December 31, 2013

The Forgotten Sea

This is a paranormal romance…adult version. Which basically means there is going to be less angst and more sex. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes…it just makes me want to bash my head against the wall. This book was the latter.

Lara and Iestyn were interesting characters, but as soon as the hormones started flowing the character development stopped. And then we got action and sex. IMHO we get enough action and sex on the TV, I want deeper interaction before you delve into those two aspects. Appreciation, respect, learning who these characters are. We are deprived of that.

Interesting story with a cool plot, but the characters fell flat for me. This story gets two stars.

December 30, 2013

The Magician's Nephew

I recently rewatched the three Narnia movies, and had the desire to re-read this book. This is my favorite book of the entire Narnia series. It gets a bit muddy because this is technically, chronologically the first book, but it was published way after some of the others.

This book explains how the “Queen” of Narnia came to be in Narnia. This book is awesome.

Polly and Diggory, two human children, borrow Diggory’s uncle’s magic ring which allows them to jump through portals into other worlds. I, as someone who greatly desired to jump into different worlds, found this idea to be fascinating.

“As he rose to his feet he noticed that he was neither dripping nor panting for breath as anyone would expect after being under water. His clothes were perfectly dry. He was standing by the edge of a small pool—not more than ten feet from side to side in a wood. The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky. All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm. It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind. You could almost feel the trees growing. The pool he had just got out of was not the only pool. There were dozens of others—a pool every few yards as far as his eyes could reach. You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots. This wood was very much alive.”

The scene where Diggory and Polly come to the world Jadis is from, where they feel the creepy atmosphere, the red light, the crumbling walls of the building, and all the beautiful, frozen people inside, is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The scene is so well written. I was going to pull out a quote, but the whole thing is good. It was impossible to choose.

The prose, as usual, is young, readable, but enjoyable. Lewis has a way of writing that can capture the attention of all age groups, and that is quite a feat.

The Magician’s Nephew is amazing, and deserves 5 stars.

December 29, 2013

Song Quest

This is one of my very favorite fantasy books which borders between Middle School and YA. This is likely because singing has such a huge part in this book. I loved how there were different songs that did different things, so original, and so much fun to read!

Rialle and Kherron were both wonderful, interesting, developed characters. They were such a joy to read. I definitely will be reading the next book.

This book deserves 5 stars.

December 28, 2013


This is the sequel to the book Graceling which I adored. Fire however, did not live up to the first book, in my opinion. Yes it was good, I enjoyed it, but I don’t usually like when authors throw aside characters in place of new characters to finish a story.

Fire is whiny. And people want to rape her all the time because she is so dang beautiful? Errrrr okay? And for most of this book Fire does…absolutely nothing. She sits on her bum and whines. There was no kick ass heroine to move this story along. Unfortunately

I was greatly disappointed with this sequel, and will only give it two stars.

December 27, 2013

Practical Magic

I hated this book. I found it boring to the max. There was no magic. Zero magic. Not even wiccan magick, which I LOVE reading about. No. Nothing.

This was a sharp contrast from the beloved movie inspired by this book featuring the talents of Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. One of the few book/movie combos in which I liked the movie better than I did the book.

This book gets 1.5 stars, and only because it inspired such a wonderful movie. Seriously, go see the movie.

December 26, 2013

Kissed by an Angel

I never expected to love this book so much. It is cliché, and has a romantic view of the world, but boy do I love this book…or rather this book which is actually three books, but I grabbed the version that had all three as one solid book.

The love story in the beginning is sweet. It is lovely the way it grows. And then our hero dies. Is MURDERED. That’s right. Get ready for the feels. But Ivy tries to be strong when her boyfriend comes back to her as her guardian angel, because now her life is in danger.

I especially loved the way Ivy begins to move on at the end of the story. She had true love, but she is young, and perhaps love will come again. This story deserves 4 stars.

December 25, 2013

Llama Llama Holiday Drama

First off, I love llamas. Not nearly as much as I adore manatees, but never-the-less, I love llamas. And this is a Christmas book featuring a llama. Seriously, five stars for the idea alone.

Look at that llama on the cover. I mean, the book is ALREADY awesome and I haven’t even started reading!

I have a few jobs, and one of them is the Assistant to the Religious Educator at a church. So I read a LOT of children’s stories. Mostly I don’t find them amazing enough to count as my book a day. But this one is worth mentioning. Especially when the market of children’s stories that I usually look at (our curriculum is based around Judeo/Christian themes this year) are terrible. And I’m not talking, “Wow that was boring!” No. Like claw your eyes out and burn them. Pour liquid metal into your ears. That kinda terrible. Seriously, how do some of these people get published?!

But I digress. Llama Llama Holiday Drama is cute, funny, and it highlights the importance of the spirit of Christmas, which is what my boss was looking for in a story. Plus…llamas. Needless to say, the children (and surprisingly adults!) loved it when she read it in church the Sunday before Christmas.

This adorable book gets my 5 star rating. And if you have children, I suggest buying this book to read to them around the holidays.

December 24, 2013

The Silver Kiss

This is a beautiful book about vampires. Yes, the kind that kill to eat. Like vampires must. And no. They don’t sparkle like soooome pansy vampires.

Simon and Zoe fall in love, for a time fulfilling each other’s lonely souls. But their love cannot last, because Simon is a vampire, and he has never liked the part of him that makes him become a killer.

The ending is beautiful, touching, heartbreaking. Do not look for a Twilight story in this novel. Do look for realistic writing, beautiful themes, and good writing.

This book deserves 4 stars.

December 23, 2013

Wild Blood

This book was the ending of the Switcher series, but fell flat for me. It was still interesting to read, don’t get me wrong, and I enjoyed it. But I really don’t like when authors add in other cultures myths to make the story more exciting. Adding in vampires in the second book was forgivable, but then this book added in Celtic lore. And it just seemed so tired.

It was a nice end to the series, but definitely didn’t live up to the first book in my mind.

This book receives 3 stars.

December 22, 2013

Midnight's Choice

This is the second book in the series, and I have to admit I did not like it as much as the first one. But it was good all the same.

It follows the story of Tess as she tries to decide which animal she will choose forever, because at 15 you lose the ability to shift into any animal, you have to choose just one. Kevin chooses a phoenix, which Tess considers, but then she meets Martin, whose forever shape is a vampire. And she has a hard time deciding what she will choose when her time comes.

This whole series is shaping as a “growing up and finding oneself” theme, which I absolutely adore. I love Tess, and I cannot wait to read the next book.

This is absolutely a 4 star book. And just look at that striking cover! Who would think that mustard yellow and Christmas red could go together?!

December 21, 2013


This book was categorized as middle school, but my 22 year old self loved it just the same. The concept is that there are some people who can shape shift into any animals. Tess is one of these Switchers.

She meets another Switcher, Kevin, who has lived on the streets for several years. They become friends, and Kevin asks her to help him with a very important task. Basically, saving the world. And there we have our story.

Well written, fantastically imagined, and captivating. This book is a sure 5 star.

December 20, 2013

In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play

I do not read many plays, but this one sounded too awesome to pass up. The world I entered was…bizarre to say the least. This play…is the story of how the vibrator was invented.

***Warning. Adult content discussed. Please move along if you are not over 18.***

So there is a doctor. And he treats depressed women. With a modern technological device. What will eventually become the vibrator. And it works! His patients adore his methods and he cures them of depression.

However. The good doctor has a wife. Who is highly depressed, and feels that he doesn’t give her enough love and attention. Eventually, after some experimentation with the doctor’s methods, the doctor and his wife grow closer together.

I can only imagine what this play must be like to watch/act. Seriously. Embarrassing. I don’t think I could sit in the audience and watch this play. The whole plot revolves around vibrators! But, I am embarrassed easily. Maybe for those who have seen it live it comes off as quite funny rather than serious.

This play receives 3.5 stars for the interesting, entertaining content.

December 19, 2013

Sarah's Key

I honestly didn’t think I was going to like this book. I am not a huge fan of the WWII genre books (minus, of course Narnia), I think they are overdone to the max. But I bought this book because I was bored and the cover art was beautiful.

I devoured this book. I was entranced. I was heart broken. And I don’t want to say anything else about this book except- read it. It is short, sweet, painful, beautiful, and so different from other WWII stories.

Read it, it shall not disappoint.

This book deserves 5 stars.

December 18, 2013

Enchantress from the Stars

This book wasn't one of the absolute best books I have read, but it certainly was interesting and unique. There are three different cultures in this book, at three differing levels of technology advancement.

Elana is part of a culture who is advanced to the point of telekinesis, but they are peaceful. They wander the planets learning about different cultures, never revealing their technology secrets.

Jarel is also from an advanced culture, but his excuse for coming to a planet is to cultivate it by any means, even military.

Georyn is a man who lives on a world with medieval technology. It is his world that Elana and Jarel have come to.

Elana helps Georyn, and thus the people of his planet, fight off Jarel by the only means she can do without revealing her advanced society and their technology: by masquerading as an enchantress. In this manner Elana deceives Georyn about Jarel, calling his technology spells and dragons, and offering her own spells to help Georyn.

A tender love story develops between Georyn and Elana, but as they are two different cultures, it is understood from the beginning that this will not be a happy ending to the love story.

Now let me just say, I HATE unhappy endings. ABHOR them. But this ending was bittersweet and beautiful, and though I would have liked fairy tale wedding bells, this ending made sense and was quite lovely.

This book receives 4 stars. 3.5 for the story and .5 for that beautiful cover. Just gorgeous.

December 17, 2013


I think Firebird is one of the only Sci-Fantasy genre books I have read. Technically it should be classified as Sci-Fi as it is futuristic and takes place in space and on different planets, but it felt more…fantasy to me with the magical qualities people possess and Lady Firebird being noble, thus Science-Fantasy.

I loved how Tyers uses music in this world. I think that was one of my favorite parts of the story. As a musician, music in books always makes me feel a special bond to the book.

The love story was fragile, flawed, but lovely to read. Firebird was an interesting, complex character. And the plot was sometimes predictable, but then there were a few twists I did not see coming.

This book was quite enjoyable, and deserves 3.5 stars.

December 16, 2013

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

This is one of those books that change you. I read it first when I was a young girl, probably around 9 or 10, and it had a profound impact on me. The impact was just as strong when I reread it this time. The story takes place in Puritan Connecticut, where our heroine, Kit, has just come to live with her relatives. But Kit was raised in Barbados by her liberal grandfather. Her taste in clothing, reading material, the way she speaks her mind, and the fact that she can swim all turns the town against her during a time when witch hunts were popular.

Kit is a fantastic character. I love how she deals with the hard choices she has to make. In our world we are no stranger to bullying, but comparing my experiences with being called a witch and other bullying I have endured with Kit’s, where the threat of being burned at the stake is quite real, my experiences seem like mere blips. Kit takes on a whole town and endeavors to open their eyes to the fact that not all that is different is frightening or bad.

I also love how unsure Kit is. She is strong, but she struggles with what to do, whether to conform to Puritan life, or to be herself. And that, for me, is that makes Kit so real, so relatable.

This story is a wonderful read, especially if you are interested in historical fiction and strong female leads. This Newberry Award winning novel deserves 5 stars.

December 15, 2013

To Catch a Pirate

Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

I honestly didn’t expect this book to be as good as it was. I expected plates and plates of cheese, clichés, tired love stories, and a predictable ending. The writing was not anything superlative, and it did end up being very Pirates of the Caribbean, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, POTC has adventure, love, action, and pirates. What’s not to love?

I think my favorite part about the book was the dual POV. We get to see the world from both Annalisa and James’ eyes. Not that this is unique to this story, multiple POV is rather overdone in stories at the moment, but both were interesting characters and I liked seeing both sides’ contribution to the story.

The character I could have lived without was the one I most related to Commodore Norington, Nathanial. The only part I really appreciated him was when he reveals that he has been using Annalisa. You have some balls Nathanial… *cough* …cannon balls, of course.

James and Annalisa’s romance was sweet. Very YA, but sweet none-the-less.

For those who love to don pirate garb and sail the high seas in search of treasure and a lady true, this book is for you! 4 stars to this delight of a pirate story!

December 14, 2013

Wild Magic

This book sounded so promising! An elementary telling of the Piper’s story? But there were several problems with this book that really stood out to me. And ultimately caused me to revoke the stars I wanted to give it.

One was the ease with which the “chosen” magical child discovers and learns to use his magic. It all happens so fast, too easily, with no training, or attempt to grasp at how, or why he has magic. It made for a very uninteresting read.

He also makes the selfless decision to take the curse onto himself, which seemed completely unrealistic to me. He is too young to think about such things. Kids don’t generally become self-aware and start developing those responsible, self-sacrificing behaviors until a bit older.

Another problem was the antagonist. Who was the antagonist? The Piper? The Forest? For me it changed halfway through the book, which leads me to believe that I don’t think Cat Weatherhill knew who the antagonist was. It started out as the Piper, but then he morphed into the victim and the forest became the enemy.

Problem three- Explanation of the forest. Why is the forest evil? Just to create problems? That isn’t a good enough reason for me. And without that crucial part, it made the book less interesting to read. Antagonists should be complex. Not some random mysterious forest who wants to hurt/curse/kill our protagonists just because.

I did love learning about the back story of the Piper, though it was overshadowed by the reasoning of WHY people are not allowed to enter the forest. The Piper was cursed all this time just because he hunted in there? I wish there was more of an actual explanation.

I think this book has the potential to be really great. If it was given another 150-200 pages characters and plot lines could have been developed more. I think this would have greatly increased my liking of the story. As it stands, I give the book a two star rating.

December 13, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

First let me say I’ve read a lot of reviews which have compared this book to Hunger Games and Divergent, only that this book is a worse version.

There is no comparison. None at all.

I enjoyed this book. So much I need to go buy the entire series. So much so I physically had to prevent myself from annotating my favorite passages…there were many. I had to hide the pens.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

I love Elisa’s journey to find out who she is and why she was chosen. Along the way she discovers her strengths and her power. She transforms from a fat, unsure girl with no self-confidence to a strong, smart, compassionate queen.

What I really enjoyed is that Rae Carson accomplished this without “training” Elisa. She goes through her transformation because of the things she experiences along the way that gently shape her into a strong, admirable woman. Even during the beginning when she was fat and nervous, she had an inner strength that was admirable, and that strength helped her to persevere through the challenges she faces during the novel. Elisa is one of my favorite heroines now.

The other characters are just as dimensional. Flaws were abundant, but not cliché. The king, Alejandro, in particular has several huge character flaws. He is a nice and very attractive man, but a hesitant king and an indulgent and neglectful father. This paved the way to one of Elisa’s strengths- her way with the king’s 6 year old son, Rosario. I loved Elisa and Rosario. Their interaction was pure and beautiful, and I cannot wait to read more of them together.

I’d also like to address the Christian critique of this book as I’ve seen many commenting on this element. The Girl of Fire and Thorns exists in a world very like 16th century Catholic Spain- at least it felt that way to me. Obviously there is religion. Elisa is very devout, and the entire plot balances on her belief and faith. But this in no way encourages the reader to believe or requires it of them. This is the integral piece of religion in novels to me. In my review of Arena I ranted about being smacked in the face with religion…poorly written religious allegories. In Arena the main character starts to believe because it is the only way out of the Arena, her whole world starts to revolve around her religious enlightenment. As readers become invested in main characters, we as a result, are also expected to ascend with the main character. This is the type of religion in books I cannot abide. As Elisa’s religion is very different from that in Arena I did not have a problem with it.

I am a fast reader. Like 100 pages/ hour fast. This book made me slow down to read each and every word. That was how fantastic the writing was. To put this in perspective, I think the only other book I have read that slowly is the Silmarillion…because it’s bloody hard to understand! This I read slowly because the writing was beautiful and I didn’t want to miss a single word. Honestly some of the best writing I have ever encountered.

Put that on top of a kick ass plot and….

5 star book.

December 12, 2013

The Darkangel

This book is now one of my favorite dark fairytales. It is the story of a darkagel, a vampire, who is collecting “wives” to harvest their souls. Aeriel becomes involved when her mistress, Edouin, is taken. Aeriel goes with the darkangel and becomes the keeper of the souls of his wives and his hideous creatures which guard his castle. But while she is there, trying to determine how she can help free the souls of the “wives” Aeriel begins to fall in love with the darkangel, sensing that there is some small amount of humanity remaining in him.

I think my favorite part about this story was the darkness, and the refusal to lean toward easy love. This line illustrates that point quite well:

“Aeriel turned back to him. ‘I am to be your bride,’ she said, not questioning. The certainty of it overwhelmed her.
The darkangel looked at her then and laughed, a long, mocking laugh that sent the gargoyles into a screaming, chattering frenzy. ‘You?’ he cried, and Aeriel’s heart shrank, tightened like a knot beneath the bone of her breast. ‘You be my bride? By the Fair Witch, no. You’re much too ugly.’”

The story is original, dark, and well written. The prose at times is poetic and the descriptions are beautiful. Needless to say, this book is a five star book, and I have purchased it to add it to my bookshelf.

December 11, 2013

The Hobbit

Far over the misty mountains cold…

In honor of the second installment of the Hobbit coming out tomorrow, I re-read the Hobbit today. I cannot wait for the movie to come out; anyone who knows me personally knows how much of a Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth dork I am.

Anyway. I love the Hobbit. It is a wonderful book, and much easier to read than the Lord of the Rings. The only thing I really don’t like about the Hobbit is the destruction of one of my favorite characters. Thorin. Thorin starts out as a grumpy butt-muncher, then he grows and comes to respect and value Bilbo. Then…regression into butt-muncher, mortal wound, death-bed apology, and death. Emotional rollercoaster, Mr. Tolkien. The feels are not wanted. I’m going to blubber like a baby when Thorin dies in the third installment of the movies…

My other favorite character? Beorn. I cannot wait to meet him on the big screen. Most random character ever, a bit like Tom Bombadil in that regard, but I love him. A man who is a bear, or a bear who is a man, how can you not love him?

My favorite part of the Hobbit are the riddles and the songs/poems. The songs are beautifully constructed, and the riddles are so much fun!!

The Hobbit is a five star book, no questions asked.

December 10, 2013

The Immortal

Before I start this review, I just want to say I LOVE Christopher Pike. His Last Vampire Series consumed my middle school days. It killed me that the library did not have the entire series. But they did have this book. So I read it then, and I have read it again. I still love Christopher Pike.

The Immortal is about a Greek goddess who is punished by being made mortal. She doesn’t have any of her memories of being a goddess, but when she finds a statue in Crete she begins to dream of a goddess.


Josie ends up falling in love with a mortal guy, of course. And her mortal best friend…actually isn’t mortal! GASP! I think my favorite part of this entire book was the end, when we find out who Helen actually is. Without totally destroying the ending, the scene involves a hamburger, a decision, and glass. It still creeps me out just as much as it did the first time. If anyone has read this book, let me know what you thought of that ending!!

The Immortal is short and sweet, and obviously written in Pike’s spare time as it isn’t one of his better works, but it is a good read and it deserves 4 stars for that kick ass ending.

December 9, 2013


I have mixed feelings about this book. Not having read Beastly (though I have seen the movie) or any other of Alex Flinn’s books, this was my introduction to her writing.

Parts of this story interested me, and parts didn’t. Kendra’s witchy-origin story was riveting. I’ll repeat that again because it is worth it. RIVETTING. But then we switch to present day, to Lisette and Emma’s story, a re-telling of Cinderella. This story bored me. Then Flinn returns us to Kendra and I almost jumped for joy, we were back to an exciting plot! Only, no. She merely goes on and on about various famous points in history of which she was a part. RELEVANCE?! At this point I was so frustrated and completely done with caring about the story.

I really wish Kendra’s first story had been published alone, because that beauty deserved 5 stars. The rest of the book, however, deserved 2.

December 8, 2013

The Angry Angel

Vampires, blood, and darkness: an awesome Gothic novel.

No…not the modern Gothic style of dress, hair, makeup, and life…

The Gothic novel with the theme of the fallen hero, ect! If you are not familiar with this classification of novel within the Romantic novel category, click here!

I read this book years ago, I think when I was in middle school. Having found that my opinion of books has changed so dramatically after learning what makes writing “good”, I have decided to start re-reading some of the novels I really loved. After reading it again, now that I am almost ten years older, I can see how much this novel has influenced my early writing.

There are very few vampire novels that do monster seduction really well. I’m not talking Edward-the-sparkly-vampire kinda monster here, I’m talking about monsters who rip out human throats. In fact there are very few non vampire novels that do that well….Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is one of those novels (just throwing that out there!) The Angry Angel does this so well. I wasn’t really conscious of the age of Kelene when I first read this book, being around 14 myself. But any book that can make the loss of innocence (in every way) of a 14 year old a seductive process in which the reader wants her to fall, is well written in my opinion. There is sexual tension and the pull of sensuality, but nothing too crazy over the top.

Still, this age difference didn’t bother me this second time through. Today, yes, the seduction of a 14 year-old would be against the law, but this was the 1500s when girls were commonly married at that age. So take that into consideration before taking out the “child rape!” soapbox.

My favorite part of this book is that there is no love story. Kelene is seduced into being one of Dracula’s brides not because she has fallen in love with him, but because she is a fallen character. She goes from being a religious, pure girl to being one of the infamous brides, delighting in pain, blood, and darkness. I think that wonderful character journey and development is what makes this book so fantastic, even if there isn’t a happy ending.

This book gets 4.5 stars for being so amazing, and deliciously dark!