Sunday, January 29, 2012

{ White Horse by Alex Adams }

April 17, 2012 by Emily Bestler Books
Source: Simon and Schuster Canada
Format: Paperback ARC copy
From Goodreads:

White Horse is the first book in an absolutely unique debut trilogy—a post-apocalyptic thriller chronicling one woman’s quest to nurture those she holds dear against the backdrop of a shocking, new world.

Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the President of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species.

When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption.

Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are not defined by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.

My Review:

First off. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read and review White Horse. After reading the synopsis, I knew this was something I could devour. I have become a huge lover of all things Dystopian. However, this was not quite at all what I was expecting. For some reason I was under the impression that this was a YA book. Not. Anyone use to reading reviews of mine, this is not a YA book. If you are easily offended by language, violence and gore, be forewarned. This is probably not a book for you.

I will admit that in the beginning, I was not sure how I felt about the narration. While I did enjoy Zoe's voice throughout this book, I found myself a bit overwhelmed. Zoe's story bounces back and forth from past to present and the author's writing was at times a bit over done. Perhaps a bit too flowery for my taste. However, the story was so intoxicating that I was able to overlook these minor distractions.

Zoe is such a strong character with just the right amount of snarkiness to suit me. When we meet her she has already been through so much heart break in her life. Then her life and the world around her begins to crumble in an even more devastating and destructive way. Not only is White Horse a Dystopian, but it is filled with mystery, suspense, horror and at it's core, a love story.

Yes, there are a number of very disturbing, shockingly horrific scenes. Author Alex Adams has created one of the most terrifying, psychotic characters I have read to date. The Swiss, is...well, if you like your evil to be truly evil, you will not be disappointed in this character!

The ending of book one in this new trilogy left me wanting more, but without an annoying cliffhanger. In the end, I would definitely recommend this one. Just be prepared to be shocked and horrified, yet left with a feeling of joy and hope. Well done, Alex Adams!
Rating: 4 stars!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

{ Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl }

October 18, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hard Cover
Source: My Book Shelf
From GoodReads:
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask. Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

My Review:
I am sad to say that Beautiful Chaos was a big disappointment for me. I had such high hopes as Beautiful Darkness was such a great book! It was fun, exciting, funny, thrilling and just a big adventure. It was filled with great, great characters that I just adored. Beautiful Chaos? Was none of those things. This book was WAY too long and filled with nothing. Most of the characters that I adored from the beginning of this series, were lifeless and just dull. I don't really know what happened. The authors just threw a bunch of stuff in a hat and made a book out of it.
What?!!! It was a book about nothing. There was this huge build up for something amazing, something critical, something other worldly. Then it just ended. I will admit the last 50 pages or so, did have my attention. But then the end? What? It was just like Lena says throughout this series, 'not with a bang, but a whimper.' And that is exactly how this series ended for me.I guess, I can say that John would have been the only character that showed some depth. But, he was only in the book for a short period of time. I truly missed Boo Radley and Lucille Ball. They were mentioned a few times, but they were sadly, sadly missed. As was Ridley. I have always thought that Rid is one of THE best female characters I have read. Again, I am not sure what the authors had in mind? I just did not get it.
In the end, if you have been a fan of this series, I guess I would say read it to see how it all ends. If you have not read this series yet? Read the first two and then make up your own would probably be more enjoyable than the real thing.
Rating: 2.5 stars

Saturday, January 14, 2012

{ Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare }

Dec 6, 2011 by Margaret K McElderry Books

Format: Hard Cover

Source: My Bookshelf!

From Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

First off...Cassandra Clare. Are you trying to kill me? Seriously? OMG!

Looking back at my review for Clockwork Angel, I whole heartily believe that I overrated it. Clockwork Prince totally blew Clockwork Angel out of the water! As I have said before, Cassandra Clare speaks to my soul. I cannot fully explain it, but she truly is a cure for what ails me. Cassandra Clare has a knack for creating incredible characters. Whether they are characters that we love or love to hate. Every single one of these characters are embedded into my soul. I love them all!

Tessa has grown so much since the first book. I felt much more connected to her and truly caring for her on every level. She is a very intelligent young woman, funny,strong and learning about herself and the world around her. What more could you ask for. Jem is still very much, Jem. We all love him. He is that sensitive, caring, just all around great guy. While I love Jem, just like the next person, I don't LOVE Jem. My...okay, Tessa's... heart belongs to Will. Will. Okay, yes, I have a bit of a book crush on Will. with Jace from the Mortal Instrument strong, snarky, hilarious, loyal and just downright hot! Okay, okay. I know he is only 17, but somehow this book felt so much more sophisticated than Clockwork Angel. At times I really forgot that these were teenagers. I felt so connected to these three and their lives...again Cassandra Clare is a master!

Once again this book also confirmed my ever growing love of Magnus Bane. He is such a great character. There are many dimensions to Magnus and I know there are more to come. He is one of those characters that I would love to meet in real life...okay, I know he only lives between the pages of a book, but seriously, would he not be a blast to hang out with?! The things that spew from that mans mouth!

A great moment for me, was seeing the relationship building between Charlotte and Henry. These two are just so cute. For those that have read Clockwork Angel, I know you are thinking...'what are you talking about?'...but, Cassandra Clare had me in tears. You have to read it to understand.

I could go on and on about each of these characters. I am truly a lover of Character driven books. I know that many reviewers have complained that the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices are one in the same. 'There is absolutely no difference in the plots of these two series'. 'The characters are the same.' Well, okay. You may have a point... to a degree. This series takes place before The Mortal Instruments. This is the story of how it all began, so yes, of course it will be similar. As far as the characters? Okay, sure. I can see similarities. So what? I still adore them all. If I had, but one complaint. It would be the whole love triangle thing. It can be a bit exhausting and quite frustrating at times. But would I change it? No. It is what it is and I love every moment of this book.

In the end, would I recommend this book/series? Yes, oh yes, oh yes. If you love character driven stories? If you enjoy your share of snarkiness and sharp witted characters? If you love adventure and a bit of magic thrown in for good measure? If you are a fan of Victorian era, Steampunk romance? You will adore this series. If you have read Clockwork Angel and feel the series is not really worth continuing? Please... give it another shot.

And Cassandra Clare? You will be the death of me. You know that, right?

Rating: 5+ stars!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Griffin's Fire by Darby Karchut

April 2012 by Twilight Times Books
Source: from author for review
Format: ebook ARC

From DarbyKarchut's Website:

For centuries, there have been rumors about a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, these warriors and their apprentices clandestinely serve as guardians for humans in danger.

Forced to become mortal, ex-teen angel Griffin has been banished from the Terrae Angeli. Struggling to adjust, he enrolls in the heaven-and-hell known as high school. In spite of his friends’ support, Centennial High proves to be a battleground, complete with a malicious math teacher.

And to make matters worse, his Mentor, Basil, has been ordered to take on a new apprentice, the gifted and egotistical seventeen-year-old Sergei, whose covert attacks on Griffin makes home life as bleak as a Siberian winter.

Trapped between school, Sergei, and a desperate secret, Griffin is certain of one thing: the only way to fight a Cold War is with Fire.

My mini review:

Once again author, Darby Karchut has created a great middle grade read! Griffin is adorable as ever and Basil is still such a great father figure and brilliant man. Griffin’s Fire was somewhat tamer than book one. This second installment dealt more with the ‘human’ aspects of the story. Griffin has to deal with the fact that he is no longer a Terrae Angeli and must learn to deal with the day to day life of a normal teenager. On top of all of the new experiences in his life, he also has to deal with a new intrusion at home. We are introduced to a new character, Sergei, Basil’s newly appointed Tiro. Sergei added a great new element to the story. Sergei was a great force, but not overly evil. Not only was he a pain in Griffin’s butt, but poor, poor Basil. Having two teenage Tiro’s, one Wind and Water and the other Earth and Fire? Ya gotta feel for the man.

We also have seen the relationship between Griffin and Katie grow to an even deeper level. It has been kept on a PG13 level, but we can definitely feel their connection growing to a greater degree. Griffin has to deal with not being an angel, living a ‘normal’ life and having these feelings for a mortal girl and then we see Katie’s point of view. She has to deal with her growing feelings for Griffin as a ‘normal’ boy, yet knowing he is having a hard time being ‘normal’. Knowing that your boyfriend wishes he was someone else, someone that you most likely could not have a future with, because you would grow old and die and he would live on forever. That’s a lot for a girl to deal with.

While I loved the whole development of the characters and story, I really enjoyed the ending. The action of the first book resurfaced towards the end and a few twists and turns has made me even more excited for book 3…Griffin’s Storm. We are treated to a sneak-peak into book 3 and I must admit? I was bouncing once again. I look forward to seeing where book 3 takes Griffin and Basil. Darby Karchut cannot write fast enough for me!

I highly recommend this series to all the middle graders in your life. It is such a nice escape from the norm of YA out there right now. It’s nice to see a book from a male point of view and one with such an original storyline too. Well done, Darby!

Rating: 4.5 stars!

I will be back with a more detailed review closer to the release date in April. Stay tuned...