Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

"MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves. Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it."

You know those books where the author leaves all these clues to what's going to happen in the text, and it doesn't take a genius to figure it out? But somehow, the MC, who is apparently too stupid to live, can't see it until the very end, when they suddenly have this big revelation. And you're sitting there like, Duh, I figured that out 200 pages ago.

This is not that book.

I thought I had this book pinned....about five or six times. Like all those other books, Moning left all these subtle clues in the text that seemed to be leading up to one thing. I would think, AHA! Now I get it! But I was wrong every time. And the Mac, the MC, actually followed my own lines of thought every time, sometimes coming to the conclusions before I did, only to find out that they weren't the right ones. A sudden and completely unexpected twist would be thrown in.... and then it wouldn't even be the correct twist.

Moning threw me for so many loops, kept me on my toes, and shocked me out of my socks til the very last page. Even when I got to the point where I was now expecting the most outrageous of twists, I still never would have seen that ending coming. I almost cried at the end, just because it really was the end. This was the last in the particular series, and it devastates me.

Best. Book. Ever.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Poison Diaries

"In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure -- or kill.

When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . ."
I admit to having really low expectations when it came to this one. Part of it was that it didn't seem to be stirring up a mass of excitement among the other YA bloggers, but the rest was that there was just something off about the synopsis. Even looking at it now, I can't quite pinpoint what exactly it is, but nothing about this book screams read me!

Thankfully though, I ignored these instincts and opened it up anyway. I told myself I would give it a one-hundred page chance to prove itself interesting, but I was hooked long before that!

This story is not action-packed or suspenseful, adventurous or quick-paced. There was nothing specifically alluring. The writing itself wasn't even that great. But it was still beautiful. Something about the way the story wound itself through the plotline, the introduction of new ideas that baffled me even as my mind accepted them as completely plausible. It was such a strange tale, yet somehow managed to make complete sense.

And that ending! Yeesh, what a shock when before I realized that this was only the first in a series. I got to the last page and then did a double-take, to really make sure that it was the last page. I sat in shock that this was truly how the story was ending until I realized that there had to be more (and after a quick investigation on Goodreads, sighed in relief that I was right).

I can't wait for the next installment. Though technically I'll have to...til October....

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
Cover: 3/5

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Anyone else feeling a theme going on?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

"When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history."

Overall: 4.5/5

As a huge fan of Carter's Gallagher Girls series, one of the things I couldn't help but notice about this book was how similar it is to her previous ones. The writing style, the personality and skill set of the MC, all of it was kind of ridiculously alike. And yet, Heist Society still managed to be a story all it's own.

Quite simply, I loved it. I thought it was brilliantly put to together and executed, and I have no idea how long it must have taken Carter to build the adventures of Katarina in her mind. I even have kind of a secret hope that this book will eventually be the (albeit loose, character-wise) basis for an Ocean's 14 movie to be made.

And, to add to the brilliance (though I think this probably had less to do with Ally Carter and more to do with her cover-designer), I love that little Mona Lisa smile on the cover! Irony, anyone?

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Happy factor: 5/5

Other books by Ally Carter: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy, Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

"Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself."

Overall: 5/5

I'm in love. Yes, with the book too, but mostly just with Jay. Part of me wonders why I get so sappy about fictional characters, but then the rest of me just tells that part to shut up and just enjoy it.

As for the rest of the book, it was pretty darn amazing too. Violet was the kind of character that I could easily see myself being friends with; strong and independent, and with enough spunk to make it all interesting. And the ability to find dead bodies? Kind of creepy, but also morbidly cool. Derting did a fabulous job telling this story in such a way that it wasn't completely gross, which is a bit of a feat.

I can't help but wonder what's going to come next.

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Ending: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Happy Factor: 5/5

This is Kimberly Derting's first book.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (18)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week!

Due to a lack of an internet connection for a while there, I actually have two weeks worth of new books to share. So, fianlly, here they are:

(Becuase I'm an essentially lazy person by nature and there are so many books this time, I'm just going to put up the Goodreads links)

Runaway by Meg Cabot
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
The Shifter by Janice Hardy

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Wow, that was a lot less painful than copying and pasting a synopsis for each one. I may have to start doing this on a regular basis.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

"Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her."

Overall: 5/5

I loved this book! I wasn't sure that I would, becuase it tends to go 50/50 for me on witch books. But this one grabbed my attention from the start and didn't let go. The characters were real and the plot twists caught me completely by surprise. Way to go, Hawkins!

It surprised me with this book that magic seemed to come so easily to the characters. I guess I've gotten in the habbit of thinking of magic in a way where it takes lots of time and practice and concentration to get anywhere with it, rather than it just showing up naturally and painlessly once the recipient comes of age. I almost think of this as a flaw, because life rarely allows anything worth having to come easily and painlessly. But then again, who am I to say that it's not plausible?

I'm trying to think of what else I can say about it without giving anything away, and I'm not coming up with much. Just know that this is an incredible book that is a must-read. I can't wait for book 2, Demonglass, to come out!

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Happy Factor: 5/5

This is Rachel Hawkin's first book.