Thursday, May 30, 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold

Title: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Author: Jane Nickerson

Genre: Teen/Historical Fiction

Release Date: March 12, 2013

My Rating:

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

Via Goodreads

I was strolling through B&N when Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson caught my eye.  I thought, "Hey, look at this pretty cover!" ( I usually buy books on impulse if they have an awesome cover)  I then read the back cover and was hooked.  The cover of this novel may be beautiful, but trust me, the story is definitely not.

I am going to categorize this novel in the "So Boring that It'll Put You to Sleep" section.  Throughout the first couple of chapters, I thought "So, this is pretty interesting", but the farther into the novel you go, the more the chapters start to lag.

Chapter after chapter after chapter talks about Sophia (main character) talking to Monsieur de Cresac and walking with Monsieur de Cresac and admiring Monsieur de Cresac.  I thought it would never end!   Their conversations usually had no significance in the story; it seemed like the author just threw in random conversations to try to take up some space.

Then Sophia developed a crush on her godfather.  That was just a little too much for me.  I mean, he's about twenty years her senior....

About halfway through the novel, Sophia meets a preacher whom she falls in love with (of course) after meeting him about FOUR times.  Way too fast.  There was absolutely no development in their relationship, it was just BANG "I'm in love with him!"

If you guys like action, do not get this novel because the only action is in the last thirty pages, and even then, it lacks major suspense.

So, just warning you guys, this novel put me to sleep every time I tried to finish it.  I literally had to force myself to bear through it.

The pros of this novel are there is a lot of description, to the point where it is just too much; I actually liked the main character, but the narration digressed too much for me; and this plot line had sooo much potential, but the author failed to meet those goals, which resulted in a very boring story.

Overall, I have to give Strands of bronze and Gold a 2/5; the novel did not do it for me and was incredibly boring.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Title: Splintered

Author: A. G. Howard

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Release Date: January 1, 2013

My Rating

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Via Goodreads

The main reason I picked up Splintered by A.G. Howard was because I thought the cover was friggin' awesome.  I mean, seriously, she has green eyes and awesome lipstick!  I know there have been many, many re-tellings of Alice in Wonderland, like Alice in Zombieland, and I really enjoyed them, so I thought "Why not?"  Well, I definitely should not have asked myself that rhetorical question, because I have several reasons not to read this novel.
I do not understand how this novel received such high ratings online...

Alright, so Alyssa (the main character) is a skater, as in she rides skateboards.  The whole time she was describing her passion of skating, it seemed like an old woman was trying to depict herself as a young, teenage girl.  It just was not believable (in my opinion, feel free to disagree in the comments!).  The story seemed to drag on and on in many places, which resulted in me falling asleep in the middle of many chapters.  This is supposed to be, like, some grotesque and savage version of Alice in Wonderland and, once again, it was NOT BELIEVABLE.  It felt like the author was trying too hard to make the story edgy and hard-core.
I made it to about page 250, and was like "That's it, I cannot take anymore of this mental torture."
I did not enjoy Splintered, and I really wish I hadn't bought it.

Overall, I am giving this book a rating of 2/5 because of the trite plot, the not-believable personalities, and the lagging chapters.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Book 1
Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Release Date: September 27, 2011

My Rating:

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Via Goodreads

Lyrical, lovely, and lustrous.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has to be one of my all-time favorite books, hands down.  It is spell-binding (not in a magical, fairytale way) and it draws you in.  So, when I first read this book, I was a bit confused because of all the odd occurrences that happen to Mara.  I didn't know if she was just imagining it or if it was really happening, but I will not spoil it (no ma'am, no spoilers here)!  I love how the plot line is so multi-dimensional; there is more than one problem going on here, and it's not just a straight-lined plot.

It is really difficult to review this book without giving too much away, so I'll just go over the basics.  Something catastrophic happens to Mara and her family moves to Miami, FL.  There she meets Noah, the gorgeous Brit (of course, there has to be a British guy!) whom she seems to connect with.  (I love Noah.  He is completely and totally swoon-worthy!  Feel free to swoon!)  You guys can probably guess where the story goes from there.  The second book, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, literally left me in tears.  It was that good.  This is one of those things where the first book is like "Holy shiz, that was awesome!" and then the second book is like "*Uncontrollably sobbing* OHMYGOSH NONONO!  THAT WAS SO AMAZING. WHY AM I CRYING?!"

This series is unbelievably amazing and the author definitely knows how to hook a reader and reel 'em in!  The story is a bit similar to Shatter Me  with the whole X-Men/ teenagers with superhuman powers, but it also has some dark elements.

Overall, I would have to give this series a 5/5 because the narration is just wow, the plot-line is complex, yet believable, and the characters have perfect chemistry.

Book 2

P.S.  The third book, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, comes out October 22, 2013!
Also, this series is labeled 14+, but I think it's appropriate for 13 year-olds.

The Madman's Daughter

Title: The Madman's Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Release Date: January 29, 2013

My Rating

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Via Goodreads

Alrightie, I seem to be on a book reviewing spree!
I finished The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd about two weeks ago, and let me tell you guys, this is a book that will remain embedded in your mind and keep you pondering all day.
The plot line is very well thought out and interesting in a dark, gothic way.  The story pokes at some odd subjects, like vivisections (operating on a live and aware person/animal/anything that breathes) and messing with God's creations.
The main character, Juliet, is super sweet and likable and I felt a connection to her that I am sure many others will feel.  She is a little impulsive, though.  Montgomery (*involuntary sigh*) is the cream of the crop of guys in this book.  He is a gentleman, he is handsome, and he is caring, and wrapped up in a perfect package and topped with a red bow!  So, I might have an itsy-bitsy crush on a fictional character.....  He's perfect for Juliet.
The story has a love triangle, but it becomes obvious early in the book who Juliet will choose.  Edward ( the other love interest), is like the dark side of the yin-yang piece.  He is handsome (obviously... why are all guys in books so darn good-looking?!), mysterious, and a little pushy (*ahem* waterfall scene, for those who have already read it).  I mean, I liked Edward, but he's not that great in comparison to Montgomery.
The Madman's Daughter has its' fair share of adventure, mystery, and creepiness.  The whole monkey-people-island-dweller thing freaked me out.  When I found out what the people on the island really were, I was like "OH SWEET GOSH, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS?!"  ( I guess you guys have probably figured out that I am very vocal on my opinions while reading a book)
Overall, I would give this book a 4.5/5 because of the wonderful narration, the amazing cover ( I had to do it!), the intriguing plot line, and the lovable characters.  So, if you like old-world, gothic novels with semi-modern characters, then pick this book up!


Title: Obsidian (Lux Series #1)

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Release Date: May 8, 2012

My Rating

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Via Goodreads

Wow, wow, wow.  That was exactly what was running through my head when I finished Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Also, the need to get the next books in the Lux series, like now.  
Alright, let's slow down.... so, I was a bit hesitant to get this book when I read the back cover because of the whole alien thing.  Now, I realize aliens could very well become the new vampires or werewolves or whatever.  This book has it all: adventure, romance, suspense, mystery, and aliens...who would have thought that all of those elements mixed together would make for a chair-gripping ride!

I loved the main character, Katy.  She is a bit of a nerd, she is a teensy bit awkward, and she seems a bit flustered, but that just makes her all the more lovable!  Katy is headstrong, sweet, and awesome.  I liked how she didn't completely fall flat on her head over Daemon; she kept her senses in check.  Daemon, Daemon, Daemon.... *fangirl moment* I love him!  Daemon is mysterious, kind of rude (actually a lot rude), and gorgeous.  Who wouldn't fall for his charm?  I was waiting for Katy and Daemon to get together throughout the entire book and when it happened I literally yelled "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?  DID HE JUST USE HER?!?!"  Katy and Daemon's relationship gets twisted and tangled throughout the entire book; one minute Katy is drooling over him and the next she is an impassive observer.  It was all too annoying for me!  I mean, seriously, he's super-duper easy on the eyes and he's an alien with superhuman powers!

Overall, I would have to give this book a 5/5 because of the thrilling action, the sweet characters, and the adorable relationships.  

(I will immediately review the next books in the series the minute I finish them... and finish doing the fangirl flail)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweet Evil Trilogy

Title: Sweet Evil & Sweet Peril

Author: Wendy Higgins

Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Release Date: May 1, 2012 & April 30, 2013, respectively

My Rating:

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Via Goodreads

I have recently finished the second novel in the Sweet Evil trilogy and let me tell you guys, it definitely has its' fair share of sweet and salty!  The main character, Anna, is a sweet Southern girl whose simple and clean life is turned upside down when she realizes that she is of angelic descent, or a Nephilim.  She meets Kaiden, the British bad boy, and we all know where it goes from there.  The novel has a good amount of REAL humor, which is great because not many books make me laugh, they just come through as a sad attempt at humor.  The dialogue is pretty darn witty, so we get a sense of the characters' differing personalities.

Now, let's talk characters!  (Oh goody, my favorite part!)  Surprisingly, my favorite character would not be Anna for many reasons: she continuously mopes over Kaiden after their breakup and  she keeps trying to contact him like a lost puppy, which annoyed me to heck because I wanted her to stand up and say "Hey, I don't need him, I am my own person and I can handle the world on my own!" (huh, all of my reasons revolve around Kaiden...) Although, I do find Anna to be the most relatable because I also am the quiet girl who blends into the background.  My overall favorite character would have to be  Kaiden!  I mean, come on, he's British.  I respect how he tries his best to make his actions for the betterment of Anna, like attempting to stay away from her and standing up for her at the end of Sweet Evil (no, ma'am, absolutely no spoilers!).  

Overall, I would have to give Sweet Evil and Sweet Peril a combined rating of 4/5 stars just because Anna became so freakishly obsessed with Kaiden at some parts and would not stop bringing him up.
If you love angels and demons and all that sweet stuff mixed in with a dash of romance and adventure, the Sweet Evil trilogy should top your reading list!

P.S. The third book, Sweet Reckoning, comes out Spring/Summer 2014!

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