Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: This House is Haunted by John Boyne

Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 204
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: April 25, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin's walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall's long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past.

My Review:

For such a short book, this story definitely packed a lot in it. I was sent this book a little while ago and I let it sit on my shelf not really knowing much about it. I'm glad I decided to finally get around to reading it. It was a perfect amount of creepiness to it that really made the book. This was a dark story and yet in a weird way it is also kind of a loving story, and I really enjoyed that addition.

Right from the beginning of the book you can see that something is not right, and Eliza notices it as well. Things just keep going from bad to worse, and Eliza spends her time investigating what happened at this house. What I really liked was what Eliza would do for these children, it is her job to take care of Isabella and Eustace and she takes that very seriously.

The children were very interesting characters, and the way they acted really added to the story. They have had some tough times, and you can see that they have some coping problems. These children were creepy and you had no idea what was going on, Isabella was the more special of the two I believe. All in all, Eliza was such a strong character, in the beginning she seems like a very innocent girl who doesn't really know a lot about the world, but you see her strength as she deals with the people in town and she tries to unravel the mystery of Gaudlin Hall.

This book kept me up at night, wondering what crazy things would happen next for Eliza and the children. The ending of this book was crazy and I loved what happened, and how you certain things get explained. The one thing about this book that really kept me going was how throughout the story, John Boyne really shows that family is everything, it makes you think sometimes about what you have and that you need to cherish those close to you.

This was a perfect ghost story, and one that will keep you going, you just won't want to put it down. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: The Bear by Claire Cameron

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 11, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A powerfully suspenseful story narrated by a young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a brutal bear attack.

While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of her mother screaming. A rogue black bear, 300 pounds of fury, is attacking the family's campsite, pouncing on her parents as prey.

At her dying mother's faint urging, Anna manages to get her brother into the family's canoe and paddle away. But when the canoe dumps the two children on the edge of the woods, and the sister and brother must battle hunger, the elements, and a dangerous wilderness, we see Anna's heartbreaking love for her family--and her struggle to be brave when nothing in her world seems safe anymore.

Told in the honest, raw voice of five-year-old Anna, this is a riveting story of love, courage, and survival.

My Review:

Oh my, what a book this was. I had such difficulties putting this down, I just wanted the story to keep going. I really believe that Claire Cameron did an amazing job writing this, she had the perfect voice for the narrator. This book is terrifying because it is something that could potentially happen, and as you go on you just want these two children to be okay.

I loved the voice of Anna, in ways it reminded me of ROOM by Emma Donaghue (which is a favourite of mine). Readers can really feel the innocence in the voice and how confusing the situation is for the children because of their age. It was very interesting to see how Anna got through everything, and seeing how she takes care of her little brother (even though she doesn't always like him).

This is such an honest story but because Anna is such a young narrator, she sees everything differently, which is what makes this story so unique. It was heartbreaking to imagine what these two children had to go through, there were so many things that two young children would not understand and would not know how to battle. The weather and the dangers of being in the wilderness, but through it all, Anna's fierce love of her family is what gets her through.

I think this is a strong story for anyone, it's a story that is about heart and doing anything you can to survive the worst situation possible. If a child of this age can survive a situation like this, than what can't we get through in our everyday lives. I want to recommend this book to so many people because I know that it is such a loveable book, and I think that the ending worked well, and really finished the story off perfectly. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: The Kept by James Scott

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 368
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: February 4, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Set in rural New York state at the turn of the twentieth century, superb new talent James Scott makes his literary debut with The Kept—a propulsive novel reminiscent of the works of Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy, and Bonnie Jo Campbell, in which a mother and her young son embark on a quest to avenge a terrible and violent tragedy that has shattered their secluded family.

In the winter of 1897, a trio of killers descends upon an isolated farm in upstate New York. Midwife Elspeth Howell returns home to the carnage: her husband, and four of her children, murdered. Before she can discover her remaining son Caleb, alive and hiding in the kitchen pantry, another shot rings out over the snow-covered valley. Twelve-year-old Caleb must tend to his mother until she recovers enough for them to take to the frozen wilderness in search of the men responsible.

A scorching portrait of a merciless world — of guilt and lost innocence, atonement and retribution, resilience and sacrifice, pregnant obsession and primal adolescence — The Kept introduces an old-beyond-his-years protagonist as indelible and heartbreaking as Mattie Ross of True Grit or Jimmy Blevins of All the Pretty Horses, as well as a shape-shifting mother as enigmatic and mysterious as a character drawn by Russell Banks or Marilynne Robinson.

My Review:

I think this was an amazing debut novel, the story and the characters were intriguing and the way that it is written really makes you think about things. We are quickly introduced to Elspeth as she is returning home to her family, and what she finds is the most disturbing scene anyone could come home to. She finds her family murdered, yet her one son is hiding in the pantry. Elspeth and her son Caleb soon leave their home and look to find revenge on those that have caused this tragedy.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints from Elspeth and Caleb, to be honest I was more interested in Caleb's part of the story. It was interesting to see how this boy had to grow up so quickly and how he took to this. Caleb has been isolated with his family his entire life and this is his first time in a town with so many people. Readers watch as Caleb grows and becomes someone far beyond his age, doing whatever he can to avenge his family, but along the way secrets also come out that make him wonder what he really knows.

Though I was interested in Caleb's portion more, Elspeth's story also gives readers a lot of history sporadically through the story. I did like how Elspeth establishes herself in this town and takes her time in being strategic with who and what she is looking for, but along the way Elspeth runs into quite a few problems that stall her ideas. Most of Elspeth's story is seeing reminders of her past in almost everything that she passes, and it really let's you understand her more.

This story really portrays family in a different way and gives readers two distinct voices in fiction. This book takes some dark turns and gives a portrayal of a dark world, where no one is innocent, no matter what. Reading about the journey and how Caleb and Elspeth's relationship grew and changed really made the story. This is one book that will keep you on the edge trying to figure out everything that is going on and what kinds of secrets can be kept and for how long. This story shows that not everything will stay hidden forever. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 292
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 4, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

George Foss never thought he'd see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack's Tavern. 

When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl's grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece - the one who had committed suicide - was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved - and of the things she may have done to escape her past.

Now, twenty years later, she's back, and she's telling George that he's the only one who can help her...

My Review:

This book sounded different and interesting, and the title definitely had me asking questions. I can say that the book kept me wondering which was good because I wanted to keep reading to see what was going on, yet I felt confused through a lot of the story and it brought my enjoyment down a bit.

The story follows George as he reunites with his university girlfriend. This book is definitely a great mystery, as the narrative tells the story of what happened when George was in university as well as what is happening in the present. I really enjoyed the build up to what happened, and learning about this woman and her back story. At the same time I felt that so much was going on and that I needed to re-read a few parts to figure out what was going on.

George was a bit of an unlikeable character for me, everything that happens to him throughout the book, I partly blame him for actually getting into these situations. He just seemed to take explanations at face value and not really think about what was going on, he just went along with it. I had problems getting through the story and believing that someone would actually go along with some of the things, especially with what George knows about this girl.

After reading this story it made me wonder what people really do to escape their past. This girl has had problems that make her just want to run away, and yet it surprises me to see what she does. The book asks the question, what lengths would you go through to escape your past? The ending of the book left me still wondering, especially about George's state of mind himself. But at the same time the ending really shocked me to think of the conclusion George comes to. In some ways I did enjoy this book, but in others I felt like I had some difficulties getting through it. This is a great book that moves quickly, and I think mystery/thriller lovers will enjoy it, in the end it wasn't completely for me. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert

Publisher: Riverhead (Penguin)
Pages: 464
Received: Received a copy from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 6, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A lush and thrilling romantic fable about two lovers set against the scandalous burlesques, midnight séances, and aerial ballets of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair. 

On the eve of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair, Ferret Skerritt, ventriloquist by trade, con man by birth, isn’t quite sure how it will change him or his city. Omaha still has the marks of a filthy Wild West town, even as it attempts to achieve the grandeur and respectability of nearby Chicago. But when he crosses paths with the beautiful and enigmatic Cecily, his whole purpose shifts and the fair becomes the backdrop to their love affair.

One of a traveling troupe of actors that has descended on the city, Cecily works in the Midway’s Chamber of Horrors, where she loses her head hourly on a guillotine playing Marie Antoinette. And after closing, she rushes off, clinging protectively to a mysterious carpetbag, never giving Ferret a second glance. But a moonlit ride on the swan gondola, a boat on the lagoon of the New White City, changes everything, and the fair’s magic begins to take its effect.

From the critically acclaimed author of The Coffins of Little HopeThe Swan Gondola is a transporting read, reminiscent of Water for Elephants or The Night Circus.

My Review:

I was really surprised by this book, this story kept me so engrossed that I didn't want to put it down. I loved following Ferret as you learn about how he fell in love with the beautiful Cecily, and how his entire life changes. This book felt so magical to me, it is definitely at the top of my list this year. The way the story is written, in a past and present manner, is a great tactic, I loved seeing what Ferret had to deal with after everything.

It was interesting to see the story revolve around a world fair, you can see the history of what State Fairs used to be like back in the day, and how different things are now. Timothy Schaffert has a beautiful description of the world as it was back in time, but the love story is what this book really has going for it. It was so great to watch as Ferret works his charm and tries to win over Cecily.

There are so many great characters that really add to the story, yes Cecily and Ferret are at the heart of the book, but so many of the secondary characters really bring you back. There is the old woman who takes care of Cecily, and loves her in her own way, and than William Wakefield, who really changes the story in a huge way. There are a lot of hurdles for Ferret and Cecily, but their story is magical and you can see how Ferret is not one who gives up easily. I absolutely loved Ferret and how much he does for the people he loves, he is willing to give up so much to take care of Cecily, even after he learns her secrets, he is even more in love with her than.

The book is hard to talk about without giving away some big plot spoilers, but this is such an adorable story. I loved how it felt like real life, that something good happens, but in a way this story does show that nothing is completely perfect. Timothy does such a great job taking readers back in time and showing a story of two people falling in love, and how the relationship goes along over time. This book is just all around beautiful and the theme of the swans is so adorable.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: Shatter Me #3
Pages: 416
Received: Purchased own copy

Release Date: February 4, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew - about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam - was wrong.

My Review:

Tahereh Mafi has taken the world by storm with her Shatter Me series, everything from the writing to the characters is beautiful and I'm sad to see it end. In so many ways this book was the perfect ending, the series has been about Juliette growing and realizing her potential. I think the way the story has progressed since the beginning has been amazing.

I've always loved Tahereh Mafi's skill in writing, the way she taps into Juliette's emotions and lets her readers feel every little thing is amazing, and there is no shortage of that in IGNITE ME. Juliette was at her best in this book, she has learned about her abilities and she is not scared anymore. It's been great to see Juliette's progress from the scared, shy girl in SHATTER ME, to the person she has become in this book, ready to fight to the death if that's what needs to be done.

Each of the characters have changed and grown over the course of the books, and in the last book you learn a lot more about both Adam and Warner and I found that I understood them a lot more. A lot of the story has revolved around Juliette's relationships with Adam and Warner, and as Juliette learns about herself she realizes what has changed in this triangle. Juliette learns that she can love someone and not just because they are there for her.

The best part of this book for me was the relationship between Juliette and Kenji, because how can you not love Kenji. They have grown so much and Kenji is the one person who really treats Juliette with the most respect, he understands her and he loves her just as much as anyone else. Kenji has been my favourite character of all because he fights to keep those he loves together and you can see how much he cares for everyone around him. Even though the series is over, I say let's just have a story dedicated to Kenji!

The one thing that was a little disappointing was that the action that I was expecting wasn't there. Juliette is all ready to bring down the Reestablishment, but the story focused more on Juliette rather than her fight. There is a bit of her training for this big fight, but for me that was a bit of a let down, it was hyped up more than what came out of it. Despite that little hiccup, I still absolutely loved this book, and will always love everything that happened. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: November 12, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Dear Mr. S. Harris, 

Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It's jam, not blood, though I don't think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn't your wife's jam the police found on your shoe. . . . 

I know what it's like. 

Mine wasn't a woman. Mine was a boy. And I killed him exactly three months ago. 

Zoe has an unconventional pen pal--Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two boys, betrayed one of them, and killed the other.

Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe's letters, but at least somebody will know her story--somebody who knows what it's like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart, and work to put her own life back together again.

Rising literary star Annabel Pitcher pens a captivating second novel, rich with her distinctive balance between humor and heart. Annabel explores the themes of first love, guilt, and grief, introducing a character with a witty voice and true emotional resonance.

My Review:

This book is not usually my cup of tea, I don't often do stories that are written in a letter format, but I am slowly enjoying them more and more. This type of story-telling works so well for the book Ketchup Clouds. I really felt that the voice of Zoe was so unconventional and yet it really made her an interesting character. I enjoyed the way that Zoe is able to confess everything to this one person she finds a connection with.

I flew this story, refusing to put it down because I really wanted to come to the mistake and what happened that Zoe believes she killed someone. To be honest I'm disappointed I let this book sit on my shelf for so long, something in this story really spoke to me. The story is told in parts and Zoe intersperses what is going on her life now as well as what brought her to where she is. I love how the letters never get too dark, when they start going in a certain direction, Zoe brings out this sarcasm that makes you chuckle a little bit. The way the story is written is exactly how someone would tell it in person, when it gets too emotional for them they need to stop and take a breather.

The thing about this book that makes it that book that everyone should read is how heartfelt it is. Readers really get into Zoe's mind and how she feels that she makes one mistake that not only drastically changes her own life but that of a family that she comes to know along the way. The difficult part of this story is that because of the way it is written it doesn't have the depth some other books do, you don't really connect with all the characters (at least for me).

At the heart of this book is a love story and it is largely about a love triangle, and this is where I became a bit confused... I can't say that I completely understand the relationship with the one boy that she is in love with. I didn't feel the connection between these two, and that brought my love for the book down a little.

But I do think Annabel has written a beautiful story nonetheless, Zoe is a character who is struggling with a secret and she believes that to overcome her grief she must confess to someone who she connects with and Zoe can see them understanding. It was interesting to read as Zoe connects her story to that of Mr. Harris (the person who is receiving the letters, though there is no response). Zoe understands her mistakes and is trying to atone for them, though she is still young and learning about life. I really do think this story is a great one to curl up with and just spend the day with Zoe and her story.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Series: Avalon #1
Pages: 432
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: January 21, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.

My Review:

I can say that this book caught my attention right from the opening line. This book about a group of teenagers that go around stealing ships is definitely a plot that will keep most anyone's attention, and I think it worked well. Mindee has brought about a story that keeps you guessing about what is happening until the end, and there are some great twists along the way that just keep you reading until you come to the end without even realizing it.

Jeth is an interesting character, he gets through his days doing what he does just so that he can earn back his parents' ship that was lost years ago. At first it took me some time to warm up to his character, he seemed like someone who only cared about one thing, but as the story goes along you see that the people he surrounds himself with mean a lot to him as well. I really felt that many of the secondary characters were essential to the story, but there were also a few that seemed like they had no significance and were just there. I have difficulty sometimes with these characters because I lose track of who they are and what their purpose to the larger picture is (some it just seems are there for a comedic relief). The one character I felt like I wanted more of was Jeth's sister, Lizzie. I feel like she has a lot of potential to be a big part of the story but she fell back into the sidelines in this one (I really hope her story develops more in the next book).

The way Mindee crafted this story is intriguing, you get a lot of snippets from the past of some of the characters to see what brought them to this point. And at the same time so many people in the book are such a huge mystery, just like everything about this planet they find themselves on. I really enjoyed the build up of the story and how everything came together, it felt like a puzzle that I was solving along with Jeth.

I really have to say I am enjoying all these stories that are taking place in space lately, it's a different twist and really gives readers more places to travel to. I definitely think this is a great introduction to the sci-fi genre for teenagers who aren't really sure where to start, but it's also still a great read for those who are just looking for more great science fiction to keep them going. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Publisher: Del Ray (Random House)
Series: Red Rising Trilogy #1
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 28, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...

My Review:

Woah, this book was not at all what I was expecting... I found this book to be intense and very interesting. Darrow is a character that I will follow until the end, he is someone who is scared of really rising and yet he eventually finds his strength and holds to what he believes in. This story is really just the beginning, there is a lot of great world building as Pierce Brown describes the different stations and what they all do.

I will say there were quite a few disturbing scenes along the way of this story as the descriptions of what it means to become a Gold come out. The way the best Golds are picked is scary, as Darrow learns how to act as a Gold he doesn't realize that he is walking into an unknown battle where you never know who is an enemy and who is a friend. What is so great about this book is how action packed it is. There are so many amazing fight scenes that keep you wanting more, the strategic plans the characters come up with as they are going through "war" with one another really show their strengths as well as weaknesses.

Darrow learns so much about the world that he never knew, at first he thought he was part of a group that was preparing Mars for habitation, not realizing that they are being used and the place already is inhabited and they are just slaves. From then on, Darrow decides to be part of a revolution and bring down this group that believes they are better than everyone. He is trained to become one of them and infiltrate the Golds so that he can take this society down from the inside, but he gets himself into a situation he doesn't expect and war breaks out much sooner than anyone would have thought.

Even the secondary characters in this book are wonderful and very fleshed out so that you can't help but want to know more. The interactions between Darrow and the many different students really show the differences and that maybe he is not the only one with a plan for the Golds. Honestly, everything about this book is just so amazing and well done, the story really takes hold of you as a reader and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end, wondering what kind of things will happen next. This is an amazing start to a new science fiction series that I'm scared and excited to see what more can happen. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 28, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My Review:

Oh my love for this book is so high, everything about this book sounded perfect (maybe too perfect), and it all worked out so well. This book was a very interesting take on Beauty and the Beast as well as some Greek mythology added in to the story, it was so engrossing and I just flew through the story needing more of the characters.

Nyx has known her future her entire life, she is destined to marry the evil ruler of her kingdom. She has only been trained to fight and kill him so that she can save the kingdom and everyone that lives there. She resents her father for making this deal and also her sister for being the one who gets to live, she has so much hate in her because of her fate. When she finally meets her husband for the first time their interactions are so intriguing, and they really work together well. Everything about the book was magical, the way that Nyx is so drawn to Ignifex, they are very alike and you can see them falling for one another.

There were things that came up in the story that I could guess at, but I didn't mind because I loved seeing Nyx's attempt to solve this puzzle. Nyx's family seem so horrible and you see that she finds a place that she belongs in this castle, she finds someone like her and the verbal spars these two have throughout the book are adorable and quirky at times.

Rosamund Hodge has an incredible writing style, the writing is like poetry. Every little thing is felt and heard and the characters are so real you can almost imagine them as someone you know. This is a book that is all about the romance, and yet there is true strength in the characters, especially in Nyx, she finally understands love and belonging and must make the most difficult decision of her life.

And the ending of this book, oh my gosh, it was perfect... I am never one who likes endings because obviously it means the story is over, but with everything that happened, the ending fit so perfectly. I recommend this book to everyone I know, and I will be pushing so many people to read it because I want this book to be known to the world for how beautiful it is. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castelluci

Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: February 25, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

My Review:

This book was definitely intriguing, and very different from other stories out there. I really think this story is one that will be remembered for awhile. I found something so compelling about this story that I just continually wanted more, and the biggest disappointment for me was how short it was. I felt that everything just happened so quickly and I would have liked the story to have been developed a little more.

I really loved the writing style of this book, it may sound weird but it felt like each word was chosen carefully to tell this story. Everything seemed to fit together so perfectly and it felt almost melodic. The words Cecile Castelluci wrote in this book really made me feel everything Tula was going through and understanding her rage and need for revenge in any way.

After Tula is left alone on a remote space station, she must learn how to take care of herself and learn the rules of getting by on this planet. I found Tula's perseverance inspiring, no matter what happens she gets herself back up and will fight for what she believes. The relationships she makes while on Yertina Feray also help her along. Heckleck is one of my favourite secondary characters in a book in quite awhile. The way he helps Tula learn how to make deals and get through each day on this isolated place, as the book continues you see how he really cares for her.

Things take a huge turn in the book when other humans crash on to the planet, when Tula gets the chance for interaction with her own kind again she changes not really sure where she is going, but still intent on revenge. The great thing about this book is that romance is not a huge factor in the story, it comes up every now and again but it doesn't overtake the story.

It took me some time to really gather my thoughts after reading this book because I wasn't sure how I felt, but the more I thought about it the more I did see how much I enjoyed the story. I don't see this book being one for everyone, but I suggest giving it a chance, there is a lot of beautiful things happening in this book, and Tula is a character to look up to. 


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