Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant.

Random (yet very true) quote:
Janie's only had a few close calls in school before high school. But the older she gets, the more often her classmates fall asleep in school. And the more the kids sleep, the more of a mess it makes for Janie. She has to get away, wake them up, or risk the consequences. (Page 36)

Title: Wake
Series: Dream Catcher #1
Published March 4th 2008 by Simon Pulse
ISBN: 1416953574 (ISBN13: 9781416953579)
Barnes & Noble|Amazon

I, personally, love this book, it’s my second time reading it (still as amazing as the first, yet I haven’t read the second) but I also realize it's not for everyone. What the little blurb up there fails to mention is that this book is darker that you might originally expect. Janie's life isn't easy. She has no idea who her father is, her mother is an alcoholically and is rarely there for her (if at all). They are extremely poor and the support checks they get can only cover the rent and her mother's drinking problems, Janie pays for the rest it with the job she has while also saving up for her desperate dream to go to college.

The book itself is written in a really simplistic way (some people will disagree and say it’s choppy), but I also like how it’s also set up like a diary with the dates and times. When she dreams, or gets sucked into another person’s dream, the font is changed, which I thought was not only helpful, but also a good idea. It was paced really well, and I didn't want to put the book down (nor did I, it only took me a few hours to read, sadly).

All of the characters are complex. I already explained Janie’s troubled life, other than that I love how hardworking she is, and how she wants to truly help people in their dreams. Even though her mother basically abandons her Janie says she wants to stay close to home so she can keep an eye on her.
Janie finds help with her curse in places you wouldn’t imagine to look; library books and a blind women she attends to at the nursing home she works at.
Carrie moved next close to Janie and automatically she becomes exactly what Janie really needs-a best friend. Her parents fight a lot, and she feels guilty because of what happened to Carson (her little brother).
Cabel father wasn’t great to him and he’s left Cabel with scars that will never go away. At first you see him going through his Goth phase, and can appear to be just a loner to everyone else, when he’s much deeper than that. He’ll go to great lengths for the girl he loves, he risks everything for her. His and Janie’s lives become intertwined to the point that maybe, she’ll eventually have to reveal her secret to him.
My favorite part must be the end in Cabel's point of view.

On to the second book!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana"'Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he's concerned, the princess's family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. 
Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it--he's saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive--and even that might not be enough. 
The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

Title: The Gray Wolf Throne
Series: Seven Realms #3
Published: August 30th 2011 by Hyperion Books
ISBN: 1423118251 (ISBN13: 9781423118251)

The Gray Wolf throne was a novel that, like the other books in the series, has thoroughly captivated me. There were times in this book when I wanted to cry with the characters...
"It’s all right to cry, she told herself. Soldiers and queens are allowed to cry, aren’t they? She was half Demonai. Demonai don’t cry." 
And there were times when I wanted to cheer at their bravery...
“The bluejacket girlie rode like a clan warrior, but there was no way she'd escape. It was a private life-and-death contest that had nothing to do with him.He told himself he should ride on, grateful that the chase would keep them occupied while he took a different path.But what had he told Rebecca when she'd asked what he meant to do when he returned to the Fells?I'm tired of people in power picking on the weak. I'm going to help them.” 
And I found it quite funny after Han discovers Rebecca is Raisa and he makes this comment. 
“Who?” Han pretended not to understand. “Oh. The queenling. That girlie has more names than a Ragmarket fancy.”
Come on now Han, you have gone by Han, Cuffs, Hunts Alone, Hunts Bird, Shiv, and Demon King...being a bit hypocritical now aren't you? 

I am still worried about the relationship between Han and Raisa, though I love the two together, it's the question of how it would work out. I am happy Raisa and Amon have finally found a middle-ground for their relationship and stay loyal friends to one another. I even liked Micah somewhat in this book, he really is trying to protect Raisa, and he cares for her...though he has an odd way of showing it. 

Honestly, at the end of the book, when Raisa is crowned Queen, it reminded me a lot of the Princess Diaries! Which by the way, is possibly one of my favorite childhood movies. When she named her lineage starting from Hanalea and spoke to the citizens of Fells about uniting her people, I felt she spoke well beyond her years. I can't believe there is only one more book left! I'm not sure if the author plans on writing more afterwards, but I would hope so! I would love it if this series could go on forever.

I've just started this and I'm already out of ideas! 
Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Entangled by Nikki Jefford

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.
The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

Title: Entangled
Series: Spellbound #1
Published: February 20th 2012 by Nikki Jefford
Barnes & Noble|Amazon

Picking a star count (which is 3.75) for this book is difficult, mostly because I really didn't like the beginning of the book, and really liked other parts.

As for the beginning, we start off with Charlene threatening to jump off of a building because her boyfriend, Blake Foster, broke up with her. Not only that, but she thinks it'll teach him a lesson (among other things). Graylee tries making fun of other people to make Charlene feel better, which isn't very kind. After deciding not to kill herself, she says she's going after her ex's new girlfriend.
“Charlene, give me the knife.”
“I’m going to kill her!”
At least Charlene wasn’t trying to take her own life. She gripped the knife so hard her knuckles were turning white. “Stacy Morehouse moved in on my man. She so picked the wrong girl to double-cross.”
“Charlene, I know you’re upset, but you can’t go using magic on someone you’re unhappy with,” Mom said
“Who said anything about magic?” Charlene snapped. She lifted the knife and grinned. “I don’t need a spell to take care of Stacy Whorehouse.”
“Right, because stabbing her without the use of magic doesn’t make it evil.” Probably not the best time for sarcasm.
Honestly, I wanted to put the book down (or my tablet for this matter, because it’s an eBook), then read and review a different book. But alas, I decided that maybe Charlene wouldn't be a huge part of the book, Graylee might be just acting that way because it’s her twins’ kind of humor, and read on.

It takes around 100 pages before Graylee dies and is in Charlene’s body, and after that there is very little of her in the book at all. I easily predicted what the true cause of Gray's death was, even though she didn't figure it out until long after.

Raj narrates quite frequently, and I must say I enjoyed it (Okay, I love when more than one person narrates a book!) He’s a complicated warlock, but I found the unfolding of his story to be one of the most interesting in the entire book. Along with that, his best friend, Shay, must be the first character that I truly liked (yes, after getting to know Graylee more, I like her character too)
Shay Baxter has been Raj's best friend since the third grade. She'd stuck by him after everything that had gone down, when his own mother had left him. Shay acted as though everything was the way it'd always been, which had it's ups and down.
Mrs. Baxter was the adult version of Shay, a friendly, accepting woman who had no interest in gossip, which meant neither lady asked her Raj's version of events.
Speaking of mothers, I found that the twin’s mother underreacted to many problems in the book.

I didn't think to mention this earlier, but I love this cover, I think it's absolutely gorgeous, and it looks like the covers for the next books will be as well. One of my favorite parts of the entire book was the ending, and I only guessed it a few pages before it happened, the ending is probably most of the reason that I will be purchasing, and then reading, the next book.

Sorry for a short review...
Book Nerd and Proud,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford.   But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn’t far behind.  Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them.  And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own.  There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets.  Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford.  If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.   

Title: The Exiled Queen
Series: Seven Realms #2
Published: September 24th 2010 by Hyperion Books
ISBN: 1423118243 (ISBN13: 9781423118244)

The only thing that upsets me about this book is the fact there are only two more books in the series so far. What will I do with my life once the series is over?! I don't think I could ever give less than five stars to a book like this. The author is a brilliant writer, and again, the imagery and sensory details transport you into another world. The characters, no matter how put together they seem on the outside, all have their weaknesses. Also, each character has a interesting story that is captivating that Chima has gone to great lengths to develop. There was definitely more romance in this book than in the past book, which leaves the question of who she should choose. Han the dangerous former streetlord, or Amon the childhood best friend?

I still love Raisa, the princess who does what needs to be done. She would marry someone she doesn't love for the good of the kingdom, but she won't do it to help someone's plans. Although she wishes things were different and like any other girl, she could marry for love. I also like the fact that she can see through everybody's act and that she's very blunt. The princess finally gets the life she wants, to be able to learn things that will help her in her future rather than learning which fork to use. She accomplishes this by going to Oden's Ford, which is a military academy which took a long time to travel to. Their travels to the academy is actually what makes up most of the novel. 

Again, Raisa's life is intertwined with Han's. He also travels to Oden's Ford for schooling with his best friend Dancer. Han gets to know Raisa by the name of Rebecca Morley (once you read the books you'll understand why). Han actually blames a lot of his life on the Queen and the princess heir, so we get a view of dramatic irony when we see Han ranting about the royal family. Han is actually a very clever guy, and whenever he feels threatened he doesn't back down. The Bayars are also Han's enemies, but no matter what opportunity he is given, he shows restraint in killing them...Well, at least Micah and Fiona, can't say the same about their father. 

I feel really bad for Amon, who loves Raisa, but can never be with her, so instead he is planning to marry another girl. He likes her, he would be a good husband to her, but he may never love her. 
This book had even more drama, romance, action, and bravery than the last. I didn't believe it was possible! I hope to read the next book soon.

Sorry for not posting last week!
Book Nerd and Proud,

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé

With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.

Title: The Sweetest Dark
Series: The Sweetest Dark #1
Expected publication: April 2nd 2013 by Bantam
ISBN: 0345531701 (ISBN13: 9780345531704)
Barnes & Noble|Amazon
"Ladies, Eleanore ... dear me. It appears I've forgotten your surname already. Smith, or something like that?"
"Call me anything you like," I answered, pulling out my chair. "I certainly understand how someone with such an abnormally ting head would struggle to remember even the most undemanding facts. It must be quite a burden for you."
After this, I knew I was going to love this book. Lora is so independent, smart, strong, and funny. She can stand up for herself, even when she’s the charity case in a prestigious school and almost everyone is against her. Lady Sophia, who originally had said that to Lora, does become a better character as the book goes on. I can’t say the same for her sister, Chloe. (Even Armand says that she is her own favorite topic.)

Okay, even from the description you can tell that there is a love triangle. I didn’t mind it, I thought they both had a great purpose in the book, and were well written. Armand (Mandy) is the second son to the Duke, while reading he seemed to have two sides. One when he was with Lora because she would accept him, and then how he had to act in front of everyone else.
He was paralyzed. He couldn’t move, couldn’t smile, couldn’t nod. He was pinned in the gray of her eyes, a prisoner of their piercing clarity.
For an unflinching instant, Armand felt his heart explode like a firework, and the future seemed unwritten.
Jesse is the groundskeeper to Iverson, and also supposedly a mute. He gives himself to Lora, and has from the moment he knew about her, before they met. He’s insanely adorable and I love what he does for Lora, also how he shows her true potential.
“You do speak.” It came out as an accusation.
“When there’s someone around worth speaking to.” He turned about, began to scale the boulders behind us.
Both even narrate for a few chapters, but not nearly as much as Lora. I love how all of their stories intertwine, and they all need each other.
The ending, in a way, was awful. I loved this book so much, and the next book doesn’t come out until August, and that’s so far away. Other than my need for the next book, the ending was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical edge to this book, and intend on reading more books similar to it. I also love the cover of this book, and hope to own a print version someday soon.
Writing the review for this book was difficult, I had no words for it, and few things leave me speechless.

I hate waiting for the next book to come out.
Book Nerd and Proud,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett

Fab Fane Fannigan: Are you saying you live at GOTHEL MANSION??? The Gothel Mansion?
RG: My mother calls it Gothel Manor, so maybe that’s different?
Fab Fane Flannigan: No, Rapunzel, there’s only one that I know of. It has to be the same. Are you telling me the truth here?
RG: Yes, of course. Is it weird that I live here?
Fab Fane Flannigan: No, not weird, just . . . never mind. So you live in the tower?
RG: Uh, the tower? I don’t know. Is it a tower?
Fab Fane Flannigan: Yes, it is. I know where it is. I’ll be there Friday at 8.
Rapunzel sensed the difference in his tone. Something wasn’t right.
Fab Fane Flannigan: Rapunzel, promise me one thing.
RG: Okay.
Fab Fane Flannigan: Don’t Google your house.
Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction.

But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

Title: Rapunzel Untangled
Expected publication: February 12th 2013
ISBN: 1462111564 (ISBN13: 9781462111565)
Barnes & Noble|Amazon

Join the giveaway for your chance to win one of many great prizes, including a Nook and an MP3 Player! (Domestic only. For international giveaway click here.) Nothing required to win other than signing in.

Rapunzel lives in a tower with only her mother, because of her disease, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCIDs, germs could easily kill her.) She waits for the prophecy that she’s going to save the world (as long as she doesn’t cut her hair and stays healthy) to come true. This is what she grew up thinking, so she never has a reason to question it.
While on the computer doing schoolwork, she happens to find a social media site Facebook. Rapunzel desperately wants a friend, so she decides to add Fane, a boy from a local high school. He soon accepts her friend request and they begin messaging each other. (I love how Fane teases her) Rapunzel knows her mother wouldn’t approve, and might even take away her computer, she chooses to keep him a secret.
Fane becomes her reason to question…well, everything. She starts keeping more secrets from her mother, and even thinks about leaving her rooms (I know, doesn’t sound too scary but her mother has forbidden it because it could kill her.)
The story starts out light, and gets darker as it progresses. Kind of like Gothel, she seems to be pretty sane when the story starts but as it goes on she gets crazier. I do understand her extreme views, and I really enjoyed the twist of Vedmak, it was unexpected.
Cindy C. Bennett does a great job showing how naïve and ignorant Rapunzel is to the outside world. Personally I think the ending could’ve been a little bit longer.

So sorry for not posting earlier! Great book!
Book Nerd and Proud, 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She's determined to make a new life for herself.

But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie's accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.

Title: Return to Paradise
Series: Leaving Paradise #2
Published: September 1st, 2010 by Flux
ISBN: 0738718688 (ISBN13: 9780738718682)

To start, I get so frustrated with couples sometimes. Although, it did take me months to finally admit my feelings for my current boyfriend, so I can’t really complain.

Again, I loved the changes in the point of view; it gives a lot of insight to be able to really see both sides of the story.

We get to see changes in the current characters, and also a few new ones. Caleb changes alot during this entire book. You see him try be his ex-con self, but by the end of the book you see the true Caleb. Maggie is stronger from the start, but is always trying to get over Caleb, not like he gives her much of a choice.

Lenny, Matt, Erin and Trish were all great characters. At one point, Trish gives Caleb advice on Maggie. I really liked how she protects Erin (who was reading a book at one point in the book. I automatically liked her.) Lenny was very annoying in the beginning but had started to grow on me towards the end. Julio also makes a reappearance, and although I didn't see myself liking him at first, he grew on me too. Personally I like all of the new charters a lot more than Caleb's old friend, most of whom weren't good friends to him in the first place.

It was really hard to put this book down, but I found the will to because the ending of this series is really sad. I’m sure I’ll reread both of these books, more than once.  

The ending was amazing and, if anything was wrong with this series it’s that it doesn’t have another book! I would love to read more of Maggie and Caleb. 

Be a books best friend
Book Nerd and Proud,