Review: Bewitching- Alex Flinn

1/5 Stars

Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles, #2)- Alex Flinn

20130531-105515.jpg

Let me preface this by saying that I read Cloaked and I loved it, I thought it was fun and such a cute retelling of the frog prince story. I wanted to like this but 50 pages in I gave up.

Plot:
From Goodreads blurb

Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence-how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in “Hansel and Gretel,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Little Mermaid”-but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra’s reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of “Cinderella,” except the “ugly” stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn.

PROS:
• The cover is haunting and mysterious. The dark sky and whispy clouds shroud Kendra in an air of magical anticipation mixed with a jaded sense of the past. Plus that killer black dress, I would have loved something so fiercely beautiful for prom.

CONS:
•The conversations between characters often felt stilted and awkward. This took away from the authenticity and believability of the conversations so that they felt forced and robotic.
•Some of the phrasing was off and the sentence structures could have been reworked so that they read more smoothly.
•There were a few typos.
•The cliched phrases killed me every time. When I read things like “dead as a door nail” I cringed. I understand that this may have been intended as a literary technique to make Kendra’s story read more like a fairy tale but it came off as odd and uncreative.
•The characters, from what I gathered in the first 50 pages, were emotionally bankrupt. They had no real staying power and I would not want to follow them on their story because I had no connection to them.

If you like fairy tales, retellings, witches, and magic you might enjoy this.

-BB

Advertisements

Shades of YA Updated

ShadesOfYA_EpicReads_large

RED (Top to bottom) – Supernaturally by Kiersten White; Rumors by Anna Godbersen; A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford;Die for Me by Amy Plum; The Elite by Kiera Cass; Asunder by Jodi Meadows; Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin;Requiem by Lauren Oliver; Insignia by S.J. Kincaid; Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

7/10

The Elite Review

A Touch Mortal Review

Period 8 Review

PINK – Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer; Fang Girl by Helen Keeble; Pretty Little Secrets by Sara Shepard; Crush by Nicole Williams; Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell; Boundless by Cynthia Hand; Impostor by Jill Hathaway; The Amanda Project by Amanda Valentino and Melissa Kantor; Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block

2/9

Pink Smog Review

YELLOW –Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers; Deadline by Chris Crutcher; Balthazar by Claudia Gray; A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young; The Survivors by Will Weaver; Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver; Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon; Pulse by Patrick Carman; If I Should Die by Amy Plum; Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

1/10

GREEN –The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle; Eve by Anna Carey; Cross My Heart, Hope to Die by Sara Shepard;Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer; Insurgent Collector’s Edition by Veronica Roth; Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley; Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi; Lies by Michael Grant

5/8

BLUE –The Selection by Kiera Cass; Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi; Clash by Nicole Williams; Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton; Destiny by Gillian Shields; The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini; The Ward by Jordana Frankel;Hallowed by Cynthia Hand; Mind Games by Kiersten White; Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi; Rise by Anna Carey

6/11

Wings of the Wicked Review

Mind Games Review

Rise Review

PURPLE –Slide by Jill Hathaway; Arise by Tara Hudson; Once by Anna Carey; Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr; Blackwatchby Jenna Burtenshaw; Breathe by Sarah Crossan; The Calling by Kelley Armstrong; Endlessly by Kiersten White; Shadow on the Sun by David Macinnis Gill

5/9

Breathe Review

GRAY –In the After by Demitira Lunetta; Spellcaster by Claudia Gray; Pivot Point by Kasie West; Unbreakable by Liz Norris; What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang; Divergent by Veronica Roth; The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna; Light by Michael Grant

3/8

BLACK –Reboot by Amy Tintera; Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins; The Lying Game by Sara Shepard; Erasing Time by C.J. Hill; Hidden by Sophie Jordan; Illusions by Aprilynne Pike; Bewitching by Alex Flinn; The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson; Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting; Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

5/10

Crown of Embers Review

Bewitching Review

The Lying Game Review

TOTAL: 34/75

My Personal Shades of YA Challenge

Pink:

20130529-130551.jpg

• Glimmerglass- Jenna Black

Red (ish):

20130529-130824.jpg

•Anna Dressed in Blood- Kendare Blake
•Graceling- Kristin Cashore
•Scarlet- Marissa Meyer
•Period 8- Chris Crutcher
•The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater
•Reached- Ally Condie
•Confessions of a Murder Suspect- James Patterson

Green:

20130529-131536.jpg

•Ascend- Amanda Hocking
•Crewel- Gennifer Albin

Blue:

20130529-131813.jpg

•Torn- Amanda Hocking
•iBoy- Kevin Brooks
•The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater
•The Rising- Kelley Armstrong
•Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor

Purple:

20130529-132337.jpg

•A Want so Wicked- Suzanne Young
•Changeling- Philippa Gregory

Grey:

20130529-132658.jpg

•Clockwork Angel- Cassandra Clare

Black:

20130529-133508.jpg

•Sweet Peril- Wendy Higgins
•Heist Society- Ally Carter
•The Lying Game- Sara Shepard
•Fateful- Claudia Gray
•Fury- Elizabeth Miles
•Nevermore- Kelly Creagh
•The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer- Michelle Hodkin
•Bewitching- Alex Flinn

18/26 Completed

-BB

Review: Dance of Shadows- Yelena Black

2/5 Stars

Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)-Yelena Black

20130529-114913.jpg

“See that’s what I’m talking about,” Blaine said. “Or I could settle for a Russian dancer. They’re so severe. I love it. I wouldn’t even care if he spoke no English whatsoever.As long as he made sweet, sweet love to me while feeding me caviar, and then helped me play with my Matryoshka dolls.” He paused. “Not that I have any Matryoshka dolls.”
Vanessa and the girls continued staring at him. “Then how would you communicate?” Elly asked quizzically.
“Darling,” Blaine said, leaning forward and batting his eyelashes. “The language of love requires no words. Haven’t you seen The Little Mermaid?”

Plot:
Vanessa is a striking redhead who doesn’t really like to dance but happens to be very skilled at ballet. When her sister Margaret disappears from the New York Ballet Academy(NYBA) she embraces her talent, perfecting her technique until she is accepted to NYBA where she hopes to find her sister. When Vanessa arrives she is immediately swept up into the life of a ballerina. Constant rehearsals and practices, living on salad and water, with little time for fun Vanessa doesn’t have time or energy to search for her sister. When Vanessa lands the coveted lead in The Firebird, the winter production strange things start to happen. One of Vanessa’s closest friends disappears just like her sister and with the sleuthing skills of her new friends she unveils a long string of disappearances of principle ballerinas spanning many decades. There’s something off and suspicious about Joseph and Hilda, the ballet instructors. Zep lurks in the shadows and for the male lead ballerina is strangely absent, off on Joseph’s bidding. As the most talented and attractive dancer at NYBA, Vanessa is floored when he is instantly attracted to her, especially because he is dating the delicate, perfect, blonde Anna. Justin is also a bit of a mystery. He stalks Vanessa, warns her that Zep is not all he seems, and hurts her under the pretense of protecting her. In a world of secrets and lies, Vanessa doesn’t know who to trust. Soon Vanessa learns the truth of the fire dance and must make a sacrifice that could cost her her life.
PROS:
• The concept of the book is brilliant. That dancing can be such a beautifully magnificent force of nature that it could span dimensions and open portals quite literally to another world is insane. Connecting this with ritualistic demon possession is both sinister and makes for a gripping story fueled by centuries old magic, murder, and secrets.
• The cover is gorgeous.

CONS:
• The plot is so predictable that there’s no need for foreshadowing or anything fancy like that. You are guaranteed to see EVERYTHING coming. As you might have guessed this does little for the suspenseful moments in the book.
• Because (as cliched as it sounds) the character development is an exercise in why it is necessary to show not tell, there is little to no emotional connection between the reader and the characters. Scenes that should have been heartbreaking fell flat and the comical bits, as hilarious as they are by themselves, in the context of the book earn a small smirk rather than the laughter Black no doubt intended.
• Vanessa is one of the worst protagonists I’ve ever seen. She’s too trusting, completely naĂŻve, and is blindsided by her ridiculous infatuation with Zep. Several times I wanted to smack her in the head and tell her to wake up and see what’s right on front of her but she has this uncanny ability of ignoring help, believing the good in people when the bad is staring her in the face, and being stupidly gullible to the point where it’s infuriating. Although Vanessa is a strong dancer, she is weak when it truly matters and for all of her compassion she’s a bit of a snob.

If you liked any of the following books and/or movies you may like this:

20130529-144819.jpg

20130529-144852.jpg

20130529-144926.jpg

20130529-144953.jpg

20130529-145023.jpg

-BB

Review: Carnival of Souls- Melissa Marr

4/5 Stars

Carnival of Souls (Carnival of Souls, #1)- Melissa Marr

 

Carnival-of-Souls

Hours of defense training had made her feel confident that she could handle anything boys tried, but in all of what she’d learned, there weren’t any lessons on how to avoid feeling like a skeeze because you reacted to a boy’s kisses like a cat discovering catnip.

 

Plot: Mallory is far from average. While she looks pretty normal with dull brown hair and blah brown eyes her activities are nothing like most seventeen year old girls. Raised by a powerful magician, Mallory has always know there is magic in the world and that nothing is ever what it seems but above all else, she knows that daimons are the epitome of evil. Harboring this ingrained prejudice, Mallory’s life revolves around a steady routine of fleeting friendships, switching schools, and defense training with various firearms. When Mallory meets Kaleb her life is tossed into turmoil as her budding attraction threatens the safety her uncle has worked so hard to establish. Kaleb also has an uncanny ability to find her no matter where she is. Meanwhile, the world of the daimons is even more rife with violence and chaos as the competition for a coveted government spot heats up. Daimons of all castes battle gladiator style, claws out and brutality up. All Kaleb and Aya have ever wanted was a chance to help the daimons of their city, Kaleb being the lowest class of daimons only opportunity for power is through this contest and Aya, although upper class is prevented from a government seat because she is a woman; this competition is the loophole she’s been waiting for to infiltrate. While the story is essentially through several characters and their perspectives the main framework is Mallory’s heritage. Mallory’s true identity has been kept from her all 17 years of her life and as Kaleb and the witch’s council start to infringe upon her lifestyle she starts to question just how well she knows herself.

PROS:
• There are several strong female characters (although Mallory doesn’t quite fit into this category). Both Aya and Mallory’s surrogate aunt fight against the bonds of a dominant male hierarchy, exuding confidence and strength well above their masculine counterparts. They’re determined and yearn for total control over their minds, bodies, and those beneath them.
• The Carnival of Souls is a place of sinister promises and intrigue. Where the darkest desires of the most poignant evils come to play; where prostitution, rape, murder, theft, and all sorts of wildly illicit activities flourish. The worlds of both the daimons and the witches are complex, elaborate and fueled by a smattering of legend and genius.
• Kaleb is compassionate, rugged, and headstrong. He knows what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it. Despite being born a cur-the lowest caste of daimon-he carries himself as a leader. He fights in the arena with bloody precision and envisions a better world for all daimon kind. Not only is he skilled in combat but he’s witty and exudes sex appeal.

CONS:
• The biggest disappointment in the book is that Mallory is completely devoid of personality. While the story is told from multiple perspectives it is her story that spurs the others making her the ultimate protagonist. Apart from the fact that she’s completely oblivious and that she loves sugary coffee drinks, we know very little about her. In light of the other great female characters this doesn’t make her mysterious or interesting in the slightest but makes her appear weak and underdeveloped.

If you liked the following books you’d probably love this:

20130528-150651.jpg

20130528-153125.jpg

20130528-153137.jpg

20130528-154021.jpg

-BB

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth- Carrie Ryan

3/5 Stars

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)- Carrie Ryan

3432478

We are our own memory-keepers and we have failed ourselves. It is like that game we played as school children. Sitting in a circle, one student whispers a phrase into another student’s ear and the phrase is passed around until the last student in the circle repeats what she hears, only to find out it is nothing like what it is supposed to be. That is our life now.

Plot: Mary lives in a village fortified with gates. The Unconsecrated (think zombies) surround the village with hunger-filled moans that are so common they fade into the background like a distant hum. Even though the danger of a breach or being infected is as constant as the moans echoing from the Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary can’t help but wonder if the fences were designed to keep the Unconsecrated out or to imprison those inside. As a child, Mary lived vicariously through her mother’s stories of a time before the Return(zombie uprising) when there were skyscrapers and the ocean, not endless trees and barriers from the outside world. Mary believes that there is a world outside the fence, that there are others. However, the village is run by the Sisterhood, a group of women who preach the word of God and protect the villagers. Because there are so few people, special importance is placed on marriage and procreation. Mary is of marriageable age and has her sights set on her handsome childhood friend Travis. When she learns that Travis has asked for her best friend Cass and Harry, Travis’ brother, is now courting her, she feels like her freedom is slowly slipping through her fingers, all she wants is to escape. After her mother’s unfortunate death, Mary is left to fend for herself. Her brother disowns her, Harry rejects her, and she is placed with  the sisters. There she must learn the Bible by heart and not speak unless spoken too. During her stay with the sisters, Mary discovers some secrets hidden by the sisters. First, she meets Gabrielle, an outsider who made it through the fence into their village. This changes everything for Mary because now she has proof that an outside world definitely exists. Second, Travis is brough to the sanctuary to heal and Mary falls more in love with him daily. A series of twists and turns later, the Unconsecrated storm the village and Mary, Travis, Cass, Jed, Beth, Harry, a little boy, and a dog must navigate through the paths to find salvation or die.

PROS:

  • The sisters are just mysterious and sinister enough to intrigue and make the reader wonder just what they’re hiding behind their locked doors and proclamations of unwavering faith.
  • Jed. He is perhaps the most raw, emotional, strong character in the book. Although at times he is somewhat mentally unhinged, his devotion, and faith in the beauty of love is admirable under the circumstances.
  • The background story of the Return, the Unconsecrated, and the general widespread infection, the process of how long is takes for the zombies to rise, and the underlying principles of the sisters were really clever and left the reader hungering for more answers to the questions these details left unanswered.

CONS:

  • Mary is completely selfish and self-absorbed, and what’s worse is that she doesn’t stop to think about how deeply she is hurting people who she supposedly loves. There’s a specific scene where Mary give in to Harry’s flirtations (if you can call them that) and the whole time her inner dialogue is about how Harry can never amount to what Travis is and how she hates Harry for not being something he’s not. For someone who also is as courageous as she is-she singlehandedly decapitated zombies, and is the first to volunteer for dangerous tasks- she does not have enough will power to try to escape her fate. Also, she constantly freezes in times of severe peril because she has a weird self-destructive streak that only further places those around her in danger and sometimes results in their deaths. About 1/3 of the way through the book I wanted to murder Mary, and if there was a zombie apocalypse and I lived in that village, I would have pushed Mary through that fence a long time ago.
  • At times the book is very slow and dull but there isn’t really anything to do in the village.
  • Cass, Travis, and Harry are underdeveloped and bland. Travis, for his professions of love is more words than actions and there’s not ever really a genuine pervading feeling of emotional connection.

If you enjoyed the following books and/or movies you will like this:

895144913450339MV5BMTM1NTEzODQ1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDUyMDYyMQ@@__V1_SX214_2820days20later

-BB

Review: The Diviners- Libba Bray

3.5/5 Stars

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)- Libba Bray

diviners

“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…”

Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?”

“No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.”

“I weep for the future.”

“There’s where the martinis come in.”

“There is no greater power on this earth than story.” Will paced the length of the room. “People think boundaries and borders build nations. Nonsense-words do. Beliefs, declarations, constitutions-words. Stories. Myths. Lies. Promises. History.”

“There’s nothing more terrible than absoluteness of one who believes he’s right.”

Plot: Set in a time of prohibition and prejudice, The Diviners is full of mobsters, flappers, illegal substances, glamour, and magic. Evie O’Neill is a spoiled girl who lives for giggle juice, dancing, and living life to its fullest. Evie has a gift, she can see images when she holds on to an item, sometimes they’re just fleeting flashes, others there’s a whirlwind of emotions, images, and secrets. In order to escape a scandal in her Ohio hometown, Evie is shipped off to Manhattan with her estranged uncle Will. Evie thinks that Manhattan is the perfect place for her, a place where everyday is a marvelous party full of fun and excitement. She never expects that in Manhattan she’d be faced with a series of brutal murders or that she’d be forced to help out in her uncle’s museum of Creepy Crawlies. Throughout the serial killings, Evie begins to learn a little more about herself, about a group of people with powers to save the world known as Diviners. Evie is convinced that she can help solve the murder mystery but when the killer gets wind of her involvement things start to spiral out of control. An uprising of religious fanatics known as the Brethren grows as the horrific murders increase. The Brethren worship the second coming of the beast or devil and believe that 11 offerings must be made to the cause. The 11 offerings are the grisly murders themselves and each has an equally sinister line of scripture attached to it. With the upcoming reappearance of Solomon’s comet, Evie and her band of friends must come together and solve the murders before the beast rises from the dead to his full power and hell reigns on earth.

PROS:

  • All of the characters are fully developed and unique with their own back stories.
  • Deliciously creepy. If you enjoy scary movies like Paranormal Activity or Insidioius you will probably love the small elements of just downright bizarre and terrifying details. Like haunting whistling, black crows, and shifting doors.
  • The murders are described in all their gory glory, each as gruesome and bloody as the next.
  • The Russian element is fascinating, how the Bolsheviks and proletariat are included nicely parallels the political changes with the social changes of the early 1900s.
  • Sam, Jericho, and Memphis. If you are looking for a new heart throb to fall in love with search no further. There’s variety galore. Memphis is a starry-eyed poet, who is also compassionate, thoughtful, gorgeous, and goes out of his way to help other. He is also a healer. Sam is a Russian, handsome, mysterious, hilarious, a swindler, and just an all around swoon worthy bad boy. Jericho is a nerdy, tall, strong, attractive man with some startling secrets. He loves to read and is constantly broody and researching. 🙂
  • Theta. Theta’s story is one of the most complex and most heartbreaking in the book. She is a survivor above all else and powerful beyond belief. For someone who is not the protagonist or heroine she is definitely worthy of such a spot on her own.
  • Told from several perspectives.

CONS:

  • This book was so LONG. At nearly 600 pages it could have easily been cut in two. The whole read was daunting, time-consuming, and a little tiresome. This is not because reading lengthy books is problematic for me, War and Peace is one of my favorites as is The Brothers Karamazov. While the story is both engaging and well written, plot-wise, it would have been stronger if it had been cut into two books.
  • If you dislike period pieces and are apprehensive about colloquialisms then this book is not for you. However, once you get the hang of the old catechisms, it has an authentic, fun, flair that draws you in to the 1920s.
  • Evie. As the main protagonist Evie is hard to like, she’s extremely selfish and doesn’t really have a lot of depth or goals but by the end she is definitely redeemable. Give her a chance, she gets better.

If you liked the following books you will like this:

greatgatsby-cover91fDKgjZVAL._SL1500_lily dale 1200px-The_Luxe_bookcover2Bright-Young-Things1

Tragic news guys, my MAC charged broke! Thankfully it is under warranty so hopefully these reviews will be more regular. Once again, I’m sorry! Things have been so hectic and I am so far behind on reviews.

-BB