Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Moonset by Scott Tracey

Moonset by Scott Tracey
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 8th 2013 by Flux
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.

When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future.
Moonset was a great surprise for me! I thought it would be a solid, good book, but did not expect it to wow me like it did.

The reader is thrown right into the lives of the Moonset five right out of the gate. School problems on an unimaginable level bring them to yet another new school. Here they learn that a lot of things in life are not accidents and things are NEVER as they seem. The story gives new meaning to the old saying "History is written by the victors." Sometimes you just have to be there to know what really happened. This set of friends endure so much because of past events. It fuels them and gives them a steadfast desire to prove themselves, but some act in more appropriate ways than others. Their story of overcoming the bans set upon them is phenomenal with all the events that blow up on them. You won't be able to put this one down once you get started. There is always a turn or something poking its head around the corner to jump out at you.

The characters truly make this story. I thought that five may be a little much for main characters, but Tracey really makes it work. It never feels overloaded or choppy. On top of this, other characters play key roles in areas that you normally wouldn't see them. Ash and Quinn has essential roles, but still are practically in the background a majority of the time. A couple characters had quirks that I didn't favor too much, but it really didn't detract from the book for me. I just skipped over a couple of lines and went about my way. They all are likeable in various ways and that made them easy to connect to. For me, all of their bantering conversations made them realistic and that made me enjoy them even more. I cannot wait to see where Tracey takes this story. I believe it can only get better with the groundwork that's been laid out!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney

The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2013 by Flux
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads:
After being tricked into opening the doorway to the Demon Realm by Aliette, the Wood Queen, Donna Underwood is faced with a terrible ultimatum from the newly released demon hordes. They demand that the alchemists deliver the Philosopher's Stone, or their reaper storm will plunge the world into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.

Donna is sent to London, England, where she must complete her alchemist's training and learn how to recreate the Stone. But time is running out. Between facing the vengeful demon king, Demian, and collecting the Stone's elements, Donna realizes she must give her own life in order to succeed. And this time, even braving death may not be enough to save the world.
 The final installment of the Iron Witch series will take you for a ride and truly does live up to its predecessors. Donna and the gang face hard losses and challenges to overcome Demian and his army. Thankfully, they form an amazing group that wrangles through these incidents with their traditional clever tact. The process and journey they take is not easy and sometimes they trip up on what should be the simplest tasks. Normally, this would bother me but in this case it actually fits the story with the events occurring. It actually helps keep the book from being completely predictable. There are times you will probably think of similar series, but there is just enough of the author's touch to make it her own. Mahoney's keys are in the details. It's the little things she puts in the plot and characters that really make the difference. The snide remarks and small descriptions of Donna's arms in events all play a part, do your best to pay attention. You will particularly love the background information that we are privy to in this book. Info on Donna, her family, and especially Xan will let the characters come full circle for you. They slide past that awkward teenage phase and you get to see them begin to evolve into adulthood.

It would be so easy to give so much away. To justly define the book I would simply say that Mahoney masterfully wraps up loose ends and throws enough quirks in to keep you guessing and consistently turning the page. The Stone Demon does not disappoint, especially for those that already love the series. These fans will probably be dancing by the end and it may not even be for the reasons they think!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 27, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

The grand finale to an amazing series from one of the most gracious authors I have met. There are so many questions left to answer and lines to wrap up in this one. I can't wait to get back in touch with Kate and Vincent and just see what happens with this "Champion" thing... ;) 

If I Should Die by Amy Plum
Hardcover, 405 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by HarperTeen

From Goodreads:
I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered by A. G. Howard
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Buy the book:  Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
 The idea behind this Alice concept is amazing. The perspective Howard takes on the tale is wonderful and definitely different than many would be brave enough to try. Descriptions and excellent visualizations make this a great read for anyone. I simply wish there had been more originality in the book. I felt like I was reading just a deranged version of Alice in Wonderland. Yes, that is basically what it is, but there should have been more of the author's ideas thrown in somehow. The characters and their history's roles in the story are decently weaved into the traditional plot. It made the book very predictable, but Alyssa's and the others personalities make it worth it. Morpheus should have had a better role to play in the end. I think he was cheated of his true potential in the story. Jeb is sweet and great, but sometimes a story needs more than the boy next door. This is definitely one of those cases.

These aspects and the book's ending are what really brought this book down for me. Howard gives you a good ride through the story, but at the end you feel like you have been cut short. I seriously closed after the last page saying, "Wait, that's it?" I believe it to be a little bit of a miscalculation to just drop the ball with the characters like that. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 20, 2013

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

Love the concept of this one! Especially since the incidents happen to the males instead of females. That's a nice change from the "damsel in distress" books. :)

Taken by Eric Bowman
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen

From Goodreads:
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?