Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

81iFWnYVpTLTitle: The Raven Boys
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Paranormal/ Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 409
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 sugar cubes
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. Continue reading

DNF Review: The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

The Weight of SoulsTitle: The Weight of Souls
Series: Standalone
Author: Bryony Pearce
Publisher: Strange Chemistry (now defunct)
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: ARC
Pages: 318
Source: Publisher
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Rating: 0 Sugar Cubes (DNF)
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Summary: 16 year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her… She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy. Continue reading

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

SJMaas - Throne of Glass PB Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 404
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 sugar cubes!
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Summary:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Continue reading

Vampire Week: Review: Blue Bloods

Vampire Week is an event hosted here at T3 to celebrate the release of Holly Black’s
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Click the banner for more information.

Today for Vampire Week I actually give you a re-post of an old review. Blue Bloods was the very first review on T3, and it’s also the start to one of my favorite book series, so it was only fitting that I talk about it. Why re-post? Well, I thought about reviewing the 2nd book in the series for Vamp Week, but decided against it because I really wanted to stick with a 1st book VW review, for people who had never read.

Title: Blue Bloods
Series: Blue Bloods #1
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney*Hyperion
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Pages: 302
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: 2 cubes of sugar
 
Summary: Schuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she’s starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it.


Schuyler wants to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger? Melissa de la Cruz’s vampire mythology, set against the glitzy backdrop of New York City, is a juicy and intoxicating read. 

(Taken from Goodreads)

Post-“taste” Review: 
Absolutely loved! A very different take on vampires unlike everything else I’ve read, and it was beautiful. A must-read for vampire fans.

Review: This was my third time reading Blue Boods, and I still enjoyed it as immensely as I did the 1st time around. De la Cruz offered a very lyrical and in-depth 3rd person POV of the glamorous (and not-so-glamorous) lives of New York’s teenaged vampire elite. 

Something I loved, though at times felt was unnecessary, was being told what brand the important characters were wearing. Most of the time I don’t really care what brand characters are wearing—any characters in any book—but because these characters are New York elite, they are supposed to be fashionable, and how better to get that across than to include top name designers in your descriptions.

I love the mythology of the whole story, and how all the committees work to keep the Blue Blood identity a secret. I absolutely loved where the book ended, with Sky discovering part of the Van Alen legacy, and deciding what she needed to do, even in the midst of tragedy. 

Today’s other Vampire Week post:
Amanda’s Top 9 favorite vampires, from books and TV

See you tomorrow!

Vampire Week: Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Vampire Week is an event hosted here at T3 to celebrate the release of Holly Black’s
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Click the banner for more information.

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Series: Standalone
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pages: 419
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/BEA
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Rating: 5 cubes of sugar! All the cubes of sugar!
Buy: IndieBoundThe Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Summary:
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
(Taken from Goodreads)

Post-“taste” Review:
This is the vampire book I didn’t know I wanted. Loved everything about it, and Holly’s writing was exquisite. A must-read for vampire fans and non-fans alike.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest opinion. I was in no way paid for my review.*
Review: 
**Minor spoilers, but only for the first 4-5 chapters, which you can download as a free eBook from any retailer.**

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown starts off with the main character, Tana, waking up in a bathtub after a party. She goes into the living room, and finds the ravaged bodies of the other partygoers. Then she goes to find her shoes and phone, but discovers her ex-boyfriend tied to a bed, with a vampire chained at the foot instead. That’s the first chapter. That’s when I got sucked in. I know, it doesn’t seem like enough, but Holly’s descriptions and word choice made everything flow so nicely, I kept turning pages.

The rest of the book flowed just as well as the first chapter, even though the main storyline was broken up every so often by flashbacks Tana had of her mother (background: Tana’s mother was infected when Tana was 10, and made it 37 days before Tana unlocked the door. She then attacked Tana in bloodlust, and was killed by her husband before she could do any real damage.) or other POVs. In fact, the flashbacks and POV changes enhanced the plot, as they should. I especially liked Gavriel’s POV (the vampire chained to the bed), because while it was infrequent enough to keep much of him still a mystery, it did shed some light on an otherwise shadowy character.

The ending was superb! And the outcome at the end of the “final battle” was quite unexpected. I can’t go into more detail without spoiling, so I’m going to leave it at that. I loved how all throughout the novel you could see that Coldtown was inspired by the short story of the same name, especially the very end. Reading those last 2-3 pages made my little fangirl heart go “YESSSSS!” Holly is quite an amazing storyteller, and I think this is my favorite of her novels, and most definitely one of my favorite vampire novels.

Today’s other Vampire Week posts:
A spotlight on Holly Black’s book tour for Coldtown
A “would you like to live an a cold town?” poll

See you tomorrow for more vampy fun!

Review: The Year of the Great Seventh (DNF)

Title: The Year of the Great Seventh
Author: Teresa Orts
Publisher: Drayton Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Rating: 0 cubes of sugar (DNF)
Release Date: July 6, 2013
Purchase: Amazon Indiebound

Summary: 
Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school’s heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Post-“taste” Review: 
Did not finish. Really difficult to get into, even at almost halfway through the book. Apparently the end gets better? The characters drove me nuts.


Review: 
I had really hoped I could get into this one, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I literally had to put the book down several times and think “What did I just read??” and I only managed to read less than half the book.

Characters are obviously a huge part of books and I just couldn’t relate these characters. From the beginning they just rubbed me the wrong way. The main character, Sophie, is supposed to be the “brainy” one of her group of actress friends. I say brainy because she talks about being a history buff, but I never saw that come into play. She’s supposed to be worrying about her future and applying to colleges, instead she gets embroiled in this awkward “relationship” with a guy she’s only ever admired from afar.

It was so rushed, she goes from “oh, he’s really cute” to “omgwhydoesn’thelikeme??!?” In a very short amount of time. When she gets groped at a party Nate, aforementioned GQ model-esque love interest, flies off the handle (why??) and beats the living snot out of the guy. This is apparently grounds for getting all moony and worried over him and Sophie repeatedly tries to talk to him about it. When she does finally get him to talk he essentially tells her she’s weird and they shouldn’t be seen together. Ever. Que downward spiral into depression. There’s even a point here where she waxes poetic about how she didn’t realize how motivational seeing him at school was for getting up in the morning. Girl! Geez Louise! You’ve talked to him for maybe a total of 20 minutes, this reaction is rather dramatic. They have one of run-in with each other at the movies that ends with him smashing a car window with his arm. So the obvious thing to do is to give the guy with anger issues and elbows of steel a ride home, right? Right. I felt like Sophie spent a lot of time trying to fabricate a relationship with Nate, grasping at air for any way to be around him. Way too desperate.

I can’t say much abut the settings as, appart from Nate’s house, there was little description that my mind could create from.

I’m still tring to figure out why this book has such high ratings on Goodreads. I’m truly baffled. I’m usually pretty forgiving when it comes to errors and quick fixes in books, but this one had my fingers itching for my red pen. Maybe I’ll trying picking it up again later, apparently the second half of the book is where it picks up, but I’m so unsatisfied with the beginning that it may be a hard sell.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way paid for my opinions.*

Review: The Goddess Test

Title: The Goddess Test
Series: Goddess Test #1
Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 cubes of sugar!
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary:
EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.
NOW IT’S KATE’S TURN.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom–and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld–and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy–until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.
IF SHE FAILS…
(Taken from Goodreads)

Review:
An engaging, interesting, and wholly entertaining new take on Greek Mythology. The Goddess Test is a book I can’t believe I haven’t read before now! Aimée Carter did an excellent job of keeping me guessing, I honestly didn’t expect any of the twists, and boy where they good ones!

The characters were all interesting and very well developed. I found Kate to be a great narrator, despite her rather depressing situation over the last four years of her life. She’s strong and tries to keep a somewhat hopeful outlook on things. Henry, I just wanted to pat the poor boy on his darling head. “Dark and tortured” is an apt description for him and everything that happened in his past with Persephone (if you know Greek Myths this isn’t a spoiler) just had me rooting for him to get together with Kate even more. He was moody and mysterious, but who doesn’t like moody, mysterious guys?!

James, though he’s not around much, was one of my other favorite characters and Ava…well, I found her annoying for most of the book but I find most characters with her personality annoying (don’t worry, she gets better in the end). She’s a really good friend to Kate and for me that was her redeeming quality.

The story itself covers a little over six months and in that time there are quite a few lulls where routine sets in. These lulls were handled well, in terms of writing, and you never get bored. You get just enough information to keep you reading while not giving away too much. That ending! And the council! I didn’t see that one coming! (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it)

Overall it was a great read that I couldn’t put down (literally) and an interesting modern twist on ancient Greek myths. Definitely pick this one up!