Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Geek Charming

by Robin Palmer

I just love the cover of this book! And actually, I loved the story inside as well.

Geek Charming is the second book by Robin Palmer, author of a book I previously read, Cindy Ella. While I liked Cindy Ella, I did find it to be pretty predictable and I didn't feel that attached to the characters.

I felt differently about Geek Charming though. This book is written from two perspectives: that of Dylan - fashion queen and high school popularity princess, and Josh - self-proclaimed film geek. At the very beginning of the book Dylan accidentally drops her precious designer bag into the fountain at the mall. When she can't (or won't) go into the fountain herself, she begs anyone near to go in and get it for her. Josh agrees, with the condition that she let him film her and her friends for a documentary about popularity that he wants to submit with his application to film school. Dylan "agrees", but quickly backs out. However, Dylan's dad gets wind of the agreement, decides that it's a good idea, and forces Dylan to hold up her end of the bargain.

Naturally, Dylan and Josh don't get along AT ALL. Dylan continues to make more and more demands of Josh as the project goes on. At one point Josh loses his patience and quits. But by halfway through the book the two have reached a fragile sort of agreement and surprisingly (to them, not to us) they begin to form a friendship.

Through the rest of the book we see Dylan transform into a more thoughtful, more caring person, and Josh transforms from a shy hypochondriac to a more confidant and well-rounded person. Josh helps Dylan see the joys in simple things, while Dylan helps Josh get over his fears and take chances.

Sure, it's been done and it is a little predictable, but I found this to be a really sweet story. And while the general idea was obviously not a surprise, the ending was actually different from what I expected. It was a fun, sweet book with interesting character development and a good message.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All's Fair in Love, War, and High School

by Janette Rallison

When I first started this book I was a little unsure of it. The main character, Samantha was just so unlikable at the beginning! Eventually though it became clear that you weren't really supposed to like her. She was rude and insulting, and pretty much everyone realized this but her. However, one day she accepts a bet from her coworker to go two weeks without insulting someone. Pretty quickly she comes to realize how hard this task if for her, and predictably, we start to see a change in Samantha.

As is expected, Janette Rallison's book are not deep or surprising, but they are always funny and have a heart. And while on the surface All's Fair in Love, War, and High School seems like simply a fun, fluffy read - it really does have so good messages about kindness and how the way we treat others does define the person that we are. A good message for a book aimed at teenagers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

City of Glass

by Cassandra Clare

I read some other reviews of this book and many people said they liked how Clary was impulsive, or that it fit her character. Odd. I thought that Clary's impulsiveness was a bit exaggerated at the beginning of the book. She learns there is a demon attack and the Lightwoods have left for Idris without her. Magnus tells her how it's not possible to create a Portal without permission from the Clave and someone on the other side to allow you through. She knows that in order to use a portal you must be able to picture your destination in your mind. She's never been to Idris because, but for some reason she decides she can do it, creates and portal and jumps right in? It seemed pretty foolhardy to me. Of course when she falls in Lake Lyn and Luke barely manages to save her life I was thinking, "Told you so you little dork!"

Thankfully though, the characters seem to settle back into their normal behaviors and I didn't find myself thinking "is this the same character?" again. I wouldn't call this book predictable because that just makes it sound over-the-top obvious. It wasn't. But it was often pretty easy to predict what was going to happen by the end. Was I right about Clary and Jace? Mostly. And the parts I hadn't figured out at the end of City of Ashes, were pretty clear to figure out in City of Glass. It gave me some satisfaction to figure out the twist, but after a while it was a little frustrating that THEY didn't figure it out as well!

What else to say? I enjoyed the ending, but was ever so mad that it was over! I would now like to read about Jocelyn and Luke and Clary and Jace and everybody else going out to fight demons and perhaps some other deranged individual! Sigh. Seems that books always end just when you're most in love with them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

City of Ashes

by Cassandra Clare

Ok, I'm finally returning to The Mortal Instruments trilogy after a short break for Jenna Fox, the completion of the Gregor series, The Penderwicks, and various other fantasies and paranormal fiction. I've been on a bit of a paranormal kick lately actually and after I finish this series I'm not sure what I'll read next. My roommate is teasing me that she's frightened by my book choices, which really just makes me want to read them even more! Thankfully Cassandra Clare gives the reader enough clues in City of Ashes that it did not take me long to recall the sequence of events of the previous book - which I read about 2 months ago.

Anyways, I was told that City of Ashes was the slowest of the series, and a bit of a disappointment, so I went into the book not expecting much of it. Maybe that's part of the reason, but I really enjoyed this book. I think I may have enjoyed it more than the first book, City of Bones.

At the end of the first book we get the (supposed to be) shocking news that Clary and Jace are actually brother and sister. (A little nod to Star Wars there?) :) So a good part of City of Ashes involves the pair of them trying to deal with this knowledge and fight off the continuing romantic feelings they have for each other. Meanwhile, Clary is trying to start a romantic relationship with Simon, even though she doesn't feel that way toward him. Simon knows it and it just causes all kinds of messes. Ah the love triangle - a perennial favorite among YA novels.

Last book we were introduced to werewolves and vampires. The werewolves were good (or at least, not evil) and the vampires were mostly bad. However, in this book we get to see more of the vampires and they are not portrayed as negatively - although Jace certainly holds no fondness for them.

Valentine is up to his oddly predictable tricks again, yet still elusive to all Shadowhunters. Quite the slippery fellow, that Valentine.

Towards the end of this book I am starting to suspect that Clary and Jace may not actually be brother and sister. No confirmation or denial of this suspicion so I'm continuing to mull it over in my mind. Not such a great thing when it's already 1am and you're lying in bed trying to figure out all the possible ways they might not be related but it would be reasonable for everyone to think they are (as they do now). I have a number of theories. Here's hoping I can report I was right in my next blog entry - appearing here upon my completion of City of Glass. Now I must end this entry so I can go read!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stange Angels

by Lili St. Crow

Zombies and Djamphirs and Werwolfen, oh my!

Dru Anderson is alone and scared. The book jacket, however, proclaims her to be a "Night Hunter. Knife Thrower. Heart Breaker." as well as "not afraid of the dark." But she never goes hunting at night, she never throws a knife (although she does wield one at times as well as an assortment of guns), she doesn't break anyone's heart, and she is very scared of the dark! She should be - her dad leaves her behind most evenings while he's out hunting the things that "go bump in the night". One evening he doesn't return home. The next night, he does - as a zombie. Dru must muster up all of her courage to dodge the zombie that used to be her father, and kill him before he can kill her. She's left traumatized and utterly, completely alone.

Thankfully, Dru soon makes a loyal friend in Graves. He helps her the best he can, not knowing the true danger that Dru is in, because someone - something - wants Dru dead, and he's still searching for her.

I liked Dru despite her not being as tough as the book packaging portrayed her to be. She could handle a weapon, and she knew how to defend herself to an extent, but she was still scared out of her wits and desperate for someone to help her. She gets that help through Graves as well as the mysterious djamphir Christophe.

One aspect of the book that started to bug me near the end was how the smell of EVERYTHING had to be described. I learned that Graves smelled like deodorant and smoke. Christophe smells like apple pie (that's weird). Dru's mom used to smell like "perfume and goodness." Zombies smell like a whole host of nasty rotting things. Christophe smells like apple pie. When something bad is about to happen, Dru can smells (and taste) oranges. When something REALLY bad is about to happen, it smells(/tastes) of WAX oranges. Christophe smells like apple pie. Did I mention that Christophe smells like apple pie? Yeah, the author did too - a lot! I wish I'd counted.

My biggest complaint of this book however, was the language. The story was interesting and different from other books of the genre but it was just littered with profanity! I tried to just read over it, but that would certainly stop me from recommending this book to most people I know - despite the interesting story.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Awakening

by Kelley Armstrong

I really wasn't sure if I would like this series when I started it, but soon found that the beginning to the trilogy, The Summoning, was very engrossing. So when the sequel came out earlier this year I was eager to read it.

It has been a while since I read the first book, and I could only remember vague details about the plot. I was worried that I would have trouble following the plot of this book. Thankfully though, the author does a wonderful job of placing clues throughout the book to remind you of what occurred previously. Our main character, Chloe will simply mention previous events during the narration when it's important to the current events. It seemed like every time I'd start to think, "Wait, what happened in the last book?", I'd find the very next sentence answered my question.

The characters are interesting and varied. We see less of Rae in this book and more of the annoying Tori, who you can't hate completely because you feel bad for her. Chloe, Tori and the boys Derek and Simon continue to try to piece together what's really going on with the mysterious Edison society and how it will effect their futures. This is where my complaint lies however. The bulk of this book consists of the group running away, almost getting caught, escaping, getting found, nearly getting caught again, and then, again, barely managing to escape. A lot of new questions are posed, but few are answered. I understand that this is the middle of a series, but it really FELT like the middle book - a continuation of a previous story with relatively little resolution. I was finally starting to feel like we were moving out of the run away/just avoid getting caught cycle when the book ended on a cliff-hanger. Frustrating.

That being said though, I'm eagerly awaiting the final book and hoping for all the resolution that this part was missing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


by Charlie Fletcher

Holding the third book of a trilogy (or the final book of a series of any length actually) in your hands always brings an exciting and sad feeling. On one hand you're anxious to see how the story concludes - sometimes a story that you've absorbed yourself into for quite some time. However, it is also sad to know that once you reach the end of this book it really will be the end of the story (at least in most cases.) And while I hate for a good story to end, I also am annoyed when an author won't let a story end, and it gets stretched out so much that it almost ruins the reasons you liked it in the first place. But that's besides the point here.

Silvertongue is the third and final part to the series by Charlie Fletcher that began with Stoneheart and continued with Ironhand. In the series we meet the young boy, George, who by accident is thrown into a alternate reality of London where statues walk and talk and are constantly on the edge of war with each other. The statues made to represent life are called "spits". The makers who created them are said to have put a bit of their hearts into their work and therefore the spits fight for life and what is good. The statues that are made to provoke fear are called "taints" and they include many fanciful creatures and gargoyles that are bent on destruction and who follow the ancient darkness bound in the London Stone. In the first book George reawakens the war between the two factions of statues when he breaks the head off a dragon statue in front of the museum. In his run for his life he is aided by many spits and a girl named Edie that he meets along the way. George and Edie both think they are simply two kids caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but throughout the course of the book they (and we) learn that there is more to each than meets the eye.

In Silvertongue we find George and Edie once again working together with the spits of the city to confront a new darkness that has entered London. The new darkness teams with the old and soon the London of spits and taints is thrown out of time. The clock strikes thirteen, snow falls unceasingly, and all other humans vanish. It is a race against time as George must face his final appointed battle, and all must fight to banish the darkness back to where it came from.

Very satisfying conclusion to a unique and enjoyable series. I'm looking forward to see what Fletcher writes next!