Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

To mix things up a little from my usual vampires, paranormal, romance, etc. I decided to read a psychotic thriller. And after reading this book the only thing I have to ask is other than the main setting of a high school and the characters being high school students, how exactly is this book considered YA?

But before we get into that in depth, The Body Finder is about this junior in high school named Violet Ambrose, since she was a little girl she has this unique ability to sense ‘echoes.’ These echoes surround every dead thing – whether it is animal or human – and depending on the situation also surround the killer. Except for one instance when she was eight, Violet mostly finds bodies of animals and buries them in her backyard so that they can be at peace. However, a string of young girls disappearing causes her to use her power to find the bodies of these girls, especially after she finds one accidentally in the lake on the night of a party.

While she’s dealing with this killer, she also has to deal with the normal high school life and the complicated relationship that is her best friend Jay who has turned ridiculously hot over the summer and who she seems to be feeling an attraction to. But because of a dumb fourth grade kiss that went terribly, they have sworn never to try dating each other again. So what’s a girl to do?

Now that I’m typing about Violet’s relationship with Jay, I can sort of see how this book can be considered YA, but it’s the other stuff – the murders of the girls, the brief interlude chapters in the killer’s POV – that kind of make me wary about giving this a YA generalization. Definitely not for younger readers of the genre.

So this book really had me going, there were a lot of times – because I’m the type of girl who reads more than one book at a time – where I just wanted to not read the other book that I was reading and just continue with this one. It had me on the edge of my seat, between Jay and Violet realizing their feelings for each other, and the killer’s POV chapters making me gasp in horror, I was just…enthralled with this novel. I can’t wait to read more!

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Refreshing. Great plot and characters, especially the development of said plot and characters. And for once the parents in a YA novel didn’t piss me off! These were amazing parents!

Bookshelf worthy? Okay, now I’m running out of floor space.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spellcaster Series Book #2: Steadfast by Claudia Gray

So the last book ended with Nadia and Mateo destroying Elizabeth and thinking that everything was okay. Except the reader knew differently. Elizabeth still lived and her plan had succeeded. Instead of ripping away the spells keeping Captive’s Sound standing, she was trying to take down one of the seals on The One Beneath’s tomb. This book picks up right after the last one, and Mateo and Nadia’s happiness is short lived when they realize that Elizabeth is still alive.

Add in Verlaine’s spell that keeps everyone from noticing that she’s there, Mateo’s visions getting worse, Nadia’s father being seduced by Elizabeth, and a mysterious illness that causes people to go into comas and you’ve got one crazy and twisted book on your hands. Nadia’s weaknesses are also revealed in this book, her half-trained powers become more of a problem and she wonders what she can do to stop Elizabeth when she can’t even control simple spells.

That’s when Elizabeth approaches her with a proposition. The One Beneath wants Nadia and Nadia needs a teacher to complete her training. Nadia refuses because she knows that if she becomes Elizabeth’s apprentice she will swear herself to the darkness and there is no coming back from that. But as the odds keep stacking up against her and the people who end up sick keeps climbing, she starts to realize that there may not be a choice.

This book was absolutely nuts. I felt bad for Nadia and company because they didn’t get a break from what happened in the last book. The twists were insane! Like the true reason why Nadia’s mom walked away, blew my mind. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the little conflicts that appeared between Mateo, Nadia, and Verlaine. There was something lacking there, or maybe it was just because I knew that it was all made up drama put into their heads by the demon Asa.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Now that Nadia has ‘turned’ to the dark side, what’s going to happen now? Will Mateo and Faye Walsh team up to destroy her powers? Will the curse on Verlaine be done? And what about her relationship with Asa? Can he be saved? I’m curious to know, and can’t wait for the next book.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

So the past two Crusie and Mayer books have been about hit man and movies that were actually the cover of something to do with the mob. This time around, Crusie and Mayer team up and give you an amusement park….that is the prison of demons.

Yeah, that’s right, demons. These demons apparently have been in captivity since the 1920s, when the amusement park was created, and have been contained in their chalices ever since. Well, except for that one time forty years ago when they all got out and almost caused mass mayhem, but that doesn’t play in until near the end.

The characters that you are introduced to – again in the first few chapters – include:
  • Mab – Dreamland’s restorer. Doesn’t like people and is more interested in her work.
  • Ethan – a Green Barret (of course!) who is back at home after almost being killed in Afghanistan. Thinks his days are numbered because of the bullet near his heart.
  • Glenda – Ethan’s mom and half owner of the park. Believes in the mystical.
  • Delpha – the park’s ‘Oracle’ who believes she sees the future.
  • Ray – Mab’s uncle, mayor of the town, and half owner of the park. Wants riches and power.
There are more characters that are all involved in what unfolds, but seriously, can we just talk about the plot of this book?

Mab gets involved in with this guy named Joe who always makes her laugh and makes sure that they only talk about happy things. Even when you don’t really know these characters well enough, you can already tell that something is up with this guy Joe. And even when it gets revealed that he’s a ‘demon hunter,’ there’s still something not right about him. Although I do give points to Crusie and Mayer for throwing in the demon hunter bit. Turns out Joe is a demon – the Trickster – and when Mab finally figures it out, it’s a little too late. She’s already slept with him and is pregnant with his child.

But it’s not the first demon possession pregnancy. No, Mab and Ethan are both creations of a demon possession pregnancy. Remember what I said about the whole 40 years ago thing? Yeah. Apparently, these demons have more on their mind than causing pain and suffering. Ethan and the other Guardia – a force that guards and entraps the demons – do put everyone back in their chalices, except for Funfluns, and all live happily ever after.

I haven’t seen such a ridiculous plot since Crusie’s other book Maybe This Time, and that one had ghosts! And these characters! Although they were definitely better than the characters in Don’t Look Down, they still had their own issues. Like Mab right before the final battle, decides its time to have sexy time with Oliver it was just ridiculous. You’re about to go stop demons from taking over the world and you’re going to go at it? Talk about priorities.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Although ridiculous, it was rather fun.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Night Huntress Series Book #1: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Popular books, of late, have lead me astray – I tried reading the Outlander series but barely made it 50 pages into the first book before calling it quits and barely made it four chapters into Seraphina before giving up – so when it came to Halfway to the Grave I didn’t mark it as ‘currently reading’ until I was almost halfway through.

Catherine – Cat – Crawfield is a twenty-two year-old college student who appears to be a normal girl sitting in a bar when the book begins, but as the first chapter unfolds you find out that Cat isn’t who she appears to be. No, instead she’s a half-breed – half-human and half-vampire – and she is hunting vampires in revenge for her mother who was raped by one twenty-two years ago. This night seems to be going differently than her previous ones. Instead of having a vamp come hit on her, she goes up to him and asks very bluntly – because he doesn’t seem to be falling for her usual sexiness – if he wants to fuck? He turns her away, much to Cat’s chagrin, and she finds another victim for the night. Feeling bold she goes back the next night, only to run into the vamp from the night before who turned her away. This time thought he’s ready for her, and they leave together.

The only problem is, this vamp knows what Cat is capable of – he followed her the night before – and he pulls a fast one on her. She wakes up in a cave shackled to a rock and in her underwear. The vamp – Bones – demands to know whom she is working for, and that’s when it is revealed that she’s a half-vampire. He doesn’t believe her at first, until he sees her eyes glow. He proposes a deal, if she helps him take out vampires, he’ll help her find her father. Cat agrees and the fun begins.

Where to even begin with how much I loved this book? The character of Cat reminded me a lot of myself – except for the whole half-vampire/assassin thing – but her cryptic views on love, her shyness, her naïveté when it came to sexual innuendo (seriously, I blushed with her every time Bones said something highly sexual). The character of Bones grew on me too, especially when I started picking up on his feelings for Cat – speaking of, the vampire club scene where he intentionally gives her a day off to spend with him was really cute and sexy. The overall plot was intriguing too – big bad vampire who Bones is after turns out to be the mastermind behind a blood whoring plot that goes very high up in the government. I just wished I had found out why exactly Bones was after Hennessy.

The only two things I didn’t like about this book were:
A. The character of Cat’s mom. I got where she was coming from with the whole anti-vampire thing because of what she went through. But to put all that onto her daughter was in poor taste. To basically squeal too on her daughter’s love affair with a vampire to those agents too, was just horrible. I kind of wished that the mom had died after that. Ugh.
B. The ENDING! Why is it that whenever a couple is going great, an author has to throw in this major complication that separates them or, like in Halfway to the Grave’s case, that causes the female interest to run away to protect the male? It’s frustrating, but it does make for some interesting reading.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Great characters. Great plot. Great cliffhanger ending. Can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 and see what Bones is going to do.

Bookshelf worthy? I’m going to start stacking books on the floor, I swear.

Don’t Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

I think I finally figured out why I don’t give Crusie’s books five-star reviews. There are too many characters that are introduced in the first two chapters of each book with complicated histories and connections to other characters to keep them straight. Like take Don’t Look Down for example:

  • Lucy – director of dog commercials who is brought in to finish filming of a movie on request of her sister Daisy and her ex-husband Connor.
  • Daisy – Lucy’s sister and mother of Pepper. Has been following Connor around for years because she wanted to do things on her own without her sister’s help.
  • Connor – Lucy’s ex-husband who fucks anything that moves. Former agent in some Australian army or something. Stunt coordinator for the movie. Seems to be up to something.
  • Pepper – Daisy’s daughter and Lucy’s niece. Obsessed with Barbie’s until she gets a Wonder Woman doll.
  • Bryce – a comedian who wants to be known for action movies now. Big star in film that is like Connor and fucks anything that moves.
  • Althea – the female co-star and Bryce’s love interest in the movie and in real life.
  • Stephanie – Lucy’s assistant for the movie that seems to be sleeping with Connor. Wrote the screenplay for the movie except for the action stunts.
  • Captain JT Wilder – Green Beret who is Bryce’s stunt double. Thinks he’s on leave until the CIA gives him a call.
And you meet all those characters in the first few chapters. That’s just so much freaking information to digest that you feel like you need a flow chart.

This book like Tell Me Lies and Fast Women kind of drove me crazy, and not in a good way. On top of trying to keep all these characters straight you also have to figure out the mystery behind this movie. Because of course, there has to be something going on with this movie. Why else would a romantic-comedy get ridiculous action sequences at the end? I wish I could tell you what was going on, but the truth is I really don’t know myself. All I can say is, there was some sort of mob thing involved and Connor, Bryce, and Althea were involved.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. I’m with a lot of people when they say that Agnes and the Hitman also by Crusie and Mayer is a lot better than this book. Too much was happening in it to keep everything straight. Favorite character? Moot, the alligator, she chomps everything in sight.

Bookshelf worthy? Save yourself the 373 pages and go read Agnes and the Hitman instead. You’ll thank me for it later.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

A note to the wise: if you’re ever in need of a good cry and don’t feel like crying for no reason, or you need to prove to yourself that you’re not a robot do either one of the following: A. Read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and then The Fault in Our Stars by John Green in four days or B. Read Looking for Alaska by John Green and then If I Stay in less than three days. If you haven’t cried after doing one of the above, more power to you. I’ve done both of the above and have yet to find a way to stop the tears. Any ideas?

In retrospect, I guess it was a good idea to read Looking for Alaska and then If I Stay, together. Since If I Stay has to deal with aftermath of a car wreck for the seventeen-year-old girl Mia. Her whole family perished in the car accident except for her, and she is experiencing an outer body experience as she tries to decide whether or not she wants to continue life or move on.

In a lot of books, I am not a fan of flashing back and forth between the present and the character’s back-story, I feel that it takes away from the overall plot, but for this one I think it works out. You learn a lot about what Mia was going through before the car accident, who the major people were in her life and why they are fighting so hard for her now. The only thing I didn’t like about the flashing back and forth was the fact that a lot of the story focused on Mia’s parents and her little brother, who are dead. This just makes the tears fall harder. I really loved Adam’s character and how hard he fought to see her, especially considering the problems that they were having before the car accident. They made such a cute and awkward couple.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Quick and to the point, the character development was smooth and almost flawless. The only question I have is how exactly did Mia survive the car wreck if everyone else in the car died? Or is it just one of those freak things? Curious to see how things end up in the next book.

Bookshelf worthy? Either electronic or support your local library!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Looking for Alaska by John Green

So about 8-9 years ago (I can’t remember when in freshman year I picked this book up) I was at the library and I came across this book. I had never heard of John Green and his reputation for telling stories. I read the book and fell instantly in love. It wasn’t until I reread it this week, that I realized how relatable this story actually was. Between readings of this book, I lost my aunt unexpectedly so I guess I get where Pudge and Colonel are coming from… But I’m jumping ahead of myself again.

The book begins with Myles (Pudge’s real name) going off to a private school in Alabama. At this school he meets his roommate Colonel and his friend Alaska. The two take him under their wing, give him the nickname Pudge and start off a journey that sort of resembles self-discovery as they try to deal with the big questions of life. Alaska is beautiful and eccentric, her moods changing in an instant and it’s no surprise when Pudge falls for her, but she already has a boyfriend. Colonel is cunning and has a superior attitude. He doesn’t like rich kids because he thinks they’re snotty and believe that they’re above everyone else. Everything is going like high school should be, until one night after some heavy drinking and an interesting game of Truth or Dare that leads to Alaska and Pudge making out. Alaska comes bursting into the room at three in the morning in hysterics asking Pudge and Colonel to help her get off campus. They do and go to sleep.

The next morning, the principal announces to the school that Alaska Young died in a tragic car accident. This sends her friends into a tailspin asking questions and trying to figure out what happened to her. What caused her to be so hysterical? Where was she going on three in the morning? And most important of all, how can they cope with their friend’s death?

This book never makes me cry until the pieces all start to click together and they figure out what Alaska was really doing out that late. My favorite part is when Pudge is writing the answer to his final exam and realizes that they may never figure out truly why Alaska did what she did. That everyday without her, her friends are starting to forget, their memory of her is disappearing and after losing my aunt I get that. Your memories sort of get fuzzy until you just remember the best parts and nothing in between.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. John Green is a masterful storyteller and I’m glad I read this book twice.

Bookshelf worthy? I’m going to pull an Alaska Young one of these days and just start piling books on the floor.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie

Okay, I won’t tell you lies, even though I love Jennifer Crusie’s books this book was not one of my favorites. In fact, when I was about 75% of the way through I really thought I was going to give this book 1 star. Which was odd considering this book had Crusie’s usual tricks. A female lead who finds out her life is crap (Maddie), a male character that the female has history with (C.L.), a mystery that you think you have figured out but don’t (Maddie’s husband Brent’s murder), and then a group of characters who are making the female’s life miserable (the whole town). So why didn’t I like this book?

Well, first off, the character of Maddie wasn’t Crusie’s usual witty and strong willed lead. No, instead she’s in a marriage that she hates. She hates her husband and I really couldn’t blame her. Brent is a total douche. I mean, he’s cheated on her before – with this elusive Beth who you never meet throughout the whole book – and she finds a pair of crotchless underwear and realizes that he’s cheating on her again. But instead of filing for divorce or confronting him right away, she thinks right away about what the town would think. Not about her daughter – which she does later – but about the town. Ugh.

Then there’s the issue of after her husband’s murder, when she finds all this money and the murder weapon in her totaled car and she doesn’t do anything about it! Instead of telling C.L.’s uncle, who’s investigating the murder, she hides the money in C.L.’s car and the gun in a casserole that she has her best friend put in her freezer. What the hell?! The only reason I didn’t throw the book across the room, was because of Emily, Maddie’s daughter, who accuses her mom of lying which causes Maddie to start telling the truth. The new Maddie was so much better than the old one that I wished there were more pages with her in it. But alas…

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. If you can stick it out, this book isn’t all that bad – definitely better than Fast Women – and the person who ended up murdering Brent is someone you never really see coming.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Austenland by Shannon Hale

The problem with following authors on Twitter is that you want to buy/read/watch everything that they talk about in their tweets. That’s how I came across Austenland, and before anyone asks, yes, I did see the movie before I read the book. But I believe that I can keep the two apart…maybe.

So, Jane Hayes hasn’t been lucky in love. All of her boyfriends (all thirteen) have turned out to be total assholes or gay. The one thing she could depend on was the wonderful Mr. Darcy and the wonderful works of Jane Austen. Her obsession, including the Pride & Prejudice movie with Colin Firth, is not healthy and she knows that. Her best friend has told her that, and even her great aunt told her that. However, after her great aunt dies, Jane is surprised when she is notified that she was named in the will. Her great aunt doesn’t leave her money, instead she leaves her a trip to Pembrook Place aka Austenland.

Jane goes and is swept up into a world straight out of an Austen novel. The only problem is that she can’t seem to wrap her head around the fact that this is supposed to be real. Hence, why she falls into the gardener’s – Martin – arms. He is apart from all of this, and things seem to be going wonderfully until he dumps her unexpectedly. Jane is shocked, but it seems to be the push she needs to fully encompass herself into the theatrics of Austenland.

Only she doesn’t really seem to. She knows that all of this is an act that these are actors trying to win her affection, and that seems to be the rude awakening that she needed to realize that her obsession with Austen and Mr. Darcy needs to stop – am I the only person who didn’t like the character of Mr. Darcy?

Okay, so I really liked this book – no, really I did. It’s just that…I think the movie was better. For instance the character of Miss Charming? She had a lot more character development in the movie than she did in the book. Martin’s character was kind of boring in the book, more interesting in the movie. The only thing I liked more in the book was the final scene with Mr. Nobely. I loved the fact that he jumped onto the plane and followed Jane home. It worked better than him showing up at her apartment the next day with her sketchbook that she left.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Good book, just a little boring in a few parts.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

I previously read the Evernight series by Claudia Gray last year, and I knew with Spellcaster that I should expect the unexpected. But after reading this book, I didn’t really come across any big surprises.

The book begins with a teenaged girl named Nadia who is with her family and they are on their way to a new town. Their mom left them a few months earlier, and they are trying to have a new start. But Nadia isn’t who she seems to be. She’s actually a witch, as was her mother, and her mother was in the middle of teaching her when she took off leaving Nadia’s training incomplete. On their way into Capture’s Sound, Nadia feels a magical barrier surrounding the town and when her father hits the barrier it causes the car to go out of control. The car crashes and a stranger, named Mateo comes to Nadia’s aid. The reason Mateo was able to come to her aid? He’s been dreaming about her for months. Apparently, his family was cursed and the first born of each generation takes on the curse that makes them see visions of the future until eventually they go insane.

The craziness continues on from there. Turns out Mateo’s best friend Elizabeth isn’t who she says she is. She’s actually a witch too, but a really old evil witch. She was the original witch that cursed Mateo’s family, and when he finds that out he wants revenge. Because of her curse, his mother committed suicide. But Nadia warns him off, because Elizabeth is involved in everything that’s going wrong with the town. So Mateo, their friend Verlaine – who’s parents may or may not have been killed by Elizabeth too – and Nadia plan to stop Elizabeth. The question is how do you go against an all-powerful witch, when Nadia hasn’t even completed her training?

Easy. You don’t. When Nadia and Elizabeth finally go against each other, Nadia doesn’t attack Elizabeth, instead as Elizabeth is ripping away all her spells that are holding the town together, Nadia fills the gaps with her power. When the dust finally settles, Elizabeth is nowhere to be seen. Turns out, everything was planned. Elizabeth knew that Nadia would somehow try to stop her from ripping the spells out of the town, so she had an associate go over to the high school and open the first spell that was containing The One Beneath.

Confused yet? Yeah, me too. This book was great except for the ending, which left so many more questions than it did answers. Also, can we talk about that Elizabeth’s Book of Shadows that Nadia stumbles upon scene? Spiders, again? Seriously? Can books with spider scenes come with a warning or something? I had nightmares all weekend because of that scene.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Like I said the book was great; great characters and development, action was intense, but the ending was just a confusion spell.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Question: What happens when you’re the human daughter of two gods? And you just realized that you will never be immortal? Answer: The biggest form of teenage rebellion that has ever transpired.

Isadora is the daughter of two powerful gods and she has just found out the shocking truth that the only reason that they had her was so that way there would still be someone that believed in them. She will never be immortal and in her eyes she’s temporary. She hates her parents for doing this to her and refuses to do anything that they say – and you thought you had issues with your parents when you were a teenager. Sheesh. Her mother announces that she is pregnant with another child and that Isadora will help her with the birth…until Isadora’s half-brother Anubis shows up uninvited to the house and Isis realizes that her dreams of danger might be coming true.

So Isadora is sent to live with her brother Sirius in San Diego until her mother gives birth. This is exactly the freedom that Isadora has always craved, but she doesn’t really realize what she is getting into – she hasn’t been around a lot of humans ever. But shockingly she makes quick friends with Tyler, her boyfriend Scott, and their other friend Ry – who might I say sounds exactly like Darien Shields from Sailor Moon?? AHHH. While she’s readjusting to her new life, she has to deal with some weird occurrences. Someone breaks into her house and someone also tries to rob a delivery of relics that her mother sent over to display at the local museum.

At first, I didn’t like this book, I was too confused trying to figure out what exactly was going on with Isadora and the gods that were her parents. I know a lot – mostly thanks to Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series – about Greek gods, but Egyptian gods sort of go above my head. Once I had a general gist of the storyline it was easy to get swept away by Isadora’s story. She was angry and rebellious and basically everything I wanted to be at that age. After she gets used to Ry and just being friend with him, their dialogue scenes were fantastic and had me cracking up. Such as this one:
“No writing? Your muse isn’t speaking to you?”
“She rarely does. International call charges and what not. Besides which, she’s flighty and nearly impossible to understand. And she says I always misinterpret her intentions.”
That’s definitely one way to describe working with a muse.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is the fourth novel I’ve read by Kiersten White and each one is just fantastic. I can’t wait to read more by her!

Bookshelf worthy? Just for the cover art and the page design alone, definitely.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Artemis Fowl Series Book #8: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

A lot of people weren’t happy with the way that JK Rowling ended her Harry Potter series. In some ways, I was one of them. I don’t like endings to epic series, they don’t always live up to my expectations. The same could be said for the last book of the Artemis Fowl series. Everything in this book wrapped up loose ends, except for a few, but there were just some things that drove me absolutely crazy…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the last book, Artemis went into treatment for his Atlantis Complex. When this book starts, Artemis is dealing with his last therapy session when all hell breaks loose, again. This time around, Opal is at it again, or so it seems. Two masked dwarfs take Opal from the past – the one who came through in book 6 – hostage and threaten to kill her if the LEP don’t release the current Opal from Atlantis. The only problem is that there isn’t enough time to get Opal out, and do you really want Opal on the loose? No. No you don’t.

But if the Opal they have is shot there are a lot of repercussions. Basically, the time line will split and everything that Opal has had a hand in will go BOOM. Supposedly. But the LEP doesn’t want to take any chances and begin a citywide evacuation and place Opal into an underground tube just in case she goes BOOM too.

Ah, Opal is a cunning little pixie though. She planned all of this, and with her younger self’s death, she becomes…well, I’m not even sure what she becomes. Let’s just say she becomes really powerful with dark magic, and she has a plan to unlock these ancient warriors called Berserkers to help her unlock a switch that would basically wipe out all of humanity.

So, like I said there were some things with this book that drove me absolutely crazy. For one thing, Opal. Yeah, I know, I really liked her in book 4 but when she gets dragged into half of the books in this series, you have a repetitive villain. You might as well just rename the series Artemis Fowl and Opal Koboi Take on the World. Second, the ending was just ridiculous. Artemis Fowl finally dies because of his actions – huzzah. But Butler and Holly can’t live with it and figure out a way to bring him back to life. The chrysalis that Opal used to make her clone gets brought into play to make an Artemis ‘clone.’ That’s great. Not. Why can’t you just have Artemis stay dead? And I thought everything that Opal was involved with blew up? So how was it that this chrysalis didn’t explode too? The final thing that I didn’t like about this book was that while loose ends were tied up, there was one I was disappointed that didn’t get tied up. Whatever happened to the girl genius criminal mastermind from book 5? She just sort of disappears.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The ending wasn’t completely horrible, but there were some things that should have been done differently.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blackcoat Rebellion Series Book #1: Pawn by Aimée Carter

How to perfectly sum up this book without giving too much away: Take the rebellion and the politics from The Hunger Games Trilogy, add in the ranking system from The Selection Trilogy, and the plot to kill a ‘king’ from the Eve Trilogy and you’ve pretty much have most of the plot of Pawn.

Another dystopian novel, this one takes place in Washington D.C. sometime far in the future (it isn’t 100% clear what the year is) and our narrator Kitty Doe has just taken the biggest test of her life – a test that determines her fate. The only problem is that she failed her test (at least in her eyes) and she had been ranked as a III. She doesn’t want to be a III and would have liked to be at least a IV so that way her and her boyfriend – Benji – can have the life they’ve always dreamed of. But it didn’t work out for her that way, so she decides to join her friend Tabs in the life of prostitution – at least until Benji takes his test.

Because Kitty is a virgin she has to be auctioned off to the highest bidder…who just so happens to be the Minister of the country (kind of like the President or a King). It turns out that he didn’t bid on Kitty because he wants her to become his mistress, instead he has another plan for her. How would she like to become a VII (the highest rank)? He doesn’t tell her what the ‘catch’ is until two weeks later when she wakes up. Apparently, the Minister’s niece Lila died in an explosion, but the Minister and his family don’t wish the public to know this. So they Masked – a sort of procedure that makes someone look like someone else – Kitty to look like Lila. In exchange for her VII, Kitty has to be Lila and if she doesn’t comply the Minister will kill Benji.

I’ll admit that at first I didn’t like this book mostly because Kitty was a little bit whiny, as Lila’s fiancé pointed out Do you think the world revolves around you? She was very self-centered and considering where she was coming from with her III and all, I thought she would be a little bit more grateful or a little more headstrong. As the book goes on, however, she does become less whiny and in fact does some things that I didn’t think she was capable of at the beginning. As for the other characters, I felt like there should have been a bingo card of all their names and as each one of them died you could have marked them off.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. It was a decent start to a new series, with a few surprised twists that made me go nuts and scream “WHAT?” a few times. The characters were well written and I really felt for Greyson.

Bookshelf worthy? I’m going to pass on this one. Rent it from your library!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Prince of Shadows: A Novel of Romeo and Juliet by Rachel Caine

Got another confession, folks. Ready? I didn’t like Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. No, really. I absolutely hated that play, and by the end, I was literally so happy when Romeo and Juliet died. Why did I hate it? Well…it was a lot of things, really. The teacher I had when it was assigned reading – back in freshman year of high school – was obsessed with Shakespeare, like she would have married him if he had been alive. It was also something to do with how fickle Romeo was, he was desperately infatuated at the beginning of the play with Rosaline and then one meeting – one – and he’s all of sudden head over heals in love with Juliet.

Anyway, I didn’t like the play, but I might have changed my mind had we had to read this as a supplement. Prince of Shadows is the tale of Romeo and Juliet, only from Romeo’s cousin and friend – Benvolio’s perspective. He’s a man who hates his position in life – not the heir to the Montague name – but still at his grandmother’s beck and call to keep the heir – Romeo – in line. To take out his frustrations he travels the rooftops of Verona at night (kind of sounds like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon) and steals from those he feels have wronged.

What really made this book for me was not only the insight into what Benvolio was dealing with but also the curse that Mercutio put on both the Capulets and the Montagues. You get to see the origins of his hate for both families and you sort of understand more about what was really going on with Romeo and Juliet – I always knew that they couldn’t have been that much in love. There had to be some sort of mystical thing going on.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Thanks to this book I have a new liking for Romeo and Juliet. The last fifty pages were absolutely crazy but so well written I was in awe. Rachel Caine just became one of my new favorite authors.

Bookshelf worthy? The only reason I’m saying no is because I’m not that big of fan of Shakespeare. But if you are, get it.