Thursday, February 16, 2012


Incarnate By: Jodi Meadows
Rating: Incredibly AWESOME
Age Group: 13+
Summary (from
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 
My Thoughts:  Oh my gosh, I LOVE THIS BOOK!  This book has all the things I love in it: fantasy, science fiction, romance, and reincarnation.  Guys, these are my favorite things that I think about to make me not feel so bad.  So, obviously, I adore the plot and I loved how the story progressed.  I totally did not guess the end, and I loved it!  Mrs. Meadows answers enough questions to satisfy my curiosity, while still leaving plenty of questions to be answered in the following books.  The world is very well crafted and believable, and so interesting!  I enjoyed learning about it with Ana.  Which brings me to Ana, who is spunky and smart and lovably defensive.  I think she grew a lot as a character during this story and I liked how she developed.  Considering how she grew up, I think it’s understandable that she would be so afraid of the world and I think that her reactions are realistic.  Now it’s Sam’s turn.  I kind of love the stuffing out of him.  He’s so very understanding and kind, but he still has a backbone.  He is also funny and very sweet, and I liked how he approached his relationship with Ana.  He is OLD, and his hesitation seems to stem from how conscious he is of his and Ana’s age difference.  Personally, I think the two of them have a lot of chemistry and I see nothing really wrong with their relationship.  Though I admit it brings up a lot of ethical questions, I think that adds to the complexity of the story.  Anyway, I really can’t wait to see where the story goes!  I highly recommend this book!
Book Recommendations:  Reincarnation By: Suzanne Weyn

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Witch Eyes

Witch Eyes By: Scott Tracey
Rating: Meh
Age Group: 13+
Summary (from  A boy who can see the world's secrets and unravel spells with just a glance.
Braden's witch eyes give him an enormous power. A mere look causes a kaleidoscopic explosion of emotions, memories, darkness, and magic. But this rare gift is also his biggest curse.
Compelled to learn about his shadowed past and the family he never knew, Braden is drawn to the city of Belle Dam, where he is soon caught between two feuding witch dynasties. Sworn rivals Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe will use anything--lies, manipulation, illusion, and even murder--to seize control of Braden's powers. To stop an ancient evil from destroying the town, Braden must master his gift, even through the shocking discovery that Jason is his father. While his feelings for an enigmatic boy named Trey grow deeper, Braden realizes a terrible truth: Trey is Catherine Lansing's son . . . and Braden may be destined to kill him.
My Thoughts:  I’m afraid this isn’t my favorite book.  It isn’t necessarily a BAD book; however there were quite a few things that I didn’t particularly like about it.  The writing is pretty vague in generally, so there were a few scenes that I had to read several times because I didn’t understand how or why something happened.  Also, there were some scenes that were given one sentence descriptions that could really have used more.  Now, I DID like Braden.  He was funny and in many ways he was smart.  I also liked how his powers were described, and the most detailed scenes were the ones where he was using his magic.  Those parts of the book I really enjoyed.  Also, I adored Jade!  She was a cool cat.  I did like his relationship with Trey, though I didn’t find it particularly believable.  But I could look past that, because they were really very sweet.  However, the scenes with the two of them together tended to be the vaguest, which was kind of annoying.  The main character and his boyfriend shouldn’t have to interact in scenes-that-deserve-paragraphs-but-get-only-a-sentence sort of scenes, you know?  And I don’t mean just the romantic bits, the bits where they are just talking are still among the vague scenes that deserved more.  I liked the idea of the overall plot, but it didn’t actually pull me in very much.  I’m afraid I wouldn’t really recommend this book though I’m not going to say you shouldn’t read it either. 

Between the Sea and Sky

Between the Sea and Sky By: Jaclyn Dolamore
Rating: Incredibly AWESOME
Age Group: 12+
Summary (from For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
My Thoughts:  Oh my goodness, this book was so adorable!  I can’t say there was anything about this book that I DIDN’T like.  I love Esmerine, and I liked her interactions with her sisters and her parents.  Her love of books was, of course, endearing and I thought it certainly helped define her character and differentiated her from the other mermaids.  I also liked the description of humans and how they react to mermaids and the Fandarsee.  This is to say humans reacted believably distrustful and entitled in that many of the descriptions of human men were that they simply stole mermaids because they DESERVED pretty magic wives, which is an account that matches mermaid mythology.  Above all else, I adored Esmerine and Alan’s relationship.  It developed believably and it was just so sweet!  And Dosinia’s story!  I was very pleased with how that turned out, and I thought Esmerine’s reactions to her sisters life were, again, believable.  This book has the simplistic writing style that I love and was very descriptive in all the right ways.  I would highly recommend this book! 
Book Recommendations:  The Truth-Teller’s Tale and The Dream-Maker’s magic By: Sharon Shinn

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Mephisto Covenant

The Mephisto Covenant By: Trinity Faegen
Rating:  Really Good
Age Group: 15+
Summary (from  Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
My Thoughts:  The plot of this book was really unique.   I loved the way Jax and Sasha’s relationship advanced, and I also enjoyed learning about the Mephisto and the Anabo.  I was on the edge of my seat right from the get go, and the pace was just so to keep me there!  I also liked the characters.  Jax and his brothers struck me as well developed, especially considering that there were so many of them.  I already know which one I want the next in this series to be about.  And Sasha was a fun main character.  Anyway, I also liked that even though this book was very sweet it was also very dark.  Really, a great deal of the story is around people losing their souls and how such lost people are dealt with.  There were parts were I was seriously freaked out!   And the twist at the end got to me.  I don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say that two of my favorite side characters were lost.  But this brings up something that bothered me about this book.  Some details seemed sort of vague.  At some parts I’d be reading and there weren’t many details, then suddenly something was happening and I didn’t understand what was going on.  It only happened a few times, but it took away a bit from the experience.  Also, there were a few parts were Sasha’s reaction just didn’t seem believable.  Again, I can’t really give a good example without giving away the end.  Which is bothersome.  But all in all, I found the main characters pretty well developed and I LOVED the plot (though there were a few slow parts, the story was still very good).  There were just a few things that bothered me, but not enough to keep me from enjoying the story.  I’d certainly recommend this book. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Princess Curse

The Princess Curse By:   Merrie Haskell
Rating: Incredibly AWESOME
Age Group: 12+
Summary (from  Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?
My Thoughts:  Oh my goodness, this book was so good!  This was a very well written and interesting retelling of the fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”.  I loved the other cultural elements Mrs. Haskell put into this book, including the Romanian and Greek histories.  I’m no expert on history, mind, but I still liked the complexity of the environment.  And the characters!  They were very well rounded, and I particularly liked Reveka.  She was a strong and interesting character, and I like that she wasn’t perfect.  She does kind things very often but it’s not ALWAYS for kindnesses sake.  While it’s nice to have main characters that aren’t tempted to do the bad thing, it’s also nice to see a character seriously consider doing to wrong thing.  There is a part in this book were Reveka knows that she should stay to help solve the curse, but she had been given a lot of money to leave and so she seriously considers the option.  She was a very down to earth and intelligent character, too.  I don’t know, they’re small details that make her character all the more complex and real.  And I very much liked Frumos, and the bits of his story we get to learn.  I also really liked Mihas, for all he was annoying, because he was an interesting character even with his flaws.  And the Princesses.  There are, well, twelve of them so we don’t get to know them all, but we did get a good range of characteristics for most of them.  I really liked that the way they had such different personalities, and I like that not all of them were awful.  Though the one that was awful?  I wanted to smack her, stinking brat. Ehem. And the plot!  I love the way this book is written, and I love the twist the story took.  I particularly like that we don’t hear this story form the Princess’s or the Soldier’s view point as is so often with retellings of this fairytale.  This is a book I would DEFINITLY recommend.  I am so excited for the next book in this series!     
Book Recommendations:  A Tale of Two Castles By: Gail Carson Levine

Monday, September 26, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love

Drink, Slay, Love By: Sarah Beth Durst
Rating: Incredibly AWESOME
Age Group: 15+
Summary (from Pearl is your typical sixteen-year-old vampire—until the night a unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. Now she’s experiencing a number of alarming symptoms: noticing her own reflection, feeling sympathy for a human victim, and being able to withstand the sun. Pearl’s immunity to sunlight thrills her family, who enroll her in high school so she can lure home tasty friends. Pearl quickly discovers that high school is very similar to vampire culture with its rigid rules, clear social hierarchy, and a might-makes-right attitude. But having a conscience makes it hard to cope with an evil plot the Vampire King has in store for the local humans. Will Pearl overcome her bloodsucking instincts in favor of her newly acquired conscience?
My Thoughts:  This book was simply amazing.  First off, this is a very classical portrayal of vampires.  They are cruel and heartless, and they don’t care who has to die so long as they get to live.  And that is very refreshing.  In their culture no amount of lenience is allowed.  If you break the rules or are disrespectful in any way, they you are punished, likely with torture.  But even while this book includes such horrific details, it still manages to be incredibly sarcastic and funny.  Seriously, there was a scene where Pearl is wondering why detention is so terrifying, and that maybe it’s like that time her mother locked her in a dark room for an extended period of time with not food and where there was no noise.  This scene was quite scary because of the way she described the torture, but at the same time I couldn’t help but laugh at its comparison to detention.  The way she talks about torture as if it’s the same thing as shopping for shoes shows just how much cruelty is a part of her life and the vampire culture.  And to me these details are incredible and they make the story so much richer.  Not only was the writing witty and diverse, the plot was great.  I was pulled in and I couldn’t put it down.  There weren’t any slow points that got bogged down by the monotony of high school, and the end was perfect (in my opinion of course).  And I loved all of the characters.  They were very well defined and fun, even the background characters. I particularly loved Matt and Zeke. Pearl was splendidly sarcastic and the way the author writes her character is believable and so much fun!  While she gains a conscience she doesn’t change all at once.  She is confused about these new feelings, but she doesn’t change her priorities.  And that’s how it would happen.  People don’t change everything about themselves all at once, it takes time.  Small steps lead up to a character redefining moment, and that is what happened here.  And the unicorn twist?  I just loved it!  It’s a unique spin from a classical perspective (if that makes sense?  It sounded better in my head…).  All in all, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to people who like vampire themes but are looking for something new.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Ordinary Princess

The Ordinary Princess By: M.M. Kaye
Rating: Incredibly AWESOME
Age Group: 8+
Summary (from  Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!
My Thoughts:  I loved this book so much!  It was a short, funny read filled with interesting characters and a main character you can’t help but love.  One of my favorite characters was actually the fairy that gifted her with Ordinariness, mostly because the kingdom of Phantasmorania saw her as a villain while she was really looking out for Amy’s best interests.  Princess Amy was such an adventurous and sweet person that you can’t help but want her to achieve everything she sets out to do.  I liked how she was different from what everyone expected (the seventh princess in this kingdom is always the most beautiful and demure) and I liked how her family was described, including the allusion to Sleeping Beauty.  Amy’s relationship with the prince struck me as very believable and sweet.  This is a good, simple, heartwarming read that will bring anyone’s mood up.  I’d recommend this book very highly.
Book Recommendations: The Wide-Awake Princess By: E.D. Baker, Golden By: Cameron Dokey, Ella Enchanted By: Gail Carson Levine


Starstruck By: Cyn Balog
Rating: Not my cup of tea
Age Group: 14+
Summary (from  Gwendolyn "Dough" X doesn't think she has much going for her—she carries a few extra pounds, her family struggles with their small bakery in a town full of millionaires, and the other kids at her New Jersey high school don't seem to know that she exists. Thank the stars for her longtime boyfriend, Philip P. Wishman—or "Wish." He moved away to California three years ago, when they were 13, but then professed his love for her via e-mail, and he's been her long-distance BF ever since.
At the beginning of her junior year, though, Wish e-mails that he's moving back to Jersey. Great, right? Well, except that Dough has gained about 70 pounds since the last time Wish saw her, while Wish—according to his Facebook photos—has morphed into a blonde god. Convinced that she'll be headed for Dumpsville the minute Wish lays eyes on her, Dough delays their meeting as long as she possibly can.
But when she sees Wish at school, something amazing happens. He looks at Dough like she's just as gorgeous as he is. But Wish is acting a little weird, obsessed with the sun and freaked out by rain. And the creepy new guy working at the bakery, Christian, is convinced that there's more to Wish's good looks than just healthy eating and lots of sun. He tells Dough that a mark on Wish's neck marks him as a member of the Luminati—an ancient cult of astrologers who can manipulate the stars to improve their lives. Is Wish and Dough's love meant to be—or are they star-crossed?
My Thoughts:  I’m afraid I’m not very fond of this book.  The concept is very interesting and I did like that the main character wasn’t a stunning beauty, but I didn’t like the way the story was presented.  Dough dwelt on her looks A LOT, and while I can sympathize I don’t think it should be the only think you think about.  She had such awful luck, and almost everyone in the story was a jerk.  I don’t know, it seemed to me this book was about how people are judged by appearances, and yes the end shows that this is wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that the characters sacrificed a lot just so that they would look better or be seen as better looking.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like stories that dwell, and this book is filled with characters that do nothing but.  For all the reasons I personally didn’t like the book, it wasn’t the worst book I’ve read by any means.  It’s just not really my cup of tea.  All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book. L

A Tale of Two Castles

A Tale of Two Castles By: Gail Carson Levine
Rating:  Great
Age Group: 8+
Summary (from In this fairy-tale whodunit, country girl Elodie's parents scrounge up fare to send her to the city of Two Castles, with instructions to find a weaver willing to take her on gratis for a 10-year apprenticeship. (Elodie, intent on joining a theatrical troupe, has other ideas.) Alas, months earlier the guilds abolished 10-year apprenticeships; now everyone must pay, and Elodie's one copper is stolen (by a cat) the moment she draws it from her purse. With no other prospects, she takes the only job she is offered: assistant to the dragon Meenore, who, in addition to its skills as mobile water heater, has a sideline as local detective. Elodie must overcome her fear of being eaten to help Meenore save another hated local—Count Jonty Um, the ogre who occupies one of the town's two castles. With a faint echo of Puss in Boots, Carson crafts a persuasive fantasy realm and a capable heroine. Readers should enjoy watching Elodie hone her powers of deduction to unravel the mystery of the ogre's sudden disappearance, and will likely anticipate further sleuthing adventures with this companionable duo.
My Thoughts:  Gail Carson Levine is one of my favorite authors of all time, and this book definitely doesn’t disappoint.  I loved all of the main characters, especially Meenore.  Who DOESN’T love a helpful, problem solving dragon?  And Jonty Um was just adorable.  Truly, all of the characters were developed and the plot was interesting.  Elodie was a wonderful character, she was smart and spunky.  I liked watching her grow into herself throughout the story, and I liked seeing the other characters show their colors as well.  Really, the character interaction made this book for me, it was so good.  And the twist at the end?  Yeah, I would never have been able to deduce that.  I’m not really familiar with Puss in Boots, so I can’t say how similar this story is to it unfortunately.  This was a very sweet story filled with wonderful characters, and I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy books.
Book Recommendations:  Ivy's Ever After By: Dawn Lairamore, Ella Enchanted By: Gail Carson Levine