Sky Without Stars Review

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

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Ditch Your Fairy Review

307 pages
Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit. But for 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all—especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, it isn’t at all what she thought it would be like, and she’ll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment? From the author of the acclaimed Magic or Madness trilogy, this is a delightful story of fairies, friendships, and figuring out how to make your own magic.  

I finished reading this book in a couple of hours but only because it was such a good read. Extremely lighthearted and fun describes this novel perfectly. I loved the concept of a world where everyone has their own fairy! Of course some people aren't always pleased with what fairy they have. Charlie is extremely unhappy with her fairy and we get to experience her journey to get rid of it once and for all. Can she get rid of her fairy? Will she ultimately get a new fairy that she actually likes? All of these questions were answered in an enjoyable way as I read this book. The world created in this novel is extreme and funny at the same time. You never know what will happen next because the storyline is so unusual. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new and fun book to read or pass time with.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Power of Six Review

352 pages
I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us. Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.
I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. And I'm ready to fight.

Another fast paced novel in the series, The Power of Six delivers action, adventure, and satisfies the curiosity about the other Numbers. I loved being able to see through the eyes of the other numbers and find out what was going on with them. I thought it was interesting how everyone's life on earth progressed differently. There were a lot of surprise twists and romances in this novel. John ends up in an interesting love dilemma that I can't wait to explore in the next book. Number Seven is an interesting character because she hasn't been on the run like the others, instead being forced to live in obscurity by her Cepan, who seems to have given up. Regardless of that, Number Seven still searches for news of the others and plans to find them. John, Sam and Number Six are not only on the run from the Mogadorians but also from the police as well. This makes for an extremely adventurous and action-filled storyline that captivated me from the start. I definitely recommend this book especially to those who have read the first book in the series.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tankborn Review

384 pages
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.

Review (ARC): 
I absolutely loved this book! The dynamics and prejudice between the different castes intrigued me from the start.  Kayla is a character who hasn't really accepted her place in life as she still questions it. Everyone views the GENs as not human because they were created in a lab and they are mistreated because of this. Kayls's best friend, Mishalla, has for the most part completely accepted her place in life but she is also thrown into the intrigue of this novel when the children she cares for start disappearing. As the mystery unravels in this book I found myself getting sucked into the story and wanting to know more. The corruption behind the creation of GENs is especially interesting. I really loved the different culture and view of the world that was created here. I enjoyed seeing the strength of the characters grow throughout the book. This was a great read and I recommend it to fans of dystopian novels.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bloodlines Review

421 pages
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. 

Another book in the Vampire Academy family! I must say I was excited to read the beginning of a new storyline within the series and this book did not disappoint. Seeing things from Sydney's point of view was definitely a different experience especially after being used to Rose's perspective. Sydney is not a big fighter and doesn't exhibit the ability to stand up directly to people. However, she does do what she believes to be right regardless of opinion. At first I wasn't a big fan of Sydney but as the book went on and I discovered more about her I found myself loving her as a character. Most of this book feels like one big mystery being unraveled and less action than I thought there would be. Sydney definitely develops as a character with the help of  some familiar faces from the earlier series. I really enjoyed this book (finished it in less than a day) and I can't wait until the next one comes out so I can devour that too. I recommend this to anyone who's a fan of the Vampire Academy series or who just enjoys a good vampire mystery book.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beauty Queens Review

390 pages
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? 

I liked and disliked this book at the same time. What I really liked about this book was that I could sense an underlying message about not judging a book by its cover coming from the author. Most beauty pageant contestants are not thought of as being extremely intelligent and usually are judged based on their looks. In this novel we saw different sides and intelligence beneath the surface of the beauty pageant contestants. However, I felt like there were a lot of stereotypes in this book and that while the characters were intelligent they were still superficial. I appreciate that the author was trying to get a message across but I felt like that message overpowered the plot of the book making it difficult to enjoy at points. I think that there are people that will enjoy this book because there are funny moments that make it worth reading. I would recommend this as a beach read because it is more of a book to pass the time than a serious read.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Posession Review

416 pages

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 

This book was pretty hard to really get into. I feel that Vi as a character needed to be more developed. I wish we had seen more of her story as to why she was known as a troublemaker in the first place. I think also the story was extremely fast paced and sometimes I wasn't quite sure what had happened. I was really confused about Vi's triangle relationship with Zenn and Jag. It seemed like her relationship with Jag moved quickly yet she still had feelings for Zenn. I did think that the connection between Zenn and Jag was interesting though. Vi seemed to have so much strength yet she barely used it to her advantage. This book just wasn't clear and it felt underdeveloped. However, it is an ok read. The ending made me curious enough to read the next one in the series when it comes out. I recommend this book as reading to do in your spare time when you have nothing else to read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places Review

377 pages
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters. Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again. But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

I loved this book! It was such an amazingly thrilling end to the series. Seeing things from Annah's point of view definitely brought a fresh perspective to the Forest of Hands and Teeth story. I think the way the relationships worked out were a little strange to say the least yet I still found myself enjoying it.  I wasn't a big fan of Annah in the beginning, her sister was so much more likeable, but as the story progressed I found myself sympathizing with her as a character. I liked that even though Annah was scarred she didn't let that hinder her strength and ability to survive. Things quickly spun out of control in this novel, leading to a truly exciting ending. At the same time I would have to say the only thing I didn't really like was in fact the end of the book. I feel like it was a bit open ended, especially for the conclusion to the series. However, this book is definitely worth the read. I recommend it to anyone who has read the first two books. You will enjoy it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blood Red Road Review

531 pages
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. 

At first the narration style of this novel threw me for a loop but after a few pages I was too engrossed to notice anymore.  Saba loves her brother Lugh more than anything and is willing to go above and beyond for him. However, Saba also has to deal with a sister she dislikes and a lack of knowledge of the world outside of Silverlake. All of this combined creates a captivating adventure novel. I enjoyed seeing Saba's character grow as she learned more about the world outside of her home. Saba is an extremely strong character who lets nothing get in the way of her need to save her twin brother. This book has a post-apocalypse western feel to it and while I am not generally a fan of westerns, I just couldn't put this down! I can't wait until the next book in this new series comes out. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is as obsessed with dystopian novels as I am.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wildefire Review

400 pages

Every flame begins with a spark. Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

In the beginning of this novel you jump right in to Ashline's story. At first it seems as though she's a violent character but as the story goes on you understand more of what is going on with her. Her sister Eve, on the other hand is completely different. Violence seems to be second nature to her even though its hard to understand the reasoning behind it. I enjoyed all the new people Ashline met when she transferred to Blackwood Academy especially when their powers were discovered. I especially enjoyed the diversity of the gods and goddeses and the fact that they consist of different ethnic groups and cultures. The action definitely picks up later in the book and there are some unexpected and sad moments. The ending threw me for a loop to say the least and left me anticipating reading the next novel in the series. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of mythology and enjoys a heroine who doesn't mind kicking some butt.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eve Review

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Review (ARC):  
I thought this was an exceptionally dark and fast-paced dystopian novel. I was amazed at how quickly Eve developed from a weak character into a relatively strong one. I think that the way men were portrayed in this book was interesting. I especially enjoyed Eve's relationship with Caleb even though I felt she was able to overcome years of brainwashing when it came to him very quickly. One thing I couldn't understand was the fact that the soldiers kept hunting Eve after she escaped even knowing that she couldn't possibly be the same docile female she once was. Other than that I enjoyed reading this novel and seeing how Eve coped with a new world outside the school she was raised in. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. Recommended to anyone who likes a good dystopian novel.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fins are Forever Review

272 pages

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all. Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody? The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

I actually received this as an ARC a few days before it came out so I put it on hold to read. I have to say it was an ok read. While the storyline and writing style isn't strong it is still a light, fun read. I enjoyed the romance aspect of the book. While fairly predictable it is still extremely sweet. I love how Lily thinks so much about others and I enjoyed how she grew as a person. I also enjoyed the fact that Quince was willing to sacrifice everything for Lily yet again. While I can't say I really liked the ending I have to admit it wasn't expected. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a quick book to enjoy especially at the beach.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Daughters of Rome Review

388 pages
A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything-especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome. Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, both women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor...and one Empress.

Another wonderful historical fiction in this series. Again when I picked up this book I wasn't sure where exactly it would historically take place in ancient Rome and I was pleasantly surprised to find its tie-in to the first novel.  The four Cornelia's differences created some wonderful characters. However, the two main sisters were the most interesting. The way that Marcella silently influenced things was definitely unexpected. I definitely enjoyed the character of Diana the most because she remained true to herself and saw more than the others knew. Although I enjoyed this book I did feel at times that it was a bit slow and not as interesting as Mistress of Rome.  I liked how there was more to the girls than how they perceived each other. I found it interesting that they all grew up together yet there were sides to them that the others didn't see or understand. All of the girls go through many changes based on their personal struggles and it makes this book an interesting read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and ancient Rome.