Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

Title: Still Waters

Author: Emma Carlson Berne

Synopsis: Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He's leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they'll never forget. 

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit...off. They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn't seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin's dark side, and her own safety. 

Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.


a.) Characters: 2/5 score.  Hannah was pretty bad.  We are led to believe she is a good girlfriend, a good sister, and a good daughter.  Then in a matter of two or three chapters she steals from her boyfriend, makes her brother stay with the creepy neighbor, and lies to her mother (all in the beginning of the book!).  Colin seems more real than Hannah, and he is definitely an easier character to believe.  

b.) Plot: 2/5 score.  The whole point of this trip- you learn right in the beginning of the book- is to get alone so Hannah can say “I love you” to Colin.  She wants to say this to him before he leaves for college, so she surprises him with a spur-of-the-moment get-away (which is so not like Hannah).  Everything that takes place at Pine Lake was decent.  I didn’t like the quick-fix, the simple ending, or the fact that he was still going to college after all that.  

c.) Writing style: 3/5 score.  Not bad, but nothing extraordinary.  I actually enjoy the author’s descriptions of the forest, the lake, the thunderstorms.  It was engulfing in scenery, but then the characters kind of fell flat in comparison.  It was an interesting read.  

Rating: 7/15 total

I also have problems with the cover.  It is misleading, and I don't see how it fits with the story.  I feel the cover should be a snapshot of the novel, carrying a thousand words yet revealing little to the course of the plot.  I know, it is a lot to ask.  How very rude of me to judge a book by its cover, but get real people.  If you honestly think your book's cover will go unnoticed because your story sounds so alluring, then maybe you should consider what makes a person pick up a book to read it in the first place.  THE COVER!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa

SynopsisMeghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


a.) Characters: 5/5 score.  The growth of Meghan is my favorite part of the story.  She starts as a whiny sixteen year old and evolves into a mature accepting young adult.  With every page, the progress shows how she grows throughout her travels.  Puck, Ash and Grim were absolutely amazing, and the story would not have been the same without them.  From Puck’s pranks to Ash’s chilling demeanor, and Grim’s sarcasm, these characters come alive enough to walk right off the pages.

b.) Plot: 5/5 score.  Through the whole plot Meghan NEVER lost sight of saving her brother.  She embarks on this journey and, though her bravery wavers, she still moves forward, refusing to give up.  She didn’t fall helplessly in love with either love interest, though you can feel her attractions and emotions grow throughout the story.  Despite her growing feelings, Meghan never gave up on finding Ethan.  The entire world- from the human’s realm to the Summer Court to the Winter Court and the Iron Court- is believable.  

c.) Writing style: 3/5 score.  Julie Kagawa really made the story of these Fey a reality, and it was impossible to not feel their pain, excitement, confusion, fear, etc. through the whole tale.  It was hard to take a break between chapters with the leads she puts to keep pulling you deeper into their world.  Despite all this, the ending did feel a little weak to me because of the “we’ve failed, we’re dead” points.  

Rating: 13/15 total

Can I get an 'OMG' on the top on your lungs?  Wow- I was thrilled by this.  It left me wanting more from Meghan, more from the storyline, more from Ash and Puck.  I can't believe I didn't start reading this when it first came out.  Of course, lucky me, I get to run out and get the rest of the series unlike those who had to wait.  I cannot wait to see where Kagawa takes this.  From what I understand, the next two, The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen, are from Meghan's POV while the last one, The Iron Knight, is from Ash's POV.  What I will have to wait for is the spin-off trilogy, which is Ethan's tale years later.  Totally worth it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Title: The Pact

Author: Jodi Picoult

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty-- they've grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other's lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.


a.) Characters: 4/5 score.  When you first meet the family, they are a group of four (Augusta and James Harte (mother and father of Christopher); and Melanie and Michael Gold (mother and father of Emily)) that have been friends since their children were born eighteen years ago.  Emily and Christopher are three months apart in age and have spent their whole lives with each other.  You witness many scenes through their years, progressing forward to the present time.  Secondary characters are added in as the story grows, but from the first paragraph until the final line, the story revolves around Em and Chris’s relationship.  

b.) Plot: 2/5 score. In the beginning you are gripped with the loss of Emily and with the mystery of what happened.  As more is revealed, things become clear.  Eventually you are either with or against Chris by the time his truth comes out.  It has “adult” scenes and is not recommended for a younger audience.  It was, in all, a good read.  I myself didn’t care for the courtroom drama.

c.) Writing style: 4/5 score.  It is set in third person, jumping from each character’s point of view.  You really get inside the head of Em and Chris.  You do experience others, seeing the two main characters through their eyes.  It is an adult novel, a strong and compelling story showing both sides of suicide- the never-ending depression of before and the aftermath of leaving.  

Rating: 10/15 total

I actually really enjoyed this book.  I guess I wasn't expecting to since it isn't normally what I reach for, and it was a nice surprise when I was gripped by the story's plot.  The courtroom drama is what brought the score down so low.  Other than that it was an enticing tale of depression and the aftermath of suicide.  I read a couple of reviews on goodreads that had stated Emily needed to "get over herself" and to "grow a pair and get help".  And while I agree that suicide isn't the way to go, I know depression, and I know the darkness that comes down on you.  It doesn't even feel like the world will ever be right again. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: Fell by David Clement-Davies

Title: Fell

Author: David Clement-Davis

Synopsis: In this dark, thrilling fairy tale, it is the wolf who saves the girl. Fell, the dark-furred twin brother of Larka, the heroine of The Sight, must face life without his sister or the rest of his loving pack. He’s a lone wolf now, a “kerl,” an outcast from his kind who shares his sister’s fatal gift for seeing the future and the thoughts of others. This gift leads him to befriend a young girl, also an outcast from her people. They have a shared destiny: to free the land from a tyrannical ruler who would enslave man and animal alike.


a.) Characters: 2/5 points. Five years after The Sight, we are wallowing in self-pity from Fell after losing his sister Larka and trying to figure out Alina’s true past.  I like the idea that Alina was disguised as a boy named Alin.  Adding the human in however was, in my opinion, not the greatest of ideas.  In The Sight, the goals were always to the next step progressing the storyline.  This one wasn’t as upbeat or clean-cut in travel or target.

b.) Plot: 2/5 points.  Mostly focused on Fell and Alina.  Not normally a bad thing, but after reading The Sight and having so many more characters, this felt empty without more.  Adding the human made the story weak in my opinion.  Fell’s purpose seemed lost as he helped Alina.  It centered more on humans than the wolves, and after The Sight, it felt awkward.

c.) Writing style: 3/5 points.  At times the writing seduced you into the story like a passionate lover- and then there were other times when it felt like the story was dragging on as if he was trying to create a long novel.  The same terms carried over, so you still felt the world that Fell lives in.

Rating: 5/15 total

I gave this book 2 stars for a reason.  I had such a hard time reading it.  And I feel terrible for this review, but Fell was nothing compared to The Sight.  I don't know if Davis did this second book just to or if there was actually something wrapped up in it.  It focused a lot more around the humans that the previous book did.  I think that he had a good idea, toyed with it for a little, and then just did whatever to spit out another book.  It doesn't feel like (at least, to me) that he put much effort into this. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How I do my Book Reviews





a.) Characters: ___/5 score.
b.) Plot: ___/5 score.
c.) Writing style: ___/5 score.

Rating: ___/15 total

Star System:
13-15 score = 5 Stars
10-12 score = 4 Stars 
7-9 score = 3 Stars
4-6 score = 2 Stars 
1-3 score = 1 Stars
No score = No Stars

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Haul (1) 7 books

Technically it's 4 books and 3 ebooks, but I now have 7 books I have to read next.  I heard a lot of reviews on these books and am extremely excited to read these.  Since I am new to reviewing books, my reviews might not be all what you want, but it's a work in progress.   I am hoping I might be able to kind of do an outline kind of review, but I haven't thought much on it. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: The Sight by David Clement-Davies

Book Review: The Sight 
by David Clement-Davies 
Mass Market Paperback, 465 pages
Published August 11th 2003 by Puffin (first published January 11th 2001)

In the shadow of an abandoned castle, a wolf pack seeks shelter. The she-wolf 's pups will not be able to survive the harsh transylvanian winter. And they are being stalked by a lone wolf, Morgra, possessed of a mysterious and terrifying power known as the sight. Morgra knows that one of the pups born beneath the castle holds a key to power even stronger than her own—power that could give her control of this world and the next. but the pack she hunts will do anything to protect their own, even if it means setting in motion a battle that will involve all of nature, including the creature the wolves fear the most—Man.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reading and Depression

I started reading the Baby Sitter's Little Sister when I was seven, and after that, I grew hungry for more. I remember I was the only kid happy because a Goosebumps book was dropped in my trick or treat bag on the following Halloween. Eager to support this, my mom signed me up with the Baby Sitter's Club and I would read through the series with abnormal speed. After that I sought books in the school library. I never let genre get in my way when I was on a mission. As I grew, and when times would get hard, my first reaction was to dive head first into a book. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 already?! Update 1/13/12

Okay, as with every holiday, I disappeared.  Don't get angry, I truly was busy.  (And if I wasn't, I was sleeping, so sue me!)  This January marked a full year living at our new home as well as a year as Kennel Manager for me.  I am in love with working with these animals, and they take up a lot of my time during my working hours.  Rob turns 21 on the 15, and Vince turns 27 on the 14th.  This month also marks the 6 month anniversary to my boyfriend Vince.  I am allowed to be excited about this because it marks the halfway to a year!  And that is incredible for me, as my two longest relationships are to Pattie (15 yrs as friends) and to Rob (5 yrs).  So I am a little geeked.

I decided to challenge myself to reading 50 books this year.  My progress is being marked on goodreads.  I don't know if I will have the time (willpower) to sit down and type out reviews for each book (for the one's I don't like).  I will also try to post progress on my story, as I have started working on that much more in the passed weeks.  Of course I won't be giving out anything about my actual story as then it might ruin the read in the long run.

Right now a snow storm is hitting us.  Pretty hard actually.  Thankfully Rob salted.

I can't think of anything else, so I am going to skip out.  I will try to keep up with reviews with books that I read so others can see.  Also, I am putting my "year and a day" on hold.  Obviously since I haven't made any posts about it right?  No, I am putting it on hold because I am not feeling that flow right now.  The best way to explain it is that I feel like I too am trapped in ice and snow like the Earth.  Instead of trying to force myself to try to do something that I won't enjoy because I have to force myself to do it, I am just going to slow down and flow with the natural energy of life.

Okay, now I'm going.  Will try to have a review of The Sight up by the end of the week.