Friday, July 12, 2013

Full Blooded - Amanda Carlson

In A Nutshell:

  •  1 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • At best, werewolf fanatics also willing to pick up the sequel at the same time, on blind faith.

So, honesty time: I got this book because I read 'rare female werewolf' and assumed it was related to one of two other series I've read recently, neither of which I could remember the author of when I tried to think about it. One series, I now know, is Jennifer Lynn Barnes Trial by Fire series, which this book cover is really similar to--so I was a little surprised when they were not actually related. I'm still not sure how I feel about how similar they are, to be honest.

Full Blooded is the story of Jessica, who was born the only female child to werewolves that her family knows of. She's supposed to be a biological freak--and because of that, she's been plagued with a myth all her life that because she is so different, she's destined to destroy her Alpha father's werewolf pack. But everything is supposed to be okay, because she's been living under a fake identity and working as a detective--and it's not like she'll ever become a werewolf herself, because the ability to go wolf is found on the male chromosome. Except, Jessica is very, very special and she just had her first change.

I really wanted to like this book. I absolutely adore books about shifters of all kinds, and I also enjoy stories about independent women. Yet from the first first few pages, I found myself honestly a little disappointed. I found the beginning of the book very boring, honestly, and a little slow to read. I was almost tempted to give it up just when the pace started picking up and kept me reading--which was fantastic, because this book is actually a decent read once it picks up.


See, Full Blooded has another big flaw that kept me from being absorbed into the story, and that flaw would be the way that information is shared in this story. If you read a lot, you'll have noticed a lot of great ways that people manage to insert important information into the story. Stuff like believable conversations that inform a character as it informs the reader, just blending it into the story as needed, etc. Full Blooded has a TERRIBLE problem with this. The author attempts to utilize the conversation method, except the conversations basically consist of the main character explaining a huge thing all in one large someone who, according to the story, would definitely already know. It's jarring from a reader's standpoint, and makes it difficult to really experience the story.

The pacing itself is also crazy. Like I mentioned, the story is slow at the start, with lots of information being shared. After, it picks up...and then it rushes forward so fast that it's hard to keep up. Jessica magically finds her mate and is madly in love within what seems like hours. ...I'm actually pretty sure it IS hours. Suddenly everything is happening all at once, with little time for the reader to adjust and...well. It's just a little much.

But in all honesty, I could have gotten over all of these things easily, if it weren't for this one last thing that knocked the score from a 3.5 to a 1--this book does. not. end.

I don't mean that it drags on forever before it comes to a conclusion--I mean that this book literally doesn't have any sort of "ending" at all. There is not a single conclusion to be found in this entire book. There are literally dozens of ongoing plots, and not a single one of these plots comes to a head to give this book a reason for being. Instead, dozens of tiny plots and ideas are woven together in this book, set up, seem to reach their climax...and then the book literally just STOPS. NOTHING is explained. NOTHING is finished.

Speaking as a reader, that is bull. I understand wanting to write a series, I really do. I understand setting up for a sequel. I understand having ongoing plots throughout a series of books. Hell, Harry Potter went big with a series that has an overarching plot stretching seven books--and that was okay. The difference here is that a good book in a good series should have a single plot that reaches conclusion in that book, even if other plots continue on. This is not a complete story, this is not a complete book, and I'm going to be really honest: I got this book from netgalley, and I'm irritated. If I had purchased this book, I would be furious.

If you're a werewolf fanatic looking for an adult novel with some mystery hints, then this book might be worth looking into. But keep in mind that before it's worth the effort, you're going to need to ALSO purchase the sequel on blind faith--because there isn't a finished story in just one. That said, I haven't read the sequel, and am not likely to due to how much this one annoyed me, so I'm not even sure if that's true--for all I know, there isn't even a conclusion until a third book.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Confusion of Princes - Garth Nix

In A Nutshell:

  •  3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • fans of Ender's Game
    • -any- fan of sci-fi YA
So I've actually had this book on my shelf for a while now, and I've been reading it in chunks over the past few months. Yesterday I got around to just sitting down and finishing it while waiting for publisher responses on NetGalley.

A Confusion of Princes is the story of Khemri, one of countless "princes" of an intergalactic empire. Princes are taken as children from their parents from any planet in the empire, and made into princes over years of changes including biological alteration, memory implantation, and so much more. A prince is ridiculously enhanced in every possible way, and meant to dedicate themselves to the empire. Khemri has just finished being enhanced and was just released into the world. He wants to be the emperor more than anything--and the call for the next prince to be promoted is soon. But Khemri is learning that all the things he's been taught and forced to learn aren't as solid as he thought--and the world is much more dangerous for a prince than he ever could have imagined.

Let's start off with the good. I did enjoy reading A Confusion of Princes. To start off, Garth Nix creates a pretty amazing universe in this novel. I'm not usually a sci-fi fan to begin with, but I loved reading about the different creations that Nix came up with, from the automated troopers and biological ship repair bugs to the masterpiece that was the princes themselves. To be honest, if this book had been a bit more expanded in terms of exactly what sort of things the princes could do, and expanded more on the tech and that sort of thing, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.

Character development is a big thing in this book, since the development of Khemri is basically the entire point of the story. That said, though, there isn't really all that much depth in other characters. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, because a big part of the book is the fact that Khemri is as selfish and self obsessed as most children--which is basically what he starts out as. Since it's his point of view, it's not surprising that most of the people he meets don't matter enough to him to really register, with a few notable exceptions.

The plot itself, without going too much into detail, is interesting. Some of it is relatively predictable, but other parts completely threw me for a loop. It does flow well, and is definitely worth reading. That said, it's also a bit rushed--and the lack of explanation for a lot of the tech that is thrown at the reader makes the story sometimes confusing.

Overall, A Confusion of Princes isn't perfect, but it is definitely worth checking into, especially if you're a sci fi fan--and especially if you're looking for a YA hint! I'd even go so far as to say that it even felt a little bit like Ender's Game, which is one of my favorite books, so if you liked EG as much as I did, you should definitely give Confusion a chance.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sworn To Raise - Terah Edun

In A Nutshell:

  •  3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • fans of authors such as Tamora Pierce and Maria Synder
Part of getting back into the swing of things, for me, is hitting up NetGalley to look for some stuff to work on (something that I will forever recommend to anyone interested in trying to run a book blog). A great new feature they have up is the ability to search for books with automatic downloads, which means not having to wait for approval--and since I've been offline for a bit, this seemed like my best bet. Sworn to Raise was one of the first books in this category I found that wowed me.

Sworn to Raise is the story of a young girl, Ciardis, who grew up as a poor laundress. Her biggest claim to fame was a secret recipe for soap that didn't make red dye bleed from clothing and the hard calluses she'd built up from years of hard labor. Then, one day, a woman comes looking to buy Ciardis' recipe, and instead ends up inviting Ciardis to come join her and become a companion--lifting her out of poverty. Now Ciardis must train to become the best companion she can be, and to catch the attention of a wealthy patron.

I really, really liked Sworn to Raise. I initially grabbed it because I assumed it was a sort about something like courtesans, but I was really pleased when I realized that it's actually more about mages and magic! I couldn't tell you if companions actually are some sort of high class prostitute or mistress, actually, in addition to their magics, although there are indications in the book that companions often become wives and consorts. In fact, if the idea of Sworn to Raise turns you off because you're assuming the book is mostly about romance and trying to woo guys, you should actually give it more of a shot--Sworn to Raise is much more magical fantasy than anything else, with a setting and magical rules that would appeal to most fans of Tamora Pierce or Maria Synder!

In fact, my favorite part of this book was the exploration of magic and magical talents! In Sworn to Raise, mages specialize in one thing and one thing only--there are telepaths, mages who can amplify sound or other people's magics, and even magical copiers who can transfer their own learned abilities to others to borrow! I'm excited for the sequel just to see where else the magic system goes!

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this book. That isn't to say it's perfect--far from it. The writing style takes a little getting used to, the character development could use some work, and there are times that the story does feel a little bit rushed. But the story is very interesting, the universe is fascinating to read about, and I do feel like the good in the book outweighs the bad. I will certainly be looking forward to a sequel!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Golden Lily - Richelle Mead

In A Nutshell:
  •  4.75 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended for: 
    • fans of YA vampire lit looking for something different than the last twelve they read
    • fans of any of Mead's other YA books
    • anyone with an interest in urban paranormal YA

Knowing that I'd read Bloodlines and enjoyed Mead's work, a friend of mine threw this my way last Christmas. Sadly, I never seemed to have the time to get to it, until Zenita invited us to New York shortly after graduation for a book signing that Mead was going to be at. I reread Bloodlines the night before, and read Golden Lily on the ride up.

Golden Lily is a great sequel to Bloodlines, and continues the story of Sydney working to protect Jill in sunny Palm Springs while also balancing potential romance on all fronts, new secrets, and her own experiences with the belief system that she's been raised with.

I liked Golden Lily. Like most of Mead's books, the Bloodline series makes you want to keep reading, and there are so many plots that are subtly twisted into the books that I found myself wanting to reread bloodlines -again- just so I could look back and find all the hints for future plots that I didn't even think twice about the first time I read it!

Character development is one that that Golden Lily does -not- lack! I don't think there's a single decent character in this book who didn't change and progress over the course of this novel, and it's amazing how well Mead manages to juggle so many characters! Sydney especially is great to read about, because the belief system she's been raised into and places so much trust in is challenged almost constantly by the things she sees and does every day as she works with the Moroi, and Mead's portrayal of Sydney and her slowly morphing belief system is spectacularly believable!

One thing that I find myself hating in modern YA is the constant presence of a love triangle in almost every book I seem to put my hands on. Mead does not hesitate to place hints of this trope in her book--yet I still found myself wanting to read despite my minor annoyance as I noticed the slow formation of what seemed like one, which is very notable considering that I have been known to throw a book down if the romance becomes too excessive. I consider the fact that the romance in this book barely phased me to be a star for Mead. She is capable of doing what many other authors are not: including romance in a story without deriding the plot. I love her for it.

Overall, I enjoyed The Golden Lily a lot. I loved it so much, in fact, that I stole Zenita's copy of The Indigo Spell from her while we were waiting in line to see Mead at the signing, and managed to finish it before we got home that night! I'd definitely recommend The Golden Lily, and in fact, the entire Bloodlines series to anyone with an interest in urban paranormal YA, anyone who enjoyed Mead's other YA, and anyone who is interested in a book series about vampires that doesn't read like the hundred other vampire books flooding the market!

If any of those describe you, you should definitely look into picking up a copy the next time you're looking for something new to read!

"Sophie used Rejuvinate!" - Blog Overhaul!

Hey, guys!
Phew, it's been a while, but I hope you're happy to hear that I'm back! I have my first degree, I'm doing nothing but working this summer, and I head to my first choice transfer college in late August, where I'll hopefully have much more time to work on the blog now that I'm not being weighed down with the 2+ hours of transportation time, the six classes, and the frantic attempts to balance work with excessive amounts of homework!
My goal this summer is one post and one addition to the queue per week, so we'll see how everything turns out. I'm going to play around with some review types while I'm at it, so if some stuff changes, that's why. If you see something you like or dislike, let me know that I'll consider that in future reviews.
I'm going to go work on my reviews for this week in a few minutes, but first let me update you all on what's happening here on the blog! Last week I turned 20, making me question the blog name a bit. I'm considering if I want to do anything with it, but I may leave it as it stands--mentally, I'm probably still a teenager anyway, haha.
I did a quick refresh of the blog, redoing the theme and fixing up some things, so hopefully it's a bit nicer and more welcoming now. I've also created a companion blog for anyone interested in following on tumblr! If you want to follow me there, the url is
I'll be posting reviews to both blogs, and the tumblr is likely to also be scattered with random reblogs, pictures of books, etc. It's up to you.
I hope I don't let you all down!