Aug 29, 2011

The Lost Saint

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Published: December 28, 2010 by Egmont USA

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.
Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.
Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace's relationship with Daniel is put in danger - in more ways than one.
Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her - not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

       I really liked the first book, The Dark Divine, but unfortunately I have tons of issues with this sequel. Most of these issues are with Grace, but some of them are with the plot. I just couldn't get over how Grace thought through things and decided how to act. Most of the time she was doing extremely stupid things and ignoring Daniel. This book just doesn't compare to the first one at all.

Things I love about this book:
  • Daniel- I really like Daniel, even though Grace's boneheaded antics mean we don't get to see all that much of him
  • April- I don't really remember much of her role in the 1st book, but her obsession with designing Grace's superhero costume is great
  • Grace's loyalty to Jude is sweet- she's willing to risk her life to track him down, which makes it curious that she basically ignores everyone in her family outside of the whole werewolf loop
Huh, what?:
  • Grace- I can't stand how naive and lame Grace suddenly became! In the 1st book she was so strong and determined. Now she unflinchingly trusts Talbot, a guy she just met, and thinks Jude is always helping her. And when she can't get her way she whines and whines, then moves on the someone else who will give her what she wants, without stopping to think that maybe those who won't give in to her demands have her safety in mind. 
  • Talbot- I can't believe Grace simply decides she can trust him, even when he does things she is against. She only questions him for seconds, then she blindly goes along with him, trusting this guy she just met with her life multiple times.
  • Grace and Daniel are together- something they worked very hard for- but they keep secrets from each other, and their lies almost destroy Grace
  • I have so many problems with how Grace thinks and acts, mainly with Daniel and Talbot, but even with Jude. Her thought process is Daniel, it's Jude! He's trying to help us! and she won't listen to anyone else's opinion on the topic.
Favorite quotes:
  • Daniel's phone beeped. I jumped. He grabbed it and practically shot out of his chair.     - pg.  237
  • "You're keeping secrets from me. Secrets that are more deadly than you could even imagine." He slammed his hand against the wall. "You meet some mysterious guy who claims he can train you. How did he even know what you are? How do you know he's not the one Jude was trying to warn you about? The person who's after us? Do you have any idea how stupid you've been?"   - Daniel pg. 316    (THANK you Daniel for summarizing how annoying Grace has been!)

3 robots
Read it if you LOVED the 1st book. Otherwise it's just a stepping stone for a 3rd book and it really doesn't get much deeper than that summary.

Acquired: Bought

Aug 20, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Published: March 10, 2009 by Delacorte 

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future- between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

       I like zombies. With this book I was expecting a lot of action and zombies, with a little romance thrown in. But Mary is obsessed with Travis. The only thing she thinks about more is the ocean, which gets a little annoying. It sounds like such an ominous, epic story, but it was just another love triangle with a whiny, somewhat unlikeable main character. My main problem with this book is that there is an intense zombie apocalypse going on here, yet Mary takes every restful second she has to whine about how her life isn't fair. And when she isn't whining, she's sappy and overemotional. It's just too much whine and not enough zombie apocalypse!

Reasons I love this book:
  • zombies!- No matter what goes on in Mary's life, the zombies never stop coming.
  • Jed- he's very much like Jesse Tuck in Tuck Everlasting- he's a major jerk until it's revealed why he's so bitter, but he's very dedicated to those he loves
  • the paths- the path that seemed a miraculous way out of a bad situation is not simply a straight shot to a safe place, but holds its own dangers and complications
  • Harry- I didn't much care for him at the beginning, but Harry certainly proves himself to be of more use than Travis

Huh, what?:
  • Mary- I don't like her. She's a little unpredictable. One minute she's slashing the undead in her obsessive quest to reach the ocean. Then she's all whiny and sappy over Travis, but does nothing about it. 
  • the Sisters- clearly we're supposed to detest them but they are rarely mentioned once Mary leaves her village and never are we told what their ultimate fate is
  • Travis- he's an odd guy. It's hard to describe why I dislike him, but I think it's his inaction. He does nothing to help his friends, but Harry does.
  • sappy lines- Ok. I've told you that Mary is whiny and sappy. That alone is just a minor annoyance, but this book had a few lines that stopped me dead in my tracks while my brain went Um, really? For example, I pull him tighter into my lap, wanting to squeeze the infection from his body, to clean his blood with my love.    That last part makes me want to gag. Which might be alright in a zombie book, but definitely not for this reason.

Favorite quotes:
  • I wonder how I could have ever believed there was a place untouched by the Return. A world alive outside the Forest.          -  pg. 289
  • Is there fear in the Unconsecrated? Is there loss and love and pain and longing? Wouldn't a life without so much agony be easier?       -  pg. 51

3 Robots
If this book didn't have zombies, it would be a lame love triangle. Try it if you don't mind being inside Mary's head most of the time.

Acquired: Bought

Aug 11, 2011

Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
Published: March 23, 2010 by EgmontUSA

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself ased and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

       This book is something there should be way more of in YA books. It's exciting and complex at the same time, but never lets the plot get confusing or dull. There are no paranormal creatures, just certain kinds of magic and magical skills. If you've read Graceling or Fire by Kristin Cashore, or any of the Study or Glass books by Maria V. Snyder, you will seriously love this book. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • Sydelle- She's a strong character, and stubborn too. An older guy, a magician, takes her away from a home she's never left and she doesn't fall all over him and expect him to protect her. 
  • North- I think what I like most about North is that he's flawed in more than 1 way. In addition to being stubborn and having family and personal issues, he gets drunk a few times too many, which is probably more entertaining than it should be.
  • layered plot- North's duel with Dorwan, the curse, why North chose to take Syd with him- there's always something happening
  • Syd + North- they have a cute relationship. There's no love at 1st sight (thank goodness) and they never make goo-goo eyes at each other- they fight constantly but they look out for each other.
  • this book is addicting and it only took me 2 days to finish (that's fast for me- I read when I should be asleep). It's also very fast paced.

Huh, what?:
  • political stuff- I recognize that some stories are fueled by an underlying political shift, but I tend to skim over those parts when I'm reading. Very rarely does a book make a direct connection between the politics and the main character, although this one did it well. 
  • legend- the lore and legend behind the magicians was a little confusing for me

The Boyfriend Factor:
  • My boyfriend really enjoyed this book (he also loved Graceling), but mentioned that Syd and North fought too much. He liked that they always managed to make up pretty quickly though.

Favorite quotes:
  • "Some wizard you are!" I whirled back around. "How about using some of your magic to sober your sorry, drunken self up? And stop calling me Syd!"        - pg. 40
  • Time sped back up, and so did my fall. I fell onto North, my arms wrapping around his shoulders. He used the force of the impact to drop us to the ground, bringing his red cloak up in one fluid, sweeping motion and pulling it over our heads.           - pg. 307-308

5 Robots
An exciting and brilliant book- definitely recommended!

Acquired: Won (I really don't know who from, I swear I'll remember to write it down next time!)

Aug 5, 2011

I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
(Lorien Legacies #1)
Published: August 3, 2010 by Harper

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil
Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

This book is pretty entertaining, fast-paced, and reads like a movie. Of course, this could be because it is exactly like the movie, which I saw before reading the book. If you've seen the movie, the book is exactly the same, with some flashbacks and minus the eye candy. I will probably not read the sequel unless I read rave reviews of it.

(Oh hello. Anyone else here a Glee fan?)

 Reasons I love this book:
  • Sarah- Sarah gets to do more in the book. I remember feeling like she was just eye candy in the movie while Six got to kick butt, but Sarah is more of an important character here. 
  • the Mogadorians- they are presented as harsh enemies rather than comic relief like in the movie
  • Lorien- we get to learn a lot more about John's home planet and how he came to be on Earth
  • as I read the book I just kept thinking that the casting of the movie was so perfect for the characters

Huh, what?:
  • Mark- I felt that John's feud with Mark was way overblown and took up so much of the book. It's important, since John might blow his cover but in the end it didn't need so many pages devoted to it
  • There's a part where John writes down everything about what he saw in his visions and training. Now if you'd been on the run for 10 years, burning down houses as you go because you're in that much danger if you're found, would making a written record detailing all of your secrets and knowledge of the situation seem like a good idea?
  • Sarah accepted that John was an alien way too easily, even for having seen proof 1st hand- Sam's reaction is rational and he's the one who believes in aliens
  • the book itself is trying too hard- the writing on the page edges is distracting and it's not cute to have the author be an alien in a YA book
  • The lack of use of contractions is awkward and distracting

Favorite quotes:
  • "What is their incentive?"    "Because they're jealous."    "Jealous of us? Why, because of our rugged good looks?"  Sam laughs. "Something like that."         - pg. 107
  • "Wait, your being here, us being together, that breaks the charm. All the others are fair game now," I say. "They can kill us at will." I can see by the look of horror on Henri's face that it had slipped his mind as well.        - pg. 365

4 Robots
An entertaining and fast-paced book, worth checking out
(I would suggest either the book or movie, but not both)

Acquired: Bought