Monday, January 31, 2011

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Author: Jana Oliver
Pages: 340
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series or Standalone: 1st in series
Genre: YA Paranormal
Reading Level: 15+ yrs old
Dominant Themes: Demons
Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?
**Slight Spoilers**
When I first started reading The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, I was instantly reminded of the novel Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, which is a great thing because I LOVED Strange Angels. The comparison stands throughout the whole book, but they’re not so overtly similar that it overshadowed The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. This novel can definitely stand on it’s own in this genre.

The beginning of the book throws you right into the action with Riley, and the pace never slows down. She’s hunting a demon in a college library, and everyone is so chill about it. This begins to give the reader a view of the world that we’re just getting into, how demons are an everyday occurrence, and being a Demon Trapper is actually a paying profession.

Riley is a great heroine. She’s tough and can hold her own against the boys, especially in a profession where girls are taboo and unaccepted. This is a constant struggle for her throughout the book, and she’s even abused because of it. But she’s strong, and can overcome it. Riley faces poverty, harassment, the loss of both of her parents, and is being hunted by demons, yet she still manages to keep her head in the game. The relationship she had with her dad was both heartwarming, and heartbreaking. He couldn’t be home all the time, and Riley was left alone although she craves being with her dad, and he craves it too. And then… she never got to spend more time with him. Now Riley has to sit vigil at his grave to make sure that no necromancers come to try and reanimate her father’s corpse.

Beck was her father’s former apprentice and now his trapping buddy. Riley had the hots for Beck when she was 15, but he ignored her to not cause trouble (he’s older by 5 years). Now she just hates him. But when everything starts going bad, Beck is the only one Riley has left. I loved Beck. At the beginning, his accent made me want to strangle him. Reading Ya in place of you, and yer in place of your was aggravating and I thought he sounded like a pirate at first. But eventually I got used to it,
and I started thinking it was hot. (Seriously, thanks to this book I have a major Southern accent fetish.) As a character, Beck was a jerk at times, and sweet at others. He was a total badass 100% of the time, which is why I took an instant liking to him. I knew that somewhere inside him he had feelings for Riley. I really can’t wait to see what happens next between them.

Simon was… well, I didn’t care much for Simon. In my mind, Simon was completely eclipsed by Beck, even though Riley was romatically interested in Simon. He was cute and really sweet and thoughtful, but… he was bland. As Riley put it, “a Nice Catholic Boy.” There was no spark of giddiness in me when I was reading about Riley and him together, although I still liked him as a character. I just think he should stay in the “friend zone.”

The world itself is very well thought out and executed. The details about how life was tied together the whole novel. The Demon Trapper’s Daughter takes place not too far in the future, 2018. But it shows how quickly things can degenerate. Metal is a precious, and expensive commodity. Schools are no longer functional as we know them today, instead being held in abandoned grocery stores and old Starbucks shops. Riley even mentions once that she misses having a Mac laptop and other technology that is commonplace for us, but is impossible to have in her time. Demons are running amuck, doing everything from stealing shiny objects and destroying books to eating people and causing deadly weather storms. A very different future that any of us envision, but it’s all put together so well that I can almost believe it’s possible. If it does happen, sign me up for demon hunting!

Another thing I’m interested to see how it plays out in the next books is the Demon Hunters. I know they’ll play a bigger role, and I can’t wait to see what it is. Especially about Ori.

This series really has so much potential to be the “Next Big Thing” in YA. It’s got the fantastic characters, a kick ass plot, and an interesting world full of demons and walking dead people. What could be better?

In the spirit of Riley: “Debut author scores!” I give this novel 5 of 5 stars.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine


Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 248
Publisher: NAL Jam
Series or Standalone: 3rd in Morganville Vampires series
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reading Level: 13+
Dominant Themes: Vampires



Claire Danvers's college town may be run by vampires but a truce between the living and the dead made things relatively safe. For a while. Now people are turning up dead, a psycho is stalking her, and an ancient bloodsucker has proposed private mentoring. To what end, Claire will find out. And it's giving night school a whole new meaning.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Rachel Caine is one of my favorite authors. The Morganville Vampires series is absolutely on my top 10 series list. Here’s a bulleted list of reasons why I love this authoress and her little army of spectacular novels.

  •        Well-fleshed and believable characters
  •        The quick and fast paced, keeps you on the seat-of-your-pants and skin-of-your-teeth plot
  •         Fantastic writing
  •         Creativity with vampires
  •         Witty lines and jokes that literally make me laugh out loud

and last but not least…
  •        SHANE (Because he’s just that good)


All right, let’s start of with my first bullet: characters. It’s astounding to me how Rachel Caine can give us such vivid characters in such a small and fast moving book. Every single one of them, from Amelie to Oliver, from Claire to Shane, from Michael to Eve, is cleverly and near flawlessly written. They each have their own little quirks, and their own distinct way of speaking and behaving that sets them apart from each other, which is difficult to do when you have a cast of characters like this. Midnight Alley saw the progression of each character, and a deeper understanding of some of them. Claire is still that heroine in distress, who kicks ass and has her ass kicked in almost equal measure. But she toughs it out, and with the help of her friends, overcomes all the psychotic trouble that she somehow always gets into.

This tiny book really packs a punch plot-wise, just like all of Caine’s books do. I’m always in awe at how something can be happening at the moment, but then flip the page over and BAM, a new set of craziness pops, elbows you in the stomach, and then runs away taunting you to come chase it. Midnight Alley was full of things that caused a wide range of reactions from me, from a simple gasp to an all-out “Oh, hell nah, that sh*t did not just happen!”  *Snaps fingers in ‘z’ formation*

None of the above would have been possible without Rachel Caine’s formidable writing skills. The writing itself, just the way Caine phrases her sentences and forms the story, is remarkable. Caine knows how to set us up for a good plot twist, or cliffhanger.

Midnight Alley, just like both previous books, is FULL of witty lines and jokes that I couldn’t help but laugh at. People around me would look at me weird, but I didn’t care. Some of the best lines were, of course, said by Shane, but at least everyone cracked a joke or two.

And now…..

Shane. I’ve emphasized my love for him several times, but I feel that I cannot say it enough: I LOVE HIM. He needs to be a real person, and he needs to be my boyfriend. Right. Now.

If you liked the first two books, READ THIS ONE! You won’t regret it.

Do I Recommend This Novel: YES

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 6/5!
Uniqueness\Creativity: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall:

Midnight Alley on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ask Ashley (1)

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about me, my blog, and other things related, so I figured it was finally time to join the bandwagon and start my own ‘Q&A’ feature. Let’s get started, shall we?

Q. "On average, how fast do you read? I always find myself finishing a book that I love in two weeks. I know it's never about the speed, but I was just curious.
Thanks."

A. How quickly I read usually depends on different factors, such as my schedule. This past year, I was (and still am) in several plays and other acting programs, and a lot of my time was taken by rehearsals and the rest of my time was taken by schoolwork. Reading took a back seat, because I didn’t have the time to give to it, so it would take me several weeks to finish a book.

But, when my schedule is normal and I can read normally, it usually takes me anywhere from 1 day, to 1 week to finish a book. Lately, I’ve been reading books in about 3 or 4 days.

Q.  What things do you look for in a blog you follow?

A. Well, when I first find a blog, I first look at what type of blog it is. I’m not too much of  a fan of adult book blogs, because I don’t read adult books. Once I’ve determined that it’s a YA blog, I read the every post on the first page. I like to see a few reviews on the first page, and not too many memes. And then I like to see good content.

I’m actually weird in that a majority of the blogs I follow and comment on are very small with not too many followers. But the reviews are very in depth and very good, so I read them. But I do love big blogs. I also love blogs that update consistently.

Q.  Hi! I love What’s Your Story! I read it all the time. Anyway, after you read a book, how long do you wait before you post a review?

A. Thank you so much for your kind words!

That is definitely something that changes with what I’ve just read. If I’ve just finished a book that is already out in stores, I usually write the review as soon as possible and get it up the day after I finished it, or a few days after at the latest. If I’ve just finished an ARC, then I write up the review and schedule it for the day the book comes out, or as close to the day as I can get it.


Thank you so much for asking me questions! I appreciate everyone reading my blog so much.

Do you have a question that you would like to ask me? Enter it below, and I’ll answer it the next time I do an ‘Ask Ashley’ post.




Monday, January 24, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern


Author: Cecelia Ahern
Pages: 320
Publisher: Harper Collins
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Adult Realistic with Crossover appeal
Reading Level: 15+
Dominant Themes: Loss, Depression, Teenage Angst

Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.

The Book of Tomorrow was one of those novels that made me think about my life and evaluate everything I’ve done. Do I take everything I have for granted, even my parents? What would happen in one day I lost everything? This is exactly what happens to Tamar godwin. Her dad kills himself, leaving massive amounts of debt. She and her mother are forced to move in with Tamara’s aunt and uncle, Rosaleen and Arthur, and Tamara has trouble adjusting to her new life.

Cecelia Ahern is the author of P.S. I Love You, and while I’ve only seen the movie and not read the book, I still blubbered like a baby. So when I started reading this book, I was prepared for intense emotions and possible tears. Thankfully, there were no tears, but there were quite a few overwhelming feelings that really made me sympathize with Tamara. She felt guilt over her dad’s death, because right before he took his life, they had a terrible fight and she said many things to him she wished she hadn’t.

Tamara was a spoiled brat and a total bitch, and she knew it. She made a point of saying nasty things to people, because she figured she could keep herself from getting hurt. Throughout the entire story, as she deals with everything that’s happening, she stops being so snotty and I really started empathizing with her, and relating to her. She had lost her dad, everything she ever owned, her friends, and now her mother was a zombie who slept all the time and barely said two words.

Unfortunately, this book took FOREVER to go anywhere. The first 100 pages or so were very uneventful, with small little doses of suspicious behavior and a little intrigue. I thought about putting this book down a few times, but stuck it out. Eventually, the plot started picking up steam. I really didn’t see the ending coming at all. It was a big surprise for me that made the sluggish beginning worth it.

I feel like this book’s  description is a little misleading. You go in thinking it’s going to have a magical aspect with the diary , but I would actually classify this as realistic fiction. The diary is a very small factor in the overall novel. It comes in pretty late in the story, and then it’s not stressed as much as one would think. Even with the magic of the journal, it was actually very believable. I could almost believe as I was reading this book that I could find my own journal and it would tell me what would happen tomorrow.

I liked a lot of the characters, although there was one that I hated, and actually creeped me out a lot: Rosaleen. She was just a weirdo. She would watch Tamara sleep, restrict her from seeing her own mother and just act suspicious most of the time. I knew she was hiding something big the entire time, so when it was finally revealed that Rosaleen was just a crazy, jealous bitch, I wasn’t surprised. I think she’s the only unlikeable character in this entire novel.

Overall, this was a good book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, and I won’t be rereading it anytime soon.

Do I Recommend This Novel: Sure, but it’s not a strong recommendation.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Creativity\Uniqueness: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5

Overall

The Book of Tomorrow on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Books on a Budget (1)



Feeding your book addiction can get expensive. I know, there was a time when I would buy several hundreds of dollars worth of books in one day! But then I started realizing the consequences of spending too much money on books that was needed for more important things, so I started finding ways to minimize spending while still getting books I loved.

This feature, Books on a Budget, is where I will share with you guys the different ways to get books without busting the bank. They will be posted once a month

In this post, I’m going to focus on the easiest and least expensive way to get books:

FREE STUFF
Many publishers have websites and programs that give away books and other book related items for FREE. Below are the websites that I use:
(NOTE: the titles of the websites in bold are links)

Harlequin Teen Panel- This is a great site from Harlequin Teen. They have surveys on book covers and various author chats. They also give away books every once in a while, as well as some swag like posters and bookmarks. I got my copy of My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent from Harlequin Teen Panel, a My Soul to Save poster, and a  My Soul to Save bookmark.


Random Buzzers- This website is AMAZING! They are constantly giving away ARCs and other great books, holding author Q&As every week, and hosting fun contests and activities. By completing these activities you earn Buzz Bucks, which you can then use to “buy” books from the Buzzers Store. (Again, this is all completely free.)



PulseIt- On PulseIt, you can access to several free popular books. You read them online (no e-readers), and you have 60 days to read the book, which is really just a fancier way of saying 2 months. Then, all you have to do is write a review on the book and post it on the PulseIt website. This is a feature coming from Simon Pulse, so there are lots of really awesome books on there.



InGroup- From Mac Teen Books, InGroup offers two books each month that you can choose from. All you have to do is use the form on the side of the webpage to sign up and there you go!


Barnes and Noble First Look- Every once in a while, Barnes and Noble will offer up an ARC of an upcoming book. Keep looking and you’ll find when they put another book up. They also announce it on their Facebook whenever they have a new book up for grabs.


Simon and Schuster Free Stuff- Simon and Schuster is always offering free books, ebooks, and ARCs. All you have to do is enter the sweepstakes, and they may send you a book if you win. I received an ARC of Wither by Lauren Destefano from here.

FOR PEOPLE WITH E-READERS:

Free Nook Books- There are various Nook Books that Barnes and Noble offers for free. This page is constantly being updated, so check back often.

Free Kindle Books- Amazon also offers free Kindle books. Again, check this page frequently, as it’s updated periodically.

NetGalley- NetGalley is for basically anyone who has an e-reader. You can download ARCs for free and put them on your e-reader, but they only last for 60 days. After that, they expire from your library, and you no longer have access to them. But, 60 days is 2 months, so you definitely have enough time to finish the book. My advice, request as many books as you want, but only download them one at a time so that they don’t all expire at once. This is a great place to get some popular books.



That’s it for my first post of Books on a Budget. I hope you enjoyed, and I hope I helped you in some way!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dark Secrets 1 by Elizabeth Chandler

Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Pages: 431
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series or Standalone: Omnibus-- 1st and 2nd in series
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Reading Level: 14+
Significant Themes: Death
Two girls haunted by the past...and destined to relive it
In Legacy of Lies, Megan has to stay with the uptight grandmother she wants nothing to do with. She's determined to get through the visit without any drama, but when she falls into a twisted love triangle with potentially fatal consequences, Megan may be caught up in her family's legacy in more ways than she realizes.
In Don't Tell, Lauren knows that by returning to the town where her mother drowned seven years ago, she'll be reliving one of her most haunting memories. When she arrives, she is propelled into a series of mysterious events that mimic the days leading up to her mother's death. Maybe her mother's drowning wasn't an accident after all...and maybe Lauren is next.
I’m a very big fan of Elizabeth Chandler. She has a way of creating such complex and emotional characters to coincide with her twisting plots, and still make everything believable. She certainly knows how to spin a good thriller. Fans of Kissed by An Angel will devour this book, leaving no page left unread.

Legacy of Lies is a startling story. Megan moves in with her grandmother and cousin Matt (she and Matt are not blood related) and instantly both dislike her. She has no idea why. Weird things start happening, and it’s up to her to figure everything out. I really like this story, more than the second one, although I did like the second one as well. Matt was my favorite character, he was… he was like a puzzle that needed to be figured out, but there’s that one damn piece that’s lost under the couch somewhere. The novel has dark undertones, but also has threads of romance and friendship that relieve the suspense a little.

Don’t Tell was the creepier of the two. It dealt more openly with death, and murder, and the writing quality was just as good as the first one. Plot-wise, I think this book was better. Then entire time, I was trying to figure things out along with Lauren, and I sympathized with her for losing her mother. This novel is darker, but again has the same undercurrents of romantic relationships, family, and friendship that lighten the mood… ever so slightly.

These were hard books to write reviews for, but just know that I really loved them. If you read Kissed by an Angel and were thinking about reading this series, DO IT. You won’t regret it, I promise. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bookish Talk Time: Long Series


Today, I decided to talk about something that both bothers me and delights me: extremely long book series.

When I say “long series”, I mean series that are 4 books and up.

There seems to be an emerging pattern in the industry of book series getting longer and longer, as well as including spin-offs and novellas. I remember years ago, publishers really didn’t like publishing long series, preferring trilogies at the most. I guess Harry Potter broke that mold, because now, especially in the YA section, there are tons of series that go well over 3 and 4 books.

Some of these include:
The Sweep series by Cate Tiernan (15 books)
The House of Night series by PC and Kristin Cast (7 books and counting)
The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz (7 books and counting)
The Vampire Academy series (6 books)
The Vampire Kisses series (7 books and counting)
The Morganville Vampires series (9 books and counting)
The Faerie Path series (6 books and counting)

On one hand, longer series are a good thing because, if you loved the first book, then the story doesn’t have to end so quickly. You still have quite a few books to go before you’re finished. The drawback to this is it’s much more expensive to buy these longer series (which is only a drawback for us, the readers, seeing as the publisher is the one getting the money), and there’s also the impatience of waiting for the books to come out if the series is not complete when you begin reading it.

Then it also depends on if the series is any good. You can have a terrible series *cough*HouseofNight*cough* (did I just say that outloud? Oops) that just doesn’t seem to end and the plot is just dragging on and on for several books when it totally could have ended at, um, the first freaking page of the first freaking book! But then of course there are series like Harry Potter that you don’t want to end. You just want it to go on forever (I know I do.)

So tell me, do you prefer stand-alone novels, novels with sequels, trilogies, or long series? Why?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Character Interviews

These are all of the character interviews I've done on the blog. They're listed in chronological order of posting, since I couldn't really do it alphabetically.

  • Ryder and Lucian from Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray
  • Jasmine from Tamporlea by Tiffany Lovering
  • The characters of Altered by Aubrey Coletti
  • Eros from Destined by Jessie Harrell
  • Tessa & Hayden from Something Witchy This Way Comes by Veronica Blade
  • Julia from The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
  • Claire from Savor by Megan Duncan
  • Eren from The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle

Author Interviews

Here is a list of authors that have been featured on What's Your Story. They're listed in alphabetical order by author first name.

-A-
Addison Moore
AM Hargrove

-B-
Beth Fantaskey

-C-
C.C. Hunter
Cindy Hogan
Chelsea Fine

D

E

F

G

-H-
Holly Hook


-I-
India Lee

-J-
Jodi Lamm

-K-
Kelley York
Karen Amanda Hooper

-L-
Lesley Livingston


-M-
Mary Ting
Melissa de la Cruz
Michelle Muto

N

O

P

Q

-R-
Ramona Wray
Ransom Riggs
Renee Pace

-S-
Samantha Young
Susan Hatler
Sarra Cannon

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Books I Want SO Badly I Could Pee (3)

While lurking on Amazon and Goodreads, I come across so many books that I want SO badly I could pee. These are what I like to call my Pee-Inducing Books, or Urine-Triggering Novels. Below is my current list. Please peruse it while I go get a new pair of pants.


Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood. 




Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.


Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
A dark and dangerous forbidden love story about a Speaker who helps lingering ghosts pass to the spirit world and the Protector who has pledged to serve her. 


Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Ashline Wilde never received an instruction manual on how to be a 16-year-old Polynesian volcano goddess. If she had, it might have contained helpful warnings such as:

• Dreaming about your (thankfully) mortal boyfriend may cause your bed to spontaneously combust

• Oven mitts should be worn at all times during heavy make-out sessions

Instead, Ash has to learn these life lessons the hard way as her dormant powers erupt at the most awkward times. In the wake of a hometown tragedy, Ash transfers to Blackwood Academy, a boarding school nestled in California’s redwoods, where a group of fellow gods-on-earth have mysteriously convened. As if sophomore year couldn’t get any worse, her storm goddess older sister, the wild and unpredictable Eve, resurfaces to haunt Ashline. With a war between the gods looming over Blackwood, Ash must master the fire smoldering within her before she clashes with her sister one final time, which leads us to life-lesson #3:

• When warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.


She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is.


 She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.







Hopefully, you're unlike me and have a strong bladder so that when you looked at these amazing books, you didn't "oopsie" on yourself. But if you did, well, it was worth it, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NEW DOMAIN!!

I am VERY excited to tell you guys that I officially have my own domain! It's

www.whatsyourstorybookreviews.com

Of course, the www.whatsyourstorybookreviews.blogspot.com domain is still functional, either one works, but now I'm not dependent on the ".blogspot" anymore, so I'm SOOOO FREAKING HYPER! It was my mom's bday gift to me.

*happy dance*

Wings by Aprilynne Pike


Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 294
Publisher: Harper Teen
Series or Standalone: 1st in Trilogy
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Reading Level: 13+
Significant Themes: Faeries

Laurel has never been the kind of girl who believes in fairytales and myths, fables and legends...until the day she learns the stunning truth about her own identity, forever changing her world.
She discovers she is a faerie, sent among humans to protect the gateway to Avalon. Thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to each world. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

**Slight spoiler alert**
Wings started off slowly, with some awkwardly written narration and conversations, but pretty soon it started picking up once Laurel noticed the “thing” on her back. The plot never picked up too much, a lot of the real action happening mostly at the end, but it was fine.

I wasn’t so interested in the characters of this novel as I was in the world they lived in. Laurel to me was too perfect and flat, as was David. I honestly don’t care much for David, I didn’t find him believable. I mean, if a girl you’ve just met comes to you with a FLOWER GROWING OUT OF HER BACK, you don’t just take it in stride and try to figure out what it is. You freak the f*ck out and run screaming. At least, that’s what all the guys I know would do. The guys I know avoid girls for having a zit on her face, much less a FLOWER GROWING OUT OF HER BACK. Laurel and David’s ‘relationship’ was way too unbelievable for me to take seriously, which is why I didn’t.

I actually loved the idea of faeries being flowers. It was original and something I’ve never seen in all of the faerie books I’ve read. I definitely give Pike props for coming up with that. To me, I see faeries as part of nature anyway, so them being flowers wasn’t a stretch at all. And the whole “male faeries pollinate the girl faeries” actually made me laugh (in a good way) when Tamani explained it. (Which brings me too…)

Tamani. He was by far my favorite part of this novel. I would choose him over David any day, partly because I love mysterious, badass guys, and partly because I dislike David. Tamani is what added… spice, mystery, chemistry, sexiness, etc, to Wings. He was very well written, although I would have liked to see much more of him.

The writing was great, and the mythology behind the faeries was excellent. Those aspects, along with Tamani, were my favorite parts of the novel. The cover is also insanely gorgeous, and I really think it captures what the book is about. Flower petals being faerie wings.

I kinda liked this book, which is why I will pick up the sequel. Mostly to see what happens to Tamani.

Do I Recommend This Book: Maybe. It depends on if you’re a fan of faeries. If you are, there's a chance you might like this. If not, don’t bother.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2.5/5 
Uniqueness\Creativity: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall:

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

Author: Rachel Caine
Pages: 256
Publisher: NAL Jam
Series or Standalone: 2nd in series
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reading Level: Teens 14+
Significant Themes: Vampires
Claire Danvers has her share of challenges---like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her dorm, and above all, finding out that her college town is overrun with vampires. On the up side, she has a great roommate (who tends to disappear at sunup) and a new boyfriend named Shane, whose vampire-hunting dad has called in backup: cycle punks who like the idea of killing just about anything.

Now a fraternity is throwing its annual Dead Girls' Dance and---surprise!---Claire and her equally outcast best friend, Eve, have been invited. When they find out why, all hell is going to break loose. Because this time both the living and the dead are coming out---and everybody's hungry for blood.
When I finished Glass Houses, I immediately scooped up The Dead Girls’ Dance and retreated back into Morganville. Rachel Caine has this was of seamlessly tying together each of her novels that makes it feel as if it’s all one giant book. Each one begins where the other ends, which is great, because that eliminates the needless recaps most other books seem to have.

Claire is still that smart girl that goes around trying-- and most of the time succeeding-- to save everyone she cares about. The entire novel she maintains a mixture of courage and fear, which really made it easy for me to sympathize with her. She gets closer to her roommates Eve and Michael, too, and the three of them are working together to keep each other alive. I also loved where Claire and Shane were heading in this novel. They really are perfect for each other.

Which brings me to Shane. This is really his novel. His psychotic dad comes into the picture, hell-bent on killing every vampire in Morganville because of what happened to Shane’s mother. The whole ordeal gives us some more insight into Shane’s past, and also who he is as a person. His loyalties are also tested, when he’s forced to choose between his abusive, insane father, or saving his friends. Shane is most definitely my favorite character out of them all. He seems to be the most complex…. And the fact that he’s completely hot and a total badass doesn’t hurt either.

New characters are introduced, like Shane’s father and the Vamp Hunting Biker Gang o’ Doom. And then you have even more creeps like Eve’s brother Jason, who is equally as insane as Vigilante Vamp Dad, except in a much weirder, he’s-gonna-rape-me-omg way. Needless to say, I didn’t like Jason. Then there are total sweetheart like Sam Glass, who is Michael’s grandfather and also a vampire. I really want to see more of Sam.

And while we’re on the subject of Michael… LOVED him. The whole story around him, and his sun-rise disappearing act was so unique and interesting. It definitely added to the plot and even saved their butts at one point. Michael and Eve are quite possibly the cutest thing in the world. Another favorite aspect of this story.

Rachel Caine is easily my favorite author. I find that her novels get less recognition than they deserve. Every single page of The Dead Girls’ Dance had action and mystery, and since it’s such a small novel, I finished it in about 2 hours flat. The Morganville Vampires series is definitely one of my favorites and one of the first vampire books I recommend to anyone wanting a fresh, unique, and all-round awesome take on vampires. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (15)

IMM was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week I bought one book. The Musician's Daughter by Suzanne Dunlap.


What did you guys get? Link in the comments, I'd love to see!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

About Me Page

There is a new "About Me" page added to the blog. You can find the link in the link bar above. It's the last one. Go check it out!

My hamster Jasper is grumbling that he deserves an 'about me' page too. After all, he does read along with me and give his input when I'm writing my reviews. Should I give him one?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Pages: 243
Series or Standalone: 1st in the Kiesha’ra series
Genre: Fantasy

DANICA SHARDAE IS an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk's form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began. As heir to the avian throne, she'll do anything in her power to stop this war--even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind's greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.
Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica--and all they ask of their people--but it may be more than she can give.

I must say, I really enjoyed this book. Like all of Amelia’s novels that I’ve read thus far, Hawksong was not a light book. It was dark and deep, and explored heavy things like learning to love your enemy, sacrificing for the greater good, and lots of sexual tension.

Amelia likes writing strong female leads, and Danica was certainly not the exception. She was tough and resolved to do what was needed of her. The Avians were very stoic people, who held their emotions and actions in check. But when Danica is faced with something new¾the Serpiente way of life, which includes an unabeshedness to closeness and contact¾she, like anyone would, loses her footing. I like that it took Danica a while to come to terms on her feelings for Zane, and that there was the awkwardness to her when she was around him. It added to Danica as a person, and upped the tension between the two.

Zane himself was great. He’s handsome and quick witted, suave, and, well… hot. And he’s comfortable with almost everything that Danica isn’t. But he’s understanding, and he helps Danica ease into a new life with him. That’s what I liked the most about him, his duality as a person. He could be the dreaded Serpentiene warrior at one moment, and then a nice guy the next.

Aaaaaaannnnd, he’s pretty badass. Just sayin’.

Another thing I commend Amelia for is her world building. She has this uncanny ability to make a world come to like in all her novels, and the amazing thing is her novels aren’t even that long. She introduces the people and the social hierarchy and the bloody wars, and it’s all so well fleshed out. The concept itself of shapeshifters isn’t new, but Amelia takes it and adds a twist, and creates this whole universe around it, that, while your reading this novel, it is new.

The writing is all right. Sometimes I felt like it was forced, and other times I felt like she simply abused the “Thesaurus” tool on Word. But it was good enough to not hinder the story too much. I’ve read several of her novels, and her writing still hasn’t deterred me from reading her work, so I hope it doesn’t deter you either.

The cover? Eh, I personally don’t like it at all. Is that supposed to be Zane? He looks like Edward Scissorhands to me. Not sexy.



BUT, I am a major fan of the new omnibus cover. The omnibus includes the entire K’iesha’ra series.


Do I recommend this novel: YES

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Uniqueness\Creativity: 5/5
Writing: 3/5
Cover: 1/5
Overall


Hawksong on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 272
Series or Standalone?: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy
Mirasol is a beekeeper, a honey-gatherer, with an ability to speak to the earthlines, the sentient parts of Willowlands, where she lives. The concerns of Master, Chalice, and Circle, who govern Willowlands, have nothing to do with her until the current Master and Chalice die in a fire and leave no heirs to take their places. The Master’s closest relative has been a priest of Fire for the past seven years; he is not quite human anymore. And then the Circle comes to Marisol and tells her that she is the new Chalice, and it will be up to her to bind the land and its people with a Master.

As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master's Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?

I had purchased Chalice ages ago, seeing it in Barnes and Noble and being intrigued by the cover. But for some reason I didn’t pick it up for the longest time. And then finally, one day, I decided to read it, and I really liked it.

This was the first novel of Robin McKinley that I had ever read, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from her. But she really did deliver. I am a huge fan of fantasy, and I haven’t read a good fantasy book in a while, so Chalice was a treat for me. It was something different that what’s usually out there. It was actually a very subdued book, with not so much action, but still very enjoyable. I actually read it all in one day, just sitting snuggled up in a blanket on a rainy day in. (Pfft. How cliché of me.)

Chalice, at first, didn’t make much sense to me. I was trying to figure out what was going on, and how the whole world worked. The concept of Mirasol being the Chalice was a little fuzzy to me, and I’m not quite sure I ever understood it, but it was easy enough to look past that.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel was the romance that didn’t really build up to much, and wasn’t there practically at all until the end… but it was there. I felt it, between Mirasol and the Master. And in the end, McKinley tied it together quite nicely without outright going “THEYLOVEEACHOTHER,THEYARESOULMATES,THEYAREMEANTOTBETOGETHERNOMATTERWHAT.KTHXBAI.”

I really loved the whole concept, the atmosphere, the writing, the cover… well, basically everything. This was genuinely just a good book. I don’t come across books like this often.

My favorite characters? THE BEES. They were just awesome in a weird way. I have no idea why I like them so much, I just do.  I mean, really, huge bees the size of your fist that make the world’s best honey and just buzz around all day? COOLNESS. Bzzzzz. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 10, 2011

24 Book Giveaway WINNER!!!

I had a massive giveaway consisting of 24 books. The time has come to finally announce the winner! And it is....

CHRISTINE B.

Christine is an eighth grade English teacher, and these 24 books will go to her students. Congrats Christine!!

December Giveaway WINNER!

In December, I gave away a copy of Thirst. The winner of that giveaway is......


Congrats to Yanely, and thanks for entering! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

IMM was started by Kristi form The Story Siren.

I ordered some books from Barnes and Noble this week. Here they are:



I read and loved My Soul To Take, so I absolutely HAD to buy the rest of the series! 

What did you guys get! Link in the comments, I 'd love to go check your books out!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

{Told in GIF} Discussion Posts

These are all the discussion posts I've done using gifs to get my point across. These discussions are usually funnier and filled with lots of humor.

When Your Favorite Character Dies

Love Triangles In YA

Insta-Love In YA

When the Main Character is of Questionable Morals

The Non-Threatening Vampire

The Bad Boy + Why He's Hotter

The Long-Lost Fairy Princess Plot

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderly
Pages: 479
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Purchased

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Clockwork Angel was yet another amazing thrill-ride from Cassandra Clare, filled with lots of magic, plenty of suspense and mystery and some blossoming romances all weaved together with Steampunk undertones. This book blew me away.

Of course, since it was set in the same Shadownhunter universe, I went in reading it with some preconceived ideas about how it was going to be, and what I would think about it.  But the first few pages into CA, I knew that whatever I thought before was wrong. At first, we meet Will and, given how their natures are relatively similar, I immediately started drawing comparisons between Will and Jace. (Will is Jace’s great-great-great-etc… GRANDFATHER!) But Will proves to be completely dissimilar to Jace. I really started falling for Will… and then he would do or say something and I would think “What an ass!” And then he would redeem himself again and I would go all goo-goo. As of right now, I’m not really sure where I stand on how I feel about him. He’s too complicated to try and figure out right now.

Tessa was absolutely a wonderful heroine. She was so different than Clary. There was just something about Tessa that was strong and determined, yet frail and breakable. She was loyal to the people she cared about, and also sweetly naïve. Since she’s not really sure what she is, and everything has happened so suddenly in her life, naturally she’s confused about what’s going on and about herself. This really made me sympathize with her.

Amazing characters like Jem and Charlotte were the ones that stole the show. I really felt bad for both of them. Really, the entire cast of characters were superb.

Clare really weaves us a great story. I wasn’t expecting most of what I read, and usually I can. I gave more than my fair share of gasps and “HOLY CRAP!”s as I was reading this. Even though it’s a pretty big book, I finished it in one night.

If you’re in any way a fan of The Mortal Instruments series, READ THIS BOOK. Even if you’re not a fan of TMI, READ THIS BOOK. It absolutely is worth it. I give this novel 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Banner!

Hey guys! I actually don't have internet at the moment, so I'm popping in from my school computer to post this.

Have you noticed the AMAZING new banner for the blog? It was made by a friend of mine, Yanely. You can find more of her artwork here! She is accepting commisions!!

Anyway, I have to go. I'm not sure when I'll be able to update, it all depends on whether my internet comes back soon.

P.S. What do you lovelies think of the new look???

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Author Guest Posts

Guest Posts

Ramona Wray: Characters We Hate & Love
Ramona Wray: On Writing and Being a Writer
Becca Smith: Why We Love Dystopian Novels
Annie Oldham: Is There Really a Villain Here?
Ali Cross: Her Story
RJ Gonzales: Why YA Appeals to Such a Broad Age Range
Laura Bradley Rede: YA Love Triangles
Elle Casey: Why She Writes Novels for Teens
Heather Hildenbrand: The Recipe for Perfect YA Book
C.C. Hunter: 10 Things You'll Learn from Taken at Dusk

Author Guest Posts

Coming soon :)

Review Archive- By Author

This is an archive of my reviews categorized by author's last name. As such, I've put the last name first, a comma, and then the first name of the author.

CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION

-A-
Ahern, Cecelia
The Book of Tomorrow

Armentrout, Jennifer L.
Daimon (Half-Bloods #0.5)

Ashton, Brodi
Everneath

Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia
All Just Glass

-B-
Blade, Veronica
Blind Date, Checkmate

Bray, Libba
Beauty Queens

-C-
Caine, Rachel
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1)
The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires #2)
Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires #6)

Chandler, Elizabeth
The Back Door of Midnight

Chibbaro, Julie
Deadly

Clare, Cassandra
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1)
City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4)
Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1)

Coletti, Aubrey
Altered

Corbett, Angela
Eternal Starling

Cruz, Melissa de la
Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods #1)

-D-
Dolamore, Jaclyn
Between the Sea and Sky

E

F

-G-
Gray, Claudia
Evernight

Gruner, Jessica
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days

-H-
Halliday, Gemma
Deadly Cool (#1)

Harrell, Jessie
Destined

Hieber, Leanna Renee
Darker Still (A Magic Most Foul #1)

Hockensmith, Steve
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (PPZ Prequel)

Hunter, C.C.
Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1)

I

J

-K-
Klause, Annette Curtis
Blood and Chocolate

-L-
Livingston, Lesley
Darklight (Wondrous Strange #2)

-M-
Mantchev, Lisa
Eyes Like Stars

McKinley, Robin
Chalice

McMann, Lisa
Cabel's Story (Dreamcatchers #0.5)

Miller, Kristen
The Eternal Ones (#1)

Moulton, Courtney Allison
Angelfire

-N-
Noel, Alyson
Evermore (The Immortals Series #1)

-O-
Oliver, Jana
The Demon Trapper's Daughter (#1)

P

Q

-R-
Reger, Rob
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days

-S-
Shulman, Polly
Enthusiasm

Simner, Janni Lee
Bones of Faerie (Faerie #1)

St. Crow, Lili
Strange Angels (Strange Angels series #1)
Betrayals (Strange Angels series #2)

-T-
Tiernan, Cate
Book of Shadows (Sweep #1)

Ting, Mary
Crossroads (Crossroads #1)

U

V

W

X

-Y-
Young, Suzanne
A Need So Beautiful

Z

Review Archive- By Rating

coming soon :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Link YOUR 2011 Challenges!!

Are you hosting a 2011 Reading Challenge???? LINK TO IT HERE! I'm really eager to join as many challenges as I can this year, so I want to see what you guys are doing.

Please, only sign the linky if you're hosting a challenge. 


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