Monday, August 31, 2009

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan (67/81)

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets and the Guardians and their power and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

This is the first book of the RIP challenge that I am doing ...... And I loved it :) ........ It was an easy read and I couldn't put it down .......... Dishes and Kids where left to my poor husband to sort out while I was totally engrossed in the book ........ Like a another reviewer said "putting the book down is not an option."

It is a young adult read and yes it does have Zombies in it ......... I heard that they have decided to make this into a movie which will be brill ...... Reading it did remind me abit of 'The Village' but a totally different concept ..... I will definitely be going out and buying more books by Carrie ...

Ok getting back to the book .... It is about a girl called Mary who lives in a village surrounded by the Unconsecrated ........ She dreams for escaping and hopes that there are other people like her beyond the Forest of Hands & Teeth .... Her whole world changes when her Mother is turned ...... And her only option is to stay with the Sisterhood who claim they are the ones who protect the village ....

If you love fantasy books and of course Zombie books you are going to eat this up ( excuse the pun )

I rate this book 5*****

Here is short trailer put together for the book ...

I am excited as the companion/sequel to The Forest of Hands & Teeth is coming out in the Spring 1010 in USA ......

Stargazer by Claudia Gray (66/81)

In Stargazer, Bianca returns to Evernight, and she now understands the dark, centuries-old feud between vampires and hunters that prevents her and Lucas from ever being together. But even though everyone thinks Bianca has given up on him and embraced her destiny of becoming a vampire, she's found a way to communicate with him. But when Evernight is attacked, she discovers that she's not the only one who's been keeping secrets, and her world is turned upside down.

The much awaited 2nd book in the Evernight series which if possible is better than the first book ...... The third book comes out in December in the USA so I may have to ask some of my American friends very nicely to get me a copy when it comes out !!!

Since everyone loves Twilight and looking for another series to read ... This is it ..... I read it in a day and loved it :) .... ( And not just because the cover is purple my favourite colour ) ...

Bianca is back a the Evernight Academy trying to figure out why humans are admitted to the school !!! ....... She is still in love with Lucas but things prove difficult when your boyfriend is a member of the Black Cross ( Vampire Hunters ) ........ Bianca finds herself changing more and more each day into a Vampire !!!!! .... When strange things start to happen at the Academy ... Maybe all those ghost stories ours parents told us about are actually true !!!

Again if you love your fantasy, Vampire books then this series is for you :) I just have to hang out now for book 3 !!!!

I rate this book 5 *****

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (65/81)

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has forged unlikely and unsuspected new alliances both with the headstrong Felicity and timid Ann, Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden, and the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test those bonds. As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take. Pulled forward by fate, the destiny Gemma faces threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?

Again a gorgeous cover ...... I really enjoyed this series .... This book is the last in the series and although it is a chunky book 814 pages worth it is great !!!

I love Libba's style of writing ...... The novel flows really well and the sense of humour is great !!!

Now that Gemma has bonded the magic to solely herself everyone is after her to gain some power !!! ..... But whom can she trust !!!! ...... She has got to make friends in the realms but everyone seems to have an agenda ...... With the new wing at Spence Academy getting rebuild all new surprises start to unfold ........ Can she save the people around her and still keep control of the magic !!! ........... And will she be able to concentrate on her school work and be the belle of the Ball to win the boy that she loves !!

This is a great wee series for any young teen ........ There are no vampires in this book but lots of other creatures to keep you hooked !!! .......

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (64/81)

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

Well is it possible that you will love the 2nd installment of this series more than the first .... Heck Yes in this case !!! ........ It is a great wee series !! .......

With the loss of their beloved friend Pippa the 'Order' are searching for answers ... Order has to be restored to the realms and new friendships are made ... Who can Gemma trust?

Is Kartik actually a friend or a foe? ......... And will Gemma open her heart to let a dashing young man sweep her off her feet? .......

This book is bigger than the first one but I devoured it in a day .... I couldn't stop myself from reading !!! ..... It does remind me alittle bit of Harry Potter in a few area's ...... But the good thing about it is we have a female heroine which is great !!!

Cannot wait to read the next one ...... I love Libba's style of writing and find myself LOL at some of her comments .... I am lovin the covers and lovin the story inside :) ....... I am one happy reader at the moment :) .......

I rate this book 5 *****

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (63/81)

It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

Well it is official I think I have found another series that I love .... I have been wanting this series for a while now and so armed with only telling myself that I could buy one book at the bookstore I lifted this one .... When I went to pay for it I had $10.00 off and then the assistant said 'oh that is on special today you get the next book for free' So I went the full hog and purchased the third book as well .... So all in all I got the 3 books for the price of one ..... Happy Days .... Anyway back to the book ...

I love the character of Gemma Doyle she is smart, funny and daring .... She is a great leading lady in this story .... With the lost of her mother she is send back to London to Spence Academy to be trained as a Lady .... What she doesn't expect is finding out who she is and secrets about her family that threaten her life today .... Love, Love love it .........

It is set in 1895 so not only do we have mystery and magic we also have a period setting as well ... There are gypsies ....... A handsome young man who is swore to protect Gemma ...
A big haunted Mansion ......... Being able to travel to a different world ..... The abiltity to have all your dreams come true .... Beautiful clothes ..... And a very stern Headmistress .......

Come on .... what more could you want ......... Go out and buy the book .........

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Visibles, 22/81

This novel examines a girl's attempts to come to terms with parental abandonment. By thirteen Summer Davis's mother had run off without a trace, and her father was descending into serious mental illness. Summer quickly becomes the adult in a family spiralling out of control. There's not much that I found surprising or unusual about the plot of this book. It is, in fact, quite predictable. Summer's troubled parents shape ways in which she approaches school, career, and relationships. The plot proceeds just as one might expect. The twist Shepard adds to this particular story is Summer's fascination with DNA. She is first introduced to the concept soon after her mother leaves, and Summer spends much of her young adult life pondering the nature vs. nurture debate in light of her particular situation. I found this theme to be contrived, however, as it is only loosely woven into the narrative, and it added little value and effect to the plot. While I found Shepard to be a good writer, I wished the book had been more imaginative.

Sara Shepard, The Visibles (Free Press, 2009) ISBN: 1416597360

Category: Published in 2009 3/9, 22/81

Olive Kitteredge, 21/81

What a character- Olive Kitteredge is loud, bossy, and decisive. In her old age she swears and complains. Strong-headed, but with her own sort of compassion, Oliver is an institution in her small Maine town. This novel, told in a series of stories, details the lives of Olive, her family, and those around her in Crosby, Maine. The great strength in this book is in its central character. I've never seen another character quite like Olive. From the blurb on the back I was expecting a sort of stock, cantankerous old lady, but that's not Olive. It's hard not to love and loathe Olive at the same time. Through this book we see how the exigencies of life can chip away at as solid a vessel as Olive Kitteredge, and that's both disturbing and reassuring at the same time.

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteredge, (Random House, 2008) ISBN: 0812971833
Category: Award Winners (Pulitzer, 2008) 2/9, 21/81

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Devouring by Simon Holt 1/81

Hi all! My first book review for the site! Woo Hoo! I hope I did this right. =D Please enjoy!

When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims.

Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour own her fears before they devour her?

Bone-chilling, terrifying, thrilling...what are you waiting for?

The Devouring by Simon Holt is book one of an ongoing series. It is about the Vours, demonic beings who inhabit the bodies of children who are wracked with fear on Sorry Night or the eve of the Winter Solstice, the only night of the year where they can come from their plain of existence into ours where they then will live out the rest of their lives of the human they inhabit.

This book was totally AWESOME! I literally picked it up and didn’t put it down until the last page.

The main character Reggie is a horror enthusiast with her best friend Aaron, and comes across a journal that is just the right kind of creepy they like. She reads it to her little brother, Henry, as a bedtime story, but he scares easily. The journal, which she assumed was just a story, scares Henry badly. What she does not realize that reading that to her little brother starts her (with help from her friend Aaron) on a journey of self-discovery as well as helps her see that things are not as they appear.

Simon Holt brings to the plate the different themes of abandonment throughout the story, as well as the love a sister has for a brother and betrayal.

This book is highly recommended and if we’re rating books, then I’d give this a 5. It is for pure enjoyment of some damn fine story telling, getting a tad bit scared and rooting for Reggie as she does what she needs to do to get the job done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Dragon's Village, 81/81, 2nd round, LAST BOOK!

The Dragon's Village by Yuan-Tsun Chen, global reading category

Ling Ling lives a life of privilege in China. She lives with her aunt and uncle, who throw parties for the wealthy and powerful set. All around them, they hear that the good life is coming to an end for people like them, that Communism is sweeping the country, and that things will never be the same.

Ling Ling gets swept up into the excitement. When a friend from school asks if she can hide from the police for the night, she says yes, and suddenly she's questioning her upbringing and beliefs. Her aunt flees to Hong Kong, but her uncle tries to stay put a little longer. Soon he must leave too, and Ling Ling decides to stay and see what will become of this new nation.

She joins a group of land reform workers, whose job is to go out into the country, examine the land deeds of the landlords, and redistribute the land. Landlords will lose their wealth and status, and the peasants will be empowered.

Except that things aren't quite that simple. Reading this book, I have the benefit of hindsight. I could tell how naive Ling Ling is, how little she really knows of farming or of poverty, how little she understands human nature. All too soon, she finds that things are much more complicated than she imagines. There are tragedies along with occasional triumphs. Ling Ling learns more about herself than she imagined, and finds that she is capable of being independent.

I really enjoyed this book. I was anticipating a tragic end, but I was pleased to see that that wasn't the case, at least not completely. I found myself wanting to read more, to see what happens to the villagers Ling Ling meets and befriends. The title calls this an 'autobiographical novel', and I would love to know more about the author. The only notes in my edition say that the author was also a land reform worker, and I really want to know how much of her experiences are reflected in the book. I would recommend this to anyone who could find a copy. I found it very enlightening and a good story besides.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ironside by Holly Black (62/81)

"In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing--her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

This is the second part of the Holly Black Series 'A Modern Faerie Tale' .......... There is way less language in this book than in the first which is good ........ But be warned there is some quite graphic violence scenes ....

I have to say I enjoyed this book better than the first ... Kaye has figured out that she is a Pixie and is trying to figure out her place in Fairyland ... And her boyfriend is now getting crowned King of Unseelie Court ....... Things seem to be looking up ....... But not for long ........

The Queen of the Seelie Court is out for blood and Kaye seems to find herself stuck in the middle again .....

Again like the first novel Tithe I would say this book is for the older Teen as a few parts of it is quite Dark .......

If you are looking for a more edgy Faeire Tale with lots of gore and where the Faeires are more likely to kill you then grand you wishes then this series is for you !!!

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

P.S .... Valient is the also part of this series but is set before this book ........... He tells the story of the brothers Luis and Dave who are introduced in this novel .... My advise read Tithe, Ironside then Valiant ..

Tithe by Holly Black (61/81)

Do you believe in faeries? Not the soft, gentle kind, but the sinister, feral kind - the ones that wreak havoc on everything in their path... As a small child Kaye used to talk to faeries. Now at sixteen she is fierce and independent, travelling from city to city with her mother's rock band, until an ominous attack forces them to return to her childhood home and friends. Once there, Kaye discovers that her childhood memories were real and she is drawn into a secret faerie world by an attraction that she is unable to fight. Finding herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient and violent power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms, Kaye agrees to go along with a plan to disrupt the human sacrifice that binds her faerie friends to their unkind masters. But not everyone has been telling her the truth and she is soon in grave danger...

I think this cover that I have is the UK version which is pretty ........ I have had this series sitting on my book shelf for a while now and finally getting around to reading them ... Holly Black is better known for writing the Spiderwick Chroncles but this is her 3 part series on Faeries ..

OK let me start by saying the beginning of the story is not really what I was expecting ... I have been reading alot of teen books recently but I would class this book as more like an adult book then a teen book ... Mainly because of the language ......... Gosh there is alot of bad language in the first 60 pages to which I was actually going to give up reading the rest of the book ....... But it does calm down and then the real story begins ......

It is an interesting concept of Faeries being not so the nice Faeries that we have been led to believe ... I feel that this book really is more so setting up the characters for the rest of the series ...

Who can Kaye trust? ......... It meant just surprise you !!! ........

I rate this book 3 ***

WARNING: I would have rated it higher expect for the language there was way to much of it that alot of people would not continue reading the novel which is a shame .... There is some violence also in the book which at some cases can be graphic ..... Definitely an older adult read not a young teen which it is marketed for ......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Evermore by Alyson Noel ( 60/81)

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

Ok ... what is with series at the moment .... Not that I am not lovin it ... But it does kind of suck if you find one you really like and you have to wait for the rest of the series .... Luckily for me the second installment is due this month 'Blue Moon' ........ Hurray not that long to wait ...

Well like I said this is the first book in the series of 'The Immortals' and I loved it ... It is an easy read and finished in a couple of days ..... Mainly because I spend most the night reading it ...... lol ...

The main Character of Ever is great ....... After the tragic accident of her parents and little sister dying ... Ever moves in with her Aunt and tries to fit into a school ....... The only difference is that after the accident Ever is not the same ........ She can see Dead people and read thoughts .... But then a drop dead gorgeous guy enters the scene who she cannot read .........

This book is a Teen book probably 14 upwards ...... There is maybe 1 swear word in the whole book ....

But I have to say I have been reading alot of fantasy books of late and this is a new twist to those !!!! ......... Reminded me abit of Highlander ........

I love this book and itching for the next one .......

I rate this book 41/2 ****

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (59/81)

It's a novel set in the post-war years in England, specifically the England of the formerly powerful Big House gentry.

Sarah Waters tells the story of the Ayreses, Mrs Ayres and two of her grown children, brother Rod and sister Caroline. Into their lives walks Dr Faraday to attend to the sick maid. It's a mystery story about the difficulties of working out whether people have really seen ghosts in the old house, or is it just that they are all going mad?

Look at the differences with the covers .... One is a lovely cover with the Big House namely 'Hundreds' and the other one which I have is the awful one with the big writing and red background. It looks like it is a throwback from the 70's .... Come on people you know which one I would buy off the shelf if I had the choice ....

Firstly I would say that I really like the way Sarah Waters writes ... It is an easy book to read and she describes the surroundings beautifully ..... You honestly do feel that you are there in the house .... I did feel sad reading about the house and its decline ... With living next to a stately home for years and visiting it often it is very sad to see something of great beauty crumble away ..... Although the name of this book is 'The Little Stranger' I felt that it was more based on the house namely 'Hundreds' ...

I was abit disappointed with the ending of the book and felt that it really didn't resolve what was actually happening in the home ... But it will make a good book club discussion to see what other people think was going on ...

I would be interested in reading some more of Sarah Waters books and watching some of the BBC productions ... and I feel that this novel would make a good movie ... I am rating this 3 1/2 stars mainly because I quite enjoyed it and the writing was lovely but there was nothing in the story line that really grapped me ...

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison (58/81)

In the kingdom of Kendel, anyone caught talking with the animals or practicing animal magic is put to death, so Prince George learns early on to deny that part of his identity. He does everything for the sake of the kingdom, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage with Princess Beatrice from the neighboring kingdom of Sarrey. But Beatrice has a striking and unusual relationship with her hound, Marit, and George finds himself drawn to the pair, and to that part of himself that he has ignored for too long. He is faced with many decisions, including how to help his dying father, and how to free Beatrice and her hound.

This is a beautiful cover and a book that I had to order from the States because it is not widely available here. I had decided to expand my reading material to cover some LDS writers which write fiction.

The opening chapter is absorbing and I was really looking forward to reading a lovely fairy tale. But I have to say that I found it sometimes confusing and jumping around a little bit ... The characters are good and the story line is also intriguing but it is just missing something ...

This novel is suitable for a younger reader but it just wasn't the fairy tale story that I was hoping for ... but the message from this tale is good " Love can overcome all"

I rate this novel 3 ***

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Companion, 74/81 2nd Round

The Companion by Ann Granger, historical fiction category

Lizzie Martin arrives in London for the first time. As her cabdriver takes her to her new address, they pass a body covered with a shroud. The body turns out to belong to Madeline Hexham, whom Lizzie is replacing as paid companion. Lizzie can't help wondering about Madeline and who could have wanted her dead.

I enjoyed this one. There was some great background about coal mining and life among the working class. Lizzie and the police inspector, Ben Ross, were strong characters.

I have learned that this is the first in a series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

Heart of Darkness, 73/81 2nd Round

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, reread category

Well, I hate to do it, but I'm taking the rating down to 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not sure why, but this time around, Joseph Conrad did not manage to induce the same level of fascination as he did the first couple of times I read this book. Maybe because the last time I read it was for a class, where we got to discuss it so much.

It's the story of Marlow, the classic man of the sea, and his trip down the river Congo to find Kurtz, the company man said to have native. But instead of being drawn into the story, this time I felt like Conrad was deliberately keeping the reader at arms' length. Marlow is telling the story, and an unnamed male listener is telling the reader what Marlow says. Then Marlow tells the listener who tells us what Marlow says somebody else says. Still with me?

Maybe the point of all those layers was to make the reader question the story a little more, to ask one's self how much you really know about someone else if all you know is what they say.

Anyway, it was good to read it again, but not as great as I remembered. I'm not sure why, but it must be a change inside me, because I *LOVED* this book back in college.