Saturday, 31 March 2012

[REVIEW] Want to go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Published: August 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Agee Group: Young Adult
Abby and Luke chat online. They've never met. But they are going to. Soon.Abby is starting high school--it should be exciting, so why doesn't she care? Everyone tells her to "make an effort," but why can't she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she's losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke--he is her secret, and she's his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn't who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again. (From Goodreads)

Want to go Private was a scary book, in my opinion, not because there were scary creatures or people getting killed.  It's the idea of this book that it could happen to you that makes it scary.

Littman writes this in a very relatable way.  I'm pretty sure there are time when you feel left out and alone.  Abby is a person who goes through this.  She turns to the internet and people on it for comfort, even though she hasn't met them before.  I'm pretty sure each of us is thinking that it's common sense for you to not trust someone online, especially someone you've never met but put yourself in Abby's shoes.  Think about what you would have done if you were her.  That's what I did and honestly, I feel that I might have done the same.  Of course Luke, the online predator, is obviously creepy but I guess Abby was so lonely that she ignored all the signs.  After she runs away, she starts to realize who Luke truly is.  The ending of this story was sort of a throw away in my opinon since it was really just reminding you of the moral of the story, which I thought was already blatently obvious.

The plot was developed very well and it's intersting to see how Abby acts with her friends after meeting Luke and slowly becoming [slightly?] addicted to him and the world of online conversations.

I think this book, although fictional (I hope) and for teens, is actually very educational.  The story it tells is like a life lesson and Littman wrties the story so masterfully that the way each character acts in their role can be related back to the real world and teach others how they should properly act in this situation.  Her characters all react the way I would think they would in real life.  There is no exagerration essentially.

I think this book was great but the only thing I didn't like about it was Abby's stupidity or denseness.  I know I said that if I were her, I would have did what she did but there were tons of signs throughout the story that should have raised an alarm in her head.  This book is slightly disturbing for younger readers so be warned when you do read this.  Anyway, back to what I was saying, some parts are just clearly wrong and when you encounter them, that should be a clear sign to stop talking them and tell the police that you might have been talking with an online predator.  Abby was even told in school and warned by her friend to take precautions and be careful of people you talk to online.  I guess she was too far off to really think clearly.

Anyway I would definitely recommand this to readers. Give this book a try, you might learn something!


Thursday, 29 March 2012

[REVIEW] Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Hex Hall #2
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she? [From Goodreads]

In Demonglass, Sophie shares some quality time with her father but what turns out to be a nice family reunion soon turns in to more trouble then she asks for. There's tons of surprises and excitement in this sequel, more then the first book i would definitely say.

Demonglass definitely redeemed this series in my eyes. The first book was horrible but this one was amazing. 

I LOVE the surprises Hawkins put in to this book. There are surprises from the first chapter all the way to the last. It was absolutely amazing. 

In this book, Sophie is told who her fiancee is since each witch/warlock is bethrothed at thirteen when their powers come. I was completely shocked and am definitely on this guy's side. Archer is the general "bad boy" in the series and I really don't like him but of course the main character Sophie has to be soooo in love with him. Some things never change. 

What they also find as a surprise in this book is that there are people creating demons for some reason. You figure out who but it's a complete shocker. 

The only thing that my opinion hasn't changed on is the cover. Often people say to not judge a book by its cover but seriously, who hasn't picked up a book and their first opinion of it was how good the cover is? I'm definitely one of those people so yeah, back to what I was saying. This cover sucks. The cover follows the whole witch-reflection design with the normal Sophie at the top and the reflection being her all mighty, powerful form. Okay well first of all, the picture of Sophie has nothing to do with what happens in the book. On the cover, she looks like she's prepared for a rain storm or something. Dressed for it in an all black attire plus umbrella and rain boots with puddles in the background. Sophie never once dressed like that in the book. Secondly, the reflection of the girl makes it look like either a really young bride, which could be a hint to the fiancee part, or an extravagant prom dress. Once again, doesn't make sense. Lastly the model on the cover. THERE'S NO EXCITEMENT FROM HER. Not once would i pick up this book and think "hmm, i'm going to read this" if i hadn't read previous reviews or seen the vass amount of advertising. Either way, they really need to reconceptialize these cover designs but the story is getting better so that's good. 

Still on the fence about this series but at least more of me is on the "I like this" side as opposed to the "I don't."

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

[REVIEW] The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Published: September 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Seven Realms #2
You can't always run from danger...

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the  irresistible power of attraction. (From Goodreads)

The Exiled Queen is the second book in the four book, Seven Realms series.

In the second book, the two main characters, Hans Allister (formerly, Cuffs Alister) and Raisa Ana'Marianna (who goes by Rebecca Morley to keep her identity a secret) both end up at Oden's Ford for school. As revealed in the last book, Hans starts training as a wizard while attempting to stay alive from the two Bayer twins. Along the way, Hans make some deals he could regret especially when he meets a mysterious wizard named Crow who seems seems to have his own ulterier motives. Raisa stays with Amon Bryne while training as a cadet. At Oden's Ford she stays hidden away but what happens when she gets found and kidnapped back to the one place she is running from? Well, the Exiled Queen is definitely not short of drama. We have a romantic relationship sproat between Hans and Raisa but for an heir princess, nothing always happens the way you think it does.

Chima does it again in this sequel to her first book, The Demon King. 

Although I will admit, this book lacks the action and life threatening moments that i enjoyed from the first book. I found this book was more focused on the character's relationships. Like I said, there's no shortage of drama, not just from Raisa but from Hans as well. 

What I really liked when reading this book was that it really is like you're reading two different stories that somehow entangle at some part in the middle and then seperate again. 

I also started to hate Amon for what he did to Raisa. His reasoning in the story is also absolutely horrible, but understandable and yet, at the same time completely ridiculous but what's to be done about that.  If you didn't read the first book, Amon and Raisa love each other but because of certain oaths and rules, Amon can't be with Raisa otherwise he gets punished. It's the Bryne legacy to always act in a way that protects the Grey Wolfe line (that's Raisa's royal line) and since they have to protect the line, Amon, as a Bryne, can't love the princess. 

This book was also really hard to get through at the end. Not because it was boring but because I didn't want to know what would happen. I wanted to stop reading and hope the character's happiness would last but of course, my curiosity got the best of me and I read it. Well all I can say is I'm glad the third book is coming out in a couple of weeks. 

If you love fantasy and action and possibly romance, give this book a try.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

[REVIEW] Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Hex Hall #1
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.   

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her. (From Goodreads)

Hex Hall is about a, shall we say, "reform" school for Prodigiums. Prodigiums are paranormal beings and once they do something really bad that they threaten the safety of all paranormal beings by letting people know that there are witches, werewolves, fey etc., then they are sent to Hecate, short form Hex Hall. Sophie Mercer is a new witch who does a love spell that went terribly wrong and is sent to live here. In her first week, she already made best friends with the school outcast, is hated by the three most popular girls in school, has a crush with the hottest warlock at school and has celler duty...for the entire term. What more can go wrong? Well, Sophie's going to be in for more trouble because when a mysterious predator comes and kills people the way vampires bite them, all suspicions are on Sophie's best friend, Jenna, the only vampire in the school. What is Sophie going to do when she herself is already so complicated with her own life?

First of all, i will admit that i was very disappointed with this book.

I've read many good reviews and finally decided to give this story a try. Well it wasn't exactly what i expected. 

The plot line was pretty good but most of the character development was predictable. Of course, Sophie, the main character, would fall in love with the pretty boy. I also think they introduced him WAY too soon. It's always best, in my opinion, to leave the readers guessing at who the love interest is going to be, in this case, nope. We meet him in the first chapter in which they share a not so nice conversation and Sophie starts to chant prayers of not having a crush on him. See where I'm going? 

I also found that although the main focus is on the evil group, "The Eye", that is trying to kill every Prodigium, the story sort of took another route instead. The Eye becomes secondary, instead we find the true villian of this book to be not The Eye but someone much closer. 

Some parts of the plot was also very predictable. I feel Hawkins foreshadows too much and gives away means details that would be best be hidden until the surprise at the end.  There were many constant surprises in the book and I do appreciate them. 

Lastly, the cover of this series is horrible. I thought that this book was about the fact that Sophie was some super reincarnated witch that lay dorment in her, which is why there is a reflection in the water. Well I was somewhat right...not really. The cover has no revelance and it's not really pretty. 

Overall, would I read this book again, probably not. Will I read the sequel? Yes, because it's sitting in my pile of books to read and I really hate starting a series and not trying to finish it.
Give it a try and see for yourself. Perhaps you will like it! 


(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Friday, 23 March 2012

[REVIEW] The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Published: November 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Age Group: Young Adult - Fantasy
Series: Seven Realms #1
This novel marks the first giant step in a momentous
fantasy journey orchestrated by Cinda Williams Chima, the author of the popular Warrior Heir series. Its two chief protagonists are ex-thief Han Alister, an impoverished commoner, and Raisa ana'Marianna, the headstrong Princess Heir of the Fells. The Demon King brings them together, creating part of a volatile mix of action, magic, and danger. Empathetic characters; wizardly attacks.(From Goodreads)

The Demon King is the first book in the Seven Realms Series.

In The Demon King, there are two narrators, Hans Alister (named "Hunts Alone") who is a thief trying to make a living for himself, his mother and sister, and Raisa ana'Marianna, the princess heir of the Fells. Although poor, Hans has two silver cuffs on his arms that will not come off. They grow when he grows and engraved with runes, clearly an indication that they're magicked. This leads to his nickname of Cuffs Alister. Hans life gets even harder when he steals a powerful amulet from the Bayers, the most powerful wizard family, nad now his life is in danger but what he finds while trying to stay alive changes his entire life forever. Raisa is a very stubbern girl who would much rather live life like Hanalea - the legendary warrier queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world - then attend princess lessons or getting married in fact. You see, when a child turns 16, they are seen as an adult and are eligable for marriage. Although Raisa does not want to get married, her mother has other plans, plans that may involve picking a suitier who goes against everything the queendom stands for. Both Raisa's and Han's fate collide and soon they find themselves both running to the same place and running from the same people.

This book was surprisingly good. Not just good, but really good.

At first, i was quite confused with all the locations and names, but soon it became clear to me. 

The main characters are both have very strong personalities and act in surprising ways. I will admit that the descriptions weren't enough that I could picture myself there at that moment feeling what that character was feeling or seeing what they were doing but nonetheless, it was enough for me to enjoy the book. 

The author combines magic, ancient legends and warriers together perfectly. The wizards in this book are in dispute with the "clan" people. The clan people are essentially people who use green magic, thing healing magic, magic not intended to hurt others. After the Dark King (a wizard who attempts to destroy the world) is beaten, the clan people restricted the wizards which led to the animosty between them. 

Another thing I really liked about this book was that nothing was what you thought it would be. For example, in one chapter, Hans is acting all nice and concerned and the next, he's holding a knife to someone's throat taking them as hostage. It is unexpected and completely different. 

The plot of this book is subtly mentioned throughout. I didn't really know what it was until I got to the end of this book, and then the plot of the series was clear. 
Overall, this is an amazing book and i would recommand it to anyone in to adventure, fantasy and action. Maybe a little romance in it but I'm not really sure how big of an influence it will be later on. 


(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

[REVIEW] Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter

Published: October 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Shadow Falls #2
Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities. But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold.

To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away. When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point. Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...(From Goodreads)

So I'm starting to believe that C.C. Hunter likes to follow a template when writing her books.

This book was probably no different than it's prequel.  Kylie faces the exact same problems.  Who am I? Which guy do i choose? Why do my parents suck? la la la.  And then the very uneventful ending. That's essentially the story right there.

Ok so now to talk about the positive parts of the book.  Well I guess the only thing that's keeping me through this series is that later on in the series (HOPING) , something absolutely amazing will happen.  Other than that, I guess books dealing with teenage angst are a good break from the usual romantic, supernatural books that I read.

Now what I didn't like about this book.

The story wasn't interesting. It seems C.C. Hunter foreshadows to the climax of the story but even the climax doesn't play a large part in it.  I still feel the plot of this entire story is Kylie figuring out what she is and C.C. Hunter is probably running out of ideas because throughout this book, there were many hints as to what she is. First they think she's a vampire, than a werewolf, than a shape shifter, than back to "we have no idea who you are."  Well that's a waste of 200 pages. Seriously.

A big thing that I really don't like about this series (and perhaps the way the author writes her books) is that the sequels are dependent on the fact that you've remembered everything that happened in the first book.  It's been quite a while since I've read the first one and with the impact the first book, Born at Midnight, left me, it isn't that big of a surprise that I didn't remember anything (except for that really bad ending!) so imagine by frustration when I begin reading the sequel and realize that I'm really confused with all the characters and events.  It took me five chapters and a summary  later until I could start to really understand the story. In my opinion, that's just really bad planning. Books aren't released consecutively so it doesn't make sense that they would assume we've remembered or read the previous book before reading this one.

To continue this angry rant, I also don't like how C.C. Hunter wrote the character Holiday. Holiday is suppose to be the head counsellor, the person that helps Kylie transition into a supernatural life and mentors and guides her. Well in this book, I'm not sure if it was present in the previous one or just more prominent in the second book but Holiday didn't seem mature or grown up at all.  The romance issues made sense to me.  A good love problem always makes a story interesting but it is when she talks to Kylie that I didn't get the feeling of a mentor but more of a friend.  In my mind Holiday is Kylie's friend but still a mature adult. I just really can't stand the fact that Holiday acts like a teenager when she clearly isn't.  That really bugged me.

Something else that bugged me was that she still couldn't decide which guy to choose. Ok so you have Derrick, the hot half-fae who absolutely loves you, and lucas, the stupid bad boy werewolf that left you last book. Uh I think it's pretty obvious who you should pick. Well honestly in true teen book fashion, it's usually the bad boy who gets chosen so I guess I shouldn't be complaining but seriously! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! And also, who introduces the love rival or the super b**ch (excuse my language) during the last 100 pages or so?  Seems illogical to me but of course this entire series is illogical to me.

One more thing that bugged me, that I've said over and over, the climax is not interesting.  In this book, a rogue captures Kylie to take her as his wife.  Ok so I would completely understand if this kidnapping was part of a very large scheme that would continue throughout the books. No. It's just a stupid kidnapping which of course she escapes from all within 10 pages.  That's a really bad climax.  On par with her previous one of crazy animals. 

As you can tell, I really don't like this book but I'm going to read it. Cause I'm persistent and I keep hoping that it will get better. Lastly, just to leave on a positive note, the last 100 pages of this book were exciting and engaging (minus the climax).  That seems to be part of the template for C.C. Hunter.  Bore the reader with teenage drama with the first 2/3 of the book then wow them in the last 1/3. 

I wouldn't necessarily not recommend this to readers, especially those that like books about teenage girls and real life situations but I personally don't think it's worth getting hyped about.  It's a good easy read, that's it.


Monday, 19 March 2012

[REVIEW] A Prince Among Killers by S R Vaught and J B Redmond

Published: November 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult - Fantasy
Series: Oathbreakers #2 [end]
The second half of the Oathbreaker story opens at the assassins’ stronghold, Triune, as Aron and his sworn comrades try to find peace in a world on the brink of war. Dari and Stormbreaker grow closer as they search for Dari’s missing twin; Nic and his captors find it harder to conceal their secrets; and Aron must decide whether the bond he keeps to his family will prove stronger than the oaths he has sworn to his closest friends.
Vaught and Redmond have created a heart-wrenching tale exploring the many kinds of love and war in an amazing world of two moons, shapeshifters, and humans with powers beyond reckoning. (From Goodreads)

This is the second and last part of this two part series. 
In this book, the focus is taken off Aron and Nic becomes the main character. Also the change in the titles is also an indicaton. There is also a more romance aspect in this book then adventure and the characters are less emotional at least the feelings you would get when you read about their emtotions. A Prince Among Killers starts right where Assassin's ended. Throughout the story, the focus is one Nic and Dari's budding relationship and the impending war. Aron, after finding Nic and the Stone sister with him injured, races to rescue him, almost causing his death in the process. When Nic sees Dari, it is clear to readers that he has special feelings for her, (think of them as soul mates) although perhaps Nic and Dari don't realize at first. Aron is in a jealous fit but when the war comes straight to Stone Guild's front gates, they have to put their emotions aside and work together to battle against armies ready to attack them.

To be honest, the second part of this series was much worse.

I don't like the character Nic and found this change in focus to be quite dull.

I also found this war to be ridiculus. It is still unclear to me what the war was actually for, besides to march to one's death. 

It would seem this story would have been better with a third book. Many of the actions were short and everything was very quickly paced. There wasn't any depth to the actions in my opinion that the first book had. I never got to be completely attached to this book like its first part. 

The plot also completely changes in my opinion. Now it's all about bringing peace to Eyrie by making Nic king. Finding Dari's sister becomes a sub plot and avenging Aron's family dissapears altogether. I almost completely forgot about it until it was mentioned in the last 100 pages are so. 

Truly, I am very dissapointed with this book but I got through it, just for the sake of how good the first one was and that i really wanted to know what the ending was . 

The ending was horrible by the way. I was completely shocked that the ending was so bad. For such an exciting adventure and action book, you would think the ending would be a little better then what they chose.

Anyway, I won't say don't read this book, all I can say is if you read the first book, then just remember how good that one was when you read this one.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

[REVIEW] Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Published: September 2008
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Incarceron #2 [end]
Finn has escaped from the terrible living Prison of Incarceron, but its memory torments him, because his brother Keiro is still inside. Outside, Claudia insists he must be king, but Finn doubts even his own identity. Is he the lost prince Giles? Or are his memories no more than another construct of his imprisonment? And can you be free if your friends are still captive? Can you be free if your world is frozen in time? Can you be free if you don't even know who you are? Inside Incarceron, has the crazy sorcerer Rix really found the Glove of Sapphique, the only man the Prison ever loved. Sapphique, whose image fires Incarceron with the desire to escape its own nature. If Keiro steals the glove, will he bring destruction to the world? Inside. Outside. All seeking freedom. Like Sapphique. (From Goodreads)

Sapphique is the sequel to the book Incarceron and finishes the two part series.

In Sapphique, Finn still doesn't accept the fact that he is the lost ̈Prince Giles, but when a pretender also claims the throne, Finn might need to start believing in his princedom, especially when no one else does. Keiro and Attia are still trying to escape and find a way back to Finn so when they come upon a magician who claims to have the magical glove of Sapphique, they conspire and steal the glove. Turns out the prison also wants the glove and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it back. Meanwhile, Claudia is unsure of herself as to whether Finn is the prince. She's also trying to get the portal open to save her father but what happens when she herself accidentally gets sent in to incarceron?
Sapphique wasn't as intersting as Incarceron, just to put it out there. 

I found this book was centered around the many battles, either political or physical. 
Incarceron was more centered around the prison and I guess having not read it before, the oddity of it was very intersting and kept me hooked. Sapphique doesn't have that. The prison becomes a sort of means to sense paranoia and fear to the characters. There's no "wow" moment in my opinion. 

Besides that, the ending was very good. What happened was completely surprised in my opinon. I was never expecting it and yet, when it happened, I completely understood why the world became like that. Just one of those moments. 

Overall Sapphique was an okay read that only got better the further you went. Give it a try and if you haven't read Incarceron yet, I highly suggest it!

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

[REVIEW] Assassin's Apprentice By S R Vaught and J B Redmond

Published: January 2010
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Young Adult - Fantasy
Series: Oathbreakers #1
In Eyrie - a world of two moons, shapeshifters, and powerful magic - Aron of Brailing knows he owes loyalty to his guild, obedience to the code of the land, and his life to his closest companions, but it is his own family he holds closest to his heart. Kidnapped and forced to become an assassin, Aron must learn to control and harness his own fearsome talents even as he grieves for the family he knows is lost forever. But when he is tempted to put everything aside everything he has learned in order to avenge his family's killers, will Aron make unforgivable mistakes? Assassin's Apprentice unveils an intriguing cast of characters whose sense of honour, strength, and history binds them together, and whose incredible talents of mind and body set them apart. (From Goodreads)

This is the first book in a two part series.

The story revolves around three characters whos adventures end up becoming interwined together. The world of Eyrie is made up of different areas controlled by different rulers. The inhabitants of Eyrie are those that have magic powers or shapeshifters or those that have neither, deemed as silent. First, we are introduced to Aron Brailing, a boy from a farmer's family living on the outskirts of Dyn Brailing. Dyn Brailing is one of different areas controlled by rulers. Every few years, there is a Harvest. The Harvest is when members from the two guids, Stone and Thorn. Stone is the guild where they train assassins and Thorn the place where they train scholars and healers. The guilds harvest children that have some indication of fae blood in them, essentially those that magic powers in them. Aron is one of the children and is kidnapped from his family taken as a Harvest Prize. While being kidnapped by the Stone Guild, Aron meets another child. Her name is Dari and unbenowest to all, she belongs to a group of people that are shapeshifters thought to be extinct in the last great war. When she accidentally reveals herself to save Aron and a Stone Guild member, Stormbreaker (who actually is nicer then one would think an assassin would be) the three swear an oath to keep the secret. Dari also reveals that she is looking for her twin sister, who ran away from their home and is mentally ill and could become a powerful weapon in the impending war. The third character in this book is named Nic Mab. He is the last heir to the throne of Mab since all of his previous brothers, sisters and father have died before him. After his sister's death, Nic rises as the heir but is soon betrayed by those close to him and pushed off a tower. There he is found by a Stone assassin who treats him, knowing of his orgins. Along the way, Aron and Nic share short conversations with one another, having no idea who the other is or where they are, through the use of their magic. Later on, it is also revealed that as the war draws closer, Lord Brailing started to turn on his own people and Aron`s family is one of those that were killed. Now Aron has no choice but to become an assassin and have the chance to avenge his family when he is strong enough but when the oppurtunity arises, will Aron avenge his family even though he would be commiting an unforgivable mistake in the process?

Assassin's Apprentice follows Aron Brailing more then any of the other characters. 
The book is often told in different perspectives by one of the three characters. 

This story was surprisingly quite interesting. 
At the beginning, the many names and often terms made me confused but the more you read, the easier it becomes at understanding them. 

This book definitely showed that for every action there is more then one perspective. Reading different narratives really shows the feelings of one character that another would not know at all. The character development was very well in this book. Each character has their own distinct personality that is created over the entire book. You start to understand who is the sympathetic person or who is the person that would often scowl or laugh. 

The plot in this series is also pretty solid. It is unclear though which is the main plot which leads me to conclude that there are two, Aron's goal to avenge his family and Dari's, to find her sister. 

This book completely drew me in and i couldn't stop until i had finished the entire book. The beginning is sort of slow because they introduce each character and you're just getting used to each of them but later on in the book when there is a better understaind of each character, the story and the action and adventure in this book become much more exciting to read and to follow.

If you're a fan of adventure, fantasy and action, you should definitely try this book!

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

[REVIEW] Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Published: 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult - Dystopia
Series: Incarceron #1
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ... (From Goodreads)

"A prison like no other. It gives life. It deals death. It watches all."

Incarceron is a book about a prison named Incarceron, that was created to house all the criminals in the world and see if they can create a perfect society when given the materials. The experiment turns out completely wrong and the prison comes to life. 

There are two main characters, a boy named Finn who is apparently born from the prison itself but has reoccuring visions of life "outside", because of that people call him the starseer. He has an eagle shaped mark on his wrist. The other main character is a girl called Caludia who is the Warden of Incarceron's daughter, and lives on the outside. Claudia is currently engaged to the current prince but finds out that the first prince, her first betrothed that was declared dead in an accident, is actually hidden in Incarceron due to a conspiracy planned by the queen, who is the first prince's step mother, and the Warden himself. On the other hand Finn found a crystal key with the same eagle shaped mark that he has and had a vision from Sapphique, the only prisoner to escape Incarceron, showing him the way to escape Incarceron using the key. Thus Finn and his oathbrother, a slave girl that he saved and a Sapient (think very wise, all knowing men) embark on an adventure to escape Incarceron. Claudia too finds a key and it is revealed that the two keys act as a sort of communicating device. When Claudia sees Finn, the bearer of the other key, she immediately believes that he is the lost prince. So starts the adventure of two people, one trying to escape from Incarceron and the other attempting to find Incarceron and save the lost prince.

Catherine Fisher is very ingenius. The imagination it would have took to come up with this story is outstanding. This book is completely fantasy and adventure. There's action in every page and you can feel both character's determination to either escape or save. Sadly, there isn't much character development although through their actions, it is clear that Claudia is a very stubbern and determined girl and Finn to is a determine boy believing that their is a way outside. 

What I found intesting was that at the beginning of most chapters, there would be an excerpt, either a sniplet from the "legends of Sapphique" or from a private letter from the Queen to the Warden. These excerpts explain some of the questions that arise and also helps in foreshadowing what is going to happen next. This book is completely different from the ones i usually read but i really liked it. 

Fisher's writing is very powerful and i remember when i was half way through the book, it got so exciting that i even got scared to continue reading because i dind't want to know what would happen to them in the story, in the end i did of course and i must say the ending is a complete shocker.  So be prepared if you're going to read this book and i definitely recommend this to all fantasy and adventure readers (of course) or those that just want to read a good book this summer.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

[REVIEW] The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Published: January 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Iron Fey #3
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. (From Goodreads)

The Iron Queen is the third book in the iron fey series.

The Iron Queen takes off where the Iron Daugher stopped. Meghan and Ash, after being exiled, are trying to find a place to stay. In the end, they go back to Leanansidhe, the Queen of Exiles that they had met in the previous book, seeking a place to stay there. At the quaint cottage, Leanansidhe lends them, Meghan trains with Ash and Puck in battle skills and soon learn from the two court envoys that the Seelie and Unseelie court have called a truce and have gone to war against the iron fey. The envoys notify Meghan that they will release the exile status of Meghan, Ash and Puck (who was exiled when he decided to follow Meghan) if she would journey into the Iron Kingdom and kill the false king. (NOTE: the "false" king is the fey that replaced the previous king but is not the actual heir to the throne) So, Meghan travels in to the Iron kingdom with Ash and Puck and journeys to kill the false king. Along the way, they face many troubles including acid rain and iron fey rebellion that refuses to let them pass. All of their troubles soon come to an end when the great war between iron and non-iron fey begins.

The Iron Queen was probably as exciting as the second book. 

To me though, it's sort of the ending of Meghan's tale and the start of Ash's as the next book in the series (titled, the Iron Knight) has Ash as the narrator, not Meghan. 
The plot is once again Meghan battling iron fey to save someone, this time the whole land of Nevernever (the fey world). 

The plot twist that Julie Kagawa put in to this series though was really surprising. There was foreshadow before this book but i didn't really give it a thought. When it suddenly happened though, i was really shocked and also sad because the twist made it so that Ash and Meghan couldn't be together! But i know, Ash will find a way back to Meghan. He has too...otherwise there won't be a happy ending! (as you can tell, I'm clearly on Team Ash) I believe in happy endings but i guess I'll just have to keep reading to find out. 

Give this book a try! i know i wasn't dissapointed when i decided to continue this series.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Friday, 9 March 2012

[REVIEW] Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Published: March 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Shadow Falls #1
Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams, Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…(From Goodreads)

Born at Midnight is about a 16-year old girl named Kylie who's life has gone completely down hill. Her parents are getting a divorce, her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn't have sex with him and the only person that she truly cares about, her grandmother, dies. Just when things couldn't get any worse, Kylie "finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people." The police take everyone at the party and accuse them of using drugs and drinking as minors. Her mother, convinced that there is something wrong with her, ships her off to Shadow Falls, a place for troubled teens. What she finds there isn't just troubled teens but the fact that vampires, werewolves, fairies and all other mythical things exsist, and the camp is where they all go when they have problems they need to solve, quests as they call it in the book. At the camp, Kylie ends up being torn between two guys, Lucus, who is a werewolf and used to be Kylie's neighbour and Derek, who is a half-fae, and is trying his hardest to win Kylie's affections. Kylie's life is just going to get a whole lot busier. Because now she has two boys to deal with and how do you think about boys when she doesn't even know what supernatural she is? (don't worry, she figures out in the book but you'll have to read it to find out!)

Born at Midnight was practically a book about girl issues.

There was little reference to actual supernatural abilities. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this isn't your typical werewolf or vampire book. There isn't any viscious attacking werewolves or blood sucking vampires (well they suck blood but it's pretty mild in the book.) or secret plots. 

The whole big plot about this book is that there is someone who is stealing animals from a wildlife refuge and that all the animals are very angry. Big Whoop! That's not really exciting at all and considering that plot was revealed within the last 100 pages of the book does not help it at all considering that the book is about 400 pages. 

I guess the whole point of this series is really revolved around Kylie's relationship issues and figuering out what supernatural she is and how to use her gifts.

Basically, this book is a nice simple read but it lacks the action and deep plot I usually find in other books about supernaturals. 

Give it a try if you like reading books that are more focused on teen issues but don't be too dissapointed if it isn't what you expected. It's still a good read

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

[REVIEW] The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Published: August 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Agee Group: Young Adult
Series: The Iron Fey #2
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart. (From Goodreads)

The Iron Daughter is the second book in the Iron Fey series.

The Iron Daughter starts off where Iron King ended, Meghan, the half-daughter of the Seelie court King Oberon, is stuck in the Unseelie court, prisoner to the Winter Queen Mab. There she meets the other prince's of Winter, Rowan and Sage. Ash, the youngest prince of Winter, had developed romantice feelings with Meghan but upon returning to his court, he became more distant and cold, practically avoiding her. So when the scepter of seasons is stolen and the oldest Winter price killed in battle, Queen Mab is furious and refuses to listen to Meghan and her constant pleas that the Iron Fey were the ones involved. Mab freezes Meghan but Ash rescuses her and the two escape. Along the way, Meghan's best friend and summer fairy Puck joins them and together, the three once again embark on a journey to bring back the scepter of seasons. But nothings ever as easy as it seems. Along the way, they'll meet new friends and new foes and Meghan may have to battle her toughest opponent yet.

The more I read in to the Iron Fey series, the more I'm starting to really enjoy it. 

I'm not a big fan of the Shakespearean fairy crossover tales. In fact, I find that adding Shakespeare to the storyline takes away from the fairy aspect of it so I really enjoy this story that focuses on the feys. 

The plot still remains relatively the same as the first novel, The Iron King. Meghan has to battle the iron fey in order to save someone, in this case, to restore the balance between Winter and Summer and to potentially avoid a war between the two courts. 

The romantic relationship between Meghan and Ash is taken to a new level as well. The only problem I had with their relationship was (spolier alert) that when Ash decided to become an exile for Meghan, I was happy BUT I didn't understand why all of a sudden he decided that. Throughout the entire story, he contemplates the moral of disobeying his court and I don't remember ever getting the feeling that he was going to but I guess love always prevails. That's what makes it a happy ending. 

The Iron Daughter was quite a page turner. It starts slow but then picks up and then pretty soon you won't be able to put it down. That's what happened to me and I'm so happy I had the sequel to this, The Iron Queen, with me too so I didn't have to wait in between. 

Definitely read this if you're in to books about fairies or even if you're looking for a good book about adventure. I guarentee that there are no other books that talk about iron fey (or at least no other books that i have found!)

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

[REVIEW] Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

Published: May 2010
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Age Group: Young Adult - Historical

Three fates interwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London.

Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in London

Caden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart's delight

James Nelligan: age six, tossed into a herd of boys

When Mary Finn falls into the arms of handsome Caden Tucker, their frolic changes the course of her life.  What possesses her? She's been a girl of common sense until now. Mary's tale of alternates with that of young James Nelligan, a new boy in an enormous foundling home.

In Folly, Marthe Jocelyn's breathtaking command of language, detail, and character brings Victorian London to life on every page, while the deep emotions that illuminate this fascinating novel about life-changing moments are as current as today's news. (From Goodreads)

Folly is an amazing book and the author mangaes to squeeze in countles emotions in to less then 300 pages. 

Folly is written in two perspectives, one in 15-year old Mary's perspective and the other in a young child named James. Mary is sort of like your typical cinderella. Her mother dies and her stepmother decides to send her away from the family and become a maid in London. James on the other hand is a child that was abandoned by birth. Living through the foster care, his foster parents must send him back to the foster care centre when he turns six. The years that both these perspectives take place are about 8-10 years apart. Mary's narrations are from around 1876-1878 and James is from 1884. 

Throughout the whole story, both characters fall in to a sort of trap. Mary conflicts with the other maid in the house, Eliza, and starts to fall in love with a man ultimately committing the greatest sin possible. James flees the foster centre and is left homeless on the streets. Both characters truly grab you and it's hard not to feel sympathetic or share the saddness that they are experiencing. 

The ending of the story also has a sudden twist that is quite rewarding. In my opinion, it answered alot of questions that iIthought of and couldn't find an answer too. 

The title of this book is also quite ingenious. Folly essentially means being foolish and throughout the book, the word folly tends to appear quite often. When I read this book, I really felt that the majority of the writing was focused on the character's emotions. Often there would be alot of descriptive paragraphs to aid in the understanding of a character's feelings.

The settings are nicely explained. And the character's actions are also described very in depth. 

Personally, I found folly to be a very heartbreaking story but that really depends on how emotional you are. 

I would definitely recommand this to those who enjoy reading emotional stories or just those that would like to understand how the people in the lower classes survived back in the late 1800's.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

[REVIEW] City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Published:  April 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Mortal Instruments #4
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels (From Goodreads)

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the mortal instruments series. 

My first reaction when i finished this book was "OH (insert word for shock or surprise or something you probably wouldn't say in a regular conversation)." After that i realized i had to wait practically a year for the next book.

In this book, Jace becomes possessed by a demon, and not just any demon but the mother of all demons, Lilith, who wants to ressurect his brother, Sebastian (or Jonathan). Simon is approached by Camille, the past vampire leader of the Manhatten clan and Simon also truly realizes what the Mark of Cain does to those that mean harm to him. Maia meets his ex-boyfriend and certain events are cleared up. Clary and Jace meanwhile, attempt to deal with this possession. Well more like for the first half of the book, Jace avoids Clary and no one really knows why, not until Jace tells Clary about his haunting dream does she suggest someone influencing him. Jocelyn and Luke are busy preparing their wedding. And lastly, former Circle members are being killed as well as babies that seem to be experiments in hopes of creating another demon-angel blooded child similar to Sebastian/Jonathan. Well that's basically the jist of what happens in the book. 

In this book, I feel Cassandra Clare had less descriptions of the settings. It was mainly the characters themselves who were explained with much depth, mainly their clothes, emotions, and actions. 

Cassandra Clare never stops surprising her readers and she also makes every fact fit together so nicely. You could be reading about something and then 100 pages later, it's revealed what the fact means and then a sudden epiphony moment where you start to realize that that really makes sense and that Cassandra Clare is a genius in weaving all these foreshadows and hidden facts as well as balancing all the relationship drama that always happens in the Mortal instruments series.

Maybe that's just my feeling but i really enjoy reading this series and if you haven't read this book or the series, go and read it now. it's an excellent summer read and pretty soon you'll be waiting impatiently for the fifth book to come out like me!

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Monday, 5 March 2012

[REVIEW] Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Published: February 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED (From Goodreads)

Cloaked is basically a modern fairy tale story. Johnny is an aspring shoe designer who works at his family's shoe repair shop at a hotel in South Beach in an attempt to try to make ends meet. Johnny and his mother are extremely poor and often the bills are left unpaid. When the princess from Aloria comes to the hotel on a "important, top-secret buisness", Johnny is introduced to a world of magic when she asks him to go on an adventure in an attempt to save her brother, who has been turned in to a frog, from the evil witch. Throughout the adventure, Johnny meets talking animals, is thrown in to a dumpster, has to kill two giants and almost dies, on more then one occasion. 

Alex Flinn mixes together quite a few classic fairy tales in to one story to create a modern twist of them. 

The story's plot is the classic, "damsel in distress", but it's still intersting considering it isn't the damsel in distress it's the prince. 

The character's aren't described as much rather their personality is shown through the dialogue and their interactions. 

The story does go quite quickly. One moment, he's in one location and then the next in some other location. Johnny spends about 1-2 chapters in one location at a time. He's always moving which makes it hard to be completly lost in the book but it was a good read. 

Johnny is your typical 17 year old boy and I think Alex Flinn does an excellent job describing him through his actions throughout the book. 

If your a fan of classic fairy tales then Cloaked is the book for you. 

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)