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Archive for the ‘bronze star’ Category

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: December 28th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with he 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.

Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to the The Dark Divine.

Review: Having read The Dark Divine, I knew better than to have high expectations for The Lost Saint.

First and foremost, I did not love the first novel, The Dark Divine. While everyone found it amazing and raved about it, I was quite the opposite. It was one of those ‘meh’ kind of books, nothing impressive. The Lost Saint was better than the predecessor but still fell short. It was too cliché and it did not take me long to figure out what was going on. Honestly I can’t say too much without revealing the whole plot because it was so obvious but Grace was clueless (as usual).

Grace was extremely naive in this novel, she began to trust and doubt the wrong people. It seems to be growing increasingly popular to have some sort of conflict in the romance during the second novel of a series. Crescendo, Blue Moon, Ascendant… just to name a few. The whole thing (it wasn’t exactly a romance) with a certain someone was wrong and not to mention implausible. Keeping secrets from your boyfriend and going against his wishes? Tell me how am I suppose to believe Grace was madly in love with Daniel when she started having suspicions about him and sneaking behind his back. Sometimes I wanted to dive into the book and strangle shake her and ask her why she was doing such stupid things.

In the novel I sensed that Despain was trying to add some spunk to Grace to show that she was not a meek character but it gave me the impression that Grace wanted an early death. Her fearlessness came off as stupidity and if anything, further made me despise Grace. Although the mythology in the novel was creative, I would find my eyes occasionally glazing over it, just purely because I couldn’t wait to get to the end.

The writing was stilted and it may be the author’s writing style but it drove me bananas; I didn’t like the short, clipped, repetitive sentences nor did I like the sentences that had too many things going on. What do I mean by that?

I’d been so distracted by my ridiculous clothes, and the prospect of getting mugged and/or solicited by a total stranger, that I hadn’t even paid attention to the architecture around us.

I didn’t understand why the author had to include the part after the hyphen. Is it really necessary?!

The only thing I liked about The Lost Saint was that the plot was more engaging compared to the earlier novel. The urge to find out the truth was the driving force of the novel and ultimately if the plot had not been so exciting, I’d have given up this novel a long time ago. Overall, this is one of the books that everyone else loved but I didn’t. Nothing against the author but I don’t recommend it.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 21st September 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Bronze star (2.5/5 stars)

Synopsis: Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Review: My favorite author blurbed this book so of course I was dying to read it. I trust her tastes. Unfortunately, this is one of the books I wished I loved more but I just couldn’t. I love the idea of a main character who knew he was the odd one out. This is not the type of paranormal where the protagonist suddenly discovers his/her lover has a secret. Instead, in The Replacement, the narrator, Mackie has a secret. I was really excited at the prospect of reading a novel with a narrator who is aware of his problem. And so I read. But after a few chapters, I realized something was wrong. There was no background information. We were told that the town knew about The Replacements but it wasn’t further delved into. I read the book thinking that the history would finally be touched upon, but when I finished it, I realized my questions about the town’s history were not answered.

A significant reason that caused me not to enjoy The Replacement was the lacked in world building. There was an absence of history although I was pleased to see descriptions that were often vivid. The pace was slow but it allowed readers to savor that small town “feel” that Yovanoff captured so incredibly well.

Another thing that angered me was that Mackie hung out with Alice (who is obviously the wrong choice for him) after admiring Tate’s body, sharing moments with her and getting to know her. I know he is a teenage boy with raging hormones although he is not human but what’s with the fickle mindedness?! I don’t know if that was supposed to be the conflict in the the love story but it just added to my frustrations.

Overall, certain parts of the story shone, scenes where Mackie started to talk to Tate and played the guitar on stage, but there were missing aspects as mentioned above. I know this book received lots of good reviews so I guess I’m one of the minority. Nevertheless, don’t let my review deter you from trying the book. Who knows, you might like it!

The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: May 27th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Mae Crawford’s always thought of herself as in control, but in the last few weeks her life has changed. Her younger brother, Jamie, suddenly has magical powers, and she’s even more unsettled when she realizes that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. Even worse? Jamie hasn’t told Mae a thing about any of it. Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger from Gerald themselves because he wants to steal Nick’s powers. Will Mae be able to find a way to save everyone she cares about from the power-hungry magician’s carefully laid trap?

Review: Last year when I read The Demon’s Lexicon, I recommended it to everyone. After a year of anxious waiting, the sequel, The Demon’s Covenant was released. I jumped, I danced, I shrieked when I got my hands on the book. Oh, I wish I could say I enjoyed the novel but I didn’t.

Let’s start with the good things. The dialogue! This book is packed with hilarious, by hilarious I mean laugh-out-loud funny dialogue. I felt as though I was in the story together with the characters and experiencing everything. Brennan is a master at excellent characterizations and writing and these were no doubt displayed in Demon’s Covenant. The writing was as smooth as silk and flowed seamlessly.

However, it was the little things that made me dislike the book. In particular, Mae. Mae was so fickle minded and I thing that was the most infuriating thing about the book. To me, throughout the entire novel Mae acted like this:

“Ooh Alan is so cute! But I think Seb is even cuter!!”

*swoon*

“No wait, Nick looks so hot today. I can’t resist him! Nick, let’s makeout!”

If the character is going to be so choosy over which guy she likes, it will make me doubt if she really loves him or it’s just infatuation. I’m sorry but lust does not equal love. One year ago I closed one eye when I read about unhealthy romantic relationships but now, it disturbs me that a girl would let a guy bite them. Now the trend in paranormal is: If a guy is horrible to you, fall in love with him. Umm, what? Feel free to chime in the comments (or alternatively email me kate.readthisbook at gmail) what you thought about Nick and Mae’s behavior throughout the book.

Some parts of the book were extremely draggy they were extremely tedious to read about. I was waiting for the action but it was always anti-climatic. I admit, there were times I felt like saying “just hurry up and get to the action!” in exasperation. Unlike TDL, TDC was a surprisingly forgettable novel. I am still going to read the third book though, I love the characters too much (when they are not falling head over heels for the wrong guy).

This is not a bad book. There’s a reason why there are so many people love it. There are book I love and others don’t. Vice versa. Give this book a try if you enjoyed The Demon’s Lexicon and decide for yourself. Overall, witty, brilliant dialogue and amazing worldbuilding but an annoying main character can bring down the book’s rating by long shot. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: September 14th 2010
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents–and the fact that she can’t remember what happened to them even though she was there.

She’s struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn’t like any guy she’s ever met before.

It turns out there’s a reason why, and Ben’s secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents…

But what if that secret changes everything she knows about–and feels for–Ben?

Review: I was first interested about this book when I heard that a popular YA author wrote it. I’ll give you a hint, her initials start with E.S. However, like her contemporary novels, there were a lot of hyphens used in this book. Due to the excessive use of hyphens, the writing became repetitive. I found it extremely unnecessary to include hyphens every now and then? Other than that, I was fine with Devlin’s writing. Sadly, the spark just wasn’t there for me with this book. Avery came off as a stiff, one-dimensional person. The writing made her appear whiny and, honestly, I did not care who murdered her parents because the whole book seemed like it was going nowhere.

Avery’s parents were murdered, she tries to get on with life, she meets a new guy, but wait, he has a secret! I don’t mind the setting but the whole aspect of meeting a new guy who is mysterious and may harbor a huge secret is very very cliche. Oh and they are connected. With no proper explanation even at the end of the book. I understand that Ben is the bad boy in this novel but there was no explanation for Avery’s instant attraction with him. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but the romance was poorly handled. I didn’t understand how Avery’s feelings could change so quickly.

This story had so much potential but I didn’t feel that it quite reached it. In the beginning, Avery was determined to find out who murdered her parents, yet she did not do much to find out. In the end, she just snapped her fingers and said “… is the murderer! Arrest him!” I’d be lying if I said I was convinced that that person was the murderer.

It may seem like this book was a total disappointment but it’s redeeming quality was Avery’s relationship with her grandmother. Their interactions were nicely described in the book and well elaborated. Overall, my expectations for Low Red Moon weren’t reached and several times I was tempted to put down the book and never pick it up again. I don’t know why several reviews kept comparing Low Red Moon to Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. Yes both books are about werewolves and there’s romance but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: June 10th 2010
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: For months, Cass Meyer has heard her best friend Julia, a wannabe Broadway composer, whispering about a top-secret project. Then Julia is killed in a sudden car accident, and while Cass is still reeling from her death, Julia’s boyfriend and her other drama friends make it their mission to bring to fruition the nearly-completed secret project: a musical about an orphaned ninja princess entitled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.

Cass isn’t one of the drama people. She doesn’t feel at home with Julia’s drama friends, and she doesn’t see a place for her in the play. Things only get worse when she finds out that Heather Galloway, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school, has been cast as the ninja princess.

Cass can’t take a summer of swallowing her pride and painting sets, so she decides to follow her original plan for a cross-country road trip with Julia. Even if she has a touring bicycle instead of a driver’s license, and even if Julia’s ashes are coming along in Tupperware.

Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad is a story about friendship. About love. About traveling a thousand miles just to find yourself. About making peace with the past, and making sense of it. And it’s a story about the bloodiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.

Review: I admit, what I thought would be Paper Towns meets Glee turned out to be just a medicore read. Let’s start with what I enjoyed about this novel. I particularly loved the story idea. It was unique, fresh, exactly what I was craving for. The cover was also very well done and the title was very clever. If the title had not caught my eye, the big and bold cover would have. However, the book did not deliver the story I wanted.

Things I didn’t like:
1. The writing. It took me a while to get used to the alternating POVs between the past and the present. I often found myself confused and had to flip back to check if it was the past or the present. Sometimes, the dialogue seemed forced and unbelievable.

2. Cass. I found myself unable to connect with her, her grief towards Julia’s death was evident but the romance with Heather was a flop. Throughout the novel, I felt that I was being told that Cass had a crush on Heather and it wasn’t clear what aspect of Heather made her fall in love with her. (If it was explained in great detail somewhere in the book, apologies.) Also, Cass’s parents felt absent throughout the entire novel.

3. Inconsistent plot. Although the chapters alternated from “Then” and “Now”, the following “Then” and “Now” chapters should be in the same timeline. But I found that after reading a “Now” chapter and moved to a “Then” chapter, the protagonist would be in another situation and my mind would totally forget about what happened in the earlier chapters. I felt that Horner danced around the plot too much and never stayed focused on one thing at a time.

The ending was the only redeeming quality of this book. It was nicely done and I enjoyed the last 40 pages of the novel. Overall, A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend was an okay book, unfortunately, nothing in particular stood out. I have nothing against the author, it just wasn’t my type of book.

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 4th 2010
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger–and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

Review: While I thoroughly enjoyed Wings, Spells was a huge disappointment for me and I finished the book shaking my head in utter disappointment. The major problem with Spells was that it lacked a good plot line. Throughout the novel, there was no action and the suppose ‘danger’ Avalon was facing was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until more than 3/4 of the book when the action picked up. A good book requires a good plot. While there are many other supernatural books out there, the Vampire Academy books, for example, have cringe-worthy dialogue and yet everyone reads the books. Why? Because of the exciting plot. The need to find out what happens next is enough to convince the reader to continue with the series, no matter how juvenile they are.

Moving on, Laurel’s stay in Avalon was completely boring. There was no action and instead of showing how the potions worked, Pike told the readers how it worked instead. Laurel irritated me many times. I was frustrated by how she kept repeating herself and not seem to be doing anything to I hated how conflicted she was and she was turning into — you guessed it– BELLA SWAN.

The love triangle was dragged out and by the end of the book, I officially reached the point where I simply didn’t care who Laurel chooses in the end. I was sick of reading about her conflicted feelings. Another major flaw in the book was that the supposedly bad guys were not evil at all. If the trolls were actually scary and did actual harm, the story would have been more exciting. Instead, Laurel would harp constantly about how dangerous they were and the actual fight scene was a miserable portion of the book and gave me the impression that Pike had the scene just to add some drama to the plot. Honestly, the rest of the book was like a tortoise crawling at snail pace. And the big reveal about Chelsea was a complete flop. It was out of place with no hints in the book indicating the big reveal.

It may seem like I have nothing nice to say about the book I admit, I like Pike’s writing which was the main reason why I adored Wings. In conclusion of my long rant on why I didn’t like this novel, reading Spells was like ordering a cheesecake but only to be served a muffin. It fell short and I had expected more. I don’t recommend this book, at all. Even if you enjoyed Wings. Get it from the library if you want to. Do give Wings a chance though, it had a lot of potential.

Review copy provided by publisher.

The Mark by Jen Nadol

The Mark by Jen Nadol
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 19th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

Review: I don’t like giving negative reviews towards debut books sometimes because it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Lets start with the good things first. The first half of the book was the best. The scene where Cassie saw the man die (non-spoiler) was very well-done. Even the hospital scene with her grandmother was realistic. Nadol’s writing was great, it was easy to read and well written.

Things went spiraling downhill when Cassie became damsel-in-distress and relied so much on a certain guy who was the complete opposite of Prince Charming. To me, I felt that her character was flat most of the time and some of her decisions were childish and did not appear to show any maturity in them.

When I read books, I like the relationships to be honest. That is yet another reason why I did not enjoy The Mark. Cassie lied about her age to her boyfriend yet she claimed that she loved him. If you love someone, I’m pretty sure you would admit your real age and be frank with them. Another thing that annoyed me was the fact that Cassie constantly lied. Not just to her boyfriend. To everyone! There I was trying to symphatise with her and she blantly lies without blinking. The biggest peeve of all is that Cassie’s relationship with him seemed forced. I did not see the connection nor the chemistry between them, let’s face it, it was pretty darn unbelievable.

I was warned beforehand that The Mark was not a supernatural book and more of a thought-provoking book. Yup, indeed. There was so much pondering going on. Should I tell? Should I don’t tell? I wanted to ask Cassie why she was being so fickle and why she let a guy make decisions for her. Sigh.

The Mark is not a terrible book but it also is not something I’ll start recommending to everyone I see. Perhaps you will enjoy this book if you do not mind some far-fetched plot, an annoying protagonist and a selfish love interest. I really really wanted to like this book but it just didn’t work out.

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