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.

Cover Reveal: Glass Heart (Cold Kiss #2) By Amy Garvey

I don’t know if anyone else has seen this around but I like this cover. Not quite as much as the cover for Cold Kiss, but I’m excited to see what it looks like in person. I’m actually surprised though that there will be a sequel for Cold Kiss. But pleased as well, since I know I had some questions that hadn’t been answered at the end of book one. So I’m definitely looking forward to Glass Heart.

Glass Heart (Cold Kiss #2) by Amy Garvey
Release date: October 2012 from Harper Teen

Previous covers in this series:

Early Review: The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (ARC)

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper
Release date: April 10, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: Darkness Rising #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Maya and her friends–all of whom have supernatural powers–have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness.

The Calling was a fun read, but not quite as fun as The Gathering, since I feel like it suffered from the second bookitis. Meaning it seemed mostly like a bridge between the first and the last book. Sure they get kidnapped and crash on an island and are then chased by their kidnappers. But really most of the time Maya is wallowing in sadness about another character, fate unknown until later on in the book. And we’re only left with more questions unanswered.

The characters weren’t developed much further either, with Maya and Daniel the only ones who seemed to know what they were doing the entire time. Though it seemed like one or two might have been picking things up as they went. I honestly could do without Rafe. He breezed into town in The Gathering and basically played everyone, but Maya just forgives him for it basically. I’d much prefer she realize what she has with Daniel and choose him. Because Daniel is awesome. The best friend you could possibly have, and no doubt an awesome boyfriend.

The writing is as good as ever which helped to make this a fast read. The story itself was pretty good too, I just wish we’d been given a little more. But we finally get to see something happen that was expected to happen, which made me happy so we did get something. I’m definitely looking forward to the third book.

Cover Reveal: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I want to read this book even more after the reveal of this cover! It looks awesome. Anyone else looking forward to Shadow and Bone?

 

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release date: June 5, 2012 from Henry Holt & Co.

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life– a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.

Taking a Breather.

Some of you may have noticed that my posts have been decreasing every week. I’m currently in a blogging slump. I’m getting to a point where I’m not having fun with this right now. I think I’ve been pressuring myself too much to do so many things, blog related and not blog related. My reading hasn’t suffered thankfully though. But I’ve decided to take a break.

This will last 3 weeks, which will give me time to organize things and do other stuff that’s been put on the back burner for a while. Hopefully by the end of the three weeks I’ll be back with plenty of reviews ready to go and a fresh outlook on everything.

This break will not, however, include my participation in the March Madness Middle Grade challenge I’m co-hosting with Benji at The Non Reluctant Reader. Any posts for those will go up on the blog as needed.

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: February 21, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Purchase: Book Depository

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

I have to say, I vastly enjoyed Fever more compared to Wither. It just felt like things were moving more quickly, and there was more action, especially in the very beginning and at the end. And wow, that end. While the first novel was definitely dark, this one goes beyond the darkness of the first one.
There isn’t anything really revealed that was astonishing or a plot twist, but the action picked up right at the beginning. Fever also starts off exactly where Wither left things. As soon as Rhine and Gabriel escape the mansion, they’re almost immediately prisoners of another kind, temporarily. Despite how dismal the place was, Lauren DeStefano described it in such a way that made it seem colorful while decaying, which is an image that fits perfectly with her world.
I liked Rhine in Fever. She seemed to become more confidant despite the various circumstances they found themselves in, though near the end she seemed to do a 180, which kind of confused me. Even with her being sick around the same time as this 180, I didn’t feel the sudden change was smooth. I have to say I felt bad for Gabriel. A lot happens along their way to Manhattan, but man he stuck it out and never complained. I seriously hope we see more of him in the third book.
The only thing I didn’t like about Fever was the lack of information about the virus, or whatever this defect is. We still don’t know how it came about, or all of what’s being done to counteract it. We only know vaguely what Vaughn is doing, which we see more of definitely in Fever. I really hope this is finally explained the in the last book.
Like I said in the beginning, Fever better than Wither and kept me hooked until the end. And once I read that last page, and what is revealed there I knew there was no way I’d miss what is sure to be an explosive ending to this series. Even if you have lukewarm feelings to Wither like I did, I suggest you read Fever. It definitely changed my opinion on this series.

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper
Release date: April 12, 2011
Source: Purchased
Series: Darkness Rising #1
Purchase: Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn’t know much about her background – the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip – but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town – from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend’s hidden talent for “feeling” out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya’s biological parents and it’s easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

This is one of those books that sits on the shelf forever, and once you finally read it you wonder why you waited so long. I enjoyed The Gathering very much, and I’m kicking myself for waiting since I bought this shortly after it was released.

Before The Gathering I hadn’t read anything by Kelley Armstrong, but I knew it had to be pretty good since she’d written quite a few novels, mostly for adults, but also her YA series. The writing flowed and all the dialogue and interactions felt real. And even humor from the main character, and humor can sometimes be hard to write. But Kelley nails it.

All of the characters felt real, even Serena, though we weren’t with her for very long. I absolutely adored Maya. She’s so strong, knows her own mind and has natural leadership qualities that others just follow instinctively. Probably has to do with the fact that there’s something different about her. What’s revealed wasn’t really a surprise, but I definitely enjoyed it since it was a different take on the paranormal genre than what’s out there currently. Of the two boys, my favorite was actually Daniel. Rafe was an awesome bad boy, but then he wasn’t really. I’m rooting for Daniel.

The only thing that I was annoyed about with this book was the ending. It’s left on a sort of cliffhanger, but there was something else too. You’re reading the last chapter, though you don’t yet realize it’s the last. You turn the page and realize that OH, that was last page. What? Seriously?! The ending was somewhat abrupt, and with the cliffhanger definitely serves the purpose of you wanting the next book. I will definitely read on.

In My Mailbox {44}

 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, showcasing what you received in the mail, bought, or borrowed from friends or the library for that week. So here’s what I got this week! All links lead you to Goodreads.

for review
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink {already read and reviewed}
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin {read, review soon}
Life as I Blow it by Sarah Colonna {pictured below}
 bought 
over the last couple of weeks
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows {arc review}
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton {read already}
Cinder by Marissa Meyer {read already}
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith {read already}
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez {just finished yesterday, very good}
On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally {read and reviewed}
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen {read years ago, had to have pretty new cover!}
And that’s my IMM for the last two or three weeks! What did you guys get? 🙂

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
Publisher: Dial Books
Release date: March 20, 2012
Source: Around the World Tours
Purchase: Book Depository

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance…

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

I was really really looking forward to this book, so much so that I tried to put in a request with the publisher. That didn’t work out though so I’m glad I was still able to read it through Around the World Tours. This is one of those books that for me was better borrowed than bought when it’s released.

I liked the overall concept, descendants of angels protecting the Earth and everything. But I felt like I was left with more questions than answers, which seems typical of books that end up being series. There wasn’t quite enough back story and worldbuilding done. And while it’s fairly obvious that it’s set in an older timeline, maybe late 1800s, there was one instance that had me questioning that. And things didn’t really start heating up action wise until almost the very end. The writing was well done though, which is the main reason I continued with the book despite it not thrilling me. It flowed very nicely.

All in all, for me personally this wasn’t one of the better entries into the angel part of the paranormal genre. I’ll probably continue if this is made into a series, but I won’t feel the need to read them right away.

Harper YA Imprint Reading Challenge Wrap Up!

I did much better this go around than I did last time! My goal was to read 5-8 books, and I read 7. You can see which ones here.

How did everyone else do? Pretty well it seems since there were 62 reviews linked up throughout the month! Awesome job guys. To see those, go here.

As I said in the wrap up post, if you guys do your own wrap up post on how you did this month I’ll do one last giveaway. So link to yours in the comments!

All Harper giveaways, and my blogoversary giveaway will go out at some point during this month.