Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Series: The Steampunk Chronicles #3

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Acquired From: Public Library


In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken. 
When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons--or forfeit her friends' lives.
With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him... and for Griffin.
Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions, He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.  
To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation--an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance of triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has...


It's very rare for me, but there was absolutely nothing I could find in this novel that bothered me. I absolutely loved every moment of The Girl with the Iron Touch, which makes it easy for me to give it a solid 5 out of 5 stars
The story itself was wonderfully fast paced with lots of mystery and one great twist after another. The novel is rich with problems for the characters to face and overcome, and it connects strongly to the other novels in the series. The twists seem random and disconnected at first, but as the story goes on, the pieces fall into place that puts together a solid picture that allows you to see a diabolical mastermind at work. 
One of my favorite things about The Steampunk Chronicles is the relationship that exists between Finley and Jack Dandy. It's something that is wonderfully entertaining and very real. While Finley is truly in love with Griffin, it's clear that she enjoys the attention from Dandy. It always makes me love the story even more when there isn't so much melodrama around love triangles, but the fact that the characters openly admit that they love one of them and just likes the attention from the other. 
Overall, The Girl with the Iron Touch is lovely and entertaining. It's a novel that I'll definitely be adding to my collection to read again later.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Kalona's Fall

It's back to books for this week's Waiting on Wednesday, and we're looking at the next installment of the House of Night novellas. Today we're talking about Kalona's Fall.

Since his appearance in early books of the House of Night saga, Kalona has been a character that I've always wanted to know more about. Now it seems I'm getting my wish as P.C. and Kristin Cast have given us a behind the wings look at the Tulsa House of Night's most mysterious creatures.

The early release synopsis from Barnes & Noble reads like this:

In Kalona's Fall, the shadows in Kalona's past will finally come to light... We will learn about the winged immortal's secret history and discover how he went from being the Goddess's Warrior and Guardian to her enemy and betrayer. Did Darkness taint Kalona as it did Neferet, or has the powerful immortal always preferred power over honor, and control over faith? This novella will be crucial to fans' understanding of Kalona, before his role in the explosive final installment of the House of Night, Redeemed, coming in October 2014. 

Such an enigmatic character definitely deserves his own story. And I'm glad to see that the final installment of the House of Night novellas is about perhaps the most interesting character in the entire series. It's going to be the most interesting and the best novella, on par with Neferet's Curse.

Kalona's Fall will be available July 29, 2014 from St. Martin's Press.

You can bet I'll be reading this one over and over.

Book Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: February 4th, 2014

Series: Shatter Me Trilogy

Genre: YA dystopia and science fiction

Acquired From: Public Library


With Omega Point, destroyed, Juliette doesn't know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won't keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world... but that's not all he wants with her.
The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.


I can easily and unreservedly give Ignite Me a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. There were a thousand things about this novel that I absolutely loved, and only one thing that I wish had been included. 
Mafi has a unique way of writing and using language, and it makes the story come so alive with emotion and action. The story is beautiful, organic, and fast paced. When the characters are confused, you're confused with them. Mafi makes it easy for you to become a part of those characters and the feelings that they have. It was beautiful and lovely. 
There was also a lot of character growth and new developments in this novel. The characters really came into themselves, and we saw the true colors of a lot of them. This made the novel seem so much more real and there's very little suspension of belief that occurs because of it. The story is incredibly organic and strong with a fantastic writing style and strong theatrics.
There was only one thing that would have made the novel better, and that would have been a recap at the beginning of the novel. It's one thing that bothers me when there are long gaps between release dates for books that sometimes I forget what happened in the last one. A general recap at the beginning of the novels would be good.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Publication Date: January 7, 2014

Series: At Somerton #2

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Acquired From: Public Library


A house divided...
London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can't help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke, Rose has heard the rumors about Ross's sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late.  
Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William's expenditures. Her father's heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys' reputation.
Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him--for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.
The colorful cast of the At Somerton series returns in this enthralling sequel about class and fortune, trust and betrayal, love and revenge.
-From Goodreads


I absolutely flew through Diamonds & Deceit. It was such a wonderful read, and I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than the first novel. Therefore I can easily give Diamonds & Deceit 4.5 out of 5 stars.
There were a lot of things to love about this novel. There was a lot of great character growth in this sequel, particularly from Charlotte, even though it didn't happen until the very end. It was fast paced and contained a good number of twists and turns to keep your interest. And it was filled with emotion that made you feel as if you were part of this world. While the romance was a key plot point, it didn't dominate the story. It fleshed out the other emotions--particularly the betrayal and venom that came throughout the story--in a way that made the novel feel very real. There was mystery and tragedy. A beautiful, breathtaking story that I'll gladly read again.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: July 19, 2013

Series: N/A

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Acquired From: Public Library


Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on?
 Despite the glooming peace that's settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo's best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet's older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo's affections paved the way to bloodshed.
Contrary to their late cousins, there's no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.
-From Goodreads


I can't say how easy it is to give Still Star-Crossed a full 5 out of 5 stars. As a true fan of Shakespeare, I absolutely loved this fictional continuation of the Romeo and Juliet story.
Filled with connections and crossovers to a lot of different Shakespeare plays, Still Star-Crossed picks up two weeks after the bloody end of the Romeo and Juliet story. The story has a wonderful and very strong foundation in the Shakespearean tradition and even follows a lot of Shakespearean language (which sometimes makes it a difficult read, but is definitely easy to get over once you get into the story). There are connections to Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Coriolanus, and Twelfth Night. It is overall beautiful and brilliant.
The story is a great twist on the Romeo and Juliet tale, as it brings together a Capulet maid and Montague man who, for lack of a better term, hate each other. But when treachery and murder threatens to rekindle the bloody feud ended with Romeo and Juliet's deaths, they have no choice but to bond together to save everything they've ever known.
The love story is believable, and the confusion that Rosaline feels about her situation is palpable and understandable. By the end of the novel, you'll realize it couldn't have ended any other way.
Still Star-Crossed easily makes Shakespeare proud. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Silver Shadows

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, I've jumped back into the pile of books that I just can't wait to see released. And this week we're looking at Richelle Mead's fifth book in the Bloodlines series. Today we're talking about Silver Shadows.

Please beware as this may contain spoilers if you haven't yet read The Fiery Heart.

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist. one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves duanting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him...

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off. (From Barnes & Noble)

This is a series that I always wait breathlessly for the new installment. Richelle Mead is one of my favorite writers and I absolutely adore her style! She's my writing hero, and I love the way that she treats paranormal romance. She always has a new twist up her sleeve.

I'll definitely be looking forward to this novel when it comes out on July 29 from Razorbill. You might even catch me standing in line for a midnight release.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: I Am Alice by Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Series: The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles #12

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy & Horror

Acquired From: Public Library


I must be brave. I must do what has to be done. I am Alice.
Alice is the most powerful witch the county has ever seen. She may one day be the most evil. But Alice is also the best friend--and true love--of Tom Ward. Together they work to defeat the Fiend--the world's greatest evil--once and for all.
They have nearly everything they need, all except a blade hidden in the Dark, the Fiend's domain. So Alice ventures there to find it. She faces the most terrifying creatures in existence. And she once again battles old enemies who bear grudges: Bony Lizzie, Bloodeye, and more.
And there's something Tom didn't tell her. To vanquish the Fiend, Tom must sacrifice the person he loves most. Alice is hunting for the very blade that will eventually kill her. 
-From Goodreads


This one was incredibly easy to rate. I Am Alice is perhaps the best of the novels of The Last Apprentice series. It's because of this that I give it a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
I think the best thing about this novel was the fact that there was a new person's point of view. This novel is told from the point of view of Alice Deane, Tom's friend and a witch in training. Being told from her point of view, it gives a lot of new insight on Alice and builds her backstory in a wonderful way. There are many flashbacks that tell what Alice's life was like before she met Tom and how she came to realize the kind of power that she had. It was brilliantly done. 
The descriptions for the story were fantastic as well. Just as in all the other novels, there are great creatures that are wonderfully described and interestingly gross. And as the story progressed, Alice faced continuing challenges that made it difficult for her to complete her task. 
The only thing about the novel that I didn't really like was that there were some inaccuracies with other books when it comes to Alice's behavior. Although Delaney tries to explain these inaccuracies away, they still exist and it makes it a little difficult to put things together with how Alice behaved in earlier books.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: Slither by Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Series: The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles #11

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy & Horror

Acquired From: Public Library


"My name is Slither, and before my tale is finished you'll find out why."
The dark is full of terrifying creatures. And Tom Ward--the seventh son of a seventh son, and the Spook's last apprentice--hasn't seen all of them. Far from the County, one named Slither has lived for hundreds of years, hunting blood.
But a dying father binds the monster to a bargain. If Slither will take his two youngest daughters safely to their family in the south, then the eldest daughter, Nessa, is his.
For Nessa the nightmare is just beginning. And when Slither and Nessa cross paths with the feared witch assassin Grimalkin, they will become unwitting players in the quest to stop the Fiend once and for all.


With this particular story, it was difficult to come up with a good rating. Mostly because, although this story takes place within The Last Apprentice world, there are few creatures and places that are familiar from the other books. And while I love the series and found the story interesting, I found that I had to stop pretty often in order to get myself oriented to the characters and their locations. It's mostly because of this that I gave Slither only 3 out of 5 stars.
The story was interesting in that it was a break from the Fiend story line that is permeating the other books. It was nice to go to new worlds and see some new characters and creatures. The mythology that was built around the new characters and creatures, especially Slither himself, was interesting and very detailed. However it was hard to follow along as the story kind of jumped in right at the middle. It was difficult to figure out what was going on from the start, so I had to take some time to read the guide at the back of the book in order to figure out what all the creatures were. 
It was also pretty cool that Grimalkin was brought in from the other stories. She is a strong character that helped to link the story to the other books since Tom and the Spook weren't in this one. It was really important to make the novel feel as if it was a part of the series even though it could be considered a bit of a stand alone novel. 
The only thing that would have made this novel better was a better prologue. The one that's in the book doesn't make much sense until near the end of the book. I just wish that it would have had a better introduction to the world and the creatures that live in it.  

Waiting on Wednesday: Dangerous Creatures

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, I'm stepping away from the film adaptations and back to the new releases of young adult novels that are coming up. And this week, I'm focusing on the newest book in the Caster Chronicles world-- Dangerous Creatures.

The newest novel by Beautiful Creatures authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl follows the love story of Ridley and Link, last seen in the finale of the Caster Chronicles.

From the world of Beautiful Creatures--a dangerous new tale of love and magic.

Ridley Duchannes is nobody's heroine. She's a Dark Caster, a Siren. She can make you do things. Anything. You can't trust her, or yourself, when she's around. And she'll be the first to tell you to stay away--especially if you're going to do something as stupid as fall in love with her.

Lucky for Ridley, her wannabe rocker boyfriend, Wesley "Link" Lincoln, never listens to anyone. Link doesn't care if Rid's no good for him, and he takes her along when he leaves small-town Gatlin to follow his rock-star dream. He teams up with a ragtag group of Dark Casters, and when the band scores a gig at a hot Underground club, it looks like all of Link's dreams are about to come true.

But New York City is a dangerous place for both Casters and Mortals, and soon Ridley realizes that Link's bandmates are keeping secrets. With bad-boy club owner Lennox Gates on her heels, Rid is determined to find out the truth. What she discovers is worse than she could have imagined: Link has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay. With their lives on the line, what's a Siren to do? (From Barnes & Noble)

It looks as if Ethan and Lena aren't the only ones in Gatlin to have troubled love lives. I absolutely adored Link and Ridley in the novels, and I'm more than looking forward to seeing the way that Link and Ridley's love story develops in their brand new book.

Dangerous Creatures is set to be released as a hardcover and eBook on May 20, 2014.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book Review: Lure of the Dead by Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: August 21, 2012

Series: The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles #10

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy & Horror

Acquired From: Public Library


Time is running out for Thomas Ward.
His final battle against the Fiend is drawing near, and the Spook's apprentice has never felt more alone in his task. Isolated and afraid, the Fiend is set to send the greatest of his servants against him--Siscoi, a Vampire God more ferocious than anything he has yet faced. 
Tom must risk his life to prevent the evil beast from entering this world, even as he learns that the final destruction of the Fiend may involve a sacrifice more terrible than he can imagine.


Ever since the first book, I've been in love with The Last Apprentice series. I can't say that it actually scares me all that much, but it is a wonderful fantasy story. So it is with ease that I give Lure of the Dead 4 out of 5 stars
There were several great twists in the novel that made me love it even more, and it is a great continuation of the earlier novels. Tom faces a lot of new challenges and encounters a vast number of new creatures that he has to learn more about. And it is a glimpse into the journey that Tom makes into growing from the Spook's apprentice to a Spook in his own right. 
The mythology of this story was really wonderful, and it was a good departure from the earlier stories that dealt mostly with regular old evil witches. This one had a lot of new creatures and characters that were interesting and slightly frightening. There was lots of suspense and several great mysteries that made Lure of the Dead an amazing read. 
The only thing I didn't like about this novel was the predictable sacrifice that was put in front of Tom. But I expect, and hope, that it will be addressed in later novels.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 24, 2014

Series: Unraveling #1

Genre: Young Adult Science fiction

Acquired from: Public library


Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle's mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.
And that was before she died... and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth's destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet. 


Without a doubt, this was the easiest novel for me to rate. I plowed through this one in two days, and I loved every single bit of it. Therefore it's so easy for me to give Unraveling a full 5 out of 5 stars. It is definitely a book that I will go back to read again and again.
The premise of the novel is interesting and lends itself to a dozen great twists and amazing mysteries. I don't want to give too much away, but it's a great read for anyone who is a science fiction fan! I absolutely loved this novel, and I really clicked with Janelle because of the fact that she doesn't have the perfect family. And I really loved that she was a strong female lead--and by that I mean that she was real. There were moments when she was kick ass and brave. And there were moments when she fell apart and needed someone to fix things for her. 
Unraveling is a strong, plot and character driven novel that will grab you from the first page and never let you go. Fans of The X-Files and Veronica Mars alike will love Janelle and her race to save the world. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fault in Our Stars

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is all about one of the best novels in the YA genre and one of the most anticipated film adaptations of the year. Today we're talking about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

The second of two films being released this year starring Shailene Woodley (who is also starring in the film adaptation of Veronica Roth's bestselling novel Divergent) and Ansel Elgort (who plays Woodley's brother in the Divergent film), The Fault in Our Stars is set to hit theaters on June 6. It also stars Willem Defoe, Laura Dern, and Sam Trammel. describes the film (and the novel) like this:

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love in a cancer support group.

For those of you who haven't yet read The Fault in Our Stars, I strongly suggest you take the time to read the book before heading out to see the film. John Green is a fantastic writer (if a little kooky on Tumblr), and this novel will tug at your heart strings in the best way.

If it is half as wonderful as the book, the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you believe that love exists. No matter what.