Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Hope by Theresa M. Jones

Book: Hope
By: Theresa M. Jones
Published: April 29, 2013
Published By: Self Published

Description: Allison now understands who she is and where she comes from, but will it be enough to save the world? She went through a dangerous journey, dragging her young daughter along for the ride, in an attempt to stop the evil Rising Leader, Damien, from opening the Seven Seals and bringing about the Apocalypse.

But she hasn’t succeeded yet. The Rising still thrives and Lilith has made it her mission to open the remaining Seals so that she and her minions can rule the Earth.

David and Allison hope that love can conquer all, but in reality, love is never enough. Will they, along with the rest of the gang back at the Compound, be able to stop the Rising?

And where is The Descendant that is prophesied to save them all?

My Thoughts: This second book in the "Power" series was even better than the first. (To see the review of the first book, click here) Aptly titled Hope the entire story was about just that. It revolved around the power of hope (for the good and the bad), what to do when it is lost, and shows that without it, you have nothing.

This book picked up right where power left off. Allison and David are going strong and about to get married. Allison now knows who she is and how to finally control her power. She's happy for the most part, and ready to try to help make the world a better place as much as she possibly can. Unfortunately, the Rising is still thriving and its new leader, Lilith, is getting entirely too strong. They're working on a plan to rule the world (of course) and turn it to crap.

This was a quick and exciting read. It started off pretty happily and light with the wedding and all the love and I enjoyed reading about it, though that section did seem a little unnecessarily long. Nonetheless it was cute. The bad guys are still being bad and I was happy to see that this leader played the part well. Though she still didn't scare me due to the fact that her actions seemed to be caused by fear and she was too into her beauty to make me scared, she did annoy the crap out of me, and she did enjoy carnage quite a lot. The story was still a bit predictable, but much less so than the last one and I really enjoyed reading it.

There was one thing I really didn't like about the story and that was bits and pieces of the ending. Without giving it away, I'll just say some of the events were a little too convenient. Things seemed to happen right on time and all the tools necessary just so happened to be nearby, and if they weren't the characters could just use their power to do it for them. Speaking of tools, I've never encountered such a sharp letter opener in my life, just saying.

I must say though, that this book was a good read and certainly had me hooked. If things in this series progress the way they are, I know the next book is going to be outstanding. It seems this author takes her reader's opinions into consideration for all her next books because almost everything I felt bad about in the previous book was fixed. That certainly sits well with me. I would recommend this book series to people who like Fantasy books where the main character is an established adult, not a moody teenager, and stories about humans blessed by the gods to protect the world. I give this story 3.5 stars.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Book: Breathe (Breathe #1)
By: Sarah Crossan
Published: October 2, 2012
Published by: Greenwillow

Description: Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

Alinahas been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

Quinnshould be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

Beawants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

My Thoughts: Breathe was a good book with an interesting premise. In an effort to advance technology and society trees in the natural world have been cut down to build towers. As a result, much of the world's oxygen supply has been depleted causing many to suffocate or go crazy from lack of oxygen to the brain. Breathe, a company who had found ways of manufacturing oxygen, has created a pod and allowed some of the population (the rich people, the important people, and those who won lotteries) to live under their protection. Here, you much pay for the use of oxygen, much like we currently pay for electricity or air conditioning. Society is spilt into classes based upon their benefit to the Pod, but as most dystopians go, its this control over society that ultimately becomes Breathe's downfall.

We follow three characters. Bea, Alina, and Quinn. Bea is an auxiliary, pretty much the bottom of the totem pole in the Pod society. Her parents are struggling to pay for air for them to survive, for that reason, she can't run, or kiss or work out, or do anything that would use up more oxygen than necessary. She's determined to pass a test that would allow her to join the ranks of Breathe and become a Premium so that her family would no longer have to struggle.Quinn, on the other hand, is Bea's best friend and the man she's been pining for since forever. He's a premium, and life is pretty much easy for him since his father works for Breathe. He too, wants to work for breathe and has been practicing with Bea so that they both can make it. Finally, there's Alina, the one person who causes the whole story to go in a completely different direction than everyone else meant it to. She's part of the Resistance. She's practiced her ability to survive off of low oxygen levels so that she can eventually survive outside of the Pod. She practices running in areas where speed cameras aren't located (yep, speed cameras) and after something horrible happens, she must flee the Pod or die, an action that brings all our characters together.

I enjoyed seeing Breathe develop. It was an interesting story. The corruption that filled Breathe was absolutely believable and the events that took place outside of the Pod were as well. I can see us as humans ruining the world's oxygen supply due to the excessive way we cut down trees and I can see a corporation using it to their benefit. All of it was realistic and I loved reading about it.

Though there were some parts that weren't completely realistic in that they were a little too convenient, or I couldn't see the attraction between some of the characters, it didn't take away from the appeal of the story at all. There was a bit of a love triangle, but not in the sense that one guy loved two people and vice versa, but in the sense that there was tons of unrequited love/like between characters. I would give this story 3.5 stars. It was a good story, but didn't keep me on the edge of my seat like I'd hoped and besides an interesting premise, it didn't offer anything that I didn't already expect from normal dystopians.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Random Rant Thursday : The Dystopian Obsession

Lately, I have been reading a lot of Dystopian novels and it has me thinking, why exactly do I like reading them so much? Is it the utter hopelessness of the society that does nothing but make you want a hero to rise from the ashes and fix it all? Maybe. Is it the fact that society has been brought so low that baser instincts for human survival are the only thing we, as a society can focus on? Probably. Is it the fact that the worlds have been developed in such a way that we can see the path our society would have to take in order to get there and all the governing principles seem probable? Definitely!

Its strange. I enjoy reading about a hero who, despite all odds, can rise up and defeat an entire society. It interesting to read about the following they receive along the way, the things they learn about themselves. I love the way that despite whatever happened with the world, the appearance of this one character can eventually make everything okay.

I also like reading about the fights, the fact that society no longer focuses on shopping and partying (though at times those are elements of the stories) but instead it focuses on the acquisition of food, water, air, and just attempting to live. However, those arent the things I like the most about dystopians. It's the fact that the world, despite everything, has been brought to it's knees by the stupid actions of us as a society, and I can see how we could get there. It's the corruption, and greed of people in our world who I can see using destruction as a means to gain more power over us. It's the fact that, in order to keep that power, those governing bodies will do anything to keep society weak and make themselves stronger. I love reading it because it's so horrible, but I can see it happening.

In my opinion, everyone has a bit of bad in them, even if it's just the hate we feel for the truly horrible people. Everyone seeks power in some way, even if it's just seeking the power to overcome obstacles. It's for that reason that we can see society advancing to dystopian levels. We can understand that people have varying levels of power and evil, and sometimes, despite the purest efforts, those people can take something that's perfect and turn it into something horrible, and I love reading about that.

Though dystopians are often lessons taken to the extreme, and thus do not necessarily compare to our world, I like to use the lessons I learn, and the things I read about when forming opinions in my own world, and I hope that enough people read the books that we can eventually prevent something similar happening in the future.

What do you think? Do you like Dystopians? Why? Let me know your thoughts on this topic.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Book: The Pledge (The Pledge #1)
By: Kimberly Derting
Published: November 15, 2011
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry

Description: In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

My Thoughts: The Pledge was an interesting book that really made me think.The Pledge is an interesting Dystopian novel in that the dividing factor between the classes in society is Language. There are different languages based upon your class, and as such, if one hears a language their class does not speak, he/she is forced to look down in a sign of inferiority. The theory behind it is that if everyone doesn't speak the same language, there is no way for them to ban together and try to revolt. Unfortunately though, there is a common language, since everyone has to be able to understand something to interact in marketplaces, or if there is an announcement for everyone to understand. This common language though is all the resistance needs to get their foot in the door.

We follow Charlaina (Charlie) a 17 year old girl who has a secret she must die to protect. She has the power of speech. She can understand every single language, even if she has never heard it before. If anyone learns of this power. she will be killed. Her younger sister, although unable to speak at all, has the ability to heal with the touch of her hand. Their parents attempt to hide them from the view of the powerful queen, the only other person in society who has powers. Soon, we find that Charlie and her sister's powers stem from something buried deep inside them, and that secret is the one and only thing that can save the entire society.

I enjoyed reading this book. Charlie is realistic and like-able, as is her sister and though I wish she would have had a bit more backbone, the brutal society they live in explains her actions and she is quite strong considering the way she had to grow up. Max, the love interest, is quite interesting, though I didn't like the insta-love that seemed to flare between he and Charlie.

There wasn't much I didn't like about this book, though there were a few things I didn't quite understand or didn't quite make sense to me. I am definitely going to read the next book in the series, The Essence (I just picked it up  from the library yesterday). This was an interesting series that I would recommend to lovers of dystopian Novels. I give it 3.5 stars.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Mackenzie Legacy by Derrolyn Anderson

Book: The Mackenzie Legacy
By: Derrolyn Anderson
Published: April 4, 2013
Published by: Self Published

Description: As their story continues, Calvin and Caledonia find themselves madly in love, on the run, and nearly out of money. When Cal stumbles upon a way to cash in on Cali’s powers, their life on the road becomes a life of leisure. Despite the easy money and newfound luxury, Caledonia’s conscience begins to trouble her.

A disturbing warning only serves to confirm her misgivings, making her question her purpose in life. Finally, a shocking discovery about the true nature of her powers points the way forward, sending the two Cals on a dangerous rescue mission.

Caledonia tries her best to right the wrongs of the past, but will she only end up provoking new and even more dangerous enemies?

My Thoughts: When Derrolyn contacted me to request a review, I was ecstatic. I mean, I had JUST finished checking out her goodreads page looking for her latest installment into her Athena Effect series. The series follows a girl Caledonia, nicknamed Cali (also sometimes nicknamed Cal but it becomes too confusing so we'll stick to Cali) and her boyfriend Calvin, nicknamed Cal (see what I mean about confusing) as they try to survive in a world where people want to use Cali for her aura reading powers while they try to fast to their deep and sometimes blinding love for one another. (some spoilers for Athena #1 may be included)

In this installment, Cali and Cal have escaped the professor who wanted to use Cali for monetary gain, but they are quickly running out of money. Soon, Cal haphazardly learns of a way for he and Cali to earn quite a bit of money by using her powers. Soon, they have more money than either of them can deal with, and as the saying goes, with more money comes more problems. Their easy lifestyle has dangerous consequences, and soon, Cal and Cali find themselves mixed up in the wrong crowd.

Even worse, Cali is realizing that she needs to find a way to help the only others that she knows who are like her, the twins she met while she was in the professors care. Only, they are no longer in the care of the professor, and the person who's care they are in is more dangerous than the professor ever could be.

I loved this installment. The love between Cal and Cali is as intense as ever and though at times it seems unrealistic in the way that they barely argue, I still love seeing it. The story was fast paced and intense and I cant wait until the next story, The Caledonian Inheritance. Something was certainly brewing at the end of this novel and I can't wait to see what happens.

As usual, I must name the few issues I have with the story. First, some of the conclusions drawn and the details of certain plans made were a bit confusing for me to follow. I'm not sure if it was because I was devouring the book entirely too fast, or if it really was that hard to follow. Second, there was one situation in the story that I worried about. Calvin seems to be one who knows the intricacies of the world including the way people can be tracked and followed. Why then, does he not take proper precautions in terms of making sure they are not followed. It makes the end of the book a bit predictable. Finally, I'm a bit worried about the strength of Cal and Cali's relationship. Sure they love each other deeply, but one must wonder about the insecurities each have in their relationship and the willingness Cal has of using Cali for their advancement. It will be interesting to see how this turns out in the future.

All in all, it was a great book and I am super happy that Derrolyn thought of me when she sent out her review requests. A copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review of the book. I give it 4 Stars.
To see my review of her previous book, click here.

Derrolyn Has been kind enough to include a giveaway with her release. There will be one winner. He or she will receive a copy of The Athena Effect (The Athena Effect #1) and The Mackenzie Legacy (The Athena Effect #2) plus a special charm bracelet designed by the author. The Bracelet is pictured below:
The Rafflecopter to enter is below. Good Luck!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Imaginable by J. Meyers

Book: Imaginable (Intangible #2)
By: J. Meyers
Published: April 16, 2013
Published by: Self Published

Description: Twins Sera and Luke Raine’s unusual abilities are growing. Sera is healing vampires now, making them human again. And, at times, Luke can actually change the future he Sees.

But Sera’s healing has dangerous consequences, and though Luke is altering the outcome of more visions, he can’t control them yet.

Now Sera is in danger as the dark creatures of the Realm seek to use her. As Luke struggles to master his gift in order to save his sister, he discovers even more about his powers.

And what he learns just may put him in greater danger than Sera has ever been.

My Thoughts: As you all know from my review of Intangible, I think J. Meyers series is a pretty good one. For that reason, I was quite pleased to have a request to read her next book Imaginable.

Imaginable picks up where Intangible left off. Sera is forbidden from using her healing powers on vampires, and Luke is learning how to control his gift a bit better. Unfortunately though, Sera's healing abilities have been requested from vampires all around and she has no idea how to say no, especially when saying no has dire consequences for those she loves. To make matters worse, Luke cant quite call his visions, no matter how hard he tries. Eventually, Sera has no choice but to follow the instructions of the enemy, or bad things will befall everyone she knows, and her enemies are not above playing dirty.

I liked Imaginable. Though the beginning started out a bit confusing with the speedy reintroduction of so many characters at once, the story developed easily as I continued to read. The story line didn't seem rushed or forced as some stories do, and I was able to follow the logic of the occurrences. As was the case with Intangible, this book was a bit predictable at times, but it definitely threw you for a loop in other times to keep you on your toes.

I must say, I didn't like Sera as much in this book as I did in the last. She seemed to have gotten weak or something and couldn't see through easy lies. She's extremely gullible at times when one would be expected to be wary of any and every suspicious occurrence. Luke and Fey, however made up for Sera's issues. Their relationship bloomed in this story, and I was happy to see how things progressed.

This book was extremely imaginative (see what I did there;)). We got to see more of the Realm, the light and the dark. It was interesting to see the world J. Meyers created. I definitely enjoyed seeing how Sera and Luke got themselves out of another unfortunate circumstance, though this time the ending wasn't a completely happy one.

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I give this Imaginable 3 stars. It was good, not quite as good as the previous book, but I still look forward to seeing what happens next, if there is a next.......
 J Meyers has a website where she shares the first few chapters of Intangible and Imaginable. Check it out here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Book: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1)
By: Gail Carriger
Published: October 1, 2009
Published by: Orbit

Description: First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

My Thoughts: Soulless sat on my bookshelf for a little over two years. I couldn't remember why I had picked it up. I'm not much into historical romance, unless it's by an author I already know about in other genres, nor am I really into the whole mystery thing. Add to that my growing discontent for vampire and werewolf stories, and this should have been the recipe for disaster. Instead, it was a brilliant, hilariously funny novel that I couldn't help but fall in love with.

We follow Alexia Tarabotti, a soulless living in London. Being soulless, or Preternatural as it's formally called, Alexia has the ability to, with the touch of her hand, render vampires and werewolves human for as long as she remains in contact with them and exorcise ghosts. In this story, Vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are accepted by London society, but no "daytime people" know of the existence of the preternatural.

Alexia, a 26 year old "spinster" spends the duration of the book causing all sorts of problems with her parents, the vampire and werewolf society, and the scientists who have started to take up residence in London. As these things go, soon Alexia is at the heart of the trouble brewing in London, and only she can attempt to figure out how to fix it.

I absolutely loved Soulless. It was funny, witty, and exciting in only the way that London high society based books can be. Since I ended up getting this book in audio format from the library instead of reading my book as I ought to, I found myself smirking stupidly as I listened to the book while walking down the street and riding on the bus in response to something hilarious I heard. My love for this book reminds me a lot of my love for the Kate Daniels series, and there were some aspects of both series that are somewhat similar, however  I do not wish to imply that this is a steampunk version of the Kate Daniels series, or that they are anything alike. I repeat....This is nothing like the Kate Daniels series. I merely want to point out that my feelings toward the characters in each series were quite similar.

This was an entertaining read/listen that I would definitely like to read/listen to again. The narrator was amazing, one of the best I think I have encountered so far. I give it 5 stars. For those of you looking to branch into listening to audiobooks, I recommend this one as a great starting point. Be careful though, audiobooks are addictive once you really get into them.
 Since this is a five book series thus far and I will be breezing through the series in the blink of an eye, I wish to let you all know that I will not be posting a review for the remaining books in the series. If you wish to know of my feelings toward the other books, please feel free to add me as a friend on goodreads where I will be posting my ratings of the books.

Have you read Soulless yet? What are your views on it if you have?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Book: White Cat (The Curse Workers #1)
By: Holly Black
Published: May 4, 2010
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry books

Description: Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

My Thoughts: I started off this story with low hopes of actually enjoying it. The synopsis just didn't speak to me, the cover didn't either. So when I started listening to the audiobook format I got from the library, I didn't even expect to get completely through it. I can't explain why I didn't think I would like it, only that I thought that way. Then, as I got further and further into the story I had such low hopes for, my feelings began to change. It was almost like the book itself was a "worker" making me fall in love with it despite all my former feelings

The story follows Cassel, a non-curse worker in a family of strong curse workers. He's an outsider, not quite woven into the thread of his family since he's not a worker. Curse workers are people who, with a touch of their bare hands, have the power to change things about you like your emotions, memories, and even a person or object's physicality, though the latter isn't at all common. We learn that Cassel is an outsider in everything. Growing up with a worker family makes him unlike other normal people, so he spends his time trying to make himself seem normal, despite still being a con the way his family taught him. He cant help doing things in illegal ways because that's all he knows. Then, when he finds himself on the top of a building, teetering over the edge without any memory as to how he got there, he begins to ask questions. Why can't he remember a lot of the things that have happened to him, why is he having all these strange dreams, why has this white cat been following him around, and why on earth did he kill his best friend three years ago. We find out the answers to all these questions and more in what becomes a twisted story of power, greed, and familial interaction. Cassel's life is more screwed up than we know and we find out all about it.

I loved the murder mystery feel of this book. I also like the shady nature of our MC and the fact that the story wasn't just a backup to some sappy love story. The story sticks to the facts. Of course there are romantic feelings interspersed in the novel, but they took a backseat to the greater story, and only occurred when Cassel was feeling particularly attracted to a woman (as most guys do). I also liked the mob boss feel about the worker families. The way everything was underhanded and the twists and turns this book had in it definitely had me gripping my seat until the very last page.

There wasn't much I didn't like about the book. I was a bit confused at the end from how some of the things were concluded but it wasn't any really big deal. Also, the beginning section following the roof scene wasn't all that interesting but did provide a thorough background to the novel.

Holly Black put a lot of thought into this story and created a world that was magical, dangerous, and intoxicating. I will definitely be reading the next story, Red Glove. I give it 4 stars.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Illumine Her by Sieni A.M.

Book: Illumine Her
By: Sieni A.M.
Published: March 2013
Published by: Self Published

Description: After being away for three years and graduating nursing school, Alana Vilo finally returns home to Samoa and knows nothing will ever be the same. Consumed with grief from the loss of her father, she buries herself in her work and the obligations that come with a large family.

While her colleagues anticipate the arrival of a mysterious benefactor, Alana remains unimpressed, until she meets him. Chase Malek is not at all what she expects of the philanthropist that has donated so much to help her island’s hospital. Young, handsome, and strangely knowledgeable of their local customs, Alana realizes there's much more to Chase than meets the eye. After a traumatic experience with one of her patients, her suspicions are confirmed.

Alana starts to resurface as she attempts to uncover all of Chase's secrets. As she starts to put the pieces together, she learns more about herself, and the walls she put up after her father's death slowly start to crumble. But now that she's opened her heart and let Chase in, will he even be able to stay? Or will his greatest secret of all keep them apart?

My Thoughts: I was a little hesitant to read Illumine Her when I received the review request from the wonderful Sieni A.M.. The story takes place in Samoa, and one of my most favorite stories of all time also takes place in Samoa. That book was the reason Samoa is on my list of places I want to visit in my lifetime. I was worried that this book might not live up to the hype I had in my head of Samoa and I was worried that I might not love Illumine Her as much as I wanted to. All my worries were unnecessary though because as soon as I got into the story, I was hooked.

Illumine Her is a story that follows Alana Vilo after she returns home from college and is beginning to work at the nearby hospital on her island. One day, an extremely handsome and rich man named Chase Malek comes by to donate a large sum of money to her hospital's efforts. Alana can tell that this man is somewhat different from everyone else she knows, but even after seeing his differences for herself, she still gets no answers, and he leaves the island. However, after a series of circumstances, and his appearance at her house for his friends marriage to her sister, they are thrust in each other's paths once again. This time, she does get a chance to find out his secrets and she begins to fall for him. Unfortunately, they aren't meant to be, because his secret is one that requires him to be away from her, and he has rules that he must follow, rules that don't necessarily allow him to be able to fulfill his purpose and follow his heart at the same time.

This story was so sweet and different and amazing. It was a love story in every sense of the word; love for one's family, love for one's purpose, love for one's partner, love for one's self, and love for one's country. I absolutely loved it. As a character, Alana has emotional issues that cause her to keep barriers up between her and others, and of course, Chase is able to knock down those barriers and save Alana. They love each other deeply and passionately. Their love is realistic, as are the events in this novel (with a few exceptions). Even the secondary characters were lovable. This wasn't one of those stories where the MC goes on some dangerous journey to fight bad guys and secretly kicks ass with only the use of a hairbrush and two chopsticks. No, Alana goes through life doing normal things, going to school, working as a nurse, hanging with friends and family and meeting a guy. She's just like me! There isn't so much drama so as not to be realistic, there's just the development of love, pure and simple, and it was refreshing in its simplicity.

Then of course, there's Samoa. I must go there. This book portrays it so beautifully. I love the family dynamics (though I don't know how much I'd love them if I actually had to deal with them), and community nature of the people, the beautiful landscape and just everything about it. This book just bumped it up a few notches on my list of places I must go.

There were only a few things about this book that I didn't absolutely love. The beginning was a bit slow and it made the story seem like it took too long to get to the point. I didn't see the plot points start until about one or two chapters in. It wasn't a big deal though and I still enjoyed reading those parts. There were also a lot of character speeches. Often, when having a conversation, one of the characters will talk for a long period of time, usually about how they felt about the other or about a particular subject and sometimes it felt a bit too lengthy for regular conversation. That too wasn't a big deal.

I am a romantic, and love reading love stories. I love to fall in love and I love to see people fall in love. I definitely fell in love with this story, and with Chase Malek.I would recommend this story to those of you who love love. Those of you who, like me, are hopeless romantics. I teared up at the end of this story and how beautiful it is. I give it 4.5 stars. It wasn't absolutely perfect, but it was darn close!
Sieni A.M is a fellow blogger. Go visit her blog here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #2)
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: September 18, 2012
Published by: Scholastic Press

Description: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My Thoughts: I was hesitant to pick up this book by Maggie Steifvater, considering how I feel about both of her other series'. Most of her books seem a bit too slow for me. They focus a lot on the descriptions and it often takes me a long time to get into the story. The same is true for The Raven Boys, though I must say, I did enjoy it. I picked it up from my library in audiobook format and the narrator made it a lot more interesting than I would have experienced had I read the actual hardback version.

Told in third person, The Raven Boys follows the characters of Blue, and "her raven boys" from Aglionby: Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. Together, they seek to uncover the secrets of of the ley lines in Henrietta, a task that becomes more and more dangerous as their lives begin to twine closer and closer together. (I'm making this completely non spoilery, since the best part about this book is learning the secrets and details of the mystery as the characters do)

Initially, I wasn't at all interested in the story. I was bored by it. It lulled me to sleep on my bus ride into work one morning, and I had to force myself to stay awake on that same bus ride home that evening. It wasn't until I made it about 25% into the book that I became interested. Even still, I wasn't fully invested in the book until I was 50% through it. The beginning had a lot of set up for the story. Maggie was able to create fully believable, well rounded characters with real backgrounds and lives outside of the main story. The characters had real issues and insecurities.  Adam, the poor scholarship boy in the sea of rich boys at Aglionby who also had a terrible home life. Blue, the only non-psychic in a home of psychics, who's only gift was the ability to amplify others gifts for them (like plugging your laptop into the wall instead of just relying on reserve power). There's Ronan, who we learn little about besides his strangeness and his family issues and Noah who we learn nothing about until the middle of the story, but has a past that breaks your heart. Finally, there's Gansey, the rich rope that holds everything together, here to repay a debt he think he owes and to earn something money can't buy; friends (we hope so anyway). The descriptions of the scenes and storyline was such that one could picture almost everything that occurred down to the most minute detail. I really enjoyed Maggie's attention to crafting the story, though as mentioned before, it did make it difficult to really get into the story.

All of my issues were soon fixed though once I got really into the story. As an audience, we were made to care fully about the outcome of these characters. We wondered with them about the secrets of Henrietta, and how to accomplish their goals.

I loved the story once it got going. It was deep and well thought out and I would definitely be checking out the next book in the series when it comes out because I must know how things turn out. I must say though, that I just wasn't blown away. I didn't get that breathless feeling I sometimes get when I finish books. I give it 3.5 stars, due to the time it took for me to get into it, and the general complacency I felt about it.
Have you read The Raven Boys? What are your views?