Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dead-Tossed Waves, Book 2

Title: The Dead-Tossed Waves - Book 2
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publication: March 9, 2010

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Amber's Review:

Well, she's done it again. Left me completely numb. Still trying to absorb everything I read, felt, and now want from the third book. I wish I new how to put my emotions toward this series into words. I don't know how to explain why I love it so much. I've seen people rate it like me with 4 and 5 stars. But then I've seen it rated as a 2 or a 3. Maybe I'm just looking too deeply into this series, but I would rate it higher than what I did if I could. The only other books I would do that for are The Hunger Games and Fever! So what is it that takes my breath away?

I just can't explain it. The turmoil that her characters go through... It's about life and choices, and love and regret, and pushing forward when everything around you is miserably falling apart, when all you want to do is lie down and close your eyes and let it all just silently slip away. It's about learning how to stand on your own two feet, and be strong and fight for everything you believe in. It probably has more substance and meaning than any other YA/PNR book I've ever read, other than The Hunger Games.

This book was amazing. I was captivated from the first page. No, really. The first page. There is just something about Carrie Ryan that draws you in so deeply. She is the essence of what a storyteller truly is. She's the one who could keep fifty kids completely hypnotized for hours around a campfire with only her words. Her writing style is just that mesmerizing to me. Ryan knows exactly which emotions to play on to keep you completely absorbed in the story. She has a way of making you actually feel the pain of the characters, hear the hurt in their voices, see the hope in their eyes. When I read her work, I feel like I'm there. It's so descriptive, I could honestly get it confused with a movie I watched rather than thinking of it as a book I read. Her imagery is that vivid.

In The Dead-Tossed Waves, we get to know more about the characters from the first book in the series, but they aren't the focus of the story this time. The new characters are connected to them in intriguing ways, which left my head spinning and my fingers itching to get the next book in my hands. The characters were amazing. They had flaws. Big ones. They had fears and made huge mistakes. They were real, not some make-believe perfection that comes swooping in to save the day like in so many YA books nowadays. Their actions were believable and left me feeling like I know them. Like we could have been friends.

In this second book, past secrets are brought to the surface, old friends thought long ago forgotten are not gone afterall, and the connections between them all left me saying No way! and  I want more! I love excitement, action, mystery, love and loss, and this series has it all and so much more. It takes an amazing author to make you feel like you've lost something and gained something at the same time once you close the book. Carry Ryan accomplishes that and much more with this series. I definitely recommend it as a Must Read!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Misguided Angel, Book 5

Title: Misguided Angel- Book 5
Series: Blue Bloods
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publication: October 26, 2010

After inheriting the dark Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence with her forbidden love, Jack. Now the two of them must embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the five remaining gates that guard the earth from Lucifer, lord of the Silver Bloods.

Back in New York, Mimi has been elected Regent of a crumbling coven. Struggling with her heartache over the loss of Kingsley and with her overwhelming desire to destroy Jack, she must focus all of her energy on a perilous new threat. Vampires are being abducted and their captors are planning to burn them alive online…for all the world to see. Help arrives in the form of Deming Chen, a Venator from Shanghai, who must untangle the web of deceptions before the killers strike again.

As the young vampires struggle for the survival of the coven, they uncover a deadly secret, a truth first discovered by Schuyler’s mother during the Renaissance but kept buried for centuries. And as the Blue Blood enclave weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler to a terrible choice that will ultimately map the destiny of her heart.

Ashley's Review:

I had good expectations for Misguided Angel considering the other books in the Blue Bloods series were entertaining. They were very likeable. Blue Bloods gave me the feeling of Gossip Girl with vampires. I was very disappointed with the 5th book. There were parts here and there that were pretty good, but overall it was just not a very good book. Throughout the previous books in the series you get to to know the characters; Schuyler, Jack, Mimi, Oliver and Bliss. You grow to love and hate certain characters, but overall you want to read more about them regardless of your feelings. They experience a number of struggles throughout the series; from learning who they were and who they are now, fighting off the occasional villain, love, and death. No matter what the situation, each character is forced to make decisions that will not only affect themselves, but their loved ones as well.

Unfortunately, the 5th installment makes you rethink if the series was even good in the first place. Then you think, No I did really like them, this one was just completely random! The book itself did not even make sense from the beginning to the end. It felt as if it was thrown together with no real idea behind it, besides, “Let’s get this thing published and make some more cash.” It makes me question even considering to read the future installments by this author or any of her additional work.

New characters are announced in this book, which is normally fine. A couple of old characters are in the initial first few chapters then brought back up gain towards the very end of the book. It seemed as if she was trying to wrap the beginning experiences in with the new characters, but overall it just didn’t work out that way. It gave me the vibe of watching a tv show you have loved for years, then all of the characters leave the show with new characters brought on as replacements. The new characters are dealing with their own issues, but continue to bring the old beloved characters up to keep you interested.

The last 70 pages are where I thought Okay this is finally getting interesting. This is after I finally had a connection with the new added characters. By the time I finished that 70 pages, I felt I just wasted hours of my life that I would never get back. I was seriously saying, Uuuhhh are you kidding me? This is it?!! It reminded me of a spin off within the same series.

After reading The Van Alen Legacy, I could not wait to see what Melissa de la Cruz would bring in Misguided Angel; I experienced complete disappointment. If I were to do it over again, I would never have read Misguided Angel.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wicked Lovely Series, Books 1-3

Title: Wicked Lovely - Book 1
Series: Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication: June 12, 2007

All teenagers have problems, but few of them can match those of Aislinn, who has the power to see faeries. Quite understandably, she wishes that she could share her friends' obliviousness and tries hard to avoid these invisible intruders. But one faery in particular refuses to leave her alone. Keenan the Summer King is convinced beyond all reasoning that Aislinn is the queen he has been seeking for nine centuries. What's a 21st-century girl to do when she's stalked by a suitor nobody else can see? A debut fantasy romance for the ages; superlative summer read.

Amber's Review:

So far, I have read the first three installments in this seris; Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, and Fragile Eternity. I've really enjoyed this series a great deal. Melissa Marr's writing style is wonderful. This series has several main characters and she manages them well. You get to know each one, their back story, who they really are, and every one of them has a painful past that keeps you completely enthralled. I found myself favoriting several of them, when normally just one or two stand out to me in a story. In this series though, every one is special to me. I want to see each of them succeed, but unfortunately the way their lives are intertwined means that not everyone can have a happy ending!

This series has a whole new take on the fey/mortal relationship. The world that Melissa creates is engaging and terrifying all at the same time. Each fey court has a purpose and an agenda that creates intrigue, drama, and heartache, and an overall thrill-ride of entertainment. I even found myself laughing out loud and tearing up in certain parts as each character finds their entire existence is being changed, shifted, and pushed down new paths. Are these changes fate? Destiny? Or results of bad decisions that will only lead to regret and the possible destruction of everything they've ever known?

Since there are several main characters, we get the scoop on several relationships, which means twice the drama and nail biting experiences! Characters are torn between the ones they love and the lives they've known for all eternity. Changes must be made, hearts must be broken, but while some changes are welcome, many are not, and all-out war is just one mistake away.

I absolutely recommend this series to anyone who likes YA, PNR, and definitely faeries! So far this is my favorite fey series. I just love this fey world Melissa created, and the characters are memorable enough to keep me wanting more. I can't wait to read the next one, Radiant Shadows, because Fragile Eternity left me on a mild cliff hanger!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Mortal Instruments Series, Books 1-3

Title: City of Bones - Book 1
Series: The Mortal Instruments
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication: March 27, 2007

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Ashley's Review:

I never thought I would find another book or series where I would fall completely in love with the characters after Twilight. The search is over – The Mortal Instruments is the new Twilight. After reading this series, you can’t help but feel like you personally know each and every character. The trials and tribulations each character goes through make you hunger for more and never want it to come to an end. You are constantly left in suspense of what the outcome will be of each adventure that Jace, Clary, Simon and the Lightwoods have taken on.

This series constantly gives you the feeling that you know what to expect next, and then it completely surprises you. Jace and Clary are on a continuous search for who they really are and are unsure of whom they want to be. The only thing they really know is that they love each other, and nothing will come in between their love, not even a secret more painful than either of them could ever imagine.

You will find yourself rooting for Jace and Clary throughout every book!! Each character is so courageous, loving and has a will-do attitude. No matter what challenge is brought before them, they will find a way to conquer it. This series has everything you could ask for; love, hate, death, action, adventure, despair and let’s not forget, an evil villain.

Cassandra did a great job including every paranormal character you dream of! Each book is better than the last and I absolutely cannot wait for the next editions Cassandra will bring to the table. I highly recommend this series to everyone that loves PNR/UF, whether you are a Twilight fan or not.

Amber's Review:

The Mortal Instruments. What can I say? I mean besides stating the obvious: This is a MUST read! The first three books in this six part series are just phenomenal. Cassandra Clare creates a world so unlike anything I have ever read before. It is completely original, exciting, and intriguing. So much so that I couldn't put these books down; I read all three in a week, and it only took that long due to that wretched thing I call a job which takes up most of my time!

I am in love with these characters. I can't help but love them. If it were possible, I would step right into their world and fight right beside them. That's the kind of impact they have. Jace and Clary are true fighters. They fight for what they believe in, for what they feel is right, and most of all, they fight for their deepening love for one another, even when a newly discovered history between them threatens to tear them apart.

Drawn together by more than their feelings, they team up to destroy a common enemy; One that threatens the lives of all the Shadowhunters and mortals alike. With the help of their friends, they try to find a way to stop what seems like the inevitable, through quick thinking, hard fighting, and sacrifices that could change them forever.

This series pulled at my heart non-stop, and kept me on edge through all the close calls and OMG moments. There wasn't a single dull second. It is full of everything a PNR/UF/YA lover could ever want; demon's and vampires and weres, oh my! Cassandra is an amazing author who really gets what it takes to entertain!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 1

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Book 1
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth 
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publication: March 10, 2009

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Amber's Review:

Ok, I'm usually a sucker for happy endings. I mean, c'mon. Who doesn't want a happy ending, right? Well, you're not going to get one in this book! I cried so hard. I mean, sobbed. Like a baby. Complete and utter makeup removal. My boyfriend came running in thinking I'd gone and hurt myself! Or it's that time of the month when I see a puppy commercial and lose all control over my tear ducts. Oh. No, neither is the case, honey. I'm just reading! He backed away slowly. Sudden realization and an intense desire to flee flashing across his face... Poor guy.

Yes, this book consumed me from start to finish. I loved it. No, I didn't get my happy ending, but I think that's why I loved it so much. It shocked me. It was unexpected and not the norm. I felt a heart-wrenching attachment to the characters, and wanted so badly to help them out and fix all their problems. I wanted that happy ending! But, I don't think it would have been the same any other way. It wouldn't have had the power it held over me.

Carrie Ryan shows true talent in this book. She pulls you in from the first page, makes you adore the characters to an almost maternal state, and then turns your world upside down. The story was beautiful,  packed full of action, and even contained sincere life lessons on dreams, hope, regret, and most importantly, above all else, love.

If your entire world consisted of only what you were told, if you had no past other than what you could remember yourself, if everything you thought you knew was ripped from your grasp, would you follow your deepest dreams or your heart? Because sometimes, they may lead down separate paths, and you must choose.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Fever Series (MacKayla Lane), Books 1-5

Title: Darkfever - Book 1
Series: Fever (MacKayla Lane)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publication: November  2006

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

Amber's Review:

I have to say this series, so far, is my favorite. I absolutely loved everything about it. Ev-ry-thing! It had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I laughed, I cried, I scared my neighbors... I guess screaming OH MY GOD! NO! NO! NO! has that effect on the good samaritans of my neighborhood... Well, I feel safer!

When Shadowfever came out I stayed up all night to finish it. I mean, hearing the birds chirping and the sunlight blinding my eyes was the only way I realized what I had done! Where am I? What day is it?...  And let me say, you cannot "swat" sunlight out of your eyes! I tried. Stop bothering me! doesn't work either. You must realize, Hey, wow, it's daylight. I should move. Or go to bed. But, by then I only had about 20 pages left. Can't-stop-now! I slept the entire next day, with pretty incredible dreams! (And this is what we call a reading induced coma, class.) It was perfect!

The story itself was extremely well written. Karen did an outstanding job creating such interesting characters. They were original and had believable qualities that made it easy to fall in love with them. I really enjoyed the chemistry between Mac and Barrons, and the sexual tension between the characters was severely intense. Their wordless conversations were real highlights in the dialogue and I enjoyed every minute of it.

There were just the right amounts of love and lust, twists and turns, humor and pain, light and dark... The plot flowed smoothly; slowing in places just long enough to let us think for ourselves, then picking back up with a BAM! Didn't see that one coming, did you?!  Even with five books in this series, you never get bored with Alright already! Who's the bad guy?? Because the line between good and evil is very thin, and Mac even finds herself tiptoeing amongst both sides!

The setting for this series, Dublin, Ireland, was perfect for the plot. There is a lot of history with fey and mystical creatures of the night in this environment, and Moning did a superb job in her research and in her ability to create a new, original story with a good historical background in the folklore area. Her writing style made it easy for me to envision myself walking down the cobblestoned streets of Dublin, taking in all the culture and energy, and 'Craic.' As horrific as Mac's story is, even after all she went through in her Fever journey, Moning made me want nothing more than to go to Dublin and experience it all for myself! Every painful, sexy, hilarious, heartbreaking, terrifying detail!

I just can't say enough about this series as a whole, and Shadowfever was my favorite out of the bunch. I recommend it to everyone who is a true fan of PNR/UF. You will be pleased! This is not YA, be warned! :)