Thursday, 27 September 2012

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Book:  City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 424 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And - most importantly of all - she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine's Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls - neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

My Thoughts
I keep coming back to this series even though it drives me slightly crazy.  I do like it and enjoy the writing, but I find I am not overly fond of the Jace - Clary relationship.  I don't like it when a girl loves a guy despite how he acts. I know he always has a good reason for being broody, but still, he could crack a smile once in awhile.

This book is more about Simon and the vampires, however, than the Shadowhunters.  I liked that because I like Simon.  I didn't mind reading about his inner turmoils, though I hope he comes into his own one day soon.

There is also Isabelle and Mara.  I was happy to see more of them in this book, as well.  I love strong female characters who can take care of and stand up for themselves and these two certainly fit the bill.

If you are a fan of this series, you won't want to miss this one, though I know that I am in the minority for liking the Simon story line more than the Jace - Clary one.  There is lots of action, especially at the end.  The romance is angst ridden.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:


Monday, 24 September 2012

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Book:  Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead, 2008 by Razorbill, 327 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

My Thoughts:
I'm really enjoying this series - it is well written and fast paced and fun to read. 

Frostbite takes place soon after Vampire Academy, with Rose pining over Dimitri and Lissa and Christian are together.  The Strigoi, or bad vampires, are out to kill the Moroi, or good vampires.  They are targeting entire families and have put the whole vampire community on alert.  Everyone at the Vampire Academy goes to a ski resort for Christmas for maximum security, and this is where most of the action unfolds.

The friendship between Rose Lissa isn't as developed in this book and sometimes it annoyed me how much Lissa didn't seem to notice how her best friend was feeling.

I like Rose, even though she goes off on tantrums and acts without thinking sometimes.  However, it is interesting that she is aware of her bad behaviour, but acts anyway.  She is young and impulsive.

There were some great new characters introduced.  The storyline between Rose and her mother was good.  Tasha and Adrian are fun additions.

I like these books because even though they are about vampires and romance, there is more to them than that.  I recommend these books, though there is some drinking and talk about sex.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

BookShiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009 by Scholastic Press, 392 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance.

My Thoughts:
 The writing in Shiver is just beautiful.  I love how Stiefvater uses words and conjures up images.  There is a richness to her writing which is certainly worth reading.

And then there is the story.  To tell you the truth, this one was a little too much romance for me, but then, I'm not a huge romance fan.  The story did take me in and kept me reading, though I was happy when the pace picked up at the end.  I think I found it hard to buy the instant romance at the beginning.

This is the story of Grace and Sam, with chapters told by each of them from a first point of view. Luckily each character has such a unique voice that this didn't become confusing.  They have a doomed to fail romance, though neither is willing to give up on it - it is almost a star crossed lovers scenario.  Grace is very independent and capable while Sam is good looking, reads poetry and plays guitar.

I liked Stiefvater's explanation for werewolves and their history.  This was original and seamless, and tied together well with the temperature changes in the book.

I would recommend this book to young adult romance fans, especially those who like a paranormal twist.
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Friday, 14 September 2012

White Cat by Holly Black

Book:  White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black, 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 320 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads
Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers - people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail - he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading this book!  It is about Cassel, a boy who lives in a family of curse workers and con artists.  Though he is not a curse worker himself, Cassell has certainly learned the art of the con.  

The book is told in first person by Cassel, and it is interesting to have a boy's point of view - Black does a great job of this.  I found that I liked Cassel and was rooting for him, even though he isn't always portrayed in a favourable light.   It is interesting how Black's characters are not always easy to like or how they represent segments of society we don't always read about in books.

Pulling cons on people was a big part of this book and one which Black obviously researched well because it was convincing and compelling.

I'd recommend this book for both boys and girls, in fact, my teenaged son took this one off me when I was finished so that he could read it. There is something for everyone here:  some romance, action, mystery, and tension.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on Red Glove, the next book in this series to see what Cassel does next.  

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

BookThe Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl #8) by Eoin Colfer, 2012 by Hyperion Book CH, 328 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seemingly nothing in this world daunts the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl. In the fairy world, however, there is a small thing that has gotten under his skin on more than one occasion: Opal Koboi. In "The Last Guardian," the evil pixie is wreaking havoc yet again. This time his arch rival has reanimated dead fairy warriors who were buried in the grounds of Fowl Manor. Their spirits have possessed Artemis's little brothers, making his siblings even more annoying than usual. The warriors don't seem to realize that the battle they were fighting when they died is long over. Artemis has until sunrise to get the spirits to vacate his brothers and go back into the earth where they belong. Can he count on a certain LEPrecon fairy to join him in what could well be his last stand? 

New York Times best-selling author and comic genius Eoin Colfer will leave Artemis Fowl fans gasping up to the very end of this thrilling finale to the blockbuster series.

My Thoughts:
I've loved the Artemis Fowl series for a long time - and we had to wait for so long for this last installment.  That's right, The Last Guardian is the 8th and last book in the Artemis Fowl series. 

I really enjoyed the book and catching up with all of the characters again.  Artemis has shown so much growth in this series, but still has his brilliant aptitude for masterminding plans.  He has a great relationship with Holly and Butler and it is great to see them all together again.  Then there's Foaly, doing his lovable computer geek thing and saving everyone with technology.

The danger is bigger and more perilous than ever - Opal Koboi has engineered a plan to kill all humans and take over the world.  She is deadly and psychotic, but in a genius sort of way.

The beginning and the end of this book are especially exciting, with the middle being the slowest.  However, I think most kids, especially those who already know and love Artemis Fowl, will be eager to read this one and will be sad when it's over.  If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Winner in Back to the Books Hop

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered in the 
Back to the Books Hop!
And thank you to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & 
Burried In Books for organizing this hop.
The winner is:
Michele O. for her Facebook entry.
 She has won $20 CDN of books from The Book Depository.

I have contacted Michele by email.  She has 2 days to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

BookInsurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth, 2012 by HarperTeen, 525 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

My Thoughts:
Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy.  I loved Divergent and couldn't wait for the second book to come out, nor could my teenaged son.  We both enjoyed Insurgent, and thought it was great, but also found that it was difficult to get into - it took us each about 100 pages.

One of my major criticisms is that Insurgent takes place immediately where Divergent leaves off, but Roth provides no back story or explanations.  She did write a blog post to catch people up if it's been awhile since they read Divergent (you can read it here), but it would have been better to put this in the beginning of the book, or maybe to provide a summary.

Once I did get into the book, it was hard to put down.  I liked the relationship between Tris and Four, even when they were fighting. Tris was a bit frustrating at times, especially with some of the decisions that she made, but maybe these were typical of a teenaged girl.

There are some great twists and turns that keep the excitement level high.  There is also action and a fair amount of violence.  However, we get to meet new characters from other factions and catch up with the ones we got to know in Divergent.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of Divergent and the first person style of dystopian books.  It is worth sticking through the slow start and getting to the heart of the book and the great cliff hanger ending.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Book:  Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore, 2012 by Dial, 563 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

My Thoughts:
What a great third book in this series!  On the cover it says Sequel to Graceling and Companion to Fire, which is true, but all three of the books has a different, strong heroine, one who is coming to terms with her power and who she is.

In Bitterblue, young queen Bitterblue is trying to rule her kingdom as best she can after 35 years of her father's maniacal rule which left the people wounded and confused.  She wants answers to her questions and the truth about what has and is happening.

I liked Bitterblue, and certainly felt for her.  She is confused and hurt, but is also strong and passionate, though she doesn't always realize this herself.  She grows up and finds herself in this novel.

This book is different in many ways from the other two.  Even though I wouldn't call it slow, it was not as action oriented.  Bitterblue is strong, but in a different way than Katsa and Fire.  She doesn't have any special powers and though she does fight to protect herself, this isn't the focus of the book.  She has to become mentally strong, as well as responsible because she has a kingdom to rule.

It is also nice to meet up with characters from previous books, especially Katsa and Fire.  I enjoyed seeing how they were doing and where their lives had taken them after the last books.

Here's the book trailer for the Graceling Realm series from YouTube: