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, May 31, 2010

Eyes Like Stars

by Lisa Mantchev

I just couldn't get into this book. The characters are bizarre, and at not very likable. The setting is vague and the background information is non-existent. I didn't even finish it. I didn't even get halfway - which I almost never do. I think a book deserves to be read to it's end, and I can honestly only remember two books in the recent past that I have not finished. However, despite a week with many opportunities to read, I have always found other things to do. So I'm giving it up for now. Maybe someday I'll come back to it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spirit Bound

by Richelle Mead

Ok, last we left this series Rose had returned from her physically- and emotionally-draining trip to Russia to hunt down her former love Dimitri (who had turned from harmless dhampir to malevolent Strigoi) and kill him. Rose is relieved because she has freed Dimitri from his evil, undead state, just as he wished, only to soon receive a package in the mail - the stake she used to kill Dimitri, and a note from him - he's not dead after all, and now he vows to hunt her down and kill her.

In Spirit Bound, Lissa and Rose graduate from St. Vladamir's, and travel to court to receive their guardian assignments (Rose as the guardian and Lissa as the guarded). *Spoilers ahead* However, along the way they also stage a jail break, escape to Las Vegas, learn a possible method to restore Strigoi, dodge a mob of Strigoi attackers, and return to be punished. Lissa travels to her future college, gets attacked again by the Strigoi, and Rose assists the rescue operation. Lissa performs the nearly impossible feat of staking Dimitri herself with a spirit-charmed stake (was this really any surprise though?) and he remarkably becomes dhampir once more. They all return to court - the guardian assignments STILL looming...but no! More things must happen first! Rose attends a secret Moroi party with Adrian (of which they are none too happy about), Dimitri worships Lissa but pushes Rose away, the council changes the law to make guardians graduate at age 16, Rose had a swearing outburst at the queen, and right near the end we learn that Queen Tatiana herself has been murdered, and Rose is the prime suspect. *End spoilers*

In short, lots of twist and turns, which were interesting, but also made the book seem a little aimless at times. What is the point of this novel? Turning Dimitri back? Not quite. Guardian assignments? Not really that either. Graduation? Barely even mentioned. And all of a sudden, out from nowhere at the very end - a trial?! Sometimes it seemed like this book's purpose was to be a set up for the final book. However, I did enjoy it, despite Dimitri being annoying. Eager for book 5!

Oh, and the cover - only 1 star for that. Seriously, I took the blasted dust jacket off so I wouldn't look like I was walking around with a Harlequin novel! Sheesh. Less seductive looking next time, please!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions

by Becca Wilhite

This book is adorable.

Most definitely predictable, romantic fare, but it is some of the best kind.

Sarah is a freshman in college. She's smart, but also insecure. She considers herself woefully average, with hair that's a wild mess. The last "relationship" she was in ended badly, and Sarah has let the experience make her believe she's not good enough to be "the star of her own story". So when incredibly good-looking Ben starts to hand out with her, Sarah keeps wondering when he'll come to his senses, and why he's being so nice to her.

I only have 2 complaints:
-- I want to know what happened with "existential girl". She appears, make some statements, but has no resolution in the end.
--The title of this book doesn't seem quite right to me. Still trying to decide what I'd call it instead...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Be a Genie is Six Easy Steps

by Linda Chapman and Steve Cole

Cool concept, but definitely not for grown-ups.

There are some kids' books that can be read by adults and enjoyed. Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and 100 Cupboards are some notable ones. Some however, are clearly written just for kids and adults will just be bored by them. This is one of those.

This book is the story of 4 new step-siblings who are forced to move from their beloved London to a small town when their parents marry and open a book shop. So when they find a book that claims it will teach them to be genies, they immediately conclude that if they become genies they can wish their way back to London!

(*Some spoilers*) The front flap of this book promises a sinister presence that follows the children on their path to become genies. This promise is sorely realized by some mildly creepy people who turn out to not be creepy at all (it's all just a big misunderstanding! Let's all be friends! Which, in my opinion, is kinda lame. A book without a satisfying villain is no fun at all.) Also, the bookworm that acted as the book's spokesperson annoyed me. I really never understood why the kids loved him so much!

Maybe if I was a kid I would have liked this book. As an adult, it's just too childish.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Once Upon a Marigold

by Jean Ferris

This is a super cute book. It's silly and fun, and not to be taken too seriously. I loved it.

Ed the troll comes across a 6-year old boy when out scavenging one day. The boy, named Christian, has run away from home and refuses to go back. Ed reluctantly takes him in and raises him. Fast forward 12 years and Christian is a curious young man, who loves to build and cook but has few friends. He begins a correspondence via carrier pigeons with the young princess across the river from the cave he shares with Ed. The princess, Marigold, and Christian soon become best friends, even though they both know they will likely never meet. Although we all know they certainly will - this is a fairy tale after all!

The reason I only gave it four stars? The stuff with the tooth fairy just seemed very odd and out of place to me. The rest was adorable, a bit hokey at times, but enjoyable for all it's silliness.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Stone Child

by Dan Poblocki

I'm really debating between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I enjoyed the book, thought it was inventive, captivating, sufficiently creepy, and satisfyingly ended. Maybe it deserves 4, but I'm just not overwhelmingly amazed by it, or left thinking about it for long after the end, although I can't put my finger on why.

The Stone Child is the story of a young boy named Eddie who moves to the mysterious small town of Gatesweed with his mother and father. His mom is an aspiring author and his dad deals in antiques. Upon their arrival to town Eddie learns that the author of his favorite scary books, Nathanial Olmstead, lived in the very same town. However, he also hears rumors of strange creatures and the "Olmstead Curse" that might have something to do with the author's disappearance 13 years ago. As Eddie makes friends and begins to try to find out more about the curse, things start getting creepier, and Eddie and his friends begin to be afraid that the creatures from Olmstead's books are real. The group must work together to solve the mystery of Olmstead's disappearance before it's too late to save him, or the town.

As I mentioned, this book does have a nice creepy vibe to it. It's written for kids, and if I was a kid I would be thoroughly scared. As an adult, only slightly. I loved the history to the curse and Olmstead's disappearance. I would have liked a little more puzzle-solving than there was, I also would have liked a little more length to the story. I think a few more pages of suspense during the scary creature sightings would have added a lot - but I guess what I'm wishing for is for this book to be geared more to young adults than to children. Some portions were very predictable and the characters were pretty simplistic and flat. However, the ending was different then I imagined (I had 2 scenarios worked out in my head), so that was a nice surprise.

Still debating that 4th star, but for now I'm sticking with 3.