Sky Without Stars Review

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ashes Review

480 pages
It could happen tomorrow . . . An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Review (ARC):
So when I first started reading this book I quickly became annoyed with Alex's unwanted tag-along Ellie. My first thought was Alex is basically alone with flesh eating zombies and she has to deal with an obnoxious 8-year-old who manages to make most situations worse. However, as the book progressed my annoyance with Ellie lessened and I found myself absolutely enjoying the book. The world seems to have gone crazy after the pulse, resulting in the zombies of course and plenty of frightened people who have no care or compassion for anyone else. This definitely makes for an exciting adventure and its interesting to see how Alex survives in this totally new world. I think that Alex seems to be a strong character for the most part especially after what she has dealt with in her life. The romance parts of the book were a little confusing because Alex seems to be caught in a triangle. There are also some open ends that left me wanting to know more. I'm pretty sure the author will answer those questions in the next book in the series. I definitely recommend this book especially to those who love dystopian and zombie novels.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mistress of Rome Review

470 pages
Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart. As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress.

As far as historical fiction goes this was a great read. For some reason I expected this to be during the Julius Caesar or Octavian period but it actually took place after. I enjoyed having a fresh storyline which I knew nothing about. Thea was an amazingly inspirational character. I found myself getting sucked into her story and despising her mistress Lepida. As far as romance goes I loved the way that Thea was able to find true love in Domitian. I feel like out of everyone in the book Thea went through the most and deserved to find happiness. It was interesting to read about the gladiators and how brutal the games were. I've always thought that it was crazy that in that point in time in Rome they actually enjoyed playing with people's lives for public amusement. This novel was definitely amazing and enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction or enjoys stories of ancient Rome.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns Review

299 pages
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do. 

Review (ARC):
Well the first thing I have to say is that this book was definitely not what I expected. At first Elisa came off as a weak willed character especially since she used food to mask her feelings. However, every now and again I would see a burst of heroism that gave me hope for her character. She did not disappoint. I loved how the story turned out. I expected more magic in the book but it didn't subtract from the adventure aspect. There was plenty of romance but that didn't overshadow everything else in the book. Elisa became strong on her own without help from a supporting male figure. I definitely enjoyed that there were many strong female characters in the book. There was also a strong religious aspect to the book which didn't make the storyline any less exciting. I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who loves a good adventure novel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vanish Review

304 pages

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love? 

Review (ARC):
I was soooo excited to read the second book in the Firelight series and extremely excited that I was able to gain an ARC of this novel to review. With that being said, Vanish picks up where Firelight left off with Jacinda having to deal with life after revealing herself to hunters. A lot has changed within her family and within her pride because of the decisions she has made. It seemed to me while reading this that Jacinda had a hard time dealing with these situations. She was ready to run away from her problems instead of facing them head on. That definitely made me more than a little frustrated with her. I was also frustrated with the triangle between Cassian, Jacinda, and Will. I have to admit I was rooting for the relationship between Jacinda and Cassian, especially after more about his feelings was revealed. This novel was an extremely quick read for me and I felt like there should have been more to the story especially after the cliffhanger ending. All in all I enjoyed reading this novel and I can't wait to read the next one in the series when it comes out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Magic Study Review

392 pages
With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better.... Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians. If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies...

Once again another great book in the Study series. Yelena's story continues in this second novel and she learns more about herself and her family. Even though I found some scenarios in this book to be predictable at times it was still very enjoyable and fun to read. I enjoyed seeing Yelena try to learn how to control her magic and still deal with all of her new experiences. I loved that the romance between Yelena and Valek was given a chance to develop and mature. I think that Maria V. Snyder did an excellent job with creating a new storyline which pulled me into the story. The mystery and magic aspects rolled together definitely made this book into one of those you won't put down. I recommend this to anyone who has read the first and is looking to read more of Yelena's adventures.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sirensong Review

336 pages

When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they're told… The journey through Faerie is long – and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend Ethan and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time… and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own. Arriving at Titania’s beautiful palace should be a relief. But Dana is soon implicated in an assassination attempt against Titania’s niece, and is suddenly a fugitive, forced to leave her father behind as she and her friends flee for her lives. Will she be able to prove her innocence before the forces of the Seelie Court catch up with her? Or, worse, the Erlking? And will she save her father before he pays the ultimate price in her stead?

Ok so if you haven't read the first two books in the series you definitely should do that before reading this one. I really enjoyed this book and the conclusion it came to even though it moved very quickly. Once again Dana is in the middle of adventure and chaos. Dana really shows strength as a character and selflessness as she always puts her friends and family before herself. When it comes to the romance part of the book, I really wished for more involvement with Dana and Keane rather than Ethan. However, I loved how the author, Jenna Black, managed to wrap up everything in the book neatly, leaving one or two open ends in case she decides to write another book later on. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed the first two. You won't be disappointed. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dead-Tossed Waves Review

407 pages
Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

This was a great book! The second book in the series, we see a continuation of the story from The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Gabry is completely different from her mother which makes her frustrating at times but she grows a lot as a character throughout the book. There is also a surprising twist at the end that I did not expect! Once again the zombies in the book are absolutely the creepiest thing in there. The romance in the book reminded me of the first one and even some of the scenes gave me a sense of deja vu. However, the storyline was still extremely original and exciting. Most of the action came towards the end of the book but it didn't make the story any less exciting. Definitely read this book if you've read the first one!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Poison Study Review

361 pages
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear....

I thoroughly loved and enjoyed this book! I couldn't put it down. The story was fascinating and drew me in almost immediately.  There was never a dull moment in this novel. There are a lot of unexpected twists and  an unexpected romance too. Yelena is an amazing character who shows strength and defies the odds. Yelena is always looking for a solution to her problems instead of just sitting back and letting things happen. It is especially interesting when she develops magic because that brings even more danger into her already danger-filled life. I liked this book because the plot is completely original and it contains magic, adventure, torture, and all kinds of action within the pages. This book does not disappoint as a fantasy novel. I definitely recommend this as a must read book.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Witch Review

464 pages
Mirei's extraordinary magic makes her the most powerful witch alive. By some she is hailed as a miracle, while others proclaim her to be an evil abomination...and vow to destroy those who champion her.
Now the different factions of witches engage in a bloody war, with magic, treachery, and murder. But both sides may be fighting for nothing. For the power that the rebel witches fear, the magic that Mirei alone possesses, is killing her.

As the second book in the series this one did not disappoint.  Merei is more of a complete character which I enjoy in this book. There is action and adventure throughout this whole novel. It is definitely easier and more fun to read than the first one. I enjoyed the fact that you can clearly see female dominance as characters in the book. The difference in views amongst the witch characters is exciting. The fact that not everyone is comfortable with Merei's discovery creates a lot of conflict and interest. I feel like I was able to connect with Merei as a character easily. I do feel like the ending should have been better and more adventurous but it was still good to read. If you've read the first book Warrior, then you definitely need to read this!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Review

310 pages
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I loved this book! It is soooo creepy and adventurous that I couldn't put it down. Mary is a strong female heroine who questions things about the way she lives in the village and is ready to explore and break boundaries. The love between Mary and Travis in this book is deep even though Mary at the same time is a character who doesn't let love stop her from experiencing life. The Sisterhood control the village with an iron fist but Mary always believed that there is a world outside the village and that they aren't the last existing people like the Sisterhood has told them. Mary dreams of seeing the ocean even though most people in the village don't believe it exists. The Unconsecrated are the creepiest part of this book. Fences have been built to keep them out but they will never stop trying to get in. They definitely add to the adventure part of this novel. This book is an exciting read and I recommend it to anyone fond of dystopian novels.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Witches of the East End Review

272 pages
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.

Well this wasn't the best book I've ever read but it definitely wasn't the worst (ie. pretty little liars series). It seemed like this book took a long time to pick up and when it finally did the action was over in a matter of minutes. I felt like Melissa de la Cruz was trying too hard to direct this book towards adults and ended up with a writing style that just didn't seem to fit and wasn't as enjoyable as she usually is. I couldn't really connect with any of the characters especially because she kept switching it around. I was also a bit confused with who or what the characters were because they were called witches yet they were tied into something completely different by the end of the book. Hopefully the next book in the series moves at a better pace and is more interesting.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Warrior Review

405 pages
When a witch is born, a doppelganger is created. For the witch to master her powers, the twin must be killed. But what happens when the doppelganger survives? Mirage, a bounty hunter, lives by her wits and lethal fighting skills. She always gets her mark. But her new mission will take her into the shadowy world of witches, where her strength may not be a match against powerful magic. Miryo is a witch who has just failed her initiation test. She now knows that there is someone in the world who looks like her, who is her: Mirage. To control her powers and become a full witch, Miryo has only one choice: to hunt the hunter and destroy her.

This book was definitely a good one. Full of magic and adventure, I think that Marie Brennan did a good job telling a story from two different points of view. You can definitely see Mirage and Miryo as two different sides of the same coin.  I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story which I actually couldn't figure out until clit was revealed. There were times in the book where I felt they gave too much information and detail that didn't really add to the story but I ignored that and kept reading. Mirage was also a much more interesting character than Miryo as she was more the ideal of a typical book heroine. It could also be because Mirage had most of the focus in the book. However, I was able to connect with Mirage as a character more. This book definitely had an ending I didn't expect which created a great end to a great book. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel.