Sunday 29 July 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Published by: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 467

Ok, so I am REALLY going to try and do this review without completely gushing about this book, but....that may not happen!

I have to say that it has been a really long time since I have read a high fantasy book, and I can honestly say that I cannot remember reading a better high fantasy book EVER! This is genuinely brilliant writing, and for a debut novel? I cannot wait to see where she can even go from here, she is already at the top for me.

Seraphina is a half dragon, and she is one of the only people who knows (besides her Dad and her Uncle.) She is meant to not draw attention to herself, but that all changes when she performs as a musician in front of a massive crowd, and now is an employee of the castle, and lives there as well. Seraphina is finding it more and more difficult to hide what she really is.  She is always dressing in full sleeve shirts, and even 4 layers so that no one can see her scales accidentally on her arms.

The cast of characters is fantastic from Seraphina, to her instructor, her Uncle, the Princess, the soon to be Prince (Kiggs), and also a dragon that is not really revealed until later in the book.  The world building is some of the best that I have read, it did take me a couple of chapters to catch on to some things and really get a feel for what it was like and how things were set up, but once I did, I felt that I was right there for the adventure along with them.

There is a Seraphina 0.5 called The Audition that I did not find out about until after I was done the book, and I do wish that I had known about it prior to reading it so that I did have a little bit of a background story going in, however, that being said, it did not take away from the pure joy I felt reading this book at all! (Here is a link to The Audition that is listed on Goodreads, it is a short 19 page story if you would like to read it prior to Seraphina, I do suggest it.)

For me a lot of what I took from this book was that we all have something about ourselves that we may feel is wrong or that people will not like us for, or change their mind about how they feel about us once they find out about it. For Seraphina this is how she feels about her dragon side. Most times I think that when that something is revealed, or we talk to someone about how we feel about it, we have made it bigger in our own minds then what it really is, and it generally does not change people's view of us, or they do not see it the same way that we do meaning they do not view it as a negative, they view it pure and simple as part of who we are and what makes us, well us. My FAVOURITE line in this book is absolutely "We are all monsters and bastards, and we are all beautiful", which for personal reasons truly did touch my heart enough to make me cry.

In closing if you could not tell, this is a 5/5 for me, and I strongly advise that if you have not read this novel yet, you must add it to your to be read pile immediately!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Masquerade by Rivka Spicer

Published by Amazon Digital Services
Kindle Edition: 380 pages

First off, I am quite happy to say that Masquerade is not your typical vampire novel, and that pleases me immensely!  There were aspects of the personalities and how they lived that were similar to the vampire folklore, but it was the plot of the novel that really drew me in, and kept me wanting to read more.

I really enjoyed the characters and their personalities.  There was one thing that happened with Ocean that to me really did seem way out of character for her that did turn me off of her a little, but I was able to get over it by the end.  I really enjoyed Tristan as well, he had a perfect vampire personality for me, I don't like the "sensitive" vampire type, and he definitely is not. There are a lot of other characters in the novel as well, and I really like how they all interacted together, made this read even better for me.

I only had one other thing with this book that I was hoping had gone differently, there is a build up to a major event, and I just wish that there was more written on that event, more details provided, I feel like there was a lot of build up and that it just kinda flew by like it was not as big as the build up had made it to be, and if there was more of the event, then possibly the ending would have been a little different and a bit more of a cliff hanger which I really enjoy when it comes to being part of a series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and am excited to read the next one in the series for sure, I give this a 3.5 out of 5!

Saturday 14 July 2012

Ashes (Arson #2)

Published 2011 by StoneGate Ink

What can I say besides brilliant, amazing, exhilerating!

As I was reading Arson and got to the end there were still some questions that I had about Arson and where he came from, where his parents were etc, and I was hoping that they were going to be mostly answered in Ashes, and I was right! From page one in this book I was hooked, as some of those answers I was looking for were already being answered for me.  Chapter one in this book has to be one if not the best chapters of a book that I can remember, it is still probably one of the main parts of the book that sticks out for me.

Ashes is the perfect second book in a trilogy for me as when I think about both Arson and Ashes, I feel like I am climbing a mountain with Arson as it is a perfect lead in book, at the top of that mountain is Ashes with all the exciting events that take place, all of the questions that it has answered, and I truly believe that the thrid book will be like walking down the other end of the mountain where it starts with the bang that Ashes left with, and takes us in to a wonderful ending to an amazing series!

I finished Ashes a few days ago, and I cannot remember a time when a book has stuck with me so much that I am still thinking about it, and wanting to read it again already.  I love the new characters that are introduced and what they bring to the story, and where some of the existing charaters from Arson are going in their relationships. 

I truly would recommend this series to anyone who loves ya books with a touch of paranormal in them, there is action, adventure, suspense, and just a sprinkling of romance added, Estevan Vega is quickly being added to the list of authors that I have where I anticipate their novel releases the most!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Review of Arson (Arson #1) by Estevan Vega

Published in 2011 by Stonehouse Ink (ISBN 1615666034)
Pages: 318

Arson is based on a teenage boy named Arson who has this power to make fire with his hands, and he is unsure of where it came from, or how to control it.  It goes through a bit on his past history in regards to what has happened to his parents, and gives you insight on who he lives with now, and what that is like for him. In my take on the book it is not until a girl named Emery moves in next door that he begins to think that possibly he has found someone that could be his friend (or possible boyfriend).  Although Emery does come with her own set of issues, they seem to be comfortable with each other right from the start (which is not the greatest first impression that Arson could make lol).  There is an event that happens towards the end of the novel that builds the reader up to an ending that will definitely leave you wanting to read on and see where the story goes!

I love how Estevan built up to the world that surrounds Arson, and all of the characters in it, I found myself simultaneously despising and feeling sorry for more than one of them at the same time which is brilliant!  I truly believe that this is how the first novel that is part of a trilogy is supposed to be written, it is a perfect build up for everything that could happen in the second novel, and I cannot remember when I have ever read a lead in novel like this before!  Absolutely a 5 out of 5 in my opinion!!!!  If you have not picked up this one yet, what are you waiting for??

Tuesday 3 July 2012

The Empty Glass by J.I. Baker

Available July 19 2012 from Blue Rider Press - 323 pages

"In the early-morning hours of August 5, 1962, Los Angeles County deputy coroner Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world's most famous movie star, now dead, lying naked in her bedroom still clutching a telephone.  There he discovers The Book of Secrets- Marilyn's diary-revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as "The General." In the following days, Ben unravels a wide-ranging cover-up in the aftermath of the star's "suicide" and some heartbreaking truths about the fragile, luminous woman behind the celebrity. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts in The Book of Secrets bleed in to Ben's own life, and he finds himself, like Monroe, trapped in a deepening conspiracy. The Empty Glass is an unforgettable combination of the real-life facts and legendary theories that have dogged Monroe, the Kennedys, the Mafia, and even the CIA for decades-and an exciting debut from a remarkable new thriller writer to watch."

I have to say it did take me a little bit to get in to this book and to understand how the narrator is telling the story, but once I did, it was a great read! I loved how he was able to tie in really simple things as evidence that it was not a suicide, things that I would have never thought twice about.

There is one main character Ben Fitzgerald, and I didn't really connect with him at all, I was able to follow the story the way that he as telling it etc, but nothing about his personality really drew me in to him at all, I was not able to make that connection on the human level.  The second sort of main character is Jo who is a reporter of sorts, I also found it very difficult to her and to understand where her motivation for finding the truth was coming from.

In the end I only gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars as there was a lot of disconnect from the characters, however, the actual story and all of the controversy surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death is very interesting to read about! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Marilyn, or anyone who enjoys conspiracy theory for sure.  Also there is a lot of events in this book that happen to him because he is trying to seek out the truth behind her death, and that made the book a little exciting as well as you did not know where it was going to go next in that aspect.

Sunday 1 July 2012

I feel like such a lucky girl!

I am so lucky to have received another request to review a novel, this time it is by Rivka Spicer and it is called Masquerade! So as soon as I am done with Arson, this is the next on my list YAHOO! So excited!