Category Archives: 2010

Review: Grave Witch (Alex Craft #1) by Kalayna Price

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
Publisher: RoC
Release date: October 5, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Alex Craft #1
Rating: Four stars!

I haven’t been reading books like this since I started blogging, mainly because they take me a little more time to finish than young adult books do. But I’ve decided I’m going to go back to reading these as well, because I’ve always enjoyed them, and Grave Witch was a breath of fresh air for me. I loved this book.

I was reading vampire books right before the publishing industry exploded with them. Once the shelves were over saturated with vampire novels, I got burnt out on the entire adult paranormal spectrum for a few years. Grave Witch was my reintroduction to Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance books, and I must say I’m now itching for more. Alex is a kick ass main character, strong and yet vulnerable. She’s quirky too, with her cute little dog, and a great sense of humor. Loyal as hell to those close to her.

The story itself is not groundbreaking at all, but each author brings their own ideas to the table and present it slightly different. I enjoyed the story very much despite it not being a fresh idea, because of how Kalayna Price writes it and makes it her own. And it never hurts when there’s not one sexy guy, but two involved. Though I know who I’m leaning towards. Though I don’t see how that relationship can work, but this fiction so that’s all right. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where Alex is taken in the next book, especially after one of the guys drops the L word at a crucial time.

I’m definitely looking forward to digging into the next book. I recommend this to anyone who just wants something fun to read.

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: May 4, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Wings #2

Summary from Goodreads:
Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

 This was without a doubt so much better than Wings. That’s not to say I didn’t like Wings, because I did. It was an all right book. But seriously, Spells was so much better. My favorite thing was the world-building for Avalon. It was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like an info dump, though I did think that Laurel’s time spent at the Academy was rushed just the tiniest bit. But I loved how descriptive the author was when describing the faerie world. I felt like I was there, that’s how well I could see it in my mind. The writing definitely improved from book one to two.

We see more of one boy than the other in this book though, and I can’t quite decide which one I’m rooting for. David and Tamani are both great guys, and it’d be awesome if they could just be combined into one person. But that isn’t possible, so hopefully Illusions will help me make up my mind on that score.

There was a plot turn that I was not expecting, with a new person introduced that changes things up. I’m definitely interested in seeing where that goes, but it did sort of make what happens in the ending problem a tad predictable. I’m definitely eager though to jump right into the next book to see what happens to everyone next. I definitely need more of Avalon!

Recommended for anyone who loves faeries. And fantasy and romance. Just beware the love triangle and a girl who can’t make up her mind half the time.

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: September 7, 2010
Source: Purchased
Series: Firelight #1
Purchase: Book Depository

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

When I was younger I was fascinated with the idea of dragons. I mean they’d be one of the most awesome things you could possibly catch a ride on. For some reason though, I bypassed this for nearly a year every time I went to the bookstore. Then I decided to take the plunge because honestly, at least it wasn’t vampires.

I felt bad for Jacinda, because she was essentially being punished for just being who she is when her mother uproots her and her sister Tamra to a human town, just so Tamra will feel more at home in her own skin. Basically sacrificing one daughter for the sake of the other, instead of trying to find some compromise that would suit both daughters. And let me tell you, this book might make you a little thirsty since the mother takes them to a desert, which is supposed to dry up Jacinda’s draki.

And then there’s the love triangle. Usually I’d be pulling for Will, but I have to say this time I’m pulling for Cassian. Her choice is made fairly obvious throughout the story. In a way that is nice since you don’t have all that indecision crap that many YA heroines seem to suffer from when faced with the love triangle. And even though I am rooting for Cassian, I do like Will. He’s just not my first choice for Jacinda.

With action from the first chapter and forbidden romance between hunter and prey, who would want to pass this up? I kicked myself for waiting so long to read it. We’re introduced to some interesting worldbuilding and dragon mythology. A definite must read for fans of the paranormal in need of something other than vampires and werewolves.

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: July 13, 2010
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback, 360 pages
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
(My review of Shiver)
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love — the light and the dark, the warm and the cold — in a way you will never forget.

Warning: there may be spoilers in this review

I have to say that for the most part, I wasn’t as thrilled with Linger as I was with Shiver. Linger was not written in such a way that I found quotes I loved almost every other page like Shiver. It just didn’t grab me that way. I didn’t like Cole at first, especially once certain things were revealed about him and another wolf, but in the end he grew on me. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing what happens with him in Forever.

I loved the interaction between Sam and Grace, more of the chaste touches, none of the lust you usually find in YA paranormal books now. So I’m glad that continued from Shiver. Grace’s parents behavior throughout the novel pissed me off even more so than it did in the first book though. They suddenly think they can swoop in and actually be parents and have Grace listen to them? No. They’re more naive in that than they should be as adults. Those parts were frustrating to read because I just wanted to scream at them for Grace. I liked seeing more of Isabel this book, as well as actually reading from her viewpoint. I missed the fact that there was no Olivia, but I’m sure she’ll make an appearance in Forever.

I have to admit that when I started Linger, I took a peek at the end, so I knew what would happen. But even with knowing, I still felt the tension in the end when everything was coming to a head. I tore through the last 50 pages like there was no tomorrow. I definitely cannot wait until I can get my hands on Forever, I have to know how this stunning series by Maggie Stiefvater, writer genius, ends.

Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release date: August 31, 2010
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Series: Halo #1
Purchase: Book Depository
Reading level: Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads:
Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her? 

You know what I loved most about this book? It did not preach in an in your face type of way. Now, given that it is an angel book, you know there are going to be some religious overtones, which I only mind when a book is trying to shove it down my throat. I didn’t grow up with a religious upbringing, but I know angels would probably be not quite like the ones in Halo This is however, a work of fiction. I like seeing the different ways people think up angel stories, how they present their version of an angel.

What I loved about Bethany was that in the beginning of the book, Alexandra wrote it in such a way that I felt like I was discovering all these new things just like Bethany was. Looking at what we have and live with everyday with new eyes. Also, Gabriel and Ivy both said that Bethany was the most connected to humans of any angel they’d seen, and I thought Alexandra did a great job of showing that throughout the book. She starts out otherworldy in the beginning, but page after page she slowly becomes more human. Ivy and Gabriel were awesome supporting characters, providing guidance to the others when needed. And Xavier. Oh Xavier. He’s one of my favorite main male protagonists ever. He does need to be better about making snap assumptions though. But hey, he’s only human, and we all do that.

For having been written by a seventeen year old, this is an amazingly put together book. I like Alexandra’s writing style, it makes for an easy read. The pacing was kind of slow, but I didn’t mind at all because it gave me more time to spend with these characters, getting to know them. And the descriptive details were wonderful, I felt like I was actually there with them sometimes.

And the last thing I loved about Halo was that the romance was not hot and heavy from the get go. It was very chaste overall, and developed somewhat slowly like the story, which was a nice change. Sure near the end Bethany was a little clingy, and that gets on a lot of readers nerves, what with the whole “women don’t need a man to be happy.” But you know, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone.

If you’re a fan of the angel trend in YA, I would definitely recommend this book. Clearly it’s not for everyone, since I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews, but it should definitely be given a try. I for one am looking forward to the next installments in this trilogy.

Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover, 281 pages
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?

My thoughts on The Ghost and the Goth

I’m not super big into ghosts, so I actually avoided this book for a while. It’s not that I’m scared of the idea of them or anything, they’re just something I was never really interested in, not like other supernatural beings. I was browsing in my bookstore one day though, and they didn’t have any new books that grabbed me, so I picked this up. And let me tell you I am so happy I did.

Stacey Kade is excellent at setting these two characters up as the stereotype, and then stripping that away throughout the story as you get to know them. Alona in the beginning seems shallow. And she is. But over the course of the book she does do some growing. So while she annoyed me initially, I grew to love her. Especially her interactions with Will. Stacey definitely nailed the chemistry between them. I loved that Will was not your typical YA supernatural hottie that everyone just has to swoon over. He was a breath of fresh air.

This is definitely a fun and light read. I loved that the chapters alternated between points of view, from Alona to Will. They each had their own unique voices, they didn’t run together. It definitely worked for this book. The writing was smooth and definitely made this a fast read. Once I picked this up, even with having to go to work and sleep I finished this within 24 hours of having started. I don’t do that very often, unless a book really grabs me. An awesome pick for something light to read this summer!

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Source: Bought
Purchase: Amazon / Book Depository / B&N

Summary from GoodReads:
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

My thoughts on Anna and the French Kiss
Let me just start by saying that honestly there was not a single thing I disliked about this book. I’ve been wanting a book like this for who knows how long. I don’t read quite as many contemporary books as I do paranormal, fantasy, some science fiction, etc., mostly because they almost never quite live up to what I fantasized about as a young teenager dreaming of romance years ago. Often they’re good, but not stellar. With this book though, it not only lived up to those old day dreams, but exceeded them.

I lived for the moments St. Clair and Anna spent togther, whether they were alone or with friends. Anna felt real to me. The way she acted, and reacted to things, exactly how I would imagine someone would behave in those situations. And St. Clair is one of the most swoon-worthy leading male characters I’ve met in a very long time. There were moments between them where I literally, at work in the breakroom, squealed out loud and laughed out loud.

The descriptions of Paris were lovely. I visited the city a number of years ago, so it was fun trying to see if I could remember certain parts they were in. And the writing style definitely did not feel like that of a new writer. It was exceptionally well done, and Stephanie has an incrediblely unique voice. I will most definitely be checking out the companion novels to this one as they become available.

Anna and the French Kiss has definitely landed on my small pile of books that I reread at least once or twice every year. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in YA books, but especially those that prefer the contemporary genre. Don’t pass this one up!

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Library
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository

Summary from GoodReads:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

My thoughts on Paranormalcy
When I first read the cover flap, I wasn’t entirely too sure I wanted to read this. But then I read so many awesome reviews on blogs and GoodReads that I decided to give it a try, especially once I saw my library had it. And let me tell you before I go on that this book is AWESOME.

I love Evie. She’s such a unique character with all her little quirks. She did at times seem younger than her sixteen years, but I thought it worked for her most of the time. And Tasey. Tasey was in fact probably my favorite character, even though it’s an inanimate object. And Reth was deliciously bad. Lend sort of fizzled out for me. I’m hoping I’ll like him more in the sequel. I did like his mother though.

This story brings up many questions as you read, and while answering many still leaves a few unanswered. And the secrets that come out throughout are whoppers. You think you know something about a character one second, and the next you’re proven completely wrong. I loved it.  And the writing style was awesome. Made it easy to get into the story and to keep reading. Sometimes when you’re reading a debut novel, you can tell it’s a first, and then other times you’re blown away because while you know it’s a debut, it doesn’t read like one.

Paranormalcy was fantastic, and I’m eagerly awaiting Supernaturally. July seems so far away.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin Imprint)
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5 stars – Really really liked it.
Cover Rating: 4/5 stars – Really really liked it.
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository

Summary from Good Reads:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My thoughts on Nightshade:
Wow. Nightshade starts with a bang and keeps the surprises coming. To quote the coworker who borrowed this before I read it, “This book was addictive.” Before I go any further, I first need to say that it needs to July 26 right now so I can read Wolfsbane.

When it comes to love triangles, most of the time I pick early on who I’m rooting for, but sometimes as the story develops I change my mind. That did not happen this time. Normally with a book like this I’d be Team Shay, because he is not what is mapped out for Calla, he’s the wild card. But this time I became attatched to Ren early on, and stayed firmly on Team Ren.

In terms of development for Ren and Shay, I was very satisfied with Ren. At first, while he was portrayed as loyal to his pack, he was not necessarily seen to be loyal to the upcoming commitment that was being forced upon him. But digging deeper, you see that that is totally wrong. Even though he is a Guardian, throughout the story you see things that humanize more, make him someone you can connect with. Shay on the other hand was not as well developed. I couldn’t connect with him. He becomes less human the more you read. And while you eventually learn who he is, you’re still left not knowing why. But I assume that will be covered in Wolfsbane.

The writing was fluid, very easy to read. Andrea Cremer did a wonderful job in making this story come alive in my mind. Even when I stopped reading I had the feeling that I was still in the story, and very few books have that effect on me. Fans of werewolves will love this unique take.

For Keeps by Natasha Friend

For Keeps by Natasha Friend Publisher: Viking (Imprint of Penguin)
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Source: Bought
Rating: 3/5 – It was okay. Cover: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository

Summary from Good Reads:
For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend—the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it’s only a matter of time until Paul shows up. Suddenly Josie’s mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend, while her free-loving best friend, Liv, begins yet another no-strings-attached fling. When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she’s always believed about her parents—and about herself. In FOR KEEPS, Natasha Friend tells a fresh, funny, smart story about what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

My thoughts on the book:

I wanted to love this book because I can relate to it on a personal level. Now that I’ve sat for a couple of days thinking about it, it just didn’t meet my expectations.

The interaction between the two families were very brief. I would have loved to see more especially between Josie and her father, maybe a time where they actually hang out for a day to start the process of getting to know each other. We were given little to nothing in terms of interaction with the rest of her new family. One uncle is mentioned but never talked to, while the other swoops in to save the moment, then swoops right back out never to be seen in those pages again. We get the grandmother through Josie, instead of from her.

The one thing I did like was Josie’s reactions. She reacted in such a real, believable way to the whole situation. Much like I think I’d act in that situation, and I’m nearing 24 instead of being 16