Thursday, December 30, 2010

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Sixteen year old Nalia has only known her life as Thorvaldor’s Princess. But when her parents give her chilling news her whole life is shattered. She is not the real Princess but a simple commoner who has posed as her while the real one has grown up in a convent to keep herself safe from a prophecy that said she would be killed before her sixteenth birthday. So Nalia, now called Sinda, must live with a long lost aunt who thought she was dead with little more than a few gold pieces to her name. Now she must deal with an aunt who hates her, whispered rumors, and a lack of friends along with a brimming magic that had been held dormant for the past sixteen years. And when Sinda discovers a secret that threatens the crown she must go on a adventure to save her country and the very girl who stole her life.

The Good: False Princess was a very enjoyable, fun read that is perfect if you’re looking for a short fantasy read with action, romance, and a bit of magic. This one has plenty of suspense that will keep you reading. The romance is also very good but is not the focus of the book. It adds that little extra umph that keeps things interesting. The characters are all very developed and interesting. I really liked Philantha, Sinda’s magic mentor and employer. She had such an intuitive outlook on life and an unpredictability that was refreshing. She always made me smile. I also have to comment on the fantasy aspect of this one. Fantasy is probably my favorite genre, if I had to pick. I love stories of kings and princess and knights and wizards. It’s all so enchanting. False Princess lived up all my favorites of the genre and was overall a good read.

The Bad: False Princess was overall very average. Nothing was noteworthy or very exciting. Nothing to set it apart from other books. So while I recommend it, this book isn’t one your going to be thinking about for weeks to come. It’s not one that will have everyone talking.

The Ugly Updates: The False Princess comes out January 25th. O'Neal is a debut novelest, though she has written several short stories. You can check out her site here, her blog here, and her twitter here

Rating: B-

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

ONE MORE STEP UP: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

ONE MORE STEP UP is a feature, exculisive to my blog that features books in the Adult genre that would be appropriate for YA readers.  This is my first but look for more in the upcoming months. 
This feature was named by Cathie.

Earth has been taken over by aliens. Aliens who go into human bodies and live exactly as they lived. They have won; human resistance is practically obsolete. Melanie was part of this resistance, but now she has been captured and soon an alien will be put inside her, an alien who will lead the Seekers to the rest of her still-human family. Only Wanderer, the alien soul put inside Melanie, can access any information. Melanie has built up walls to hide this information. As Wanderer grows more and more frusterated with her weakness she must make a decision whether or not to give up Melanie’s body to a seeker, one who will force the information out of her. Melanie, who is still very present in her head, an anomaly for this species, is desperate to stay out of the Seekers hands and will do anything to stop Wanderer, including making her fall in love with Melanie’s mate and younger brother. So together the two set out to find the men their heart aches for.

The Good: This is my absolute favorite book of all time. I have read this one countless times (probably close to 15). I LOVE it. There is something so compelling about the way Meyer writes and how this story unfolds. There is a steady stream of action that will keep you very interested. I personally think this book is so much better than the Twilight Series. And I’m going to ask you to please not be prejudice if you are a Twilight hater. The Host is completely different and I hope you will at least give it a chance. I really love the weird connection between Wanderer and Melanie. With two girls living inside one body, it makes a really strange dynamic. But Meyer perfectly explains the conflicting feelings between the two of them. She makes this story completely believable, which is both and really good thing and kind of disturbing. I mean I don’t want to lose myself to a soul-sucking alien :)

The Bad: I am pre-warning you, the beginning of this book is slow and confusing. It takes a little bit to finally understand what in the world is going on with these aliens and their strangely-human-but-also-alien actions. But I promise if you just get past the first 100 pages it will be so worth it! Just please bare with the back-story and set-up for the rest of the story, and then sit back and enjoy this incredible book. 

The Ugly Updates:  Of course as everyone knows, Meyer has written the Twilight series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. There is a rumor of a Host sequel but nothing concrete. So keep your fingers crossed. Check out Meyer's site for everything Twilight and Host.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

Ever since her mother’s disappearance 10 years ago, Julia has been able to sense people’s emotions. She can tell when her best friend is sad when she has to skip their movie night and when the boy down the hall wants to ask her to homecoming. When she runs out of gas one night and must travel through the woods alone, she is saved by a mysterious good looking guy, who just happened to be at the right place and the time, from what he called a bobcat though Julia is skeptical. There is an irrational connection between the two and when he leaves her later that night, she can’t help but feel pain from his absence. She is secretly counting down the minutes till she can see him again. Only he doesn’t show. And now kids are mysteriously going missing and Julia can’t help but feel that this strange man may have something to do with it.

The Good: The Emerald Talisman had a pretty good story line. It kept you intrigued through most of the first half of the book. The mystery really built up well at the beginning. And when the secrets were revealed they were actually somewhat surprising. There wasn’t too much foreshadowing or hinting that made everything obvious and predictable. It was a good story but just lacked in execution.

The Bad: This book lacked pizazz and overall excitement. I was quite bored at times. When the climax came, it was very anti-climatic and not very long. I found Pandos writing style to be sort of awkward. That’s the best I can describe it. The sentences were structured oddly and words were used in places where I thought better words could have been used. I found it distracting and the editor inside me wanted to reword all these sentences. The main character, Julia, was not easy relatable. I found her somewhat annoying and petty. Finally, the conclusion drug out way too long. And there was really no purpose for it because there is a sequel to the book. The things that did need wrapped up could have been said out more quickly. Overall, The Emerald Talisman was boring and had an awkward writing style that lacked flow. 

The Ugly Updates: The sequel, The Sapphire Talisman, is out December 15th, only 9 more days. Look out for a review for that one soon. This is Pandos' debut novel. View a trailer and find more info on the books on the book site. And let me just say, I love this site. It is very professional and efficient. Also check out Pandos' blog, facebook, and twitter.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Releases

Here are November 2010's new YA releases. Links to Goodreads. Please comment if you like this feature or if its useful/helpful!

November 1st
November 2nd
November 16th
November 23rd
November 30th 
Feel free to (1)Link your reviews (You don't need a blog!), (2)Tell me your thoughts if you read/want to read any of these, (3)Comment if I missed any books!

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The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Alex always thought she would remember her first time. And when her sister asks her a simple question, did you say yes?, her life is turned upside down. Alex was date-raped. And at her quaint little boarding school, the teachers think to highly of their students to admit that they could ever do anything wrong. Therefore, they feel no need to punish them. With a lack of punishment, the Mockingbirds formed. They are a group who unbeknownst to the administration, tries and convicts those who have done wrong. Alex, with very little options, goes to the Mockingbirds and starts a journey that will have huge consequences. Alex chooses to stand up for herself but she may just lose herself along the way.

The Good: I really enjoyed this book. It was a great change of pace for me. The message behind the story is really an empowering one. Its inspiring and eye-opening. I like the minor characters a bit more than the main. They really stood as good examples of what kind of people are in a high school rather than being stereotypical. I think Alex’s sister Casey and Martin were my favorite with Alex’s roommate and friend, Maia, a close second. These characters had strong opinions and even stronger personalities. They were the kind of people I would want as my friends.

The Bad: The thing I most dislike about this novel was the Alex, the main character. It was really hard for me to relate to her. She did things and reacted to her situation completely differently then I would have. That made it difficult to sympathize with her or even understand her. I got frustrated and annoyed with her. The situation of a school where the authorities (teachers and administrators) were too close-minded to accept their responsibility of exercising their authority seemed too unrealistic. I couldn’t wrap my head around students resorting to secret trials in the laundry room and stealing birthday cake to assert their authority. I kept thinking, “But this would never happen in real life.” The unrealistic nature was distracting. And just to make things clear, I enjoy and recognize the unrealistic nature of paranormal, sci-fy, and fantasy books. But they are quite different from realistic fiction. Realistic fiction should ultimately be realistic.
Overall despite the lack of connection with this book, I enjoyed it and it had an amazing message that came across in an interesting and clever way. 

The Ugly Updates: The Mockingbirds came out November 2nd. Whitney is a journalist and producer, as well as a debut author.  She also hosts her own web-show on the business of Internet video. So if you want to learn more about her and her web-show visit her sight here.  The Mockingbirds' sequel will come out next fall and will be the last book with these characters. But don't be alarmed, Whitney has lots of other projects in the works, which is very exciting to hear. Stay up to date on Mockingbirds info on Whitney's blog. Learn more about the Mockingbirds book on its site. And like the book on Facebook.And follow Whitney on Twitter.

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I'm Sorry...

I just want to apologize for the lack of reviews lately. I am taking some very hard classes this year and they are keeping me very busy. So I just ask that you guys keep reading and just bare with me for the next couple of months. Thanks!

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