04/11/11



Book Review

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Release Date: April 8, 2011
Publisher: Graphia
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 228
Source: ARC
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Hunger
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

Rage is book two in the Horseman of the Apocalypse series, followed by the first novel, Hunger. While this novel are well written and contain a great message, I still felt a disconnection from the story. More so with Rage than I did with Hunger.

I had no problem sympathizing with Missy, how could you not, but I had a hard time connecting with her character. With any of the characters, actually. I also wasn’t completely convinced of the coupling between Missy and her new role as War, as I was with Hunger and Lisa’s role as Famine.

They may be short at a mere two hundred pages, these pages pack a brutal punch. And like I said, they are very well written and have a great message, and despite the serious subject matters they are a quick and easy read.

Although I had certain disappointments in Rage, I’m looking forward to the next novel.

03/07/11



Book Review

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 7, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 293
Source: ARC
Interest: Author
Challenge: YA Historical Fiction Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

The Vespertine is an excellent mix of historical fiction and paranormal! I was a big fan of Saundra’s debut novel, Shadowed Summer, and I’ve eagerly been awaiting to read more by her. The Vespertine does not disappoint!

Saundra has a distinct writing style, and I absolutely love it. It was even more apparent in The Vespertine. I was instantly drawn into the world and fascinated by its characters. I was especially fascinated by Amelia. For some reason I felt an instant kinship with her. She’s quiet and very perceptive of her surrounding, spunky and independent, she would totally be BFF material! And the girl has visions of the future at sunset, how freaggin’ awesome is that!

And I don’t want to fail to mention the very mysterious Nathan, who never failed to intrigue me! (Although I have to say I did have a little crush on the Thomas, who was every the gentleman.) All of the characters in this novel were so very well fleshed out…. it was easy to picture them and their environment and just feel like I was there in the story.

Awesome characters. Beautifully written.

And the ending. WOW. Saundra gets me with her endings every time, and the shit really hit the fan with this one… so did not see that coming at all. I will say it again, wow!

You should definitely add this one to your reading piles!

12/16/10



Book Review

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Release Date: October 18, 2010
Publisher: Graphia
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 180
Source: ARC from Author/Finished copy from publisher
Interest: YA Debut
Challenge: 2010 Debut Author Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon

“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

This one is a little hard for me to review. I thought the story was great…. the characters were awesome, especially Death….. but I just felt like something was missing, and I can’t quite identify it.

The subject matter of the novel, anorexia, would usually set a certain serious undertone, but this novel didn’t quite have that. Maybe that was because of the invisible horses… or the mythology surrounding the four horseman, but the novel wasn’t as serious as I was anticipating, tackling the subject matter that it did. Not that, that was a bad thing, I actually enjoyed that aspect the most. I just never thought I’d see anorexia and fantasy used to describe the same novel.

Perhaps it was because the novel was so short…. but I never felt emotionally invested in the story or the characters. I think that is why it felt like something was missing. It was easy to get caught up in the story when I was reading it, but it was just as easy to forget about it, once the story was over. I’m hoping that the rest of the series will change my opinion about that.

Looking forward to reading the rest of this unique series.

12/08/10



Book Review

The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan

The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan

Release Date: October 4, 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Author/Publisher
Interest: Author
Challenge: None
Buy the Book: Amazon

Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.
As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail.

Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever.

I loved Madigan’s first novel Flash Burnout. So, I had expectations going into this novel. I won’t go as far as saying that I was disappointed…. because I wasn’t really, but this novel is definitely different than her first novel, but not necessarily in a bad way.

I don’t want to be be spoilery…. but the novel does have a little mermaid action going on. The first half of the book could be considered contemporary fiction… it’s Lena’s basic day to day interaction with her family and friends, and trying to figure out the person that she really is. The second half, is full of fantasy and wonderment…. I’ve never read something quite like it before.

As far as characterization… it was awesome. I actually did not care for Lena. I thought she was such a selfish character! I gave her the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but wow… the girl doesn’t really think about anyone but herself. (Well occasionally she’ll think about her little brother.) Maybe that’s why this novel didn’t really hook me. No pun intended.

The plot moved rather slowly, but it sorta worked well with Lena discovering herself and her family history. Had it been rushed, I don’t think I would have liked it at all. The second half was probably my favorite part of the novel, and I wished it would have been much longer. I felt like we just got a very small glimpse of what this world could be…. I felt like I had been teased!

This part is a little spoilery if you haven’t read the book. I was not happy with the ending at all. I felt like Lena was cheated. She finally discovered who she was, and now she has deny part of herself… after she went through all that. I’m really hoping that there is more to this story!

Overall, The Mermaid’s Mirror is a tale of friendship, family and discovering that who you are, isn’t necessarily where you come from, but who you choose to be.

10/22/10



Book Review

Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Release Date: November 15, 2010
Publisher: Clarion Books
Age Group: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Pages: 322
Source: Blog Tour
Interest: Debut Author
Challenge: 2010 Debut Author Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon

Teagan Wylltson’s best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures–goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty–are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn’t worried. Her life isn’t in danger. In fact, it’s perfect. She’s on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She’s focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn’s a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he’s crazy or he’s been haunting Abby’s dreams, because he’s talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby’s right.

The goblins are coming.

I loved the idea of this novel. I’ve been doing a lot of reading myself pertaining to Celtic Mythology and the actual Fionn Mac Cumhaill himself, so I was intrigued right away. Plus, I loved the whole spin about the goblins. You don’t see a lot of ‘goblin’ type literature in YA… we have a lot of fae, but not many goblins!

Unfortunately, the characters were lacking. Teagan’s best friend Abby was the only character I felt like had a little bit of a personality… or at the least was memorable. Teagan, while she had a promising start, sort of fell flat. She had a plan, she was dedicated, she knew what she wanted…. and then she was nothing. She had no opinions, no feelings….. she became a shell of her former self. Aiden, Teagan’s six year old brother, was annoying at times, or perhaps it was his presence that was annoying at times. I just felt like he was there ALL THE TIME! I get that Aiden has this “special” ability but geez…. is this story about Teagan or about Aiden? I think the character I was most disappointed in was Finn. He came into the story full of mystery and intrigue, but then nothing. It was a huge letdown, because I think he has a lot to tell.

And the supposed romance between Finn and Teagan…. not really seeing it. At. All. Romance fail.

One of the things that bothered me the most was Abby’s dismissal of Teagan’s confession about the goblins existence. The summary even touched on how Abby has this dream to warn Teagan about the goblin’s coming for her and then once Teagan tell’s Abby’s she was right… she doesn’t believe her? WHAT? (Not that I thought Abby should believe her.. or that I was okay with Teagan’s quick acceptance, but why touch on Abby having the dream in the first place?)

I also thought that the death of Teagan’s mom was glazed over a bit too much. It’s almost like it didn’t even happen.

But despite my apparent difficulties with some of the novel, I did actually enjoy reading it. The last half of the novel was so action packed the pages were flying by like crazy. I also loved Hamilton’s depiction of world of the Mag Mell!

Overall Tyger Tyger is an intuiting take on Celtic mythology, I’m looking forward to reading the next book!



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