Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raia aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

Title: The Demon King
Series: Seven Realms #1
Published: October 6th 2009 by Hyperion Books
ISBN: 1423118235 (ISBN13: 9781423118237)

This book is one of my favorite genres, high fantasy. I love the idea of royalty, and this book was beautifully written. Cinda Williams Chima is a master at imagery and world building, and many times, I felt like I was transported into the scene with taste, smell, touch, and sight. Each character showed a depth that made me grow to care for them. Raisa, the princess of Fells was a strong, independent, girl who could point out her own weaknesses, such as she always wanted things to go her way. As a princess, Raisa is faced with many responsibilities and challenges while she just wants to embrace the warrior side of herself and be free. Her mother is the epitome for the perfect queen, but lacking the quality of strength. She constantly needed the aide of her advisers, and seemed to ignore anything that marred her perfect world. This is something Raisa does not sit well with, and decides to take matters in her own hands. Her mother always talked about marriage to Raisa, pointing out suitors who would benefit the kingdom, but Raisa does not want to be under the restraints of marriage. And who would at the age of sixteen? 

The Demon King not only spoke of Raisa's troubles, but also introduced us to the world of Han Alister, which was a refreshing change from the life of a princess. Han was the former streetlord of the Raggers, who was respected and feared. He left this life in order to protect his little sister, Mari. Without a father, Han supported his mother and sister, always struggling to put food on the table. His life was not made easier by his mother who held the switch and constantly made him feel inferior to others. Han lived many different lives, all with different names. He was known as Han to his family, Cuffs to the gangs, and Hunts Alone to the clans. 

The supporting characters in this novel weren't perfect, which is what made it feel even more real. Amon Byrne is Raisa's childhood friend who has grown up into a handsome man after three years at a military academy. He is loyal and follows in his father's footsteps to serve the Gray Wolf Throne. At times, his feelings for Raisa make it a choice between what he should do and what he wants to do. Which is actually a question every character must ask themselves at some point in the book. Dancer is Han's best friend and is someone Han will always stand by, even when he finds out Dancer is not who everybody knows him to be. Then again, Han is also different than what he knows himself to be.  

Finally, my favorite aspect of this book was the intertwining of the character's paths. Who would think the Princess Raisa, heir to the Gray Wolf Throne, would ever meet Han Alister, a former streetlord? This story is full of romance, mystery, betrayal, and bravery with all the details that I could ever want in a book. There is no doubt that I will be reading the next one! 

Oh, and I've noticed Kayla does these cute signatures like "Keep reading!" or "Happy reading!" So I'm going to try doing that...

Stay nerdy! (I tried.) 
Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.

After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." Then the truth emerges about what really happened the night of the accident and, once again, everything changes. It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

Title: Leaving Paradise
Series: Leaving Paradise #1
Published: April 8th 2007 by Flux
ISBN: 0738710180 (ISBN13: 9780738710181)

Just a disclaimer: Caleb does swear and there are some sexual-ish scenes.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how it is set up. Instead of hearing from just Maggie, or just Caleb, you get chapters from each of them and with this I find you usually get both sides of the story instead of just one.

Maggie starts out as a little weak, but grows stronger as the book goes on. She learns to see that you can’t focus on your flaws; you have to focus on your assets. Many other people could do well learning this lesson. Caleb changes too. He shows his caring and protective side, and his love for his twin sister. They help each other, and find the better within themselves.

Mrs. Reynolds was helped them both out too. This describes her ways best.
"I don't need any help"
"You have a heart condition," Mr. Reynolds says.
She waves her hand in the air, dismissing his concern. "Who says?"
"Your doctor."
"What do doctors know, anyway? They call it practicing medicine because that's all they ever do. Practice. If you'd visit me once in a while, you'd know I'm doing fine.”

I think Maggie’s mother and Mr. Reynolds (Mrs. Reynolds son) are cute secondary characters.

Caleb’s best friend, Brian, must be one of the worst friends in the world. I hate him so much, but, I’m not sure if I hate him or Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, Kendra, more. She’s an awful person.

I've read this book before, and others of Simone Elkele’s stories, I find her books wonderful. While some people think it’s just a love stories, I find her books deeper than that.

I did not expect the ending, and I was so glad that there’s a second book, which I do own (and haven't read yet) and that will be my next review! 

More soon!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

"History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time. "

Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday--to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she's a goner... and so is Aiden. 

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"--which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time--she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome. 

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she's caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing      their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed. 

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

Title: Deity

Series: Covenant #2
Published: November 6th 2012 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN: 1937053148 (ISBN13: 9781937053147)

It's books like the ones written by Jennifer L. Armentrout that make me fangirl over books like a true book nerd. I may quite possibly EXPLODE before the next book comes out. In this book...I cannot believe I am saying this...I hated Seth. I know, words not to be spoken. I'm still wondering how things are going to work out between Alex and Aiden, but I'll keep hope. Also, it looks like everybody is out to get Alex! Not much of a change there. Speaking of things not changing...I still hate Minister Telly. Another thing that hasn't laughing at the book during some parts like a psychopath! So many plot twists I wish I could say, but again, it would ruin the whole book. Oh, but the gods are totally in on all of this drama. Just saying. And then she finally gets closure with Caleb, which was one of my favorite parts. This book definitely had more romance than the others...along with treason, betrayal and a whole list of things! So many questions were answered in this book. Again, I still feel like I MAY DIE until the next book comes out, so I guess it's slow and painful for me, eh? 

A thank you from both me and Kayla for taking the time to look at our blog! It's amazing to know people are actually seeing what we love to do. 

Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Title: Uncommon Criminals
Series: Heist Society #2
Published: June 21st 2011 by Hyperion
ISBN: 1423147952 (ISBN13: 9781423147954)

Kat, again showed how precocious she truly is. She has a skill set that is well beyond her years, she is stronger and smarter than most girls at the young age of 15. Not only is she smart, but she’s very analytical, and sees the many sides to all problems. When she faces failure, she doesn’t give up; she uses this astounding skill set she has to try her best to right it. Her best friend, Hale, wasn’t born into the type of family she was. Kat hurts him over and over, yet he always forgives her, showing his unrelenting love for her. He’s also always there for her when she needs it, and his loyalty is easily visible. I agree with how their relationship was written, it isn’t rushed at all, and you can see how much they care for each other (even when Kat does hurt Hale.) Gabrielle makes the perfect cousin for Kat, they’d need to fight more to be sisters, although, like a sister she helps Kat along the way, and tries to give her helpful advice (about cons and Hale!) We also meet some new characters, one of them being Uncle Charlie, and I think he is perfectly described in the book.

"You see, by some standards he might be a little..."
"Weird." Gabrielle shrugged against her cousin's glare. "This man is ten pounds of kooky in a five-pound sack."
"He's eccentric," Kat tried
"He's got something of an artist's temperament."
"I say a screw loose." (Page 60)

Honestly, it took me a while to pick this book up after finishing the last. Although, once I started reading, I didn't want to stop. I was hooked, and a little disappointed in myself for not reading it earlier.
I thought the plot was really good. I guessed the ending, to a point, but the way it was set up was stunning. For me, the book never got old, and always kept me on my toes. They also kept those extra pages in the book that tell where she is and what day it is, and I was glad for that.
Perfect Scoundrels comes out February 5, 2013! And in the summary it says BOYFRIEND! I'm very excited to read it, though I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to, which is saddening.

So many books, so little time.
Book Nerd and Proud,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

There is need. And then there is Fate 
Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her. 
When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude or killing her. 
When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

Title: Pure
Series: Covenant #2
Published: April 3rd 2012 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN: 0983157227 (ISBN13: 9780983157229)

I think the hardest review to write are when you are in love with a book. What else is there to say? I loved seeing more of the relationship between Alex and Seth, the banter between them always made me laugh. Then, there were parts where I very nearly cried. Obviously I can't say what... that would spoil everything. Seth was always there for her even when she didn't want him there. Aiden...I don't know what to say about him. He did and said the sweetest things possible, but would it ever work out between them? But the ending of the book makes me question everything...he risked everything for her. That's has to count for something, right? One of my favorite parts of this book was when Alex dressed up to go to a ball. The looks on Seth and Aiden's faces were priceless. Oh, and Minister Telly...I wish it were possible to punch a character from a book. Also, the end of the book contained a segment in Seth's point of view of my favorite scene at the ball. It was interesting to read his insecurities when in Alex's point of view, nothing fazes him. After reading the first book, I didn't think it could get much better. I was definitely proven wrong! (Words you will not near me say often). 

Also, today happens to be Kayla and her boyfriend's one year anniversary, so HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I hope you two grow old together. (:

Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Title: Heist Society
Series: Heist Society #1
Published: February 9th 2010 by Hyperion Books
ISBN: 1423116399 (ISBN13: 9781423116394)

Just a little disclaimer: In this book, there is action, and thievery. Kat and Hale obviously have something going on there, but there is little to no romance.

Kat is one of those characters I immediately knew I would like. And this entire book, W. W. Hale the Fifth, and the rest of her crew, all being characters I loved (some more than others). Her crew, a ragtag group of kids, was kind of inspiring. They were all strong, and independent, plus very mature for their age. Especially Hale, why can’t there be more guys like Hale? High school would've been so much better. Even though there are gorgeous men in this book, there isn't much romance. I'm pretty sure in the entire book there's one kiss, and that wasn't for romantic reasons (at least it wasn't on Kat’s end). Carter does well setting the stage for a future romance (which, I must say, I do want. If there isn't I won't be unhappy but, still. Hale.)

Arturo Taccone, the villain who thinks Kat's dad stole his precious paintings, isn't all that scary to me. This being said, it didn't take away from the book for me. I think the book was about the con itself, Arturo was the reason for it, but not much else. I didn't like that even though her father was being watched by Interpol and had an alibi, he still keep on pressing that it was him who stole the paintings. He was pretty lame, I didn't really like him. I like how Kat deals with him in the end.

I liked how there were pages that said "...days until deadline" and showed their location, it was really cute, and as was the insight into Kats thoughts with the parentheses.

The book wasn't predictable, nor was the ending. Which, I must say, I did really enjoy. It’s light, fast and doesn't have much fluff. The plot had a lot of twists that I didn't expect, but I haven’t read many books like this. I have so many questions to be answered in the next book! Or, I might have to wait until the third. At least it comes out this year.

Keep reading
Book Nerd and Proud, 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Title: Half-Blood
Series: Covenant #1
Published: September 20th 2011 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN: 0983157200 (ISBN13: 9780983157205)

I warn you now...this series is highly addictive. This is probably one of my favorite books...ever. Hands down, it's worth five stars. Just about any book Jennifer L. Armentrout writes, I fall in love with. The characters are amazing. Alex is strong, witty and sarcastic, and doesn't let anybody stand in her way of what she wants. Caleb, her best friend is loyal to a fault. Aiden is her patient instructor who stands up for her...and did I mention he's super hot? Seth is the Apollyon who's sexy and powerful, and though he would never admit it, he cares about Alex. Between the two of them, it's possibly the hardest choice ever. There were so many plot twists in the book, it always kept me on the edge of my seat, and the banter between characters always made me giggle at the book like a psychopath. Honestly, it's books like these that make me disappointed with life! Why can't I have two hot guys fighting over me while having superpowers?! Haha, I kid. But I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: The Death Cure by James Dashner

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

Title: The Death Cure
Series: Maze Runner #3
Published: October 11th 2001 by Delacorte Books
ISBN: 0385738773 (ISBN13: 9780385738774)

This book has been surprising in so many ways. I have, amazingly, grown very fond of Thomas. Brenda, for some reason, I haven't. She was introduced in the second book, and does really help out during the entire book; I just don't like her that much. On the other hand, Teresa, who was introduced in the first book, still gets very little time. I think she's made into too much of a villain, but near the end of the series she does something to show just how much she really cares for Thomas. Minho is amazing, and always will be. Newts future was decided in the second book, which I do wish was changed, he doesn't get as much time as he should in the third book.
I felt there was more violence in the book compared to the first. This book was also different because in the first two the setting is about the same for most of the book, in this one it changes more, which I found to be a bit refreshing. WICKED headquarters were interesting, and I understand why they do what they do. Not that I would agree with it. The Right Hand (rebels) is the group I really don't like. No, not because they're going against the government  It's what they do once during the attack of WICKED that I don't agree with.
The epilogue is the same as it always had been, always one of my favorite parts of the book. Not only that but the ending wasn't what I expected, because I did think that James Dashner was going to answer all of the pressing questions we've been waiting to be answered for so long. But no. The next book, a prequel, does seem interesting but right now I honestly have no idea what I'm reading next, but I'm sure I will read it. Eventually. 

Hah. Two posts in one day.
Book Nerd and Proud, 

Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

Title: The Scorch Trials
Series: Maze Runner #2
Published: October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Books
ISBN: 0385738757 (ISBN13: 9780385738750)

I loved this book, so much part of me almost feels bad for only giving it 4.5 stars. Almost, but not quite. It was better than the last book, but there were a few things that kept it from being amazing.
For me, the characters were much easier to connect with. Minho, as expected, was my favorite and I completely love him. Whenever Thomas protects Minho, I like him a little more. Thomas was very likable in this book. He is very smart, yet he's very blunt. Even though the events are happening during a two week period, I am pretty sure that Thomas was passed out for about a week of it. He passed out something like 32 times, which is a bit much. Only complaint I can think of for him. Newt complements Minho's character, but I found part his part in the trials saddening, because I do like him. He's very compassionate, and definitely the person who keeps all of the Gladers together. Teresa isn't in the book very much, and she didn't turn out the way I thought she would, but I do have hope for her still.
There's a lot more action in this book, and it kept me hooked the entire time. At times, I thought the suspense was going to kill me! Also, the pacing of this book was right, none of it felt slow or boring at all.
The ending was really great, and makes me want to keep reading (who wouldn't want to read more of Minho?) . It will be pretty exciting to know more about the infamous WICKED, and if there can be a cure. Overall, it was a good book, I hope the third book is even better!

Happy reading!
Book Nerd and Proud,