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Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 5 Books Read in 2011

In no particular order here are my favorite books read in 2011:

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.
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...
Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen. When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul's great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them. After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.

In the first pages of this standalone sequel to The Lost Hero, Percy Jackson remembers only his name and the name of Annabeth, a mysterious woman he associates somehow with the city of San Francisco. From those sparse clues, he must somehow complete a mission for the leader of the Roman camp even as he is being pursued by the two sisters of Medusa, who possess an apparently unquenchable thirst for vengeance: Even when killed, they spring back to life. Rick Riordan's second Heroes of Olympus promises even more excitement than the first.

WE KNOW YOU ARE HERE, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS . . . Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost -- how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. BURN A PURE AND BREATHE THE ASH . . . There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss -- maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Sword and the Dragon Review

522 pages

When the Royal Wizard of Westland poisons the king so that his puppet prince can take the throne and start a continental war, a young squire is forced to run for his life carrying the powerful sword that his dying monarch burdened him with from the death bed. Two brothers find a magic ring and start on paths to becoming the most powerful sort of enemies, while an evil young sorceress unwillingly falls in love with one of them when he agrees to help her steal a dragon's egg for her father. Her father just happens to be the Royal Wizard, and despite his daughter's feelings, he would love nothing more than to sacrifice the boy! All of these characters, along with the Wolf King of Wildermont, the Lion Lord of Westland, and a magical hawk named Talon, are on a collision course toward Willa the Witch Queen's palace in the distant kingdom of Highwander. There the very bedrock is formed of the powerful magical substance called Wardstone.
Who are the heroes? And will they get there before the Royal Wizard and his evil hordes do?
Whatever happens, the journey will be spectacular, and the confrontation will be cataclysmic.


Review:
First off I find it extremely intriguing that the author wrote this novel while spending time in prison. That such a compelling and awesome novel could be made in such a negative space is amazing. I love an epic fantasy novel and this was no exception. From the very start you are thrown into an adventure that gets more exciting and detailed as the book goes on. As with a lot of fantasy novels this has plenty of magic, elves, dwarves, and dragons. There are several main characters and while they are all different they each have different sides to them that pull you in. The battles and injuries are very detailed and at times while reading I found myself feeling strongly about a death of a character I connected with. I really liked that while this was a semi-long novel it came to a great conclusion while leaving the story open for another novel. I can't wait to read the next one and see how the story continues. I definitely recommend this to those who love fantasy novels and epic tales.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Touch of Power Review

394 pages
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...

Review:
Only one word can possibly describe this book, Amazing. This might be my favorite Maria V. Snyder novel yet. This novel is a perfect blend of action and adventure and romance.  Avry is a likeable character from the very start of the book. She's strong, independent and doesn't take no for an answer. I love the fact that Avry does what she wants to do no matter the consequences. The characters she encounters throughout the novel are extremely interesting and compelling. I loved the relationship between Avry and Kerrick as it wasn't typical and it has a lot of conflicting and rocky moments. Even though Avry's power as a healer isn't what I would typically feel is a strong one for a heroine, she makes it her strength and I was definitely impressed by that. A lot of questions are answered in this novel but there are a few left unanswered in the end that leave me anticipating the continuation of Avry's story. This novel is a must read and I can't wait to read the next one!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Revealing Eden Review

320 pages
Release date: January 10th, 2012
Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. If only she can mate with a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class, she'll be safe. Just maybe one Coal sees the Real Eden and will be her salvation her co-worker Jamal has begun secretly dating her. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, she finds herself in the eye of a storm and thrown into the last area of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land. Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity's last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. Eden must change to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of love, along with a little help from her "adopted aunt" Emily Dickinson.

Review:
This book would have had a lot of promise to be a great and enjoyable novel if the main character hadn't been such an idiot. Eden is extremely self-deprecating and willing to do anything to get the attention of a guy. Throughout the novel she makes one bad decision after another and its like she never learns from her mistakes.I can't say I enjoyed this novel but I read through it to see if Eden gets better or more interesting. She didn't. I liked the fact that this novel showed prejudice from a different point of view and I guess I have to take that into consideration when I think about Eden's personality flaws. At the same time there were quite a few things in the novel that just didn't add up to me like the fact that most people didn't go outside because it was supposed to be dangerous but then all of a sudden Eden is outside all the time with no consequences. I can't say I recommend this novel since I really didn't enjoy it but I guess I'll still read the next one when it comes out to see if it improves.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!




I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Abarat Review

477 pages
A journey beyond imagination is about to unfold. . . .

It begins in the most boring place in the world: Chickentown, U.S.A. There lives Candy Quackenbush, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future might hold.
When the answer comes, it's not one she expects.
Welcome to the Abarat.

Review:
Well this book was definitely more entertaining than I thought it would be. Candy Quackenbush is a character who wants to get out of her small town and not end up like everyone else there. She has a mind for adventure and is always searching for something different and exciting. Eventually she ends up having a wild chase with a monstrous man and helping another with eight heads. Then she ends up in Abarat. Abarat is a place full of adventure and you never know quite what to expect. It is a completely different world from the one that Candy grew up in. I really liked Candy as a character because of her fearlessness and readiness to explore a new world. The world of Abarat was wonderfully created and brings a lot more to the imagination. I really think this was a great fantasy novel and I can't wait to see where Candy's adventures take her next. I definitely recommend this to those who like an amusing and fun fantasy novel.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer!!!!



I'm rarely a fan of books turned into movies but I have to admit that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was masterfully done. Now we have the Hobbit being made into a movie! I'm excited... are you? :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Severed Review


Reychel knows her gift of prophecy will lead to madness and now she is at her most vulnerable. The enemy army will attempt to sever her from everything she's ever known: her homeland, her friends, Mark, and her gift. Even at her weakest, she refuses to give up on her desire to end the war between the Malborn and the Serenians. Reychel would do anything, even come back from the dead, to conquer the enemy and reunite with Mark.

Review:
This novel was a little more exciting than the other two in the series and had a wonderful ending.There were a lot of surprises and twists in the storyline and we also see the return of a few familiar characters. I enjoyed this novel more because Reychel was a stronger and more confident character. Megg Jensen writes shorter novels than I normally read but she is great at making a story come alive. I liked the fact that things progress quickly in the novel even though it can seem too fast at times. This is a series that is worth reading especially when you're looking for a quick exciting novel to finish.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lost in Time Review

342 pages
After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option. Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she'll have to put her own feelings aside if she's going to save her crumbling Coven. Packed with heartache, twists, and vampiric folklore, Lost in Time is sure to satisfy hungry fans' cravings for more Blue Bloods adventure.

Review: 
What can I say about this novel? When this series first started I loved it. It was fresh, new and exciting. By the time this book rolled around the series has gotten drawn out and boring. There is so much random things going on that the book just doesn't seem that interesting anymore. Schuyler was such a great character in the first book but it seems she's lost that spark that connected me to her as a character. I feel like most of the questions brought up in the book weren't answered at all. The only parts I really liked were when the focus was on Mimi and Oliver. Their adventure to find Kingsley was interesting and fun. Basically for this series I can only hope the next book picks things back up or just comes to an end..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Execution Review

288 pages
The whole world has become a prison, and Alfred Furnace is its master. Monsters rule the streets, beasts of pure fury that leave nothing but murder and madness in their wake. Those who do not die are turned, becoming slaves to Furnace's reign of cruelty. It is a war to end all wars, one that will leave the planet in ruins. I am a monster too. I am one of Alfred Furnace's children. And I am the only one who can stop him. I have to find a way to use my powers to destroy Furnace, but in doing so I risk becoming the very force that kills us all. I don't know if I am the executed or the executioner. I don't know who will die: me, Furnace or the entire human race. All I know is that one way or another, it all ends today.

Review:
A crazy and amazing ending to a great series! I have loved all 4 novels in this series so far and the 5th one was no exception. It was extremely bittersweet when this series came to an end for me. So many things happened to Alex since the first novel and its amazing to watch his transformation physically and mentally. I loved that everything was finally explained and all the mysteries were cleared up. Alfred Furnace is a total badass but there is a reason behind his madness. I loved the fact that I was not able to predict a moment of this book because the characters kept doing the unexpected. This novel is extremely gory and descriptive so it does not disappoint.I definitely recommend this novel to those who have read this whole series. It is an extremely worthy finale.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nook Color Update to Ver 1.4.1



If you know me you know there is nothing I love more than my Nook Color. It's the perfect device for reading your favorite book or magazine and now for watching your favorite movie! There are also games and other apps you can download if you want other options besides reading. Today an update to version 1.4.1 was released which now gives access to Netflix! The NOOK Color Ver 1.4.1 update contains new features and enhancements, including:
  • Access to popular movies and TV shows streamed through Netflix
  • NOOK Comics™ including the largest collection of Marvel graphic novels - with vivid colors & rich images, the action nearly jumps off the page. Your issues always in perfect condition to enjoy again & again.
  • PagePerfect™ NOOK Books™ - a whole new category of NOOK Books carefully crafted to keep the precision and beauty of their stunning print versions. Zoom in on pictures, and fluidly scroll through pages of beautiful cookbooks, art books, and more.
  • Over 100 enhancements, including reading NOOK Books in portrait and landscape modes, direct look-up of words in the built-in dictionary, increased font size selection, and more. 
Head over to the Barnes and Noble website and download the update if you have a Nook Color. I definitely recommend it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oubliette Review

186 pages
Reychel thought she was finally free. She was wrong. Everyone saw her gift of prophecy as a blessing, but her gift is uncontrollable. No one alive can teach her to manipulate her unique gift and the answers she needs lie buried within a madman’s journals. She’s thrust in the midst of a brewing war and the only uniting factor for her people is their belief in the Prophet. Will Reychel learn to control her gift or will she be forced to deliver a false prophecy that could lead her people into a violent war?

Review:
The second book in this trilogy, Oubliette is another short novel. A lot more action and betrayal forms the majority of this book. Reychel's journey to discover and figure out her gift is difficult. Reychel also has to learn that not everyone can be trusted. A couple of new characters are introduced in this book and we see the return of a few favorites. I enjoyed that there was so much mystery in this book that I was never really sure what would happen next. The ending just increased my anticipation to hurry up and get through the last book. I definitely recommend this if you love fantasy fiction novels.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anathema Review

206 pages
Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.
Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday - when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel's help. Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?


Review:
Well this novel was a quick read. I really thought it was 500 pages because for some reason it showed up on my nook color that way and it was a bit disappointing to discover it was actually way less. Nevertheless this was an interesting book. There is slavery and violence and magic all mixed together to create an awesome adventure. I don't feel like I got to know Reychel deeply as a character since the book went quickly. However, from what I did read, Reychel seems to be on her way to developing into a great heroine. I really liked the drama and secrets in the book that kept me reading and interested until the end. Sometimes it was frustrating to read but in a good way because I wanted to know exactly what was going on. However, there are quite a bit of unexpected twists in the end that are worth figuring out. This is the first book in the series so I can only hope for improvement in the next one. I recommend this book to everyone who loves a fast paced fantasy fiction novel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kiss of Frost Review

354 pages
I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Acad­emy, and I have no idea how I’m going to sur­vive the rest of the semes­ter. One day, I’m get­ting schooled in sword­play by the guy who broke my heart—the drop-dead gor­geous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invis­i­ble archer in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties decides to use me for tar­get prac­tice. And now, I find out that some­one at the acad­emy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword—with Logan’s help—I just might die by the sword..

Review:
Once again I'm disappointed. It was such a chore to read a repeat of the first novel in the series. So many things were just repeated over and over again it was annoying. Gwen did not improve as a character either. She is so self-pitying and desperate for attention that its depressing. And the Reaper was extremely obvious to figure out without thought. The only thing that saves this novel, barely, is Gwen's romance with Logan. I wanted to see Gwen get the guy but her insecurities made it hard to enjoy. The last part of the book was more fast paced with a lot of new information that was revealed. That peaked a little of my interest in what the next novel may be about. This series isn't terrible but for someone who has read as much books as I have it may be a bit tedious. I don't want to recommend reading this unless you just have some time to kill.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Touch of Frost Review

350 pages

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

Review:
After reading this book I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. I love mythology so I also love books based on ancient mythology. This book definitely had a lot of potential. Its not a bad book but I can't say it was exceptional either. Gwen Frost is a likable character when she's not pitying herself or repeating the same annoying phrases often. If I had to read "Logan freaking Quinn" one more time I probably would have stopped reading out of frustration. There seems to be a lot and I do mean a lot of repetition in this book. However, I do like the concept and the underlying story in the book. There is quite a bit of action, a hot guy, and magic which always makes me happy. I think that Gwen as a character still has some growing to do that I'm hoping to discover in the next novel in this series. I recommend this book for a quick read if you like mythology and magic.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Legend Review

305 pages
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.


Review:
This was a wonderfully refreshing dystopian novel. Day and June are both likable and interesting narrators. Day is the "bad boy" of the book, a renegade causing trouble for the Republic. June is of course the "good girl" but with a rebellious streak. Both Day and June are strong characters who would do anything for the people they love. I love the dystopian world the author created here but I wish there had been more of a back story and explanation to how it got that way. The story was extremely fast paced and hinted that all might not be what the Republic says it is.There are a lot of underhanded things going on in that society but the full scope of what it all means I guess will be saved for the next book. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that the story seemed too short. I wish there had been ore to it but like I said, that will probably be saved for the next book. I definitely recommend this book especially if you love dystopian fiction.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Starcrossed Review

359 pages
Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.

Review:
This book seemed to have a lot of potential but I have to say it was extremely tedious to get through. I found that things seemed to be a bit disjointed at times. I felt like the story just dragged on and took too long to come to any sort of climax. Digger is an interesting main character but I can't say that she was a really likable one. I did like unraveling the secrets and mysteries that everyone around Digger was hiding. There wasn't any real romance I guess because Digger's lover died so closely, but it didn't have a big impact on the story. I think that this story just needed to be developed a bit more then it could have been an excellent novel. All in all I would not recommend this book to pass time unless you have absolutely nothing else to read.