Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Pages: 432
Source: ARC
ISBN-10:    0062272713
Rating: 4 Hearts

Book Description

"The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic


Short and Sweet:

This was a really adorable and surprisingly deep read.  

To Elaborate... 

When I first saw this, I feel completely in love with the cover. After reading, I love it even more because it fits the story PERFECTLY. It's cute, it's different, and just a little dark. The premise is kind of mixture (as I think the above description says) of Frankenstein and a fairy tale. It actually reminds me just a bit of the beginning of the movie Maleficent (which is so freaking awesome, go watch it) when Maleficent is a little girl. I imagine if their worlds had collided, they might have had similar feelings.

Most of the time, I really loved this story. The writing is great, and I love the world building. It's not over the top complex, but it packs so much hidden meaning and beauty in it that I was in awe in a lot of parts. However, sometimes the story drags a bit. It wasn't horribly slow or anything like that, but I figured out one of the twists pretty early on, and it felt like it took the main character a whileeee to figure it out (but granted, it wasn't entirely in  her control, so I can't really fault her there).

The ending disappointed me just a little. It fit the story well, and it's not like it came from nowhere, but I still feel like some issues were unresolved. I think this especially is just a weird me-feeling; I can see others not agreeing with me at all, and that's totally cool! It definitely didn't make me regret reading the story or anything (I would happily reread this and probably will). 

Overall, if you're looking for a fantastic and cute middle grade with a great world, I'd recommend picking this one up!     

4 Hearts!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WOW: When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling 
Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine :)

I can't wait to read:

When My Heart Was Wicked

When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Book Description

"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.

But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good.

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?

Why I'm Waiting:

So, Scholastic is one of those publishing houses that I have a mega crush on (you know what I mean, right?). I love their books; I grew up with their book fairs. I think they are just all around awesome. When I saw this book, I knew I needed to add it to my wishlist immediately. I love the cover, and a premise involving science, magic, and family drama? Yes, please! 


What book are you 'waiting' to read?

Leave me a link to your WOW so I can stop by! :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: A Plague of Unicorns by Jane Yolen

  A Plague of Unicorns
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher:  ZonderKidz
Pages: 192
Source: copy from publisher via Book Look Bloggers in exchange for honest review (Thanks!)
ISBN-10:    0310746485
Rating: 3 Hearts

Book Description

"Young James, an earl s son, is a bit bothersome and always asking the oddest questions. In despair the last of James tutors having quit his mother sends him off to be educated at Cranford Abbey. She feels the strict regimen will do him a world of good. But Cranford Abbey has its own problems. It has been falling into disrepair. The newly appointed Abbot Aelian takes it upon himself to save the abbey with the use of his secret weapon: a recipe for golden apple cider passed down in his family for many generations. He believes that by making and selling the cider, the monks will raise necessary funds to restore the abbey to its former glory. Abbot Aelian has everything he needs almost. One obstacle stands in his way, unicorns that happen to feast specifically on the golden apples. Abbot Aelian and his men must fight off the unicorns to make the cider. He and the monks try to form a battalion to fight off the beasts; next they import heroes to fight for them. But the heroes run off, monks are injured, and a herd of ravenous unicorns continue munching. After no success, the abbot finally calls upon the most unlikely of heroes, one suggested by no other than young James. That hero is small and unprepossessing but possesses the skill to tame the beasts. Though wildly skeptical, Abbot Aelian must risk everything and believe in this recommended stranger or risk the fall of Cranford Abbey."


Short and Sweet:

I really loved the world of this story, but the action fell kind of flat by the end.  

To Elaborate... 

The monks and unicorns have an ongoing battle over the special golden apples. After countless causalities, they are at a standoff, with the monks trying to find heroes to battle the unicorns. When young future duke, James, is sent to the abbey, he thinks he may just have a solution. 

For the first part of this book, I was slowly falling in love. I loved the unique premise, the fairy-tale esque writing, and the way the world sucked you in. Plus, the illustrations are incredibly pretty. However, the story had moments where it kind of dragged. James doesn't actually come in until a good way into the story. Then after he does and he gets sent to the abbey, it felt like the action kept building to something awesome, and then it just fizzled out. It made it feel kind of flat when it started out so well. 

I think what I wanted most from this book was more details about the characters. James's sister was really awesome, but we didn't learn much about her. Even with the unicorns, there were hints of an interesting history there, but most of the history with them was focused on their past with the monks. 

Overall, I still really enjoyed reading this. I've been wanting to read a Jane Yolen book for a long time, and I will definitely be reading more of her. This one just wasn't a favorite.       

3 Hearts!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: In the Heart of the Dark Wood by Billy Coffey

  In the Heart of the Dark Wood
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher via BookLook Bloggers (thank you!!)
ISBN-10:    1401690092
Rating: DNF/ 1 star

Book Description

"A motherless girl hungry for hope . . . and the dream that could be leading her astray.

Almost two years have passed since twelve year-old Allie Granderson's beloved mother Mary disappeared into the wild tornado winds. Her body has never been found. God may have spilled out his vengeance on all of Mattingly that day--but it was Allie's momma who got swept away.

Allie clings to memories of her mother, just as she clings to the broken compass she left behind, the makeshift Nativity scene assembled in Allie's front yard, and to her best friend, Zach. But even with Zach at her side, the compass tied to her wrist, and the Nativity characters just a glimpse out the window, Allie cannot help but feel lost in all the growing up that must get done.

When the Holy Mother disappears from the yard one morning, Allie's bewilderment is checked only by the sudden movement of her mother's compass. Yet the compass isn't pointing north but east . . . into the inky forest on the outskirts of Mattingly.

Following the needle, Allie and Zach leave the city pavement behind and push into the line of trees edging on the Virginia hill country. For Allie, the journey is more than a ghost hunt: she is rejoining the mother she lost--and finding herself with each step deeper into the heart of the darkest woods she's ever seen.

Brimming with lyrical prose and unexpected discoveries, "In the Heart of the Dark Wood" illustrates the steep transition we all must undergo--the moment we shed our child-like selves and step into the strange territory of adulthood

DNF Thoughts/Review

*I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review*
Allie Granderson is still heartbroken over her mother's mysterious disappearance. Nothing has been the same since she left, especially Allie's father. When part of her family's nativity scene is taken, Allie wants to find where it went. The compass she keeps in memory of her mother starts moving, and Allie and her friend, Zach, decide to follow where it takes them. 

I really wanted to like this book. I love adult fiction that has a younger character as the protagonist. However, I didn't feel that Allie was a 12 year old at all. Most of the time she felt 8 or 9. Some issues felt really unrealistic, like the circumstances surrounding her getting her first period.  

 While I appreciated the Southern culture (being from the South myself), some parts seemed to be really stereotyped and cliched. I think I just disconnected with the book in a major way because of this and Allie, even though the premise sounded cool. 

I did like how real the author made the family situation feel. When a family is somehow gone (through disappearance, death, etc.), that has a big impact. The family dynamic is immediately shifted, and it usually leaves the members feeling uncertain/lost/hurt/etc. Allie and her dad are definitely a good example of how broken a family feels when part of the family is gone. 

Overall, I just didn't connect with this. I didn't like how certain aspects were portrayed, and it was getting too hard to push myself to keep reading. I'm sure this book would be great for a different reader, but it ultimately didn't work for me.       

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Reads I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To
 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

1.) Love and Other Unknown Variables-  I love the cover on this one, and I have a copy of it thankfully. I'll hopefully read this one soon, but it just got a little lost in the review stack for a bit last year.

 Love and Other Unknown Variables

2.) Sublime-Ditto the above!


3.)  The Infinite Sea- I love this series so much, and I need to get this one!!

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)

4.) Winterspell- As a retelling, this one is right up my alley, and I have a feeling I'll be ready to kick myself for not reading it sooner once I start it.


5.) The Queen of the Tearling- I love this cover, and I love the description. I think this is an Adult but with YA crossover appeal, but regardless, it's priced as Adult and that means more expensive. I've stared longingly at it, but it always seemed to come down to getting another book or putting one back if I decided to not get this one/get it.

 The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

6.) Ashes to Ashes- I absolutely adore this series, and I've been eager to read this series ender!! But it, like the other piles of non-review books, got pushed wayyy to the side. Hopefully that will change this year. :)

 Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn, #3)

7.) The Falconer- I actually had this one on its way to me, then the post office lost it. It was last tracked like 8 hours away from me, but I never got it or like 10 of the other books in that package (somewhat thankfully they were a box of review books, so at least I didn't lose any money, but I also never got to review them). Then, the same thing happened with another package of review books (though at a different 8 or so hours away last-tracked location) a few weeks after, and I became very disillusioned with the postal service for a while.

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

8.) The Princess in Black- I love Shannon Hale, and this just looks adorable. I just never got around to reading it.

The Princess in Black

9.) Atlantia- I really meant to read this one (and the price on Amazon was very tempting), but I always seemed to hesitate when buying it. I really didn't like how the Matched series ended, and maybe my subconscious is hesitant about falling for another series from the author and being disappointed in the end. That coupled with the lack of reviews I've seen for it, it just never got read. The premise is super intriguing though, so we'll see in 2015.



10.) The Winter People- I have a really weird love for stories that have winter in them (I had a big obsession with The Snow Queen when I was a kid, so maybe that's why), and I'm dying to read this one! It just hasn't happened yet.

The Winter People

What books did you mean to read last year but never got to?  Should I put any of these at the top of my 2015 to-read pile?


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