Saturday, January 26, 2013

Soulless by Gail Carriger

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

This is a book I have been wanting to read for some time and imagine the look on my face when I see that the publisher has all five books in the series available to purchase. I prefer to read a completed series because I get so impatient during releases and it allows me to read the whole series straight through.

This book is more of stemapunk with mystery. The plot was unpredictable, whenever I thought I had something figured out, something else would happen and throw it off the surface. It has a very unique take on the supernatural. I love the steampunk books because I am a huge fan of the Victorian era. The main character, Alexia, of the book has no soul and since she has no soul it neutralized supernatural creatures like wolves. I didn't really find a lot of wolf element. The book does deal with a lot of stereotype. I found this book to be a quick, entertaining, and interesting read with the mixture of fantasy,romance, humor, and steampunk! I really enjoyed how Carriger blended all of the elements to make one fantastic book.. It was a unique and enjoyable read. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Unnaturalist by Tiffany Trent

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger. Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals. As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

The book is told in the point of view of Vespa and Syrus, and is written in third person limited. The world building in THE UNNATURALISTS is just incredible. I love the creatures, magic, and the consequences when it comes to using magic.The creatures, magic filled with choices when using it, all brought together with a unique story. I liked how the the society came around after the Telsa broke up and reclaimed London. New London began with the Victorian era never ending and steampunk progressed along with it. I found myself flipping through the pages eager to see what was going to happen next to the characters! I highly recommend this read!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah's long-standing debutante society. But white gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she's used to. Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League's intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power...but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she discovers secrets-some deadly-hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.

I was very excited to read this book. I heard from a friend in my English class that is an absolute read for people who have read Castor Chronicles series, and I was recommended this book on Goodreads, and I saw it's has a dark, Southern mysterious essence to it, so I had to check it out. I'm a southern girl, and am always on the lookout for books dealing with the South. Crouch brings originality  to the traditional YA genre, but it mostly touches the some of the old tales in the South, like a Georgia society. It keeps you thinking a lot and wondering, like how the league is mysterious, what's hidden behind the locked doors, voodoo magic, it has a southern essence that makes you warm towards the book. I did like this book, it really did remind me of my favorite series the Castor Chronicles and it kept me not wanting to put the book down. The main character Alex represents everything society does to a young girl. I am currently considering buying the second book in the series.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

I read all three books in the series, and to be honest, they really are not that bad. In Hex Hall, the very first sentence that grabs you and makes you want to read the rest of the book, but you find yourself picking things that are from one very popular book series. Hex Hall to me was trying to imitate the Harry Potter books, only this time Harry is a girl named Sophie and when Sophie lost control of her powers in front of the public her father sends her to Hex Hall which is like a juvenile detention for supernatural creatures.

The books idea was intriguing which is why I chose to read it. Book two just had that typical love triangle that gets really annoying in books, and Sophie finds out she's a demon. Book three had to have been the one book in the series that got on my nerves. The plot just ended suddenly, and was too abrupt for example like how the whole war took five pages to write? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows used about 75% of the last book writing about the wizardry world war, wars can be written in books. Also the way Hawkins handled the love triangle within the characters was just torturous to those characters, I mean killing off the fiance? That's horrible, and the plot was too cliche. Hawkins also has releasing this year a spin-off series she is writing for this book series as well. I personally felt like the author was trying to copy the Harry Potter books along with the Vampire Academy, and the popular Disney movies played in the early 2000 the Halloweentown movies. I feel like I'm reading the movie because so many of the themes are so familiar.For example in Harry Potter, boarding school where they learn magic, courses to learn spells, powerful headmaster, relationship between headmaster and student, and student is chosen one? Then from the Vampire Academy, magic castle, vampires, courses learning how to fight, protagonist doesn't know their father, then learns the father is evil himself? 

It's feels like a lot of paranormal books are copying from the ones that are already popular, but try to make the story unique. Hawkins is not a bad writer, but there was too much hopping back and fourth between storylines, and I wish there were some more elements that she created herself than what was from other sources with the same source material.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Monday Shows

I was so happy today! My shows returned! It's one of the reasons I don't like the holidays my shows go on break.

My favorite Monday show is Bunheads! I like Bunheads because well I am a bunhead. I love how the show uses ballet dancers and not stunt doubles.

In episode two of Bunheads, this was such a beautiful ballet tribute!

In the first half of season one, one of my favorite dance scenes was during episode six when Sasha and two other dancers are dancing.

Another dance scene I really like was at the end of season one episode ten when they were rehearsing for The Nutcracker, it was the Evil Rat Dance.

I think one of the highlights in the mid-season finale was when the dance teacher maced the entire ballet during their performance of The Nutcracker.

I also really like the show Switched at Birth, Season one was nothing but drama drama drama, and now the drama continues with season two!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Witch's of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache. For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them. With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

I am a fan of Melissa's other series, but there were some things with this book. It felt a tad random that all three women, who have not used their magic since the Salem witch trials, decide it's finally okay to cast a spell here and there. Is it coincidence that when they using their magic again evil starts to take it's toll. There are parts in the plot that are too stereotype to what myths about withces say. There was a climactic ending, and you feel a connection to the sisters. 

I am an avid fan of Cruz's other book series, Blue Bloods series of vampires in Mahatthan it's almost like Gossip Girl meets Vampires, but I am not too crazy about this first book in the series. Since I read her other series I could have sworn this is just another spin off book from her Blue Blood novels. I think this book series would have read better if Cruz had started writing the series with the concept of a brand new project instead of throwing in the characters from her other book series Blue Blood.Reading this made The writing felt familiar like to her other series

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

I got mixed feeling about this book from other book blogger friends of mine, so I decided to read it. I found the concept of 7 of 9 meets Cinderella in a dystopian atmosphere. This gave a whole new twist to a classic tale. I have gotten really into reading dystopia and what I like the most about dystopia is how the novels are never the same. The dystopia authors come up with so many different story ideas. Since I read Cinder, I thought the idea for this dystopia was very intriguing. I find this a fun and entertaining read. I'm am not really an avid fan of sci-fi. This book is like Star Wars. The plot is pretty much like what happens in other books, and has the slightest retelling of Cinderella with a lot of humor. The characters even act like robots. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch . . . literally?
Ever since fabulously wealthy Malcolm Doran walked into her life and swept her off her feet, fledgling architect Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. When he proposes with a stunning diamond to seal the deal, Jane can't believe her incredible luck and decides to leave her Paris-based job to make a new start with Malcolm in New York.
But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan's most feared and revered families, Jane's fairy tale takes a darker turn. Soon everything she thought she knew about the world—and herself—is upended. Now Jane must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them.

For this to be an adult romance novel, I found it to be a light and enjoyable read. The main character of the story Jane, has a blossoming romance with one of the wealthiest men in Manhattan. Then Jane finds out that her soon to be mother in law is a wicked old witch. I found Jane to be too over-trusting of strangers. While this book is really not my type of chick-lit, it is a proven example of how a writer can write a chick-lit book and still throw in splash of paranormal. I honestly really like the T.V. show, the writers of the show have given the show more plots and twists than what happened in the book.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them. For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways. As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

An agent who I really wanted to work with when I was sending query letters said in her profile see wanted to see more novels like this coming into her submission pile (tip to querying authors, check out the books agents say they would like to see more of, it will also give an insight to their particular taste). I saw the sub-genre was magical realism and I am an avid fan of books dealing with magical realism so I decided it was time I read it. The book has a blossoming romance, and was such a light, delightful read. I liked the imagery Allen puts onto the pages. The way she describes the garden you feel like you are actually in the garden. I am looking forward to reading more of Allen's work very soon.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries

Timed just right to anticipate the August feature-film release from Walt Disney Pictures, with new cover art from the movie With wry, observant wit, Mia chronicles her rocky first month of high school. First she finds out she's the crown princess of a European principality, then there's a first kiss from her big crush, an empowering ice-cream-cone shove into the sweater of her nemesis, and a meltdown in the ladies' room of Manhattan's Plaza Hotel.

The book series revolves around a New Yorker named Mia, who finds out that her father is the prince of a small country called Genovia. Mia has to deal with all of this news while still failing Algebra, deal with her controlling best friend Lily, and try to control her crush over Lily's brother Michael. Later on in the book series, Mia does start going out with her best friend's brother Michael, and they fall in love. Then their relationship hits a rock bottom. In the last book in the series, Mia and Michael do get back together which made me happy, but it took ten books? Unfortunately as much as I like the books an author needs to be careful about how many books they put in a series because the reader can get bore with the series and eventually stop reading that series, but this series was the exception for me. Mia was a fun character and it was very entertaining to be in her head. 

 This is one of my favorite series growing up. These books by Meg Cabot hold a special place in my heart because it's one of the first series I read that made me fall in love with a character so much. Sadly the movie wasn't the same as book one in the series, but I do love Anne Hathaway. These are really quirky books that deal with everyday teenage problems all while being prepared to rule a country. This is such a fun series for teens to read and I urge you to read them, you won't be disappointed. The movie was quite similar to the book, but it was really clear what parts were changed in the movie and the book.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal other wordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I found myself drawn by the cover on the book. I had heard positive things about the book from other reviewers so I thought I would give it a shot. I really enjoyed the book, especially when the romance begins in the book, but the romance wasn't written that well. The book had such an addicting plot it makes me upset I have to wait for months until the next installment, which is why I wait for the whole series to be out before reading books. I also felt like the ending of the book was a bit too abrupt, almost like it just needed to end to keep it going as a series the author has anticipated. I am very curious about what's going to happen in the rest of the series. 

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out? Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Do you remember when you would go to the bookstore and spend hours browsing through the isles looking for a perfect book? Then you find yourself curious about the book and then you you read the summary and it gets you eager to begin reading the book. Once you finally read the book you find yourself not as impressed. I felt that way reading Wither. The book has sex, death, pregnancy and evil intentions. Rhine lives in a society where girls die at 20, and boys die at 25 and scientist fail to find a cure for this virus. People have become accustomed to living in this society either putting their children into an orphanage or selling them into prostitution. Out of what happens to the girls in the novel Rhine was lucky to be with Linden. Rhine doesn't trust anyone. Being inside of the main character Rhine's head just annoyed me, I felt like I was in Bella's head all over again. I had a real hard time trying to like the person who's There are parts in the book that tend to be really bland and needed some tightening up, and also needed a little something extra to spice up the dialogue between the characters. Apart from my issues with the main character, it had some good world building.  Maybe the book would have been better off in written in third person. I didn't find myself drawn to the main character.

Friday, January 04, 2013

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

I found this story an interesting read. The plot and the story takes a while to get into then once you get further into the book its filled with a lot of darkness.The characters had a mystery among them, but it was kind of hard for me to connect what most of the characters were saying. Then there was the big bombshell where Donna's mom is an Alchemist. I am very curious about what happens in the next book in the series. 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The House of Velvet & Glass by Katherine Howe

Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium. But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass. From the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown to the opulent salons of high society, from the back alleys of colonial Shanghai to the decks of theTitanic, The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist that will leave readers breathless.

I was very skeptical to read this book, I have never really read many books in the adult fantasy genre. The only adult books I have ever read were written by J.R. Ward, Jodi Picoult, and Danielle Steele.  I enjoyed this book, but there were some issues with it. It seems like there were too many storylines developing at once. I really liked how realistic the characters were with their many secrets. It gives the readers an essence of Edgar Allen Poe. Howe has such a vivid imagination and wonderful writing. Everything was spectacular: characters; plot; most in particular how she gets everything in her imagination to flow, it's just simply spectacular. People who read Howe's other books were disappointed in this book but if you have read her previous work, read it with an open mind and you won't be disappointed. Everything is not what it seems,  and this phrase will come into your mind while reading this novel.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

I'm going to be blunt, overall this book has a very good plot. There were so many critical aspects to the book as well. The characters during the majority of the book are always drinking tea. Too much vampires and not enough witches. I mean come on, if you are going to write a book about witches, why on earth throw in vampires, unless it was a forbidden love OR friendship between a vampire and a witch almost like Casper meets Wendy, but still. The writing is pretty good, just not the premise of the story. I don't think I'll read the sequel. I also found out the book has been optioned for film, it really amazes me how some of the not so great books get film deals.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Happy New Year! And I am back to blogging about some recent books I read. I just love getting gift cards to Barnes and Noble for Christmas.

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. It’s all a fake. At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—Are about him.

I really liked the way the author wrote this book. Ryder is just so dreamy. The other character Falpian has the dilemma of being loyal to his family or switching loyalties. I found the dilemma to be very interesting throughout the book. Most of the plot throughout this book really did remind me of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet almost with the feuding communities part and seeing where the loyalty lies. I highly recommend this book to those who are an avid fan of high fantasy.