Monday, February 23, 2009

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.
Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

I read this book quite awhile ago, before I started this blog. I have been wanting to do a review, but of course the longer I wait the harder it is for me to review a novel because the story is not fresh in my mind. Also, I find the more I love a book the harder it is for me to review. All I want to do is gush, saying how awesome it is and how everyone should buy it. This is how I feel about City Of Bones. The story was extremely fast paced, moving along like a speeding train, carrying the reader along and plunging them into the story. There were times where I felt I was being overloaded with information, but in a good way as the story was so richly layered and so meticulously plotted. It was just so good.
I adored all of the characters. Each one offers something extremely different than the last, and I found myself with a 'crush' on more than one. I found myself frustrated and annoyed with someone in one chapter, and with a softspot in my heart for them in the next.
The story has more than one major plot twist, causing me to race forward eagerly to find out what happened next. I definitely can't wait to finish the series. I have more than one question that I'm dying to have answered!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Private by Kate Brian

Tradition, Honor, Excellence...and secrets so dark they're almost invisible
Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy -- the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she's on the outside, looking in.

Until she meets the Billings Girls.

They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.

Reed uses every part of herself -- the good, the bad, the beautiful -- to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they'll do anything to keep their secrets private. (

The girls I work with have been trying to get me to read this series for a while now and I've been putting it off because it just didn't catch my interest. That, and I accidentally came across some major spoilers and thought there really wasn't any point in reading a series when I already knew such major plot twists. However when one of my coworkers brought the first four books into the office and set them on the counter in front of me I thought, why not?

The first book is intruiging. You are thrown immediately into the plot and experience Easton Academy as Reed does, with fresh and curious eyes. You can see the appeal of the Billings Girls, and want to find out just why they are so powerful and why living at Billings House is so sought after by so many. I really wanted to know how Reed would fare in her new surroundings and how she would work her way into the glamorous social scene.

The more I read of the Billings Girls, the more I disliked them. I became frustrated with Reed many times, wondering just why she put up with their bullying and cruelty. I am a fan of books with strong lead roles and was really annoyed that Reed just seemed so weak. To put up with such torture simply to gain popularity and material things like designer clothes? I just didn't get it.

Despite these little annoyances I still enjoyed the book enough to finish it and start the second installment immediately. I have a feeling as we meet more characters and more of the story is unveiled, Reed will grow in character and strength and develop goals and a life other than tending to the Billings girls' every whim. As a reader, I want to see Reed become more independent, confident, and succeed on her own.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her.

Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie's enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year.

This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her.

Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance.

Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader. (

WOW. I am absolutely in love with this novel. When I saw the cover months ago I knew I had to have it, and I read great reviews, but I tried not to expect too much going in. I had such high expectations that I was afraid I might be disappointed. I wasn't. This book was amazing. I was pulled into the story from the moment I started reading. I adored all of the characters and became lost in the rich description and storytelling. I really enjoyed the connection with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and loved the whole theatre aspect. It really made me miss my high school drama club days!

Is it possible for a novel to be pretty? Because pretty is definitely a word that comes to mind when I think of Wondrous Strange. The author described the scenes and characters in such a way that I felt as if I was seeing them before me. The novel was as strangely and terribly beautiful as the fae that Livingston described in her story.

I am so glad this book is only the first in a series, because I am certainly thirsting for more! I believe you will be as well, so please pick up this book. If you're disappointed, I will be shocked.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book of Choice Giveaway from Laura's Review Bookshelf

Laura is giving away a book of choice over at her blog, to enter just recruit someone to follow her. What a great contest!


Sleepless By Terri Clark

I can't go to sleep!!! And not because of the cute boy lying next to me. There's a killer stalking me in my dreams. And if it's up to him . . . I'll never wake up. I have to find a way to get him, before he gets me.

Trinity is an 18 year old girl from South Beach who finds herself with the ability to 'dream walk', right into other peoples dreams. She considers this ability to be a curse, as she ends up knowing the deep dark secrets and private thoughts of those around her. Things really turn into a nightmare when she is unable to rescue a kidnapped classmate who makes a plea for help in one of Trinity's dreams. Soon, the kidnapper escapes a mental institution and the only place he can be found is within Trinity's dreams. It seems he has developed a dream walking ability of his own, and uses it to threaten Trinity and those she loves.

I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Previous reviews have mentioned that the cover can be misleading and I agree wholeheartedly. Sleepless pulls you into the story rather quickly and is a fast and fun read. I enjoyed the story and thought the idea of dream walking was unique and interesting. The book carries you a long at a steady pace and before you know it you're wrapped up in the climax of the story. I liked Trinity's character and her developing relationship with Dan, but I found myself wishing it had more time to develop.

I would definitely reccomend this book if you are looking for a quick and entertaining read, and would like to pick up more from Clark in the future.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale.

This book was my first real introduction to modern day faeries, and what an introduction it was. I devoured this book! Marr's description of the faeries had me feeling as if I myself could see them. The world was complex and I loved that she included so many different types of faeries, each having a different look, personality and history. I loved the sharp contrast between the Winter Queen and Winter Girl and the Summer King and Summer Girls...the descriptions of the biting, icy cold breath of the Winter Queen gave me chills.

I found myself being more drawn to Keenan and Donia while reading this book, as opposed to Aislinn who is the main character. Perhaps it is because they are each so full of angst and have a complicated and tortured history. It made me really care about what was going to happen to them, and eager for each one to have their 'shining moment.' As for Seth, I liked him but finished the novel feeling like I didn't really know him. I have a feeling we're going to learn a lot more in Fragile Eternity, however, and am anxiously awaiting its release!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

On the night of each full moon, the five Transylvanian sisters who reside in the castle Piscul Dracului don their finest gowns. They raise their hands to create shadows against the wall, opening a portal to the Other Kingdom, where they will dance the night away with all manner of fantastical creatures. After nine years of full moons spent in delightful revelry, dark forces, both human and otherworldly, arise to encroach upon the sisters' happiness. Told by Jena, the second oldest sister, this detailed and mood-rich story covers much territory, both mundane and magical. Adult fantasy writer Marillier has uniquely reimagined and blended an assortment of well-known tales and characters--including fairies, dwarves, witches, vampires, and a frog who is more than he seems--into a compelling whole in her first book for teens. By the end, all are cleverly bound together, and a mystery is solved. With much to say about human nature and choice, not unlike the moral in fairy tales of old, this will be a hit with older teen readers, especially girls. (Booklist)

I thought it would be fitting that my first review feature my favorite author. Words cannot justly express just how much I adore Juliet Marillier. I was first introduced to her when I found her Sevenwaters trilogy at a used bookstore. I fell in love. Never have I been so emotionally attached to characters in a novel. When I discovered she was to write a young adult novel I was beyond elated.

Wildwood Dancing has everything I love in a novel: strong characters, romance, magic, adventure, and is rich with detail. The world that Marillier creates is so richly woven that I became more lost within it with every page I turned. Her characters and plot are so completely engrossing that I stayed up well past midnight in order to find out what happened next, full of suspicions and making guesses, eager to see if I was right. This was a book that had my heart pounding in some places, and tears streaming in others.

In the end, I was happy with the story but sad to see the characters go. I wanted more. Finishing a Marillier novel is like parting with very dear friends, or leaving home.

Please read this novel! I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Happy Reading :o)