Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best of the Bunch #2: November 2011 Pick

"Best of the Bunch" is a monthly book blogger meme hosted by Lyrical Reviews
Once a month, participants pick the best book they read for that month and give it the "Best of the Bunch" award!

Here's my "Best of the Bunch" winner for the month of November 2011. And, it was really hard to choose this one! (Just kidding...big time.)


The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)
by Julie Kagawa

As if any of the others I read in the past month could compare? This is my favorite book series, so of course it beat out all the others. It's very different from all the other books in the series, but because of that, it functions perfectly as a wind-down, sums-every-thing-up way to end the Iron Fey books. It's beautiful, hypnotic, dreamlike, magical... Just an overall humanly amazing read. 

Read my review of it here: [review of The Iron Knight]

What's your "Best of the Bunch" pick for this past month?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top Ten TBR Books for Winter (TTT #6)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by
This week's list topic is...


1. “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
I've read this novella before, but I wanted to again, since it's been, like, ten years since I last did. It's just awesome and Charles Dickens is the author all authors should aspire to write like.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Yes! I'm finally going to be reading Harry Potter in January of 2012! HP gets featured more than any other book in my “TTT” posts. I will no longer be in the dark about this series…

3. Halflings (Halflings, #1) by Heather Burch
This is an eARC I just received through NetGalley, so I plan on having the review ready right around release day on February 1, 2012. It sounds really good, which is why I requested it.

4. Borrowing Abby Grace (The Shadow, #1) by Kelly Green
I've read some positive reviews of this series of short stories, and it sounds really interesting. I loved Quantum Leap as a kid/teenager back in the day, and this sounds like a girlie YA version. Love that idea!

5. Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie
Not a fantasy title, but one of my favorite dystopia series. I bought it early for my mom to read because she is a big fan, but I won't be able to read it until early next year.

6. Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne
I've had this book around since last summer and still haven't been able to find time to read it. I'm dying to, though! Reading the prequel made me laugh so hard! I cannot wait. All other books just need to get off my back for a week so I can take care of this one.

7. Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger
This one looks so interesting and fun to read, and I've had it since the Kindle sale, which was kind of recent. It's one of those perfect-for-me titles, all historical, witty, and Jane Austen-like. And steampunk!

8. Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead
I obtained this title, or will be obtaining it, from Swap.com, which is a way to get media by trading your own media for it. Really excited about reading this one, since everyone seems to love it so much.

9. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare
As soon as I can get my hands on this title, I'll be reading it! All other books need to shut up when this one comes home because I need to read about my book boyfriend, Jem, and see what crazy things he's going to get caught up in this installment. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait…

10. Dark Seeker (Seeker, #1) by Taryn Browning
I have an eARC of this book and have been meaning to read it for a while, but my other ARCs keep getting in the way. They need to step-off! Seriously, I can't be the only book blogger who thinks her books talk to her, yell at her, whine, cry, etc., can I? The more I get, the noisier my room gets with all their incessant “Read me! I'm next!” Okay, maybe it IS just me…

So, what are you all going to be reading this Winter?

Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4) 
by Julie Kagawa 

Genre: Fantasy/Faeries
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Source: purchased paperback
Age Rating: 14+

To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing gentler feelings the Winter Prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half-human, half-fey slip of a girl—smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer faery can survive,

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through its end—a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way, Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

My Review

It's over. The Iron Fey series is all over. That's what comes to mind as I write this review. I didn't expect to feel so much loss over that simple fact, but as soon as I closed my copy of the book, that's what I felt. I had been looking forward to reading the fourth and final installment in the Iron Fey novel series for several months, and now that I've read it, I know I'll be missing that feeling of anticipating the next exciting adventure.

But, the story comes to its inevitable conclusion as we say farewell to the characters that got us started on this wild journey into the land of Faery. I barely want to write much of anything about this particular installment, so much as I want to write about how I feel about the entire series. I'll weave the two together as best I can for my review.

Ash starts out needing to find a way to earn a soul so that he is able to fulfill his vow of returning to Meghan Chase's side. Fulfilling obligations is serious business for the Fey, and in this book we find out why. If Ash doesn't try to do this, he will become an evil thing, and seek to destroy all of Faery, including his beloved Meghan. So, this is mostly what drives him.

Despite his cold disposition, I warmed up to Ash pretty quickly when I first started the series because I liked how he was obviously attracted to Meghan, despite himself. When alone with her, he could be very kind and concerned for her well-being. In The Iron Daughter, we got to see this easily, and I loved Ash all through The Iron Queen, too. His devotion to Meghan hardly has equal, and that comes to fruition as he gets a chance to prove it in The Iron Knight. And, what he must go through to prove it is painful, bitter, yet ultimately full of joy, just like human life itself.

When I read “Summer's Crossing,” I fell totally in love with Puck, unexpectedly. Why I hadn't earlier is beyond me, but he really is one of the funniest YA heroes in all of YA literature. And, this journey needed to include Puck, if for no other reason than because without Puck, there really is no Ash. They are the oldest of friends, and you learn from reading the right kind of teen literature that your friends are part of your heart—you need to rely on them, as they need to rely on you. I cried as Ash and Puck finally parted ways in that unforgettable scene.

This story has such an ethereal, dreamlike quality through most of the journey, so it feels like being inside a strange dream Ash is having. Or, maybe that is how he normally experiences life as a faery. It is so rich with detail and beautifully designed scenes that stick in your head long after you finish reading them. I could visualize everything in my head so well, which is either like watching a movie, or just simply being there on Ash's shoulder the entire time, like he's lending you a space to sit on him and observe.

We really get to know Ash, discovering that he and the Fey have no conscience, and we find out what that really means. We get to see flashbacks to when Ash was a soulless fey who never had a genuine mean bone in his body, but was willing to behave terribly when goaded into it, or forced to. And, he never felt any remorse. The Fey are sort of remarkable that way, and it explains their often cruel and unfeeling behavior towards humans and each other. I even pity the fey, having learned how terrified they are of being forgotten by the very beings that created them—the humans, for being forgotten by them means extinction.

I think this installment is the perfect way to wrap up the series because it addresses so many questions, even questions I didn't think I had. You know you're holding the work of a great storyteller when she clarifies the confusing, often mysterious aspects of her world-building, whether you asked for it, or not. You realize it deepens your understanding of all the previous books, making them not just mere stories with beginnings, middles, and ends—but real places you can journey to anytime you feel like it.

I'd say goodbye, but that sounds so final, since Julie Kagawa plans to continue more of her world of the Iron Fey in a future series starring Ethan Chase, Meghan's little brother. So, we can reasonably assume our favorite first-series characters will make cameo appearances. Besides, the Fey are always out there somewhere, lurking behind a bush, or a tree, so long as we remember them. And, as long as you keep using the internet with your iron-derived technology, the Iron Fey will assuredly prosper, too. Until I see all you faeries again, I'll be the voice of reason (a.k.a. Grimalkin) and say, do try to stay out of trouble….

My score: 5 twinkling Edge of the World stars out of 5. (I loved it!)

For a possible resource for saving on books, try using promotional codes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Books I'm Thankful I Read This Year (2011)...

Since it was American Thanksgiving yesterday, I thought I'd blog about the books I'm thankful I read this year, whether published in 2011, or not. Somehow, I almost feel like waiting until the very end of the year to post something like this, because I could end up adding to the list between now and then, but I won't. 

By the way, I'm very grateful for the book blogging friends I've made in the past six months, despite me not being the most social person in the world, on the internet nor in real life. BJ (Dark Side of the Covers), Lan (The Write Obsession), and Andrea (The Bookish Babes), all of you are THE BEST!!! I adore you ladies, and I hope life treats you well forever because you deserve it....

The entire Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa! These books have become my favorites in not only the YA reading grade, but probably of all books. I just love this exciting world Kagawa has created. Because I have an extensive love of anime and manga (even some video games), I was right at home with these books, as Julie drew so much inspiration from those familiar-to-me sources. She'll take something everyone is familiar with (faeries) and spice them up with anime-like action and lovable characters. She's so brilliant!

This Dark Endeavor, the first book in The Dark Endeavor Chronicles series by Kenneth Oppel. This book made me cry my eyeballs out! I can't even really explain why it did that, and I'm probably the world's biggest freak because of it, but it got to me. What a magical read this was for me. 

I've had issues with Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein character since I first read about him back in college--age 19. Oppel managed to make me LIKE him. Whoa. That was a feat of epic proportions. That's 15 or 16 years of having issues with the guy. I'm totally hooked on this series and it's amazing characters. I just adore mad scientists--yes, I'm weird. 

I really loved The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith, which is an adult vampire political adventure novel. I still haven't read The Rift Walker, book 2, but I'm saving it for the perfect time, sometime before book 3 comes out in 2012. 

Although, I took issue with some of the technical writing in this book, I otherwise completely fell in love with the story and the characters. The romance was so sweet and amazingly well-done between Adele and The Greyfriar. Best part was that they grew as characters together, and BECAUSE of each other. These two make a fabulous, ideal couple that makes me believe even the tiniest more in transformative love. 

And, the Greyfriar is my book boyfriend! Swashbuckling, heroic, super handsome, blue-eyed... the list goes on. He's not perfect, but he's just awesome!

And, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare works its way into here because, there, I found another book boyfriend in Jem! Okay, he may be a teenager, but he was born long before I ever was. I'd just have to make sure he's not my ancestor, or something. I definitely have no Chinese ancestors, but I do have English ones, so.... Oh, right. He's fictional! Dodged a bullet.

This is a great series, but I mostly like the book because of Jem. I'm strangely obsessed with the name 'James' already, have been for years now (I do NOT know why). I love silver-haired men, and I love the sickly ones because I just want to make them all better. I have a gift for taking care of the ill--it's true. Not to mention, he's the sweetest, most gentlemanly character ever created besides Mr. Bingley from Pride and Prejudice...

Shiver from The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Steifvater. I loved this one from the first sentence, as it transported me directly into the story, time, place, sight, smell, everything. The prose is rich and delicious and who doesn't love these characters when you read this? 

Sam, you are just an awesome character. I'm not even into werewolves, but he's not the typical werewolf guy. Sweet and romantic. Wonderful book, and I need to read more from the trilogy.

Other than these, I loved Across the Universe by Beth Revis, but it's a sci-fi, which I don't blog about. Love Elder and Amy. They are my favorite YA couple. Elder is total LOVE.... 

Review: Death Note, Vol. 3 by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note: Hard Run (Death Note, #3)
by Tsugumi Ohba; Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

Genre: Urban Fantasy (Japanese Manga)
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Source: Amazon.com
Age Rating: 14+

Light is chafing under L's extreme surveillance, but even 64 microphones and cameras hidden in his room aren't enough to stop Light. He steps up the game, but before the battle of wits can really begin, a family emergency distracts him. But even though Light isn't using the Death Note right now, someone else is! Who's the new 'Kira' in town?

My Review

This review contains spoilers for the first two volumes of Death Note, plus the third one, of which I'm reviewing here. Don't read this review unless you want to know what happens before you read it.


This is the best volume so far! If Death Note had been moving along at a sort of slow pace up until now, that's all changed. So many exciting things happened, I was laughing my head off in some parts and freaking out during others. It goes to show you that it really is a high drama—very much a thriller.

It starts off with Light having Ryuuk, his shinigami death god, search for all the hidden cameras in his bedroom, so that he'll be able to feed him apples. That's Ryuuk's addiction, like humans and tobacco. Once all sixty-four cameras (OMG!) are discovered, Light configures how he'll sit at his desk, so as to block the view of the camera while he watches a mini TV hidden in a bag of chips. This way, he looks like he's just snacking while doing his homework, but he's really seeing criminals' names and faces, and writing them in the Notebook.

But, seeing this supposed normalcy really doesn't help L feel better about Light not being Kira. Then, Light enters college, and L is at the commencement ceremony, giving a speech right along with him. L looks so adorably creepy, with his huge bug eyes and the way he won't blink, nor look away from Light. How he manages to be cute and creepy I'll never know. But, L decides to tell Light that he is L. Totally shocked, Light doesn't know what to believe, thinking the real L would never reveal himself to anyone. But, it ties Light's hands behind his back, so that if L were to die suddenly after meeting Light, Light would be under immediate suspicion. Well played, L.

Then, they have a heated tennis match so L can get an idea of just how competitive Light really is. It's pretty intense, and afterward, L gives Light a series of questions meant to trap Light, and they very nearly work. L wants Light to work with his team on the investigation of Kira because, if Light is Kira, then he won't be able to make any moves on the police task force without giving himself away.

Suddenly, it looks as though Light is taking some seriously reckless measures by having Kira hold an entire TV news station hostage with video tapes meant to be broadcast to everyone in the region. Here, Kira proclaims he will create a new utopia where all evil people will be killed, or frightened into submission, and he wants the police to cooperate with him. Only thing is, L does not believe that these are the actions of Kira, but rather a stupider imposter Kira who can kill people without even needing to know their names.

Things are getting SO exciting! It's been a long time since I first got into Death Note, and I don't have the best memory, so this reread is almost as thrilling for me as it was when I first got into this series. This manga series is not to be missed….

My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (I loved it!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Future Reads #13: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Here's what I'm really looking forward to reading after it comes out! 

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)
by Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: December 6, 2011

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

I need to read this because I'm a big Jem fangirl, and supposedly Tessa starts getting more interested in him, or maybe he starts getting more interested in her?? Something like that, and I'm sold. The first book was really good and I found a new book boyfriend out of it, so I must see what silver-haired book boyfriend is going to do, particularly in regards to matters of the heart.... 

Anyway, does anybody know who the heck this guy on the cover is? I just can't figure it out. It can't be Will because he's on the cover of the first book, and this model looks nothing like that guy. <is confused>

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)
by Kimberly Derting 

Genre: Dystopia/Fantasy
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
Age Rating: 14+
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
My Review

This one started out really slow for me, but once I got halfway through it, it got interesting. I wouldn't say this novel is amazing, but it's not awful, either. It's just pretty decent. I think my biggest problem was that I never came to identify with or love the characters that much. They were fine, but sort of there in the story, not really doing and saying things to make me feel more for them than I would for other random good people.

The Pledge has an intriguing premise, though. In a future of what was once the U.S., located in what was once New York City, I think (it's too vague for me), there lives a powerful queen who rules over her subjects, and forces them to all speak a classification of languages. Depending on the class of the citizen, they are required to speak only certain languages, and are forbidden from knowing others. Even understanding a language you aren't supposed to could mean death, but why this is the case never becomes clear.

In fact, it seems like this law is in place solely because the main character Charlie has the gift of deciphering languages without needing to be taught them. If there were a justification for why people in her Vendor class can't speak anything other than Englaise and Parshon, then it would be more believable. But, this law seems to exist for no other reason than to allow Charlie to hide her ability so she never gets discovered for who she truly is.

In the first half, there is a lot of romance, but the type that I find silly, as it seems like Charlie enjoys playing games with Max. She likes him, but she always walks away from him and tells him to leave her alone, etc.—her actions always betraying her true desires. But why? Other than being a teenager (and that's not a good excuse) I can't figure out why she has such a problem with Max in the beginning. Fortunately, that problem dissipates, and they seem to have a more honest relationship with each other, later on.

I like Xander, but he never comes to fruition as a character. The evil queen is actually very interesting, too, as is her mysterious identity. Who is this entity? What is she? None of it ever gets answered. I am fascinated by the fact that this entity continues to live on and on by taking over one female host body at a time, but why it always has to be an heir to a certain family line (and always female) is never explained. I like how she has trouble with her own grandsons who find her a disgusting creature, because that's what she is. She's only their grandmother genetically, and nothing more.

The novel has a good mixture of dystopia and fantasy, although not science fiction. People who want to read a story that mostly revolves around teen romance will probably like this, as it does that a lot, but it switches gears a bit in the second half to the political matters of the country. Silly teen romance fluff is annoying to an old bird like me. I like the intriguing political matters better.

*I received this as a complementary e-copy from Simon & Schuster for review.

My score: 3.5 stars out of 5. (I liked it.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: "Turned at Dark" by C.C. Hunter

"Turned at Dark" (Shadow Falls, #0.5) 
by C.C. Hunter 

Genre: Paranormal/Vampires
Reading Grade: Young Adult (short story)
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Source: Kindle store (freebie)
Age Rating: 15+

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang hadn’t believed in ghosts until she saw her dead cousin darting into the shadows of an alley. She hadn’t believed in vampires until in the dark of that same night she is turned into one. Introduced to a strange world of supernaturals, she struggles to accept this new reality. Unfortunately, the boy she loves senses something different about her and can’t accept her. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead–walk away from everything she’s knows and loves—and fake her own death? Or should she set her pride aside and ask for help from the camp leader of Shadow Falls—a camp where supernaturals go to learn how to cope with their powers. Either way, her life as she knows it, will never be the same.

My Review

This is a prequel short story to the Shadow Falls novel series, starring Della Tsang, who is the roommate of the title character in the series, Kylie Galen. This is the story of how this friend was changed from a normal half-Chinese-half-Caucasian teenager into a vampire. As far as these prequels go, I thought it was pretty good. It's a decent length, and most of my Kindle file was the actual short story, not the preview for Born at Midnight.

I haven't read Born at Midnight, so reading this free prequel was meant for me to see if I liked it enough to give it a try. The characters were interesting, although I wonder how much they appear in the first novel. Della is probably in it enough, but what about her cousin, Chan? He was the other important character in this story, but I get the feeling he doesn't appear much in the novel. I have no idea what to think of Kylie because she's not even a blip on Della's radar screen at this point.

At any rate, based on this story, I can at least say that I think the first book might be worth borrowing from the library and giving it an good read-through.

My score: 3.5 out of 5 stars. (I liked it.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten Dust-Collectors on My Shelf (TTT #5)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by

The Broke and the Bookish!   


This week's list topic is...


I know, right? How utterly WEIRD can a book blogger be to have had this book on her shelf for 5 or 6 years now, and still have yet to read it? I'm completely insane!

2. DAVID COPPERFIELD  by Charles Dickens
Been meaning to read this for forever, but I just know the book will take me forever to read it. It is around 900 pages long, after all. Still, I intend to read it. It's Dickens…

3. EMMA  by Jane Austen
I developed an aversion to this book, despite my love for Jane Austen's other books. Why? Because I do NOT like Gweneth Paltrow, and whenever I think of Emma, I think of her in the role of Emma in that 90's film adaptation. I just can't bring myself to read it. I will someday, though.

4. PERSUASION  by Jane Austen
I don't even have a good excuse for why I still haven't started reading this one. I love all the movie versions I've seen. It's going to be the very next Jane Austen book I read.

5. THE LORD OF THE RINGS  by J.R.R. Tolkien
Well, I suppose I just love watching the movies so much, I end up doing that instead, when I want to experience the story. Plus, all three of the books total over 1,000 pages. Heady stuff.

6. THE HOBBIT  by J.R.R. Tolkien
I haven't had this book for quite as long, so I don't mind that it's still unread on my shelf. Also, I know I'll be reading it real quickly before the first movie comes out late next year, so I've got time.

7. THE BLUE SWORD  by Robin McKinley
I've only had this since early this year, so I've got a good excuse for why it's still unread. I became a book blogger only this past June, so we all know how that goes!

8. IVANHOE  by Sir Walter Scott
I've had my copy of this book for a decade, but have yet to read it. I don't really know why. I just buy books and let them collect dust. Always have been that way, but I'm trying to kick that nasty habit.

9. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES  by L.M. Montgomery
I read these books when I was a girl, but my friend bought me an omnibus of the books, and that's what's still on my book shelf unread. I need to reread these books, which I remember liking a lot.

10. MOBY DICK  by Herman Melville
I think the main reason I've let this one collect dust over the years is because I completely FORGOT I even had it! I only just recently re-discovered it on my book shelf and realized I hadn't ever read it after buying it from Barnes & Noble a long time ago. That's probably the best excuse ever.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Blood Calling by Joshua Grover-David Patterson

Blood Calling 
by Joshua Grover-David Patterson 

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Vampires
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 10, 2011
Source: review copy from author (ebook)
Age Rating: 13+
When Lucy Leary turned eighteen, her life fell apart. She crashed her car, her best friend abandoned her, her parents divorced, and her grandfather passed away, leaving her a single possession: A vampire slaying kit with a note that said, “THEY’RE REAL. FIGHT THEM.”

Now Lucy must stop the oldest, most dangerous vampire in history, before it can kill her family. 
My Review

I hate to have to do it, but sometimes I must. This novel just warrants a negative review because it's riddled with what I perceive to be a lot of problems. If anything, it wasn't for me.

Now, this first issue isn't necessarily a problem, but that depends on the reader's preferred narrative style. This is a fictional autobiographical novel, so it reads like someone telling you their life story way back when it happened. Don't expect to be transported through time and space, feeling as though you're right there with the characters like a fly on the wall. I'm not against this style, but if every book were written this way, I know I'd get annoyed, eventually.

Story and characterization difficulties abound. There's no semblance of a plot. The characters just do one thing, then move on the next thing, kind of like real life. That can work in some fiction, like Interview with the Vampire, to name another vampire novel. But, not here. At least Louis regales an actual character in the novel with his life history. Here, we get Lucy rambling for 65,000 words to whatever reader will listen to her. And, of course, there's no depth of character, no inspired thematic elements to rescue it.

There are misplaced digressions that just don't seem to matter. The story of how Emma became a vampire is good, I'll admit. But, other than it being how she met the villain character, a bad old vampire, I didn't see any point to it. Then there's Wash's story of how he met the bad old vampire, told by Emma right before Lucy needed to go fight the guy in a one-on-one battle. Lucy even asks Emma to give her some fighting pointers before she goes to fight him, but Emma claims there's no time for that. But, there's time for a pointless story on how Wash met the bad old vampire? It makes no sense.

I also have a problem with every character sounding exactly the same. Many times they go on and on about something, for several paragraphs, which is not good, sounding exactly like the main character narrator. And, we get way too many details of every mundane thing Lucy does. She steps into the bathroom and she brushes her teeth, and then she gets into the shower, and she lathers up the shampoo—then, later she checks her phone for messages, etc., etc. This is commonplace, and doesn't add anything meaningful to the story.

I will never advise against buying a book because if you want to read something, despite my opinion of it, then you should. It's your life. Some people might find this story charming. I can see that. None of the characters are annoying, and at least Lucy's not some selfish, spoiled brat who sits around and lets everyone do everything for her. The story is not completely awful, but not particularly good. And, that's all I really can say about that.

* I received this from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

My score: 2 out of 5 stars. (Did not like.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: "Fallen from Grace" by M.J. Putney

"Fallen from Grace" (Dark Mirror, #0.5)
by M.J. Putney 

Genre: Fantasy/Magic/Historical
Reading Grade: Young Adult (short story)
Publishing Type: traditional
Publication Date: March 4, 2011
Source: Kindle store (freebie)
Age Rating: 12+
Allarde, a gorgeous, wealthy noble has hidden his true nature. Discover his diary and witness his sudden fall from grace.

My Review

In this short story prequel to the Dark Mirror novel series, we read the diary of Allarde, an English aristocrat with secret magical abilities. At first, he is attending England's finest boarding school, but he reveals his abilities in order to save a fellow student from harm. Because he is an aristocrat with magic, not just a commoner, he is considered evil and has to be ousted from all good society.

His father sends him to a reform school for aristocrats where he learns how to suppress his magic in order to regain some privileges of his former life. But, he meets some other young people there who don't want to pretend to be something they're not, and finds himself considering their philosophy. Also, he meets the protagonist of the novels, Lady Victoria Mansfield, as she arrives at the reform school toward the end of the short story. It ends with hints at his immediate romantic interest in her.

I haven't read any of these novels, yet, but I doubt it's necessary to do so prior to reading this short story. I was a bit disoriented at first, but I found my feet after a while. Allarde is a really likable character, even if we don't get to know him all that well in such a short reading time, but he's an interesting character to follow further. I purchased Dark Mirror (the first novel) prior to reading this, and I'm so glad I did. I want to learn more about this intriguing world of magic users, and why the wealthiest practitioners are ostracized.

My score: 4 out of 5 stars.

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