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! :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Shifter

by Janice Hardy

I admit it. I picked this book because it's pretty - the cover grabbed my attention in the book store and I picked it up. Read the front flap, and was interested by the story. Book goes on Christmas list, and viola! I now have the shiny new thing in my hands.

The Shifter is the story of a fifteen-year-old orphan named Nya. Years ago all of Nya's family was killed in a takeover of their country and a resulting war, all except her younger sister Tali. Thankfully, Tali is an apprentice Healer - someone who can take injuries and pain away from and individual and then release it into a special stone called pynvium. She has a place to stay, food to eat and a future ahead of her. Things are a little more difficult for Nya. She can also take injuries and pain from others, but she can't release it into the pynvium. Nya must either hold the pain herself, or shift it to another person - a skill that is very dangerous to have. Nya knows that if the rulers found out out her talent, she could be taken to be used as a weapon. However, Nya soon finds it difficult to hide her secret ability. She's out of money, she's been kicked out of her room at the boarding house, and she can't find work anywhere. To top it off, strange things are happening at the League where her sister is training, and some apprentices are going missing. Nya will soon have to decide if it is better to hide her power, or use it, and if she does use it - is it right?

I loved the uniqueness of this book. It was completely different from anything I'd ever read. The characters are likable, and Nya's moral dilemmas are intriguing to mull over. The ending was mostly satisfying while also leaving it open for the sequel. A couple confusing sequences, and a rushed explanation of the political and social battles going on in the background cause me to give it four stars rather than five.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


by Lili St. Crow

This book is the sequel to Strange Angels, a book whose story I enjoyed but I had some reservations over the method of telling.

I have largely the same complaints for the sequel.

Again, Lili St. Crow seems to have a small vocabulary when it comes to words to expresses anger or shock. The only ones she can think of would get bleeped out on cable television. This is frustrating because these aren't words I enjoy hearing - even in my own head, and also because I think it shows a real lack of creativity. Seriously, not EVERYONE in the world uses those words in every sentence. It's crude, and sounds uneducated. I realize these are teenage characters, but I have a hard time believing that all teenagers have such a foul mouth as Dru and Graves do.

Second - the smells! Ms. St. Crow focuses way too much on the way things smell and not enough on other senses. Many sequences are hard to understand and picture in your head because the only information you have is what things smell like. (And yes, Christophe STILL smells like apple pie!) Oh, and by the way, it's mentioned quite a few times that Graves smells like cigarette smoke, as if this is supposed to be a nice thing - um, ew!

Unfortunately, I'm giving this book one less star than it's predecessor. I just didn't find the story as interesting, and it was often confusing! There were a few chapters that I wasn't really sure what was going on and it felt like the author was being intentionally vague.

Will I read the third installment? Probably only if Dani assures me that it's better than this one!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Leepike Ridge

N. D. Wilson

I love N.D. Wilson! This is the third book of his that I've read, and each one is a treasure. Not only are the stories original and interesting, but the way he tells the story is lovely and lyrical and engrossing.

Leepike Ridge
is actually Wilson's first book, and one I've been wanting to read for a while. However, I've never bought it because I didn't like the cover art of the paperback version and could never find the hardback version which I did like the art for (the art pictured). Finally found a copy at an outlet book store though, so it was finally time to buy it and read it.

While I do think I like the 100 Cupboards series better (mostly because it's fantasy and this is realistic fiction), Leepike Ridge was a fun story.

It starts off with this boy, Tom, who sails off down the river on a piece of Styrofoam from a refrigerator box and before he knows what's happening, the river dives under the mountain and Tom is sucked along with it. Once the current stops, Tom finds himself stuck in the pitch-dark and he can't find a way out. He also finds a body, a dog, a flashlight and eventually, a stream traveling farther into the mountain. Meanwhile Tom's mother is desperately searching for her son, and trying to determine who she can trust and who is keeping things from her. Will Tom ever find his way back above ground, and if he does, will he find his mom is safe or in danger?

Saturday, December 19, 2009


by Maggie Stiefvater

Despite this book being a sequel to Lament, it really reads more like a stand-alone novel. The main character and narrator of this book is James, a secondary character in the first novel. The setting has changed, as has all but one of the remaining characters. Dee is still in it, but she definitely takes a back seat in this one. In fact, most of what we know that's going on with her is from "text messages" dispersed throughout the book. And the few times she does appear, she's kind of annoying.

And even though James' narration is funnier than Dee's, the story of Ballad just didn't excite me as much as Lament did. The faeries as a collective group are not a big part of the story until the very end. Many of the newer elements to the faerie myths are not fully explained. Stiefvater has based a lot of her story on actual Celtic myth, so I was able to look some of it up, but I still think she should have included more. I'm teetering on the edge of a 3 or a 4 star rating, but settled on a 3. Not jumping for joy over it, but not regretting taking the time to read it - a solid 3 I'd say.

Friday, December 4, 2009


by Maggie Stiefvater

I've been wanting to read this book for a while. It's one of the regulars on my "Powell's List". Last time I was there I found a used copy - which is my permission to buy it!

Lament is the story of a girl who finds herself caught up in the world of faeries. These faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell though. They are based on old Celtic legends, and are dark, sneaky, crafty creatures. Faeries love to play games, deceive humans, and find ways to spirit them away. Deirdre's first encounter with the faerie world comes when a mysterious stranger comes to her aide at a music competition. Luke is beautiful, charming, a gifted musician, but also hiding something. Deirdre is cautious at first, but then her curiosity gets the better of her.. She finds herself trusting Luke - and it's not long before she learns whether that was a wise decision or not.

Some things I loved about this book:
Luke. Even though you're not sure if Luke should be trusted, he is an interesting character. He's very confident - on the border of cocky, and his exchanges with Deirdre are often amusing.
The faerie lore. I love the sinister undertone whenever the faeries are involved. The characters and the readers have to learn to never trust anything the faeries say, because while it may be true, there is likely some ulterior motive involved.

One slight reservation:
The ended is a little bit ambiguous! I wish the author would just give us a little more explanation and not make the reader assume!