Showing posts with label Young Adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adult. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

YA Wednesday - Princess of Thorns


Princess of ThornsPrincess of Thorns

By; Stacey Jay
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
With the kindom at the mercy of soul-stealing ogres, the next generation of Sleeping Beauty  is in for a fight that no amount of fairy blessings could prepare them for. 

Given fairy blessings from her mother, Princess Aurora has been given the tools needed to end the reign of her evil step mother. Given superior fighting abilities, mercy and bravery Ror has everything necessary. But all magic comes with a price and Ror was also cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as her brother, she goes out to save the kingdom, in the process finding the cursed Prince Niklaas who joins her in her quest to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago. 

My Thoughts:
Well, this was a sequel that I had never thought about. This takes what happens after "Happily Ever After" to a whole new meaning.  It also shows how not all blessings are blessings and even things which seem like curses can be to our benefit.

Princess Ror is impetuous, cunning and loyal to a fault. She loves her brother and would do anything to save him from the ogres who hold him captive. This requires raising an army, staging a revolt and killing the ogre queen all before the end of summer. She is a princess who sometimes is impossible to like. She pushes away others ideas, can't seem to see any other path than what is before her and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

In short she is a teenager -  a very driven teenager, I'll give you that but a teenager none the less. She knows what is best even if it hurts pretty much everyone around her in the process. And with this hubris, she is going to need her growing up moment and that is a painful, but almost beautiful thing to watch.

I love fairy-tales, always have, and I found this blend of a young woman who seemed to come out of Divergent''s 'dauntless' group an interesting fit. She actually did remind me of Tris, in how Ror tried to push out every spark of mercy she could to achieve her ends. (That was why I really didn't like Divergent. I didn't feel like there was any redemption for Tris...) But it was Ror's ending which redeemed her and which made the book a great read.

I liked the weaving narrators - of seeing the ogre's thoughts and motivations. Of seeing the sudden realization of Ror when it all comes coming to pieces around her and her determination to build back up.

If you like fairy-tales and remakes, or strong female leads (WITHOUT LOVE TRIANGLES!!! YAY!!!) then give this a shot. You will enjoy it.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

YA Wednesday - The Girl in the Steel Corset


The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)The Girl in the Steel Corset

By: Kady Cross
Genre: Steampunk, YA
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one... except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on even if it seems no one believes her.

My Thoughts:
This book, has a great story, a fun plot, characters who I adore - it's steampunk, which is my favorite thing ever right now, but it did not in anyway live up to the standards set by Gail Carriger (and one more). The writing, or better said editing, didn't help the story reach it's full potential. I loved Finley, and how different sci-fi stories such as Jekyll and Hyde, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Frankenstein were all woven into the narrative. I am not a love triangle fan, but this one was ok, I am excited to see how Finley will resolve this in the future. 

My main problems are best summarized in how when asking for forgiveness a character just looks and says "We good?" WHAT? This isn't taking place in downtown LA or in modern society for that matter. If you are trying to convince me that this is in London, stop with the slang and let the characters speak how they are supposed to. It irked me to no end to see this pop up through out the novel. Also if I figure things out about 250 pages before the characters it's a problem. 

It had potential to be amazingly wonderful, but because of poor editing it fell flat. Though, I will be reading the sequel because I love the characters that much

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

YA Wednesday - A Matter of Magic


A Matter of Magic (Mairelon, #1-2)A Matter of Magic

By: Patricia C. Wrede

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

Summary:
When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right.

My Thoughts:
Everyone has probably figured out by now that I have a thing for magical novels...they are kinda sorta basically my favorite - if they are well put together and these ones are.

First off, this is two books published together - kind of like my one of my favorite fantasy novels Crown Duel and it was great to not have to wait to read the next one but just follow the story. I loved the characters - Kim had everything I loved in a heroine - mainly she was her own character, romance really wasn't something on her agenda and she was sharp as a knife. I was kind of reminded of the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for a slightly younger audience. And Mairelon - the magician who finds Kim - is wonderfully exasperating and needing to go off on adventures. He doesn't care about what society thinks and I loved seeing his reactions to all of the chaos which surrounded him. 

I finished the book last night - having stayed up far later than I intended - and was left wanting to search for the next installment of the series...sadly I don't know if there is one, though goodness knows it would be a marvelous thing. If you want Regency England with Magic, this is the perfect book for you. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

YA Wednesday - Waistcoats and Weaponry


Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)Waistcoats & Weaponry

by: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Summary: 
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.  

My thoughts: This is a wonderful coming of age work of Steampunk. I absolutely have fallen in love with these characters. During a time when I really have no business to be doing free reading I have devoted several evenings just to see what was going to happen next. And now I am quite distraught that I have to wait for the next one to come out. 

This isn't your typical girl coming of age novel with a love triangle and you will they, won't they - though the elements are all there, so don't go in thinking that this one is romance free. But they are set against a backdrop of this young girl - being trained in the art of spying and death - and how she feels about all this. Can she stomach killing people? Where on earth do her loyalties lie? Which group truly has the best interests and the balance of the nation at heart. That is her main struggle and it all comes to a head in this book. 

I love Carriger and her voice as an author, and as soon as life settles down (as if that ever is going to happen so lets just say in December) I am going to be finding her other books and reading to my hearts content. 

Just for Fun - Corsets and Conspiracies



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Curtsies & Conspiracies

By: Gail Carriger
Genre: Steampunk
Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary:
Sophronia, second year at Miss Geraldine's Finishing Academy, and it appears that this one won't be any easier than the last. After receiving incredible marks at her exams, Sophronia finds herself excluded and having to figure out the world on her own. While in such straits, she manages to save Dimity from kidnappers, discover a suspicious plot and let us not forget that now the Lord Fe!!lix Mercy is about. This year will prove to be one vital to her training, and to her friendships - which is stronger your ties to your work? or to the ones you love?

My Thoughts:
Ok, well I started with the 2nd book...I really wish I hadn't because this is an amazing book and I want to know how on earth the world was created. I love this version of London, Mechanicals everywhere, Vampires and Warewolves in parliament and general fun on all sides.
This series reminded me of my long lost love of steampunk, and especially why I love books set with a British tone. The wit, the class and the constant need for tea really make me fall in love with the genre. And the world which Carriger built left me wishing to grab my mechanical puppy, catch the next dirigible and make my way to London as quickly as I could.

It was well written, witty and left me giggling the whole entire time. It's one of the few books that I passed onto a housemate saying - hey you should read this! And that's how I feel about it in general. Hey you people who like steampunk, boarding schools or espionage...READ IT! and be happy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

YA Wednesday - When the Bough Breaks


When the Bough BreaksWhen the Bough Breaks

By: Kay Lynn Mangum
Genre: LDS fiction
Rating 4.5 stars

Summary:
Rachel Fletcher thought that her biggest secret in high school would be her crush on Jason West, but after her father dies in a car wreck, one she thinks is her fault, all of that changes. She has to deal with the problems of a mother who is almost catatonic with depression and worse a brother who is turning into an alcoholic. As time passes and her mother remarries she has to add a new step-father and step-brother into the mix. Rachel's brother's addiction just gets worse. She wonders why God isn't helping out more, but God doesn't always help the way we think He should.


My Thoughts:
I love this book, and have read it several times. It's one that can be hard to read (especially the first time) but almost impossible to put down. Rachel is a quiet girl who prefers to spend her time writing poetry and working on her creative writing skills, she never asked for the problems of a lost father and an alcoholic brother. She has the typical questions of "why me?" I love how real Mangum can make her characters.

A criticism of LDS fiction is that it generally can't deal with the problems which face the world of today -drug and alcohol addictions and what not, this book proves that incorrect.  It illustrates beautifully what it's like to have a family member who is an addict and how people react to it. The whole plot of healing both for Rachel and her brother Ryan left me almost crying a time or two (I have only cried twice while reading) but not wanting to stop at all.


I would recommend this book to both YA and adults, and all religions, it is beautifully done. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

YA Wednesday - Troubled Waters

Troubled WatersTroubled Waters
By: Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars

Summary:
Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king's fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river. 

It's there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right. But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood-and the secrets of the royal family-she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.


My thoughts:
I have read Shinn before (see this other review) and I love her. I love how she is able to build worlds that are believable and wonderful all because they have a hint of magic in them. In the books I have read her magic is more simple than what can be found in things like Harry Potter and other such fantastical things. Instead she deals in a quieter magic - though in this book it's a little louder than in her Safe-Keepers Series. 

I loved Zoe. She struck me as someone who was calm and for the most part in control of her emotions. She didn't sweat the small stuff and yet wasn't passive. She had say in how her story went and expressed it. I loved how she was a mix of the traits which Shinn had made up in this new world. As a coru she is calm like water but also has the spark of sweela which is that of fire. 

I also love that romance isn't what Shinn focuses on. Marriage isn't Zoe's goal, because frankly she is too busy doing other things to worry about that. One thing that I really did love about her is that she lost her temper occasionally. If she hadn't I don't think that I would have been able to like her at all.

I will admit I squealed a little bit while reading, and had those wonderful moments of revelations where I think I know how it's going to end and who the bad guy is and then it turns out to be someone totally different. I loved it. I will probably go out and buy it when I have money. (Or get it as a gift for my birthday or Christmas...hopefully)

If you love light fantasy this is the book (and quite possibly author) for you!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

YA Wednesday - The Healer's Apprentice


The Healer's ApprenticeThe Healer's Apprentice
By: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Christian Romance, YA
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Two Hearts. One Hope.Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her---a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.


My Thoughts:


This is my second Dickerson novel and I must say I enjoyed this one a lot more than the last one. I liked all of the characters, not just the main ones. I also thoroughly enjoyed the idea of retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty. It is one that I feel is over looked. 
I really liked Rose and her constant struggle to do what was right. Rather then just go along with what would be most beneficial for her in the long run, she stuck to her standards and did so in an admirable way not an over-zealous kind of way. I also loved her dog, everyone needs a good guard dog in their life.
From a literary standpoint, I really liked how she played with foreshadowing. It was done in such a way that it wasn't too obvious but if you know your literary devices you know that it's there.
I liked the way that the romance chose to develop rather than suddenly be there (too many authors just have love-at-first-sight types of things, and there really is no such thing as that in my opinion) it added more reality to the story as a whole.
I think this is a wonderfully done debut novel and hope that in her next ones her talents will strengthen rather than diminish.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

YA Wednesday - Ophelia

OpheliaOphelia
by: Lisa Klein
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:
He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.
        In this reimagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting.  Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret.



My Thoughts:
This is a wonderful story. It goes into a character of Shakespeare's Hamlet to try and explain her madness. Klein does an excellent job of bringing that world to life. She creates a plausible and wonderful situation. I love the complexity she adds to a character who has been cast as a minor and insane character by the world. AND I love that she understands that she isn't Shakespeare and doesn't try to make herself seem that way. She takes the plot that we know and then makes it her own. The story begins before Shakespeare starts his story and ends years afterward making it solidly its own work.

Ophelia herself is a strong character who has faults enough to be human, yet is someone who is easy to sympathize with. I love all of the herb-lore she has in this book and how she puts it to good use. 

This was a wonderful read, written with a fast pace and with a compelling plot line it is a book well worth reading



Friday, December 30, 2011

Just for Fun Friday- Entwined

EntwinedEntwined
by: Heather Dixon
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Well you can in this case, the cover design is phenomenal and the story is just as good. 

I cannot get over how wonderfully done this book is. Not only the magic and adventure, but also the family relationships. The King broke my heart when I saw how hard he was trying to be a dad, he just didn't know how. Also, as a person with many siblings, I loved how different Dixon allowed each of her girls to be. Each had their own trait and none of them were entirely cookie-cutter characters. It is hard to make 12 sisters not only be different, but each add their own part to the story.

Now what would a fairy tale be without Prince Charming? Well this one had 3 and they couldn't be more different. There was one for each of the oldest, one so serious that he almost couldn't be taken seriously, one so outrageous (especially his last name), and one who might not live up to his name in the end. Each of the oldest girls love stories is unique, precious and wonderful.

I loved the writing style, the characters, the magic, THE ENDING, so much! I am pretty sure that I am going to go out and buy this to add to my collection, probably tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YA Wednesday - Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus, #1)Amulet of Samarkand
by: Jonathan Stroud
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars


Summary:
After being humiliated by a magician, apprentice Nathaniel vows to wreak his revenge. To help him do this he summons Bartimaeus, a djinni to steal the precious Amulet of Samarkand. But this turns out to be more dangerous than Nathaniel planned on and he is whipped into a world of magic, espionage and rebellion.


Told from the point of view of both master and servant this is a wonderful book from Jonathan Stroud.


Oh my goodness! This book was simply amazing. I am very glad I got to finish off my year by reading something so wonderfully done. Part of me is beginning to think that British novelists are really the best ones out there. They certainly seem to beat Americans on almost every literary front (except the short story, we rock at writing those).


I didn't think I would find anything on the same plane as Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel anytime soon but this blew me away. Bartimaeus is one of the most entertaining characters I have ever read and one whom I would be very happy to meet someday (as long as you know, he didn't hurt me or anything.) Also I love the new world which has been created by Stroud - the magic, the demons, this new government. I am so excited to read the next books in the series, I will probably just hunt them down tomorrow.

So details as to why I loved it:
I love books that are done with a first person narrative, as long as the author knows what they are doing. Well Bartimaeus tells his parts of the story, with wonderful footnotes at the bottom and I love footnotes at the bottom! The plot itself was wonderfully managed leaving us with enough knowledge to feel satisfied but wanting to read quickly so we could see what happens next.



I must say though that Bartimaeus really is the best part of the book, he deals with a messenger imp so nicely and is so creative in his revenges, and part of me feels that he is more powerful than he has let on to us, the readers.


I am excited to see how he will continue his story.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Misc. Monday - Dragonhaven

DragonhavenDragonhaven
By: Robin McKinley
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Jake Mendoza lives at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is home to about two hundred of the few remaining draco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild. Keeping a preserve for dragons is controversial: detractors say dragons are extremely dangerous and unjustifiably expensive to keep and should be destroyed. Environmentalists and friends say there are no records of them eating humans and they are a unique example of specialist evolution and must be protected. But they are up to eighty feet long and breathe fire.
On his first overnight solo trek, Jake finds a dragon dying next to the human she killed. Jake realizes this news could destroy Smokehill— even though the dead man is clearly a poacher who had attacked the dragon first, that fact will be lost in the outcry against dragons.
But then Jake is struck by something more urgent —he sees that the dragon has just given birth, and one of the babies is still alive. 
I was so disappointed. McKinley is a total hit or miss author. I like some I hate some. This was one I thought  I was going to like....sadly I was mistaken.
The writing style was simply too confusing to decipher. Parentheses all over the place, tangents mid-sentence, overall confusing language. Was she trying to do stream of consciousness? I can't tell, if she was she failed. I am really disappointed too because I have liked a couple other of McKinley's works - Beauty might be one of my favorite books of all time. I really thought that authors were supposed to grow and mature as they continued to work. Sadly that is not the case with this novel. And the premise was SOOO cool too, it's been done (think Jane Yolen or Anne McCaffery) but still it would have been cool with this new twist of modern day.
Also I didn't like her obvious politics, it could be because I am more right wing in my thinking but it just galled me to no-end how evil the corporations are and how the government is against everybody. I understand the problems of most things getting funding, but don't mention it every other sentence please.

Pass on this it will only leave you frustrated.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

YA Wednesday- Steel

Steel
by: Carrie Vaughn


Genre: YA
Rating:3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. 
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.


In theory this is a pretty awesome book. Fencing is a sport which is generally not written about so that was refreshing. Jill was your standard teenager who after losing seems to think the world is over, but we have all been there so I forgive her. I also liked how the pirate's world was portrayed. None of the romanticizing found in the Pirates of the Caribbean  franchise, I felt that she had really done her research in that regard.


What made me not like it...the writing was juvenile. There was the relationship which seems mandatory in YA novels which was rushed and I felt unnecessary to the whole thing. Henry was ok on his own but the way that Vaughn tried to get the two of them together seemed awkward and contrived. Then there was the magic aspect...and the ending. I just felt confused and dissatisfied with the whole thing by the time I was done with it. 


My overall reaction was "Meh" **shrug of the shoulders**  I didn't feel like I really wasted my time but it is one that I won't remember by next semester.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classic Tuesday - Eight Cousins

Eight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott


Genre: Classic
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Life with seven boy cousins isn't quite what Rose expected. Left an orphan after her father's death, Rose Campbell is sent to live at the "Aunt Hill" with her six aunts and seven rowdy boy cousins. For someone who is used to a girl's boarding school, it all seems pretty overwhelming. Her guardian, Uncle Alec, makes her eat healthy things like oatmeal, and even tries to get her to give up her pretty dresses for drab, sensible clothes.


I liked this one a lot more than Little Women, while it is still on the more didactic end of the spectrum it is a most wonderful little story. Now I must state that if you have read any Alcott the same basic principles apply. But unlike little women rather than having a narrator tell you how to live your life, the lovable Uncle Alec does so in a not too preachy manner. Now as the children are still children they are overly perfect and sweet, yet the adults (who are for the most part overlooked) are what makes the book for me. I love Aunt Jessie and wish that I had one or that I could be one sometime in the far distant future. 


I like how there is an emphasis on children remaining children. With my 6 year old sister asking to dye her hair blonde it seems like the final nail in the coffin of childhood is very close to being hammered down. This is a wonderful childhood classic and one that should be read rather than looked over.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

YA Wednesday: Where I Belong

Where I Belong
Gwendolyn Heasley

Genre: YA
Rating: 2 stars

Summary:
Corrinne seems to be living the perfect life, plenty of money, access to all of the hottest clubs in NYC until suddenly it all comes falling apart and she finds herself living in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Now she finds herself needing to work, attending a public school and frantically searching for a way back to life before the recession.

Goodness, don't waste your time on this one. I was up at my cabin without anything else to read so that is my only excuse. Give me 2 months and I will have completely forgotten about it.

Corrinne was irritating and shallow I feel like she had just stepped off the set of Gossip Girl, the writing style seemed juvenile and how many times have we seen this story? Perhaps I am older than the intended audience but even then I wouldn't recommend this to my younger siblings or their friends. While Kitsy was a better character she still wasn't enough to redeem the book.

 I felt like all of the plot lines were left unresolved because of this curve ball that is thrown into it. It probably was one of the worst endings of a book I have ever read. It felt like the author was on a deadline and cranked out the last chapters in 30 minutes the way I occasionally do my homework. There's hardly any closure and you are left extremely dissatisfied.

Don't judge the book by it's cover, it is a pretty cover I know, but don't be fooled! You will have wasted your time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

Veiled Rose
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary From Goodreads:


Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.
Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.
But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find?
Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishing for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Because I was given this, I didn't have the chance to read the first book in the series. And while I wish that I had some more background information on some of the characters, this novel works well as a stand alone. the characters a believable and dynamic. Rose Red in particular is a very solid character with a likable personality and really carries the thing through. She provides the depth to what would otherwise be your very basic boy-meets-girl-and-then-problems-ensue plot.There is that romantic element within the story but rather than making a straight forward teen romantic plot the author chooses instead to explore the complexities of relationships and in a way that add depth to the whole. 

As expected from Bethany House there are religious undertones. It's rather like the cautionary tales of the Brothers Grimm. The point of the story isn't completely obvious and yet you are aware that it's there.

The humor of the story was wonderful with a few moments where I giggled out loud and if you are at all a fan of young adult fantasy I would recommend this book for you.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Historical Thursday: Hattie Big Sky


Hattie Big Sky
by Kirby Larson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads,
In 1917, Hattie Brooks was a 16-year-old orphan who had spent most of her young life passed from one relative to another. But a letter arrives from an uncle she never knew she had, and everything changes as she leaves for eastern Montana to prove her uncle's land claim.
Hattie was no tenderfoot when she arrived in Montana, but in her first year there, she's forced to battle the hazards of weather -- bitter winters filled with blizzards, and summers of drought and the threat of wildfires. Though homesteaders arrive anticipating a difficult road, one thing Hattie hadn't expected to confront was a seething prejudice among her neighbors. At the height of the First World War, the patriotism and loyalty of German-Americans was suspect, and Hattie finds herself at the center of an unsubstantiated hatred for one of her neighbors, a man who has shown her nothing but kindness. 

Now I know what you're thinking..."Two 5 stars in a row? I thought she said she was picky!" Well first of all I didn't say "picky" and secondly this one deserves it too, I can't help that I found another amazing book. And besides what are you complaining about? This just means that there is another great book for you to read!

So my thoughts on this book. I have never read about a cow with quite as much personality as the one found here. When even the animals are fully developed characters we know we have a keeper. On a more serious note, this book deals a lot with the anti-German sentiments which were around especially throughout the first World War. All of this prejudice that Hattie and her friends have to face really is quite sad to see. Hattie is a character who I fell in love with and the writing style (done in first person) is simply charming. 

I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It may say that it is a young adult fiction but it is a book that is wonderful at all ages.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

YA Wednesday: North of Beautiful


North of Beautiful
By: Justina Chen Headley

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.
She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

I love this book. I try not to give many 5 stars because I feel like a book really has to be something awesome in order to get the best of the best and this book has it. The characters are believable and endearing. The story deals with heavier issues (borderline abusive parental relationships/physical deformities) in a real way. The port-wine stain  that covers her face is the tool used to write a book that is truly based on family relationships in all of their complexity.

All of the characters are dynamic and most achieve significant growth throughout the novel. My favorite of these would be Terra's mother. She begins as a very overweight, submissive, spineless person. She refuses to stand up to her husband and seems unable to come out of the shadows. However in the story she has moments where she comes into her own and reclaims her identity.

I love this book, I haven't bought it yet but I will as soon as I have the cash (poor, starving college student remember) go and read it, it really is amazing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday- She Walks in Beauty


She Walks in Beauty
by: Siri Mitchell

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Rating 3.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

I loved this little gem that I found when looking for free books for my kindle. It is a sweet book about a girl who is being dragged kicking and screaming onto the social scene.  She would must prefer to spend her time reading than learning the latest dance. 

Rather than focus on romance as most historical novels seem to do this focused a lot more on the fashion aspect.  A particular point in the novel is the use of the corset and the battle all women go through to try and achieve the perfect 16 inch waist. Now obviously we know the dangers that are associated with the corset but at the time this was written they had been suspected but weren't viewed as a serious threat.  Also we see the beginnings of American stardom and the paparazzi beginning to take to the scene.

It claims to be a Christian fiction but in reality it really wasn't much of a point in the novel at all except for the fact that it was clean, and the main characters went to church a few times (in order to be seen by society).

All in all it was very well researched, decently written (if a little formulaic) and I related to Clara. It is a very fun read that still has some substance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Historical Thursday



The Bad Queen
by: Carolyn Meyer

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads
From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone—courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people—but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can’t help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette’s lifestyle gets ever-more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty—and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay.

Everyone who has learned anything about the life of Marie Antoinette knows the entire plot of this novel. It covers her difficulties in conceiving, to her lavish parties, to the night her husband was killed, everything. What set it apart for me was the fact that the reason Marie was what she was is that she was simply doing what she was told to do. She was following orders and traditions on almost all counts and if she had been instructed better who knows what would have happened.

But if Meyer was trying to make me like Antoinette she failed miserably. All I saw was a whiny child who lacked all self-discipline, and showed no interest in anything other than herself. It was quite irritating actually to have to listen to how she hates to read and can’t write and can’t keep up with the current events of the country she is supposed to be running.

This book is great if you want to know the life of Marie Antoinette and haven’t gone in-depth yet but if you already know her life story I feel like you can pass on it.

In the Shadow of Lakecrest

In the Shadow of Lakecrest By: Elizabeth Blackwell Genre: Fiction, Historical, Gothic Rating: 3.5 stars Summary: The year is 1928. Kate...