Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

The Mermaid's Sister

Title: The Mermaid's Sister
Author: Carrie Anne Noble
Publisher:  Skyscape
Release Date: March 1, 2015

There is no cure for being who you truly are...

In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions. By night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphan infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.

One day, Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin. She realizes that Maren is becoming a mermaid—and knows that no mermaid can survive on land. Desperate to save her, Clara and O’Neill place the mermaid-girl in their gypsy wagon and set out for the sea. But no road is straight, and the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening mermaid.

And always, in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?

As one of my free ebooks from my amazon prime membership, I thought this book looked absolutely adorable.  And I was not disappointed.  Carrie Anne Noble's debut novel is a wonderful fantasy set in the real world with magic and faeries, wyverns and dragons, and obviously enough, mermaids.

The Mermaid's Sister started out a little bit slow, mostly going through Maren's transition into a mermaid.  But eventually the adventure and love story began.  I soon found myself disliking Maren, finding her selfish and conceited.  And I suppose that was how it was was meant.  Poor Clara.  Forgotten and not a beautiful mermaid.  I just absolutely loved Clara.  She was everything a strong female character should be: charming, real, flawed, honest, and selfless.

There were times when I thought the magic in this world always seemed a bit too happy.  For example: faeries are wonderful, mermaids are wonderful, a pet wyvern, the possibility of turning into a stork and flying away.  But soon it is learned by Clara that there is a much darker side to magic in the world.  Mermaids aren't all they seem.  Faeries can be nice and they always tell the truth, but there could be a lie hidden in the truth.  And there are also dark faeries and evil people in the world.

This was a wonderful read and would be perfect for younger readers who are just getting interested in reading.

So what did I think? I think this book was absolutely adorable.  I loved it for a younger reader and I would probably read it again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (1) The Wrath and the Dawn

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: RenĂ©e Ahdieh
Pages: 416
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Ok so I am totally one for love stories.  And I love weird.  This seems like a good, twisted mash-up of the two.  I can't wait.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: June 17, 2014

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Ruin and Rising is the thrilling final installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

This series was certainly an interesting read.  I truly enjoyed over the three books seeing more of the fantastical world Bardugo created.  And seeing Alina grow into her role as the Sun Summoner.  I did have a few issues with the entire series from the start.

First off, from the very first book I did not like Mal.  If he were Alina's true love he would have noticed her before she disappeared from his life.  Second, my favorite character in all of these books was the Darkling.  Okay, yes sometimes I do love a bad boy.  But he was supposed to be the villain.  Am I supposed to hate him?  Am I supposed to love him?  I found myself wanting him to win...

All that aside, the other main issue I had with this book was the ending.  Mainly because of the characters.  So, Christina's perfect ending for this book goes: Alina realizes Mal will never understand her and dumps him.  She goes back to the Darkling and convinces him to abdicate his power to the Grisha to rule themselves.  They balance each other with their powers of light and dark.  They cannot destroy the fold, but they can keep it in check for centuries to come.  The End.  

I am cheesy, yes?  Well, wishing gets you nothing so I won't say I wish that was the ending.

What I did like particularly about this book was the intricate backstory of the Darkling, his mother, and finally of Mal.  I also really enjoyed how Zoya became a true ally.  

What did I think? Well, the world building was completed and definitely beautiful.  But some parts of the story didn't completely make sense, or just didn't seem to have a reason to be there.  And I don't agree with the ending Bardugo chose (even though it wasn't a terrible one).  I enjoyed the book a good amount.  Recommended to fantasy fans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday in an Original meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Today my theme is:.....

Top 10 Books That Made Me Cry

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
I don't really even like this book. But I loved the rest of the series and so when Roth decided to kill off the main character in the worst way possible, I was sick for two days. 

Where the Red Fern Grows
I read this in the 6th grade.  I just remember sitting there and crying for hours.  So sad.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)
I was so upset when Prim died.  I can even overlook the dull ending.

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
For a book about death, I sure was surprise at how much this one affected me.

The Fault in Our Stars
Like If I Stay, a book about death. Also I knew how this ended.  So why was I so upset when it happened??

Champion (Legend, #3)
I cried tears of joy and sadness.  So happy with Eden found and so sad when June decided to leave Day.  The epilogue truly made up for it all.

In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3)
Minor character turned major character bites the dust.  It happens.

Before I Fall
By the end of this book I found myself wishing that things weren't what they seemed and there was a way for Sam to live.  I guess I was hopelessly wrong.

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
The sequel to If I Stay, I cried almost through the entire novel.  I felt so bad for Adam.

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)
This gets the number one spot simply because Pearson made me cry over the loss of a minor character we had met... once?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: Marked by Sarah Fine

Title: Marked
Author: Sarah Fine
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: January 1, 2015

In a broken landscape carved by environmental collapse, Boston paramedic Cacia Ferry risks life and limb on the front lines of a fragile and dangerous city. What most don’t know—including her sexy new partner, Eli Margolis—is that while Cacy works to save lives, she has another job ferrying the dead to the Afterlife. Once humans are “Marked” by Fate, the powerful Ferrys are called to escort the vulnerable souls to either eternal bliss or unending fire and pain.

Unaware of Cacy’s other life, Eli finds himself as mesmerized by his fierce and beautiful partner as he is mistrustful of the influential Ferry clan led by the Charon—who happens to be Cacy’s father. Cacy, in turn, can no longer deny her intense attraction to the mysterious ex-Ranger with a haunted past. But just as their relationship heats up, an apparent hit takes the Charon before his time. Shaken to the core, Cacy pursues the rogue element who has seized the reins of Fate, only to discover that Eli has a devastating secret of his own. Not knowing whom to trust, what will Cacy have to sacrifice to protect Eli—and to make sure humanity’s future is secure?

This was an interesting start to Sarah fine's Servants of Fate series.  First off, I really only read this book because it was a free pre-release with amazon prime.  But pretty instantly I got engrossed in the story and couldn't put it down.  This book is not YA.  Not in the slightest.  But here we go anyway.

 So let me start with what I liked about this book.  While this was a fantasy novel, it was still set like a futuristic, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel.  Interesting indeed.  And I love that so much of the story comes from Greek mythology.  

My main problems with this novel are as follows: the name Ferry.  They ferry the dead to the afterlife? Get it? Ha Ha... Yeah.  I feel like not every name in literature has to mean something.  And many times when names have such obvious meanings, the name just seems stupid.  Or comical (like Dr. Evil).  

The other main problem that I have with this book is the amount of sex in it.  I was very quickly immersed in the story and didn't want to put it down.  So when I got about halfway through the book and found multiple chapters of explicit sex that you might find in a porn novel, I decided to push through it for the sake of the story.  Not to say that books can't have sex.  But this was overdone.  I think there were four (or maybe more) chapters of just sex.  Cut down on the explicitness.  Less description.  I don't need to know every single detail of what someone does in bed.

Those things aside, the world Fine created was really intriguing. 

So what do I think? I am glad I read this book.  It was pretty good.  This book is not YA and I would not recommend it to young readers.  I probably won't read it again.  But I might read the second book in the series when it's released.  I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

There are a lot of things that I really like about the third book in Maas's Throne of Glass series. So let's start there.  At the end of the second book we learn who Celaena really is.  Well, if you are anything like me then that wasn't really a shocker.  But in Heir of Fire we get to learn a lot more about the rest of the world surrounding Adarlan.  This includes the ironteeth witches and the fae.  My favorite has to be the fae.  They are pretty awesome.

At the beginning of this book I felt truly bad for Chaol.  By the end I decided he was turning out to be a really bad-ass character that was only starting to show his glory.  Don't get me wrong, I like him as a character.  But I also think that in the first two books the relationships between Celaena and Dorian and Chaol were somewhat forced.  Dorian the joking prince, Chaol the soldier to the rescue.  She didn't really need either of them.  This is why I was so excited when we met Rowan.  I am not afraid to say it.  I love him as a character and I love how you see him grow and change even though he's already hundreds of years old.  I can't wait to see what happens with him in the next book.

The world Maas created is astounding.  Seeing more of it in Heir of Fire from wyverns to the valg.  We get a truly grotesque picture of how evil the king of Adarlan is.  This is a world I love to read about, but I would never want to live in it.

The one thing about this series that might put people off is the writing style.  I take no issues, but it is a very simple writing style making it great at around 7th great reading level.  But the content in the books seems to be meant for slightly older young adults.

So what do I think? I really liked this book.  Many fans of fantasy would probably enjoy the series so long as they don't mind complex dialogue.  It's an easy read, but it's also a pretty good one.  I definitely need to read the next to see how Celaena works to take over her throne.