Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: Harper Teen
Released: January 4, 2011
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 5/5

Synopsis from the front flap:
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, Something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place – and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she nver thought she’d have to make – between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

My Review:
We’re only slightly less than three weeks into the new year, but I have to say that so far, this is my favorite book of the year! I tore right through this book.

When we’re introduced to Clara, she already knows who she is, and what she can do with her angel-blood powers, which is nice. The way Cynthia Hand included bits and pieces of backstory about when she found out was perfectly done. Once Clara and her family move, we meet Christian, the object of Clara’s Purpose, her mission in life. And then we meet Tucker, the brother of one of Clara’s new friends. Normally I’m not huge on love triangles. At first I wanted Clara to be with Christian, and was initially annoyed when Tucker was introduced. But Tucker won me over in the end. I am definitely rooting for Tucker throughout the rest of the series.

It was very clear early on that family is important to Clara, however frustrating they may be sometimes. Such as her mother, never telling her about her own purpose, and withholding information so Clara can learn and experiance being an angel-blood. I’m interested in seeing where her brother’s storyline goes in the next book, what with his wings changing colors near the end.

The book was beautifully written, one of the first in quite a while to make me feel what Clara is feeling, especially at the end. The descriptions were wonderful. All the characters, with the exception of Christian, seemed very well developed. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous. Pictures do not do it justice. I’m looking forward to the next two installments in what is rumored to be a trilogy.

In My Mailbox (1)

I’ve been buying a lot of books recently, so I thought I’d take part in this meme hosted by The Story Siren. Edit: Added in a picture of Across the Universe, which wasn’t in the first picture I took. It was bothering me.

XVI by Julia Karr
Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Nearly finished)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Adding those to my ever growing piles of books, I’m looking forward to reading them!

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release: July 4, 2011
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from HMH website:

Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?
My Review:
I hadn’t read any mermaid fiction before, so I when I saw this book I was so excited.

We’re introduced to Luce, who lost her mom very young, and later her dad to the sea. She now lives with her uncle and is an outcast at school. Personally, I felt that no reason was given for Luce being an outcast, other than her father disappearing at sea, which I would think would be an unfortunate, but common occurance where they live. I feel that little point was thrown in there and then forgotten.

I had some small issues with a few of the characters. I felt there was no need for Jenna at all once Anais had arrived. Luce, while I loved her, seemed a tad bit more mature than your average 14 year-old. And Catarina, hot or cold, you didn’t know what to expect with her. I would’ve liked her backstory earlier so I could’ve understood her better, instead of at the very end.

The writing style of this author is beautiful. I loved the descriptions she gives of the different tail colors, of what the water does while Luce sings. Overall I really liked this book, quite possibly enough that I’ll buy it after it’s released. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

My first review for the Story Siren’s Debut Author 2011 Challenge!

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Chalice by Robin McKinley
Publisher: Ace (Paperback Mass Market)
Released: November 24, 2009 (Mass Market)
Source: Bought
Rating: 3/5

From the Shelfari:

As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master’s Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?

My Review:
Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors, so I was excited when I finally got my hands on this book. I wanted to love this book as much as I love Deerskin, but I have to settle for just liking it.

The beginning of Chalice starts with Mirasol and how she became the Chalice to a place that had tragically lost its previous Master and Chalice. The Circle’s magical rods pointed to her, and while she began her duties as Chalice, the Circle wrote to the Priests of Fire to bring home the brother of the previous Master.

Throughout the beginning, once the Master has arrived, we’re shown flashbacks to before he came, when Mirasol was still just a new Chalice. The way in which these were incorporated into the story confused me some, disrupting the flow somewhat. That made the beginning of the book, the first eighty to one hundred pages a little hard to get into. But once I got past that first hurdle, I devoured the rest of the story eagerly.

I savored what little interaction there was between Chalice and Master, and if I could have changed anything about the novel, it would have been more of them together.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Released: December 7th, 2010
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Synopsis from the cover flap:
I had a life anyone would kill for. Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more Gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does – an encore performanc, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me – to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

My review:
I blasted right through this book. Took me two days, but that was only because I had to work. I loved Emma. I felt so bad for her when she finds out about her long lost twin sister, only to discover once she arrives in Tucson that she has been murdered. I find it hard to believe however that once she inserts herself into Sutton’s life to find out who killed her, Sutton’s friends and family don’t even think to question why “Sutton” would be so different all of a sudden.

The friends and sister all have some kind of motive, and each time a clue is dropped in your lap you start thinking you know who was behind Sutton’s death, until another clue turns up pointing in some other direction. This book kept me guessing until the very end, and even then I’m still guessing. I cannot wait to devour the next in this new series by Sara Shepard.

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!

The beginnings of a new blog.

I remember the book that ignited my love for reading. I used to hate spending my time on books, I wanted to do other things. Interestingly enough, I don’t remember what those things were. In fifth grade we had a specific time block set aside for reading. We could read whatever we wanted. One day my mom gave me Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip. I took it to school with me, and fell in love with it. After that I needed more. My next vivid memory in pursuing my love of books was when I was visiting Spokane for some reason or another, and stopped by a Barnes and Noble. I picked up Deerskin by Robin McKinley and fell in love again.

I still have my original copies of both books, well worn though they are. Deerskin is even laminated. They’re in a set of books that I make a point to reread at least once a year, more if I can’t stay interested in whatever I’m currently reading at the time.

Just this last week I’ve discovered many great book blogs, and they’ve inspired me to also share my love of reading with others. I love being able to talk about books I love with people who love them as well. So starts my blogging journey. I will primarily be sticking to fantasy books, as well as young adult books, and the occasional science fiction. Every now and then a book from a different genre may pop up in my reviews, if I’m enjoying said book immensely. I currently have eighty-one books in my possession in need of reading, and many, many more on my virtual to be read shelf.

To get this party going, I started Glimmerglass by Jenna Black this morning. Only a few chapters in, but I’m enjoying it already. Hopefully the review will be out tomorrow night, but it could possibly be Sunday night, as I’m working full time this week, including tomorrow and Saturday (holiday pay is so worth it).