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Posts Tagged: Alternate Universe

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadSpirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Last Sacrifice
Published by Razorbill on 18 May 2010
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Last Sacrifice, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairbanks, Alaska // Unnamed, Montana // Bethleham, Pennsylvania // Las Vegas, Nevada // Unnamed, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.

I first discovered the Vampire Academy series in late 2009 and found myself quickly devouring all the books that were out. Then I had to wait for Spirit Bound and I was nervous and antsy and rushed out to my local Borders (RIP pretty book store) and snapped up a copy the day it was released. But then I realized there would be a wait until the last book would be released and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle it so I held off reading until I had a pretty copy of Last Sacrifice sitting on my bookshelf. AND that’s where my fear of endings started to take hold of me because once I read the last two books in this series then they would be over. That’s it. No more Rose. No more Lissa. No more Dimitri. And I. COULD. NOT. HANDLE. THAT. So I ignored the books and knew in my heart of hearts that all was well as this series wasn’t over just yet. At least, not for me.

Then earlier this year I was looking for a book and stumbled over Spirit Bound and it looked so sad sitting on the shelf unread and I thought that maybe now was the time to finish this series. Or at least, get one step closer to finishing. So I picked it up, dusted it off, and after five years of waiting I cracked open its pages and was sucked back into this world. Oh how I missed this world and these characters and just everything about it. I was mad at myself for waiting so long to read but I think that the wait made it all better and I savored the words more as a result. You might think that it would be hard to pick up a series after five years and I will admit there were a few things I didn’t remember. But Richelle Mead’s little reminders in the text on the backstory quickly cleared up any issues I had. For while I may be terrible with names and faces I have an excellent memory for things I’ve read.

Spirit Bound Quote

Spirit Bound was filled with action and feels and I found it hard to put down once I picked it up. This story finds Rose graduating from school and starting her adult Dhampir life. There are threats all around her and she’s reeling from a bad break up (to put it mildly) and trying to move on with someone new. And oh my stars was I not so happy about that at first but then I accepted and cheered and had my heart broke. Because evil authors are evil and Richelle Mead really knows how to write stories and characters that you get invested in. Though the worst part of this whole book was its ending. That was just so very evil!! Not Orphan Queen (my review) level of evil but bad enough to make me glad that I didn’t read this one right when it came out. I would have struggled with the wait to learn what happens in Last Sacrifice after that.

Let’s also just pause for a moment and think on the title, Last Sacrifice, I just…I just can’t. So it should come as no surprise that I haven’t picked that one up yet. But I want to because I need to know what happens to Rose next because seriously….that ending! Those final words!!! Killer!!! I’m still struggling with my endings phobia but I think that soon. Very soon. I’ll be able to give that one a go. After all I do have the Bloodlines series to keep me warm and living in the Vampire Academy world.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Half Wild by Sally GreenHalf Wild by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad, Book 2
Also in this series: Half Bad, Half Lies
Published by Viking Juvenile on 24 March 2015
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Half Bad, Half Lies

Place(s) Traveled To: Verdon, France // Unnamed, France // Black Forest, Germany // Veltarlin, Norway // Unnamed, Slovakia // Barecelona, Spain // Etxalar, Spain // Basle, Switzerland // Geneva, Switzerland // Unnamed Wales

First Line(s): a crossbill calls

I read Half Bad by Sally Green last year and it was an unexpected good read. It was a book that I didn’t know much about and one that I instantly connected with. When I finished Half Bad, I immediately wanted to dive into the sequel and that is exactly what I did when I received an ARC for review. I did have more expectations for Half Wild than I did with Half Bad and there were some things that I really liked with this book and others that I didn’t care for as much. As with the first book I read Half Wild pretty quickly. Its a fun read and I just love this world but there is a lot about this story that makes it very much a transition novel as when I look back on it not a ton actually happens.

There is a lot of running around in this story as Nathan searches for Annalise and while I did like Annalise in the first book I just didn’t get her draw in this one. Especially with some of the things that happened with Gabriel. Because WOW that was some amazing story development and to be honest those were some of my favorite moments in the book. I get Nathan’s nostalgia for his past and his childhood and how Annalise was one of his bright moments in an otherwise bleak life but I really did not like her. And her inclusion in the story and Nathan’s subsequent treatment of Gabriel really took me out of the story.

Half Wild Quote

Another, aspect of the story that I really liked was getting to know Nathan’s father more. I enjoyed those scenes and found them important to the development of Nathan’s character. However, there could have been more depth to them and it just seemed as though Marcus was underutilized as a character. There was so much potential in Half Wild but it just seemed to miss the mark every time an arrow was shot at the target.

Despite that though I am hopeful for how this series will end as most second books in a series are just filler material for the big climax at the end. Although I do have some concerns with what the big climactic moment of Half Lost might be as the focus of this story seemed to veer away from Black Witches vs. White into something else over the course of this book. I do think that Half Wild is worth the read just for the Nathan and Gabriel scenes alone but the rest of it? Well, the rest of the story I could probably do without.

irishdarkblue

 IR - Half Wild

Add Storm Front by Jim Butcher to Goodreads.

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-half-stars
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Split Second by Kasie West

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Split Second by Kasie WestSplit Second by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point, Book 2
Also in this series: Pivot Point
Published by Harper Teen on 11 February 2014
Genres: Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point, On the Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You

Place(s) Traveled To: The Compound // Dallas, Texas

First Line(s): My car sat on he far side of the parking lot, and I couldn’t get to it fast enough.

Split Second by Kasie West is the sequel to Pivot Point and picks up almost immediately after that book ends. Although unlike the first book Split Second doesn’t tell two different and yet the same story. Pivot Point was all about Addie making a choice – which parent to live with after the divorce to stay with her mother in The Compound or to enter the world of the Norms with her father. But Pivot Point wasn’t just about that single choice there were so many other decisions and events that resulted from each path and both ended with two very different consequences. Parted of me hated how Pivot Point ended but when you look at the alternate path I can’t see Addie deciding any other way.

In Split Second, Kasie West changes things up a bit and alternates the POV of each chapter. Now we get to learn more about Addie’s BFF Laila, her thoughts and feelings and the consequences of her actions in the first book. I’m still not entirely sure on if I like Laila or not but I do understand her a bit better. And Laila came with Conner who was just all sorts of snarky fun. Although there was also more Duke and Stephanie and I really could have done without either of those two. But at least in this book Stephanie wasn’t as awful as she was in the first book and I felt more sympathy for her character than I did in Pivot Point.

Duke on the other hand was just much more vile than he was in the first book and if I could have reached inside the book and smacked him I would have. At least Trevor was as sweet as before and I was happy to see him return in this story. The overall plot/mystery was evenly paced and believable and my heart broke a time or two as certain things were revealed. While I didn’t like Split Second as much as I did Pivot Point it was still a really enjoyable story that I hated to end. I am sad that this series is just a duology but at the same time I am happy where all the characters ended up. What is even more sad is that I am now officially out of Kasie West books to read. I am a total fan girl for her writing and she is totally on my autobuy list. If you haven’t read anything by West yet then you are really missing out!

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Audio Review; Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Audio Review; Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat ChaddaAsh Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
Narrator: Bruce Mann
Series: Ash Mistry Chronicles,
Also in this series: Ash Mistry and the City of Death
Published by Listening Library on 26 February 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective
Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Ash Mistry and the City of Death

 

 

Place(s) Traveled to: Rajasthan, India // Varanasi, India

First Line: “That is so not a cobra” said Ash. It couldn’t be.

Ash Mistry Chronicles Series Order:
Book 1 – Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress
Book 2 – Ash Mistry and the City of Death
Book 3 – Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda is a middle grade fantasy adventure story that will keep readers of all ages on the ed of their seats. I thought that Sarwat Chadda had some crazy intense moments in The Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess but in some ways those books pale in comparison to this one. Perhaps Savage Fortress is a tad more shocking as it is a middle grade story and you expect things to be more safe and tame even while the main characters are going through a grand adventure. This is not the case in Savage Fortress this is no safe and tame story but one filled with the gritty realities of life. Ash Mistry and his sister Lucky are visiting his aunt and uncle in India and what was supposed to be a hot and boring trip quickly turns into a race for survival. Not just for Ash and his family but for the entire world.

Chadda wastes no time in bringing the reader into the story and its not long before events really start to unfold. At first there are just a few inklings that something is not quite right and so you peek over the edge for a closer look. When you are pushed from behind and remain in free fall until you smack into the end of the story. As a reader you are helpless to do anything but travel along side of Ash as he makes various choices and hoping with each one that its the right one. For the consequences of making the wrong choice can be dire.

This is one of those audios where I found myself making excuses to go for car rides just so I could get in more listening time. The narrator, Bruce Mann, did an excellent job bringing all the various characters to life. He even did a decent job with the female voices. But where Mann really brings this book to life is with all the pronunciations. Looking through my print copy afterwards there are words and names I know I would have read incorrectly if Mann hadn’t been there to read them for me. He is also pretty brilliant at bringing out an angsty, bored, and oft times sarcastic teenage boy to life. Listing to Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress and I totally believed that a teenaged Ash was telling me his story. That paired with Chadda’s amazing descriptions and action scenes really makes you think that you are in the story seeing and hearing everything that is being described.

If you are a fan of Chadda’s young adult books then you really need to pick up his middle grade books. Nothing about this book felt middle grade, other than the age of the main character. And if you haven’t read anything by Sarwat Chadda then you really don’t know what you are missing out on. Every book is just filled with amazing story telling and writing to be envious over. These are books that I can’t recommend enough and are brilliant for all ages. Young and old can enjoy these stories and I for one can not wait to dive into the next Ash Mistry adventure as I wait in vain for more Billi SanGreal books. But at least there was a mention of Billi and the Templars in this book. This gives me hope of a potential cross over and no one better pop my bubble of hope if you know what’s good for you! Now go, do yourself a favor and go read these books!

irishdarkblue
five-stars
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie WestPivot Point by Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point,
Also in this series: Split Second
Published by Harper Teen on 12 February 2013
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 343
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, Split Second, On the Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You

 

Place(s) Traveled to: Dallas, Texas //Jackson, Texas (AKA The Compound)

First Line: “Heads up,” a loud voice shouted from my right. I looked up in time to see a football smack me right between the eyes.

I first discovered Kasie West when I read her young adult contemporary, The Distance Between Usa book that had me falling head over heels in love. I was then really curious about her debut, Pivot Point, but scared at the same time for what if this book didn’t live up to the first one I’d read by her? Its through the near constant nagging from Andi over at AndiABCs that I finally decided to cave and give Pivot Point a go. As usual, Andi was right and I really enjoyed Pivot Point, not as much as her contemporary but enough that I managed to read it in one sitting.

Once I started I couldn’t put this book down so I was really glad that I had decided to read it during the read-a-thon as I had not plans that day other than to read. At first, I was a little confused on the set up of the novel. In Addie’s world there are people who have paranormal powers, not witches or vampires but more like telekinesis or clairvoyance. Addie has the ability to see all the different outcomes of a choice with the draw back that she can only “search” through her timeline. Most people with abilities like Addie’s live in The Compound separated from normals and able to use their powers at will. Then one day Addie is faced with a choice to remain in The Compound and all she knows or experience life in the normal world. In Pivot Point the chapters alternate between Addie’s two different paths as she tries to determine which choice to make.

Initially this change in timeline was a bit confusing me to me and it would take a paragraph or two in order to figure out where I was. Though when I mentioned this on twitter several people pointed out that the definitions at the start of each chapter provided the clue needed to let the reader know what timeline we were in.

chapter 3

PARA words = Compound Timeline

chapter 4

NORM Words = Life in the Normal World

*face palm*

It was so clear once that was pointed out but darn it I did feel like an idiot. lol

Overall, Pivot Point, was a faced paced story and I was so invested in wanting to know which choice Addie would make. Faced with the different outcomes I can see why she chose the one she did but part of me was also sad by the choice. I just liked the person Addie became in the timeline she didn’t chose better but I know that even though it was a tough choice it was the right one. I liked how the two timelines were both very similar, Addie’s fate and the various events that were going on were all still happened but how she experienced them were different. I think that West did a great job in making all the different pieces fit together in a realistic way.

I also liked most of the characters in the story as well. Addie’s mom was a bit of a caricature at times but I can see how she was based on what we know of her ability. Addie’s dad was lovable and I just wanted to see more of him. As for Addie’s friends, I liked her normal ones better than the ones in the Compound. I was not a fan of Addie’s BFF Laila as to me she was one of those false BFFs that I dislike so much in books. She always seemed to care more about herself then what would be good for Addie. She was selfish and annoying and I just didn’t enjoy reading many scenes that she was in.

Pivot Point also includes a love triangle of sorts, which if you know me you know that I detest them, but Kasie West conquers this in such an ingenious way that its not really a love triangle at all. In each timeline Addie falls for a boy and that romance she has is also part of the decision making process. One boy in an a$$ of epic proportions (IMO) and the other is just so absolutely perfect for her even if he does have some issues. Romance isn’t the only thing driving Pivot Point and that is a good thing even though I think that the story could have stood on this plot point alone. But there is also this deeper, more involved mystery and that is what really sucked me in as a reader.

If you’ve been on the fence about Pivot Point then you need to run to your nearest bookstore or library and grab yourself a copy. This book will not disappoint and it will make you hunger for its sequel, Split Second (available 11 February 2014 from Harper Teen) which deals with the aftershocks of the events in Pivot Point. I am so excited to have a copy of this book and now just need some free time in order to be able to sit down and devour it!

irishdarkblue
four-stars
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Monster in My Closet by R. L. Naquin

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Monster in My Pantry (Goodreads)
Publisher: Carina Press

Source: Purchased

Publication Date: 30 July 2012

Series or Standalone: Series

ISBN: 1426894139

Format: ebook
Pages: 209
The Author on the Web:

R. L. Naquin – Twitter

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: Of all the possible weapons I might have grabbed, I chose a toilet brush.

Monster Haven Series Order
Book 1 – Monster in My Closet
Book 2 – Pooka in My Pantry (25 Mar 2013)
Book 3 – Fairies in My Fireplace (Fall 2013)
Book 4 – Golem in My Glovebox (2014, tentative title)
Book 5 – Demon in My Driveway (2014, tentative title)
Book 6 – Phoenix in My Fortune (2015, tentative title)
Before I start to share my thoughts on Monster in My Closet by R. L. Naquin lets all take a moment to appreciate its first line. Read it and digest it and then ask yourself what would be the first thing that you would grab if you were woken up by sounds coming from the other side of your house. This line makes me realize that other than a stack of books I don’t have any real viable weapons in my room and I really should probably invest in a baseball bat or something to keep under my bed. The first line also is a good indicator of the general tone of Monster in My Closet. This is a quirkly, light hearted paranormal romance that does have a couple of suspenseful moments. 
This is the first of a series and the main character, Zoey, learns that she is an empath and around the same time comes in contact with a very hungry succubus. Fortunately, Zoey has a aura reading herbalist and a closet monster on her side to help keep her safe. What follows is a fast paced story that often had me laughing out loud. I loved Zoey and all of the crazy paranormal creatures that started to show up around her house. There were times when the story was a bit predictable and there was no real mystery since you know from the start who the bad guy is. But that never took away from the fun of this story. 
What it did lack for me was a romantic storyline since Carina Press is a branch of Harlequin I expected more. Though Monster in My Closet wasn’t without romance there is the start of one in this story and its one that I do look forward to seeing more of as the series progresses. Especially considering who her romantic interest is. 
Monster in My Closet isn’t a serious book and it probably won’t win any awards. But there are times when you just need to sit back and let yourself be entertained by a story. So if you are looking for some fun then this is a book for you. There are brownies and dragons that are near near self combustion and don’t forget that very hungry succubus. I thoroughly enjoyed Monster in My Closet and am really looking forward to the next book in this series Pooka in My Pantry.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Audio Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Posted by Irish in Review3 Comments

Title: What’s Left of Me (Goodreads)

Publisher: Harper Audio (Audio);  HarperCollins (Print)
Source: Audible.com
Publication Date: 18 September 2012 (Audio & Print)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: B009CMOFCG (Audio), 0062114875 (Hardcover)
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~9.5 hrs
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: The mid-west and coast in an alternate universe

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

First Line: Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined  before we gasped our very first breath.

Buy the Book:  
 

Hybrid Chronicles Series Order

Book 1: What’s Left of Me
Book 2: Once We Were (29 Aug 2013)

Book 3: Untitled (~Fall 2014)

When I first received an ARC of Kat Zhang’s What’s Left of Me I fell in love with the cover. I love the duality of it and its the perfect image for the concept of this book which involves two souls inhabiting the same body. In some ways its a little like Stephenie Meyer’s The Host only without the microbe aliens and with Meyer’s book there is an explanation for the duality. In Zhang’s What’s Left of Me everyone is born with two souls inside of them and then over time one soul fades away, or settles, leaving just one. Those who don’t settle are known as hybrids and are considered dangerous so they are whisked away to institutions. 

There isn’t a ton of action contained in What’s Left of Me but its not actionless are there are several tense moments throughout the book. And underlying it all is the constant fear of discovery and then wondering what will happen next. The story is narrated by Addie and she weaves a compelling story that kept me listening long after I was done with my daily driving activities. I loved learning Addie and Eva’s history and watching their journey. I loved meeting their friends and I was terrified along with them when their secret was suspected. 

What bothered me about this book was that there was never an explanation as to why hybrids were so bad. After all it was natural and hybrids seemed to exist just fine in other parts of the world. There was also lots of allusion to a war against the hybrids which caused the US to shut itself off from the world but these were often glossed over and not given much detail. I thought that this was a wasted opportunity and some of the extraneous scenes in this book could have been cut in favor of adding in this history of the world. Without it the world just didn’t seem all that fleshed out to me. So I’m hoping that as the series progresses we learn more about this missing history.

Overall though I did like this story and found it to be a fresh and unique addition to the dystopian genre. I liked the lyrical writing style of Kat Zhang and for the most part the story really flowed well. There were moments when the plot seemed to drag out a bit and my attention would wander but I was always brought back into the story.

Kim Mai Guest does a wonderful job with the narration and it was never difficult to tell who was speaking when. It also wasn’t hard to tell what was thought and what was conversation. And Addie and Eva had distinct voices despite being the same person. I fell in love with Guest’s style and was often reminded of Khristine Hvam throughout the course of this audio. In fact, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t Hvam throughout my listen of this audio. Guest will definitively be a narrator that I look forward to listening to more of in the future and any fan of Hvam’s will probably like Guest just as much.

As an audio, What’s Left of Me was a wonderful listen though I’m not sure I would have liked it as much if I’d read it in print. So with that in mind I recommend the listening over the reading of this story. 

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Team Human
Publisher: Harper Teen

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 03 July 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 0061953407
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 352

The Authors on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: New Whitby, Maine
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
First Line: I wasn’t feeling very enthused about education the day the vampire came to school.


Dear Reader,


Are you one of those who think that vampire stories are horribly over done? That there is nothing about one that can be fresh and new? After all there has been every iteration of vampires that you can think of. There are the scary, blood suckers who only want to eat humans. There are the blood suckers that are tortured about needed to eat humans. There are the vampires that sparkle and those that can walk in the sun with a special ring. And those are just a few of the hundreds of incarnations that are vampires. Its really very difficult to walk down an aisle of a bookstore and not stumble across some story that involves vampires. I don’t know about you, but I for one, am a but tired of vampires…there is nothing new about their story and so they should be boxed up, put on a shelf and left there for who knows how long.


Or at least, that’s what I thought until I read Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Because here is a book that actually does breath new life into a tired old tale. For one, the main character Mel, is not the one to fall head over heals in love with a vampire. No, that ends up being the task of her BFF Cathy though Mel isn’t going to let her fall for a pulseless wraith (who is named Francis of all the very non-vampire sounding names) without a fight. 


I found Team Human to be filled with snark and cleverness. I could see a world like the one found in its pages really existed. I could see how there would need to be special laws involving what glass could be used in public buildings to protect the vampires if they decided to walk about during the day. This is done in special light proof spacesuits mind you because one think that Larbalestier and Brennan keep true with the old myths is that vampires and the sun do not mix. They also drink blood though that is regulated too, naturally. 


This is a book that can definitely appeal to vampire lovers and haters alike and let me tell you that is no easy task to accomplish! Team Human is considered to be a satire. It pokes fun of the vampire stories that are out there while also making them seem very real. Mel is a delightful character and I loved her banter with Kit and Cathy. I loved the shenanigans she found herself in all in the name of protecting her friend. Because friends don’t let friends date vampires. Even if that friend and vampire do seem to have a lot in common. 


Another wonderful thing about this book is how diverse it was. Larbakestier and Brennan don’t shy away from using POC characters in their book and I loved how their main character, Mel, was Asian. So often in books these days the diverse characters are regulated to being the sidekick of that perfect Caucasian specimen of a MC. Hopefully this will soon become the norm in books because the world is not made up of only blonde haired, blue eyed readers.


Team Human is a book that I read mainly because it was written by Sarah Rees Brennan whose Demon Lexicon series I absolutely devoured not too long around. I was a bit wary of the concept because as I said about I was so tired of vampire stories. But this book surprised me in its freshness. I sped through the pages and was finished with the book before I even realized it. There is so much wonderful goodness that fills its pages that you just want to get lost inside it for a time. It also saddens me that this is the only time that we will get to see Mel and Cathy, Kit and Francis and all the other wonderful characters that fill this world. Which is another bit of a miracle because not only am I over vampires but I am so tired that every book seems to be a series of some sort.


If you’ve been waiting to read Team Human because it is another vampire story then I am here to tell you to stop waiting and get reading. If you love vampire books and haven’t read this one yet then you’ll want to add it to your list. This is a book that has something in it for everyone. There are also lots of hidden little gems and surprises contained within its pages as well that are sure to delight no matter which team you find yourself on – Human or Vampire. 
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized3 Comments

Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 03 May 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0062024027
Format: paperback (ARC)
Pages: 489
Websites:
Veronica Roth – Official Site
Place(s) Traveled to: Chicago, Illinois
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: There is one mirror in my house.
Divergent Series Order
Book 1: Divergent
Book 2: Insurgent (28 May 2012)
Book 3: Untitled (~May 2013)

When I received Divergent by Veronica Roth in the mail I was so super excited but then when everyone just raved and raved over it I got scared. I have read many an over-hyped book only to be let down and I really didn’t want this one to join that list. So I put off reading it. For if I never read it then I could still be entranced by the possibility of it and not be disappointed with the reality. Then more people that I trusted and who were also skeptics of over-hyped books read it and loved it and I felt my resistance cracking. Then I finally picked it up and I wasn’t let down. But I wasn’t all over the moon in total love with this book either. In part because I still had pretty high expectations for this book.
I enjoyed the world that Roth created and enjoyed how there was a  little history on how it came to be. Though there are still loads of questions waiting to be answered on that front. I also enjoyed the world of the factions and the ideas that they stand for. How on paper they seem like a great idea but in the end the reality of human nature tends to corrupt and destroy. One thing that I am really curious about is why the gates to dystopian-Chicago are locked from the outside and just what that might mean in the grand scheme of things. If it means anything at all. I sometimes fixate on small, unimportant details and really need to work on that. 
The characters were all pretty realistic and I did enjoy reading about them. But I do have to admit there where times when I got bored with them all. I also have some thoughts on what might happen to some of them in Insurgent and that thought just fills me with fear. Not because I am scared that bad things will happen, but because I think that there is a major plot cliche about to happen. In the end, I did enjoy Divergent, but I wasn’t gaga for it. I can appreciate why it is so popular and I hope that its sequel won’t fall flat. I read this book quickly so I was engaged in it. I don’t feel like I wasted any time. I will probably also recommend this to others and I know that I will read the sequel. Divergent took me away from my reality and really isn’t that all you need in a book?
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (Audio)

Posted by Irish in I Dare You Challenge5 Comments

Publisher: Simon Audio (Audio); Aladdin (Print)

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 30 Aug 2011 (Audio); 30 Aug 2011 (Print)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN:  1442344914 (Audio), 1442407689 (Hardcover)
Format: Audio
Audio Length: 7 discs (~7.5 hrs)
Narrator: Simon Jones
Websites:
Place(s) Traveled to: Quill // Artime 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: There was a hint of wind coming over the top of the stone walls and through the barbed-wire sky on the day that Alexander Stowe was to be purged.

The Unwanteds Series Order
Book 1: The Unwanteds
Book 2: Island of Silence (Aug 2012)

I was very excited to receive an opportunity to review an audio version of Lisa McMann’s The Unwanteds as I’ve been meaning to read something from her for awhile now. Going into this book I didn’t know anything about the story and so I was a bit shocked at its dark opening. A group of 13 year olds being sent off to their deaths as they have been deemed unwanted by the leaders of Quill. The opening chapter focuses on Alex Stowe, who is unwanted and who has known he is unwanted since he was 10. At the same ceremony, Alex’s twin brother Aaron is not just found to be necessary (as was initially thought) but wanted. Which puts him in the most elite bracket of the society in Quill. Being unwanted though isn’t as dire as initially thought though as the Death Farm isn’t quite what it appears to be from the outside. Instead it contains this magical and hidden world filled with magic and creativity and is very very different from the sterile confines of Quill. 

The Unwanteds is a book that has many elements to be enjoyed by boys and girls alike and the narration is told from various characters of both genders. With no real rhyme nor reason between who is telling the story when other than for the convenience of moving the story forward. Taking this story at its bare bones there isn’t a whole lot that is super original about it but when taken as a whole you get a delightful novel that is filled with possibilities. In many ways the story reminded me of Harry Potter though a slightly simpler version of it. Which is to be expected as The Unwanteds is geared towards Middle Grade readers and Harry Potter to Young Adults. I think that The Unwanteds is a great book to recommend to those children who want to read Harry Potter but many not be quite old enough for its darker themes. 

I enjoyed the time I spent in Artime and I look forward to reading more books in this series. I found the characters to be fun and entertaining. I look forward to seeing what will become of both Quill and Artime as the series continues as well as maybe learning about some of the neighboring nations that were only mentioned in this book. 

I also enjoyed how this book really glorifies the arts and just how important creativity is in a society. There is such a stark difference between Quill, a city that is bleak and gray and where creativity is shunned, and Artime, a city filled with color and light. There were moments in The Unwanteds where I found myself rolling my eyes as something cliche happened but the moments where I left or where I was totally engaged in the story far outnumbered those. This is definitely a book that I will recommend to others. I also think that I enjoyed this one far more by listening to it on audio than if I’d read it in print as the narrator was just so amazing.

About the Narrator
Simon Jones is a fantastic narrator, as I mentioned above. He was a real gift for bring all the voices to life and you never once question who is doing the speaking. He is the sort of narrator that I don’t want to stop listening to and so I find excuses to extend the time spent in my car. This isn’t the first audio by Simon Jones and it certainly won’t be the last. His voice is magical to the ears and one that I highly recommend to all fans of audio books.
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