Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clarity (Clarity, #1) by Kim Harrington, Book Review

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case - but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother - who has supernatural gifts of his own - becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Title: Clarity
Author: Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 242
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Clare Fern, a member of a family of psychics, helps the mayor and skeptical detective solve a murder in a Cape Cod town during the height of tourist season—with her brother as a prime suspect.

The cover initially drew me to this book and I felt as if it were something along the lines of a psychic murder mystery. After further investigation, I discovered that I was correct and knew that this would be a book I'd be interested in, so when I got the chance to review it, I was pretty anxious to read it.

I finished Clarity in three days, and it was a very light, fun easy-to-digest book with a lot of witty dialogue and I was kept guessing up until the very end, which is one of the traits I look for in a book. The ending was predictable, but not. Harrington wrote Clarity in a way where you knew what was going on, but you didn't. She always managed to lead you one way and throw you a curve ball at the very last moment with a cliffhanger at the end of almost every chapter, which was probably why I tore through this book so quickly--I had to know what happened next!

The setting, Cape Cod, was beautiful and the imagery was great. I enjoyed seeing how Harrington portrayed the life of a psychic teenage girl living in a small New England tourist town with a gift for psychometry. I love studying psychic phenomena, and Harrington made many psychic terms and phrases easy to understand for people who haven't ever really researched psychic abilities before, and I liked that, but I hope she goes more in depth with the sequel, Perception (Clarity, #2), expected for release on March 1, 2012.

All in all, Clarity was a fun, light, easy read with great characters and a snarky heroine who stands up for herself--which was something I really enjoyed, because you guys know how much I love strong, independent female characters--which I've probably said a thousand times, and I'll say it a thousand more.

Up next: Sweep Vol. 1 by Cate Tiernan

Interview with Joann I. Martin Sowles, author of Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires

Me: How long have you wanted to be an author/writer?
Joann: Being an author wasn’t something I really ever wanted to do. It just sort of happened. Laney’s story sort of sprouted in my head and I need to get it written down and then I needed to get it told to others. That’s pretty much how it happened :)

Me: What is Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires, your novel, about and how long did it take to write?
Joann: The first draft of Laney took about 9 months to complete and then it took about 3 months after that to get it finished. Laney is about a college sophomore who falls for a boy that turns out to be anything but normal. Laney’s life soon gets turned upside down and her new love’s, Oliver, true identity is revealed. The story continues with the focus on Laney and Oliver’s relationship and the challenges they will face together including Oliver’s vengeful twin.

Me: Will Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires be a standalone novel or the first in a series?
Joann: Laney is the first novel in the series to tell her story. I do not know exactly how many books it will take to tell her story. As of now it’s looking like at least 4 to 5. Once I finish telling Laney’s story I will begin the second series in The Brookehaven Vampires series – Nikki.

Me: What was it like when you first saw Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires lined up against bestsellers such as The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Academy Series, The House of Night Series, etc.?
Joann: I haven’t seen that yet. But I imagine it will be a pretty exciting day. :)

Me: Are you managing any other careers along with writing? If so, how do you find time to both write novels and juggle another career(s)?
Joann: Nope, I do not have another career outside of my home.

Me: Would you like to see Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires be made into a movie/TV series?
Joann: I think that would be really exciting!

Me: If Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires was ever picked up by a movie or TV company and they let you cast the characters, whom would you pick and why?
Joann: Wow, that would be a lot of pressure ;) I only have three people in mind as characters. I would probably choose Hayden Christensen as Oliver – It’s the hair and that smile. ;) Bradley James as Carter and Jaime Ray Newman as Professor Amber. I would have to put a lot of thought and research into the rest. If that day ever comes, that’s what I would do.

Me: What's the hardest thing about writing?
Joann: Finding the time to get any writing done.

Me: What's the easiest thing about writing?
Joann: Once I find spare time to write, the story comes to me easily.

Me: Did your story ideas and plot line flow naturally or did you have a few bumps in the road?
Joann: Thankfully Laney’s story has flowed naturally. My biggest hurdle, other than my lack of time, is that my brain goes faster than my fingers can type.

Me: Are you currently working on another novel/book series?
Joann: Yes. I am currently working on the second book in Laney’s story, Darkness. Darkness picks up right where Laney left off.

Me: What made you write a book based on vampires?
Joann: To curb my vampire obsession and turn it into something creative and productive. :)

Me: Do you have a literary agent? If so, what is his/her name?
Joann: I do not have one at this time.

Me: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?
Joann: Don’t give up and don’t worry about what will happen when you’ve finished your story. Don’t worry about what others will think of your work. Write for you and write what you want to read. Worry about the how’s and why’s once you’ve finished, otherwise you’ll never get it done. Just know you can do and you will.

Me: Along with being a writer, you are a stay-at-home/home schooling mother/wife. How do you efficiently manage your time so you can write?
Joann: It’s actually very difficult to manage my time to find time to write. I try to schedule our entire week out in advance to see where writing will fit in.

Me: Did your parents, relatives, friends, co-workers, etc. support your writing? And, without their support, do you think Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires would ever have been possible? Joann: No one, except my husband and my kids, knew I was writing a book until I was done. Once I started to share the news, my family and friends were pretty surprised when I told them. They have all been so very supportive.

Me: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Joann: OMG! My kids will be adults and I don’t even want to think about it…

Me: If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
Joann: A very good question…a tough one too. I think writing with Charlaine Harris or Rachel Caine would be a lot of fun. Or maybe even J.K. Rowling or Christopher Paolini. They have all written such great stories. The possibilities are endless.

Me: Who is your favorite author and if your writing style similar to theirs?
Joann: I don’t have just one favorite author. I have several that I admire. A few of those are; Rachel Caine, Christopher Paolini, Charlaine Harris, J.K. Rowling and Jonathan Stroud. I don’t know if I write similar to any of them. I think I write like me. ;)

Me: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Joann: Depends on the character. Some are easy to name and some are rather complex with a significant meaning to their name.

Me: What do you think makes a novel great?
Joann: Feeling and emotions. I love being able to become the character I’m reading about. To be able to feel all the emotions they feel and see all that they see.

Me: Did you ever think you’d become an author?
Joann: Not at all. This was something that just sort of happened. Reading was never something I was really into until my late 20’s. I always loved the idea of reading but I didn’t enjoy it until I came across Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. I couldn't’t put that book down and after that I would read just about any fantasy novel I could get my hands on. Now obviously things are very different. Once I discovered my love for reading my love for writing soon surfaced. I just needed to find the right stories for me to read and the rest is history.

Me: How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Joann: They usually just come to me. I can be listening to a song and an entire scene will unfold. Or sometimes even a specific word will trigger something.

Me: Have you ever written a book that you have not been able to publish?
Joann: No. Laney is my first completed novel.
Me: How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started writing?
Joann: It took me about a year and a half. I self-published Laney so I had control over when it would be released. Laney was completed about six months prior to her release date. I don’t think I’ll wait that long with the next one. Live and learn…

Me: How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Joann: I believe that my life experiences have made me who I am which in turn affects how I write. I would think that would be true with anyone though.
Me: What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?
Joann: Anything with vampires or dragons in them. I do favor stories involving male vampires over female. Just a personal preference I suppose. But I am always open to other genres. I do favor stories with a mythical aspect to them.

Me: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who encounter…*gasp* writer’s block?
Joann: Take a break and read a book. I get so many ideas from books I read.

Me: Thank you for spending time with me to answer these interview questions.
Joann: Thank you Casey. This has been a fun interview. Thank you to all who have taken the time to read it and I’d like to invite you to my website www.brookehavenvampires.com to read the first 3 chapters of Laney. Enjoy!
~Joann I. Martin Sowles

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Joann I. Martin Sowles!


Monday, December 19, 2011

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments, #2) by Cassandra Clare, Book Review

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 453
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

I loved this book just as much, if not more, than the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones. In City of Ashes, all of the drama from City of Bones becomes more heated and more intense. The relationships in this book play a big part in the plot. I loved the forbidden love triangles in this book, and the forces of evil and good battling against each other.

The plot-Cassandra Clare always amazes me with her imagination and creativity. She has a true knack for creating worlds and opening the minds of her readers. I loved how Clare uses supernatural elements as metaphors to relate to daily situations that we all encounter. I loved how every character went through their individual journeys and struggles, while interacting with each other. I loved how Valentine was controlling demons, darkness, and evil and attempting to take down the Clave.

The setting-I LOVE the setting for The Mortal Instruments books. Every time that I read Clare's books, I always feel the nitty gritty New York City, rich and professional Manhattan, and industrial Brooklyn. I live in a small, Southern town but I am destined for NYC and have every intention of moving there after graduation--and it's like a haven, Clare's novels, because of the beautifully written setting. I always compare New York City, through Clare's eyes, as a playground for vampires, werewolves, faeries, and witches--how much more magickal can one place be?!

The characters-*sigh* The characters in The Mortal Instruments are filled with humor and teen angst. I love Clary, because she is strong and independent and doesn't let anyone stand in her way. I really like Jace because he is sexy, gorgeous, funny, charming, romantic, brutally honest, and cocky; his personality is very attractive, and I lurve me some Jace! Isabelle, Alec, and Max are the three siblings in this book and they are so family-like; I love the brother/sister complex of Isabelle and Alec and I enjoy Max's desperation to be involved with Shadowhunter business, even though he's not quite old enough...yet. Luke is kind, caring, and a long-time father figure to Clary; Luke is a werewolf (no surprise!) and has always been a good friend to Clary's mother, Jocelyn, and he has loved her ever since they were children in Idris. Valentine is a perfect villain--he is evil, malicious, and lethal; he is also scary, powerful, and greedy and isn't afraid to do whatever it takes to gain power control and to reign supreme over all mundanes, Shadowhunters, and Downworlders.

All in all, City of Ashes was an amazing addition to the Mortal Instruments series--I am a gigantic fan of this series, and cannot wait for the upcoming film adaptation of City of Bones.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1) by Amanda Hocking, Giveaway *CLOSED*

Hey, guys! We did it--we reached 100+ followers (101, in fact)--and, as promised, I present to you my very first giveaway: I am offering to one lucky winner a signed copy of Switched by Amanda Hocking, courtesy of St. Martin's Press. Let's give a round of applause for them!

Just so you know what's up for grabs, here is the synopsis of Switched:

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.

Here is a little info about the self-published-turned-traditionally-published-author, Amanda Hocking:

Amanda Hocking is the USA Today bestselling author of the Trylle trilogy and six additional self-published novels. After selling over a million copies of her books, primarily in eBook format, she is widely considered the exemplar of self-publishing success in the digital age.

And now, with great expectations, I present to you...Switched by Amanda Hocking.

-You must be a GFC follower to enter.
-You may only enter once per person.
-You must comment in the comment section below with your full name, user name, and e-mail address.
-You may earn extra entries by spreading the word.

Have fun and enjoy the giveaway! May your path be illuminated with perfect love and perfect trust. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be!

Prepare to be enchanted...


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dark Flame (Immortals, #4) by Alyson Noël, Book Review

In Alyson Noel’s most darkly seductive Immortals novel yet, Ever fights for control of her body, her soul—and the timeless true love she’s been chasing for centuries.

Ever is trying to help Haven transition into life as an immortal. But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat—exposing their secret world to the outside. As Ever struggles to keep the Immortals hidden, it only propels Haven closer to the enemy—Roman and his evil companions.
At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman’s power. But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who’s hell-bent on her destruction. Now there’s a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can’t stop thinking about Roman—and longing for his touch. As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state…and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender.

Frantic to break the spell before its too late, Ever turns to Jude for help, risking everything she knows and loves to save herself—and her future with Damen

Title: Dark Flame
Author: Alyson Noël
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5

Wow. Just--wow. I love Alyson Noël--always have, always will. I first spotted Evermore (Immortals, #1) at Wal-Mart in my early teens and plucked it off the shelf, mesmerized by the cover. I opened the cover, read the first page, and began the journey into the world of the Immortals. I thought that Evermore was amazing, Blue Moon was okay, and Shadowland was really good. Dark Flame picks up right where Shadowland left off and I was happy to return to this world once more. This time around, Ever fights her attraction to Roman and tries to break the binding spell that ties them together. All the time, Ever is weakening and becomes very miserable and frail--both physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Just when Ever thinks that she has lost it all, she dedicates to overcoming those obstacles and fights them until she finally reaches her goal, 320 pages later.

The plot-I love the plot of the Immortals series. The idea of a sixteen-year-old girl who dies and then comes back with psychic abilities and discovers that she is the reincarnated spirit of an immortal's lover and has to battle a scorned lover, a betrayed accomplice, and a heartbroken comrade is brilliant, and Noël manages to make every second of it exciting and thrilling.

The setting-Laguna Beach, California is a beautiful place with a sapphire ocean, white sand, golden sun, and baby blue sky with tropical trees, sun kissed skin, and plenty of marine life with an active social life and a diverse range of minorities. I know all this why? Not because I've been there, but because of the vivid descriptions in Noël's books. I loved the setting, and it has endless possibilities.

The characters-I loved how strong and independent Ever was. She took the reins and took control of her own life. She wasn't going to let anyone tell her what to do--she knew her path, and she followed it the way she wanted to, not the way someone else told her to. Ever is definitely a smart chick who makes loads of mistakes, but she learns from her mistakes and tries her best to do the right thing, and that's why she is one of my favorite heroines. I love Damen, Ever's handsome, mysterious, and wealthy lover. Damen is funny, intelligent, artisitc, protective, loving, caring, and understanding--what guy could be more perfect? I love the relationship between Ever and Damen, and the high stakes that jeopardize it all. Jude--eh, Jude...Jude is a reincarnated spirit who has fought for Ever's heart alongside Damen for centuries. Jude makes a great best friend, but I cannot see him and Ever getting together. I got very angry at Jude at the end of this book, and when and if you read it, you'll understand why, although I can understand the reasoning behind what he did and I guess I can understand. I got very, very annoyed with Haven during this book, and I just wanted her to get hit by the bus...she wouldn't die, of course, because she's immortal, but I hoped that the bus would punch her in one of her seven chakras and kill her--yes, she was that annoying that I wanted to see her get run over...twice! I understand why the author made Haven the way she was in this book to set things up in the next installment.

When I closed this book, I sat there for a moment and digested what I had just read. I loved everything about Dark Flame...except a minor tediousness throughout the book. I felt as if Noel repeated herself often and retold a few things from the previous novel, Shadowland. I also noticed a few inconsistencies in the mythology of the book. For instance, Hecate (Goddess of Magick) was portrayed as an evil, rogue immortal queen of the Underworld. I believe that Noël only did this to make Hecate an original element of fiction instead of the classic Goddess of Magick. I loved the wide array of diversity and culture in this book. Noël includes straight as well as LGBT characters in her books and the philosophies initiated in her Immortals series has both Wiccan and Hindu roots with pentagrams, magick, spellcasting, sacred circles, chakras, and meditation.

Destined (House of Night, #9) by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast, Book Review

Breathing hard, Aurox stood there over the bodies of his vanquished enemies. He turned to Neferet.

"Very good," she said in her emotionless voice. "Let us leave this place before the authorities descend."

Aurox followed her. He walked heavily, his hooves gouging furrows in the dirty alley.

Weak. He felt weak. And more. There was something else.

"What is it?" She snapped at him when he hesitated before entering the car again.

"I do not know. I feel--"

She laughed. "You don't feel at all. You're obviously over thinking this."

"Yes, Priestess." Aurox got in the car and let the world speed past him.I do not think. I do not feel. I am a weapon.

Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet -- which would be a whole lot easier if the High Council saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together -- if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow. But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia's handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there's the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more -- or possibly less -- than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there's something strangely familiar about him . . . Will Neferet's true nature be revealed before she succeeds at extinguishing Light? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox's humanity in time to protect them all? Find out what's destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.

Title: Destined

Author: P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 325

Release Date: October 25, 2011

Source: Publisher

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4/5

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

Best. House. Of. Night. Book. EVER! I'm a major House of Night fan--I always stay on top of things and get so hyped up about these books that I read them the day I get them and rave about them to all my family, friends, and online community. I love the history, mythology, religion, and magick involved in the House of Night. Vampyres practice a Wiccan/Pagan-inspired religion with Celtcic Shamanism themes who worship a Goddess named Nyx who is the personification of night and in return for their faith, Nyx grants her sons and daughters the power of magick. I can totally relate to the vampyre religion in the House of Night universe because I am a Wiccan myself, and I enjoy reading about a cast of characters who share a similar belief system.

The plot-Destined opens where Awakened (House of Night, #8) left off. Jack and Zoey's mother are dead, victims of Neferet and the Darkness which she so eagerly controls. Destined covers the concept of good vs. evil, light vs. dark, and other important themes while still maintaining the theme of acceptance and tolerance. I loved how Zoey really stands up to face the world right after the death of a good friend and her very own mother and takes on the role of High Priestess in an attempt to stop Neferet from wreaking havoc on Tulsa and the rest of the world.

The setting-Like every other book in the House of Night series, Destined takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Zoey and the gang, as well as the Red Fledglings escape from the confines of the depot tunnels and reclaim their right to attend school and temple services at the House of Night with all of the other Blue Fledglings. Of course, Neferet does everything in her power to cause hell on earth and make Zoey fall and falter. However, Thanatos--Death, personfied--arrives from the Vampyre High Council in Italy to evaluate Neferet's performance as a professor, mentor, and High Priestess. Thanatos and Zoey team up and throughout the course of the book attempt to prove that Neferet is evil and will stop at nothing to become Divine and rule over the world.

The characters-The only real issue I had with this book was the characters. I've never had a problem with the characters, but in Destined, I did. I felt as if the Nerd Herd (Zoey, Stevie Rae, Damien, Shaunee, and Erin) all changed in numerous ways--some were for the better and some were for the worst. I felt that Zoey got a tad bit more immature than in the previous books, and so did Stevie Rae and Erin. I saw a major maturity level rise within Damien and Shaunee. Damien has just lost his lover, Jack, and Shaunee confronts the issues of her estranged father and distances herself from all of her friends in an outcry for help. Aphrodite is my favorite character, along with Zoey and Damien, because she has always been so mature in the books, but in Destined, I felt as if she were way more immature than she ever was and would've appreciated more character development in this book.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the plot, theme, setting, and major cliffhanger. The only thing keeping me from giving this book 5 stars was very poor character development.

Dragon's Oath (House of Night Novellas, #1) by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon’s Oath tells the story behind the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor – the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him.

In early 19th century England, long before he’s a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything… until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon – and a brand new fate.

Becoming a Fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.... In 1830’s St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling…
But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her—or destroy them all?

Title: Dragon's Oath

Author: P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 145

Release Date: July 12, 2011

Source: Publisher

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4/5

*I received this title from the publisher in order to read in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

I have always been a fan of P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast and the House of Night world since the release of the first book in the series, Marked. If you're a fan of House of Night, you're aware of the character of Dragon Lankford, Sword Master of the Tulsa House of Night, but before he was Dragon and a vampyre, he was Bryan Lankford, a noble Englishman who was the son of a notable duke.

This book starts off with Dragon being disowned by his father and ordered on a ship to the Americas from England. While boarding the ship, Dragon is Marked by a vampyre Tracker and his life changes forever--this is when all the action starts. From this point on, a chain of events take place in Dragon's life and it truly changes him forever. He falls in love, confronts his inner humanity, and battles Darkness.

The plot-I loved the plot of this book because of the action and adventure. I'm an avid House of Night fan and totally devoured this book in a half hour or so. I enjoyed seeing the back story of Dragon and how he came to be. We also encountered the semi-life of Anastasia, Dragon's slightly older vampyre lover.

The characters-The characters in P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast's books may seem kind of shallow at times, but Dragon was full of depth. His true emotions poured out in this book, exposing a new side of him.

The setting-I loved the setting--well, settings: London, England and St. Louis, Missouri. I enjoyed seeing the different time eras in this book and look forward to reading the future novellas produced in this House of Night mini-series.

In conclusion, this book was great and I can't wait to read Lenobia's Vow, novella two in the series, which will be released on January 31, 2012. The third book in the series will be titled Neferet's Curse and is expected to release on July 17, 2012 but is subject to change. The fourth novella chronicles the life and times of Kalona and how he fell from divinity to damnation, but a title and a release date has not yet been announced.

Abandon (Abandon, #1) by Meg Cabot, Book Review

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Point
Pages: 304
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4

*I received this title from the publisher to read in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

Let me start off by saying that before reading Abandon, I hadn't read anything by Meg Cabot. Wait--I take that back. I have read two books my Cabot: Code Name Cassandra (1-800-Where-R-You, #2) and Sanctuary (1-800-Where-R-You, #4) although they were read years ago and they were for middle grade readers. I loved the Princess Diaries movies based on the series of novels, and I also enjoyed the film adaptation of Avalon High, so I went into Abandon expecting good things. I wasn't let down.

The premise of this book is basically a seventeen-year-old girl dies, comes back to life, is branded as psychotic, gets into major trouble at her school, and is shipped off to live with her eco-friendly mother in Florida versus her power-hungry father in Connecticut where the previous drama had taken place. Ever since Pierce (the girl) died and came back, she had been stalked by a smokin' hot bad boy named John--John Hayden, and omigoddess, he is gorgeous! I even found myself falling in love with him.

I LOVED the plot of this book. It is about Greek mythology, and can be summed up in one sentence: Abandon by Meg Cabot is the modern-day retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Persephone. I really enjoyed seeing how Cabot adapted the myth into a modern-day scenario and flew threw this book.

The characters were great, too. I loved the heroine, Pierce, and her attitude and outlook on everything that takes place during the course of the book. I really liked how Cabot wrote a kind, caring protagonist who is more than willing to put others first. John Hayden was an amazing hero and I loved how he was protective, mysterious, and alluring. He was like a mixture of Edward Cullen from Twilight and Jace Wayland from City of Bones--two of my favorite heroes from two of my favorite series.

The setting of this book was great. The small, haunted island of Isla Huesos, Florida was eerie, spooky, and kind of frightening. Ravaged by storms and plagued by the haunted spirits of deceased pirates and island-people, Isla Huesos was the ultimate magnet for all things weird and freaky. I loved every single minute of it.

All in all, I thought this book was kind of slow in the beginning, but the ending totally made up for it. I was completely and totally lost in the Underworld of Cabot's mind and I cannot wait for the next book in the series, Underworld.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swoon (Swoon, #1) by Nina Malkin, Book Review

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him -- but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent -- and irresistible -- adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.
What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

Title: Swoon
Author: Nina Malkin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 425
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 2.5

*I received a review copy of this title from Simon Pulse in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

Swoon tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl named Candice "Dice" Moscowitz who moves from her beloved home in New York City to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin and a very preppy, conformist community in rich and privileged Connecticut. When Dice's cousin, Penelope "Pen" dies, she comes back but possessed by the spirit of the ghost of a man named Sinclair "Sin" Youngblood Powers whom was hanged in the seventeenth century. The novel chronicles the adventures of Dice as she tries to exorcise Sin and save Pen.

The plot-I loved the plot and the concept more than the book itself. I love the idea of possession, ghosts, spirits, etc. and I was really looking forward to reading this book. I love Nina Malkin's writing style, even though it may be hard to follow at times, it is very unique and different.

The characters-I loved the characters. I thought that all of the characters were very real, and I felt as if they could actually be real people in the normal, mundane world. I loved Dice and Sin; I thought that Dice was a great heroine and Sin was a very dark hero.

The setting-I loved the setting in this novel, because it presses important societal issues such as conformity, individuality, and pushes the boundaries of acceptance. I loved the harsh reality of this book--Nina Malkin is definitely not afraid to write very provocative, mature scenes.
All in all, Swoon was an okay book. I gave it a 2.5 because I liked the plot and the characters, but I hated the pacing--I wish the action-adventure scenes would've been more amped up.

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare, Book Review

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry 
Pages: 485
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

*I received a review copy of this title from Simon & Schuster in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

I originally read City of Bones when it first came out, but I never finished it and it. For years, it sat there waiting for me. I decided that I wanted to re-read City of Bones just to brush up on some information, and re-live the experience. Presently, there is a ton of hype surrounding The Mortal Instruments series, and there's even a movie in the works, set for release in 2012.

The plot-I loved the plot of this book. It basically tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Clary Fray, living in New York City, whom arrives home one night to find her apartment in ruins and her mother gone. And then Clary is attacked by a demon, which she kills. Clary meets a beautiful golden boy named Jace and joins his "family" of Shadowhunters, demon-slaying Nephilim, half-angel, half-human celestial beings. Clary basically goes through the entire first novel discovering herself and who she really is and who had abducted her mother and why, all the while encountering supernatural and paranormal elements.

The characters-The characters in this book were hilarious, smart, intelligent, independent, witty, and all around great. I usually hate at least one character in a book, but in City of Bones, that didn't happen. I loved Clary because she was so strong and independent. I love Alec and Isabelle for their humor yet their immense seriousness at the same time. I loved Jace because he is outrageously gorgeous and headstrong. I loved his personality and his unwillingness to back down from a fight. I thought that Simon, Clary's best friend, was a great character because of his humor and his "dorky" personality. I thought that Jocelyn (Clary's mother) and Luke (Jocelyn's best friend) were great characters, and I loved reading them. Valentine (the big, bad enemy of the series) was a prime example of an amazing villain. I loved Valentine's evil snarkiness and his aversion to certain Downworlders--vampires, werewolves, witches, and faeries.

The setting-*sigh* The setting of this novel is New York City, which is where I want to move after high school and attend college. I loved seeing the real, exotic, gritty, artistic side of NYC and loved how the City was seen as a playground for Downworlders.

I thought that City of Bones was filled with a perfect amount of action, adventure, romance, and suspense. This urban fantasy is so amazing and I am excited to read more from Cassandra Clare. I am currently reading the sequel, City of Ashes, and can tell you this: uh-maz-ing!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey, Book Review

“It seemed so right. Danny was mine, I was his, and that wasn’t going to work if he was dead. So I would make him not dead, not anymore. I didn’t think any further than what it would feel like to kiss him again, to wrap my arms around him and bury my head against his shoulder.
That was my first mistake. It also turned out to be the biggest.”
When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart.

Amy Garvey’s transcendent teen debut is perfect for fans of Shiver and Beautiful Creatures. Wren’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Title: Cold Kiss
Author: Amy Garvey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC

Rating: 5/5

*I received a review copy of Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for a 100% honest review.

Amazing. Powerful. Beautiful. Haunting. Heart-breaking. Enchanting. Captivating. Enticing. Magical. All of those words describe Cold Kiss--and even then, those words cannot live up to the amazing, powerful book written by debut author Amy Garvey.

When I first heard about Cold Kiss, my interest was piqued and I wanted to know more. After further research and examination, I knew that I wanted to read it and it looked pretty good. My expectations for Cold Kiss were normal, average...a fairly good young adult novel. I was tremendously wrong. After the first chapter--no, the prologue--I knew Cold Kiss would be amazing, and I was right. Amy Garvey set the tone for the entire book in the prologue and I instantly knew that Cold Kiss was going to be that book--the book that leaves you in a snotty, teary mess with a gaping hole in your chest. Cold Kiss blew me off my feet with a force so strong that I had so sit and just ponder the book long after finishing it.

Even after the last page of Cold Kiss is turned, you are eerily haunted and plagued by the beautiful imagery expressed in the book.

Cold Kiss tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl named Wren, living in New England (even though her exact location was never specified, you knew she lived in New England and based on the rich, thriving imagery and descriptions, I was 99.9% sure that the book took place in New York City, New York) with her mother and younger sister, Robin. A few months prior to the time that the novel takes place, Wren's loving boyfriend, Danny, dies in a tragic car crash and she is so overcome with pain and agony that she uses the magical powers that every woman in her family possesses to bring him back to life. However, he is only an empty shell of the boy she loved and he is more like a mindless zombie (a cold, hard gorgeous zombie) who sits in a neighbor's garage and waits by the window for Wren's daily visit. Danny--or his physical shell, anyway--is obsessed with Wren and the more time she spends with a new boy named Gabriel, the more Danny becomes jealous and possessive. While the plot of the book is Wren bringing her dead boyfriend back to life, the underlying plot/theme, in my opinion, was Wren dealing with the emotional havoc that losing Danny caused her, and dealing with the consequences of love and loss.

As Wren and Gabriel become closer and closer, Wren's captive heart becomes wild and free and she returns to the girl she used to be before Danny's untimely demise and I found the transition from pessimistic and depressed to optimistic and alive to be very interesting. Throughout the novel, Wren and Gabriel's relationship unfurls like a delicate flower and by the end, I felt as if the flower had bloomed into a bond so strong, a force so powerful, that nothing could break it.

I loved the magic in this book. At first, you're wondering why and how Wren managed to resurrect Danny, but as the book continues, you're left with what is Wren. She seems to be a normal, teenage girl who fights with her mom often and has an annoying little sister but Wren is so much more than that. She has thoughts and emotions far beyond her years and I loved how Wren managed to overcome many things that were currently happening in her life. The concept of witchcraft is often speculated in the book, but Wren promptly denies calling herself a witch.

I thought that the characters were amazing. I have never read a book with characters that felt so real that they could just pop out from the pages and shake your hand. Every single character had individual personalities and continuously developed throughout the book. Wren was a strong, independent heroine who harnessed the magic, bravery, courage, and acceptance within and managed to "save the day" in a sense. Wren often has flashbacks of her time with Danny when he was alive and well, and in those scenes, you got a taste of who Danny was and I could completely understand why Wren loved him so much and was willing to risk so much just to have him back; Danny was sensitive, kind, and caring and I couldn't help but find my heart aching for both Danny and Wren. Gabriel, at first, seemed like a platonic void but page after page, he began to transform into something more--something more romantic, and you feel the instant chemistry between Wren and Gabriel from the start. I thought that, for "supporting characters" Robin and Mom helped support the foundation of the novel and I found myself wanting to know more about them.

As the story unravels, Wren, a ball of pent-up energy, begins to release excess amounts of emotional luggage and magic harvested within her veins. You may think Wren was stupid for bringing Danny back to life, but who hasn't bargained something in our lives to bring back or keep hold of something--or someone--that we love? I know that if I lost the man I loved, I'd do anything and everything in my power to bring him back to life.

I think that one of the main things that makes Cold Kiss such a phenomenon is the writing style. For a debut author, Garvey sure knew exactly what she was doing and where she wanted to go with the story. Throughout the entire book, Garvey never lost sight of who she was or the voice she was using to write Cold Kiss. I thought that the prose-like writing in Cold Kiss was melodic, harmonious, beautiful, haunting, and poetic. The writing was raw and drug out emotions straight from the human soul.
All in all, this book was utterly amazing and touched a part of me that I will never forget, or loose sight of. Cold Kiss made me laugh, cry, fall in love, and get angry; the book tore me apart--and I loved every minute of it.

Cold Kiss was a beautiful, tragic love story and I know that it will stay with me forever.

“Love doesn’t break easily, I found. But people do.”

-Amy Garvey, Cold Kiss
Up next: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Elixir (Elixir, #1) by Hilary Duff, Book Review

Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

Title: Elixir
Author: Hilary Duff, Elise Allen (Contributor)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 327
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5

*I received a review copy of Elixir by Hilary Duff from the publisher, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

Elixir tells the story of Clea Raymond, a very privileged girl--daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent politician. The book opens with Clea in Paris, France with her best friend, Rayna. Clea and Rayna are in Paris, attempting to clear Clea's worried and frazzled mind shortly after the strange and bizarre disappearance of Clea's eccentric father. Clea and Rayna are at a Paris nightclub when the two girls meet up with two foreign men and Rayna decides to spend the night with her gentleman caller while Clea turns down her date and returns to her hotel room where she debriefs from a busy, exciting night that she would've loved if her conscience wasn't filled with worry for her missing father. The only way Clea can forget momentarily about her father and all of the horrors he may've faced on his humanitarian mission to Brazil, the site of his disappearance, is photography, so Clea retrieves her camera and takes pictures of the Paris skyline until dawn.

Frozen and chilled to the bone, Clea--tired and stressed, crashes into bed and sleeps the day away. Clea awakens to a grim announcement on the news: the apartment that Rayna stayed overnight caught on fire and was currently burning to the ground. After countless attempts to call Rayna on her cell phone, Clea rushes to the apartment address where she witnesses the apartment transform into a blazing inferno. When Clea finds out that Rayna and her hook-up had gone out for coffee earlier that morning, Clea's photojournalist mind tells her to take a few photos of the burning apartment building for the magazine in which she is employed. After taking some pictures and making sure that Rayna was in perfect health, the two girls returned to their homes in Connecticut.

Up in her grand bedroom in her massive mansion, Clea uploads all of the photos from her European getaway onto her computer and begins to sort through them--that's when something interesting catches her eye. Clea notices a black mark in every single one of her pictures, so when she sees a definite shape in the photo of the burning apartment building, Clea zooms in to the maximum size and can make out the shape of a man--a beautiful, tortured man--standing beside a fire truck wearing jeans, a gray T-shirt, and a black leather jacket. After closer inspection, Clea realizes that all of her photos have traces of this man.

Clea proceeds to take a photo of her bedroom, and when she uploads the picture onto her computer, she sees the man from all of her previous photos standing inside of her closet. Weirded out, Clea inspects her closet and finds nothing there but designer clothes, fancy purses, and expensive shoes. After hours upon hours of investigating, Clea can't help but pass out into bed...with the lights on.

Clea wakes up the next morning and shares her findings with her best (guy) friend, Ben, whom she suddenly begins to find very handsome and cute. Shrugging aside her feelings for Ben, Clea focuses on the photographic evidence of this man and Ben begins to act very weird and urges Clea to show him the photos. Clea obeys, and Ben wants to know more and takes Clea down to her father's office/studio where they word furiously to uncover something--anything--that could help them make sense of this phantom in the pictures. Clea and Ben mull over many theories, including vampire, (guardian) angel, demon, succubus, etc.

Eventually, Ben reveals to Clea that her father hired Ben to be Clea's assistant not because of his knowledge of the mundane, but for the exact opposite. Clea's father may have been a surgeon, but he was in love with mythology and literature and knew of the man in the photographs ever since Clea was a little girl and took a picture with her very first camera, exposing a dark image hiding in the picture but with the same beautiful, tortured facial expression.

After many revelations and secrets come to light, Clea and Ben jet-set across the globe, traveling from Connecticut to Brazil to Tokyo and more in a frantic search of Clea's father and the secret man in the photograph. And when Clea and Ben find out who this man really is, Clea knows her life will never be the same....

My thoughts on this book that it was a pretty good book. It is the first in a series of young-adult novels written by Hilary Duff with contributions made by Elise Allen (author of Poppulazzi.) When I found out that Hilary Duff had written a book, I was really excited because I love Hilary Duff as an actress and a singer, and I thought it'd be neat to see her take on the roll as an author. You may think that Hilary Duff wouldn't be a very good writer, based off of the stereotype of a blonde pop star.

When you read this book, forget those stereotypes and read Elixir as if it was written by a normal writer. I thought that the concept of this book was amazing, and it slightly reminded me of Fallen by Lauren Kate, minus the fallen angels/demons. Elixir is basically about soul mates and star crossed lovers who are reincarnated over and over again, lifetime after lifetime, each life and each love ending in tragedy, with Sage aka mystery man in the photographs, living an eternal life as an immortal, tortured by his haunting past and lured to live with the promise that he will one day be reunited with his one true love and soul mate.

I loved how mythology, soul mates, star crossed lovers, reincarnation/past lives, magic, action, adventure, and romance were all blended into this book to create a quick, easy read but leaving you wanting--needing--to know more about Clea and Sage, and their many lives and loves, all entwining to create a long, never-ending cycle.

I found the characters to be slightly disappointing. I thought that Clea could be whiny at times; Ben got on my nerves many times because of his know-it-all/big brother personality; Rayna was very repetitive and was very fake and plastic; and Sage, the male love interest, complained about many things and wasn't the type of hero that I love in novels.

I thought that Duff's writing style was fine, if not slightly shallow and care-free. I wished there was more depth to the storyline, but I felt that the plot and its contents were strong enough that it held its ground and manages to keep the book chugging along at a steady pace.

All things considered, and Elixir being a debut novel, I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars and suggest that if you like books with romance, action, and adventure then you should read this book. I suggest that you read the beginning, and if it suits you then get it but if you naturally assume that you won't enjoy it very much, then borrow it from a friend or check it out from the library.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa, Book Review

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 363
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Source: Publisher/Gift
Rating: 5/5

*I received a review copy of The Iron King from my good friend and fellow book blogger, Stacey, from Sassy Book Lovers shortly after being sent a review copy from the publisher, in exchange for a 100% honest book review.

The Iron King opens with a little back story detailing the bizarre disappearance of Meghan Chase's father, which I thought set the tone for the rest of the book. The real beginning of the book was when Meghan turns sixteen. Around this time, Meghan begins to see and hear things that normal, ordinary humans are completely oblivious to, due to the Mist (or glamour).

I enjoyed the transgression from Meghan's mundane live into her fantastical life. As I read the book and learned more and more about Meghan, I felt more connected to her and I enjoyed the bond that I shared with all of the characters.

I loved the concept for The Iron King. The plot revolves around a sixteen-year-old, half-Faerie girl traveling into Faeryland in an attempt to rescue her kidnapped, four-year-old brother, Ethan, while running from a league of faeries known as the Winter Court who want to capture her with her best friend, Puck, who just happens to be an arch-nemesis of Ash, the gorgeous Winter Prince who wants to bring Meghan to the Winter Court for Queen Titania's personal use.

At first, Puck seemed really sweet and caring and acted like a true best friend towards Meghan and that's all he was to me throughout the novel: a caring best friend. Puck loves Meghan romantically, but she only sees him as a platonic friend and she feels bad that she doesn't feel the same way and that she feels such a deep connection to Ash, who is best described as icy. Despite Ash's attitude in the beginning, I loved him right from the start and am proud to say that I am Team Ash, 100%.

I loved Julie Kagawa's writing style which was very easy to read and flowed great. I never once felt the need to stop reading and I was glued to this book. I read and read at any free moment, just because the action, suspense, and romance was so great.

I have never been a fan of epic fantasies such as The Chronicles of Narnia or The Spiderwick Chronicles, but I fell in love instantly with fantasy when I read The Iron King. My preferred genres are paranormal/supernatural romance but now I can add fantasy to the list. My favorite thing about The Iron King was the fantastical plot line and theme. I loved how Meghan, Puck, and Ash all encountered mystical creatures such as mermaids, kelpies, trolls, goblins, grimlins, brownies, selkies, and more along their journey.

The Iron King has some of the best characters that I have ever read in a book. I loved Meghan as a character because I love strong, independent heroines. Puck, I felt, was the comical relief of the book and brought humor to the story. Ash is brooding and mysterious and seems to be tortured by his immortality as a Faerie prince. Grimalkin aka "Grim" is a talking cat who accompanies Meghan, Ash, and Puck on their journey throughout Faery. Grimalkin was one of my favorite characters and his sullen sense of humor made me laugh numerous times throughout the book.

Overall, this book was amazing. I love, love, loved every single minute of The Iron King and cannot wait to read the second installment, The Iron Daughter. I couldn't help but obsess over this book and think about it constantly. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. The Iron King has it all: action, adventure, romance, suspense, and much, much more but you'll have to read the book to unlock all of the secrets buried past the pages.