Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: Marked by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

 The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire -- that is, if she makes it through the Change.  Not all of those who are chosen do. It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends   

Title: Marked
Series: House of Night #1
Published: May 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 0312360266 (ISBN13: 9780312360269)

I'm going to assume the last time I had read this book I was younger and much less critical about books. Also, the last time I had read this book, I had given it five stars, but now it barely reaches three. In my opinion, the book tried too hard to relate to the audience. Sometimes so much it offended me an adult would think we talk like that. Really, because P.C. Cast had the help of her daughter Kristin Cast, you wouldn't think relating to the audience would be a problem. Another reason the book didn't meet my expectations was because of the confusing language. Teenagers don't use words like "poopie." Again, another fail on the part of relating to the audience. This book annoyed me to no end on the part of stereotypes. New girl (Zoey) comes to school and is labeled "freak," her best friend (Stevie-Rae) is the height of the country-girl stereotype, her arch-nemesis is the Queen Bee (Aphrodite) of the school...oh, and she falls in love with the Queen Bee's ex (Erik) after he reads a monologue from Shakespeare. Zoey also never stopped complaining about her life. She complained that she wanted to break up with her boyfriend who was on drugs, but then when she sees her ex-best friend with him, Zoey decides they hadn't really broken up. She also complained her mark was filled in, which she knew was from the goddess, Nyx, herself. Hmm, the goddess decides you're important enough to talk to and you take more than half the book to realize there's something special about you?

I did enjoy the fact the author attempted to make this series different from other vampire novels. For one, vampyres aren't a huge secret to society. Instead, most singers and actors...the famous, are all vampyres. Also, the fact the fledglings (new vampyres) had to survive the Change into becoming an adult vampyre interested me. Overall, I'm happy with the plot of the story, though I'm not as happy as I was when I read the series years ago. This series is one of those read it once kind of books. I'm not entirely sure if I'll be reviewing the rest of the series, re-reading the first book was boring enough.

Book Nerd and Proud,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. 

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Title: The Maze Runner 
Series: Maze Runner #1
Published: October 6th 2009 by Delacorte Books
ISBN: 0385737947 (ISBN13: 9780385737944)

I was excited for this book, and I honestly did like it, but let me explain the parts I didn't like, and why I only give it four stars. Thomas, to me, got whiny and annoying at times (though I must admit, at times I loved his character when he wasn't) Most of the books I read are with female narratives, but I've also read quite a few with male, and haven't had a problem. Other than when they fawn over girls that are "beautiful", and that's the only reason they're attracted to them.
Teresa had virtually zero time in the book, if she had more time I honestly do believe that I would've liked her character more. Minho and Newt also were really appealing (especially Minho, he is amazing), yet the writer missed the chance to make them truly amazing. While all of these characters did play important roles in the book, I would hesitate to call them "main characters" just because they seem more like important secondary characters. The book isn't character-driven, which can be easier to read with interesting characters even if the plot lacks a little. The plot did keep me reading, I wanted to know how the maze was solved and what part Teresa would play once she finally wakes up. Yet, I find the ending really fast while other parts could be really slow and hard to get through. I was finally able to start to relate with Thomas, and understand him, when the plot got really fast. On a good note, I do understand you can't really relate to a character that doesn't know anything about himself, so in that sense I felt like you got to see him grow. The story leaves off at a good spot, where I think connecting with Thomas in the second book won't be difficult at all. Not only that, but I still do think the series will be great, and part of me is amazed it hasn't gotten more attention. I understand why some people hate it (and hey, there has never been a book where every person who has read it, loved it) and why other people love it, and I respect both options.
Overall, I think the series will get better in the next two books, but the first was still enjoyable. I do plan on reading the rest of the books in the series, and those will be the next two books I review because it just so happens that when I went to the library today, they had both of the books!

Have a wonderful holiday!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Review: Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And Two, I was born to kill them

Title: Dirty Blood 
Series: Dirty Blood #1
Published: April 2, 2011
ISBN: 1461065712 (ISBN13: 9781461065715)

I was so surprised that this book ended up being good. First off, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm not a huge fan of werewolf books. I'm really not sure why, but they usually bore me. Second, it was a free book. In my past experiences, free Kindle books were for those authors who could never get published (and there's usually good reasoning behind that.) But the story line was great, the characters were strong. Oh, but I did have my moments when I wanted to hurl my phone at the wall because everybody was trying to control the main character, Tara's, life! Including her boyfriend, who ended up hurting her once. Can you say woman-beater?! I guess everybody found it okay to treat her like a child (even though she could probably take them all down after some more training) and decide to keep half of the information from her. But I did love the fact this chick, Tara, she never believed she should get less than what she deserved. Her ex-boyfriend, George, always put football before his girlfriend and always came late, so she dumped his sorry butt. I guess he didn't realize he didn't know what he had until it was gone. Even when she found her soul mate, she didn't find herself having to bow down to him and his every notion of her "safety," which by the way, nearly ends up killing her. She was strong and she was capable.

So, if you're bored over the winter holidays and you're completely broke after Christmas shopping, download this free book in the Kindle store! And being the good person I am, I'll even put a link:
Dirty Blood

Happy Holidays!
Book Nerd and Proud,