Ballwin, MO, United States | Member Since 2008
From the title and genre, I thought I had this book figured out. Just another teen vampire romance novel to go along with all the others. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It starts very similarly, girl meets boy vampire, boy vampire tries to hook up with girl, girl denies him but secretly likes him, yada yada yada. What’s different? This book is hysterically funny and the characters are fantastic.
On the first day of Jessica Packwood’s senior year, in walks mysterious and slightly creepy, foreign exchange student Lucius Vladescu (It’s so fun to say his name) from Romania. Lucius informs Jessica that she is a vampire princess and the two have been betrothed since birth, you know, minor details that Jessica’s parents failed to mention.
At first Jessica is repulsed by Lucius and disgusted at the thought of being betrothed without her consent. But, as time goes on, she sees the good in Lucius and begins to care for him. However, in the time it took Jessica to realize her feelings for Lucius, he seems to have gotten over her and their betrothal. Lucius begins to rebel from his family’s arrangements and expectations and pushes Jessica away. In his rebellion, Lucius turns dark, almost evil, and Jessica must fight for him back or lose everything connected to her birth family.
The narration was fabulous and I'm actually glad I listened to the book instead of reading it. Katherine Kellgren is one of my favorite narrators and I loved the narrator for Lucius. Hearing Lucius’ Romania accent made this book for me and let’s face it accents are fun. The book alternates between Jessica and Lucius’ point of views, although Jessica’s is the primary perspective. Lucius’ perspective is introduced in the letters he writes to his uncle about his experiences in courting Jessica. His letters are an important part of this book and without them I’m not sure I would have liked Lucius.
Although Lucius’ dark side pulls at your heart, I enjoyed his unexpected change in feelings because it compelled me to keep listening. When Lucius rebels from his family, his character changes drastically, more so goes through a metamorphosis. Lucius’ change in character also forces Jessica to go through some changes of her own. I love character growth so I ate this up with a spoon.
Many people gave this book a not so great review all stating that they’ve read this book before. I have to disagree, I thought this book was different and had a lot of originality. This book was funny, dramatic, romantic, and so much fun. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun a read.
Many of my readers already know that I adore Maggie Steifvater’s books. Her stories are unique and her writing is witty yet poetic. The Raven Boys is no exception. I loved it and I think this is one Steifvater’s best books. It’s slow at the beginning but I wouldn’t necessarily change that. It lays some important ground work for the intense ending and the books to come. What I liked most about The Raven Boys was the originality of the story. I’ve never read/listened to anything like this before and that is one of the main reasons I highly recommend it.
I truly do not know how to summarize this story. Any attempt to describe this story does not do it justice. I will do my best with one sentence. There are some psychics, some ghosts, a murderer, a creepy mystical place, and teenagers on a supernatural quest. That’s all I can say.
The characters in The Raven Boys are deep and complex. These are not your teenage angsty, love triangle entangled, young adult fiction characters. These guys are different. Blue Sargent is the daughter of a psychic and lives with 3 other psychic women. Blue is not psychic but she has the way of amplifying energy. Gansey is a wealthy teenage boy on a mission to find something supernatural. Joining him on his quest are his 3 friends, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. Ronan is a wealthy boy gone bad. He’s reckless, edgy, and unpredictable. Adam is the poor, nice boy who’s under a lot of pressure. He’s on a scholarship at Anglionby Academy and under extreme pressure from his parents.
Each character feels real and as the reader, you feel for them. Like I said earlier, I’ve never encountered characters like these. I can’t say I loved them or related to them but I was definitely intrigued by them and I want to learn more about them.
As I said earlier, the story takes a little while to really get going. However, it lays important groundwork for the plot and develops all of the characters. Hang in there, things get really interesting about half way through and you want to stop after that. What pulled me in was the mysterious quest the group embarks on. I had never heard of lay lines or a sleeping ancient king named Glwendower and I was eager to find out more. I also felt Steifvater wrote wonderful side stories involving each of the characters. They added layers to the main plot and overall, made the story so much more substantial.
I loved it. I wish I could say more about The Raven Boys but I fear I would give away too much. The writing is beautiful. he characters are strong and well developed. The story is unlike anything else out there. The only downside to the story is it’s left very open. Something is resolved in this book but many things are not. Obviously they we will learn more in the next book but I really wanted to know more in this book. You can probably guess I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
At first, I didn’t particularly like Grave Mercy. It rubbed me the wrong way for some reason that I can’t put my finger on exactly. Maybe it was because I didn’t like the main character, Ismae, in the beginning. She irritated me. However, just before I reached the half way point, I become enthralled in the story. There’s a little mystery mixed in that holds your attention and keeps you guessing. I began to care for the characters and longed, as they did, for a good resolution. When the book was over, there was a little pang in my heart and I realized that I really enjoyed Grave Mercy after all.
Ismae is an assassin trained by the sisters of the convent of St. Mortain, known also as the God of Death. She is skilled in poisons, fighting, and weapons but could use some improvement in courting. After proving herself a worthy and loyal assassin, she is sent on assignment to protect the Duchess of Brittany while pretending to be the girlfriend of Duval, the Duchess’ half-brother. The convent believes Duval is deceiving the Duchess and they have arranged for Ismae to monitor him while fulfilling her other mission. Her assignment is complicated by the etiquette and procedures of the high court not to mention the deceit and treachery that takes place within it’s walls. On top that, Ismae develops unexpected feelings for Duval that conflict with the convents orders. Who is she to follow, her trusted sisters of St. Mortain or her heart?
As I said earlier, the beginning of the book didn’t appeal to me so much. There was a lot of emphasis on death and at times felt like the characters worshiped it. I like assassin tales, but this was too much to me. Then the story picked up and I could see the author spinning in a moral that redeemed the earlier focus on death. Ismae began to second guess killing others and started wondering if forgiveness was an option instead of death. This scored points with me as I don’t like heartless killers. When Ismae reaches this revelation, she turns into a new character who is even more formidable than before.
Additionally, Grave Mercy is more than just an assassin novel. It is also an historical fiction novel with a touch of romance. The historal fiction part was truly interesting and is actually what made me perk up and start really paying attention to the story. Also, the author doesn’t hit you over the head with a lovey-dovey romance. Instead, the Ismae and Duval grow independently while working together to protect the Duchess. Slowly their romance unfolds and when it comes to fruition, it’s sweet and heart warming. It’s just right for the story too.
Despite being skeptical at first, I ended up really liking Grave Mercy. It’s a well crafted story and I have plans to read the next one as soon as it comes out. I recommend it and encourage others to push past the beginning even if gives them trouble.
I purchased Crater expecting a fun space adventure and a step away from the norm for me. It may have been a change of pace for me but it was boring. I had to push myself through this book and contemplated giving up several times. I don’t even know where to begin. It lacked direction, good characters, and life in general. On top of that, the moon was a dismal setting and the author provided zero description to make it an intriguing place. I think this book might have been meant for younger children as the story was childish and at times cheesy. However, I don’t see how middle school aged kid would even have the attention span to read this book.
The moon also holds a valuable resource, Helium 3, and as a result Earth colonies and mining centers have been established to tap into this profitable resource. Crater Trueblood is an orphan boy who works on one of the moon mines and for the most part is content with his life. Keeping him company is an intelligent slime mold creature (Gillie), the only thing his parents left him, and a friend named Petro, who often times isn’t a very good friend to Crater. Crater gets called to the office of the Commander and is sent on a mission to protect some precious cargo on a caravan across the moon. Little does Crater know that the Commander picked him specifically for the mission because he wanted someone naive. Crater gets thrown into a lot of dangerous situations but with the help of the Gillie and his charm he manages to find a way through them all.
Let’s start with Crater. He is honest and nice but naive. He’s so naive that everyone around him gets frustrated by his innocence. He’s clearly the hero from the beginning because he’s always out to help others and work as hard as he can. He also likes to work hard even if people are taking advantage of him and is content to and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, even when they are holding him at gunpoint. For me Crater was so likeable, he was hard to like. Too good. Too nice. Too innocent. My eyes rolled every time he opened his mouth. I like main characters that have a few flaws and a little bit of an edge. He grew a little bit of spine at the end of the book but I was so tired of him by that point that I just wasn’t impressed.
Next let’s talk about the story. I think the author was going for a space western as he threw in a lot of cowboy and western themes. There was a town sheriff, a space horse, guns, bandits, natives, and more. The space cowboy theme has been done a lot and it felt a little cliche. My least favorite thing about the story was the lack of direction. I really had no idea why anything was happening. I thought things would come together in the end but it just left me wondering what was the point of the rest of the book. For example, Crater is assigned to protect a package. A lot of people are trying to get their hands on this package and on previous missions people have died in protection of it. You don’t find out what the package is until the end, which is fine, but the package ends up being nothing special. A lot of hype for nothing and I just didn’t get the point.
Overall, this book didn’t excite me at all. I gave it a chance again and again but it failed to keep me interested. I also listened to the audiobook, which I don’t recommend. The way the narrator performed the characters’ voices was irritating. If you want to read this book, definitely get the book over the audiobook. Keep in mind some people have given Crater some good reviews so you should take those into consideration if you are thinking about reading this book. As for me, I won’t be reading the next books in this series.
I had mixed feelings for the first book in the series, Glow, and this the same could be said for Spark. As I say in my review, the main characters are frustrating. Just when you start to like them, they do something to drive you crazy. However, the action and the story intrigues you enough to push the character’s terrible decisions and keep reading. In the end, I think I liked Spark more than Glow, but there scores are pretty close.
Picking up where Glow left off, the girls are back on the Empyrean after being kidnapped by the other space ship, the New Horizon. However, the girls paid a price for their return. They left their parents behind as prisoners on the New Horizon. Now the Empyrean is left without a full crew to the run the ship and the oldest person on board is 16. The kids on the Empyrean try keep the ship functioning while they plan a way to get their parents and the rest of the crew back, but they are worn out and constantly at odds with each other. Waverly and Kieran, former boyfriend and girlfriend, are particularly against each other. Matters only get worse when a stow away from the New Horizon is discovered hiding on board and wreaks havoc on the ship.
I like this series, I really do, I just wished I liked the characters more. The author does a good job showing the characters’ different sides and it’s nice that you really do see where the characters are coming from. However, they make often make bad decisions that hurt everyone in the end. You can only imagine that 16 year-old’s and younger do not know how to run a ship or make difficult decisions. So as a result stupid things happen that could have been avoided if only they had set aside their differences and worked together. This gets tiring and after awhile and you start longing for something good to happen for once. But conflict and turmoil keeps things interesting and the pages turning.
What Spark did best is deliver action. It’s non-stop and there are lots of explosions, fighting, and people being thrown in the brig. The action scenes are often intense and leave you wondering what’s going to happen next. The book ends not on a cliff-hanger exactly, but ends in a moment of suspense. I now am looking forward to reading the next book in the series just so I can find out what happens to the crew.
I debated for a long time about whether or not to read the book or listen to the audiobook. There are some books that are better read than listened to and some that are better listened to than read. Well, after listening to an audiobook sample of The Scorpio Races, I immediately put it on my ‘to listen’ list. I think the performances in the audiobook are worth listening to and really make the book come to life.
The Scorpio Races is set in Thisby, a fictional island of the coast of Britain. This island is no ordinary island. Every November water horses, also known as Capaill Uisge, come on shore. These horses are more monsters than actual horses. They are violent horse like creatures that love the sea and blood. Every November Thisby hosts the Scorpio Races, where riders race Capaill Uisge. The story is alternates perspectives between two characters, Puck and Sean.
When I first heard the story was about man-eating horses I didn’t quite no what to think. I love Maggie Stiefvater but do I really love her that much. Well, I’m so glad I took a chance on this book because it was beautifully written. It has to Maggie’s best work so far. If you read, or listen, to epilogue you will learn that the Capaill Uisge are actually based off of an ancient myth about water horses. I don’t know about you but this is the first time I’ve every hear of this myth. There are several versions of the myth and Maggie took the bloodthirsty water horse one. I commend Maggie for her bravery in writing this book as it’s probably a difficult pitch to make. I’m grateful the publishers took a chance on this one because it’s so good.
What made this book so good was the originality, the characters, the narration, the writing, the setting, and right down to the frightening horses. I loved it all. Puck and Sean have unique plights and you feel for both of them equally. Puck is trying to save her family’s home and to do so she’s running in the Scorpio Races to win the big money prize. Sean is the horse trainer for the richest man on the island. Among one of those horses is the Capaill Uisge, Corr, a horse he’s known since childhood and shares a strong bond with. Only the horse doesn’t belong to him it belongs someone else. Sean rides in the races every year with Corr and has won them 4 years in row.
There is a slight romance in the book but The Scorpio Races is not solely about a love story. I don’t mind that the romance plays such a small role because the book doesn’t need it. When it finally happens it’s more sweet that angsty and that is such a relief from the norm.
The narrators were phenomenal and their British accents made you feel like you were in Thisby with the characters. Sean’s character did sound a lot like Clive Owen, which was cool but sometimes it made me picture him as Sean. I got passed it though and I didn’t for a second regret listening to the book instead of reading it.
Clearly, I recommend this book since I loved it so much. If you are in the mood for something completely different, The Scorpio Races is the book for you. I think older teenagers and adults would love this book. It’s a beautiful book, so don’t hesitate to read it.
Just like its predecessor, Hounded, Hexed delivers tons of action and lots of laughs. After ridding the world of an obnoxious god and most of the demons he released into the world, you would think Atticus O’Sullivan could get more than a three week break. Nope. Instead, this ancient druid is bombarded by misbehaving demons, irritated gods, and evil witches. Hexed has a lot of the same spirit and energy that Hounded had but I think I liked Hexed a little bit more. Mainly because, at this point in the series, a lot of the character development is out of the way and the actions ensues. And there is lots of it.
The main conflict in Hexed is centered around a coven of nasty, evil witches. Like supported the Nazis, evil. Atticus teams up with another coven a witches, the good or at least better kind of witches, and some werewolves to take out the mean coven. However, they prove to be a formidable foe.
In my Hounded review, I forget to mention one of the best characters in the series. Oberon is Atticus’ trusty Irish Wolfhound, with a heart of gold. He fights along side his master, saves the day, provides witty commentary on all of Atticus’ enemies, and is just plan awesome. Oberon makes this book. I can’t believe I forgot to mention him in my Hounded review because he is my favorite characters.
Once again, the narrator is fantastic. There is such a wide range of characters in these books and performs every character well and with a believable voice. Another great road trip audiobook. It’s fun, engaging, and impossible to stop listening to.
Overall, I highly recommend this series. Kevin Hearne doesn’t disappoint. I’m eagerly looking forward to my next road trip when I get to listen to the next book in the series.
I never thought you could cram so much paranormal into one book and still have it worth reading. Hounded is a smorgasbord of paranormal. There are witches, werewolves, vampires, faeries, demons, shape shifters, gods, goddesses, and I have a feeling there will be even more thrown in the upcoming books in the series. On top of that, the main character is an ancient Celtic druid and, despite his grand old age, looks like he’s a wee 21 year old. He also lives in Arizona. Rather than being overly paranormal and ridiculous, Hounded is perfectly balanced with humor, action, lore, and romance.
Basically, Atticus, the main character, is a bad ass who tries to live out his humble druid existent blending in with modern society. You see, ever since the battle several centuries ago, he’s had this magical sword, Fragarach, that supposedly belonged to a god. Well, that god has been hunting Atticus ever since, and not in a very nice way either. Atticus ends up fighting off faeries, furbolgs, and daemons. On top of that, some other gods have decided to pay him a visit as well. Some morbidly terrifying, some violent, and some a little more playful. Atticus calls on his vampire and werewolf friends, who are also his lawyers, for help. Some witches join the fight too. He’s a pretty popular guy if you can’t tell. All of these visits lead Atticus to believe that something troubling is going on in the world of the gods.
Combine all that with witty references to Star Wars and countless other science fiction movies and books, and Hounded is every urban fantasy fan’s dream. Author Kevin Hearne delivers such a fun, fast read that it is sure to have readers of all types loving this book. I could tell this was the first book in the series because there was so much character development but it was still good.
If you are looking for a great road trip book, look no further. My husband and I really enjoyed listening to Hounded on a 10 hour road trip. The audiobook’s length was just right. The narration was also well done. Luke Daniels performed great voices for all of the main characters and the book’s many other bizarre creatures.
Overall, Hounded is a fun read, or listen. I highly recommend it!
Pandemonium had a completely different feel than Delirium, the first book in the series. The story, all told from Lena’s perspective, alternates between different times. This was a little jarring to me in the beginning but I eventually got the hang of it. That aside, I loved it. Couldn’t put it down. Ate it up with a spoon. It Leaves you on a total cliffhanger too. The kind that makes you scream, “WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR THE NEXT ONE?! AHH!” So. Good.
Contrary to Delirium, Lena is a little more rough around the edges in Pandemonium. After escaping from the police in Delirium, she is now on the run and fighting for her survival in the ‘wilds,’ as it’s called in the series. On top of that, she is recovering from the abrupt separation from Alex, the boy she loved so much that she ran away from everything she knew. She meets up with a resistance group living in the wilds. The story switches between Lena finding her way to the group and living with them to a future time when she is a member of the resistance.
Pandemonium is definitely grittier than Delirium. There is way more action and conflict. Alternating from Lena’s past and present kept the pace moving and made the book completely unpredictable. I really had no idea what was going to happen and this made the book difficult to put down. Out of the two books, I still think I liked Delirium more, but Pandemonium is still fantastic. It’s just different than the first.
I will leave this review short and simple because I know readers of Delirium will pick up Pandemonium at break neck speed. I know I did. If you haven’t read Delirium, you should.
I’ve read a lot of young adult dystopian novels and Article 5 ranks in the middle of that stack. It’s not in my top favorite but it wasn’t in the bottom either. I enjoyed Article 5 but there some parts of the book that felt familiar. The story was similar to Delirium and Pandemonium, and the romance was reminiscent of the love stories found in countless other YA novels. However, Article 5 has many original traits and can hold it’s own against the YA dystopian masses.
In the world of Article 5, the United States is a country rebuilding its society after a devastating war. Citizens who do not follow the government designated religion, have children out of wedlock, are the children of unmarried parents, rebel against the government, etc are thrown into a reformatory or are killed. The new government of the United States wants to eliminate those who would disagree with or taint their vision of new moral society. In other words, the government is basically putting people in internment camps and committing genocide.
It was hard for me to believe in this world as I can’t picture our country ever turning into this. I wished the author had expanding on more on what happened, besides a war, to make the country turn out like this. Scenes where the war was described were consistently vague. I’m hopping the next book might explain more but I have a feeling it won’t. The first book is usually where the author provides a history for their story.
So what did I like?
Article 5 is fast paced and the action starts right at the beginning and continues all the way to the last chapeter. The story moves along so quickly that any of the things mentioned above become non-issues. I also liked how the main characters, Ember and Chase, grew up together and had a strong bond. Many YA dystopian novels the two main characters meet for the first time and I appreciated this change. It was intriguing to have their history revealed bit by bit as the story moved along. Their relationship had a little bit of mystery behind it and it pulled me in.
The characters have an equal amount of pros and cons. Chase’s character is easy to like and I’m sure teenage girls every where are drooling over him. He’s tall, muscular, handsome, and protective. He’s also self-sacrificing which can be viewed as good and bad. After awhile got tired of him always throwing himself under the bus. While I understand why he is this way and I wished he would stick up for himself just a little bit more.
Ember is also easy to relate to and is smart, most of the time. She has moments of genius when she gets herself (and Chase sometimes) out of trouble. Then she has dumb moments where she walks right into trouble. She also seems to be pretty dense when it comes to recognizing that Chase clearly is in love her. She pushes him away for most of the book and this is as frustrating for the reader as it is for Chase. Ember redeems herself in the end.
I also enjoyed the narration of Jenny Ikeda. I’ve listened to one of her audiobooks before and enjoyed her voice. She has young voice but not too young. Many young adult audiobooks these days have very nasal sounding narrators. Ikeda’s narration is just right.
Overall, I had fun listening to Article 5. It’s fast tempo and resilient characters keep the reader hooked. It’s not my top pick for dystopian novels, but I think other readers who don’t read as many dystopian novels as I do would really enjoy it. I plan on reading or listening to the next book in the series.
Cowboys and Aliens by Joan D. Vinge is a novelization of the movie that came out in theaters in July 2011. If it hadn’t been space month on the blog, I don’t know if I would have normally picked out this book as I don’t generally like seeing a movie before I read the book. However, I gave Cowboys and Aliens a try because I really enjoyed the movie and thought for sure I would enjoy the book. So for this review, I’m going to do a book vs. movie comparison.
Cowboys and Aliens the movie stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, and many other great actors. I love all three of these actors and felt they all played their part exceptionally. I was particularly impressed with the transformation of Daniel Craig’s British accent to a Western accent. He also fits in seamlessly to the Western setting and the cowboy look. Harrison Ford is awesome as usual. He pulls off the grumpy old cowboy persona very well. His character’s voice is grizzled, well weathered, and fantastic and in many scenes he steals the show.
Olivia Wilde’s character is also great but I wish the movie had gone more in depth with her. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford’s characters were clearly defined and unfortunately her character was not, which is at no fault to Olivia Wilde. Her character, as it was written, is the one that I felt made the movie a little hokey. If they had given her a little more background, I might have accepted or understood her character better.
The movie combines the Western and Science Fiction genres well to create a completely original storyline. Overall, the movie is a fun ride that is unlike anything else in Hollywood at this time.
The narrator, Fred Berman, is phenomenal and does amazing voices for every character, and I really do mean every character. The author, Joan D. Vinge, is also talented and she does a wonderful job painting the settings, describing the action scenes, and putting the reader in the characters’ shoes.
With that said, the book is pretty much exactly the same as the movie. The book does provide more details than the movie and the reader gets a little more information on the characters’ backgrounds. Since I felt the movie lacked a little on the character backgrounds, I was glad to learn more about them and to see things from their perspective. However, there is not a lot of extra detail that the movie doesn’t generally cover. I particularly wanted to learn more about Ella’s character as she has a lot of mystery surrounding her. Unfortunately, the book did not deliver what I wanted. I understood her character better from the book but not a whole lot more.
If you are trying to decide between reading the book or watching the movie, I recommend watching the movie over reading the book. Gasp! This is probably the first time that I thought a movie was better than the book. My reason for the recommending the movie is mainly because they are one in the same. Only the movie tells the story with great actors and tons of special effects and explosions. The story is also written for the big screen and I think that’s where it should stay.
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