Thursday, April 29, 2010


Bianca will risk everything to be with Lucas.
After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters. Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at their hands. But when Black Cross captures her friend—the vampire Balthazar—hiding is no longer an option.
Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight. Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny.
Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything . . . but can it survive what's to come?

Beth says 4 Stars...

I've really enjoyed this series. This one was no exception, but I honestly take it for what it is. This series is a fun, typical paranormal romance. This book created a dramatic change of setting from the Evernight Academy, which I appreciated. I know from experience that hearing about a boarding school can get really boring to those who aren't there. It was also interesting to see how (and if ) the characters changed once they left that environment. It offered an opportunity to increase the depth of everyone, one that Gray did not fully seize upon.

The plot was fairly interesting. It was actually much faster paced in the middle, and the small bits of slowness came at the beginning and the end, something unusual. The action moved in an unexpected way, but that's when it began to slow down near the end of the book. The depth of the characters wasn't really explored because the entire book was run by the action, the romantic relationship of Lucas and Bianca, and also giving us some background information. I felt that Gray definitely expanded upon her world, which was something that I had been waiting for.

Overall, this is still a fun series. It's a bit like everything else on the shelves, but it doesn't make it bad. This third volume was a touch of an improvement over Stargazer, but still left a little to be desired. However, it was a really enjoyable read. If you want some slightly angsty vampire fluff, this is perfect. This would make a great guilty pleasure/beach read and it's out just in time for summer.
Book from Publisher

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

from Penguin Australia

Beth says 5 Stars...

I grabbed this book because the fantastic Michelle Zink said it was amazing, and I must agree. I was simply blown away. I was a little hesitant because I know that Melina Marchetta is a realistic fiction writer, and that genres don't always translate. That worry was needless, however. The plot was brilliantly done, with minor details having major significance later in the story. It never felt forced, and the novel progressed naturally. I have to stop to comment on the world building that was done; all I can say is wow. Every single kingdom had its own distinct personality and people that seemed real. What's remarkable is that this high fantasy world appeared as real as anything I've ever read about. I felt the pain of the land and the connections with everyone throughout. I honestly have no idea how well I'm articulating this (at the moment my guess is not well), but I'm trying to hammer home the point this books was astounding.

Now, to the characters, and what characters they were. I connected with every single one of them, no matter how minor or how different they were from me. Marchetta made their pain and trials so real that I couldn't help but empathize. Finnikin was a perfect hero, partially because he didn't want to be. Both he and Evanjalin were so flawed and scarred that they made me feel for them unconsciously. There was also a lovely chemistry between the two of them, and how they pushed one another farther than anyone else could. There was a bit about discovering yourself and all of that fun, but it was handled in such a way that it didn't hold up the action, or have the characters moping about for half of the book. The minor characters throughout really enhanced everything. They helped provide direction, advice, or some comic relief.

This book just jumped off of the page right at me, then grabbed me and wouldn't let go. In a genre were everything has turned into derivatives of something that wasn't that great in the first place *cough*paranormalromance*cough*, this book is a gem. Authors and readers take note; this is what you should be striving for. Finnikin of the Rock is a sweeping, dark, and epic high fantasy that doesn't sacrifice the characters to make it so. If you want something that's fluffy and happy-go-lucky, don't even think about it. However, if you want to read a gripping and almost gritty fantasy that focuses on characters, don't wait any longer. I think that I'm going to have to get my own copy of this, because I know I'm going to want to read it over and over again.

Book from Library

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All Unquiet Things

Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

Beth says 4 Stars...
This book was surprisingly good. I initially thought that it would be an angst-fest, and it was at times. However, it managed to be really intriguing and had a fantastic mystery aspect. I will say that I didn't predict the end of the book, but I'm also really terrible at figuring that sort of thing out. The plot moved forward at a lovely pace after the beginning. It took a little bit of time to really get into it. There was a lot of information that just had to be given, and so it wasn't immediately attention grabbing. That didn't last too long, though, so it isn't a huge knock on the book. The setting was fairly well done, but it felt tiredly familiar. It's as though I've read different books set in the same place before, and I feel like I have.

The characters were fairly well done overall. The only one I had an issue with was Neily, and that stems from his involvement as a narrator. His voice seemed slightly inauthentic. I could feel that it was a woman writing, and not a teenage boy. I know that it's hard to write authentically in the voice of the opposite gender, but it still wasn't what I wished for. It was what I think I guy would say, which is definitely not reality. The rest of them were well done, but fairly stereotypical. It felt a bit like a Gossip Girl mystery novel, but much better written and well done overall.

I really did like this book. It's a promising debut, and I got so sucked in to it. It was a little unoriginal, but overall well done. I look forward to what Jarzab will do in the future. Grab this one for a little upper crust kids gone bad.
Book from Library

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bones of Faerie

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so fifteen-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza's world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Corn resists being harvested; dandelions have thorns. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Still Liza feels safe. Her father is strong and has protected their town by laying down strict rules. Among them: Any trace of magic must be destroyed, no matter where it is found.

Then Liza's sister is born with faerie-pale hair, clear as glass, and Liza's father leaves the baby on a hillside to die. When her mother disappears into the forest and Liza herself discovers she has the faerie ability to see--into the past, into the future--she has no choice but to flee. Liza's quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I really enjoyed this book. The first chapter is absolutely astounding and sucked me in. It was so intense and more than borderline creepy in the best possible way. The only bad thing was that it didn't keep up after that. There was a bit of a lag afterwords, where I was left slightly confused because the world didn't get clearly defined. I wasn't sure what had happened, and my curiosity overwhelmed me. Eventually, things were clarified and I got back into the story. However, that took a little bit of time. Once the book got going, it was awesome! I loved that it didn't try to be a happy fluff book, and instead took the route of being bleak and harsh. The reality that set in was astounding since the world of the book is so unlike our own. The intensity of the book really came through in reading, which was lovely. The characters were interesting, but weren't the focal point of the book. It felt like the story and, more importantly, the world building took center stage. I have to say that I'd would recommend this book, but you need to think before reading it. It isn't like the average YA paranormal romance, and really veers to the darker side. If you want something that will make you think and that isn't a barrel of rainbows and sprinkles, I say go for it. If not, steer clear because this one is intense, but really good.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Boy Meets Boy

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he?s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul?s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.


Beth says 4.5 Stars...

I want to live in Paul's hometown. David Levithan is absolutely a master storyteller. He has the ability to create a vibrant and lively world that really jumps off of the page. It's reality, but then at the same time it isn't. The setting was so fun and unbelievable that it actually confused me for a bit. It took me a little while to realize that as a reader I was supposed to take everything that Paul said as the truth, and that this was really the way it was. Perhaps I'm just a little thick, but this town is very different than any that I've ever heard of. Besides the arresting setting there was the plot, well I think there was a bit of one. Honestly, the plot wasn't really important. Things happened and the book moved forward, but the focus of the book was the characters. They really took the story forward, and that was the important thing.

Speaking of the characters, I cannot sum them up in words, so here's all I can do: :). Everything just balanced beautifully. The Infinite Darlene was my favorite character because she just cracked me up the entire time. Paul was very layered and a good main character for a novel that didn't rely on plot and instead used the characters. All of the secondary characters were used just the right amount; not to much or too little. The characters were almost perfect.

This book was so much fun. It was so character driven and simply lovely. I can't wait to read the rest of David Levithan's books. Everything I have read has been fantastic and constantly proves that he has a remarkable talent for showing the truth in off kilter ways that make it easier to take. Overall, a delightful book which manages to send a message without ever feeling preachy. All I can say is that once you get into this book it just works.

Book from Library

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Dark Divine

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.


Beth says 4 Stars...

I really enjoyed this book. I guess the problem that I had with it is that it feels like just another paranormal romance, but a very good one. The novel was well written, particularly in the tone of the book. It was very dark and rather mysterious. The pacing was well done, with some subtle (and less than subtle) hints worked in throughout the book so it didn't feel as though the reveal come out of nowhere with this massive amount of information suddenly dumped on your head. The plot was a nice twist on what was expected, and I didn't quite figure out the ending. However, I felt like I had read the basic plot before, and I have. It's the whole "dark and mysterious boy that girl knows she should stay away from, but can't" thing that seems to be making up about 70% of the YA market these days. There's nothing wrong with it in theory, but it's getting to be all that's out there. I probably wouldn't have minded 3 years ago, but now it all feels the same.

The characters were okay, but they didn't jump of the page. Grace was rather meh as a heroine. She got to be a bit irritating when she was angsting in the middle of the book, but that could be my low angst tolerance rearing it's head yet again. The rest of the characters weren't that interesting, but weren't really uninteresting either. The characterization fell into the realm of mediocrity. Daniel very well filled the role of the dark and mysterious bad boy, but that was it. He had a little depth, but most of that came at the end so I wasn't able to really connect with him.

Overall this book was good. The message is lovely, but it suffers from being one of a multitude. It gets lost in the mass of paranormal romances. If you're a fan of the genre go ahead and grab it because it's a good read and is very good in the particular genre.