Category Archives: St Martin’s Griffin

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release day: September 13, 2011
Source: Around the World Tours
Format: ARC paperback, 307 pages
Series: Sky Chasers #1
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean’s sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

Pulse-pounding and addictive, GLOW begins the most riveting series since The Hunger Games.

I’ll admit, I was excited when I first discovered this book, but then thought it might be a rip off of Across the Universe in some way. I assure though that this is not the case. I would argue that I liked this even more than AtU. More action, more dealing with moral issues. And there ends the comparison. Just read the book, without even keeping AtU in mind, because this is it’s own book and is equally awesome if not more so.
Glow was an emotional rollercoaster ride. In the very first chapter we’re introduced to Kieran and Waverly, the two young lovers. We’re given a nice, sedate image of life on this space ship, and then BAM! Everything they’ve known is ruined in that violent battle, people separated. The tension was high for the next few chapters, wondering what’s going to happen next, and there was no way I could predict it.
Eventually we’re introduced to a character named Anne Mather. Wow. She introduced some interesting plot twists that make it so you don’t quite know what to believe. It was very interesting seeing how Kieran and Waverly adjusted each in their own situation. Kieran and a boy named Seth vying for power on their end, and Waverly being strong for herself as well as the others she’s with. I loved Waverly. You don’t often see strength like that in characters. So many things happened to her, but she never gave in. Another character I couldn’t help but like despite who she was is Amanda. In the end she helped Waverly when it was needed most.
The only thing I did not like about this book was that at times I felt like it was preaching to me about the glory of God. I don’t like being preached to. The religiousness was needed for the plot, but I wish it had been done in some other way.
Seriously though, this was a very good book. It had me reading on my day off from work, and let me tell you that’s a feat. I usually have so many other things distracting me from reading on those days, like the internet or my cats. I couldn’t put this book down. I’m definitely going to be buying my own copy so I can reread it again again, while I wait for the sequel that will inevitably come.

Review: Sirensong by Jenna Black

Sirensong by Jenna Black
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: July 5, 2011
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Format: ARC paperback, 336 pages
Series: Faeriewalker #3
Purchase: Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads:
When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they’re told…

The journey through Faerie is long – and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend Ethan and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time… and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own.

Arriving at Titania’s beautiful palace should be a relief. But Dana is soon implicated in an assassination attempt against Titania’s niece, and is suddenly a fugitive, forced to leave her father behind as she and her friends flee for her lives. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court catch up with her? Or, worse, the Erlking? And will she save her father before he pays the ultimate price in her stead?

Warning: There might possibly be spoilers in this, so please keep that in mind if you have yet to read the first two books in this series!

This by far is my favorite of the Faeriewalker series. Glimmerglass was pretty good, but Shadowspell was much better. And now we have Sirensong, which is the best. Jenna Black just keeps the awesome coming.

We’ve seen everyone develop and grow throughout the series, except for the mother. She’s still as in denial as she ever was, which pisses me off. That was the only thing I didn’t like about Sirensong, the mother. Thankfully we see very little of her throughout the entire story. Just at the beginning and end. Her dad, Seamus has really grown as well, even if it might not seem like it. He’s more tolerant of Dana’s ways, seems to understand her better now that he’s gotten to know her more. The experiences that Ethan went through in Shadowspell benefitted him overall I think, even though they kind of sucked at the time. He’s not the playboy he was once, even when he first met Dana. I really believe now that he can commit himself to Dana, and this book only cemented that in my mind. Kimber and Keane of course were present as well. I really liked the direction Jenna takes them in this book, and would love to see more development of that. I think Kimber was a little quick to forgive though when certain things came to light.

I absolutely loved that Sirensong was mostly set in Faerie. Getting to finally meet that world and its denizens was fun, and written so well that I could picture myself actually there. And finally meeting Titania! Now we just need to meet Mab. As they were setting out for Faerie in the beginning, Seamus gives something to Dana to take with her, and because of what it was I thought a certain plot point might end up being predictible, but boy was I wrong. There are definitely some twists and turns that will end up surprising you.

I’m very much hoping that this was not the last installment, as there are many subplots left for Jenna to write about in another sequel. If there is another one in the works, I’m definitely looking forward to reading it.

Review: Shadowspell by Jenna Black

Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback, 295 pages
Purchase: Book Depository
Series: Faeriewalker #2

Summary from Goodreads:
On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended upon Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana’s in trouble, since it’s common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her – and her rare Faeriewalker powers – dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking’s got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

It took me a while to get around to reading this. I liked Glimmerglass a lot, but it was also just a three star read. Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites. But when this one was released I felt the need to buy it immediately. And six months later I’ve finally read it. And I’m glad I did. I liked Shadowspell much more than Glimmerglass. And the two questions I had left over from Glimmerglass dealing with Dana’s singing and prospective love interests were answered. Although, the love interest thing took a twist in Shadowspell that I was not expecting at all.

Shadowspell starts out with a bang as the Erlking makes his entrance into Avalon. I have seen many authors try to write the sexy villain. Many succeed, but many also fail. At least for me. What doesn’t work for me will always work for someone. But Jenna Black nailed the Erlking as the sexy villain. And he’s smart too. The way he manipulates people, making someone think an idea is their own to get what he wants. That’s also sometimes hard to write well, but again she nails it. I definitely look forward to more of the Erlking in Sirensong.

While the Erlking is the main attraction for Shadowspell, Grace does of course return to continue advancing her schemes. There’s definitely no lack of action. Ethan is as sleazy as ever. I did feel bad for him during is ordeal, but I still don’t want Dana ending up with him. But we’ll see. Maybe he’ll be redeemed later on. And her mother. Wow. There’s nothing really nice I can say about her. Except that she makes me grateful for the mother I have.

As I started this review, I looked back at the one I did of Glimmerglass. It was very nostalgic, since Glimmerglass was the first ever review I posted on this blog back in December. And now Sirensong will be out soon! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next installment. I need more of the Erlking.

Have you read Shadowspell yet? What did you think? Let me know!

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 29, 2011 (Tomorrow)
Source: Arc from Publisher for honest review
Rating: 3/5 stars – It was okay.
Cover Comments: I love the cover, the atmosphere. It’s perfect for where the story takes place as well.
Purchase: Amazon / Book Depository

Summary from Good Reads:
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…

My thoughts on Born at Midnight:
Almost right off the bat Kylie is sent off to camp, where she finds out that her fellow campmates aren’t troubled teens in the normal sense, but actually paranormals learning to control their abilities. And despite the fact that she can see ghosts, Kylie keeps refusing to believe she belongs.

Kylie herself annoyed me throughout most of the book. She seemed very shallow and willing to jump just about anything male within sight. For most of the story she’s involved in a love triangle, which at one point turns into a square. Now, I’m all for triangles sometimes, but three potential love interests is a bit much. Thankfully it went back to being a triangle. And let me just say that despite Kylie’s memories of him, I am firmly Team Lucas.

Della and Miranda are good friends and roommates to Kylie, despite the number of times she ends up hurting them with her words. It was entertaining to read about them arguing one minute, and then the next to work together when Kylie is in danger and needs help. My favorite characters though were probably Burnett and Holiday, watching them deny and deny that they were attracted to each other, only for them to prove themselves wrong with their actions.

The last few chapters of the book were my favorite. Kylie seems to grow paranormally finally, and everything is resolved: the fate of the camp; who the ghost was and why he needs her to understand; and the relationship between mother and daughter.

Overall I enjoyed it, and hope to see Kylie grow as a person now that she seems to be moving on from the problems that plagued her at the beginning. Next up is Awake at Dawn, where I’m hoping we’ll finally learn what Kylie is. It comes out in October, so start marking your calendars!

Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5/5 stars – Stunning
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository

Summary from Good Reads
Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother’s ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control….

My thoughts on Miles From Ordinary:
This novel left me stunned. Speechless. I can’t even begin to imagine what life must be like for Lacey, despite how well the author articulates the situations.

Lacey is far stronger than any girl her age should have to be. Once her aunt leaves, it’s up to her to take care of everything. She struggles with love for her mother and the need to take care of her, and with the need to have a normal mother so she can have a normal life. And as anyone in that position, she feels guilty for those times she wishes her mother would leave.

The flashbacks were wonderful. Used skillfully in placing backstory that gives you an idea about how everything started, and how it progresses. The writing style makes it so you can really feel what Lacey is feeling. Especially when she returns home at one point and enters her Aunt Linda’s old room. Exceptionally well done.

I haven’t read any other books by this author, but Miles From Ordinary has piqued my interest in her other works. I definitely recommend this, it gets you thinking, and feeling. It stayed in my thoughts for a days even after I’d already started another book.

Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney + Giveaway!

Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher.
Rating: 4/5 – Really really really liked it
Cover: 4/5 – Really really liked it, fits the story.
Purchase: Amazon or Book Depository


Summary from Good Reads:
Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the Earl and
Countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she
will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if
exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted…by magic. When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.


My thoughts on Dark Mirror:
Given that I’m not the biggest fan of WWII fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. While starting off a little slow for me, it soon grabbed me and just would not let go. I was reading this every spare moment I had the last  few days.

Lady Victoria Mansfield, better known as Tory, was a remarkable character for me. I loved that she adapted so quickly to the drastic changes in her life, with little drama. She handles her new roommate exceptionally, taking everything in stride, and easily makes friends with some of the other ladies.

Quickly learning more about her powers drew her ultimately to the Labyrinth, where she was able to get much closer to a number of fellow students and one of her teachers. And it is in the laybrinth that Tory finds the mirror that takes her to World War II era England. Putney is incredible at painting the picture in your mind of this wartorn nation and what it was like for them. I could almost imagine myself there as a spectator to their unfolding story.

The romance in this book is such that it develops somewhat in the second half of the book, leaving the first half open for more development of friendship bonds between the mages from the school and the ones from the village. I was very satisfied that while they seemed to click instantly, as they often do nowadays in YA fiction, the development was more of a slower pace that some other novels.

I’m excited to see what happens to everyone in the next book, Dark Passage, coming out hopefully this Fall! And now onto the giveaway.


Dark Mirror Giveaway!
St. Martin’s Griffin has generously allowed me to hold a giveaway for two copies! Here are the rules:

  1. Must be 13 years or older to participate
  2. Open to United States and Canada only
  3. Following is not a requirement, but is appreciated! If you’re a new follower let me know and I’ll follow you back!

The books will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest is open until Sunday, March 6, 2011 – 9:00PM Pacific Time.

CONTEST NOW CLOSED! THANKS FOR ENTERING!

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Released: May 25th, 2010
Source: Bought at Hastings
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Synopsis from the back cover:
Dana  Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl – she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with … until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in or who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.

My review:
The cover is what initially drew me to this book. When I read the description, I thought that this could be interesting. So it sat on my plan to read virtual shelf for a while, until I went to the bookstore looking for something they ended up not having at the time, and came home with this instead.
Glimmerglass gets right into it with the first few pages. No slow start for this book, which was nice. I was actually disappointed that I started it on a day I worked, since I was only able to read it during breaks that first day. Overall I enjoyed it very much, and only had two slight problems with the book. How the prospective love interests work, and what was happening with her singing in the beginning. I’m assuming however that those issues, or at least the latter one, will be resolved in the sequel Shadowspell, coming out next month!

Well that’s it for my first review of anything ever! I’ve already started my next book, The Lying Game by Sara Shepard, author of the Pretty Little Liars series. Hopefully I’ll have the review up in a couple of days!