Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Sarah's Review of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. In this book, Aura is a teenage girl who was the first one who was born and could see and communicate with ghosts from birth. Every child born after her has the ability to see ghosts and talk to them. No one is sure why this Shift happened or what caused it, but Aura is curious to figure it out as she seems to be the catalyst, at least the first one that it happened to, and she wonders if she had something to do with it.

Aura’s boyfriend, Logan, is in a band with his siblings, and they are playing a very important gig on the same day as Logan’s birthday. This birthday was supposed to be Logan’s best birthday ever, but something happened and it turned out that it was his last birthday. Logan is dead, and Aura is left all alone. Well, not entirely alone. Since the Shift happened, Aura and those younger than her can see and talk to ghosts. Even though Aura wanted to figure out why it happened so she could fix things, now that Logan is dead and she can still communicate and spend time with him, she suddenly has a change of heart. Even though Logan is dead, to her he is almost real.

In the meantime, Aura meets a new friend, Zachary, who is very understanding, and Aura finds her feelings for him growing. She must figure out her relationships with both the dead and the living, and figure out which boy should be in her heart. While these relationships are very complicated, each boy seems to play a key role to figuring out the secret of the Shift.

As soon as I began reading Shade, I was immediately drawn into Aura’s world. How devastating would it be to not only lose who you thought was the love of your life, but to continue to see him as a ghost every day, but not be able to touch him? Aura has to deal with so many mixed feelings all while trying to figure out why the Shift took place and what secrets it holds. As Aura is struggling with her grief and trying to find ways to make her ghost boyfriend seem real, she is faced with feelings for a new friend, Zachary, who is good looking, has an accent, and is beyond understanding. Aura’s relationship with Zachary grows and she has to decide who her future is going to be with? You may think it is an obvious answer, obviously the boy who is still alive, but there is more to it than that. Since the Shift happened, all ghosts are violet-hued, and try to talk to you to clear up any unfinished business. They can even testify in their own murder cases. But some ghosts turn Shade, which is to say they lose all control and are unstable and very dangerous. Aura is afraid of Logan turning Shade and is willing to do anything for him.

I loved the plot of the book, and by the end, even though one problem seems to be worked out for the time-being, Aura still doesn’t have answers to the Shift and why it happened. I am left wondering where this series is headed and what we will learn in the books to come. Even though this book has a sad undertone, the author writes in a way that is not too upsetting, overall a very pleasant read.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Sarah's Review of Evermore by Alyson Noel

Evermore by AlysonNoel is the first in “the immortals” series. I have previously read them all, but wanted to revisit them as I enjoyed them so much. And even though I had already read it, I still found that every time I had to put the book down I just wanted to pick it up again and see what was going to happen next! Alyson Noel is one of my favourite authors. She has this way of writing that reels you in and keeps you there. Her rich descriptions make you feel as though you are a part of it.

This first book, Evermore, in her series introduces you to Ever Bloom. A sixteen year old girl who lost her parents, little sister, and dog after a terrible car accident. For some reason she was the only one to survive and is now residing with her aunt. Ever since the accident she has been bothered with psychic abilities that she cannot control and therefore has become a bit of a freak at her school, as she tries to drown out everyone’s thoughts with a hoodie and earphones. She can hear other people’s thoughts and see their auras. She has made two best friends at the school who are a bit of outcasts themselves. Haven is a co-dependent girl who tries every fad to fit in, most recently being goth. Miles is a bit of a drama queen. Just when Ever thinks she has things under control, as much as she can get them, she meets the new boy, Damen Auguste, who is gorgeous, rich and worldly. For some reason, he is the only one who can stop the voices and cease the auras. She is drawn into his world of mystery and is left with more questions than she can handle. But despite it all she has fallen so deeply in love with him she’s not sure what to do.

This book has so many great things. Not only is it centered on a love story, which seems to span generations, but it also has magic, suspense, paranormal activity, and lots and lots of drama. There are so many twists and turns that you will keep guessing through it all. Alyson Noel delivers a remarkable story, leaving you wanting more. Even though I have read the entire series, I plan on re-reading all of them again. There are six books in total in the series: Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, Night Star, and Everlasting. I can easily say that I enjoyed them all. If you have yet to read them, I would suggest picking up at least the first one, and enter into their magical world.  

Monday, 4 November 2013

Sarah's Review of The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)

After reading the second book in the Steampunk Chronicles series by Kady Cross, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, I decided that I needed to get my hands on book #1. Am I ever glad I did! The first book, The Girl in the Steel Corset, was, in my opinion, the better of the two, yet they were both very well written and entertaining.

The novel, The Girl In The Steel Corset, takes place in England in the year 1897. Miss Finley Jayne fights and escapes from a young lord whom tries to take advantage of her while being her employer. What allows Finley to win over this man is the darker side within her that makes her able to knock-out any full-grown man; she has strength unseen in even the most normal of men, let alone women. After fleeing from her attacker, she literally runs into Griffin King, the Duke of Greythorne. He sees something inside her that he believes is special and so he takes her into his home to live with himself and his friends, who as a group are known as misfits. There is Emily, the only other girl, who is a genius and has her own abilities, as well as an undying love for Sam, who now has a body that is half metal and is therefore stronger than most. Then there is Jasper, with whom they don’t know much about his past, but do know that he is unremarkably fast and is an American cowboy.

Finley falls into their lives while Griffin is in pursuit of a man called The Machinist. He has been building automatons that he then has sent out on criminal activities. Finley is hoping that with her abilities, and Griffin’s help to bring her darker side more intact with her good side, that she will be able to help them stop The Machinist before it is too late, and that she may have finally found a place to fit in.

The Machinist is set on tearing Griffin and his friends apart, and sneaks into their lives undetected, while using one of them while they are at their lowest. The group of friends must find out who they can really trust and whether they can trust each other. The plot is great and so easy to follow. You know that they are working up to finding out who The Machinist is and how they are going to stop him, with a few minor conflicts along the way.

The characters in this novel are well written. You get to know each of them, but only in as much as you are supposed to know. Cross has a way of explaining things when the timing is perfect, and you find that some of the characters are more intertwined than you first think. I love how the characters are all from different social classes, not something you would think was common place in Victorian England.

This book encompasses a lot of things that make a YA novel a good one. You have friendship being tested, romances evolving, love triangles, paranormal activity, a female heroine as the main character, mystery and suspense. I love that Cross has multiple mysteries in the novel. For instance, who is The Machinist and what is he planning on doing next? What is his ultimate goal? Also, who is Finley and why does she have this darker side? Also, who is she attracted to, Griffin King or Jack Dandy, a criminal?

I am really starting to get into the whole Steampunk novels. I think my first ones I read were the Infernal Devices, which I absolutely loved, and now these books, The Steampunk Chronicles, did not disappoint me. I would recommend reading this if you are into this type of genre, or if you are looking for something new and exciting.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Sarah's Review of Flawless, Pretty Little Liars #2 by Sara Shepard

Flawless (Pretty Little Liars, #2)

Flawless is the second book in Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series and it’s just as good as the first one. The four girls, Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily, living in Rosewood Pennsylvania, find that they are still receiving threatening notes and texts from the mysterious A. They first thought that A was their old friend Alison who had gone missing a few years earlier after a sleepover, but then her body was found by the new family who moved into her old house buried underneath the gazebo. This book picks up right where the last one left off immediately following Alison’s funeral. So now they are questioning everyone around them. The girls are trying to figure out who A is and they think they figure it out…

The girls are still living their separate lives and trying to deal with their own issues. Hanna is dealing with her unfortunate breakup with her boyfriend Sean, and the fact that Aria has taken interest in him. Her problems in wanting to be perfect are literally making her sick and her friendship with Mona has deteriorated a bit. Spencer is rebelling against her family for a secret relationship with her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Aria attempts to confront her fears about the woman who had an affair with her father, but finds that it is more complicated than she first thought, while also dealing with her broken heart from Ezra, her English teacher. Emily is trying to figure out who she is and struggles with her sexuality and her feelings for Maya.
The letters from A continue and slowly bring the four girls back together, whether they like it or not. As the messages continue to come in the girls face losing it all, unless they can figure out who A is before their deepest darkest secrets are exposed to all.
I found the story-line of this book was wonderful. Each character kept adding to the main problem leading towards the ending where they thought they had figured out who A was, but all four were shocked to learn the truth about the person they suspected. I love how you get to know more about Toby and the whole Jenna thing, which is the big secret they all share, aside from all of their personal secrets.
The characters are very well-written. You get to learn even more about them in this book and understand a lot about their past and their personal lives.
I would definitely recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoyed the first one. This one builds perfectly on the first one and keeps you reading. I’m looking forward to reading the third one.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Sarah’s Review of Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)

I really enjoy the television show Pretty Little Liars, so I decided it was finally time to pick up one of the books that started it all.

The book, Pretty Little Liars, takes place in a small, upscale town called Rosewood. Four best friends have gone their separate ways after their fifth best friend mysteriously disappears. The book then picks up three years later and the four best friends are going to be brought back together through a series of puzzling texts, emails and letters written from an unknown person, A. These four girls learn that secrets are not always hidden, but secrets can make you do unpredictable things.

The four main characters are so well laid out. You get to know each one of them on a personal level. The way Sara Shepard writes, you almost feel as though you are one of them, she writes so you feel as though you are a part of it. There is Spencer, the uptight, scholarly one who has secrets concerning her sister’s boyfriend. Aria is quirky and finds herself dreaming about her English teacher. Emily is timid but finds herself lusting over a new female student at Rosewood Day School. And Hanna has brought popularity upon herself but with an ugly secret as to how she got there. Allison was the one friend that bound them altogether and knew all of their secrets, but when she disappeared they fell apart. Now they are getting mysterious messages from someone known as A who seems to know all of their secrets and is watching them even now. The girls have to question, is Allison still alive?

Sara Shepard is an amazing writer. The book is read with such ease, the storyline is simple to follow. I could hardly put it down. And when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, wondering what would happen next. I can easily see how this book was picked up and is now a hit television series.

I am now onto her second book in the series, Flawless.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sarah’s Review of The Girl In The Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)

The Girl In The Clockwork Collar is the second book that Kady Cross has written in the Steampunk Chronicles. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book even though I had never read the first one. It was easy enough to understand due to Cross’ amazing writing capabilities. The plot is good, and the storyline is easy to follow. It spans only a short time and jumps from different narratives. Even though I did not have a good understanding of the characters, their abilities and their backgrounds, she incorporates the necessary explanations into the characters’ lives so that the imminent storyline makes sense as you are reading. In the sense that this is the second book in the series, I did find that the character development was lacking in the beginning. I am guessing that the first book delves deeper into the characters backgrounds and you understand where they are coming from more so than if you were to dive straight into the second book. However, that being said, by the time I finished the book I felt as though I really knew the characters.

This story takes place in the year 1897 in New York City. A group of friends, Finley, Griffin, Emily, and Sam, who are slightly different than the average human, have traveled from England to New York in order to help rescue their friend, Jasper, from a criminal man who has hunted him down. This criminal wants a device back that Jasper has stolen from him, and convinces him to give it back by bartering with the life of the girl that Jasper is in love with. If Jasper does not do everything he says, then the clockwork collar that hangs around Mei’s neck will slowly tighten. Jasper and the others are in for a lot of trouble and find out just how much they will do for their friends. Not only is Finley worried about rescuing her friend Jasper, but she is also battling with her two sides, one dark and one good. She must figure out which side she is really on.

I found that the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. This book got better the further on you read and by the time I got to the end I was hoping for more. Thank goodness there is a third one! The ending of this book is spectacular. I loved it. I also loved that the female characters are just as strong-willed and heroic, if not more so, than the male characters. Finley not only has to deal with the criminals, but she is also fighting within herself between her dark side and her good side, and this book leaves you rooting for her to choose right. You will also be rooting for the love of Finley and Griffin to win out over her love for the dark side.

The research that Kady Cross did of the history in New York and of the time period shines through with the rich descriptive and a sense of realness amidst a world of magic and automatons. I enjoyed learning a few things about New York in that time frame while being taken away to another world of fiction.

There is a lot more that I want to write about what happens in the book, but I fear that if I do, I would reveal some spoilers, and I would hate to ruin the book for those of you who have yet to read it. I would recommend this book, but I would suggest picking up the first book called The Girl In The Steel Corset first. I will be hunting that book down and reading it soon, before I pick up the third one, The Girl With The Iron Touch.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sarah's Review of Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4)

Wow! Where do I begin with this review? This book exceeded all of my expectations hands down! Having read Dan Brown’s previous novels, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol, I could not wait to dive into Inferno. I was excited to see where Robert Langdon would take us to this time around and I was not disappointed at all.

In this book, we follow Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbology professor, on essentially a blind search to uncover clues in Italy. It begins with him awakening in Italy in the middle of the night with retrograde amnesia, with no knowledge of how he got there or why. It is from here that he begins his pursuit of why he is in Italy, how he arrived there and what he needs to do next. He finds himself in possession of an object that holds disturbing clues that we come to find out was designed by a scientist who is obsessed with the end of the world. We also realize that this scientist is even more obsessed with The Inferno, a poem written by Dante Alighieri.

As with most of Dan Brown’s novels, he keeps things moving with unpredictable events, and clues, leaving you wondering what is going to happen next, right up to the very end. There is a surprise around every corner, or every page turn. As soon as you think you have something figured out, there’s a twist so shocking you are left saying “WHAT?!” But it all makes perfect sense and everything comes together impeccably. There are so many twists and turns that Brown keeps you guessing until the very end.

The characters evolve and develop throughout the story, so you get a real sense of who they are by the end of the book. But like the storyline itself, the character development has many shocking twists as well. Each character is revealed slowly throughout the book and the narrative jumps between different viewpoints so you are able to get a glimpse into each character’s mission.

Brown integrates mystery, suspense and action with the history of Venice and the historical places they visit. His rich descriptions allow you to picture it in your mind, even if, like me, you have never seen or visited them before. He writes so you feel as if you are there.

I would recommend everyone go and grab a copy of this amazing book, especially if you have enjoyed reading his previous novels. I think this may be his best one yet!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sarah's Review of Lacrimosa by Christine Fonseca

This is the first review I have written, so I hope it reaches some of you and makes you go out and grab a copy of this book. If there is something else you wish for me to touch upon in my reviews please let me know. I will try to add things, such as character reviews, etc., as I go on.

Review : Lacrimosa (Requiem Book #1) by Christine Fonseca

Lacrimosa (Requiem, #1)
This book makes you really consider how far you would go for true love. Would you sacrifice everything you have? Would you go against all that you consider moral and right in the world just to save that one person?
I won this book through FreeBookFriday and was excited to give it a read. As soon as I picked it up I was hooked. Lacrimosa is about an Angel named Nesy, who is given the task of destroying the Unholy, which she has been doing for 500 years since her training began. She is the best at her job as a Sentinal. That is, until she meets Aydan, who is considered the worst of the Unholy. He is a fallen angel who lures people to him and then feeds off of their human souls in order to stay alive. Her task at hand is to destroy Ayden, which she attempts to do, until she meets him and realizes he is the past love of her life, who she has worked so hard to forget.
Nesy has to choose between doing what is right in her heart and doing what she has been trained to do for the good of the world. But it’s not as black and white as it sounds. I found myself hoping for the love of Nesy and Aydan to overcome all of the obstacles in their way. The author changes the perspective of the characters and you can see firsthand the struggles that they endure in their quest for what is right.  You can read from both of their viewpoints and it really pulls at your heart strings. It is in a sense a love story, but overall deals with a greater battle between two worlds, Heaven and Hell. You also get to see how real friendship comes to play.
I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends. While there are a few parts that are predictable, the author keeps changing it up and keeps you guessing until the very end. I can’t wait to get my hands on Libera Me (Requiem Book #2).

Sarah’s Review of Abandoned, A Jennifer Malone Mystery, by John Schlarbaum

  Jennifer Malone is a hard-working, investigative journalist, looking for her next big story. Abandoned is the second book in t...