Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Reached by Ally Condi

Reached (Matched, #3)Did everyone know Reached by Ally Condi, the final book in the Matched series is 500 + pages!? Sweet merciful mother, I am happy I finished it, but things were dire for a while.

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again. In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without (GoodReads).

I had three responses to this book. To the first third: "this is exhausting" as Tay Sway so fabulously sings in "We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together." Lets get on with it!. With the middle third, I became intrigued with the medical conspiracy. This meant I stopped hating all three narrators/main characters and decided Xander was tolerable. Cassia and Ky were still making me crazy. By the final third of the book I decided I liked the poems/picture aspect of Condi's dsytopian world again, and at least felt neutral about Cassia and Ky. I even liked Xander--liking someone was really a best-case scenario response.
  • Level of Originality: 6. I still stand by the claim that this is a cool Dystopian premise, even though I was fairly confused sometimes by the politics (to be fair I was reading fast). For those of you who have read this: the idea of the multiplicity of pilots was my favorite idea in this book. Did you like it?
  • Level of Absurdity: 7. there are some pretty serious coincidence reveals about how characters intersect by the end. There are millions of people in Condi's world- how do the same 30 people intersect so much?
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. The romance is already established here, and while there are some nice moments of longing between Ky and Cassia, it takes a back seat to the twists and conspiracies of the Rising's sort-of revolution and the plague. I think Ky and L together best-- if I were in charge they would get together as fringe-of-dystopian society-tormented-souls and Xander would grow a spine and give Cassia an ultimatum and either get the girl or move on.
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: The three-person narration was at least different. But I found listening to TWO boys pine after Cassia (who I couldn't remember much about by book three and Condi didn't give many refreshers about) tiring. Once in a while the prose is poignant, and I like the use of Emily Dickinson poems (I am a sucker for New England poets, what can I say?). Overall for writing, however, this book does not match the first two books in lyrical quality.
Gentle Reader, I did it! I finished the series! to sum it up, nothing shocking happened since Matched and Cassia ends up with exactly who I thought she would (want to take a guess?). I say read this is you are a fast reader and can cruise through 500 + pages, but I wouldn't give more than a couple days to it.

For background check out Crazy Camper's review of Matched and my interpretive response to Crossed.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan

This morning I am going to run down to the library (before it starts really snowing) to pick up The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan. I will be ready to cuddle in and swoon. It is the story of a relationship told through dictionary entries (champagne is one of them). I cannot wait to read this book-I do not know what took me so long.
The Lover's Dictionary
basis, n. 

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time (GoodReads).

What is new to your bookshelf this weekend? Happy almost New Years to all, especially Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Its time for the first ever YAF and WS group read, starring The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!

Here at YAF & WS, to ring in 2013 the right way, we are doing our first group read!  While we often read the same books, it is usually after one of reads it and forces the others to do so.  (Remember Vampire Academy?  Crazy Camper is not proud of how she shoved that series onto everyone she knew...)

We are reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  We have heard such amazing things, not to mention John Green likes it. And we listen to John Green, because we are fans. As Crazy Camper told Grad Student when she heard about this connection "JOHN GREEN RECOMMENDATIONS.  we should do a series on the blog...." Ask and you shall receive, CC.  In case you, like us, missed this 2006 book, GoodReads tells us:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

We will be reviewing this book mid-January  so JOIN US and read it too, and then get ready to discuss. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Grad Student found Devoured by Amanda Marrone at the gym, if you remember, a signed copy and all! When my Nook decided to reboot while I was home for Christmas, GS threw this at me, and crushed it.

Megan’s twin sister Remy died in an accident nine years ago, and she’s been haunting her ever since. Knowing how crazy that sounds, Megan keeps this secret to herself and tries to lead a normal life. But when she takes a summer job at Land of Enchantment to keep an eye on her new boyfriend and his lovesick best friend, Samantha, she meets fellow employee Luke who can see Remy, too. Things get even twistier because Megan’s new friend Ari is sporting a massive crush on Luke, who seems to be developing a massive crush on Megan…making for a love triangle that’s positively possessed.

Megan wants to keep her distance from Luke, but when Remy’s visions get crazy violent; she knows she needs his help. Because someone’s definitely in danger...the only question is who?(less)

Originality: 7. There is some weird mixing of fairy tales and ghosts in this book, almost two stories smashed into one. But it def gives it a higher originality scale. O ya, there is also a genie, and some wish granting happening in here...
Absurdity: 9. See about 7 rating, and then add in high school romance, a creepy twin sister ghost showing up dripping wet and throwing temper tantrums, and then some grisly murdering, all within a Snow White story. I could not stop, but I also could not stop screaming out "This is absurd!"
Level of Paranormal Romance: 8. Our high school romancers, Luke, Ryan, and Megan, really hit a doozey of a love triangle. Poor Ryan, he tries hard, but has this best friend getting in the way, and really, how could he compete with the boy who can see Megan's ghost sister?
Level of Harry Potterness: 5. You know what this means. I crushed this book, but was disturbed by the grisliness (really NO NEED for sawing through bone noises....) and that people I liked died. NO ONE NEEDED TO DIE.

I persevered. Though I am not sure still where the title came from. Apples? Snow White? Cause someone's heart got eaten? Ug.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nook Lost...Mayans Right...Nevertheless, Happy Holidays!

This post, primarily about Christmas cheer, starts with a moment of silence. I, Grad Student, have left my Nook behind on my research trip to Washington, D.C.! GASP. To quote my buddy Joesph Conrad, "The horror, the horror." To give you a sense of how I feel about this development and its relation to 12-21-12:
I imagine my Nook misses me, just
like the Brave Little Toaster.

 Boyfriend:  good morning, we are all alive! 
 me:  hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
and not to mention my nook being lost
I pouted and thought the world was over
 Boyfriend:  maybe that's what the mayans meant
this girl who really likes to read will lose her e-reader, everyone needs to mourn for her sake.

My poor little Nook is sad and lonely somewhere in a warehouse at the Smithsonian Museum's off-site facilities. Until 2013, Nook. Now on to the paperbacks.....

In other news, happy Friday! I hope everyone has time soon to pull a Santa:
    Go get cozy with a book, and happy holidays! We will be back blogging post-holiday shenanigans, Love the ladies of YAF and WS.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama: a dip into mermaid lore (pun intended).

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago (GoodReads).

  • Originality: 9. This high score is not only because this is the first mermaid book I have read (clearly I refuse to acknowledge Ripple). The mixing of historical fiction, mermaid lore, and the split narration between colonial times and present day felt fresh. (Even if I didn't dig the mermaid lore...).
  • Absurdity: 9. If Originality did not convince you, keep reading.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 4 for the relationship and 9 for the paranormal part. Underwhelming. I felt like the reincarnated soul-mate aspect was a biiiiit too close to having a crush on a great-grandfather. Just take Michael J Fox in Back to the Future as a role model. Don't get romantically involved with family members from the past. BUT paranormal romance points for cursed ghosts who love the reincarnated souls of mermaids, right?
  • Level of Harry-Potterness: 6. For writing style and sophistication, this score reflects the satisfaction I felt in figuring out the overlapping stories. The story was well-told, even if it was not for me.
PEOPLE I WAS SEEN IN PUBLIC WITH THIS-- LOOK at that back cover. I die.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Nameless by Lili St. Crow

GASP GASP GASP. This was my reaction when I realized Lili St. Crow was starting another series. In case you are new around here, you need to know that I loveeeeeeed her Strange Angels series (my review of the first book). Dru is one of my favorite characters, period. And don't get me started on Graves, her best friend. Awesome all the way. Nameless is a retelling of Snow White, the first in St. Crow's new Tales of Beauty and Madness series.
Nameless (Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1)

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now. (GoodReads).

This is my favorite Waiting on Wednesday post in a long time. I am jazzed. As always a cheers to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW, a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases. What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books We Read In 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is HERE people. That means it is almost Christmas vaca for these ladies. Yahoo! Since we have been blogging for about 9 months our top ten books of the year overlap with last Tuesday's Top Ten,  aka favorite authors we "met" in 2012. Check it out if you want to know more, but here for your viewing pleasaure are the cream of the crop. (Sorry to not have Goosie Mama represented here. Things are busy as she renovates her bathroom, but she sends her book love!) Thank you to the fab The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT (as always).

Crazy Camper's two favorite books these year reveal how wide a range of books she is willing to read.
1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
2. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. A fun series to binge on.

Every time google these pictures I get all
worked up. John Green! Bah!
Grad Student here has one book that stands out as a favorite.
1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I have recommended this to EVERYONE.

We cannot wait to hear everyone else's favorites!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6)I died on a Thursday—killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school….

Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend.

But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life (GoodReads).

Against all odds--at this point I cannot recall the different story of each book, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement--I find this series very entertaining. Because these books are set over a span of a couple of days each, it is extra easy to consume them quickly. 

Originality: 9. A bean sidhe aka a banshee book. Its a first. Not to mention there is a alternative universe layered under the everyday- the Netherworld where hellions live. It is dangerous and there is a good chance you will be eaten if you end up there. This book also encourages the potpourri method of paranormal mixing. All myths are welcome here!
Absurdity: 10. For all the reasons this series/book is original, it is also absurd. 
Level of Paranormal Romance 9. HELLO love triangle between bean sidhes, grim reaper, and ex-boyfriend and reaper's brother beansidhes, which you could argue is a love-quadrangle if you add Sabine Nash's maybe-girlfriend the living Nightmare (she feeds off human nightmares). 
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 3. The writing and plotting is nothing too elaborate, but it makes it easier to read around midnight when my eyes get watery from lack of sleep. Sometimes you need a good boiler-plate-YA-paranormal series. (I hear people say that all the time, like in the supermarket or subway....)

A Final Thought: Don't get me wrong, I was allllllll about Tod in the last book and gasped and cheered alongside everyone else when he and Kaylee got all kissy face and the ensuing show down, but for some reason Nash was more attractive in this story. I am such a fickle reader!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Now Grad Student tried to tell me no... don't do it... but I had to know for myself.

This weekend I read Blue Bloods.  And I hate to admit that she was right.  While by the end I realllllly couldn't stop and wanted to know what was going to happen, I can't get over the snotty-ness of NYC elite that is the backbone of this book. Croatan could have been REALLY GOOD and REALLY CREEPY.  Instead I came away annoyed at the first 100 pages I had to read before anything other then high school parties happened.

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society. 

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner...and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead... drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?
  • Originality: 5. Though i guess this is what you would get when you crossed Gossip Girl with Vampire Academy, the result is just snotty.  
  • Absurdity: 7. Absurd in the fact that these high schoolers are out parading around clubs and parties and no one seems to care they are KIDS, that they are super rich and beautiful up and coming models.  This is even before we introduce the vampire elements...
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 3.  I see what they were trying to do here, with the insta-love memory flashbacks but it got drowned in the high society New York shenanigans.
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 2. I wanted to like the characters, and around page 140 (or 217) things got interesting! History! Reincarnation! Guardians! Secret factions!  I just wish the whole book could have lead with this, it could have been awesome.
Maybe I am just too old for this series.  Anyone know of a good review of the series so I can read all about them and figure out what happens without actually learning more about twincest?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Moonset by Scott Tracey

This Wednesday I am looking forward to April so I can read Moonset by Scott Tracey. How cool is the tagline "Past sins. Present tense." Not to mention this is a book I can be seen in public with!
A new series about teenage witches and their troubling family legacy. Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.
When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future (via).
Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)Demon Eyes (Witch Eyes, #2)

I have both Demon Eyes and Witch Eyes by Tracey on my shelf waiting to be read. AND I heard Tracey speak once and he was engaging and funny. What is holding me back? This Waiting on Wednesday is to spur me to action and get to know a new author.
As always, thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW, which features upcoming reads we are intrigued by. What are you "waiting on"?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Nice To Meet You! Favorite New Author

Jandy Nelson's presentation is
stunning, no?
Happy Top Ten Tuesday book blog friends! Today's TTT is dedicated to our favorite "new-to-me" authors we read in 2012. Now, we have been book blogging here at YAF and WS for just about 9 months, so we read a LOT of new books this year. I think this is the perfect TTT for us as we come to the end of 2012. It makes us realize how many great new authors we found as bloggers :-)

Goosie Mama submitted
  • Jandy Nelson. We all loved loved loved The Sky is Everywhere. 
  • Lia HabelDearly Beloved rocked GM's world.
  • Lauren Oliver, who she found through Delirium and Pandemonium.
  • JOHN GREEN. "I actually can't imagine my simple little life without him!!" -GM
and Crazy Camper replied

  • "Agreed! And the Jelicoe Road author!" so add Melina Marchetta to this list. (I also support this choice)
I would like to round out this list with
  • , who I love for her charming and touching Thèâtre Illuminata series. 
  • Elizabeth Wein for bringing me back into historical fiction with Code Name Verity.
Which authors were "new-to-you" this year? A cheers of our whiskey sours to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT, our favorite weekly meme.

(Want to know more about these reads? see our reviews of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Goosie Mama's ReviewGrad Student's Review), and Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin

If you are looking for a quick historical fiction read, look no further than Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin. 

A ghost will find his way home. Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past. (GoodReads).

This is a book that deserves to be read in hard copy. Lisa Brown's illustrations are essential to the story (and some of the story is told in letters) and it was hard to read these on my digital reader. Actually, it was  a bit impossible and I missed some key plot details. Opps!

Originality: 7. As a student of American history, I can say this book is well-grounded in Civil War facts (particularly the chaos and violence of the war for young soldiers). Photography becomes a popular medium during the CW for the first time, and so this setting is a perfect time period to capture the nation's fascination with both death and photos.
Absurdity: 2. As long as you are ok with "historical fiction speak" there is nothing too absurd here. Although as you know this personally drives me up the wall.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. Dang, I was caught by surprise by this book. Just when I thought I had all the love interests figured out....
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 4. For some reason this story never hooked me. I found myself skimming. I also never felt invested in the characters. Most of all I wanted Jennie to buck up and stand up for herself! Speaking of Harry Potter, our resident strong female Ms. Granger would never have let half the things slide that Jennie did. The low score reflects these frustrations.

on the plus side, this review/book has a BONUS FEATURE: check out the cool/creepy tumblr for the book here

From Toby, To His Sister Jennie
an example of the cool graphics I missed because of my e-reader. I wish  GoodReads reviews
had let me know that this book would be best read in hard copy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Reached by Ally Condie (and other book notes)

Reached by Ally Condie arrived at the library for me. (Insert a big clap and some high-fives).  Crazy Camper and I both liked the first one (review). As you might know, I was underwhelmed by the second book Crossed (see my thoughts as a pretend conversation with our other blogger Crazy Camper). I still need to know what happens though, so I am excited.

I also got my hands on the The Killing Frost by James Marsden from an awesome yet slightly older and under-appreciated Australian series.

teens resort to terrorist tactics in this frighteningly realistic follow-up to Tomorrow, When the War Began and The Dead of Night.

And then there were five....

It has been six long months since Ellie and her friends returned home from a camping trip to find their families and friends imprisoned by an enemy that threatens to steal Australia's freedom. Only they can stop this. Like seasoned soldiers, their methods have become extreme, even involving terrorism. 
When she's not gathering food and supplies or running like prey to survive, Ellie wonders at what they've become: Are they now ruthless terrorists? The more involved and vicious it gets, the higher the stakes are raised. Everyone is fighting for their lives. (via)

In other SAD Stacking the Shelves news, I had to return Deborah Harkness's Shadow of Night unread. It is 550+ pages and homework/holiday events have just made me too busy. Don't you hate to do that? What a book blog fail. Debs-- I promise to read your epic sequel as soon as I finish this dissertation chapter!

A big thanks to Tygna's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves. What is new to your bookshelf this week? Cheers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense (GoodReads).

This Waiting on Wednesday is for my sister, aka Crazy Camper. Because she looovvvvveeees VA and I think this is a series by Richelle Mead that we could both get behind! It is due out Spring 2013. What are you waiting on this week? Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Review Addendum: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


If you weren't moved by Grad Student's review, let me just say it again- this is a fabulous book.

“If I want more, I need to go and get it, demand it, take hold of it with all my might, and do the best I can with it.” 

“Hold my hand because I might disappear.” 

Go read.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)Today's review is about a book I could not wait to read, The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. The Girl of Fire and Thorns, the first book in this series was compelling. (See my review here. Humburto 4-eva! Love that kid.) In the sequel Elisa is now queen of the country she married into. She is dealing with insubordinate government officials, sorcery, and people who realllllllllllllllly want the magical stone in her belly button (NOT KIDDING HERE, SHE HAS A 'GODSTONE'. It heats up when she prays but gets cold when she is in danger. It is just about as weird as it sounds. Just ignore it and keep going, the story is good enough to overcome this crazy). People keep trying to kill the poor girl. Oh, and there is a bit of a quest, too. The gang's all here!

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy (GoodReads).

Originality: 8. This is a well done fantasy world with enough politics to keep the story moving but without ever dragging the reader down into epic levels of fantasy intrigue. Reading this right before Fire by Kristin Cashore, I feel like my fantasy-world-politics intake has been VERY high lately. 
Absurdity: 10. Creepy belly buttons and intense fantasy-book names.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 9. Lets just say that Hector and Elisa have some SERIOUS unrequited feelings. Whoa nelly.
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 5. This book is solidly written. I found book one more effecting, but I was still taken with this story. Get involved already.