Friday, November 30, 2012

CRIMSON FROST by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost
Jennifer Estep

Rating: A+
Release Date: 12/24/12
For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

My thoughts on the book:
Wow. Crimson Frost is my favorite book in the series, so far. This novel is action-packed and full of romance and nonstop suspense. I could not put it down! Gwen grew a ton as a character over the arc of this story, and some new characters (and mythological types) were introduced. This is one book that will not disappoint!

Gwen was fantastic in this book. The poor girl can't catch a break, and this time she's facing the death penalty. Thankfully, she was much smarter in this book than she was the last one. She really stood on her own and took care of herself (and everyone else) in this installment. I really like how her character is progressing, and I can't wait to see how much stronger she gets in the next book. Logan was super sweet in this novel. I now love him even more, if that's possible. Daphne, Carson, Oliver, Grandma Frost, Vic, Metis, Nickamedes, and Coach Ajaxx were also great additions to the story, as usual. I also really liked the new characters we got introduced to... even the bad guys. They were interesting. No cookie-cutter characters from Estep, that's for sure. 

Crimson Frost was fast-paced, but nothing felt rushed. The plot was extremely intense. The problems started within the first few pages and continued until the end of the novel. Some of the issues were solved during the course of the book, but others got added. It didn't really end on a cliffhanger, but the ending left an opening for Midnight Frost, which comes out in August of 2013 (I can't wait!). I would go into more detail here, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Let me just say that you will not be able to put this book down. 

Overall, I'd recommend this series to anyone who loves YA mythology-inspired/supernatural books. For those of you who have already read the previous books in the series, you cannot miss this novel. It's the best one yet. I, personally, can't wait to see what Gwen and co. get into next. 

Pre-order Crimson Frost!

Monday, November 26, 2012

TRAPPED by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne

Rating: A
Release Date: 11/27/12
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

My thoughts on the book:
Trapped was a fantastic addition to the Iron Druid series! It was definitely one of my favorite in this series. While I generally don't like reading books with male protagonists because I can't relate to them, I love Atticus dearly. This book had all of the things I love about this series (minus Coyote... I do love a trickster), but in larger quantities. If you love this series, you must have this book. If you're curious about the series, start at the beginning (obviously), but this book is still a must-have! If you're not sure if this series is for you, I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. 

The character development in the Iron Druid Chronicles has always astounded me, and this installment was no exception. Atticus somehow managed to grow throughout the course of the novel, even though it took place twelve years down the road from the last book. Granuaile also evolved, and I've always I really liked her character. And who doesn't love Oberon? I mean, come on! Oberon is my favorite character, for sure. 

Another thing I really loved about this novel was that it went really in depth with the mythology surrounding all of the characters/worlds. As those of you who have read Hearne's work know, he has incorporated vampires, lycanthropes, elves, the fae, etc. into this series, and as the series progresses, he includes more details about all of the mythology. This novel had more mythology than the previous ones, and I enjoyed that. 

The plot was, of course, an action-packed thrill ride. There was not one dull moment in the entire novel. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the entire book, and I could not put it down. If you want a quick, intense read, then this book is for you. Some of Atticus' issues were solved at the end of this book, but there are still enough problems for the next book, don't worry.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves the Dresden Files, or just urban fantasy in general. You'll fall in love with the characters, and the plot is amazing. You do not want to miss this novel!

Want to order Trapped?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson

Corrine Jackson

Rating: B+
Release Date: 11/27/12
Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

This is Book One in the Touched trilogy.

My thoughts on the book:
Touched is an intense thrill-ride that you won't want to miss. This novel somehow manages to deal with social issues (extremely abusive/drunk step-father) while incorporating a fantastical element as well (Remy has a healing touch). The result is a surprisingly believable story with well-developed characters and a suspenseful, action-packed plot. I wasn't a huge fan of how the world-building took place. Regardless, I could not put this book down. 

Remy was an extremely strong and inspiring character. This is really a story of her beginning to heal. While it was sometimes painful to see things from her perspective, it was extremely effective. I was deeply invested in her survival, and I really connected to and cared about her. 

Asher was a bit Edward Cullen-esque at times. However, he wasn't a carbon copy of good ol' glitter pants. He stood on his own well, and I enjoyed getting to know him. He really surprised me in a few parts of the story, and I can't wait to learn more about him. 

The other secondary characters were also well-developed, and we got to see a lot of them (which I liked). I really loved Lucy. She's pretty fantastic. I hope we get to see more of her in the future. I also liked Ben and Gabe quite a bit. Overall, the characters in this novel were top notch. 

The plot, while at times resembled Twilight, again wasn't a carbon copy. A lot of things were different, but the romance between Asher and Remy started out a lot like Edward and Bella. However, they quickly came into their own identities and things were fine. Also, Remy was never as weak and pansy-like as Bella. Nothing in the novel was really surprising, other than one part that seemed to come out of nowhere. There was no build-up to one revelation ,and I was left sitting there thinking, "where did that come from?" Other than those few issues, though, the plot was action-packed and suspenseful, even if it was not mysterious. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the entire story, and I stayed up all night reading this book. The pacing was perfect, and the story flew by. This was definitely a quick read. The ending tied things up nicely, but left some open ends for the sequel. No huge cliffhanger for this book, though, thankfully. 

The world-building was done through a journal, and the whole thing was written in italics, which annoyed me. I don't know how it could have been handled better, but surely there was a better way. Maybe Remy could have summed up the stuff she learned. Also, the mind-reading aspect of things (you'll see what I'm talking about when you read it) was done a bit awkwardly. The way it was done seemed like Remy was narrating her life in her head as she went along instead of telling us the story later, though the story was told in past tense. That was kind of awkward. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were amazing, and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. There were a few issues that may, in fact, be cleared up before publication, but the issues were minor and did not interfere with the story much at all. I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves a good paranormal romance. This is a bit different than your average fare, though you will be reminded of Twilight a bit with the romance. I hate Twilight, and I still liked this book, though. Therefore, I'd recommend it to people who love Twlight and people who don't. Give this book a try. You won't be sorry. 

Want to pre-order Touched?

Monday, November 19, 2012

UNDEADLY by Michelle Vail

Michelle Vail

Rating: A-
Release Date: 11/20/12
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. 

Life at Nekyia has its pluses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....

My thoughts on the book:
Undeadly was a unique take on the teen supernatural boarding school story. The characters were well-developed, the plot was intriguing, and the pacing was perfect. I could not put this book down. This is one reaper story you won't want to miss.

In the beginning of the book, Molly was pretty annoying. She was a whiny, spoiled brat. However, the plot was so interesting that I gave her a chance anyway. I'm glad that I did. Her character grew immensely throughout the course of the novel, and by the end, she was a completely new person. I really like the direction her character was taking, and I can't wait to see what happens to her next. My one complaint with the characters is that we didn't get to know any of the secondary characters very well. Since this is a series, though, I assume that there will be more time for relationship building in the next installment. On the plus side of no relationships being firmly built, there was also no insta-love. Yay for that. My favorite characters so far are Henry, Anubis, and Rath. 

The plot is unique for a reaper book and for a boarding school book, and I really loved the incorporation of Egyptian mythology. I'm not going to go into anymore detail about the plot because I'd hate to spoil the novel for you. I'll just tell you that it's super intense and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's non-stop suspense. Also, it was a quick read. I read it all in one sitting, but unfortunately, it ended on a cliffhanger. 

The world-building was also fantastic. This novel takes place in a world that knows reapers and necromancers exist. There is an open market for making zombies, and they teach necromancy history in public schools. That within itself fascinated me, and I had to learn more about this world. Vail did an excellent job of describing this new reality, and the world felt real to me. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves YA paranormal novels. Give Undeadly a try. You won't be sorry. 

Want to order Undeadly?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

RENEGADE by J.A. Souders

J.A. Souders

Rating: B+
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. 

Her memories have been altered. 

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. 

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

My thoughts on the book:
Renegade was a captivating Utopian novel (NOT Dystopian). Utopian novels exist in worlds that appear to be perfect, when seen from the outside. However, once you delve deeper into the world, you find all of the faults and what really goes on to make the world perfect. Dystopian novels, on the other hand, take place in worlds that are obviously messed up. The characters in Renegade were unique and fleshed out, the plot was complex and intriguing, and the world-building was fantastic. I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for something different to read. 

Evelyn was the first person narrator of this book. Sometimes that worked for me and other times it didn't. You see, Evelyn had memory problems, and sometimes I felt like I couldn't trust her because the poor girl just didn't always know what was going on. However, she seemed honest enough, and she was a likable character. It was extremely interesting seeing Elysium through her point of view... especially considering the memory altering that went on with her character. She, for the most part, was a strong and inspirational character, and I enjoyed getting to know her. 

I didn't feel like I got to know the secondary characters, like Gavin, as well as I would have liked to. As I stated, each character was unique and well-developed, but I just didn't feel like I got to know the full character. That could be because Evelyn was the narrator and she kept forgetting people. I really wish I could have known more about  Macie and Nick. Maybe I'll get more information about them and Gavin in the sequel.

The plot was complicated and at times I felt like it had no direction. Again, this could be due to the memory loss of the narrator, but I felt really confused and like I was just wandering around this story with no end in sight on more than one occasion. That being said, the plot was extremely action packed, suspenseful, and intriguing. I couldn't put this book down, and it was, overall, a quick read. The ending was my absolute favorite. It didn't end on a cliffhanger (thankfully), but there is room for a sequel. I don't want to spoil the ending, but let me just say that you won't be disappointed in it.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to fans of Dystopian, Utopian, and sci-fi lit. I really enjoyed this book, even though there were a few problems (that I mentioned above). I'm looking forward to the sequel, and I commend Souders for a job well done. 

Want to buy Renegade?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still updating less

Hey guys,

As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm still updating the blog less. I'm in the process of applying to graduate schools and finishing up the semester. Both of these things are taking more time than I thought they would. Therefore, I will be updating less, but I'll still get the reviews of the books I've requested posted. I just won't be reviewing any books that are already published due to time constraints. I also won't be participating in any memes until things calm down a bit. One more month, and this semester is over. By then, I will have gotten all of my graduate school applications in, too, so I'll be able to update normally again. Sorry for being such a bad blogger lately. I miss blogging (and reading for fun), and I can't wait until things get back to normal! Thanks for being so awesome.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

SPEED OF LIGHT by Amber Kizer

Speed of Light
Amber Kizer

Rating: D
Release Date: 11/13/12
Fans will be thrilled with the up and coming book in the Meridian trilogy as the romance between Meridian and Tens heats up. And Juliet returns, but her obsessions leave her open to evil exploitation.

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra, an angel infused human, destined to transition souls into the next world. Together with Tens Valdes, her soulmate and Protector, they've made a home in Indiana, making sure the dead safely enter the light and aren't stolen by the Dark, known as the Nocti.

Upon rescuing Juliet Ambrose from her terrible childhood, Juliet has become vulnerable without her Protector and grasps at any hope to find her parents, even when it's offered by a proven Nocti, Ms. Asura. Juliet is now faced with the horrible choice between uncovering her past and having a future.

Meanwhile, time may be running out for the hundreds of thousands preparing for the festivities surrounding the Indianapolis 500 car race. As centuries of secrets are revealed, the battles will pit Light versus Dark. Not all will survive as Meridian, Tens, and Juliet join forces to try to thwart a potential tragedy.

My thoughts on the book:
This was the SLOWEST MOVING BOOK EVER. And that's kind of sad because even though it was the slowest book in the history of all book-kind, it still was better than book two in this trilogy. The plot wasn't that interesting, and the characters annoyed me. I'm not a big Nascar fan either, so I didn't feel the Indy 500 battle. Overall, I'm just not impressed with this entire series. I kept hoping this last book would redeem the series for me, but the entire trilogy just fell flat. 

Meridian and Tens were kind of obnoxious. Their romance wasn't steamy at all. There was just no chemistry there, in my opinion. Everything was just dragged out and a bit ridiculous. It really didn't seem like they were anything more than friends for most of the book... other than Meridian's obnoxious thoughts, that is. So it was like she had a 5th grade crush on one of her friends for most of the book. I guess that'd be more accurate. Anyway, moving on... Juliet was super annoying, too. She was all emo, whiny, and angsty. Apparently she's the only person in the history of the world to have ever had a bad childhood. And her protector, Fara, was also obnoxious. Her personality just sucked. Yea, wasn't feeling the characters. It seemed like Kizer tried too hard to make each character unique and was so caught up on individual quirks that the characters lacked depth and personality. 

The plot itself was just a drag. Same stuff different book. I have no idea why this book dragged on for over 500 pages. And THEN, somehow the ending actually felt rushed. 90% of the middle part could have been taken out and the ending could have been extended. That would have vastly improved this book. Also, I could have done without Juliet's POV, so that also could have eliminated some pages. The ending was wrapped up nicely, and the series came to a solid conclusion, but this entire book was just BORING. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book only to those who have read the first two and must know what happens in the end. To everyone else, avoid this series. Trust me. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince
Julie Kagawa

Rating: C
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My thoughts on the book:
I enjoyed the Iron Fey series, so I was looking forward to this spin-off featuring the adorable Ethan, Meghan's older brother. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed in this one. The Lost Prince just did not live up to any of the Iron Fey books, in my opinion. While this novel did have the characters I know and love from the Iron Fey series, the new characters weren't terrific additions. The plot itself was good, and the writing, of course, was fantastic. However, the characters really killed it for me. 

Ethan is the narrator, and he was such a cute kid in the Iron Fey series that I was really excited to read a book from his perspective. Apparently dealing with the fey problems his whole life really ruined his personality, though, because he was whiny and super emo. I just did not enjoy reading things from his perspective at all. I understand, to an extent, the bitterness and anger, but he was just really overboard with it. I think if he'd been a tiny bit more positive, then I would have enjoyed the book more. 

The secondary characters were more likable than Ethan. Kenzie was okay. She's not my favorite female lead ever, but she was okay. She was a strong enough character, and she was fairly brave considering all she had to go through. Kiernan was pretty awesome and was reminiscent of the characters from the Iron Fey series, but still not quite as good. He was, by far, my favorite new character, though. 

Puck, Meghan, Ash, and GRIMALKIN!!! were all back in this one, just in smaller doses. I freaking love Grimalkin. Ahem. They've all grown since the end of the Iron Fey series, and it was interesting to see how much stronger Meghan was. She really grew into her role as a queen. Ash was still bad ass as ever, and Puck was still as puckish as ever. Grimalkin was still the best character in the world!!!! Anyway, it was good to see them. I enjoyed them much more than the new characters. 

The world-building and writing were top-notch, which I've come to expect from Kagawa. The plot was pretty good. There were no huge surprises. I didn't expect the ending with Kenzie, but that didn't shock me. However, I never felt bored, and I kept turning the pages. The romance was okay, but it moved a bit too quickly for my liking. Also, the chemistry that Ash and Meghan have was not really there for Ethan and Kenzie. The romance wasn't totally cold, it just wasn't as hot as Ash and Meghan were. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loved the Iron Fey series. If you're a fan of that series, then you're sure to like this new one, too!

Order The Lost Prince