Monday, December 27, 2010

Review of One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Whew what a crazy holiday! My holiday has been really crazy with traveling to see family and grading my students final exams. Thus I haven’t had much time to write up reviews. I am currently working on a list of the top books that I read in 2010 to post on here. In the mean time here is my review of One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen.

The summary from the galley is: It’s taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I’m settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it’s not as if Noah is anything more than a friend...

But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I’ve opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

I was a little more impressed with this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of past midnight but I found this plot to be a lot more intriguing. The plot is somewhat reminiscent of a mystery book as you are trying to puzzle together what exactly Charlotte has done that is causing all of the strange happenings and also what the repercussions are going to be for her actions.

I found Charlotte’s character to be a lot more dynamic in this book. We see a lot more of her interacting with her peers and not just her best girl friend. Although throughout the book I wasn’t a fan of Harris I was rooting for Noah despite the way things ended in Past Midnight. I was quite happy with the resolution of the story although it is not an ending for your passive YA paranormal readers. It is not the sweet happy ending that is typical of this genre. Charlotte has to deal with a lot in the ending of the story. However, I respect the author for changing that up and for creating this interesting new perspective in paranormal. The Silvers are still holding onto science but there is a bit more mysticism in this book.

Overall I give it a 3.5/5. I liked the plot a lot more from the last book but it was still missing something for me. I’m not quite sure I can put my finger on it but it just didn’t hook me in the same way as most paranormal books do. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful was an amazon recommendation and honestly the description intrigued me greatly. Here’s the description:

“On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.
After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”
It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.
Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.”

Dead Beautiful is not your average paranormal book. It has a subgenre all to itself. I give Yvonne points for being able to shock me with a whole new type of paranormal or at least one that I haven’t ventured out to read yet.

Renee is full of life and as a main character she has a certain magnetism to her. It is that magnetism that draws Dante to her. Personally, I found a lot of humor in the names in the context of the story J As per the usual Renee falls for Dante and the process of piecing together what he is begins. However, where Bella would have usually declared vampire Renee stumbles upon something unique.

The death of Renee’s parents is a unique way to begin a book. It sets a somewhat dark tone that follows throughout the book. Despite the dark tone the romance that develops is charming and intriguing. The dark tone to the book simply draws you in. For those that aren’t looking for a “happy” paranormal romance this might be your choice.

I give the book a 4/5. It kept me interested but I am not entirely sure what to think of the ending especially since I couldn’t find anything concrete about a sequel. For those that don’t like to not have resolution I recommend waiting until an announcement is made about whether or not there is a sequel.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the most beautifully written YA stories that I have ever read. Every now and then I come across a book that isn’t paranormal but is just so phenomenal that I have to mention it on here. Here’s amazon’s synopsis:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
The story of Anna and Etienne is so natural. They develop an amazing friendship and begin to see what they can be together despite all the obstacles in their way. As in typical teen life there are many obstacles and as a reader you aren’t sure which way it will go for the two of them. I love the way it is complicated for them in a slightly typical teenage way. There are no major crazy obstacles just typical teenage baggage.

Anna is a brilliant female lead. She is funny, smart, strong but still vulnerable. She cries but it makes her more human and relatable. She makes embarrassing mistakes that endear her to the reader. She is unsure of herself because she hasn't yet found herself. She has problems but never comes off as whiny. Her character made me love this book. The supporting characters are also incredible but Anna will keep you reading this book.
Etienne is a great male lead. The whole story you are waiting for the two of them to figure out what is between them. He is foreign has an accent and treats Anna like you would expect a sophisticated international too. He defends her honor all the while maintaing a teasing relationship with her. He has great hair and a grin that makes the girls swoon. He is respectful of Anna and allows her to be her own woman. This endears him to me as the guy that every woman is searching for. I mean a foreign accent and great hair! :) Stephanie does a great job of making you feel the ache they both feel without making the book seem like it is full of angst.
I really could go on about this book for pages. I absolutely loved it. If you like the happier Sarah Dessen work then this is a book for you. If you typically read the paranormal stuff, take a break and check this book out. I give it a 6/5.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Side Project

So I am working on a bit of a side project and am looking for a female name and five male names that would be from the southern US region. Perhaps something with a bit of a french influence. Any suggestions?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

I was a little hesitant to pick up the galley and read it to be honest. Its not that I dislike this series but the books have never really stood out to me. I have a hard time getting into the faery world especially with all the different takes on faeries. However the third book is the charm. I really enjoyed the Iron Queen. I found it hard to put down as I tried to figure out how Meghan was going to beat the False Iron King. It was quite interesting. Amazon doesn’t have a summary so here’s mine:

Meghan, Puck and Ash once again find themselves in the middle of faery politics. Despite Meghan and Ash being exiled from faery Meghan is being hunted by the Iron Fey and has to fight back to save faery and to live her own normal life. Crazy twists and turns happen as they try to locate the False King and find a way to defeat him.

What was nice in this book was that there was less of awkward moments between Meghan and the courts. It was just Meghan and Ash or all three of them. So the reader really gets to see what the true Ash is away from Winter Court politics.

I also never expected the turns that the story took. That was pretty interesting. Some of the turns really shocked me.  I really don’t have any criticism of this book. It was a great read and I loved the story line and the different sides of the characters that I got to see in this plot. I will say the ending was another cliffhanger and I am now eagerly awaiting the fourth book which is entirely too far away J I give this book a 5/5 and recommend you pick it up as soon as it comes out!

Blog Hop and Follow Friday

Its time for the Blog Hop and Follow My Blog Friday...

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks question is:

"What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?"

I guess for me that would be Nightshade. I had just finished reviewing some really awesome books that I loved and there was so much hype in the blogging world about the book. It was still a GREAT book but with all the hype my expectations were really high. I felt mixed in my review because if there hadn't been so much hype I felt like I would really write an awesome review. However, all that anticipation and hype made me expect something extraordinary and the book just did not quite live up to that. 

And its Follow Friday at Parajunkees

And this weeks question is:

What do you do besides reading / reviewing as a hobby??

I enjoy photography and working on side projects for my Calculus classes that I teach. A bit odd I know :)