Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Pure

Book being reviewed: Pure
I give this book: 
4 out of 5 owls.

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
Within the pages of Pure, there's a post-apocolyptic world that has left many fused and disfigured people suffering after the Detonations, while the Pure's live under the Dome's protective roof.  The wretches, as the people in the Dome call those on the outside, believe those within the Dome must live a perfect life where no one dies from breathing in the ash that cakes everything, or dies from starvation or suffering.  Which isn't entirely true.  Many who live in the Dome do believe themselves to be lucky, but  every aspect of their lives is controlled, including the way they think; especially the men.  Pure is a book filled with nightmarish creatures and scary situations that one would never want to encounter or endure.

To be fair, I was on the fence over the rating for this book.  I was originally going with 3 owls but decided to go with 4 instead.  I figured that the creativity alone made this book worth the read, because Julianna Baggott's characters are an amazingly brilliant concept.  Everyone alive now who was outside the Dome when the blast occurred is fused with something, or even someone.  This definitely causes your imagination to run wild.  The main heroine, Pressia, has a hand that was fused with a doll's head when the Detonations went off.  The doll has become a part of her body, so much so that she feels when the head is touched, as if she has nerve endings beneath the plastic.

Another example is Bradwell, Pressia's love interest in the book who was fused with birds in his back. The birds are still alive, so their wings tend to flap and flutter underneath whatever shirt he's wearing depending on the mood he's in at the time.  It seems to be a little unsettling to most until they get to know him, but this is basically the same for most of the characters that are fused with some oddity.

You also get to know a few Pure's who've lived under the Dome their whole life.  Their skin is unmarked, they've been able to breathe clean, filtered air, nor have they ever had to go hungry for lack of food since they take pills to satiate their hunger and the pill also gives them the nutrients they need to survive.  They've also been afforded an education, which is not something that happens on the outside of the Dome.

We meet Partridge, he is a Pure who has grown up inside the Dome because his dad is the head-honcho in charge of everything.  We read part of the book in his account of how certain things happen. He has always believed his mother to be dead, but because of a few small instances, Partridge begins to wonder if his mother is, in fact, actually dead.  This leads him to break out of the cozy confinements of the Dome and head on a potentially deadly wild goose chase.

Pure is one of the stranger dystopian novels I've read.  But because of this, it made for one interesting read.  It's filled with suspense and heartbreak, so I'd recommend for you criers out there to at least have some tissues handy if you ever want to pick up this book.  All in all, I'd definitely recommend this book  if you're itchin' for a little something different.

Happy reading, bookworms,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: The Iron Knight

Book being reviewed: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
I give this book:
4 out of 5 owls.

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Another huge win for Julie Kagawa and her The Iron King series!  This book was angsty, tragic, beautiful, all read from within Ash's POV, and, of course, it kept me mostly entranced from beginning to end.  Speaking of the end, I LOVED the way Ash revealed himself to Meghan.  I figured they would reunite at some point, and when they finally did, holy toledo did I ever have butterflies in my stomach!  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Meghan and Ash's is an undeniably sweet and true love.

Did you ever notice how multiple enemies throughout the books turn out to be a trusty side-kick to Ash or Meghan?  The Big Bad Wolf must have been my favorite in The Iron Knight.  Just like Ironhorse, he was definitely a scary character at first.  Well, he was scary for most of the book, but then at the end he sort of grew on you.  I don't know if it was the fact that he was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save Ash just as Ironhorse did for Meghan, or the fact that he finally softened some in the end.  Somehow, it just happened.  The Big Bad Wolf's constant banter with Grimlakin was also quite entertaining.  I personally think they don't hate each other as much as they let on.

While we're on the subject of Grimlakin, what is his deal?!  I honestly assumed that we'd find out more about what's going on behind the cat, what's made him the way he is?  Or at least the reason why he seems to know every-darn-thing under the sun.  That cat is too smart for his own good and I think he knows it.

As far as an aspect of the book I didn't particularly like, but I also knew it was a key point in the story, was when Ash was tested in the end of his journey in gaining a soul and saw what his life would be like as a human.  As I've said, I totally understand why he had to see this, but it was long and drawn out.  Maybe it was because I began to pity Ash.  I pitied him because of what he potentially would one day become and how weak he possibly might be.  It was truthfully hard to comprehend, seeing as I've always viewed him as such a strong character.  Regardless of this insight into my brain, it didn't end that way.  And for the record, I'm glad of it.

There's no mistaking the possibility of me going on and on forever about The Iron King books, I honestly could.  This beautiful and imaginative Faery world kept me entranced and pining for more.  I figured, however, that I've gotten most of those adamant thoughts and opinions that were bursting to come out while reading the books.  So I'm satisfied... for now. ;)

So, fellow bookworms, pick up a copy of The Iron King if you haven't already.  You won't regret it.  And if you already have, then you were way ahead of me.  Kudos to you.

Spreading the Team Ash love,

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: The Iron Queen

Book being reviewed: The Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
I give this book:
3 out of 5 owls.

My name is Meghan Chase. 
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it. 
This time, there will be no turning back.
This book, oh this book... I don’t even know what to say.  I’m at a loss with The Iron Queen since it is my least favorite in the series.  To be quite frank, I don’t even know why, either.  It took me almost a week to read this one.  When compared to the other two books, I flew right through those two novels within three days of each other.  My children were fed and attended to, but that’s about it.  I do believe my husband made a comment about the laundry and the fact that he needed something washed for the previous day, but I was in a Faery-induced haze.  I don’t remember much from those days.  That’s how absorbed I was into The Iron King and The Iron Daughter.  But I digress.

Thinking about it, I guess my reasoning behind the aforementioned opinion would be how I rolled through the book with the thought of, “Okay, Meghan has to kill the false king..... but, what else?”  We knew this was going to happen, it was inevitable.  Regardless of of this fact, give me something more. Which, in my opinion, I didn’t get.  All the action happened in the last part of the book, during the Faery battle.  It drove me nuts, I wanted more action like what occurred in the two previous books.  I understand Meghan and Ash’s love needed more time to blossom and grow since their love didn’t get much of an opportunity before, but there could have been more to the story.  I can say, however, the moment Ash vowed to be Meghan’s knight I may have sighed like a love-struck teenage girl.  It was such an amazing moment between the two characters, which only strengthened their love even more.

There was also the issue of me predicting most of the story, “MOST” being the key word here.  I predicted who the false king was at the beginning of the book.  I also predicted Meghan becoming Queen of the Iron Realm.  That was a given.  The girl wasn’t bestowed those powers for nothing.

Despite my feelings towards most of the book, I still enjoyed reading the end.  The end was action-packed with a heart-wrenching moment between Meghan and Ash.  Not gonna lie, I happened to get a little teary-eyed when Meghan decided to sacrifice herself but chose to save Ash by banishing him from the iron realm.  I could only imagine how hard that moment was for not only her, but Ash as well. They’re love is beautiful, that much is certain.  I don’t know if I’d ever be strong enough to do as Meghan did and watch my true love walk away knowing I’m about to die.  Call it selfishness if you choose, but Meghan’s was an act of courage and selflessness.

I can honestly say though, in all the series that I have read before in the past and loved, there is always that one book that was my least favorite.  That book is usually the one where my attention wains a bit, and The Iron Queen was that book.  And even though I’ve ranted some about the parts I didn’t particularly like, or the parts that I wish had been present, I would, without a doubt, recommend The Iron King series.

So if you haven’t already picked up the first book to read it, which I’m sure you have as I’m behind with the times, please do it.  Now.  Yes, obviously I’m a little bossy today. ;)

Until next time, bookworms,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: The Iron Daughter

Book being reviewed: The Iron Daughter
Author: Julie Kagawa
I give this book:
4 out of 5 owls.

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
Spoiler Warning: Don't read ahead if you haven't already read the book and are planning to do so.  I wouldn't want to ruin it for ya. ;)

I am, without a doubt, into the Iron Fey series.  What took me so long to finally read the books?  I keep asking myself this exact question.

Let me just start off with Ironhorse.  How did this enormous Iron Fey go from being a scary, creepy, I may possibly have nightmares about him enemy, to an ally of Meghan’s??  A loyal friend, even? This little twist in the story seriously threw me for a loop.  While reading The Iron King, I remember being truly frightened of him and his booming voice.  Also feeling relieved that I’ll never realistically have the opportunity to come across a fictional creature such as he.  But then, during The Iron Daughter, Ironhorse had to go and make one of those super intense Faery promises, vowing that he will protect the princess at all costs, or die trying.   Ironhorse began to grow on me.  It was a little shocking, to say the least.  Then, what happened next? Ironhorse up and died on me.  He ultimately kept his promise to Mehgan, and I ultimately shed a tear or two for the iron giant.

As for Meghan, she still had a tendency to annoy me at times.  Don’t fret, my friends!  My like for the Princess definitely out-weighs my dislike.  And what was up with her suddenly having iron glamour powers?! I can say I never saw that one coming, but I liked it.  A lot. I’m making the assumption right now as I start book 3 in the series, her power over the Iron Fey is going to play a big part in who becomes leader in that side of the Faery world. It obviously already has, but I’m thinking more power will come to her. With that said, whether she actually becomes Queen of the Iron Fey as I’m speculating, remains to be seen for me.

I also enjoy watching Meghan grow as the books progress. She’s accepting the fact that her life will never be the same again, and instead of dwelling on a lot of the negativity, she’s beginning to embrace it more and more. Of course she misses home, misses some of the normal teenage moments she use to take for granted, but she’s realizing that there’s much more to the life of an Erlking’s daughter.

Is it just me or does anyone else find Grimalkin to be a little odd?  I’m curious to find out what the cat’s deal is.  From his stand-off-ish, careless attitude, to the reason why he always seems to disappear when sh*t hits the fan.  Then he mysteriously reappears when they need him as a guide to their next destination.  And let’s not forget his constant reply of “I’m a cat” whenever anyone asks questions.  There’s something fishy about that cait sith. Very fishy.

And lastly, I LOVE how intricate Julie Kagawa is in her descriptions of the different types of fey.  She goes into great detail, and each time I read a description of how one looks, I find myself wishing I was a talented artist who could put my mind’s eye of these characters onto paper.  The descriptions seem amazing -- some sound truly frightening and some devastatingly beautiful.  Definitely something to ponder.

On to the next book in the series, The Iron Queen!

Stay bookish, my friends,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review: The Iron King

Book being reviewed: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
I give this book:
4 out of 5 owls.
"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.  Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."
I know I’m a little behind on this one, since many of my friends have already read it.   The Iron King has been on my Goodreads to-read list for-ev-ah!  Just bear with me on this one.   First of all, I ABSOLUTELY adored this book.  I love it!  Now whether its one of my all-time favorite reads is debatable.  I’ll have to judge that after I finish the entire series. 

To be quite honest, I’ve never really gotten into the whole fairy/faery/fey thing while reading other fairy novels.  They’re either not very entertaining to me, or just lacking that particular spark that I like to feel while reading a good book.  You know the one.  I live for that spark as a book-lover.  THIS Fey book, on the other hand, had THAT spark and was chocked-full of adventure and suspense.  Not to mention, there happens to be more than one choice of heroic males that we all love to oh-so-crush on.  I myself am leaning a little more towards Ash and his all around bad-boy demeanor.  Regardless of me having a little soft spot for Puck's witty style and humor, I'd probably only choose to love Puck as a best friend.  I'd definitely want to have him around on bad days to make me laugh, while snuggling up next to Ash whenever I felt like it.  Sound good?  Coolness.  I can roll with that.

As for the main heroine, Meghan Chase, I truly felt for the girl many times within the book.   She went through a whole lot of not only emotional pain, but physical pain as well.  Much, much more than most 15/16 year olds go through.  Ever.  She did tend to get whiny at times -- which was what annoyed me the most about her -- but I’m certain I would too if  I went through the same experience at that age.  Hell, I’d probably whine right now as an adult.

All in all, as I’ve said, I truly adored this book.  I’ve got high hopes for the rest of the Iron Fey series, In which I highly doubt I’ll be disappointed.  I would without a second thought definitely recommend The Iron King to anyone with a love of YA supernatural romance.   I’m sure they’d feel the same way I do.

I’m definitely looking forward to diving into the next three books in the series.  If they’re anything like The Iron King, with all the book’s nail-biting, heart-pounding moments, I’m sure I’ll love them all just the same.

Spreading the literary love from mine to yours,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012 Debut Author Challenge

Being a fairly new author of a book blog, I've been looking around for ways to get my blog out there.  A friend of mine suggested that I should participate in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.
Click here for more info on the DAC
Obviously, since I enjoy reading so much, I thought partaking in this challenge would be tons of fun!  Plus, it's a good way of getting the names of authors out there who are just starting out.  I don't mind supporting them, in the least.

Here's the list of books I'll be reading for the DAC:
  1.  Everneath (Everneath #1) - Not only is the cover a real eye-catcher, but the story sounds just as interesting.  Besides, I can never turn down a supernatural YA novel.
  2. Elemental - You don't get much from the book's synopsis on goodreads with this one, but it sounds mysterious and intriguing. 
  3. Incarnate - Holy colorful book cover, batman!  Clicky the link and see what I mean.  I definitely picked this one for the cover. 
  4. Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) - You're going to find that I'm a huge sucker for dystopian YA novels.  Mixed with some steampunk, it sounds like this book will make for one interesting read. 
  5. Silver - Once again, sounds like a big mystery that I can't wait to dig into. 
  6. The Summerland - I'd love to read this one simply because it sounds like a beautiful story. 
  7. The Exeptionals - With a boarding school that houses kids with supernatural abilities, this one sounds a bit like X-Men to me.  Still sounds interesting enough.
  8. Defiance (Defiance #1) - Another dystopian novel, don't say I didn't warn you.  Sounds action-packed and full of adventures.  I'm excited for this one. 
  9. Cracked - Every now and then I like to shake things up and read an angst-fueled YA novel that will leave you feeling depressed and possibly shedding a few tears.  I have a feeling this book is going to be exactly that. 
  10. Skylark (The Iron Wood Trilogy #1) - A dystopian with a flair of magical talent.  Very interesting. 
  11. Halflings - A little fantasy, mixed with paranormal romance, then throw in some angels and we may have ourselves a good read. 
  12. Glitch - Oh how I love me some good science fiction with, you guessed it, dystopia.  Imagine that.  I definitely want this one the day it's released.  Oh August 7th, where are thee already?  
So that's it, those are my picks for this year's DAC.  Are you planning on joining in on the fun and reading 12 debut YA novels yourself?  Or are you looking forward to reading any novels by debut authors this year?  If so, share the love.  I'm always up for a good recommendation. 

Until next time, keep on a-readin',