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.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Passion (Fallen, #3) by Lauren Kate, Book Review

Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series.

Rating: 3.5/5

Title: Passion Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 420
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Source: Won

I won a signed copy of Passion from a giveaway a while back and I was so psyched to find out that I won this book. I'm a fan of the Fallen series, and it being signed makes it all the more special. In Fallen, Luce met Daniel and their romance caught flame. In Torment, they were painfully torn apart and reunited to only be torn apart once more. In Passion, Luce travels through centuries of her past lives and reincarnations to find something, anything that could help break the curse that tears her away from Daniel when they prove their love for each other with a kiss.

I found the whole concept of starcrossed lovers racing through centuries of past lives and reincarnations to be very, very exciting and thrilling, but Passion itself didn't quite live up to the throat-gripping, attention-grabbing explosion I was expecting. I love romance--the epic love that spans across centuries and has enough power and fuel behind it to ignite an eternal flame. However, I felt as if the author, Lauren Kate, tried too hard to make Luce and Daniel's love "epic" and "dramatic". Even for a fictional romance, their love seemed fake and brittle--like a deceiving facade of the truth.

The characters in this book were slightly annoying and I found that Luce is a very whiny character and not one chapter went by without Luce having something to complain about. The only character that brought some development to this novel was Daniel. I love Daniel; I think Daniel is a really great character and a dashing love interest. I felt like Daniel was the only person making sacrifices in this book, and Luce was merely witnessing it all through a lens. Despite the fact that Luce zip-zapped through all of these Announcers and tried to break the curse forever binding her to Daniel, I felt like she could've broken the curse without the hastle of time traveling and cause present-day Daniel much less pain that he had to go through and experience throughout the course of the novel.

I enjoyed the introduction of a new character, Bill--a very raspy, mischevious gargoyle who helps guide Luce through the Announcers and development of old ones such as Luce, Daniel, Roland, Arriane, Gabbe, Molly, Shelby, and Miles.

I liked this cover; however, it felt very plain and dull compared to the previous two covers of Fallen and Torment. I also missed the mystery and intrigue that the previous covers brought to the table. In this cover, Luce's face is revealed for the first time, which I wish wouldn't have been done because the mystery of Luce seemed unraveled with the cover reveal of Passion.

It was not until the end of the novel until I felt Luce's personality and characteristics throughout the novel finally come into play and settle down. Many questions I had from the first page slid into place and everything clicked. I felt that the ending of the novel left many, many opportunities open for the future and the sequel to Passion and the fourth and final book, Rapture, due out Spring 2012.

One thing I did like about this novel was the angel mythology and folklore as well as the romance (until the pages became saturated with phony love.) I only hope that the romance in Rapture is more realistic and paced.

One thing I didn't like, as stated above, was the pacing of the romance, which I thought could've been toned down many, many levels.

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1) by Jennifer Estep, Book Review

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

Rating: 4/5

Title: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1)

Author: Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Release Date: July 26, 2011

Pages: 350

Source: Publisher

*I received a copy of Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep from the publisher in return of a 100% honest review.

First off, let me say how much I love the plot of this book. Touch of Frost centers around a teenage girl named Gwen Frost who is forced to attend a special school for mythical creatures called Mythos Academy after the death of her mother, a police detective in North Carolina. The book opens with Gwen threatening to expose one of the most popular/rich girls in school for being a thief: a Valkyrie named Daphne. Daphne and Gwen exchange some witty dialogue resulting in Daphne showing off some of her mystical, Valkyrie powers by making pink sparks shoot from her fingernails and tearing a marble sink out of the wall and throwing it across the room. Gwen isn't scared or threatened by Daphne's superhuman strength or power--not because Gwen herself has the same abilities, but because Gwen is a gypsy and has a supernatural gift called psychometry.

Side note: Psychometry is the gift where if the beholder touches something, they get visions and vibes off of said subject.

Gwen was hired by a fellow student to locate a missing bracelet and when Gwen touches the bracelet, she envisions Daphne slipping the jewelry into her purse out of jealousy. Gwen threatens Daphne into returning the bracelet and is on her merry way to collect the fee that she charges for finding lost or missing possessions. I really enjoyed the mystery and thrills that this book gave me--from the time that a student was murdered and a priceless ancient artifact was stolen, secrets and lies, deceit and betrayals were uncovered.

At Mythos Academy, students are taught about ancient myths, especially Greek mythology--which is what connected me to this novel more than anything. I have always been a fan of mythology, especially Greek mythology and folklore.

I liked this cover--it depicts the Gothic(ness) and darkness of Mythos Academy very well. I felt as if the cover gave the book itself a little twist of edginess.

I liked most of the characters, especially Grandma Frost, Daphne, and Logan Quinn--Gwen's love interest. Grandma Frost had the classic grandmother-y vibe to her and was always baking, but she was also very hip and updated; she reminded me of Grandma Redbird from the House of Night series by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast. Daphne started out as your stuck-up, too good for everything and everyone, rich, preppy mean-girl, but as the book progressed, Gwen and Daphne teamed up and Daphne's cold iciness began to melt, but she still had an icy edge to her that gave her character a strong, confident bite; like Grandma Frost, Daphne reminded me of a character from the House of Night series, as well--Aphrodite LaFont, resident mean girl. Logan Quinn is a hot, sexy spartan warrior and the hottest, most popular guy at Mythos. He, too, reminded me of a House of Night character--Erik Night. Both Logan and Erik share one particular trait: their physical appearance; both characters have wavy black hair and ice blue eyes and are very muscled and you are constantly reminded of Superman when you read about these characters. One character that I really dis-liked was the main female lead, Gwen. Gwen's personality is very annoying and at times, but at others, she's a pretty funny, snarky, and spunky--she kind of reminded me of Sophie Mercer from the Hex Hall trilogy by Rachel Hawkins.

The writing in this book was good in plot consistency and grammar, but not too great all around. This is Estep's first young adult book, so it may have been that it was her first time, or it may be her particular writing style, but all throughout the book, you are constantly reminded of the following:

1) Everyone at Mythos Academy is rich and wears preppy and designer this and designer that
2) Gwen's mother, Grace, is deceased
3) "I am just that weird Gypsy girl with Gypsy powers."-Gwen Frost

And the list continues on and on like that, and Gwen constantly bags on herself and complains that she is a weirdo and a freak and she has no friends and dresses in weird clothes and likes manga and anime and so forth. I found it quite annoying and I felt as if the author thought that the reader couldn't remember simple facts and she took it upon herself to remind us of these things. However, the action and mythology in this book makes up for all of that--I LOVED the action in this book. There are some pretty big action scenes towards the end, both of them involving evil, mythological creatures and one involving an evil villain and a huge revelation. I couldn't help but smile as I read the end because I felt so close to Gwen, Logan, Daphne, and Grandma Frost by the end that I wanted to read more, but sadly I'm going to have to wait for the sequel, Kiss of Frost, to release on November 29, 2011.

I suggest that fans of the House of Night series by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast and the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead check out this book--you won't be disappointed.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dear Bully by Various Authors edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, Book Review

You are not alone.

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

Rating: 5/5

Title: Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

Author(s): Various Authors

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 1, 2011

Source: Publisher

*I received a review copy of Dear Bully from HarperTeen in order for 100% honest review.

When I first saw this book on Goodreads, I just knew that no matter what, I had to read it. When I first read the title, I raised my brow and further researched the book to find out that it was a non-fiction anthology written by seventy various authors, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, about their own personal bullying experiences. Some were victims, some were bystanders, and some were bullies themselves.

I, myself, am a teenager and while I was reading this book, I felt like I could very much relate to the stories of these authors and it was an eye-opening book that I had to think about for a while before writing this review due to the powerful emotions radiating from this book.

Reading this book made me think of a few personal accounts of bullying that I have gone through, or am currently going through. Through the eyes of these authors--you, the reader--are exposed to the torture that the victims went through for years without anyone--parents, relatives, friends, teachers, etc.--doing anything to stop the bullying, much like today.

My favorite stories included in Dear Bully were written by Laurie Faria Stolarz, Lisa McMann, Heather Brewer, Carrie Jones, Sophie Jordan, Kiersten White, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Michelle Zink, Nancy Holder, Alyson Noel, Aprilynne Pike, Lauren Oliver, Lauren Kate, Amy Reed, Dawn Metcalf, and Megan McCafferty.

I highly recommend Dear Bully to anyone who cares enough to read it. I read this book and shed a few tears along the way--that's how intimate and personal I felt throughout the book. I suggest that librarians and teachers take up Dear Bully as curriculum in their classrooms because even though bullying will never be universally stopped, if one life is saved by reading this book, then that's all that matters.
At the end of this book, one message was very, very clear: You are not alone.

Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) by Rachel Hawkins, Book Review

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Rating: 5/5

Title: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Source: Publisher

*I received a review copy of Demonglass from Disney-Hyperion in return for a 100% honest review.

Let me start off by saying that this book was just as (if not more) amazing than its prequel, Hex Hall. I thoroughly enjoyed Hex Hall, and Demonglass was just as action-packed and intense. This time around, Sophie is taken away from Hex Hall for summer vacation by her estranged, royal father who is head of the Council which governs all Prodigium.

Sophie, Jenna, and Cal all head to England to say at Thorne Abbey for two months and while there, they all fall in love and deal with personal matters. While at Thorne Abbey, Sophie learns more about her demon heritage and tries to school herself in royal matters in preparation of taking the title of Head of the Council when her father passes it down to her; Jenna deals with her lost humanity, vampire life, and her love life; and Cal processes his 'relationship' with Sophie and must face facts that are very hard for him.

I really liked this cover, just as I liked the cover of Hex Hall. I think that the covers of the Hex Hall books really express the themes and true meanings of the story. I found the cover of Demonglass to be a perfect metaphor for the ending of the book.

One thing I liked (it's so hard to choose!) about Demonglass was the plot. I loved how Demonglass felt like a direct continuation of Hex Hall--it literally felt like I never left the Hex Hall universe and that made for a very fun, enjoyable read.

One thing I didn't like was Sophie's desperation to be a "funny guy." Sophie's character is very comical, but she also has a deep side which I think is very present in both books, but in Demonglass, I felt as though Sophie was trying a bit too hard to be funny. I still love her, but at a few points in the book, I felt as if her over-exuberant humor could have been toned down.

Overall, this book was very good and I am very excited for the third and final book in the series: Spellbound.