Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Froi of the Exiles Review

593 pages
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes... Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess. And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen. 

Review (ARC):
OMG. This book was excellent. And frustrating. But mostly excellent. I have to say that this is a huge improvement over the first book in the series and it completely blew me away. The author's ability to make the characters come alive is amazing. Froi is the orphaned exile that Queen Isaboe and Finnikin found in the first book and he is the star of this new novel. You get to see a different side of Froi that you didn't know was there and love him for it. Even though Froi is the main character we get to see more intimate sides of some of the favorites from the first book. There are so many twists and turns in this book that I didn't know what was going to happen. Every time I thought the book was coming to an end something completely new would be revealed. I was only frustrated by the ending because its a MAJOR cliffhanger. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in this series when it comes out so I can find out what happened! I definitely recommend reading this book. Generally I would say read the first one before you read this one but this book works as a standalone novel too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge


Ms. Book Queen will be participating in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge over at http://thestorysiren.com

The objective: To read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013.

The deadline to join is May 31, 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finnikin of the Rock Review

399 pages
At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere. But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps. Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny. 

Review:
At first, reading this novel was pretty tedious. Something about the way it is written didn't flow or resonate with me for about the first half of the book. It seemed a bit confusing. However, as the story continued I found myself getting immersed in the story of Finnikin and Evanjalin and waiting to see what happens with the rest of the Lumatere exiles. It took a while to get to the climax and that was pretty short and to the point. I loved when the secrets were revealed and how the book ended. Finnikin is a headstrong character but he also has quite a sincere and heartwarming personality. Evanjalin proves to be more than you first expect and shows that she is an extremely strong young women. This book was definitely worth the read and I recommend it to anyone who like a sincerely good and solid fantasy novel.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Obernewtyn Review

256 pages
The Obernewtyn Chronicles - Book One
For Elspeth Gordie freedom is-like so much else after the Great White-a memory. It was a time known as the Age of Chaos. In a final explosive flash everything was destroyed. The few who survived banded together and formed a Council for protection. But people like Elspeth-mysteriously born with powerful mental abilities-are feared by the Council and hunted down like animals...to be destroyed. Her only hope for survival to is keep her power hidden. But is secrecy enough against the terrible power of the Council?

Review: 
I really enjoyed this book. The society created here is completely controlled by a religious faction. Anyone who may be different or suspected of being different are either killed or sent to work as slaves. Its interesting that in this dystopia people have developed strong mental powers after what seems to have been a nuclear war that wiped out almost everyone. Elspeth is one of those who has strong mental powers and she is taken to be a slave after it is discovered that she is a "Misfit." I really liked Elspeth especially as she develops and becomes more powerful and sure of herself as the book goes on. There is a lot of mystery in this book that just keeps you reading until you find out exactly whats going on in the end. I definitely think that if you like dystopian novels you should start reading this first book in the series.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Pledge Review

320 pages
Words are the most dangerous weapon of all. In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed. Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Review (ARC): 
What an imaginative and adventurous book! Different classes with different languages worked well as a way of separating people and keeping them in their place. However, Charlie's ability to understand anyone's language gives us a better look at what the people within other classes are like and the unhappiness that runs throughout the lower classes. One thing that I especially enjoyed in this book was the return to the royal system. I think that is amazingly different from most dystopian novels plots. I enjoyed Charlie as a main character because she embodies strength and doesn't fall all over Max even when she finds out who he really is. Charlie maintains a mind of her own despite the oppression in her society and I admire her for that. This was a really interesting and fun to read novel and I recommend it to anyone who loves dystopian novels as much as I do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skinned Review

368 pages

The Download was supposed to change the world. It was supposed to mean the end of aging the end of death, the birth of a new humanity. But it wasn't supposed to happen to someone like Lia Kahn. And it wasn't supposed to ruin her life. Lia knows she should be grateful she didn't die in the accident. The Download saved her--but it also changed her, forever. She can deal with being a freak. She can deal with the fear in her parents' eyes and the way her boyfriend flinches at her touch. But she can't deal with what she knows, deep down, every time she forces herself to look in the mirror: She's not the same person she used to be. Maybe she's not even a person at all.

Review:
Lia Kahn dies in an accident but isn't allowed to die by her parents. They bring her back to life as a robot not really thinking about what it may mean. Lia has to deal with everyone treating her differently and not seeing her as a person anymore. 
I think that this book was an excellent story. It showed the depth of people's prejudice and strength of beliefs. I felt so bad for Lia having to deal with everyone treating her different even though she didn't ask to be brought back. I wasn't a fan of Auden and I wasn't surprised by how his friendship with Lia turned out. I was glad when Lia finally came into her own and stopped trying to be just accepted by everyone that was normal. The question of humanity is a big one in this book and there's a lot of debate on what makes one human. 
All in all this was a great book. I definitely recommend it to those who like dystopian novels.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lockdown Review

273 pages
Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison. Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world

Review: 
Love love love! This book definitely was action filled and spooky and left me with more questions than answers but I couldn't put it down! The book starts out with Alex being sentenced unfairly to a maximum security youth prison for a murder he didn't commit. Furnace Penitentiary.... even imagining the worst scariest prison on earth can't top this place. As soon as Alex steps foot in the prison the mysteries of Furnace Penitentiary begin to pop up. There are so much weird things going on that it leaves you thirsting to finish the book so you can find out just what the hell is going on. Almost everything is described in great detail and I could feel myself being pulled in the book and experiencing things right along with the character. The ending doesn't answer everything you may want to know but luckily there are more books in the series. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who just likes to read a good fiction novel and aren't afraid of a lot of horror.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fire Study Review

441 pages
When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.... Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

Review: 
While not as great as the other two books in this series, this one is still a good ending. There is plenty of action and suspense and just overall adventure in this book. Yelena is a strong female character and she develops a lot from the person she was in the first book. It seems like Yelena is a magnet for misfortune because bad things keep happening to her but its kind of fun figuring out how she will get through it or come to discover a hidden mystery. There is tests of loyalty as Yelena has the help of her usual friends along the way and a harrowing moment of uncertainty with her lover Valek. All in all it makes for a great ending to this series. I recommend this book as long as you've read the first two in the series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Fire Wars Review

262 pages
Mackenzy Evers had moved with her mother from Angel Island to Aeros Island during her senior year. What can be worse than to finish her senior year at a new school? Living during the post-Erosion period on Earth where there is less land than before, Mac is happy to discover an island of rich beauty and lush landscapes, not to mention mysterious handsome boys and an ancient prophecy that is set to come true in Mac's lifetime. Chance Cutter claims she is his Queen, his goddess to his Fire King, whom he had been searching for years. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, yet why does he seem to hate her? And who is she really?

Review:
This book was pretty good. I love books that focus on mythology and this definitely brought a nice tie-in to that. At the same time its also dystopian and based on my reviews you can see how much I love dystopian novels. This might definitely be one of the best books I've read from Kailin Gow thus far. There is a kind of triangle between Mac and the two guys vying for her attention. I love the intensity of the way the relationships are described. I especially enjoyed how it was revealed to be connected to Roman mythology. I can't wait to read the next book in the series since this one left me wanting more. I definitely recommend this for those who are fans of dystopian novels and mythology as well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inheritance Review

849 pages
Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to AlagaĆ«sia? And if so, at what cost? This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.

Review: 
Such a great ending to an excellent series! At 800+ pages this book is satisfying in length and storyline. From the very start you're thrown into the action and adventure Eragon experiences as he fights his way to Galbatorix. The battle scenes are described in detail and the world is experienced through Eragon, his cousin Roran and Nasuada.  Eragon is still the main focus of the book. however, it brings a greater experience seeing the world through the other characters eyes. There are more mysteries to be discovered and new characters to be introduced. The ending was satisfying but also left a little open so there could possibly be a whole new series that comes from it. I definitely recommend this book but you also have to read the other 3 books in the series first.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Destined Review

352 pages
In Destined, the forces of Light and Dark collide as their epic struggle focuses on Tulsa's House of Night. Zoey is home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side and preparing to face off against Neferet. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, he and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together if Rephaim can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow. But is Zoey really safe? Does she truly know those who are closest to her? And will love win when it is tested by the very soul of Darkness?

Review:
This novel is another good addition to the House of Night Series.First let me say this series is such a guilty pleasure of mine. Its one of those series that you really shouldn't enjoy but you do anyways. So once again we see Zoey learning more about herself and the others around her and trying to figure out ways to defeat Neferet. There is a lot of plotting and some action at the end of the book that of course ends in a cliffhanger. Always leave them wanting more right? Anyways this is a great continuation of the series and I can't wait to see what happens next. If you want to read this make sure you read the other books first.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crossed Review

384 pages
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Review: 
I was not happy in the slightest with this second book in the Matched series. The whole novel was filled with internal musings not much action and just generally a storyline that I couldn't bring myself to care about. Basically nothing happens in this book at all. I am very disappointed with this book because I expected at least for something interesting to happen or some type of great plot development. I can't even tell the difference when the two main characters are narrating. I tried really hard to find something to like about this book but I was just left feeling confused and unsatisfied. I will read the third Matched novel when it comes out just to see if it improves but generally I can't recommend reading this book unless you want to continue the series.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Anticipation of the Week

Inheritance. The last book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. It will be available on Tuesday. Excited!!!!