Fire {book review}

This book in 6 words : can’t believe waited to read this

I put off reading Fire by Kristin Cashore. I LOVED Graceling and believe I was hesitant out of fear that it wouldn’t live up to the first book and would cause Graceling to lose some of its magic. I was wrong. It only made me love the world Cashore created even more. If I had to pick a favorite between the two I’m not sure that I could. I will say that although others have said that you could read these out of order, I believe it’s best to read Graceling first and then Fire.

With wild, irresistable appearance and hair like the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.  – inside book cover

Fire is set in the same world as Graceling but across the mountains in a kingdom called the Dells and years earlier. The Dells doesn’t have native Gracelings, however they do have monsters. Beautiful, colorful, mind-stealing monsters of all kinds. Fire is the last human monster. The kingdom around her is in the middle of an internal battle and Fire must find her place in the war.

This book is much more adult than Graceling. There is plenty of action, but most of the conflict is emotional. It is also darker and more complex. There are more characters, but I never felt confused. I will say that I cried more than I expected. I think I realized how talented Cashore really is when I came across a twist in the story that was kind of obvious, but I had completely overlooked it because I was so entranced by the story.

THANK YOU to everyone who voted for this and got me to finally read it!! I highly recommend this to everyone, but again I must insist that you read Graceling first. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, Bitterblue, to come out! I’m now suffering from severe PABD 😦 — Wait, you don’t know what PABD is? Well then head over here and see if you have it and how to live with it.

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Beautiful Creatures {Book Review}

This book in 6 words : Haunting Southern mystery with impossible love.

I’d like to start with saying how I’m going to slam my head into a wall if I finish one more book only to discover that it is the first in a series. PLEASE put “Book 1” or “X Series” on the books!!!!

I received Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl from Kelly at Stacked Books for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap! I really did like it and I will be reading the next in the series.

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school “in” crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly “out” Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally–she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy–a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you’re willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. —Daphne Durham (via Amazon)

I’m not one to shy away from big books. I was, however, surprised to find out that this 600 page turning mystery is only the first in a series. I didn’t feel like the book was too long, however, I did catch myself skimming near the end when I was dying to find out how it ended. To be honest, I almost put the book down after the first chapter because I wasn’t really getting into it, but I kept going and after a few more chapters I was hooked. The suspense is so intense that I finished this within two days.

Ethan and Lena are beautifully written. I found myself laughing and crying with them. The story is complex without being confusing. You will find yourself thinking about it long after you put the book down. I will be passing this along to my friends and recommending it to anyone who loves YA fiction/fantasies.

* This goes towards my 101 Books Challenge and my A-Z Book Challenge

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore {Review}

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This book in 6 words: Made me want to have heterochromia.

graceling I wasn’t planning on reading this yet. There were other books higher up on my TBR pile. However, I couldn’t help but start it last night at 2:00am and then I could not put it down. I finished it early this morning and should probably sleep before writing this review…. oh well…

I LOVED Graceling by Kristen Cashore!! I literally couldn’t put it down. Now I do have a tendency to do this on occasion, but I usually don’t want to slow down so that the book won’t end. The story was absolutely captivating. It was complex without being confusing. There were so many twists and turns and tense moments that were well balanced with the right touch of relationships and romance.

We follow 18-year-old  Katsa, a Grace — meaning she was born with an extreme skill… killing. She is controlled by her uncle, King Randa, and expected to do his dirty work. This is starting to wear on her and she feels less comfortable with the tasks she is sent to perform.

Then she meets Po, a Graced fighter. She is struck by how relaxed him seems around her and how she always feels him staring. She doesn’t plan on befriending him or how drastically it will change her life. She soon learns a secret that could ruin all the kingdoms of her land.

I loved the characters. They were so well-written that I laughed and even teared up at times. The only small thing that kinda bothered me was that Katsa is yet another girl who refuses to marry… I will, however, consent that this is very different since it is set in a medieval-like period and marrying would make her the property of someone else. All in all, it was a minor factor in the overall story. I also having read Hunger Games recently, kept wanting to call Katsa – Katniss and Po – Peta 🙂

I will buy this book and reread it (although I think the magic of all the surprises will change the story). I’m also picking up Fire and anxiously awaiting Bitterblue. I think it goes without saying that I highly recommend this book, although I think more so for those who like Fantasy and YA.

* This book counts towards my 101 Books Challenge and my A-Z Books Challenge

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli {Review}

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I don’t give books five stars very often. Actually this may be only the second time I’ve done so (the first was The Time Traveler’s Wife). This isn’t because I don’t love books, but because I’m afraid that if I give one book five stars and then read another book I love more… then what? I did not question giving Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli five stars. I LOVED this book!!

She was trying to get herself discovered for the movies.

She was sniffing fumes.

She was homeschooling gone amok.

She was an alien.

Her parents were circus acrobats.

These are just a few rumors surrounding the newest student at Arizona’s Mica Area High School, Stargirl. She wears odd costumes, decorates her desk, and pulls out her ukulele in the cafeteria to sing to fellow students. She dances in the rain and laughs at nothing. In a place where being normal is necessary for social survival, she doesn’t care about how different she is. We meet Stargirl through the eyes of Leo who becomes entranced by her charm. It’s not long before the rest of the student body falls for her and starts mirroring her weird behavior. She is loved by everyone. “It was a rebellion she led, a rebellion for rather than against. For ourselves.”

Unfortunately all doesn’t end well… soon people are baffled by her showing up at funerals where she knows no one and even worse, cheering for the other team at sporting events. That doesn’t stop Leo from falling in love with her. He says “she was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day“. But things soon get worse. The silent treatment the school is using on Stargirl flows over onto him. He must choose between being with Stargirl and remaining shunned by the student body.

The book is fairly short (only 186 pages), but it moved me. It made me want to dance in the rain and send cards to strangers. It made me want to be more unique. More me. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this story, Love, Stargirl. PLEASE read this book!

* counted towards: 101 Books, 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, & A-Z Books

{Book Review} Intertwined by Gena Showalter

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intertwined I told myself no more starting series that haven’t been finished. I HATE not knowing how a story ends… I didn’t realize that Intertwined by Gena Showalter was the beginning of a series. That’s what I get for not doing my research prior to picking up a book…

Aden Stone may seem like your normal schizophrenic trouble maker, however, the voices in his head are much more than figments of his imagination. Aden shares his body with four spirits that each bring something strange to the table. One sees the future – often the death of those around him. One raises the dead. One allows Aden to posses others. One can take Aden to past versions of himself often altering the future as he knows it. As terrible as sharing your head may sound, Aden has come to love these spirits and wants to help them find their own lives. He hasn’t known anything different. That is until he meets Mary Anne. She somehow quiets the voices, allowing him the peace he only dreamed of. That peace doesn’t last long, however, somehow him meeting Mary Anne is bringing the paranormal world out of hiding to find him.

I started this book at 7am the morning of the Read-a-Thon. I am not by any means a morning person so that may very well account for why it was so hard for me to get into the story. I felt like it was slow to start, but once it got going I couldn’t put it down. The added paranormal world definitely grabbed my attention. The characters became more well rounded and the more I learned about them the more I wanted to know. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was how rushed the end felt.  Overall, I liked the book and I will be reading the next one when it comes out. I’d recommend borrowing or checking this book out… I’m not sure if I can say “go out and buy it!”… maybe after the next one…

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I heard about this book from Blogs with Bite. So here are my answers to their discussion questions: May contain minor spoilers!!

#1  Do you feel the ending was cut short and needed more to be resolved before the book ended? I felt that it was rushed, but not necessarily that there needed to be more resolved. I felt almost like too much was resolved too quickly… if that makes sense…

#2 Regarding Question #1, what are your thoughts on series books? I love series books! I hate waiting to find out what happens next… but with series you get to know the characters and their world much better.

#3 Which “trapped” soul was your favorite and do you see potential in the future story lines with the remaining three? My favorite was probably Elijah. Although all the souls cared about Aden, he seemed the closest to him. I think Caleb will have the most interesting back story… but you never know 🙂 I’m really looking forward to seeing how they find out who the souls are and how they grant their dying wishes.

#4  When a larger-than-life character such as Vlad Tepes aka Dracula is used as a side-plot character do you believe it gives the story a more factual base, or makes it less real? I think it makes it more “real” or connects it with stories you may have read in the past. A character like Dracula in particular, that was based on a real man, helps bring the story into our world.

#5 What did you think of the side plot involving Tucker and Penny?  Do you think the issues from that plot were adequately resolved? I think it helped build Mary Anne’s character. We get to see how she deals with betrayal and she loses those that were close to her. I’m interested to see what happens with Penny and the child. Will it be a demon? Will Mary Anne tell her?

#6 What is your best guess as to what Aden Stone’s superpower is – the power he possess without his souls? I honestly have no idea. He seems to draw magical energy to him. I’m sure the fact that him and Mary Anne were born in the same place at the same time will play a big role in finding out what their powers are.

* read during 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

* counted towards 101 Books Challenge

* “I” book for A-Z Books Challenge

{Review} Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was the first book picked for a book club a friend and I started, Books that Bite. After reading the back of the book, I was intrigued and probably would have put it on my to-read list if it hadn’t been picked. However, I had no idea I would it love it this much!

In the future what we know as North America has been devastated by natural disasters and war. This leaves the Capitol to rule over the remaining 12 districts. As a reminder of the Capitol’s power every year they host the Hunger Games. The twelve districts hold a lottery of all boys and girls ages 12-18. One girl and one boy is chosen from each district to compete to the death for entertainment.

We meet Katniss who at the age of 16 is the head of her household. She spends her time hunting and gathering illegally in order to provide for her littler sister and grief-stricken mother. Her worst fears come to life as she hears her little sister’s name called for the Hunger Games. After throwing her self forward and volunteering to take her place, things get worse. A boy who helped her in the past is chosen as the male tribute from her district.

The book was so emotionally charged that I often found myself in tears one second and biting my nails with worry the next. The romance is very PG, but tangled with torn feelings. I was surprised at how violent the book was in parts. I knew it was about fighting and killing, but I thought as a YA book it would gloss over those parts. It didn’t. The author did an amazing job building the characters and leaving you at the edge of your seat. I’m trying to hold out until the library gets the second book in, but I have a feeling I might cave and buy it 🙂

While looking for a picture of the cover, I came across an article claiming that a movie was in the works. Has anyone else heard this?