Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: My Sisters in Death by Ksenia Ankse

Publisher: Self-published

Publication Date: August 5, 2013

Series: Siren Suicides #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Acquired From: Personal Collection


In the second installment of the Siren Suicides trilogy, Ailen Bright finds herself in a sticky situation. Her new supernatural abilities haven't solved anything--in fact, they've royally messed up her life. She can't be with the one person she loves (though her self-control is wavering by the second), her old, well-dressed dog of a father hasn't learned any new tricks, and her supposed siren sister doesn't seem to have her best interests at heart.
A pawn in the game between her father and the Siren of Canosa, Ailen is constantly searching for her next move. Through all the hardships, however, Ailen's self-doubt begins to dissipate as she comes to accept her new identity.


I actually tore through this book much faster than I did the first one. And as much as I enjoyed the first book, I absolutely adored My Sisters in Death. It was a wonderful ride that is definitely going to be one of those that I come back to over and over. That's why I give My Sisters in Death an easy 5 out of 5 stars.
In the second book of the Siren Suicides trilogy, you get to see Ailen really come into her own and become a Siren in the realest sense of the word. She comes into her powers and learns to embrace the new creature that she's become, even when it means embracing the darkest sides of her new personality. Anske writes the turmoil of a teenager trying to accept herself and stand up to an abusive father in the most clear and endearing way, even though it is tinted with the paranormal throughout.
I would suggest this book to anyone who loves paranormal stories with a little bit of love, a lot of angst, and a whole lot of ass-kicking. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Quirk Books

Publication Date: January 14, 2014

Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal 

Acquired From:
 Public Library


The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.
Hollow City draws readers into a richly imagined world of telepathy and sime loops, of sideshows and shape-shifters--a world populated with adult "peculiar," murderous wights, and a bizarre menagerie of uncanny animals. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience. 
--From Jacket Cover


It took me quite a long time to read this one, mostly because at the start I had to go back and figure out what had happened in the last book. That was one of the things that bothered me about this one--Hollow City is definitely one of those books that could benefit from one of those Previously... sections at the start. It reminds you who the characters are all right, and what their particular peculiarity is, but it doesn't mention much about what happened in the previous book. I'd like to have seen that.
Hollow City is just as interesting and peculiar as the first book, although it lacks the uncanny insights from Miss Peregrine as she is unable to speak throughout the book. The peculiar children race from Wales, battling wights and hollowgast to find another peculiar headmistress who can heal Miss Peregrine, and in that is the adventure of this book. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, and I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Like its predecessor, Hollow City is awash with interesting vintage photographs that make the story seem even more realistic than just with the writing. Riggs has crafted another tale that will keep you up at night wondering if there really are peculiars out there, and what, exactly, might be hiding in the shadows. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Mortal Heart

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, we're talking about one of my favorite book series. The final book in the His Fair Assassin series is called Mortal Heart, and it looks to be the best of the three!

I simply adored this series from the second I picked up the first novel, Grave Mercy. It's the kind of story that I love to read--great characters, interesting mystery, medieval background, and unconventional love. The stories are rooted in great mythology of their own making and are beautiful examples of storytelling.

Like nearly every other book series that I read, I'm dreading the day that the series comes to an end. But I know that it's going to be a great ending and that Robin LaFevers will send this one out with a bang.

The pre-release synopsis of the book sets the stage for a final installment that is just as action packed and beautiful as the first two.

In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFevers New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. 

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn't mean she has. 

Mortal Heart, the third and final installment in the His Fair Assassins Trilogy is set to be released from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 4 of this year.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: Follies Past

Publisher: Petticoat Press

Publication Date: November 11, 2013

Series:  N/A

Genre: Regency Romance

Acquired From: Author


"I must now mention a circumstance which I woud wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being..."
So begins Mr. Darcy to lay before Elizabeth his faithful narrative of Mr. Wickham's villainy toward his sister, Georgiana. The facts he sets out are brief but potent. They contain a story unto themselves, and that story is the subject of this book.  
Taking its facts from Austen's own words, Follies Past opens almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas. Fourteen-year-old Georgiana has just been taken from school and is preparing to transfer to London in the spring. It follows Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and into the arms of the charming and infamous Mr. Wickham.
To read this book is to stp back into the charming world of Jane Austen's England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield, and to discover a host of new characters each with engaging histories of their own. Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, it is a truly diverting entertainment.
-From Goodreads


I was delighted to be able to read Follies Past because I am such a fan of Jane Austen in all her forms. And one of the things I have always wondered about is the events that led to the story that Mr. Darcy exposes to Elizabeth in regards to Mr. Wickham. And Follies Past answered those questions with wonderful prose and a delightful and fulfilling cast of characters.
Melanie Kerr is almost as wonderful as Austen herself in her telling of the villainy of Mr. Wickham as he attempts to get revenge on his former friend by duping his sister into an affair. Twisted throughout the story of Georgiana is the duplicitous actions of Caroline Bingley, a fortune hunter of the highest order, and Clare Langford, a devoted and self-judging friend to Georgiana. Just as Austen would have followed the highs and lows of a young lady of no fortune or consequence, Kerr does the same and brings the story to a satisfying and wonderful conclusion.
It is for this reason I can give Follies Past a wonderful and full 5 out of 5 stars. And I suggest it to anyone who is a fan of Austen herself.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Blood of Olympus

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is all about Rick Riordan's new book in the Heroes of Olympus series. The next book is purported to be the final book in the series and will tie up the story of the union between Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood and their attempts to thwart the awakening of Gaea.

I'm looking forward to reading this new book because I have been in love with Riordan's work since I picked up the first Percy Jackson book. I was remarkably sad to see the first series end, and I was so very glad to see that he picked up the story in a second series. As a fan of both books in general and books that involve history and mythology, The Blood of Olympus and, in fact, all of Riordan's books are a wonderful thing for me!

The early release blurb for the book sets up a great sense of anticipation for the book:

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the "Argo II" have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen--all of them, and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood--the blood of Olympus--in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman Legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the "Argo II" will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants. As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over. (From Goodreads)

The fifth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, Blood of Olympus, is set to be released on October 17, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl with the Windup Heart

It's that time again. For this week's Waiting on Wednesday we're talking about Kady Cross's latest novel in the Steampunk Chronicles. We're talking about The Girl with the Windup Heart.

I've been a fan of this series from the second that I picked up the first book. It is a wonderful look at the Victorian era and has a thousand wonderful twists to follow. I love the automatons, the characters, the romance, and the mystery. Kady Cross truly is a master of the genre novel!

The newest book in the series brings into sharp relief a new character who was introduced in the previous book: Mila. An automaton girl who has a working human brain and organs, Mila has been set loose from the Machinist and his minions. Now she's joined our heroes, particularly in the company of the criminal Jack Dandy.

The pre-release synopsis, as posted on Goodreads and the other major book retailers, tells the full tale of what to expect in The Girl with the Windup Heart.

In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shows of the West End's most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come fact-to-face with the destructive power he wields. 

The Girl with the Windup Heart is set to be released May 27th from Harlequin TEEN.

Book Recommendation: Last Light Falling The Covenant by J. E. Plemons

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Publication Date: March 5, 2014

Series: Last Light Falling #1

Genre: Young Adult Dystopia

Acquired From: Author


If your fate had already been chosen for you, would you change it?
Fifteen-year-old Arena Power blindly accepts her destiny in a world filled with tragedy, chaos, and a lingering wickedness that will tempt every man's soul until the last days on Earth. Set in the United States in the year 2053, America, like most of the world, has undergone catastrophic earthquakes, famine, and an economic collapse, which has rendered the nation hopeless. It has turned to other nations, like Russia and China, to help restore what was a once a world power. Unfortunately, the new America has grossly caused civil unrest and will eventually be the precursor to a much bigger war of biblical proportions.
Orphaned at the age of nine, Arena and her twin brother, Gabe, have learned to rely on each other through the toughest times. Not only do they share the same birthday and the tragic loss of their parents, they both have a birthmark on the back of their necks in the shape of a crucifix. This is only but a small sign of the destiny that will follow. On their fifteenth birthday, they receive a mystery letter and key from their estranged Uncle Finnegan. This key will unlock their fate, and it will be up to a priest, who has vowed to protect them since birth, to unfold the layers of their destiny--to undo the evil that has spoiled the world, and to help unleash God's wrath upon those who have turned from Him in the last days of history. 

Last Light Falling wasn't really my cup of tea. The premise was interesting and the characters were very strong willed, but for me the writing style just didn't work for me. There were places where the sentences made no sense at all and there were some descriptions that were just trying too hard. However, for those of you who might enjoy something along the lines of a dystopian version of Left Behind this is the book for you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Book Review: Fury of the Seventh Son by Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Series: The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles #13

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy and Horror

Acquired From: Public Library


Finally, Tom Ward, the spook's last apprentice, will confront the Fiend for the last time.
Tom Ward has battled boggarts, ghasts, witches, dark gods, and the most terrifying creatures to roam the earth. He's allied with the witch assassin Grimalkin, with a powerful boggart, and with Alice... the young witch who is also his true love. And he has kept one step ahead of the Fiend, the most evil being in the world.
Now, he will vanquish the Fiend once and for all. But it will require a terrible sacrifice: not everyone Tom cares about will survive the final battle. 
--From Goodreads


Since I first picked up the very first book in the Last Apprentice series, I've been hooked. As a sucker for fantasy novels, this was an amazing read for me and I've recommended it to a lot of people. That's why I give Fury of the Seventh Son a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
Delaney has always been fantastic at writing an amazing story. He weaves fantasy with just enough reality to make everything authentic. He writes wonderfully well-rounded and real characters who make you believe as they do and makes you wish that you knew them beyond their adventures on the page. His world is beautiful and breathtaking.
I think my favorite thing about this book was that it really allowed Tom to come into his own. He became a character that was strong despite his fears, and it presented him with some challenges that it seemed that he never anticipated. I was breathless for much of this book because I just couldn't believe what was happening--and in many parts, I didn't want it to!
Quite honestly, the story ended in a way that I didn't like. But looking at it, it ended the only way that it could. And with the threat of the Kobalos hanging on the last page, it's been left open for another book or even an entirely new series. So maybe things aren't over just yet.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: January 7, 2014

Series: Defy #1

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Acquired From: Public Library


Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and fried Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.
The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect? 
--From Goodreads


Before I picked up Defy, I'd read a lot of other reviews from other people. While the cover isn't entirely intriguing or drawing in regards to the story itself, but the other reviews I've read had turned my head enough that I couldn't help but read it. And I'm so very glad that I did.
Defy is a wonderful fantasy story about a girl who is forced to hide her true identity just to survive. I absolutely loved how Alex was judged not by her looks--not even when it was revealed that she was a girl--but by her skill and courage. It was a great thing to see that a character was praised for her strength and her character rather than her beauty. Especially at the end of the novel (no spoilers!), it is uplifting to see how inner beauty is praised in this book. 
Maybe that's why I can give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It was beautiful and breathtaking in its descriptions. The back story of the characters and the world in which the story is set is strong and well put together. It draws the reader in and doesn't let go until the final page.