Saturday, September 22, 2012
"Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever ... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities."
Friday, September 21, 2012
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy,
Genre: YA Fiction, YA Paranormal
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Source: Review copy from publisher
“Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.”
Unspoken is the first book in the new series The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Kami Glass is known in her little town of Sorry-in-the-Vale as a little bit eccentric and a maybe not to right in the head girl. Since Kami can remember she has had an invisible friend in her head, a boy who she can talk to, who always has been there for her and knows her most intimate secrets. Kami considers him (Jared) her best friend and number one confident.
Kami’s life is about to change forever. The most infamous family in Sorry-in-the-Vale, The Lynburn family, has returned to town, and with their arrival strange occurrences start to happen in the town that once was a calm and peaceful place. But the biggest change in Kami’s life is the discovery that her imaginary friend wasn’t as imaginary as she thought, Jared is a flesh and bone boy that is in town to stay.
I love when books surprise me an Unspoken did just that. Unspoken was nothing of what I was expecting, it was a lot more and all in a good sense.
I loved to read a YA book in which the heroine is strong, smart and doesn’t need a boy to move her universe. Kami is like that and more, she is also witty, caring and with a sense of humor that will have you laughing out loud and wishing you had had a friend like her in school. Kami knows she is different but that doesn’t deter her to be the best she can be, she has friends, she has fun, she is a good student, she runs the school’s newspaper, Kami lives her life to the fullest and is proud of who she is. I wish many more heroines in this genre were like her.
Jared uses a bad boy disguise as a protective shell; that works with everybody else but not with Kami. He knows Kami’s most intimate secrets but she also knows his, he cannot fool her. Jared has had a hard life; growing up with an abusive father and a disinterested mother wasn’t easy, his only real constant in his life has been Kami. But as with Kami Jared also didn’t know she was real.
Kami and Jared relationship is very complex; from the cradle they have shared every single moment of their lives, they know each other better than everybody else and there is no secret between them. That is easy say and done when they other person is in your head and you think is just an imaginary friend, one that has always been there for you. But when suddenly that person is real things are not as easy or as comfortable as they were in your head. A relationship that was easy going and comforting becomes intolerable and intrusive. Getting to terms with these new events is not easy for Kami and Jared, also it’s very hard to know if what they feel for the other person is real or is simply a reflection of the other person’s feeling.
The secondary characters in Unspoken shine with their own light; they are not fillers but important parts in the story. They are so well developed that you can only like them and want to know more about them all.
Kami’s friends Angela and Holly are very different from Kami and from each other, but at the same time they complement each other perfectly. They also bring diversity and conflict to the story.
Another thing I really liked about Unspoken is the important role Kami’s family plays in her life; she has a good relationship with her parents and they are involved in her life. They are not obtrusive, but they are there for her. Her father was to die for. I loved how he was able to impart his fatherly opinion in a way that was always humorous and respectful.
The mystery had me guessing until the end. There were some things I guess right and others that really surprised me. The plot is well developed and well paced; I can honestly say I was glued to the pages from beginning to end.
The setting is gothic and magical without being overly dark, but with a perfect balance to make it unique and completely original.
Sarah Rees Brennan writing is spotless and the characters personalization and development is one of the best I’ve seen in a YA book.
The end of the book is a cliffhanger of sorts, it’s not a throw-the-book-to-the-wall cliffhanger but one that will leave you a little big heartbroken and eagerly awaiting for the next book of the series to be release next year. Next year!! *sighs*
Unspoken was my first book by Sarah Rees Brennan but I can’t guarantee you it won’t be my last. I’ll be stalking the bookstores for the next installment of this series.
I recommend Unspoken to all YA lovers or to whoever wants to read a book with smooth and fluid writing, a unique setting, well-developed characters, and a good dose of mystery and humor.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Stars
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Title: Hanging by a Thread
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Genre: YA Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Source: Review copy from publisher
“The quaint little beach town of Winston, California, may be full of wholesome townsfolk, picturesque beaches, and laid back charm, but Clare Knight is about to uncover something underneath its thriving demeanor. Someone is hiding something, and it’s as gruesome as the townsfolk, and their stately homes, are stunning. Amanda Stavros, fellow classmate and resident of Winston, is gone and there’s no sign of her ever coming back. Everyone says she was taken and murdered, but where’s the evidence? Why isn’t there a single ounce of proof? And why is everyone okay with this, except for Clare?
Luckily—or as it’s been turning out, unluckily—Clare possesses a gift, an ability to see visions from the clothes she works with. And since her clothes come solely from the townsfolk, Clare has become privy to some startling and disturbing memories of these townspeople. Will she uncover who killed Amanda Stavros? Or is she just moving herself up in line to be the next victim of Winston?”
After couple of years of living in San Francisco Clare and her mother have moved back to their hometown, Winston, CA.
With the help of her childhood friend, Rachel, Clare is using the summer to meet new friends and trying to fit in before school starts.
Rachel and Clare have a business together; Clare designs and manufactures clothes using vintage items and old pieces bought in garage sales and flea markets and Rachel using her status as the “in” girl in town sells them to friends and neighbors.
What many people don’t know about Clare is that she has inherited from her grandmother the “gift” of psychometry, clothes and pieces of fabric “talk” to her. While touching them she can feel and experience strong emotions or see glimpses of important events that happened to the owner while she/he was wearing it.
Everything is going well for Clare until the day she buys a parcel of clothes than includes a torn and dirty designer jean jacket. After touching it Clare experienced the last moments of Amanda Stavros, the girl that disappeared a year before in Winston, the one the town think was the second victim of what they called the fourth of July serial killer. The first victim was a young kid called Dillon Granger.
Now Clare has two options, forget about what she saw or try to investigate what was what really happened to Amanda? Whatever she decides to do she must do it while trying to fit it, pretend to be normal and trying not to fall for Jack, the town’s bad boy with a reputation and a past that support the notoriety.
I loved Sophie Littlefield Afterlife Series and really wanted to love this, her latest book, Hanging by a Thread, but I couldn’t. Don’t take me wrong, I liked it, not as much as I was expecting to like it but I did, but, yes, there is a “but” in here… I had some problems with it. My main issue was that is was too descriptive about Clare’s craft, to the point that it became tedious and I had to skim over the parts when stitches and patterns were mention in the book.
I liked Clare, it was easy to connect with her; she felt real and acted according to her age. I can only speculate how difficult is must be to have her gift and make the decisions she made. Sometimes I didn’t like how she behave with her mom and her grandmother, but that was more my adult perspective than anything else, her behavior was according to her age without being childish or spoiled. Her actions and troubles were those of a teenager girl.
Jack is a character we don’t know much about until the end, he is kind of mysterious; he has a bad image and does nothing to change it. You need to know him better to realize that behind the bad boy façade there is a broken boy, one that has suffered a lot and also cares and feels deeply.
Their insta-attaction was a bit too much, on the beginning there was nothing to say why they liked each other, just one conversation about nothing in particular and they are crazy about each other. I would have preferred if it wouldn't have been an insta-attraction but something more realistic, something that took time and trust to build. After they spend more time together it was easy to see there was a connection, but is was a bit too late.
The secondary characters are all different but they all provided something valuable to the story. The best friend, Rachel, with the “in” status in society, who in reality is hiding many secrets and is almost pretending to be somebody she isn’t.
The hard working mother that has forgotten about who she was and lives only to work and to provide for her daughter and now is a shade of her old self.
The grandmother who doesn’t care what other people think of her but who is also hiding a secret that breaks her heart and doesn’t let her be happy.
Even though from early on I guessed the mystery behind the disappearances I can honestly say that it was well done and had me doubting my guess a little bit towards the end.
As with previous books of Mrs. Littlefield the writing is fluid, the plot is well paced, the character are strong and well developed. There is no doubt that she is a talented writer.
I recommend Hanging by a Thread to YA readers, especially if they are into fashion.
My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Title: Seven Years to Sin
Author: Sylvia Day
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
“The longer the resistance...
Seven years ago, on the eve of her wedding, proper Lady Jessica Sheffield witnessed a licentious scene no innocent young miss could imagine. Shocked, yet strangely titillated, she'd held her silence regarding scandalous Alistair Caulfield, and walked down the aisle as expected. But through years of serene, unremarkable marriage, Caulfield's image remained burned into her imagination, fueling very illicit dreams. . .
...the sweeter the reward
Alistair ran far from the temptation of the prim debutante with the fire of passion in her eyes all the way to the West Indies. As a successful merchant, he has little in common with the rakehell youth she knew. But when newly widowed Jessica steps aboard his ship for a transatlantic passage, seven years' worth of denied pleasures are held in check by nothing more than a few layers of silk and the certainty that surrender will consume them both . . .”
The above blurb explains really well what Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day is about.
Lady Jessica’s father was a violent man who wanted a perfect daughter; by force and punishment he made Jessica a perfect lady of the Ton. She followed her father’s orders to the tee until her marriage to Viscount Tarley.
The book starts the day before Lady Jessica is to marry Viscount Tarley; during that short chapter we get to meet him and realize he is a good man who loves and values Jessica. The next chapter moves seven years in the future, Jessica is a now widow and is trying to get her bearings in her new life.
One of the things I really liked about Seven Years to Sin was that Jessica’s first husband was a good man who loved her and respected her; sadly he died but he always thought about her and her future, considering this, he left Jessica a property in Jamaica, he did it to secure her future as an independent woman. I liked that Mrs. Day didn’t feel the need to make him a bad man; it was nice for a change.
Jessica has always hid behind the façade of propriety and has never “let her hair down”, until her reencounter with Alistair. Now she is alone with him on a ship to the West Indies, far from her family and society’s prejudices; it’s her time to feel and experience what she has repressed for years… and feel she did!
Alistair is another one that hasn’t had an easy life. As the fourth son of a Duke there is not much expected from him by his family or by society; if that wasn’t enough his father can’t stand him and has made his life a living hell. Everything Alistair has he has earned with lots of sacrifices and without anybody’s help.
Jessica and Alistair are two tortured souls that find solace in each other. But they not only find understanding and acceptance; they also find sparks that can ignite the pages. There have been an attraction between them since the first time they saw each other, before Jessica was married and Alistair was barely a man, an attraction they never acted upon, until now that Jessica is free again and Alistair has something to offer her.
They relationship felt real because of the connection and attraction they shared but still it felt like Jessica accepted Alistair advances a little too fast.
The steamy scenes were hot, hot, hot… but Alistair was sometimes a little too crude for my taste.
Another thing I had a little problem with was that great part of the story happened during their trip to the West Indies. That part was a bit too long for me, the setting was getting boring to the point that I would have preferred for them to arrived to land sooner, to a new and different setting.
There is a side story about Jessica’s sister Hester, I don’t always like secondary stories but in this case it works. I thought it provided a better understanding of the abuse Jessica and Hester were submitted by their father, it also provided a more realistic understanding of the times, in which a wife is the husband’s property and he can do with her as he pleases.
If you like your historical romance so hot that it’ll burn your pages Seven Years to Sin is a book you need to read.
I’m looking forward to read more books by Mrs. Day.
My Verdict: 4 Stars