Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Spoilers for books 1-4)

WARNING! SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1-4 MAY BE INCLUDED
Title: City of Lost Souls
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Source: Walmart (I know, I know)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: First Edition Hardback
Pages In This Edition: 534
Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the Cover:



Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace freed from captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing, so is the boy she hates: her brother Sebastian, who is determined to bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
The Clave's magic cannot locate either boy, but Jace can't stay away from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith's magic has wrought - Jace and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other.

Only a few people believe that Jace can still be saved. Together, Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle bargain with the sinister Seelie Queen, contemplate deals with demons, and turn at last to the merciless, weapon-making Iron Sisters, who might be able to forge a weapon that can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. If the Iron Sisters can't help, their only hope is to challenge Heaven and Hell - a risk that could claim their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary is playing a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing not just her own life, but Jace's soul. She's willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series."

Review:

I'm in love with Cassandra Clare's writing style and characters. For that reason (and also because I need my yearly dose of Jace's amazing snarkyness) this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012. The Mortal Instruments Series has long been one of my favorites, and this book was just another great addition to an already great series.

Let's start with the characters. I have absolutely love all of them. Jace and Magnus are my favorites because of their wit and humor, but every single character this author puts on the page has something that I love. The depth to her characters astounds me; it's like a onion that has endless layers to peel off. I have no idea how she keeps it all straight. She must have endless notebooks full of traits for all of her characters or something. I would love to ask her how she develops her characters. Also, how does she think up the funny as hell dialogue?? I bet she could write for a stand-up comic.

Pacing and plot: the first was okay and the second was great. The pacing was the only problem I had with this book. I felt like the first 200 or so pages were kind of slow, and the only thing that had me keep reading was the characters and the dialogue. Thank god it didn't last that way forever. By the middle of the book I was on the edge of my seat. If fact, I finished that last 250 pages all in one sitting. I was even posting chapter updates on Twitter because I was so excited. The plot was definitely great. Clare is great at crafting an amazing story. The twists and turns in the plot have me guessing all the time, which is super important in a book that is as long as this one is. I was sad at the end though because of a certain thing. Maybe this will be worked out in book six though. I sure hope so!!

This wasn't my favorite book in the series (City of Glass is) but it's still good book to read. Now all I have left to do is wait for book six to come out. A WHOLE YEAR. I'm going to die. Definitely pick this up if you are a fan of the series. Stick with the beginning and I'm sure you'll love it. :)  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of Harmony by Sonya Bria

Title: Harmony
Author: Sonya Bria
Release Date: June 1st, 2012
Source: Publisher (In exchange for honest review)
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Cambio Publishing
Pages in This Edition: 234
Buy it: Amazon (Available as an Ebook) And Paperback HERE
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

On the Cover:


Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"A Curse.

It started with a curse centuries ago placed upon the House of Ulster:

One more powerful than I will come,
She alone will break the spell.
With her as guide the dark will align.

Destiny.
If someone told you that you were the key to an ancient tragedy, what would you do?

Sophie is a high school senior with only two things on her mind, graduating from Jefferson High, and moving on, leaving the death of her mother firmly in the past. But the past is not done with Sophie, and she finds herself suddenly thrust into a tragic, Irish love story centuries old. Does she have the strength to accept her part, confront her own past, and rely on someone long forgotten?

Ian is a vampire with only one thing on his mind...Sophie. For years, he has watched over Sophie, and protected her from the darkness surrounding her mother's death. He would like nothing more than to forget the past, but his fate lies with Sophie and her destiny. Can he help Sophie confront her nightmares and not fall in love?

Choices.
Sophie and Ian will discover that they also have a connection-something that could bind them together forever or rip them apart. What will they choose?"

Review: 

I hadn't heard anything about this book before I got the chance to review it (as is usual with books not published with the big six publishers) but once I heard the premise I became intrigued. I love books with Irish folklore/guys with Irish accents and so I thought this book would be a good fit for me. The only thing that had me worrying was that vampires were involved. More on that later.

Harmony started out fast paced enough. The prologue was super cool and all "back-in-time-like" and had me wondering where the story was going to lead from there. I think the pace was definitely what I liked most with this book. There never really was a point where we could sit back and relax as readers, because there was some kind of action always happening. I LOVE faced paces in books, so I was super happy with this.

Onto the characters: I liked some and disliked others. Characters I liked: Sophie, Ian, Max, and Emily. Why? These characters were believable and they way they were told in the story had me picturing it all in my head like it was a movie. I especially like Ian, mostly because I go head-over-heels for Irish accents and gentlemen, and he is both. Sophie is nice enough for a protagonist, even if sometimes I wonder how she believes all she is told so easily. And of course Max and Emily, Sophie's "human friends" were cute and though kind of one dimensional they did their jobs. Characters I didn't like: Grandma, and all the old characters from "way back when." Why? I don't like the grandma character for one reason. She does things that any person in her right mind wouldn't do. I don't want to give too much of the story away, but the way her choices are rationalized just don't sit right with me. And I don't like the old Irish characters because of lack of back story and overall confusion regarding basically everything having to do with them.

Reasons this book gets 3.5/5 Stars: Great romance, a good yet unpredictable ending, a spin on the now classic vampire YA paranormal romance thing, and a face paced adventure that has me wondering if there is going to be a sequel. If this sounds like your book, be sure to check it out!
Monday, July 9, 2012

Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages In This Edition: 417
Rating: 2/5

On the Cover:

Beyond the Cover:

Summary from Goodreads:

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"

Review:

When this book first came out, it had a bunch of buzz. Usually, for me, that means I'm going to love the book. So when after months of thinking about reading it but not getting a chance, when I saw this at the library I grabbed it right away. It sounded really interesting, so I was super excited. I read the first hundred and fifty pages no problem.

But then the romance entered.

I'm sad to say this is just one of those books that I had to skip large portions of to get anything out of the experience. The dialogue between Karou and her friends is great, and the world that Taylor created is so creative and creepy. But then LOVE had to happen and then I hated the book. It wasn't that I'm not a fan of love at first sight, but seriously, I just didn't like the way it was put together. I fell terrible for giving a book with such great opportunity and writing such a negative review, but I couldn't even really finish the book because the romance put a sour taste in my mouth for some reason. 

I wouldn't say this book was outright terrible, because there were moments where I loved the writing and such, but I just can't stand the way the couple interacted. If this book had more fantasy and less super predictable romance, I may have given it four stars, with the romance, it gets two. :/
Thursday, July 5, 2012

July TBR/Currently Reading


These are the books I hope to be reading this month! Feel free to link up your July TBR stuff. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mystery Blogoversary Giveaway Winners and Prize Reveal!

The giveaway for my first ever blogoversary has ended! I'm happy to say that there were about a hundred entries. :) Thanks to anyone who participated or spread the word. And now.....(insert drumroll) the winners are Sarah Cruz and Monica Lopez! I'm going to be sending them a email right after I get done writing this post and they have 48 hours to send me there mailing addresses before another winner is chosen.

And what exactly did they win? One of them is walking away with a hardcover of Dreamland Social Club by   Tara Altebrando, and the other a hardcover of The Death Cure by James Dashner! Since Sarah was the first name I drew then she gets to pick which one she wants. :)

Thanks again guys and here's to another amazing year!

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Hi my name is Alexis and I'm so excited to be heading to Oregon State University in the fall. I will be majoring in English and hope to become an editor or technical writer in my future.

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With Beyond the Cover, I want to help people interested in YA with a resource to refer to. This blog will be composed of reviews as well as other book related subjects.



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