Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

91mVuKxQdoLTitle: Fiendish

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: August 2014

Pages: 341

Genre: YA Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

Review

Yovanoff’s other books have been on my to-read list for awhile. But this one appeared during a trip to B&N this weekend, and I loved the cover and was in the mood for something creepy. When the first line tells you the MC has been trapped in a cellar by roots for ten years, well, it doesn’t get much creepier and intriguing than that, right?

The book was enjoyable, and while I didn’t find it scary at all, parts of it were creepy and disturbing. At least, the beginning was. I will admit that being dropped into the middle of Clementine’s world, with mention of craft and crooked families and fiends, was jarring at first. It was explained over the course of the book, but I found myself at times wishing for some more explaination. I mean, boys found a girl pinned in a burned out cellar with her eyes sewed shut. While there was some cursing and some fear, there wasn’t nearly enough for what I would have thought. It both confused me and set things up that this place was outside of “normal” reality.

The magic in the book is also not fully explained, and I ended the novel still unclear about the star and its five points and the system itself. I wished for more, because I think it would have made the whole thing better and maybe made me love the characters a little more. For most of them, I felt like it was a love them or hate them kind of thing. I liked Clementine and Shiny. Rae and Davenport and Fisher all were a little blah for me.

I also had a hard time with Clementine. She is put in the cellar when she’s 7. She comes out 10 years later. There’s a lot of talk about how she can’t fit into her skin quite right, but she never really comes out with a seven-year-old’s mentality. I mean, she’s singing Farmer in the Dell not long before being locked up and going over her numbers, and then she comes out, thinks about things, says some vague things that sound like she was “out of body” while imprisoned, and then she’s acting like a normal seventeen year old. Especially since halfway through the book she’s got a romance going. When you forgot about the beginning and the age, it works. When you really think about it, its weird.

I have to say one thing I truly adored, and that was Yovanoff’s prose. Its beautiful. The first three pages alone I went back and reread more than once. Her words just shine. Throughout the book there were little sprinkles of fantastic lines and descriptions, and that I loved. I wish I had loved it more, but I will be going to check out her other books soon! If you enjoy dark fantasy, I’d suggest you give it a try.

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled(But four stars for the prose!)

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18667948-fiendish?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595146385/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1595146385&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fiendish-brenna-yovanoff/1117163910?ean=9781595146380&itm=1&usri=9781595146380&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by the reviewer.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales


15777621Title
: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Publication Date: Sept 2013

Pages: 279

Genre: YA Contemporary

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Review

This is not my normal reading choice. Generally, as I work in a high school, I do not go for contemporary YA novels because I can get enough real life drama everyday. But this book had an interesting premise – a girl who saves herself with music – so I decided to give it a try.

The book is a great read. It deals with some tough issues – fitting in, losing yourself by trying to be something you aren’t, learning to trust yourself and value yourself, and suicide and bullying. It deal with these well, and I think that while Elise is at times a bit over the top, she also has some thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that most teenagers can relate to. The fact that she is bullied and takes it, and when it gets extreme still takes it without getting an adult involved is something that teenagers everywhere are dealing with.

There are times when I didn’t like Elise, and I thought that some of the behaviors would have been flags for her parents, and some things, like her nighttime walks, were a little hard to swallow. (My mother would have known. I might have gotten away with that once, but she’d have been waiting up for me the next time…) I didn’t expect so much from this book. I didn’t expect the undercurrents about cutting and suicide, or the heavy amount of bullying in the book. But I felt that it was a book that teens can relate to, and if it helps even one teen who is feeling depressed and alone and maybe thinking about harming themselves to stop and ask for help from someone, then it is definitely worth the read.

Sorry this review is a bit disjointed. The book was good, and overall I liked it, but there were parts that I didn’t care for. If you enjoy contemporary YA, this is a great book.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15777621-this-song-will-save-your-life?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374351384/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0374351384&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-song-will-save-your-life-leila-sales/1114168111?ean=9780374351380&itm=1&usri=9780374351380&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was borrowed from the local library by the reviewer.

Daughter of Nothing by Eric Kent Edstrom

jack6.000x9.000.inddTitle: Daughter of Nothing

Author: Eric Kent Edstrom

Publisher: Under Mountain Books

Publication Date: October 2013

Pages: 328

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

The orphans at the Scion School believe they are being trained for a great destiny, to bring humanity back from the brink of extinction. They live a regimented existence, studying math, literature, and the martial arts. But when Jacey, seventeen, is caught alone with a boy-a severe infraction of the rules-she becomes an outcast among her classmates and the object of unwanted attention by the drug addicted headmaster, Dr. Carlhagen. Aided by Socrates, the school’s AI professor, Jacey must piece together the clues of who she is and take control of her own destiny.

Review

I struggled with this book. Not because it wasn’t well done – it was – but because I wasn’t sure how to review it. I enjoyed the book. It was a quick read, and it kept me interested. But I must admit, on page 13 I turned to my husband and said, “this sounds just like that movie, The Island.”

The book does follow similar themes. (If you aren’t wanting spoilers, quit reading here.) What makes us “us”, what makes us human, etc. The orphaned children are really clones… sort of. They are being prepped for their Progenitors to take over their bodies by way of a mind transfer when they hit eighteen. Jacey, however, is an anomaly. I won’t say why, as the reasons are very central to the plot. Dr. Carlhagen, the fatherly figure who owns/runs the Scion school, is a character that at first you think might have a sympathetic reason for all this, but quickly descends into madness. I liked Jacey’s character. I liked that the supporting characters were given separate personalities. I even enjoyed the way that Dr. Carlhagen is written. He makes a very good villain, and his madness is a gradual thing that is realistic. Most of my issues with the novel were that I could see what was coming so early that I grew frustrated. That being said, the twist at the end with the Scion and Dr. Carlhagen (vague on purpose) was one I hadn’t seen, and which I enjoyed. The book was a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction novels.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18601754-daughter-of-nothing?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0989901009/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0989901009&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/daughter-of-nothing-eric-kent-edstrom/1116993152?ean=9780989901000&itm=1&usri=9780989901000&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Highlight: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Book Highlight!

Gates-cover-FINAL-med

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Praise for Gates of Thread and Stone

“Lori M. Lee excels in building a world of intrigue, oppression, and magic amidst a Labyrinth setting as twisted and winding as the secrets hidden inside her characters’ hearts. Fans of strong heroines who don’t need a boy to hold their hands, action-packed fighting scenes, and whispers of steampunk and mythology, will find themselves wishing they, too, could manipulate the threads of time, if only to stay inside the story a little longer.”-A.G. Howard, the SPLINTERED series

“Inventive, romantic, and gripping. I was hooked from the first page!”-Amy Tintera, REBOOT and REBEL

 

About the Author

lori_small

Lori is the author of young adult fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone, coming August 5, 2014 from Skyscape. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

Links:

Preorder Links:
 

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

brazen by longshoreTitle: Brazen

Author: Katherine Longshore

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Publication Date: June 12, 2014

Pages: 528

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Review

Brazen, by Katherine LOngshore, is a novel set in Tudor England, in one of the most written about time periods around. That being said, I’m a sucker for a novel about Tudor England. But while I love them, they have the potential to be tired before you even begin. Mainly because people choose to write about the same people over and over. Longshore manages to choose a character here that few people ever even remember existed. That’s really what made me want to pick up the book in the first place.

Few books ever get around to writing about Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s bastard son. No one that I know of has ever bothered to remember that he had a wife. This novel is told from Mary Fitzroy’s point of view, and I enjoyed it. Mary is an oddity in court. Her parents are at odds, physically at times, and she is uncertain and easily led at the beginning, even when she doesn’t want to be. She’s honest, sometimes when she shouldn’t be, but learns how to cover that as well in a way that doesn’t deviate from herself, but isn’t going to get her into trouble either.

The author also includes a peculiar character trait that I loved. LOVED. Mary is a synesthete – to her, words (or at least some words) have a taste. Her descriptions of them are lovely, and often hold their own meaning in regards to what Mary is thinking or what is going on around her. Her character growth from beginning to end is really well done. It isn’t unbelievable and is actually pretty subtle. Only when you really think about the beginning do you realize that she did make some serious personal growth and choices.

Her relationship with Henry Fitzroy is a major running thread, and it is an important one, but it isn’t the whole story. To me, her relationship with him is a secondary plot line to her finding her own way in the world. That being said, I loved their relationship. The beginning was rocky and exactly like you think it might have been. Henry is a likeable character, though I must admit that I was having some issues with becoming too involved, because I knew what was going to happen to him. (I won’t say, just in case someone doesn’t know)

The book and its twisting relationships and its weaving of history and fiction are really well done. The author’s notes in the back explain how the author has modified and filled in history for the story, and I really think she did a great job. I especially enjoyed the note about Mary’s book and how it was based on a real manuscript. I found that really surprising and interesting and will be looking into more information about it.

My only complaint, and the reason this book received three stars instead of four, was because there were times when I had to force myself to continue reading. It wasn’t boring – it just couldn’t quite keep my attention until well into the second half. Part of that is the nature of the beast. Tudor historical fiction set in the court has a large cast of characters and all have a part to play. You have to know some of what’s going on, and the secondary characters of Hal, Madge, Margaret, and even Anne Boleyn and King Henry have parts that weave in and out of Mary’s own history. Some of this may also be due to the timing of my reading the book – as I have some big events going on in my life at the moment and it’s hard to concentrate, so take that for what it’s worth.

The last scene between Henry and Mary made me cry, which is rare, and I really think the author did a fabulous job of conveying emotion in this book – not just here but throughout. I really got to know Mary and I really wanted her to win. I wanted to see her happy and to succeed.

So – If you’re a fan of Tudor historicals, this is a good book to try. You may get a little bogged down in the middle, but the book is a good one overall.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18668016-brazen?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067001401X/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=067001401X&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2=

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brazen-katherine-longshore/1116402533?ean=9780670014019&itm=1&usri=9780670014019&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Accordance by Shelly Crane

12667194Title: Accordance

Author: Shelly Crane

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: Sept 2011

Pages: 314

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

In the sequel, Maggie learns much more about all the strange things that happened to her, and has to face new ones. She rebels against it, but ultimately, must face it for her new families sake and maybe even her life. Bish went from being her biggest supporter to her biggest pain in the butt and Kyle’s intentions to attract her interest may not be so innocent. Caleb and Maggie face many new obstacles together and fight to work through them but will one that should be a good thing be too much for Maggie to handle?

Review

I read Shelly Crane’s SIGNIFICANCE awhile ago, and couldn’t decide whether to continue the story or not. ACCORDANCE is a fun, quick read, and I recommend it if you enjoyed the first book.

This time, the book picks up exactly where book one left off (like, exactly) which is actually kind of nice. As long as you don’t need a super huge refresher on what already happened, its great to just jump right back into the story. I enjoy Caleb and Maggie, though some of the same sort of story line appears here. I like the more detailed look at Bish and his interaction. Anyone who reads this knows where the story with Bish is going. (I’m not saying more than that. Honestly, if you read the end of the first book and didn’t guess it, I’d be surprised.) there is a twist involved that I’m interested in seeing how the author deals with that.

Maggie becomes this amazing thing in the story, and it becomes integral to her life as an Ace. And while its a cool thing, it also makes it hard to believe that she’s really and truly vulnerable, outside of Caleb. She can do all these things, and while that takes time to control, she’s still really helpless at times, which drives me nuts. The way her gift affects others is, however, a really nice touch and gives the gift a “downside,” which helps even things out a bit.

Caleb is too good to be true, but you can’t help but like him. The book is pretty predictable, and the few twists that were there, you can almost guess as soon as it pops up. There are a few surprises, and they are good ones.

I don’t know if I will continue to read the rest of the series or not. I feel as indifferent as I did last time. It was enjoyable, but a bit of a fluff read for me. If you want a quick beach read, go for it!

 

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12667194-accordance?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NKFVJW/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B005NKFVJW&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults?store=book&pt=bk&ern=210&isbn=b005nkfvjw&r=1,%201&cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-gwez7vxblvu-_-10:1

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

17668473Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog

Author: Anne Blankman

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Pages: 416

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet. Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command. Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews. As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed? From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

 

Review

PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG was a book I’ve been waiting for awhile. I bought it today, after having marked my calendar with the release date, and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

World War II era novels and history are things I enjoy, though I don’t know as much as I wish. (Someday I’ll get around to fixing that…) That being said, I really loved the way Blankman makes history unfold and shows us a well known and despised figure in a way that is slightly… uncomfortable. Hitler is not portrayed as a sympathetic figure – don’t get me wrong. But he isn’t an evil puppet out for blood from the beginning either. Gretchen sees him as Uncle Dolf, and we get to see him through her eyes as well. The whole time you kind of want to scream at her and demand why she doesn’t see things, but it’s a great example of how people then would have seen him. All the reports say that he was a charismatic speaker and someone who could mesmerize a crowd with his words.

The historical details were great, and I really enjoyed the characters. Gretchen, while sometimes frustratingly naïve, is a likeable character, and I wanted her to succeed. Reinhard was frightening (I’m not saying more than that – don’t want to give anything away!) and Daniel…ah, Daniel. I really loved his character. I liked the romance and I liked that it wasn’t a “love at first sight” moment. It took awhile, and while it was slow to come at first and then moved quickly, I enjoyed it. It felt authentic, especially given their circumstances.

The secondary characters were well thought out, and the way that Blankman has woven fiction in with fact is masterful. You know that “artistic liberties” have been taken, but it doesn’t detract from the history at all. I also enjoyed that there are many plot threads. There’s the one about Gretchen coming into her own and knowing her own mind, finding her place in the world. There’s her relationship with Hitler and how that changes. Her family dynamics, her relationship with Daniel, her aspirations (though I must admit, I wanted her to pick something. She was a little too changeable and passive about that one for me), and her relationship with others in her world and outside of it.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical novels, especially WWII settings. You don’t need any prior knowledge about the history here – all is given over the course of the book. A really great read, and highly recommended.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17668473-prisoner-of-night-and-fog

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062278819?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0062278819&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prisoner-of-night-and-fog-anne-blankman/1117005032?ean=9780062278814&itm=1&usri=9780062278814&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.