never really figured out how old Ron was, and couldn’t image the bond between him and Karen as a result. Karen was utterly, hopelessly dependent on others and what they wanted for her to do. She was also incredibly selfish-if you knew that you could save dozens of babies, would you run away to California and pretend that you could do nothing at all? I think not.

The ending, however, was fabulous. That’s what redeemed the story for me. It tied up the past and gave a glimpse into the future. That was by far my favorite part.

Though I didn’t really hate this book, it wasn’t one of my favorites. It’s more of one of those that you can read if you want to, but if you have something better available, don’t bother. I give ‘The Third Eye 3/5 stars.