Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Alliance by Mark Frost

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: The Paladin Prophecy #2
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: January 7, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Readers of I Am Number Four, The Maze Runner, and Legend will love this sophisticated adventure series by the co-creator of the groundbreaking television show Twin Peaks, with its unique combination of mystery, heart-pounding action, and the supernatural.

After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights' shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what's going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight.

My Review:

I remember reading The Paladin Prophecy and really enjoying the story, Mark Frost had created such an intriguing story with so many twists that no matter how long it was it was difficult to put down. I'm disappointed to say that the second book in the series feels completely different. I believe part of my issue was that it has been awhile since I read the first book and I couldn't completely remember everything that happened, and this book didn't help refresh my memory too much, there were little snippets of the characters quickly mentioning something that happened, but I felt a little more confused.

The pacing in this book is also completely different from the first one. I felt like things went through a lot faster (this was a shorter book), and I found myself confused at times as to what was happening with the characters. I think where the first book described too much, this book didn't have enough description in places, making it seem like a different story.

I also couldn't find myself connecting with the characters in this book, they felt immature and over the top during some of the most stressful scenes. There is one character who makes jokes all the time, and it seems like the only reason he is there is to be a comedic relief but he just seems stupid to me with some of the things he says. The one thing that really left me reeling was the ending, I'm not sure exactly how I feel. It definitely left me shocked and intrigued, I`m just not sure if it's enough for me to come back to this series.

I will say that some of the history of The Paladin Prophecy interested me and kept me going through this book, but all in all I just think that this fell below the mark for me compared to the first book, I wanted more mystery and intrigue like I had really enjoyed from the first one. This book does add to the story in ways but it also is a different story at the same time. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Endless by Jessica Shrivington

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Series: The Violet Eden Chronicles #4
Pages: 470
Received: Received a copy from Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 1, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:


Violet Eden thought she was getting things under control. Then all hell breaks loose--literally. In the war between angels and exiles, she's about to face the biggest baddie of all time. Except she's not nearly ready.

The dark exile Phoenix is still messing with her head--not to mention her heart. And her undeniable attraction to Lincoln has gotten downright dangerous. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing she will face...


This series is one of my favourites (I probably say that in all my reviews, because it is so true). I honestly don't know how to write reviews for these books without saying the same thing, about how amazing Jessica Shrivington has done with this story. So much comes to head with this book, and it made me crazy watching as things begin to unravel.

After the ending of Emblaze, everyone is on high alert with Lilith being released from the underworld. What can I say about this book, that probably hasn't already been said about this series. I love how Violet has grown over the course of the books and really come to tackle just about everything that is thrown at her, and at the end of the last book the biggest thing was thrown at her. Her mother has now come back... This on top of everything else that Violet must deal with would really kill anyone else, but despite all the issues I think Violet handles things well.

The one thing that slightly gets on my nerves is the back and forth between Violet and Lincoln. I just wanted them to make a decision regarding their position as soul mates, and it kills me to see them loving each other and yet also staying away, it just always seems like they can't make up their mind. I think this book was especially difficult for the relationship of these two.

Violet must come to terms with how her choices have affected her and those she loves, and now she has to make the biggest decision of her life to help save everyone around her. This book was the most difficult for me to get through of this series because of all the emotions. I really felt what Violet was going through and how hard any decision she made would be because of the consequences. The last few chapters really took me by surprise, realizing how some of these characters evolved and everything that had to happen for Violet to do what she needed to.

I can say I am very happy that there is another book coming out after this one, because the ending was disappointing for me and actually made me want to throw the book across the room. After everything that happens, the decisions that Violet makes (as much as I can understand) really made me emotional. Violet learns so much about herself in this book that things are difficult for her. I'm excited to see how Jessica Shrivington adds to this series, I'm not ready to say good-bye to any of these characters, they are too real for me now. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 380
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: January 7, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 689 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

My Review:

Well this book completely deviated from where I thought it was going. I think the cover is an amazing fit for this book, the sweater with the moose on it makes you think the book is all cute and fun but then there is that one odd moose. Kathleen Hale's writing is interesting and I think the weird way that Kippy thinks really worked well, I loved the narration.

I always love books with a small town setting, it's the place I have always dreamed of living in since watching Gilmroe Girls. I adore the idea of living somewhere that everyone knows everyone else, it seems so charming. But the town of Friendship, WI quickly loses it's charm when a girl is found murdered (in quite a gruesome way I may add). The story revolves around Ruth's best friend trying to find the murderer.

This story takes some time to get used to the interactions between the characters, because of how awkward Kippy seems to be, but the story just sucked me right in that I wanted to know more about what was happening. The people of the town all have their own agendas and it's weird to see how the death of one girl affects everyone differently, and how the town takes to solving the mystery. Everyone just wants the town to go back to normal and have everything be safe and friendly, where the police drive around in cars with smiley faces on them (because that's not weird... right?)

I think the mystery was so well done and I was taken by surprise quite a few times along the way, especially as you learn more about Kippy herself. What is really interesting about this book is the way that grief is handled. There are many different people that must deal with losing someone close to them, and they all handle it differently, it was a great part of a creepy mystery story. I am very happy that I ended up checking this book out, it was so much more than I was expecting, a great start to the new year. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Pages: 560
Received: Received an ecopy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 4, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Review:

A new year means a new book from Marissa Meyer, it's always so exciting to continue on with this series, and I am dreading the ending after spending so much amazing time in this world. Everything about this series just keeps getting better and more interesting. I don't know if my love for Marissa's writing can grow anymore and yet I find myself falling in love more and more with Cinder's story.

In this book we are introduced to Cress, a girl who has been trapped on a satellite and is an expert hacker. The only company she has is her computer. I really loved Cress, she was such an interesting character and she brings some new revelations to the story. Cress is such a great character, she is smart and she is so loveable, her interactions with the old characters is perfect and she fits in so well. I really enjoyed her storyline in comparison to the bigger picture of this series.

As we come closer to the wedding of Queen Levana and Emperor Kai, Cinder and her team are running out of time to help and they must put together a plan to stop, but they have become separated from one another. Everything starts coming together in this book and there is that much more action as we come closer to the big battle between good and evil.

We get to see more scenes of Kai which is amazing, I felt that his scenes give readers a different view. You really get to see how he is handling this position and how he really feels about everything that is happening. He tries to be strong because he wants to protect his empire. And there are some interesting revelations to Kai about Cinder, and you get to see how he reacts and how he really feels about her.

The reviews for this series get harder and harder to write because I don't want to give away the story, and yet I just want to tell everyone to go out and read all of these books! The story gets more intriguing and the way this book ends leaves me needing WINTER. Honestly this is one of the greatest series I have read in awhile, and every one of these books belongs on a special shelf. Everyone must read these books!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Wonder by Dominique Fortier

Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
Pages: 304
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 7, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

An enthralling shell-game of a novel, in which past and present speak to each other to create a brilliant whole from three distinct parts, and merits comparison to the likes of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda.

On May 8, 1902, the entire city of Saint Pierre, Martinique - "the Paris of the Caribbean" - was destroyed when Mount Pelée erupted. Except for one man: Baptiste Cyparis had been in a dungeon-like prison cell that morning. When he emerged, it was as if to the end of the world. Eventually, he would be known as The Man who Survived Doomsday, and become the first black man to star in Barnum & Bailey's circus. In those same years, on the other side of the Atlantic, an English mathematician and his beloved, a musician, seek to explain the hidden rules that govern the movements of the earth, and discover "Love waves."

A century later in contemporary Montreal, two strangers come to know each other in a garden seeded with trees and crosses on the side of the mountain, witnessed only by a large dog and the pulsing city that surrounds them.

Her second novel richly displays Dominique Fortier's extraordinary literary skill, wit, and poetry, her ability to weave disparate threads into a golden tapestry that surprises, delights, and begs to be re-read the moment the final page is turned. 

My Review:

This book was really intriguing to me, I really loved the way it was written and how these three stories speak to each other. I went in not knowing what to expect from this book and I came out really thinking about everything that happened. I actually read through some of it, and then went back to re-read it because I really felt like I needed to let things sink in more. This is a story that really needs your attention, it's not something that you can just glance over while doing something else, and I love that it took all my attention, those are the best types of books.

The writing of this book captures the reader, it's beautiful and very emotional. I found myself becoming very invested in the stories, and I was sad to see each of them end, yet the story still continued on in the next story in a different way. Each of the characters are all affected by their surroundings in such strong ways. First there is Baptiste, the only man left alive after a volcano erupted. The story of his life after is absolutely amazing, watching as he deals with this heavy burden of being a lone survivor, being different from everyone and is put on display for a circus.

At the same time in a different place, you have these two people who are special and are interested in the hidden parts of the world. I especially loved their view on the world and how they saw things differently from everyone else around them. They take every little thing in and listen to the things around them, they are hyperaware of their surroundings and it helps them seek out answers to the world.

In all three of these stories the earth itself is a huge character, that as you read along you feel like you are learning more about. The relationships in all the stories are also a big part of each of the stories, my favourite by far is the last story, reading how these two strangers meet and learn about each other is amazing. Their interactions are so sweet and innocent.

This is a book that I believe the more times you read it the more you will find new and interesting things in the story. It is one that is meant to be re-read quite a few times, the writing is beautiful and will definitely draw your attention. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: The Darkest Minds #2
Pages: 507
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: October 15, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

My Review:

Okay, okay, I have to admit, the first book in this series didn't completely hook me, I had my issues and I didn't love it, but I'm so glad I continued on with this series. This book adds so much to the series and is definitely an amazing sequel, it made me love the series so much more!

I fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Ruby. I really think you see a lot more of her strengths in this book and how much she cares for people. I really felt that Ruby grew a lot over this book compared to what she was like in the first book, she learns so much more about her powers and a way to control it. But at the same time she is still very vulnerable and I find that really powers her throughout this story.

The secondary characters are just as amazing too, they help Ruby through so many things, and there are those that really show their true colors by the end of the book and you just can't help but want more. There are many new characters as well as characters from book 1 that make an appearance. Vida was one of my favourite secondary characters, she has this attitude to her that makes you love her, and when you learn more about her it's hard not to understand why she acts the way she does.

Alexandra Bracken takes such a great turn to the world she introduced readers to in The Darkest Minds. This is a world that changes every day and is so dangerous for anyone out there. So much happens that you don't expect and you won't be able to stop reading this story. I really felt that this book took me on more of an adventure than the first one did, and after the ending, I'm so intrigued and scared to see how things will end. This is definitely a sequel worth reading and will have you eagerly awaiting the final book. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pages: 382
Received: Received a copy from Historical Fiction Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 13, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan's New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm--an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi's old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo's prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi's journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.

My Review:

I feel like lately I have been on a historical fiction kick, but a good one where the books are all different, I can say this book definitely fits into the different category. This novel spans many years and is told from many different perspectives as readers see how the war affected people all over, from both sides. But over the course of the novel we are shown how all these different people from all over the world can come together to affect one person over many years.

The story is very interesting but I found myself confused at times because of the way the book jumps around from character to character. I feel like the author tried to do too much in a short amount of pages, and at times the story was difficult to follow. I think the story could have been a little longer to give readers more time to get to know some more of the characters, with so many different people it is hard to really grasp their personalities, Yoshi is really the only one who you get to see the most of as she grows up.

I'm a little unsure of my final thoughts on this book because I felt like there was a lot of jumping around from one place to the next and one time to another. There are a lot of flashbacks to things happening to help you understand some of the characters but I felt like at times it wasn't always enough to really connect with all of them. I want to be able to connect with characters and I think this book had too many people to follow through with.

What I did really love about this book was all the connections that Jennifer Cody Epstein makes with her story. She uses this book to show how one little thing can affect so many people, and that the world is a small place where one person can be connected to another without even realizing it. In many ways this was an interesting story but it didn't catch my attention as much as I hoped it would, there was just a little something missing, but I did enjoy many parts of it. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: The Wind is Not A River by Brian Payton

Publisher: Ecco
Pages: 320
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 7, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife-separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil-fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands.

Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, after an argument they both regret, he heads north from Seattle to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.

While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the Birthplace of Winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.

Alone in their home three thousand miles to the south, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is-and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.

A powerful, richly atmospheric story of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.

My Review:

Well, what a story this was, bringing me to a time period where there is a lot written about and yet at the same time a part of this war that is relatively unknown (at least to me). What I really liked was that this was a story about someone who is working to reveal what is really happening during the war instead of someone fighting in it. There is so much power in Brian Payton's writing that makes you want to stay with these characters he has created.

I absolutely loved the chapters showing Helen dealing with the loss of her husband and her commitment to finding out anything she can about where he is and how he is doing. The chapters from Helen's point of view are so amazing, it's hard to believe someone would go through the things she did for one person. It really makes you believe in love and sacrifice for that one person, and she is such an inspirational character for me.

Not only is Helen's story inspirational though, so is John's, he is an ordinary guy that has been thrust into the most extraordinary situation. His story is all about going out into the most dangerous place to show the public what is actually happening and trying to expose the truth, instead of letting the government hide the grittiest details. I loved John's journey and was surprised at everything he learned, but even what Helen learned on her journey of finding John.

This was more than just a book about war, it is really about how strong love can be, despite being far apart with no way to contact one another, these two get through believing in the other and remembering their love. This is a very powerful and emotional story that will make all readers want to find a love worth fighting for like Helen and John's. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Publisher: Viking Adult
Pages: 512
Received: Received an ecopy from the publisher through Netgalley/Edelweiss

Release Date: October 1, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.

In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.

My Review:

I believe that Elizabeth Gilbert has a great writing style, she really gets into the mind of her characters and readers get to see that person grow. In this book, you follow people in the Whittaker family, mainly Henry and his daughter Alma. I really loved Alma's story and her growth over the book, she was an interesting character with such an amazing mind.

This is a long book and I will say that it took me quite a bit of time to get through it but there is so much information and the book chronicles such a large span of years. Alma loses herself in her research, she has learned so much from her parents and has a very scientific view of the world, she is intrigued by everything around her and continually wants to study nature.

Alma eventually falls in love with a man, Ambrose, who is so different from what she is used to and yet she is so intrigued by this man. I really loved the relationship between Ambrose and Alma is described beautifully, both of these characters have such a unique view of the world and it is their minds that bring these two together. Alma learns a lot from Ambrose about love and life, even though at times she may be disappointed with what she finds. The connection that Elizabeth Gilbert writes for these two is a connection that many dream of. Alma and Ambrose have such a spiritual connection that is so beautiful.

This book goes all over the world during some of the most difficult times, great locations that are filled with many interesting characters that really help Alma along over the years. The things Alma learns along the way is really history in the making, a lot of interesting ideas pertaining to human nature. There is also the undertone of science and religion becoming at odds with one another in this book, Elizabeth Gilbert took a very interesting topic to many people and created so many lives around it. But the characters are really what made the book, I have always loved characters that question everything and that is exactly who Alma was. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


I know I'm a bit late in the game with this one but I am wishing you all a very Happy New Year. I'm getting myself back into the swing of things and am trying to catch up on a lot of reviews and reading. Hopefully this new year will be a great new start for me.

I've been falling behind lately with so much going on in my life. I'm just going to keep at my own pace and hopefully I will get back to where I was before. I've slowed things down a bit for myself because of some stress and some other projects on the go, but I definitely don't want to completely disappear. My new years resolution is just to keep working at it as best as I can but not to let blogging take over my life.


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