Monday, May 28, 2012

"The Girl with the Clockwork Collar" by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)

NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley.

I can not believe I finished this book in one sitting. I can not believe it was so good that I loved every line of it! I can not believe that after "The Girl in the Steel Corset", this masterpiece would follow! But Kady Cross has definitely outdone herself with the story, the characters and the writing style. I am thankful that I was able to review a copy of her work before publication.

Now, Steel Corset left me hanging, wondering what would happen with Griffin, Finley, Emily, Sam and Jasper. Would they couple up? Would the split up? Would Jasper be hanged for murder? As the story develops, a lot more intricate plot comes to life. Characters with great influence are revealed, and such that don't really matter. We are introduced in gangs, and have to wonder what would come out of it all.

But to be honest, what really sparked my curiosity was the roller coaster relationship between Griffin and Finley. Those two were so great in their roles, bickering, teasing, mocking each other, that at times they had me almost pulling at my hair! Especially Griffin and his big, sometimes arrogant mouth. I'm beginning to think that there's nothing worse than a jealous man.

Anyway, it was also nice to be introduced to the eccentric scientist Tesla, who played a minor role in the game for control. He was a curious figure go watch.

Now about the characters:

*Finley - unlike in Steel Corset, where I didn't really like her, in Clockwork Collar Finley became a girl I came to admire. She was bold and brave, a little bit reckless, but always ready to help a friend in need. Even if that meant getting beat up in the process. She really surprised me at times, when she held her ground in the face of ruthless criminals, but that's just how she won me over.

*Griffin - the idiot made me want to get in the book and slap him on the face, hard. He spoke to Finley as if she was trash that one time. Sure, he was jealous and worried about her and all that, but she didn't deserve what he said to her. His moods were never twice the same. One minute he'd be angry, the next he'd be laughing. Still though, I loved the guy. Especially in the dress shop towards the end. I had a good laugh at that scene.

*Emily - she continues to surprise me with her genius. New inventions of her come to play roles in this book, and I was simply fascinated by this girl's ability to think science. She's just mesmerizing!

*Sam - the big oaf is so cute when he's jealous, he had me rolling my eyes the entire time. I admired him for his strength of character though.

*Jasper - the fool was so blind, I couldn't describe how bad I felt about him for it. He want through so much, and it was all for nothing.

I probably should mention the villains as well, but then again, you should probably just go ahead and read the book for yourself to get just how bad they are.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Wilde's Fire" by Krystal Wade

Wilde's Fire
NOTE: I Received this book from Netgalley.

I read the entire book in one day, almost in one sitting. It was really good, story wise. The writing style was sort of in need of improvement because there were times when the narrative and the characters sounded just too dry. But I thoroughly enjoyed and was left hungry for more.

What really got me going about this book was the different world that the characters suddenly stumble upon. Everything they had known until then is but a dream of sorts. The reality is in the other world, the world where monsters reign, where there is Darkness, and where people die.

I thought the story was original, what with the people living solely underground, and the world being all dark. At least I haven't read another similar book. Sure, the concept is like in any other fantasy book - good vs. evil.

The ending got me quite a bit baffled though. Not because of the cliffhanger, which was sort of good by the way. It was because of the weird explanations that the main character is given, for what had been going on. I do not think it was the right way to close the story, but then again - the author knows best.

The characters:

*Kate, a.k.a. Katriona - I couldn't get to like this girl at all. Main character or not, she totally irritated me. I mean, she could fairly well accept that she was in a different world; she accepted that world as hers; she accepted the fact that she is Light, i.e. the opposite of Darkness.... the only thing she can't seem to accept is her powers. I had never heard of something so stupid. I mean, when you battle monsters, it's those powers that are most important, they must be embraced first. Another thing I didn't like about Kate was how mopey she was. All she knew to do was whine about, cry, whine some more, then stutter an apology of some sort to this person and that. Gosh! She was so darn irritating!!!

*Arland - I can't not give it to him that he was a good leader. The little crew he had at his command respected and obeyed him. But when Kate got in the picture, he didn't mind risking his people just to please her desire to rescue a friend. I'm not sure why he was supposed to be all irresistible and swoon worthy, except for the built of his body, and his rare smiles.

*Brad - the idiot... I hated him from the very beginning, not sure why. There was a constant nagging feeling that he won't turn out good, even when in coma.

*Flanna - now she was a character full of life. I really liked her and her attitude. She was always there at the right time, or the wrong one, sticking her nose in people's business when they least expected it. She was amusing, and I enjoyed having her around.

You'd think that with all those character weaknesses, I'd give it a lower rating. However, the story itself is so good, it deserves those four stars, despite the characters.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"The Girl in the Steel Corset" by Kady Cross

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

I have had this book for a while now, but I don't really know why I never got to reading it before. However, now that I'm about to read book two of the series I thought it quite appropriate to begin with this one first.
Kady Cross is not an author I know, in fact, I think this may very well be her debut novel. Still, she managed to create a realistic enough world in a historic time, where technology isn't that uncommon.

I haven't really enjoyed steampunk novels before, but I believe it was more due to the books themselves, than having anything to do with the genre. In fact, I could say that I enjoyed "The girl in the steel corset" quite a lot. The story was original as far as I can tell, though at times I was reminded of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices' world. The characters were a bit shallow in places, but that was sort of corrected later on..

What really made this book work for me was Emily's quick mind and her inventiveness. Sadly, she wasn't the main heroine. Finley Jayne, who was supposed to be the leading female didn't really strike me as someone insanely special. So she had a split personality- big deal. And she was insanely strong, but I didn't really care about her. The only two characters who spoke to me were Emily Nd the notorious underground criminal Jack Dandy. They seemed to have the most life in them and without their presence this story wouldn't turn out half as good.

On the other hand, there were also things that disappointed me a little. Like the foolishness of Sam, who entrusted himself in a man he didn't really know; and that the main romance never really progressed. I didn't like how naive the characters seemed at times. Especially in the end...

I liked the writing and story telling style though. It got me plunged in the story straight from the beginning.Which is why I give it

Monday, May 21, 2012

"The Summer My Life Began" by Shannon Greenland

The Summer My Life Began
NOTE: I received this awesome book from Netgalley.

Okay, first of all, I want to start with the formality of the first couple of chapters. It was super weird. Not only was weird that the girls called their parents Mother and Father, and the granny was never anything else but Grandmother, but also, the girls were addressed by two full names!!! Em, the main character was always called Elizabeth Margaret. Now take just one minute and contemplate this. Being called by your family by your two names all the time. As in "Elizabeth Margaret, could you please pass me the water?" or "Elizabeth Margaret, put on your shoes." or "Elizabeth Margaret, whatever."

That's just a mouthful, and a weird one too. Especially since Em, a.k.a Elizabeth Margaret never seemed to even notice how awkward it sounded. And to be honest, the moment she landed in the new place where her Aunt Tilly ruled, and she dropped all that formality, it was like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. Seriously, when Elizabeth Margaret was done for and Em appeared, I could finally relax and enjoy the nice summer Em was having.

I honestly enjoyed this novel, because it was light and romantic and had this gorgeous guy (Cade), who was just so fabulous! I loved how Em grew to be who she wanted to be, instead of the person her parents wanted to manipulate her to become. I hate it when parents push their kids in a direction they aren't meant to follow. And I strongly believe that everyone should be free to choose their own life, even if it means ruining the parents' dreams.

Anyway, all the descriptions of the Outer Banks territory was splendid. It was like I was right there with the characters enjoying the sun, the breeze, the wildlife, the ocean. It was simply amazing!

Of course, there was some drama, some secrets going on underneath it all. And honestly, I never even considered that the secret would be so huge!! So that really amazed and surprised me, in a very very good way.

And every time Em was explaining what she was cooking, my mouth was watering!! For real. And I felt so jealous of the characters who got to taste her delicious food. I can't believe I'm saying this (or typing it) but it's the truth. It all felt so lively, and realistic.

Then there was Cade and his back story - misfortunes etc. - that just drew me close to him. I so wanted to know the guy, to figure out his mysteries, to know his secrets. It was like I stood right next to him, looking at his sexy sideways smile.

Then comes Aunt Tilly, with her even bigger secrets. Her problems with her Mother (a.k.a. above mentioned Grandmother), and how much she'd grown to love and appreciate the life she was living. I loved her sense of freedom and care.

Domino, the cook, also was a great characters that pulled some secret strings here and there.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read YA literature. It was totally worth my time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"The Space Between" by Brenna Yovanoff

The Space Between
I can say with a hand on my heart that I loved this book. I'm not a vamp or zombie lover, but gimme angels and demons and leave me be! So yeah, "The Space Between" was my sort of book variety, and I really, truly enjoyed every single one of its awesome pages!

I know it's been a while since it was published (in 2011), but I only got around it thanks to a "what-to-read-next" poll I did in a Goodreads group. Otherwise, it may still have waited on my book stash, untouched and mostly ignored.

Anywho, I keep on thinking that I'm more the angel-lover sort of person, and in fact I am. But this story was demon oriented, and got me looking at the other side of the veil. Not that I'd change my opinion on the holy ones and the fallen, but still it was pretty nice to read a demon's perspective on the world and all.

So the demon here was a girl - Daphne, the last one of Lucifer and Lilith's daughters. She was a pretty strong willed girl I might add. She was determined and brave in the quiet sense of the word. She was the person who brought calmness. The person who could fix one's broken soul. The person who could ignite love where it could never blossom. Weird things to say about a demon, huh? But they're nonetheless, true.

I could feel Daphne's boredom in the beginning, and her lack of interest in anything at all. She was just an inhabitant in a world of fire and timelessness. Then the events lured her out in search for her brother. She was veiled in quiet panic and pain over whatever was happening to him, and she cursed herself for not being able to find him quickly enough. Then other misfortunes hit, and she's full of grief that she doesn't know how to express, so she holds it in, hidden deep within her, where the pain won't hurt her too much.

Mostly though, I loved how virtuous she was. Daphne never lied, risked her life for others, was not selfish, and discovered what love truly meant in a way that I think none of her siblings ever did. She knew the feeling on that level so deep inside, where the other person became one with you. And when he's missing, it's like a chunk of you is missing too. And I just really loved that.

Then there was Truman, who had no idea who he was. Truman with his pain that raged on and on inside him. Truman, the quiet boy whose grief only brought him lower and lower to a place where suicide seemed like the only good decision left. Had it not been for Daphne, he might've would've never realized that he was wasting his life grieving for the past, when there was so much worth living for in the future.

And of course, there was Azrael, the angel of death, who - at least to me - was the monster here. Sure, his intentions were noble and holy, but he never realized that his means would never accomplish anything. He was bloody happy when he destroyed life, and didn't have the slightest idea how to help a boy lost in his own misery. And instead of helping, he just made things worse. In my mind, he couldn't have been an angel at all - more like a hateful, vengeful person with an agenda of his own. I hated him for not seeing truth and love in the most obvious places and for putting everyone under the same common denominator. That sort of blinded him to see reality.

There were other prominent figures in there as well - Lilith (the mother demon, because of whom the Fall occurred); Lucifer (with his quiet agony and readiness for revenge); Beelzebub (who ached for redemption); Obie (with his readiness to die if his death would save his child's life) and others who truly made this book worth my time.

To sum it up: "The Space Between" is a book full of emotions - both quiet and fierce ones. There's action, there's thrill. There's much pain and even more struggle to find the path to love and life. It was a journey I was glad I took along with all the amazing characters.

My rating is

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faery Tale" by Tamra Torero

Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley to review.

Well, what can I say? I didn't expect to give such a high rating to this novel, but it definitely earned it. The writing style was really nice, and except for a couple of places, there were no grammatical mistakes. Nothing that needed to be fixed.

It was a light and bright read with a really positive twist. It had been a while since I read a book that made me see pink in the world, so I really loved that. Most books leave me with an emotional overload that has me either depressed or exhilarated. This book left me with a calm, peaceful feeling in my heart. It's truly amazing.

The story was paced neither too fast, nor too slow... just the perfect in-between. There was some action, there was friendship, and sweet romantic twist that made my heart flutter.

Some real-life teen issues were touched - like popularity, jealousy, power hunger, cliques and so on. But the way the author dealt with it all was so subtle, so positive and powerful that it had a really sweet effect on the 'bad' (but not evil) characters.

Now let's talk characters:

*Shayla - well, when I started reading the book, I thought that I wouldn't love a girl who isn't comfortable in her own body. But the way she grew up into her skin was really awesome, and I just loved the changes. I loved her thought process, and how she didn't put herself as the most important. She was ready to sacrifice herself for the people she loved, and that was really altruistic.

*Josi - the ever curious friend, who made me laugh throughout the book with her sarcasm and observations. I wasn't at all surprised when she figured out what Shayla was all on her own.

*Jace - I can only say that I loved the transformation in him. He really turned into a sweet guy in Shayla's hands. For a second, when he learned what she was, I thought he'd freak out and run. But he didn't. Perhaps that was sort of unrealistic, but then again, she had kissed him by then and I think he was really pulled into her. In any case, I loved the guy :)

*Bree - popular girl numero uno, who fell off her cheer-leading-queen-of-everything throne thanks to Shayla. The change in her was just... smack awesome!

*Nadia - evil person with agenda, who played her game pretty well. I had no idea who she really was until the end though. But I was sure she was the one who 'observed' and caused trouble in Shayla's peace.

I give this book

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Rainbow's End" by several authors

Rainbow's End

NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley in return of an honest review.

Okay, so this isn't a YA book, although there's no reason why a teen shouldn't read it. I mean, it's got romance, but the most intimate thing is kissing. So yeah, anyone 15+ should be able to read it and get the most of it.

I liked it very much because it also was Christian themed, and Christian romance is just so good! I mean, finding the road to the Lord is a miracle all on it's own. But finding romance with the right person...? Well, it's just amazing :)

This book contains four stories about four couples, who get united at the treasure hunt at Rainbow's End. Each story is separate, has it's own line of plot and everything.

The first story talks about Lyssa and Kirk, who have had a grudge ever since college. But Lyssa has no clue Kirk has changed, so she keeps on pushing him away even though her heart is pulling her in a different direction. The Christian point here is about sharing your faith boldly.

The second one was the story of Maddison and Grant, who live in totally different worlds, and dream about completely different things. And yet, when they're paired up for the treasure hunt, they find out that they aren't all that different after all. The Christian moral here is a verse from the book of Matthew: "Where your treasure is, your heart will be also." I totally loved this story.

Story number three was about Noah and Hadley who had parted ways at high school in not such good terms. Now she doesn't want to even look at him, while all he could think of is her. Hadley on the other hand, suffers from low self-esteem, and can't seem to meet her face in the mirror. But it is the way of the Lord to show that since He loves us, we must love ourselves also.

And the final one, which actually had some action in it, besides the romance, was my favorite of them all. It was the story of Reagan and Colter, who had started off the treasure hunt as strangers. They had no intentions to fall in love with anyone, since there was no space for a special person in their lives. But God had something else in mind. The Christian moral here could be split into two: trusting in God and knowing that He didn't create us to hold fear.

My rating is an average from the four stories:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"The Immortal Rules" by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

Oh. My. Goodness! I am not a freaking vamp book lover, I swear I'm not, but Julie Kagawa got me breathing this story!!! So much that I couldn't get enough of it!!! Seriously, I'm so amazed that she could pull it off, I am almost speechless. Almost. Because I've got a review to write. And here it comes...

The writing style was superior, making the story flow smoothly from one chapter to the next. The characters, and I mean ALL of them, were developed completely like separate identities, as it should be. Each one had a different, distinguished personality, and even though they existed in a fictional world, they all felt realistic. I could feel their emotions - the pain, the hunger... the love. Their thoughts were my thoughts. It was simply brilliant.

Sure, it wasn't original. I mean, the vamp theme is almost completely covered by thousands of books out there, but when a story is good - it's good. Some people say the development was slow, but I think that if it moved on any faster, I would not have gotten so much into the story. The slow development just totally worked for this one.

So here we have a dystopian world marked by a plague that killed most people and left vamps to rule the little population that remained. Some people became "cattle" of their own will, others were forced to do the blood letting. And still others rebelled. Allison Sekemoto, an orphaned teenage girl, belonged to that last group. Until her world turned upside down and from hunted she became the hunter.

But unlike all other vamps out there, Allison decided that she'd hold onto the little humanity left in her, instead of turning into the monster everyone thought she was. Can you imagine how strong willed you need to be in order to keep a hold of your natural instincts, when all they want you to do is kill?

There were times when I thought Julie would sacrifice the story for the sake of saving her characters, but no. Unlike some authors out there, Julie actually had a backbone. The natural instincts she punctuated weren't the slightest bit ignored or diminished. No. When the vampire was hungry, it didn't care who it fed from. Be it a brother, a lover, a friend. Now that is what I call being true to the story.

And with all that I just want to say "Thank you, Julie, for starting such an amazing vamp series, that even got me (a hater of that genre) pulled in completely."

My rating is

Note: I received this book from Netgalley for review.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Somebody to Love" by Kristan Higgins

Somebody To Love

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

This book was pretty good actually. I loved the romance, I loved the story, I really found it quite amazing. It was light, with humor, sarcasm, and some drama. It was totally worth my time, and I must say that I really enjoyed staying in the pages. Read it pretty quick too, because it groped at my mind, making me want more.

Well, true it's an adult book due to several sex scenes (not explicit, but still), which isn't my usual preferred genre. But I can say with a hand on my heart that I might actually read it again. It was that good. There were a couple of scenes that got me laughing pretty hard, and there was the awesome epilogue that was... well... beyond romantic (if such a term exists).

I would totally recommend it to romance lovers of ages 18 and up.

So, the story is about this single mom, famous writer, very rich woman, Parker and her path to finding the love of her life. She goes through a troublesome childhood, which obviously rubs off her adult years. She's totally no experience in dating, or even talking to men, which is kind of weird, but hey there are all sorts of people out there. She's kind of shy and a little arrogant at the same time, but even with all her perks she still managed to get one special man to love her. And then brutally pushed him away... You gotta read it to learn more ;)

The main characters:
*Parker - I loved the strength of her character. She had gone from a multimillionaire to a penniless woman overnight, but she still didn't freak out. Well, unless we count a certain rodent incident, but hey that's quite explainable. I was in awe of the vibe she had. Even though she was lonely, with no new ideas to write, and perhaps no prospects for a job, she kept hopeful. The only thing I didn't like about her was her negativity concerning men. It was like she expected men to fail her. Period. But since there are many women who feel the same way nowadays, this made Parker look all the more real.

*James - It was so funny to see Parker call him Thing One. Then slowly go onto calling him James. It was adorable. Well, what can I say about him? Tall, dark and handsome. Good with manual labor. Able to repair a house in a couple of weeks. And quite romantic. What more can one want from a guy, right?

I'd suggest you give this book a chance and see for yourself just how good it is.

My rating is