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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone


Author: Laini Taylor


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Publication date: September, 2011


Hardcover: 432 pages



Stand Alone or Series:
Series–this is the first in a series.


How I got this book: Galley from Little, Brown.


Why I chose this book: I love love love the cover, it’s beautiful.  That’s what initially drew me in.  Then it was the synopsis, which sounded so original, I knew I had to read it.


Synopsis:


Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. 

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. 

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?



Review:


     Daughter of Smoke and Bone was…confusing.  Not confusing as in I couldn’t understnad it.  But confusing as in I didn’t know what the story was trying to be.  Still don’t understand what I’m trying to say?  Well, let me try to explain.  I almost quit reading this book at the beginning.  The first 60 pages I felt like were blah.  I actually set the book down for about a week, then decided to give it another try.  At first, I was extremely glad I did, because for the next 250 pages, it was amazing.  Beyond amazing.  It was a work that I think could have been defined as a classic to come.  It  must have taken time and EFFORT.  I was completely blown away, ready to give this book five stars.  But then the boring part came.  For the rest of the book, I just couldn’t get into it.  It was all flashbacks that I guess were important to the book, but I didn’t think there needed to be so much.  I just felt like I didn’t want to read it.  I actually did skip some scenes, because I just couldn’d take it anymore.  And the ending!  I despised the ending!  So, at the current moment, I’m not sure whether or not I will be reading the next installment in the series.  If I had the reassurance that I didn’t want to miss it, that it was even better than the first, then yes, I would read it.  But without that, I’m just not sure I can do it.  As much as I love Karou and Akiva, I’m just not sure I can watch their story twist into something written…not badly, becuase Taylor doesn’t write badly.  She actually writes beautifully.  But, you get my gist.  So I’m not going to say anything else about this book.  It is up to you to decide whether you want to read it or not.  From me it’s getting 3.25 stars.

Guess Who Went to the Bookstore (Again)!

Yes, I had the chance to go to the bookstore again!  Since the nearest bookstore happens to be over an hour away from me, I don’t get to go there regularly.  However, I have just been informed that at my local mall (which is only 1 minute away), we are getting a new bookstore to replace Borders.  Hallelujah!  So, wanna know what I bought?  Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?

I don’t care if you do.  I’m going to tell you anyway.

Quite the trip, I would say!  Can’t wait to start reading them.  First up, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, because it’s almost Halloween, and I’m sensing it’s scary!  

Book Review: Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Title: Dark Souls


Author: Paula Morris


Publisher: Point


Publication date: August, 2011


Hardcover: 304 pages




Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone


How I got this book: Bought


Why I chose this book: I had read Paula Morris’s Ruined, and fell in love with her haunting writing.  I had hoped I would find the same style in Dark Souls.


Synopsis:


Welcome to York, England.
Mist lingers in the streets.
Narrow buildings cast long shadows.
This is the most haunted city in the world. . . .

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. . . .

Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.


Review:


     Dark Souls was an interesting read.  The idea wasn’t entirely original, but I loved that the story was set in a different country than the one I live in. I’m always up for foreign settings.  So we have a girl and her family taking a vacation in York, England.  What could go wrong?  Well, first off, York happens to be one of the most haunted places in the world.  That’s right, the world.  And the MC (Main Character), whose name is Miranda, can see ghosts.  You would think these two things would go great together.  Except Miranda doesn’t like seeing ghosts.  So we have a problem.  Through in a dreamy dead guy and a not so dreamy breather and we have a good story.  I liked Dark Souls.  It kept me interested enough to see it through.  But I didn’t find any pizzazz in it.  There wasn’t some spark that made me want to read more.  When I finished, I set the book down and thought, Okay.  That’s it.  Compared to Morris’s other novel, Ruined, I was fairly disappointed.  Would I recommend this book?  If you like ghosts and mysteries, yes.  If you’re only looking for the romance, not so much.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Publication date: September, 2011

Hardcover: 384 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone (This is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss)

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: Because it’s the companion novel to ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS!!!  And it’s STEPHANIE PERKINS!!!

Synopsis:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – more sparkly, more fun, more wild – the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket – a gifted inventor – steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Review:

     Oh, Stephanie, you didn’t.  You couldn’t have.  But you did.

     That’s right folks.  I just put away my copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door, the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss.  I didn’t think it would be as good.  And I definitely couldn’t imagine it being better! (Actually, I’m not sure WHICH I like more, considering hot Europeans and hot but sweet nerdy guys).  However Stephanie did it, I’m blown away!  Honestly, this book was like a breath of fresh air.  It was romantic and all the right things were said.  My heartstrings were pulling the entire time.  And Lola.

     Lola is the perfect character for every girl to read about.  She’s confident (most of the time), she’s quirky (a definite plus), she’s downright AMAZING.  Not to mention she has stellar style that makes you want to become a fashionista youself.  And Cricket!

     Let me tell you about Cricket.  Scratch that, I can’t.  Read the book if you want to learn about Cricket because he’s indescribable.  He’s the kind of boy every (awesome) girl wants to find.  It makes me wish I lived in an old victorian house in San Francisco. 

     I don’t say this often, so read closely.  This book was perfect.  As in no faults whatsoever.  As in FIVE stars. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Title: Juliet Immortal

Author: Stacey Jay

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Publication date: August, 2011

Hardcover: 320 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series.

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I’ve got to hand it to Jay.  This book sounds truly interesting–and original (even though it does involve Romeo and Juliet). 

Synopsis:

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Review:

     I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  Not only because I am in love with Romeo and Juliet’s tragic love story (that actually hindered my like for the novel), but because of it’s true originality.  Who would have thought that Juliet was murdered by Romeo.  That she afterwards became immortal, forever forced to bring together other lovers, after her love went so tragically wrong.
     The first chapter of the book is a scene between Romeo and Juliet, when they were there true selves.  It really inspires in the reader the love story Shakespeare created around Romeo and Juliet, and almost places a dark quality around the rest of the story.  Throughout the rest of the novel all I could think is how I didn’t want it to be true!  I wanted Romeo and Juliet back together, because what he did couldn’t be real.
     Other than this factor, Juliet Immortal is marvelous.  I couldn’t put it down.  The characters pop out of the pages, inspiring either love or hate for them.  The setting in mordern day makes it easy for the reader to follow–even when we are shown scenes from a past time it is easy to follow.  The writing style is magnificent and addicting.  I give Juliet Immortal 4 stars (out of 5). 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Publication date: September, 2011

Hardcover: 384 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in the Shades of London series.

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I’ve never read a Maureen Johnson book, but since this one involved Jack the Ripper (something I had to study in a forensic science course) I was interested.  Plus it had romance, which I’m a sucker for.

Synopsis:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
 
Review:

So, me and this book have a love/hate relationship.  I’ve never read a Maureen Johnson book before, because none of her books ever interested me, until now.  Jack the Ripper is something I had to study in school, and while it is perverse, I took a small interest in it.  Since this book promoted being about the Jack the Ripper murders, I was eager to read it.  Now, I know Maureen Johnson is a highly popular author, so after I say what I have to say, please don’t shoot burning arrows at my house…

This book started out strong, and I really started loving it.  I loved the main character, Rory, because she had such a personality that I could actually imagine her standing next to me, eating her Cheez Whiz.  (Cheese Whiz?)  Anyway, I thought she was amazing, as well as the rest of the cast:  Jeromy, Jazza, etc.  By then I was about 100 pages into the story, and something just wasn’t right.  The novel boasts heart-stopping romance.  Well here, I must say, it is extremely lacking.  I don’t find two snogging sessions without emotions romantic. 

The other fact I didn’t like was that ghosts were involved at all.  I actually didn’t know this book was a paranormal when I picked it up.  I just figured it was historical/romantic fiction.  Guess I was wrong.  Since this is my fault, for not examining futher, I won’t say much more.  Just that I thought the novel would have been much better had the ghosts not been so fully envolved.  Don’t get me wrong, I like ghosts.  Just not in the way they’re used in this novel.

So that’s what I have to say.  I loved the first 100 pages or so, but it pretty much bombed from there.  (Remember, this is just my opinion.  Many other people will believe this is an amazing book, I’m sure.)
Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Guess Who Went to the Book Store?

That’s right, I did!  I’ve been down and out ever since my local Borders went out of Business.  The next closest bookstore is over an hour away, and that’s a little far to travel as periodically as I need books.  But, I am currently in Vegas (pics of which will go up on the blog after I return home) and decided to go gallavanting for a major bookstore, like Barnes and Noble.  Turns out, there aren’t many bookstores out here.  Who would’ve guessed?  But I did find a B&N.  And let me tell you, I haven’t been surrounded by so many new books in a while.  I was in heaven.  Here’s what I got:



I loved loved loved Paula Morris’s Ruined (even though it was a little hard to get into at first).  It totally escaped me that she had another book coming out.  How in the world?  This doesn’t usually happen to me, so I took the situation in stride and bought it!



I confess: I’ve never read one of Maureen Johnson’s books  before.  I’ve just never been interested.  But this one caught my eye.  That it involved Jack the Ripper (a topic I had to study in one of my Forensic Science courses) was what inially drew me in.  That it includes a romance is what put the icing on the cake for me.



I have a fancy for anything Romeo and Juliet.  This happens to fall under that category–with a little bit (well, a lotta bit) of a twist.  So I knew I had to pick this one up and check it out.  I can’t wait to get into the thick of the story!





I’ve been dying to read this book for a while now.  Ever since I read and fell in love with Anna and the French Kiss and fell in love with Etienne and even Anna.  I’ve heard some good things about this companion novel, so I can’t wait to crack it open.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev

Title: So Silver Bright

Author: Lisa Mantchev

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: September, 2011

Hardcover: 368 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the third and last in a trilogy

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: Because this is the final book in the EPIC Theatre Illuminata Trilogy.

Synopsis:

All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a  vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.

Review:

     I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  Mainly because I can’t say too much without this review containing spoilers.  (But if you read this whole review closely, you may find a spoiler clue.)  So I got this book the day I left for Las Vegas, and decided to read it on the plane ride.  Let’s just say my fellow passengers got a surprise when they saw me weeping in my seat like there was no tomorrow.  More importantly, how could Mantchev do this to me?  I’m not going to tell you why I was weeping, because that would be giving it away.  But let me say–it’s big! 
     I’m sad to say that this is the LAST book in the Theatre Illuminata series.  I would much rather it continue on forever.  Nothing quite compares to Mantchevs books, they’re like nothing out there.  The prose they’re written in, the witty words, the formatting–it’s all so amazing.
     So that’s all.  This review it OVER.  Now I’ll go back to crying.