Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 328
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: January 13, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My Review:

This book was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, and I finished it in no time, it was a fun read and one that was hard to put down. The town of Fairfold definitely has a dark secret and readers are taken into a world where fairies exist along with humans, but everyone is careful not to disturb the fae world.

Holly Black created a great fantasy world in this story, but her characters are what really make this story as good as it is. Hazel grew up telling stories with her brother of being a knight and a bard, and that they are both destined to fight evil together. Included in these stories is a mysterious boy who lays in the center of town sleeping. No one knows anything about him and yet they all dream about him, but Hazel and Ben are the two who are truly in love with him, he was always the center of their stories. Once this mysterious boy wakes up, the story truly starts and things in the town of Fairfold begin to get interesting.

I truly enjoyed how Hazel is trying to piece together what has happened, Hazel wants to remember the stories of fighting monsters because she believes that she has finally been called to action to save her town. What had me continuing in this book was the mystery revolving Hazel, there is a lot that she isn't remembering and I wanted to figure out what was happening to her. Holly Black adds so much to this story and she makes a splash in such a short amount of time, people in this book are continually shifting from one side to another and it is almost impossible to tell who is really evil.

Hazel is an amazing character to follow, she has her insecurities and she is most definitely not the perfect person. Yet, Hazel has a strength that readers must admire, she fights for what she believes in, and yet you can see that she is scared of the unknown as well. She is also one to admire as you find out more about her past and the bond her and her brother, Ben share with one another. Hazel wants everyone else around her to be happy, and that is someone I can relate with in some ways.

What I also loved was the romance, Black adds in a lot of romance to the story, and yet you can't help but root for what Holly sets up for readers. Some of the secondary characters were also amazing, especially Ben's best friend, Jack. He is really a fae but was adopted by the human family, so he is someone trying to live a normal life even though he is different. His friendship with Ben and Hazel is adorable and he truly plays such a big part in the story.

If you are a fan of fairy tales, this story will definitely be perfect for you. It has a mix of contemporary with the magic added in, and the characters will keep you amused for hours on end.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: Seeker #1
Pages: 448
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Buy From / Buy From

Goodreads Synopsis:

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.

My Review:

Wow, this book was truly one of a kind for me, there is so much that happens that it is hard to describe the story, though I will do my best. This was such an action packed book with a lot of world building to really bring readers into everything that is happening.

Quin is taught to believe one thing about her destiny to be a "Seeker", it is a noble position that she works hard to get to, but when she finally passes her tests and becomes one, she learns that not everything is what it may seem to be. I loved following the character of Quin, she has a way about herself that draws the readers into her story, she is someone with a lot of morals and thinks that she has taken on a great job to find out that her whole life has been a lie.

I will say that normally I do not like a book that has so many perspectives, but the way that Arwen Elys Dayton had these different voices coming through really worked for this story. Quin was raised with two other boys, John and Shinobu, both who are very close with her but John is sent back, and slowly we learn more about his past and why he is so intent on becoming a "Seeker". Dayton keeps a lot of things from readers and slowly reveals everything as the story continues, and I believe that the second book Traveler will reveal a lot more of the story.

Though one of the characters is the "evil" one, at the same time I was kind of rooting for him to get what he wanted, especially when I understood his story a little more. Readers find out a lot of the story along with Quin after she has lost her memory and as it slowly comes back that is when the story becomes very interesting. I can truly say that though the beginning of this story may be slow going, you will find yourself immersed and rooting for some unlikely characters.

I want to see how Dayton will continue the story after everything ended, a great book for fans of science fiction/fantasy novels. Dayton knows how to slowly bring readers into the story and then just turn everything around and have the story go in a direction that will surprise you and keep you wanting more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Little White Lies by Katie Dale

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 384
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: December 9, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger? And what if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident at all...?

My Review:

What happened in this book was not something I expected at all, I wasn't thinking that I was going into such a dark book, but it definitely takes that turn. The book opens up with no background story, readers are just thrown into Lou's life as she is looking to meet this cute guy she ran into at school, and from there the story moves forward as Lou life and background slowly unravel for readers.

This book is truly hard to describe because so much happens that I don't want to give away any pieces, but to say that this book surprised me in a good way is definitely an understatement. It took me some time to get into the book, but I found myself immersed in Lou's life and figuring out what happened to get her to where she is. There are a lot of secrets hiding in this book, and as they slowly unravel you wonder how anyone could become like this.

Everything about this book is one big secret after another, Dale brings up the question over and over again, can we really trust anyone in our lives? I think that the tagline for this book is absolutely perfect, who can you trust when you are living a lie yourself? This book is one that will be quick to get through because you will want to keep going to find out what both Lou and Christian are hiding from one another and why these two had the chance encounter bringing them together.

Lou seems to have lost a lot in her life, and she is looking for some stability and to get away where no one knows what she has gone through. Christian has the same thing, he has a dark past to hide and no matter what Lou intends to find out what he is hiding. As events unraveled I couldn't tell who to trust and who I wanted to come out in the end.

All I can say is if you like a book with a lot of scheming behind it, and where you are continually guessing about what is going on around you, then this is a book that you should check out. This is a great suspense-filled book for teens.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Review: The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 320
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: February 10, 2015
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Goodreads Synopsis:

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

My Review:

This was a hard book for me to get through, I don't think it ended up really being for me. The story seemed to jump around a lot between the two different groups looking for Eterna and I had a hard time following where everything was going. I do believe that there were a lot of great elements, but I think that I picked up this book at a time that it just couldn't keep my attention.

Everyone is after the Eterna Compound, an item that will grant immortality, but the laboratory and everyone that was a part of the group that was hired to develop the product was destroyed, though many people still believe that something or someone was able to make it through. I thought that Leanna Renee Hieber had a great idea but her execution was a little off. There are two journeys, that of Rose Everhart, from England and that of Clara Templeton, who was part of the beginning of the project and the story moves between their two stories and how Eterna is affecting them both. I think a large part of the book is that the voices of Clara and Rose are not all that different and my mind became strained to figure out which was which. Their personalities had some differences to help but they were too similar of people to be able to tell both their stories intertwined.

There is a lot of conspiracy theories and the idea that there is more to the world that can be seen with the eye, and I really enjoyed that aspect. Clara is aided throughout the story by the ghost of her beloved, and they are both trying to keep the Eterna Compound away from the British Government. Whereas Rose is more on the scientific rather than spiritual plane of things.

This book just took too long and seemed a little all over the place for my liking, I felt that for two people who were after the same thing, their stories should have intersected sooner. I also felt that along the way a lot of ideas are rehashed and continually told over again. I really wanted to like this book, but it just ended up not being the one for me. 


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