Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Rules by Stacy Kade

Series: Project Paper Doll (bk. 1)

Genera: Sci-fi/ Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Genetic Engineering, psychic ability, aliens, high school, Wisconsin

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 410 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Hyperion

Summary/ product description:

“1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.
Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: I really enjoyed this book. It’s exactly the kind of book a Maximum Ride fan like me wants to read. Even if at times it felt more like a paranormal romance than a sci-fi book. Ariane could have easily have been half-demon instead of half-alien, but with her background of being in a lab until age six, it makes the story definitely sci-fi. She’s kind of like the 16-year old version of Angel from MR, but no wings and added telekinesis.

Alien stuff is in again. Icons and the 5th Wave just came out, as well as this. I love anything with aliens (except the movies with the creepy, slimy gross one: The Thing, and Alien.) And YA books with genetic engineering. When I found out about this I was really excited. And enough though there is cliché high school drama, this book turned out to be amazing. It’s written in rotating 1st person perspective between Ariane and Zane. Ariane definitely remind me a bit of Max (and Angel) from MR, but a more lonerish version of her. And Ariane doesn’t really fight, but she is smart. She has a fantasy crush on Clark Kent/Superman (So do I. Tom Welling in Smallville specifically.) And Zane is hot and very tall. His father, the chief of police, is a jerk who doesn’t think he’s good enough. Zane’s trying to figure out Ariane secret, but intensions are good. Rachel is the popular girl, and very manipulative and spoiled. Jenna is Ariane kinda-sorta friend.

I took my time reading this book. It’s not the most fast-paced story. It’s the story that you want to soak up. It was interesting and has so much potential as a series. I can’t wait till I read the next book. And of all places for a setting. Wisconsin. Wingate is not a real town of course, and GTX is not a real company. The author is Chicago based, of course she’d pick a setting in some made up town in Southern Wisconsin. The second book is going to be in Gurnee, IL (home of Six Flags and Gurnee Mills Mall). Can’t wait for that. The ending of the book was so awesome and there were so many twists. Hope book two is even more exciting.

Cover Art Review: Not a fan of the cover. That blue eye looks weirder than the black one. They could have done a better job. The DNA bar texture is interesting


~Haley G

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Series: Dualed (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: Murder, assassins, clones, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, action, Canada

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 290 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Random House

Summary/ product description: “You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.”

My Rating: êêê1/2

My Review: This book had a very unique concept behind it. The world building was also very unique. The idea that everyone has a twin that’s born into a different family, and that they have to kill the other. Could you kill someone with your own face and features?  I’m sure that actually having to do that would mess your mind up big time.

Every kid in this book is taught in school about Alts and how to fight them. Alts are not mindless clones, they’re just the other version of you. You and your Alt. are made up of the genes of 4 parents, rather than 2. The parents that raised you and the parents that raised your Alt. Anywhere between age 10 and 20 you can be forced to go from idle to active, meaning you only have 31 days to kill your Alt or you’ll Alt will kill you, and if neither is dead by 32 day, you both die.

This book has a pretty creative city layout. It’s based off of Vancouver, Canada but it’s called Kersh. The city, not the island. There’re 4 different sectors. I’m not sure where she got the names for each sector. They’re not on the map, so she probably made them up. For the most part, Kersh reminded me of the city of Los Angeles in Legend by Marie Lu, but colder and rainier.

The characters are not fully flushed out, or very deep. They’re not boring either. West is really tough and brave, but didn’t deal with her problems in the best possible way. I think if she tried to find a way not to kill she would have been more interesting. The love interest, Chord, was always trying to help her, but she kept pushing him away because she didn’t want to put him in danger. She should have taken his help more often. It would have been more realistic.

Overall I did enjoy this story. The plot was okay, and the book was written in 1st person present, which I like. It was really action packed and well written. There’s a few minor this that made it tough to get through. Mainly the long chapters. I like short chapters. Chapters that are 20 to 30 pages, or even longer make me feel bored. I made it to the end of the book, and liked it enough. I don’t really understand how it’s a series since the ending wrapped up so well. It’s worth reading if you like dystopia.

Cover Art Review: Very cool cover. I like the metallic title. I love that the shadow is different (scarier than) from the girl. That street looks very dystopian.

~Haley G

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer


Genera: Mystery/Paranormal Romance/Sci-fi

Subjects: Supernatural, love, Colorado, identity, secrets, death

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 325 pgs.

HC/PB: Paperback

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description:  Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.
For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.
But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: The one thing that made me give this book a try was the setting. Colorado. I’ve been to Denver and Colorado Springs, and I remember how beautiful the mountains were. The only other books set in Colorado that I can think of are Stung and A Beautiful Dark and A Fractured Light.

Picturing scenery while reading a book is like taking a virtual vacation. The author took full advantage of the setting and had scenes where the characters are going on hike or on off-road vehicles. There’s a lot of description and showing instead of telling. I checked on Google Earth, and Silver Lake is not a real town.

This book also had pretty good characters. The main character is home schooled, so thankfully this book didn’t suffer from cliché high school drama. Lily has the spirit of another girl named Iris speaking in her head. She used to think her own shadow was Iris, but she only hears her voice and feels like she’s part of her. There’s the neighbor, Wyatt. He’s funny and cute and slightly reminds me of Tucker from Unearthly. Too bad Wyatt’s not a cowboy.

There’s Lily’s dad who dies at the beginning of the book, and Lily’s mom who’s depressed about it. Her parents are kind of old, like in their 60s. I kept suspecting them to be Lily’s grandparents, and thinking Iris was Lily’s mother. There’s also Ty, the new guy in town who starts repairing the roof for their cabin. He’s hot and mysterious and has his reasons for coming to Silver Lake.

The plot of the book was the mystery behind Lily’s past and who she is, and how she can help Ty. Much of the book was the romance/love-triangle between her, Ty and Wyatt. Sometimes the book felt slow, like there was no plot, but it picked up later on in the story. There’s a few twist towards the end. One of them I saw coming. Kind of changed the genera to sci-fi. Not trying to spoil it, but just saying. Wish there was more sci-fi stuff, because this is only a stand-alone. It was a good, enjoyable book anyway. Recommend it to anyone who likes a mystery or a virtual Colorado vacation.

Cover Art Review: Yet another reflective cover. There’s way too many covers with a similar seen. Like Pivot Point. Don’t care for this cover. But the back cover is pretty nice.


~Haley G

Monday, May 20, 2013

Impostor by Jill Hathaway

Series: Slide (bk. 2)

Genera: Murder Mystery/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Supernatural, psychic ability, narcolepsy, murder, sisters, secrets, Iowa

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 260 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “What if a killer took control of you?
Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.
But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.
As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.”

My Rating: êêêê1/4

My Review: I only finished Slide the day before and it took me way less time to read Impostor. I liked it even better than Slide. It kept on turning the pages, not stopping. I’m really getting into this series. Wonder if there will be a 3rd book. It seems like each book is complete in itself. There are no cliffhangers. Everything wraps up perfectly. I still like the characters.

Vee is a very likable and believable heroine. She has her flaws. What she had to go through in this book is terrible. She tried to get her revenge on Scott, but she didn’t mean to hurt him. She slid into him and someone one else was in her body and she doesn’t know what happened. And then her long lost aunt showing up was pretty suspicious. She suspected that her aunt could slide and was sliding into her.

Vee and Rollins are finally starting a relationship beyond friendship, and there this girl Anna that’s getting in the way. Vee become a bit jealous, but it’s clear that Rollins love Vee. I really like them together.

This book was entertaining and thrilling. It has an even bigger mystery and huge secret behind it. I never ever would have guessed what was going to happen. The author definitely tricked us into thinking we knew she the killer was. There’s a huge twist near the end when we find out who’s been sliding into Vee, and another big twist about who the killer is.

I recommend this series to people who enjoyed The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting and the Clarity series by Kim Harrington. Maybe Pretty Little Liars too.

Cover Art Review: Not as good as Slide’s cover. Pink like Vee’s hair was in Slide, but not metallic sadly. I like the color but not the girl photo.


~Haley G

Friday, May 17, 2013

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Series: Slide (bk. 1)

Genera: Murder Mystery/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Supernatural, psychic ability, narcolepsy, murder, sisters, secrets, Iowa

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 250 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth--her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.
Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.
Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.
Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: After waiting over a year to read this, I feel bad I didn’t read it sooner. It was very good. It reminded me of the Body Finder in a way, even though it’s completely different in the way it was written. But since they’re both about a girl with a unique ability trying to solve a murder, they are similar. So if you loved the Body Finder, you’ll like this.

Vee is very unique. She has pink hair, used to be a cheerleader and friends with the popular crowd. Vee likes astronomy. She has a younger sister, Mattie, who’s a cheerleader. Her dad is a surgeon who operates on kids. Her mom died of cancer. And also, she has narcolepsy, but when she falls asleep, she tends to slide into the head of the people who imprinted on objects she’s touching at the time.

So when Sophie is murdered, and she’s the only one who knows it because she slid into the killer, she tries to find out who the killer is. She has her suspects: a teacher, a football player named Scotch and a cheerleader who may have been jealous. There’s a huge mystery behind who the killer is, and I kept on guessing.

There’s the best guy-friend, Rollins, who Vee has been friends with for over a year. He’s cool even if he smoke pot sometimes, but he’s not a super druggie, just a deep thinker who likes music and makes a zine about school issues. And then there’s the love interest, Zane. He seems like an awesome, hot guy in the beginning. He is the new guy and he didn’t know Sophie. He couldn’t possibly be a suspect. Or could he? I went back to the House at The End of the Street idea, except in reverse (because Vee wasn’t the one who just moved in, Zane was).

This book wasn’t horror, though. It was mystery. It wasn’t gory or super scary. It was thrilling toward the end. I enjoyed it all the way through. The high school drama may have been cliché, but the plot wasn’t. It was unique and surprising.

Cover Art Review: I loved this cover since the moment I set eyes on it. It’s metallic, so even better. It’s purple, which is awesome. I love the colors and the use of light. It seems very blurred or posturized. And I love the title treatment.


~Haley G

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stung by Bethany Higgins

Series: Stung (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: Post-apocalyptic, zombies, bees, survival

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 291 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary/ product description: “There is no cure for being stung.
Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.
Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.
Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.”

My Rating:  êêêê

My Review: This is a very unique dystopia/post-apocalyptic book. Who’d of though the world would end by bees going extinct? The world didn’t really end. They genetically modified the bees and the bees spread the flu, and the vaccine for that flu caused the zombies (or insane people). Oh, and honey has become currency. It’s very complex, and the author did a good job of it. Very good world building. And the fact that it’s kind of like Sleeping Beauty retold is pretty awesome. Be honestly, this is nothing like the fairy tale. There’s a lot of gruesome stuff. Gross parts that I tried not to image because I didn’t want to imagine the smell.

The characters were pretty interesting. Fiona had a weird nickname, Fo. She woke up in her bed not remembering the last four years, thinking she was still 13. She eventually remember some of it. Also, she had to pretend to be a boy a lot of the time, and this Arrin character, a fec, helped her in the beginning.

I really liked the love interest Dreydan Bowen because he treated Fiona well, unlike everyone else who though she would turn just because she’s a Ten. And they’d treat her worse if they knew she was a girl. Bowen is part of the militia, and used to be a classmate of hers. He doesn’t recognize her at first because she cut her hair to look like a boy.

This book is action packed, with some violence and fight scenes (near the end mostly). I definitely think that guys would like this book, not just girls. The romance may appeal more to the girls, but the action may appeal to the guys. It’s a very easy read, and probably readable in a day, or one-sitting if you prefer not to take breaks. There’s some thought provoking stuff in here that makes me happy that bees aren’t going extinct. I don’t like bees or honey, but they keep plants alive and reproducing, so they’re pretty necessary to the environment.

If you like any post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction, zombies or other kinds, you should give this a try. It’s different, but still has the familiar sci-fi genera. And it’s set in Denver, Colorado (I’ve been there!) which is an awesome place.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover! It’s the perfect kind of minimalistic that’s still interesting and compelling. I love the bee-syringe merge. I also love the condensed typeface for the title and author. I especially love the holographic rainbow effect on the bee.

~Haley G

Saturday, May 11, 2013

In My Mailbox 5/11/2013

 Not many of these actually can in my mailbox. Only Fift Grave and Life After Theft came from UPS. But here are some books I got recently, bought, won or checked out.
1. An ARC of Flicker & Burn I got for a prebub event at Anderson's. It's the sequel to Cold Fury. An ARC of Fifth Grave From the Right is a book I entered to win. I have not read any books in the series, but I the Darklight YA series by this author.
2. Code, the 3rd Virals books. The 5th Wave, which I was excited about. The Ward is another dystopian book.
3. Mystic, the 3rd Soul Seekers book, Life After Theft, which I got signed at the Dark Days event. Sweet Peril, sequel to Sweet Evil.
4. Reboot, which was also signed at Dark Days. If I Should Die by Amy Plum, the 3rd/final book to the Revenants series.
5. Books I ordered from the library. Alot of HarperTeen stuff. Dystopian books: Taken, Wasteland and Duled, paranormal: Invisibility and The Shadow Girl, mystery: Pretty Girl-13, and genetic engineering sci-fi: The Rules.

~Haley G

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pitch Dark Days Summer 2013

I had a lot of fun at the May 9th book signing.

I got to meet Elizabeth Norris and Amy Tintera, and see Kiera Cass and Aprilynne Pike again.

I got to give Kiera and Elizabeth the fanart I made.

I got to meet Ally, the publicist that was on TeaTime with EpicReads a few times.

I got to meet a Snarkles Clone.

I got to participate in some dance/photo op thing.

Me and my mom got our picture taken with some nerdy props.

I got my books signed.

Got a bunch of swag, book marks and stuff.

I had a red velvet cupcake from one of the book bloggers that came.
I met a book blogger who was an extra in Divergent.
I chatted with a few people, and gave out my buisness cards and book marks I had left over from Portfolio Night.
Afterwards, my mom and I drove home in the dark and the rain and stopped at Wendy because all that excitement made me really hungry. Thankfully we do not live far away from Naperville. Warrenville's only a town over.
We really had ALOT of fun at Andersons in Naperville last night.

~Haley G

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Stone Demon by Karen Mahoney

Series: The Iron Witch (bk. 3)

Genera: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Subjects: Alchemy, demons, magic, witches, supernatural, fairies

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 320 pgs.

HC/PB: Paperback

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: Flux

Summary/ product description: “After being tricked into opening the doorway to the Demon Realm by Aliette, the Wood Queen, Donna Underwood is faced with a terrible ultimatum from the newly released demon hordes. They demand that the alchemists deliver the Philosopher's Stone, or their reaper storm will plunge the world into a devastating modern-day Dark Age.
Donna is sent to London, England, where she must complete her alchemist's training and learn how to recreate the Stone. But time is running out. Between facing the vengeful demon king, Demian, and collecting the Stone's elements, Donna realizes she must give her own life in order to succeed. And this time, even braving death may not be enough to save the world.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: Yet another series comes to an end. So many series I like ended this year. Guess they all have to end at some point. This is the 3rd and final book in this series. The first book was The Iron Witch, the second was The Wood Queen, in case you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s full of alchemy, faeries, elves and demons. The main character Donna is definitely a strong protagonist. My favorite character is Nav, because he’s the funny best guy-friend. The love interest is still Xan, the half-fey guy, but I feel like there wasn’t that much romance in this book. The world building is amazing. This whole secret society of alchemist is fascinating. It makes me think of Vampire Academy.

This final book was an adventure, kind of. Donna is forced to gather the ingredients to create the Philosopher’s Stone for Demian, and then make it otherwise he’ll destroy Ironbridge. The beginning of the book starts in London, where the last book left off. There’s a masquerade ball thrown by the demon king. Then Donna is back in Ironbridge, Massachusetts, and trying to figure out how she’s going to meet Demian two-day deadline. The fact that there’s a time crunch makes the story move a lot quicker. There’s even parts from Nav and Xan’s 3rd person perspective because they actually help Donna retrieve an ingredient.

There’s a few funny parts, which are any part with Nav. And also Newton. He’s a demon with a sense of humor. There’s a little romance, and some action. The ending was kind of epic. I was a good ending, thank goodness. It was enjoyable overall. I recommend this series to fans of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, the Immortals series by Alyson Noel, the Iron Fey series, or is you are interested in Alchemy and faeries in general.

Cover Art Review: I know this is relevant to the masquerade ball that was in the beginning of the book, but it doesn’t work for the overall story. Not a fan of the face paint and the type of mask she’s wearing. It’s a bunch of stock photos. The masked face was just photo-shopped on and it looks like she has no nose. And the posture doesn’t fit the head. The angle looks wrong.

~Haley G

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Loki’s Wolves by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr

Release Date: May 7th 2013

Series: The Blackwell Pages (bk. 1)

Genera: Paranormal/Fantasy

Subjects: Norse mythology, mythology, gods, adventure, magic, South Dakota

Age/Grade Level: Middle Grade/Teen 11+

Length: Arc: 359 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $16.99

Publisher: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.
The gods died a long time ago.
Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.
However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: I have not read many middle grade books beside Rick Riordan’s series, so I don’t have much else to compare this to. It’s a lot like his book called The Lost Hero, in the Heroes of Olympus series (and somewhat like the Percy Jackson series too). Except, this is Norse Mythology and not written by Riordan. Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr manage to write it in a style that is very similar. So if you like Riordan’s books, you’ll enjoy this book.

I received this book as an ARC. I requested it because I love Norse Mythology and all of Kelley Armstrong’s YA books (Can’t say the same for Melissa Marr. The Wicked Lovely series was not very good). I almost did not read this because it’s middle grade and I’m general only into YA. But as a fan of Percy Jackson and other mythology related books, I gave it a chance. I’m glad I did. The other great thing about this book was the setting. I love South Dakota. I’ve been there twice. I’ve been to many of the places mentioned in this book. Blackwell isn’t a real town, but it’s probably in the same general area as Custer, the place I camped. I’ve been to Mt. Rushmore, and I’ve panned for gold in Lead. I visited Deadwood and saw the Wild Bill reenactments. I’ve been to Reptile Gardens and remember the dome with all the plant that was in the illustration. I really loved the illustrations. The ARC didn’t have them, but I saw them in the hardcover and they look like graphic novel worthy art. The pictures do the story justice.

As for characters. Sadly Thor and Loki are not in this book. But their descendants are. Basically, the characters are demi-gods, but that term isn’t used. Matt is descended from Thor, and Fen and Laurie are from Loki. Matt uses him hammer amulet to pack a punch, Fen can shape-shift into a wolf, and Laurie has good luck and can fool people through trickery and gets some other powers later on. Laurie is probably the most interesting of the three. They go on an adventure looking for other descendants that can help them stop Ragnarok a.k.a. the end of the world as we know it. Something about the Midgarde Serpent (Have you watched the show Vikings on History? I have. They talked about Norse Mythology on it).

The issue I had with this book was the way it was written. Lots of unnecessary detail in parts. The whole telling us stuff instead of showing it. I’m pretty sure that any bad parts were written by Marr, because I love Kelley Armstrong’s writing. This was written for a younger age group, so it’s not as rich in complicated descriptions or romance the way YA paranormal is. It was different, and that’s okay.

I recommend this to fans of Rick Riordan’s books, the Need series by Carrie Jones, Valkyrie Rising, the Stork series or any other mythology related series. It’s a fun read. Especially for middle-schoolers who can relate to the characters better.


Cover Art Review: I like the illustration on the cover, but I don’t like the title with that symbol behind it. I’m hoping that the hard cover both will be embossed and metallic so it looks better.


~Haley G

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Release Date: May 7th 2013

Series: Icons (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: Aliens, psychic ability, emotions, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, genetic engineering

Age/Grade Level: Teen 12+

Length: 433 pgs. (ARC version)

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “Your heart beats only with their permission.
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.
Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future”

My Rating: êêêê1/4

My Review: This was a very unique book. It’s nothing like Beautiful Creatures. Instead of the Southern culture and magic in that series, this book has Latino culture in it because of its Los Angelos setting. It also has some futuristic stuff and alien technology. The book is well written and easy to follow. There are some parts that keep you guessing. I really liked the parts in between chapters that were records and journal entries, or other information. It gave me insight into this world.

The world building was awesome. Well done. It’s explained without an info dump. The transcripts are a very clever way of explaining what happened. But I have to ask, why are so many alien movies and books set in Los Angelos? (Or New York. Never Chicago.) Of course, this book is 16 years after they took over, so it’s very different from any alien movie. I was hoping for something like Ancient Aliens, maybe that the Aliens came back, and were here in the past. Instead these aliens use the Icons to keep humans in line. They can kill living things by emitting an electromagnetic pulse.

The characters are all pretty good and likeable. They’re all very different from each other. I like that the four main characters have different abilities that are related to emotion. It’s a really cool concept. Dol is empathic, and Ro is really strong because of anger. Lucas has influence and Tima can make you afraid, or something. My favorite character in this book isn’t even a human. Doc, a computer/AI, who tells (really bad) jokes made me laugh a lot.  And there’s Fortis, a Merk with an Australian/British accent who helps Dol. He’s funny and his accent is easy to imagine. They’re all well-developed.

Some reviewers are saying that this book is slow. And it is in some parts. But that’s how the tension builds. There’s a little bit of a love triangle, but not much romance. This is more of a self-discovery story than a romance.

For the most part, I’m not sure why I liked this book. I did, maybe because I didn’t get bored. It was something different and different is good. I love creative story lines and dystopias. Sure, the ending could have been better, but it was good enough. I really do want to read the next book. I wonder what will happen and how this series will play out.

Cover Art Review: Definitely like the new cover better than the ARC’s. But I kind of wish there was an actually towering Icon on it, instead of just having the observatory on the side. Like the destroyed title type.


~Haley G