Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater


Published: October 21, 2014 by Scholastic Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.


The Good


This one provided a closer look at Blue. I think she's the character that makes the others see the truths in themselves even when they don't want to. They all think about what Blue sees when she looks at them. In a way, this has made us able to know the other characters more clearly, but Blue was a little more shielded from us. I'm really glad we got a more in depth look at Blue and what motivates her. I also enjoyed seeing Gansey lose his cool. Gansey is this character that is so hard to describe. Everyone likes him and everyone trusts him. They all look to him to have the answers, and while he's generally a solid presence, he has an absolute freak out moment. I was happy to see him effected so much and have to rely on the others.

It was also nice to see the action move up a little and the search for Glendower get more underaway. It's starting to feel more real and intense and you can feel that the prophecies from the first book are just around the corner. They find out about three sleepers and one they must wake and one they must not. Why can't they wake them? What will happen if they do? The little mysteries inside make the story that much more interesting.


The Bad


Stiefvater doesn't write something without a meaning behind it, but I can't for the life of me figure out what purpose Gansey's old professor friend Mallory and his Dog served in the story. I guess we'll figure that out more later. The Greenmantle couple that comes along as well are so odd and contradictory, and calling a character 'odd' in this book is saying something as they are all quite unique. While that's not 'bad' none of these characters grew on me yet.

The Romance


Oh there's quite a bit of want all around and on different fronts, but there's nothing being attained at the moment.

Conclusion


This series is like nothing I've ever read. I never know where it's going. Even if I do have a hint, there are always little surprises and mysteries hidden within. I am a big fan of the in-depth look at such great characters. I look forward to seeing where this series goes from here.





Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Cover Scramble [168]



Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I am pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.




Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: Half-Blood (The Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Published: October 18, 2011 by Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is.

If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


The Good


I have a big attachment to the characters. I find Alex sassy and strong willed and Aiden paired with her is very fun to read. He seems all rule-following and stern on the surface, but we learn a great deal more about him. The side characters were all wonderful as well and JLA gave them very in-depth personalities. Since Alex doesn't fully trust anyone around her (except Caleb), it's entertaining to try and figure out who's on the up-and-up. I'm invested in how things turn out for everyone.

I'm a very big fan of Greek mythology, and in Half-Bood, we get a new look at an old concept. I was used to demi-gods (here they are referred to as pure-bloods or Hematoi), but the addition of half-bloods, daimons, and Apollyon is incredibly new. I also thought the pairing of half-bloods and pure-bloods being restricted was an interesting development.

There is a lot of action and the plot moves at a good pace. We get a mixture of character development with action and intensity, and it's blended very well. JLA's sense of humor is on display in this series as well. I laughed out loud quite often while reading. The romance and tension aspect was also on full display.

The Bad


OK so if you have read Vampire Academy, it's very hard not to notice similarities between the two. Once you get through a few chapters though, Half-Blood stands on it's own as a unique installment though you may draw references to characters and circumstances known and loved from VA throughout the rest.

The Romance


I LOVE the tension here. It's the forbidden love with Aiden a pure-blood and Alex a half-blood. Aiden is so protective of her though and you can feel the want in the air. Then Seth comes on the scene and you know he's going to be a contender as well. As much as I hate love triangles, I don't think you can break through that spark that Alex and Aiden have so I'm assuming it's them in the end.

Conclusion


I'm rating this one lower than I would have if I would never have read Vampire Academy. They share a lot in common. However, the characters do shine through on their own and I have a great attachment to them. I enjoy the extra elements added to the Greek mythology that I know and the action was sprinkled well throughout the story. Recommended.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater


Published: September 17, 2013 by Scholastic Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Maggie Stiefvater's can't-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two." Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.


The Good


While the first book was an introduction into the characters and purpose behind the story, I felt like The Dream Thieves was Ronan's deeper look as his adventures are in the forefront of this one.

Don't get me wrong, all the characters get a chance to shine, but the basis of the story this time is about Ronan's extraordinary power to take things from his dreams. This concept was a very fun one to explore and made me think about how hard it is to even remember what I dream.

In addition to the characters that had already captivated me in the first book, we are introduced to a few new ones. The Gray Man was the one that had me the most curious. Obviously with this name, I'm assuming he's going to be that 'not all bad - not all good', in all the gray areas character and he didn't disappoint. You really can't predict his moves.

While the plot reveals a lot of answers to previous questions that came up, there are definitely more questions popping up all over the place along with those answers. There is a good mix of twists and turns, and also just flat out mysteriousness. The pacing was well done. While not outright action packed, there was enough character gratifying moments to keep everything moving well.

I'm enjoying the way it's written more now as well. Stiefvater's voice is definitely different and I have problems with her jumping around every now and then, but I'm fully into the series now and am not only used to it but also enjoy the graceful, mystical quality it adds to the book. She also says that time is circular.


The Bad


I'm a big fan of Ronan's, but if he is not one of your favorites you may miss time with some of the other characters.

There were a ton of parts with The Gray Man and Kavinsky which is also a new character and I wish they would've had a little less page time as I felt Blue and Gansey were not near as present as I would've liked.

The Romance


Blue gets a kiss. Blue's mom gets a kiss. Adam is disappointed. Blue is disappointed. There is just some kissing, pretend kissing, and disappointment with the romance in this one.

Conclusion


A wonderful follow up to The Raven Boys. While the second book in a series isn't usually a strong one, this was a great place for the series to go after the initial introduction. I enjoyed the characters, felt closer to them, watched them grow, and saw some new characters added to the mix. I thought the pacing was well done and am enjoying the concept with the mysterious and magical aspects it includes. Recommended.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Cover Scramble [167]



Let's have some fun! I am going to post covers on here every Sunday that are scrambled up graphically, making it hard to tell what cover it is. I would like your guesses on what cover you think I've posted. I won't answer you until I'm posting the next one to let you know if you are right, allowing others to guess as well. Some will be hard, and others may be easy. Let me know in the comments if you'd like some more hints and I'll offer some more if no one guesses it correctly.


I am pulling covers off the Most Popular Page on Goodreads.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Harry Potter Moment of the Week [104]


This is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows.The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Click the links to the blogs to see how to join up &  upcoming topics.

If you could change one thing from book three, what would it be? 





I really enjoyed the third book for the blown-up aunt, the backstory we got on the Mauraders, Lupin as the Defense teacher, the mystery and fear surrounding Sirius Black, and the added information we got on animagus. It's really difficult for me to think of something that I would change in this one.

So, I'll go for a couple of small things. First, Ron so crazily upset that Scabbers is missing, and blaming Hermione for her cat eating him. Ron has hardly even talked about this rat, and I understand that it is his pet so he has grown attached even if he hasn't shown it, but him automatically blaming Hermione and Crookshanks about it was upsetting. He kept telling her to keep her cat away from his rat, which it appeared she made every effort to do and he still got incredibly angry with her. He made no real effort to keep Scabbers out of harm's way however. My next thing would be some more of Ginny here. I really enjoyed the character of Ginny in the books, but I feel like if she would have had more of a base in the earlier books, her movie character would've been more well rounded. I would've given her a little more character development and some spots where Harry notices her positive qualities as early as book three as some foreshadowing so some fans weren't so shocked by it.

What would you change about book 3?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review: The Awakening (Gifting #2) by K.E. Ganshert


Published: July 1, 2015 by Createspace
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Paranormal
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary

"I can't go home. It's not safe. Nowhere is."

Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city.

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose—to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe—a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light.

Could Tess Eckhart be the One they’ve been waiting for? The One who can save them all?


"Our mission resulted in three dead ends - a dead man, a missing man, and a runaway teenager."


The Good

Such a great follow up to The Gifting. I'm amazed at where this series is going. The Awakening has a great mix of meeting new characters, learning more information, action, and suspense.

Our two main characters Tess and Luka are on the run. They meet a fountain of other great characters on their trek. We also get to see some of the characters from the first story every now and then which I enjoyed. I love that there is no one you can trust in this series.

This is a very creative and interesting story. The Awakening spent a large majority of the time with our characters in the dream world where they are training to hone their skills as a Fighter and a Shield against a darkness that the rest of the world says doesn't exist.


The Bad


Very cliffhanger ending that has you wanting to immediately jump into the next book. Thankfully, I don't have to wait. I would've been very annoyed reading this one before the third was out.

The Romance


In The Gifting, Tess and Luka pretended to be in a relationship to explain why they were spending so much time together. This has blurred a lot of things and caused quite a bit of confusion on Tess' part who doesn't feel that Luka could actually have any feelings for her beyond the connection they share with their gifts. I enjoy both of these characters. Even though Tess is brash and often does exactly what she's told not to, I appreciate that she is willing to do anything to save people she cares about. While Luka is a great guy, he doesn't do a good job of talking about his feelings and just assumes that his actions tell Tess all she needs to know. I would agree with that if not for the pretending to be in a relationship before and the appearance that he is overly concerned with her safety. That part comes off more big brotherish, so honestly I understand Tess' confusion.

There are characters added in this one, Link and Claire, who are attracted to Tess and Luka. It causes quite a bit of jealously. I don't feel it's an actual love square, but it adds confusion on the feelings between Tess and Luka and where they stand. Wouldn't it be nice if they talked a little more about how they feel.

Conclusion


A little unnecessary jealously thrown in for conflict in the relationships. A lot of action and suspense, mixed with amazing characters. Some you feel you can trust, but really I won't be trusting anyone until the final pages of the third book. I love the concept of this story and how it seamlessly mixes the Paranormal with Dystopia genres. Amazingly gut-wrenching cliffhanger ending. Definitely recommended.



Excerpts

"You're right. the dreams are getting worse. But if you think going back to Thornsdale without you will make them better, then you don't know anything." He removes the hemp bracelet from his back pocket and wraps it around my wrist. "I'm not going back. I want to find these others as much as you. So please, do us both a favor and stop trying to save me."

No white-eyed men are lurking around the corner. No big burly government officials will drag me away. No nurses are waiting to jab needles into my neck. Still, I'm a teenage girl. And this is a creepy warehouse basement. I clutch my bag and hurry out into the antechamber. Someone grabs my arm. I let out a shriek that is quickly smothered by someone's hand. My nostrils flare, but my fear vanishes, because I smell wintergreen toothpaste.

But I force myself to concentrate on everything I know about Cap and just as his wife's face swims into focus, he's there making a tally of everyone here - Link, Claire, Jillian, Rosie, and now him. "You seeing this, Cap? She just linked five of us without breaking a sweat."