Friday, January 30, 2015

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Storm Siren by Mary Weber is a fascinating story about a young lady who is also what is known as an Elemental. She is an oddity because Elementals are only supposed to be males. Her past haunts her and she is given no choice with her future. Nym is sold to a lady who decides to use her as a weapon against a rival country. There, she learns to control her powers and she actually develops friendships. She gets caught up in a storm of politics and her own feelings all while attempting to control her powers.

This book was a great read. I really enjoyed the character of Nym and appreciated the struggles she went through. The powers in the book are great, and both her struggle to control them and the limits she has make her an original character and not a Mary Sue(A Mary Sue is a character who is perfect). The other characters in the books balanced her out well, and watching her develop feelings was wonderful! The ending was intense! The events that took place were simply huge and I was kind of yelling at the book asking it 'Why?!' and 'Whaaat?!' at the last page. Thoroughly enjoyable with a great twist!

Although this book was fantastic, there were a couple places where I got lost. There was a scene where Nym was working on her control and there were wolves. Her trainer did something and I had to go back to read that scene a few times because I was confused as to what he was referring. I was disappointed with the ending a little bit. It was a great ending, but I feel this book could have been done in one book and not be made into a series. I'm sure it will be a wonderful series, but it would have made a fine stand alone book as well.

I give this book a 9 out of 10. I recommend this book to YA fantasy readers.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is a continuation of the Cinder series and is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The book switches between the stories of Scarlet and Cinder, as Cinder is escaping from prison and Scarlet is trying to find her grandmother. This book depicts the journey of each girl as they learn things about themselves and each other and how they end up working together. Prince Kai's perspective is given as well, since his view is important seeing as how it involves Queen Levana and Cinder. He is forced to make difficult choices based on the circumstances caused by Cinder and Scarlet. In the end though, the one with a really big choice to make is Cinder.

This book was a fantastic read. I could not put it down. I would stop to check the time and convince myself that I could just read one more chapter. Hint: I read more than one chapter every time until the book was finished. The characters and the story line simply mesh so well. The interaction between Scarlet and Wolf, yes his nickname is Wolf, is adorable. When Scarlet first meets Wolf it just makes me giggle. I also liked the fact that I did not expect some of the events that happened in the story. The reader gets more depth into Kai's mind and how he feels about Cinder, which I really appreciated. Although Kai did not have as much time in this book, his sections were crucial and I feel Meyer did a wonderful job with his perspective.

I did not, however, care for a couple things in this book. One was Wolf. I understand that he was playing the role of the wolf in the story and that it is just his nickname. But, while it is cute, I kind of wish that it had been a little more subtle. Even when more was revealed about Wolf, I really wish he had been given a different nickname. I also wanted Cinder to make up her mind sooner. Yes she had already had a lot of life changing information given to her, but all she did was run and make the situation worse without planning on changing it. I wanted her to make up her mind sooner.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to lovers of fairy tales and YA readers.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a very interesting and well told version of Cinderella. Shocking, I know what with the title and all. This tells about a cyborg in a place and time where cyborgs were considered property, not people. Cinder has to deal with her very mean step mother and one evil step sister. One sister is kind and loves Cinder. Well, Cinder meets the prince and the relationship begins. Through a series of some unfortunate and some enlightening events, Cinder learns there is more to her than she originally believed. Not only that but the prince has to deal with his father's death and the Lunars, the people who live on the moon, coming to push a marriage alliance with the queen of their world. The prince invites Cinder to the ball, and she keeps saying no until the day of, where she puts on a dress and some gloves and heads on over. Things with the queen get interesting and Cinder finds out about her past.

All in all, this book is very well written! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Meyer did an excellent job keeping the theme of Cinderella in the book while also making it her own unique story. Cinder is an incredibly awesome character who is determined to get away from her stepmother somehow. She is a strong character, but she isn't able to do everything. She has her limitations. The Lunar Queen, Levana, is very interesting and I really enjoyed how Meyer portrayed that species. She fleshed them out very well and without being boring with details she portrayed them as different from the people on Earth.

I did enjoy the story, but I did not care for how the cyborgs were treated. I kind of understand, but they are not complete robots so it didn't make sense to me to make cyborgs property. This is what bothered me the most; I can't think of anything else in the book that I did not like.

I give this book 9 out of 10 starts and recommend it to YA readers and lovers of fairy tales.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is about an independent woman who leaves her home island to avail herself to a higher education and is caught up in a huge political war. She catches the eye of the two most powerful people on opposing sides of a political power war and love makes the equation even more confusing. The end is a tragedy, but it is still has a bit of sunshine at the very last page. This book is a tad dark, but nothing over the top.

I absolutely loved the character of Jessamin. She is independent, outspoken, and would be a great friend in my opinion. I also love Finn and his character. He is the perfect counterpart to Jessamin. He is sly but fun and someone who I wanted to get to know right away. Jessamin is from an island where the mainlanders went over and impregnated quite a few of the women folk so she is on the 'mainland' now and the color of her skin sets her off. I simply love how Jessamin uses this! She goes to a fancy party and acts incredibly charming and blows everyone out of the water. She isn't afraid to get what she wants and when she makes a decision she sticks with it. There was a twist that was completely unexpected to me and I loved that! It can be hard to make that happen in YA books nowadays, so that was a pleasant surprise.

I was kind of disappointed in the ending. I wish it had been handled a bit differently. I won't go into the details, but although I liked it, I didn't care for how it was done. I don't know what else to say without spoiling it so I'll just stop there :) I wish that in the beginning there had been more with Jessamin's friend Kelen in the beginning. She is working and the guy she works for didn't care for Kelen, but I didn't notice a place where he explains why he doesn't like Kelen.

I give this book a 7 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA who don't mind a little bit darker reading.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the frog prince. Once again, she tweaks the story so no actual magic is used but the element of the story is there. The princess is Margaretha, one of Valten and Gabe's sisters, and the prince is Colin le Wyse, grandson of Annabel and Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Colin is travelling to secure Claybrook, a fiend who is wooing Margaretha. Claybrook actually wants to marry Margaretha and secure her father's lands, but she didn't know that at first. Margaretha and Colin work together to defeat Claybrook, falling in love on the way(shocker there).

This book was so cute! I really like Margaretha! She talks a lot, and Dickerson does a really good job of depicting her as a chatterbox. I also loved how she put the 'frog' part in the story. Colin gets hit in the head by Claybrook's men and is left for dead but is then rescued by people from Margaretha's castle. He is given a hideous set of green clothes to wear, which was an experiment gone wrong, and people call him 'frog boy.' It was a cute touch, and I rather enjoyed it! I also like how Dickerson has her characters fall in love with each other completely. As in, if one character has something about themselves they don't care for then the other one falls in love with that trait. There's a scene where Margaretha isn't talking and Colin asks her what's wrong and tells her he finds it soothing. It's so sweet! Another part that was well done in this book was the language barrier. Dickerson did a very nice job of keeping the language barrier going throughout the book.

I did think the love development between Margaretha and Colin was a tad annoying. They took until the end of the book to declare their love for each other, and they kept on wondering what the other thought without actually doing anything. I wanted Colin to confess his love and then have Margaretha think about it and what it would mean for her. I just wanted there to be a little more discourse between them about it. The actual confession happened very late, but they each thought about it separately for most of the book. I was also sad that Colin is Annabel's and Ranulf le Wyse's grandson. I just think it should have been their son or something. It just separates The Merchant's Daughter even more from the rest of the series.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to YA readers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”