Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

A Temptation of AngelsWhen her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Title: A Temptation of Angels
Published: March 20th 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0803737262 (ISBN13: 9780803737266)
This is another one of those books that is nearly impossible to rate. It was a good book, but it wasn't exactly great either. My expectations were already high from reading Michelle Zink's other series, The Prophecy of the Sisters, so I expected something as interesting.

The storyline was an original concept of angels versus demons. The writing flowed and the pacing was perfect. Putting the story into very simple words, there were twenty Keepers on earth to keep humanity safe, however, organizations have been murdering them off one by one to get what they want...the key to the records of the past, present, and future. It would give that person the power to change it to their own benefit, but the only problem is, they don't know who holds the key, and now only three Keepers remain.

This novel was the timeline of how much Helen had grown from a coddled little girl to a woman. From her change in attire to her new found confidence, we see how she has matured. It was definitely a suspenseful start when Helen's mother hides her in a secret passageway that she had never known about. Helen didn't know what was going on, but listened to her mother's instructions. As her house begins to go up in flames, she follows the address her mother had given her and finds Darius and Griffin Channing's home. Griffin immediately trusts her and begins to ease her into this new and strange world. He later becomes her love interest and become very protective of one another. Darius on the other hand is more wary of her arrival and keeps her at a distance, but they do have biting conversations that would leave the other fuming. There was another side to Darius when he went to visit Anna, the daughter of Galizur. Galizur was a father figure for most of them since their own parents were killed. He made amazing inventions that made their job so much easier. Raum shows up surprisingly, and is an old childhood friend caught in the middle of the Keeper's deaths. He comes from a family of traitors, so I wasn't so sure about him, but his actions in the end spoke volumes. He was another love interest of Helen's, so it was a sort of love triangle, but she makes her decision quite clearly instead of dragging it on. In my opinion, the characters did fall a bit flat. There wasn't exactly anything special about them, but it would be nice to read another book and see them develop more.

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” - Gustave Flaubert
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Timeless by Michelle Madow


In Remembrance, Lizzie and Drew changed the course of fate so they could be together.

In Vengeance, Chelsea set fate back on its original, deadly path.

Now, strange things keep happening to Lizzie. Things that are omens of darkness to come. A curse has doomed her to die an early death, just as she did in her past life. To make matters worse, even if she can figure out who cast the curse, it's irreversible. There's only one option left for her to save herself. It's crazier than anything she's heard yet, and to do it, she'll need Drew and Chelsea's help.

Because to make things right, they must go back to when it all began ... and Lizzie discovers that the final events in her past life were more sinister than she ever imagined.

Title: Timeless
Series: Transcend Time #3
Published November 14th 2012 by Dreamscape Publishing
ISBN: 0615692931 (ISBN13: 9780615692937)
Barnes & Noble|Amazon
Sometimes there are still days when I wake up and wonder if this has actually happened, or if it’s been one long dream.
Why was it that when you were looking forward to a specific day, it took forever to arrive, but when you were dreading a day, it was there immediately?
I loved these quotes, and this book was a page turner, at times it could be really hard to put down, even when I knew I had to. Instead of the entire series just being about reincarnation, in this book there are elements of magic and something else (it was so amazing), which was pretty awesome. While I was reading the first book, I really wouldn't have guessed that it was about anything other than reincarnation. In general this book had so many surprises, I constantly saying things like "That's what was in the potion Chelsea drank?! Oh my god." (really, wait until you find out what it is), and I loved how it wasn't predicable. The plot was just great, I would've even liked the book to be longer and have more romantic Lizzie and Drew moments, I loved them  as a couple and felt like now that they're together they'd actually have more scenes together, but it really isn't the case. Although, she did a very good job of having them in love without over doing the physical side of the relationship, they rarely kissed and I'm almost positive there isn't a make out scene in the book. That being said, I thought it was also a good idea because they didn't really have a chance to be friends before, and even though they're dating now they're getting to know, and wholehearted trust each other, not just as best friends but has partners too. I found it to be incredibly sweet.

Lizzie is such a good person overall, she doesn't hold a grudge against Chelsea, even though she almost killed her. She even tried not to be too affectionate to Drew while Chelsea was around because it might still be too soon for her! Chelsea really did change, I didn't like her at all in the beginning of the book and by the end I didn't mind her, I even liked her. She's completely changed, and even assists Drew and Lizzie in saving Lizzie's life. She seems to realize, even though she doesn't say it, that she'll find the one who is truly meant for her too. Jeremy,  who doesn't have a big part but is in the beginning, is starting to see that he's meant for someone else, and is very sweet to Lizzie in scene they have together. As for Drew, I wanted more of him, he's so sweet and determined.

The ending was really great, I loved it. It made sense and brought the story to a nice close without many questions being unanswered (I say many because I want to know who Chelsea will be with! Maybe she hasn't met him yet.) I really can't say much about it without ruining the book, other than: wait until you get to the epilogue, the first lines of it left me speechless, and then I read was amazing. One of the better endings I've read, and again, I wish the book was longer, or there just another book about Drew and Lizzie!

"If a book is well written, I always find it too short." -Jane Austen
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn't. Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from both foreign realms and within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled. To conquer the power she bears once and for all, Elisa must follow the trail of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues from the deep, undiscovered catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her goes a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man who—despite everything—she is falling in love with. If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost. 

Title: The Crown of Embers 
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Published: September 18th 2012 by Greenwillow Books
ISBN: 0062026518 (ISBN13: 9780062026514)

When I read the book jacket of The Crown of Embers, I was laughing at the comments of how amazing this book was. I'm not exactly sure why I picked up the sequel to this series. Quoting myself, "Will I be reading the next book in this series? Probably not...unless I feel like wasting a few hours of my day." I hated the first book, but I'm so glad I did decide to read the second. Never in my experience has a series started off with two stars then moved up to five stars! It definitely wasn't what I expected.

Unlike the last book, the relationships between characters is much more visible. Elisa has grown so much as a character. She's stronger, smarter, and braver. Also, she doesn't feel as dependent on food as she used to and has learned to embrace herself instead of constantly thinking negative thoughts. She deals with sacrifice and after her journey through the desert, actually thrives through hardships. Elisa works so hard for the good of the country, and has accepted it as her home. She is a natural born leader.

Ximena is a character who is the closest thing to a mother, warning boys away and caring for Elisa's safety. Mara, her lady's maid, is always there for her like a true friend while also making witty comments that would make me smile. Oh! And how could I forget about dear little Rosario? He is such a sweet kid, and I absolutely loved the scene when he asks her to dance!

However, my favorite relationship was between Elisa and Hector, the Commander of the Royal Guard. They could have a conversation simply by their gestures and actions, and always seemed to know when the other was upset. It's a love full of struggle, but I hope to see them together soon.

I picked up this novel with the lowest of expectations, so I never thought I would be saying this about this novel, but it was one of the best I've read. Like her characters, Rae Carson has grown so much as a writer and I am actually excited to read the next book, The Bitter Kingdom, which comes out on August 27th!

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." -Lemony Snicket
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Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Title: The Selection
Series: The Selection #1
Published: April 24th 2012 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062059939 (ISBN13: 9780062059932)

Thirty-five girls are chosen to compete for Prince Maxon's affections to be the next Queen. For America, this is an opportunity to be able to provide for her family with enough food so they don't go to bed hungry. But what was once a way to simply hide from her past romance turns into a love triangle. In most novels, I have been getting tired of the concept of a love triangle, but in The Selection, it was suspenseful. America starts off telling Prince Maxon she isn't interested in him, and friend-zones him within their first conversation, but as they talk and confide in each other, they begin to trust each other and new feelings develop. 

America is such a strong character in this book, and very humble and compassionate. When there is a raid in the palace, she refuses to leave her maids and brings them to the hideout despite the fact they were part of a lower caste, which has never mattered to her. She also grows as a leader throughout this competition and finds her voice. She doesn't let people push her around, and tells them how she feels right away. That was one of my favorite aspects of the relationship between America and Maxon. When they first met, she went as far to call him stuck-up and that was a refreshing change for Maxon who has been used to the royal lifestyle of everybody practically kissing the floor he walks on. He isn't confident in himself and has never had a real friend because of his sheltered life. Their banter is always friendly and witty, and he always acts like a perfect gentleman. Except when they're mad at each other, of course. No relationship is perfect! 

Personally, I didn't like Aspen. He was much too proud for my liking and throws a fit when America tries to help his family and cooks him food. I understand he feels a man should provide for his family, but she just wanted to do something nice, especially when she heard he had been saving up to propose to her. I hate how just waltzes back into America's life as if nothing happened. He should respect her more than that, he just left her crying. Then again, if I were America I probably would have kept up more of a grudge too. 

Celeste is one of the minor characters who we all know in real life. She thinks she's better than everybody else and sabotages all the girls, but when Prince Maxon comes into the room she acts innocent. A lot like The Bachelor! However, Marlee, who is America's closest friend during The Selection, is quite the opposite. She is very loving and kind and tries not to let the other girls bother her.

Overall this was an amazing novel, the characters had their own unique personalities that are unforgettable. Since the second book, The Elite, has come out recently, I hope to read it at soon as possible!

"You cannot open a book without learning something." -Confucius 
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Vengeance by Michelle Madow

How far would you go to get revenge?
When Chelsea Givens discovered that her ex-boyfriend Drew dumped her to be with her former best friend Lizzie, she'd never felt so betrayed in her life. Then her new friend Shannon tells her she can help set things right. Chelsea's willing to listen, but what Shannon wants her to believe -- that she shared a past life with Drew -- is impossible. And what she wants her to do to get him back … well, it's downright crazy.

Could Shannon be telling the truth? And if she is, what lengths will Chelsea go if it means making Lizzie pay?

Title: Vengeance 
Series: Transcend Time #1.5
Published December 8th 2011 by Dreamscape Publishing
ISBN13: 9780615559711
Barnes & Noble|Amazon

This book is only 66 pages, for this reason, my review is going to be shorter than usual. 

For starters, I never was a fan of Chelsea in the first place, when she decides to turn evil, I truly wasn't surprised. I understand she was hurt because her boyfriend left her for her best friend, but my boyfriend recently broke up with me too, and I honestly thought he was meant for me, but because I still love him, if he's happy with someone else I wouldn't take that from him for my own happiness. Being with him while he's unhappy isn't better than just being friends. I guess I was right not to like Chelsea, she doesn't think like this. She's ready the ruin Drew's life, who she supposedly loves, all because she thinks they're meant to be. I think if she truly loved him, his happiness would come first, but that's just me. It's not like he wasn't happy, he was, she could tell and he told her he was. He even goes as far as telling her that she will find someone else, someone who truly loves her like he loves Lizzie, yet she can't seem to take a hint.

The way in which Chelsea finds out about her past life with Drew and Lizzie was very creative, and I truly didn't expect it. I do think you get the impression that Shannon has a lot more to do with Chelsea figuring out her past than she actually does. This book was meant to bridge the first and the second book, and it does a very good job at that. The way she plans on getting Drew back seemed a little far fetched, and simple, but choosing something a little more simple that she could fully explain in so few pages rather than briefly explaining a complicated concept was probably a much better idea.

Shannon actually seemed to be different in this book, although Lizzie did mention the awful criticism of her friends was behind their backs, so I guess it made sense. Although, Chelsea does mention more than once that she knows she has a act specific way, and say the right things around her. I think she may be trying so hard to replace Lizzie that she doesn't seem to care if she can't be herself around her supposed friends.

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book."
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only Scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out—a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies’ cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen’s sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Title: Dreamless

Series: Starcrossed #2
Published: May 29th 2012 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062012010 (ISBN13: 9780062012012)

I'll admit, this book wasn't quite as good as the first one, but I couldn't bring myself to rate this book lower than five stars! For a group of people who are apparently geniuses, these Scions really don't know their basic math. If Helen is seventeen years old, and Ajax died nineteen years ago, how can he be her father? For me, this book was a slow start and hard to get into, and it really only got interesting towards the end of the novel. I didn't exactly love the way Angelini threw in a love triangle in the midst of all this. Orion was a great character who had it all, but I didn't think this series needed another guy who Helen can't be with to go after her....and it made me sort of uncomfortable reading how Lucas and Helen couldn't stay away from each other even though they thought they were first cousins...ew.  But since that whole drama about blood debts owed to Houses is over with and the war with the gods has started, who knows what will happen.

Her mother seems a bit dodgy to me, why would she lie to her daughter that Lucas is her cousin? I think she has her own agenda in store for us in the next book. I absolutely loved Hector! In the last book, he was sort of a jerk but now he's probably one of the sweetest guys to read about. He definitely has that whole protective older brother role towards Helen, and gives amazing hugs. However, Claire wasn't as good of a friend or as supportive as she used to be, and that was disappointing.

Overall, Dreamless keeps up a strong plot and was an interesting and worthwhile read. I believe the next book, Goddess, has come out recently, so I hope to read and review that one soon!

"I like big books and I cannot lie." LOL, I found the quote on Pinterest...had to share that one.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Title: Starcrossed
Series: Starcrossed #1
Published: May 31st 2011 by HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062011995 (ISBN13: 9780062011992)

This isn't your typical love at first sight novel. No, it was more like kill on first sight. I have always loved Greek mythology (except when I'm reading it in class, of course). The stories of how people connect things unexplained without science is interesting to read about, and how Angelini related modern times to something that occurred thousands of years ago was enthralling. 

Most of us have heard of the Trojan War, about how the goddesses began to fight over what is now known as the Apple of Discord, which created a chain of events that began the war. As punishment from the numerous deaths, after one person kills another, the Fates would haunt another person to kill the person who killed first, and then that person would be haunted. It's a viscous cycle of death, though I'm not exactly sure how killing more people makes up for deaths, the Fates have a twisted since of logic. Because Hector, Lucas's cousin, is now labeled as a kin-killer, Lucas has the never ending urge to kill him. 

Like any good love story, there is usually forbidden love. Helen and Lucas are from two different Houses, so they can't be together unless they want to invoke the wrath of the gods who would declare a war on humanity. They try to stay away from each other, but the Fates also happen to have a dry sense of humor and refuse to leave them alone. 

The only way to solve these problems? Destroy the Furies.

The characters in this story were amazing, each with their own personality that is unforgettable. Helen's friends, Claire and Matt, are so supportive throughout this whole ordeal, it makes you begin to question who really is the strongest out of the group. 

Overall, this was a very interesting read, with some witty, suspenseful, and heroic moments.  I've already begun to read the second book, so hopefully that review will be up next week!

“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” -Henry Ward Beecher
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis

Jaque Pierce was just an ordinary 17 year old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, Texas. When a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street, Jacque and her two best friends, Sally and Jen, don't realize the last two weeks of their summer was going to get a lot more interesting. From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn to is actually a Canis lupis, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate; the other half of his soul. The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring, Texas. Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy, will Jacque accept that she is Fane's mate and complete the bond between them?

Title: Prince of Wolves
Series: The Grey Wolves #1
Published June 29th 2011
ASIN: B005983WCQ (ISBN-13: 9781463685683)
Barnes & Noble|Amazon

Some books I read are hard to put down, and make me wish the series would never end, others take me forever to read for differing reasons. Now, I wouldn't say this book is awful and that I'll never read it again, because in all honesty I probably will before I read the second book (which won't be any time soon, my to-read list is way too long for that) but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy the paperback version or to continue reading the series.

The thing I disliked most about the book, (and I feel terrible for saying this) was the writing. The description made this book seem like it would've been a cute romance story, and I was (obviously) very disappointed. The characters were fine, but the writing. I felt like the book, especially the dialogue, was too forced, and didn't flow. Also, in some parts she stated a characters name on one page far too many times, though that was only minor. Part of me thinks that with a good editor this book could be rewritten into something I would agree was a pretty good book, even with though they fall in love after 5 days and the plot was way too predicable, I actually believe there weren't even plot twists whosoever.
"What the hell was that? Do you make it a habit to jump out of two story structures? Were you thinking, 'hey the front door is such a typical way to leave a place why not mix it up a bit and fall out of the window instead'?"
The writing did have its high points too, it could be really funny. I'm having trouble writing about the characters because I feel like I don't really know them. They seemed to be vague. All I know about Jacque is that she throws fits that even she agrees resembles a two year old, she's from Texas, is Fane's mate, only half wolf, and shares a lot more than necessary at times.

Stemming from that, I had two problems with people sharing too much information in this book. One being, why is it that you hear a voice in your head and you decide to tell your best friends? But that isn't even the worst part, they act like its an everyday occurrence and accept the fact that she hear voices right away. If C.J. told me she was hearing voices if probably ask if she was either joking, on something, or sleep deprived. The other moment of excessive sharing was when Fane and Jacque decide to tell the Henry's (the family Fane is staying with) all about their who situation, why? Because Fane wants to stay over Jacques for a few nights to protect her. I don't know how werewolves are even a secret if its normal to go telling your neighbors.

C.J. even agrees with my review (only she's meaner than me, she only gave it two stars. Shh! Don't tell her I said that), so I hope I'm not being too hard on it, but I guess I can't review to easier just because it's a free ebook, that isn't very fair.
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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” -Confucius
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