Thursday, July 31, 2014

Boys of the Fatherless by David C. Riggins Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Abandoned by his father, Danny Roberts struggles to find his way through the confusion of adolescence and developing sexuality. Danny finds comfort in the words of Dave, the man that becomes his mentor and discovers true love in the green eyes of Sarah but not every story has a happy ending and the citizens of Fatherless may have to wait a generation for their freedom."

Boys of the Fatherless is surprisingly more boring than I thought it would be. Its plot may be quick, but the story is way too boring. Even the main character is too boring. You think there would be a bit more action, but there isn't a lot.

It took me awhile to finish that book of 100+ pages. Other than being filled with errors, the plot of Boys of the Fatherless is a bit dry. Honestly, the author could improve, but he needs a bit more excitement, a lot more tension, better character building, and some editing. Scratch that. A lot of editing before it met publication. And a more fat. The book is all bones and blood, nothing else. It needs flesh, something I can chew. I'm not a damn dog who bites bones. Nah. I prefer a bit more meat. Tasty ones.

(That was a metaphor, in case you can't see it).

Oh, this is a bit boring to some of you. This review, I mean. I"ll try to make this work.

The main character, Danny is a bit annoying. Okay, that is me being nice. Yes, his sexuality is developing and there were some moments of creepiness in the book, but mostly, he talked about girls, his future (or lack of one), the government (not the United States), and his life. His development is a bit irritating, like I said before. It is so slow. Snail's pace. Like snail mail. And he ages so quickly in a 100+ pages book. Like Peter Pan, he still remains confused at twenty-two. He still grows physically but slowly mentally. Oh, and he is a douche. Just a douche. Plus, he might be a psychopath. For sure, he is an unreliable character like Patrick Bateman. 

Let's see. What else have I forgotten?

I'll admit the ending isn't bad. It just made Danny into a douche. He became someone he didn't expect to become. His father. The wailing of his wife, Sarah, is unnecessary. And ridiculous. The ending is surprising, yes, but Danny had it in him all along. Sorry, I can't really say anything because spoilers. I hate giving away anything crazy or big. Small details? Well, that is okay. But the POV of the last chapter/the ending/resolution is confusing. Was it out of body experience? Or was it simply third person POV?

Rating: One out of Five

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Taking by Kimberly Derting Review

"When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?"

Aliens again? I'll tell you that The Taking is nothing like I Am Number Four or any of those other alien books. 

Anyway. I suggest you think of The Taking more like Fantastic Four. Or superhero slash alien kind of thing. Obviously, it is indeed a bit complicated unless you read the book. Derting is really good at explaining things. I remember reading The Body Finder. Very creepy, but very good. Unfortunately, I haven't read the second book, but that isn't the point here.

Complicated doesn't cover it.

Kyra is a young girl. At sixteen, she was kidnapped or Taken. Then she was returned. After five years. Now a lot of things can change in five years. Kids grow up. People fall in love. People fall out of love. Parents get divorced. Teens become mature. Someone dies. Someone is born. And we, along with time, change. For better or worse. But Kyra is an exception. After five years, she is still sixteen. She is still the same girl when she was returned. Both mentally and physically. She didn't age. She didn't grow old. And all of this creepiness was thanks to aliens.

But she has changed. That is why I mentioned the Fantastic Four. Just think of the mutating cloud as aliens and them you might see Kyra as the Fantastic Four.

Still not helping?

Well, it is indeed complicated.

The Taking is an excellent story. I love the MIB (Men in Black) or as they call themselves, NSA (National Security Agency). The touch of aliens and little green men is interesting. It is such a shame that MIB are the enemies. However, the alien might (notice the verb) be the allies. Might.

The story goes by quickly. I went through the entire book quickly. Needless to say I did enjoy the book. Even the moments with Kyra's ex-boyfriend's little brother are adorable. 

Did I just made her sound like a cougar? Whoops. Oh, well.

Derting writes the story very well. She doesn't switch POVs. She doesn't pull off anything terrible. In fact, The Taking is a safe book. Even though it is full of aliens. And it is absolutely fun. Overall, I really enjoyed The Taking. I think there is great potential, not to mention a great story behind it all. There is so much informaiton that Derting has yet to reveal. So am I reading the sequel? If I can get my hands on it.

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Farewell to Charms by Lindsey Leavitt Review

"Desi Bascomb is a princess substitute prodigy--she's the fastest employee ever to advance to level three in the Facade Agency, and the youngest to ever be a full-time sub. But now with all eyes on Desi, the only thing she wants is a moment alone to talk to Reed, who's a Facade legacy and secretly a sub for princes As Desi trains for her new role, she spies more than a few cracks in Facade's perfect appearance. But uncovering the agency's dark past might require more than a princess sub can handle by herself. Desi is no damsel in distress, but sometimes a girl needs a knight in shining armor."

The book isn't what you think it is to be. Farewell to Charms is surprisingly delightful after all those many twists and turns. Desi, as usual, is amazing and hilarious while her Prince Charming remains mysterious as ever. Still, it is a wonderful story for most young readers. I guess their age to be from young preteen (twelve) to older teens (sixteen). Really, there is no age range or restriction when it comes to reading books, but those ranges above are only a suggestion.

But it is still funny. Even though Prince Charming remains mysterious. By the end of Farewell to Charms, the author pulls the best plot twist of the trilogy. I will give you one hint. Just the tiniest hint: "Nothing ever really ends." I remember that line from Swan Song of Supernatural. Chuck (God) was awesome as a character of the Supernatural.

Okay. Okay. Okay. Enough fangirl-ing.

Fourteen year old Desi is mature for her young and tender age. (And I still think she is way too young to have a boyfriend, but that isn't very important right now. It is just a thought). Her moral code isn't twisted or corrupted like the rest of the group, and she does not value eye shadow over what is right. Girls, we do have to admit that the blue eyeshadow looks good in the box, but never on the eye, right? Oh, my goodness. I'm turning vain!

Okay, I'll stop now.

The Prince Charming is a very confusing character. The author does an excellent job of throwing me off the scent and sending good red herrings. Yeah, I got off-traced. Can you believe it? Anyway, he is as classy as most Prince Charmings from Disney movies, and according to Desi, he is very cute. And I do have a soft spot for adorable boys like most girls. Remember, they are just like puppies. Only they don't drool (unless you got unlucky) and they don't yap as much (unless you got very unlucky).

The storyline is very entertaining. I love how Desi figures out everything. And I do, of course, love the fairy tale ending. Oh, yes. It is a "Happily Ever After" ending for Desi, Meredith, Desi's friend, and Desi's adorable Prince Charming.

(Oh, I should also mention that I forgot Prince Charming's real name. That is why I insist on calling him "Prince Charming." His real name is Reed).

After all this time, it is time for me to say farewell to this series/trilogy. And every moment is indeed magical as Facade.

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, July 27, 2014

So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones Review

"Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes--Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown. When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella's keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple. She needs her crime-solving boyfriend, Luke, more than ever. Problem is, his ex-girlfriend has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there's no time for a relationship crisis when Bella's doing her best to derail her father's wedding and stay one step ahead of a killer. Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend's ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle--or more to risk."

I take Bella's side on the fight between Luke vs. Bella. Honestly, I don't blame her and Luke could be a bit more understanding. Then again, there is a reason why no character is made just to perfect to the heroine. 1) Because it is boring, 2) boring makes lack of sales, 3) too much Edward Cullen-ish, and 4) Cullen isn't perfect.

Anyway, So Over My Head finally has a murder case. Nancy Drew (Bella Kirkwood) is finally in play once again. After two books, there is finally a murder case. And Bella gets to find the body. And Luke breaks up with her. Well, it is actually Bella who breaks up with him. Let's all admit it. Bella always had a bit of mixed signal when it comes to Luke while Luke always struggles from being professional or play personal. Bella is one of those gray areas for him.

Well, So Over My Head manages to keep its upbeat tone despite the death of the hairy lady at the circus. Oh, yes. Hairy bearded lady, I should add. She is quite good at games. At least the simple games. The other games are quite okay, but that isn't the point. Nancy Drew (my nickname for Bella Kirkwood, in case you haven't picked it up by now) is here to solve the murder of the bearded lady and find whatever treasure that lady hid. Plus, there is also a minor white collar-ish subplot involving Bella's dad.

The plot is very exciting. I enjoyed every bit of the book. The last installment is perhaps the best out of them all. Out of the entire series. I think. If you disagree, then I would say the first is the best. First and third. They are tied for the same place. The beginning and the ending is always the most beautiful parts of a trilogy.

My favorite parts are whenever Bella interacts with Luke. Luke and Bella are complicated. Together or apart. Bella has boyfriend issues while Luke is too attractive and always get other girls' attentions which in turns drives Bella nuts. So it is all a circle. Anyway, it is all very adorable and cute. Beginning puppy love.

Overall, I enjoyed the trilogy/series. A Charmed Life is a delicious book full of twists and turns. The entire series is exciting. Even the first book alone would satisfy readers. It is that good and complete. The touch of religious matters shouldn't bother most people very much. I think it is all very adorable and sweet. Plus, it provides insight into the characters.

Rating: Four out of Five

Friday, July 25, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Review

"In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life."

Seraphina mixes dragons and humans together. Now, I read a few dragon books/shapeshifter books before, but I haven't read one (at least not one I remember) that mixes dragons, medieval times, and humans. And shapeshifters. Anyway, I think Seraphina is a good book, but it is a bit dry in the beginning. Or at least the second chapter and third was a bit dry.

I first began Seraphina on a airplane (Boeing 787 for those of you who are airplane nerds like me). They had one of those little touch screens that can access books from a certain book publishing company. And free samples! Anyway, I read the first chapter and thought that Seraphina had a really strong and potential start. So I spent a few weeks trying to find it until I found a copy. Then I read it.

The beginning is a bit sour. Like sour dough. I guess. Anyway, it gets better towards the ending. And that is when the plot finally picks up.

Oh, yes. The plot is a bit slow for my taste. I remember leaving off at Chapter Twelve or something like that, because nothing was really happening. Then I finally go back to the book after finishing some other books. (Yeah, I'm So Sure is one of them). And as I mentioned before, the plot thankfully picks up in the end. However, by the the ending of the book, I'm left confused. There are so many questions to be answered! And I totally hate that! But am I going to read the sequel? Fifty-fifty. There is no guarantee. 

Seraphina, the character, is a smart though very nosy girl. She always snoops into other people's business including Prince Lucian Kiggs, who may or may not be engaged with her best friend, Princess Gliss. Well, Gliss isn't her full name, but that is what I keep on calling her. Anyway, I hope they aren't engaged. I will tell you that I'm not going to reread Seraphina (the book) just to figure out if that fact is correct or incorrect. I'm done with Seraphina (talking about the book). Officially.

Overall, I think Seraphina is a good book if it is your piece of cake. For me, it was a bit slow and annoying. The exposition went on forever, or at least that is what it seems to me. Anyway, I won't recommend it.

Rating: Three out of Five (I liked the ending)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm So Sure by Jenny B. Jones Review

""Think you're having a rough week? Bella's stepdad, a semi-pro wrestler, just signed the entire family up for a reality TV show. Bella's first thought: Kill. Me. Now."

Living in Truman, Oklahoma wasn't 100% miserable for Bella. Sure, she misses Manhattan, couture clothes, and her dad. But she was making new friends at Truman High and almost enjoying her work at the school newspaper. Then the whole stepdad-wrestler-reality-show issue hit and her life is now being splashed across weekly tabloids and broadcast news.As if having a camera crew following her around isn't bad enough, Bella soon discovers a conspiracy against the Truman High prom queen candidates. And the closer she gets to the answer, the more danger she's in. 
As her relationship with Luke teeters between friendship and romance, Bella's ex-boyfriend Hunter reappears and vies for Bella's attention. Denying allegations of a love triangle, working to solve the prom queen mystery, and trying to keep her cool on national television finally motivate Bella to start talking--and listening--to God more. 
But what comes next has Bella once again screaming: "I'M. SO. SURE.""

I'm So Sure is an amusing story containing the many wild adventures of Bella Kirkwood. She is the classic Lois Lane. The difference? She also is Jimmy Olsen, but that is not the point here. She can take pictures instead of having another red-haired boy be a photographer. That is indeed one step up from being Lois Lane. However, she may or may not be breaking laws or as Lois Lane puts it, "Committing a felony." And yes, I am a fan of Superman: The Animated Series. I watched that when I was a kid. And I did swoon over Bruce Wayne like what Lois Lane did in World's Finest Part I, II, and III. Big fangirl.

Her Superman? Well, that would be Clark Kent, hiding behind glasses and the whole disguise that shouldn't fool a single person. I don't know how anyone doesn't see the big blue boy behind those round pairs. Anyway, Luke is Clark Kent. And yes, he does wear glasses, which makes this story a bit more cheesy, especially since Bella mentioned Clark Kent. Luke does appear as Superman whenever Bella is in trouble. Though not quite literally. He is perhaps invincible as him, because he still managed to protect Bella in times of her greatest need. It is totally adorable. Except for that little problem with bipolar personality. Oh! And his girlfriend, who goes to Harvard and is one year older than him, but that isn't really the issue here. Nah, it is just the girlfriend who has more confidence and seemingly more smarts than Bella.

Still, they are both wonderful characters. Their chemistry together makes me always wonder if they are ever going to get together and make rabbits. 

I'm So Sure is a Christian novel. That means that there are a few characters who are going to pray, but that doesn't bother me very much. Honestly, it makes Bella very adorable. I remember those kids in Sunday School. "Thank you, God, for giving me a mouth. I will take very good care of it. Thank you, Father, for giving me food." It is very adorable, though not adorable as those nine-year olds. I wished she prayed for Luke to be manly.

Overall, I think I'm So Sure is a wonderful, delightful read, especially when you need to relax a little bit. The plot is exciting, and you will be trying to figure out the hitman who is bent to ruin all of the candidates for Prom Queen.

Rating: Four out of Five

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Darkness by Erin Eveland Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"One Girl. One Boy. And the Masters of Darkness. See the Shadow Creatures. They are everywhere. But you can't run from the shadows or the Masters who control them.

Catherine has been born with a supernatural power called Darkness. The Masters of Darkness have found her and it's just a matter of time before someone claims her.

An Interactive Novel
A QR Code starts the beginning of each chapter connecting the reader to specific art or music that ties into the mood and setting of the novel. Using the quick response code in print and eBook formatting, Darkness incorporates visual and sound to heighten the reading experience."

I'm going to tell you that this is very creepy. Darkness is a horror story about one force trying to find their salvations. However, they walk in gray area. I didn't have a chance to use the interactive parts of the book, but I find the experience of reading this novel without it already fine. Truthfully, I think it doesn't need the interactive parts. It is already creepy without additional creepiness like Paranormal scenes and music. 

I'm going to tell you that these Shadow Creatures are very disturbing. Well, they aren't disturbing to me, but from a third POV, it is very disturbing. Kathy's adventures when she was younger reminds me of ghost possession. She is very scary, but when she grows older, she doesn't see things anymore and understands that she lives in a terrible world. The guy, who is keeping her captive, is a creepy guy who is older than her father or anyone on earth. He may say it is for power and hope, but I think there is something wrong with him. Something like demon.

Forgive me for my spoilers. I say so much and reveal too much.

Kathy is a typical teenager. She is scared and frightened, but she tries to hide it. She is lonely for company (doesn't this remind you of something? Say, Shadow and Bone?). When her best friend becomes distant and her mother starts fading away, she is pushed by unseen forces along her path. I say that she is taking it all pretty well for a girl like her. Like what that "demon" said, Kathy has a lot of strength.

The plot goes on strong. There wasn't any moments of failure. It was fast and easy to read despite all that creepiness. Just don't read it at night. The cover will creep you out, and you might mistaken it for a Shadow Creature. The writing isn't too bad, but I think it could improve. Say? Maybe the author can be a bit more interesting? Use more interesting words? Perhaps also use a different font? My eyes can bleed after reading terrible things. Figuratively. 

Overall, I think Darkness is a fascinating book about magic. Well, I think it is magic, but it sounds more like forces and dark magic.

I'll be interested in the sequel. The ending of Darkness is interesting, but it doesn't end as strongly as it could had been.

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Goldstrike: A Thriller by Matt Whyman Review

"Carl Hobbes may have escaped from Camp Twilight—the most secure military prison in the northern hemisphere—but now he’s being pursued by a ruthless bounty hunter and an Al-Qaeda assassin. Wanted dead by one and alive by the other, he must call upon his skills as a manipulator of both systems and people to survive. With no second chances available, can he play one enemy against the other in his bid to live another day? Packed with action and a plot that doesn’t quit, Goldstrike is a riveting teen thriller in the vein of Anthony Horowitz and James Patterson."

I gave this series a second chance. Honestly, I was quite disappointed by the first book, because there was barely any action. *Thinking back* Yeah, little action. 

Goldstrike continues the journey of Carl Hobbes, an infamous computer hacker. It is fun and interesting, especially in the beginning. Carl Hobbes is making trouble for the CIA while pleasing his girlfriend, Cat. I think her name is Cat. (I don't care much about her, after what she did to Carl in this book. She is just like Parker from Leverage). No one should ever break the hearts of nerd boys. They are cute, too.

Carl Hobbes' character is explored even further. After seeing death, he is running from a bunch of people like the CIA and an assassin along with a few people of her party. He is clever, but he is bound to make a mistake. It is quite interesting to see how much he cares for people and how easily he forgives. Plus, he is exactly like the classic hacker. He always wants to break open something, just to figure out what makes it tick. Cleopatra is the name of that system, and she is just like the Steranko from Leverage. Oh, yes. I'm making points by alluding to television shows that are off air. Still doesn't mean I can't use them.

I have to get this out of the way. The last line of Goldstrike is gold. Let me tell you that the CIA is most certainly involved along with Cleopatra and a new friend of Hobbes (whose head is worth twenty million dollars alive). That is my favorite line of the entire book. That is the most favorite line out of this week's batch of books.

The CIA remains as clueless as ever in Goldstrike. I doubt they will be happy by this portrayal of them, but that is all plot.

Overall, I give this series of two books a thumbs up. It is great, and there is a lot of action. When there is a crazy assassin after our main character, you know that it is going to get fairly interesting. When there is also a bounty hunter, you know it has to be interesting. When the CIA is involved, well... That is a bit complicated. I mean, the book is going to get a bit complicated. And exciting! You can't forget about that part.

Second chance well-deserved!

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson Review

"Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny."

This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose. Oh, yes. I'm just reading fairy tale retellings like crazy, but I miss my childhood. Oh, those days of reading those sweet stories about true love, Prince Charming, and Happily Ever After. You have to admit that as a child, most people had been compelled to those stories and not just to Disney movies. In my opinion, Disney movies screwed every tale they touched. The stepmother from Snow Queen falling off the cliff? Bah! I like the bloody shoes better. More entertaining, and it shows a lot of character from other characters. Revenge is always a fascinating road, especially for heroes and heroines.

Healer's Apprentice is a bit obvious from the beginning. You probably all know who Rose is from the beginning. I mean, Briar Rose. Rose? That is a lot of empathizing already. It is not even foreshadowing. Anyway, it is a good fairy tale with a lot of twists and turns. Rose apparently likes the wrong guy, but has feelings for the right guy. Oh, my goodness. I'm already talking about the drama in this book. Needless to say, it is going to be very dramatic. It is all crazy and bawls and wailing. Well, if the characters could wail, they will wail.

Rose is a religious girl. I mean religious. But it should be obvious, right? It is a Christian novel. Honestly, that doesn't bother me very much. I guess I have more religious tolerance? I don't know exactly, but that is not the point of this review. Rose is a healer, who is obedient until she meets Lord Hamlin's little brother, who is also a creepy rapist. Ooops. Was that a surprise? Well, there was a lot of hints. Spoilers. Sorry. Anyway, Rose is a girl who annoyingly doesn't put two to two together. I mean, doesn't one plus one equals to ten? Oh, wait. That must be what she thinks. Even Lord... Oh, too early.

Lord Hamlin is also an idiot. They are smart or dumb, because plot demands it. Honestly, it doesn't matter very much to me, because I always enjoy retellings. I have a soft spot for them. Great, now I'm monologuing. Oh, wait. I even fail that sentence. I'm monologuing the entire review. Technically. Well, I'll think about it later. Lord Hamlin is like Disney's Prince from Snow White. I don't even know his name, and apparently neither does Snow White. They are only there for two reasons. 1) Move the plot forward/make heroine fall in love, and 2) Eye candy. And now, I'm done with Hamlin.

Overall, I think the Healer's Apprentice is a good read. It is interesting, with a good synopsis and plot. The writing is good too. I just insult the characters. That is all.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Scarecrow King by Jill Myles Review

"Princess Rinda of Balinore knows of only one way to get her cold father’s attention – to be an obnoxious, spoiled princess. When she finds out that the king plan to marrying her off to a far-flung nobleman, she puts on her best bratty show in front of the entire court. But Rinda’s plan backfires, and she soon finds herself married to the most ineligible man ever. Her new husband is monastery raised, poor as dirt, and a traveling minstrel.

A very, very bad traveling minstrel.

But Alek isn’t what he seems like on the surface, and neither is Rinda. She won’t take this marriage lying down, and schemes to find herself a new husband – a king. But as she and Alek travel together, they learn that not only are appearances deceiving, but goals can change in the blink of an eye, and love can get in the way of the strongest plans…

The Scarecrow King is a romantic retelling of the King Thrushbeard fairy tale."

King Thrushbeard is one of those tales that you probably never heard of. That is okay. I'm the one who is reading the book and I heard of it and read it. Still, if you consider to read this book, I recommend you read the fairy tale first. The original version. It is a bit amusing and short in the first one, but it will make you see the differences between King Thrushbeard and The Scarecrow King. And yes, of course, there are differences and similarities. I'm pleased to say that I'm happy with those differences.

The Scarecrow King is humorous. Rinda is really funny, even though she lacks her father's attentions. She has her sister's love, and that is pretty much all she needs. You don't always need a father to survive the world. She is intelligent, but she has a really low self-esteem. I swear, there is no other character like her that is moody and low. Actually, I think there are, but I can't name a few. At least not off the top of my head.

Alek, on the other hand, is Rinda's love interest. If you read the tale, then you would know what he really is. Unfortunately, he has to lie to his brand new wife all the time. And I do mean lie as in lie. Lie right to her face. That is a bit of a setback, but at least, Rinda learns to not be so rude and learns to be confident. That is one part of the book I really like. It is not so demeaning to women, unlike the original tale.

The Scarecrow King may be a short read (not that short), but it is so delightful. I wish there are more books like it. Alek and Rinda are a cute couple. And no, they don't really go into the nasty (sex, duh). Like what the author, Jill Myles, said (or maybe another author, since I usually get acknowledgements confused) it is all "closed doors."

Oh, yeah. I do read acknowledgments. I read from cover to cover. With the exception of copyright page. That part is always boring. Something about the year the book was published and how none of the characters' personality or traits resemble any living person. Yawn. Copyright pages are always boring to my eyes.

And yes, this is a Happily Ever After book.

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener Review

"Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . . 

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . . 

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response. 

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . . 

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon."

I should tell you that I have a soft spot for retellings. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorites. Cupid and Psyche is also my favorite. Beauty and the Beast, however, is not. They may all contain the same plots, but I favor only two out of three. Yes, they contain the same plots. Girl gets taken away from her family. Boy demands her company. They fall in love after mutual dislike. Then girl does something terrible that the boy cast the girl out. Girl finds her way back to boy. See? Just read Wikipedia, if you have further questions. And yes, this is pretty much the basics of the plot of Mistress of the Wind. However, there are a few changes, but none of them are worth mentioning.

Mistress of the Wind is similar to East by Edith Pattou and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. It is such a shame there are few retellings of this fairy tale. Thanks to Disney, Beauty and the Beast is the most famous of all. Mistress of the Wind may claim to be the adult retelling of this fairy tale, but it is passable as a Young Adult book. It is a wonderful book, a wonder reinvention of the tale. Of course, I might be slightly biased because I do hold a soft spot for this tale. Right?

Astrid is the Mistress of the Wind. It is a long story of how she became the Mistress of the Wind (short story, actually, but spoilers). That isn't the point of all of this. I find it a bit annoying how the author made Astrid look like an angel while the rest of her family is mostly trash. I mean, gold diggers. Or weak. Her mother had a chance along with her little brother to speak up against Bjorn's request to take Astrid as his "companion."

Bjorn is an interesting character. He seems to be a coward, but ultimately he makes the right choices. Then again, he was just a young boy when he saw a bunch of people dying. So dark, isn't it? I totally agree, for one.

Favorite part: I really enjoyed the part when Astrid finally manages to outwit the Troll Princess. Oh, yes. There is an ugly Troll Princess. However, the moments when Astrid finally finds out about her powers is comparable. I would rate that second.

And yes, this is a Happily Ever After story.

Rating: Four out of Five

Friday, July 18, 2014

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau Review

"In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can't do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for - but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves--and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope--in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau's epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it's Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!"

Welcome to the book series that makes you feel dumb. Graduation Day will make you feel smart, so you better listen up and read my review. Or if you don't feel dumb, don't bother even reading this series. Trilogy. It is a trilogy.

Graduation Day is the last installment in the Testing series. I actually like the first book, The Testing, very much, because it has challenges and fascinating things. Needless to say, I have a heart in dystopian reads. And I finished this book, because I might as well finish up the series before I start on another series. You know how much I read, right? A book per day? That rate? Oh, well. I finished, I finish.

Cia is a smart girl. She is able to find problems when even I can't find anything. Of course, that only makes me feel more dumb, but that is not the point of the story. Cia is always one for change. She doesn't want the Testing to continue, but as the plot moves forward, her belief is tested and determined. I will tell you myself that the changes in her character are quite fascinating. She is always secondguessing, always making sure she won't be killed or murdered before her plans would finally make their due.

The best part? I think the best part is when Cia finally breaks away from the University and makes her own choices instead of listening to the rebellion, the President, and other factors. Yes, that is indeed the best moment.

Graduation Day goes by quickly. I didn't notice the ending or the time when I finished the book. It isn't a bad ending, but I will admit that I was left a bit disappointed. The ending leaves a bunch of questions to be answered. I really hate how some authors would leave more questions to be answered, as if expecting to write another series. Needless to say, I don't have much time to read, but I burn time by reading books anyway. Graduation Day ends with many questions thanks to one crucial character's death. Oh. I should add that the character is only secondary. He isn't part of the main cast yet he left so many questions to be answered! It is so frustrating! (Ruin and Rising left too many questions, too).

Overall, this series/trilogy started off well and ended with many questions. At least Cia got what she wanted, but there is still not enough answers given. This Testing series is best for readers who want to have discussions and debates after finishing their books.

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Destined by Jessie Harrell Review

"When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined."

What is this book? Destined is a retelling of Cupid and Psyche (Love and Psyche, Eros and Psyche, or the God-Who-Revealed-Nico-Is-Gay-In-The-Percy-Jackson-series and Psyche). And this time, it explains things from both Psyche and Eros' point of view. I admit it is indeed a bit interesting. The myth itself mostly stars Psyche and her perspective. Eros' POV is rarely seen, if at all.

Destined is a bit unforgettable in a bad way. I didn't really like it, but the romantic parts of Destined isn't too bad. In fact, it is bearable, but that isn't the worst part of the book. The worst part is the dialect and the setting. The dialect is modern while the setting is set in the past. It took me awhile to figure that this story isn't modern. It is a long time ago. All that modern dialect only annoys me. After all, I'm pretty sure Greeks don't use those weird words when they talk about love or other kinds of stuff. I would give a few examples, but I can't seem to remember any good ones. And the setting isn't obvious either. I thought it was in modern day before I realized it was far, far, far into the past. My mistake.

Aphrodite is an interesting character. I enjoy her use of reverse psychology on those kids. Kids meaning Psyche and Eros. She seems as clever as Athena, though only in love. At least, Aphrodite learns from her mistakes. Psyche, on the other hand, doesn't learn from other people's mistakes very well. I mean, Helen's mistakes. Yes! Helen of Troy, the lady who caused a crazy war between everyone. I can't remember the details anymore.

Psyche finds too many loopholes in wording. Unfortunately, she seems to be very stubborn and a bit annoying thanks to her stunning ability to always disobey people. The only person she seems to obey is 1) Herself, and 2) the Plot. Oh, drat! The plot isn't a person. I forgot about that. However, I can change plot into author, Jessie Harrell. 

Eros seems to be a jerk. I totally agree with Psyche. He is a bit too whiny and annoying. Even his POV is a bit annoying. He seems to be this kid who can't get what he wants. Plus, his logic is a bit annoying though understandable. He knows Psyche probably hates him, so he goes invisible. Only problem? Wouldn't Psyche recognize his voice? Drat! I should mention that Psyche is a bit dumb for a girl like her. She may be able to find loopholes, but she can't see what is in front of her very nose.

Overall, Destined is a book that is awful. Stay far, far, far away.

Rating: One out of Five

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Iron Queen by Kaitlin Bevis Review

"Life is hell for Persephone. Zeus will stop at nothing to gain access to the living realm and the Underworld, and as the only living god with a right to both, Persephone’s in trouble. Captured and tortured beyond the limits of her resolve, Persephone must find the power to stand against Zeus. But will she be strong enough? 

Meanwhile, Hades contemplates desperate measures to rescue his queen. Persephone never thought of herself as dangerous, but there’s a reason gods never marry for love. A being with the power to destroy all of creation shouldn’t place more value in one individual than the rest of the planet. But Hades...Hades would break the world for her.

To save the world and stop both Hades and Zeus, Persephone must make a difficult choice. One that may cost her everything."

The Iron Queen is the final installment of the trilogy determined to depict the romance between Hades and Persephone. It isn't The Goddess Test, and for that, I'm thankful. But as I said before, it is not anything like Meg Cabot's Abandon. Still, it is pretty good for a retelling. And everyone knows, I love a good fairy tale, right?

Hades is a bit more annoying than usual (and he is certainly not Romeo). Still, he is an angsty teenager. Hello? He is like hundreds, thousands years old. I don't a guy that old should be acting like typical teenagers. Unless he is a child god like Persephone, which he isn't because he is already powerful and crazy. Well, he isn't crazy, but I think he should be crazy. I always imagine Hades as crazy and eccentric and blue. Thank you, Disney. 

Persephone, on the other hand, is no longer just the goddess of flowers. Oh, snap. That is a spoiler already. Never mind, I won't say what other territories she possess. I shouldn't be talking about it unless I have a spoiler blog. Let just say that she is very good at undergoing torture under the wrong stick. Zeus tries to beat her up and force her to swear, but she is too good. She makes oath after oath to make sure she won't betray those she loves. I say it is very wise of her to make some security protection in case things go south.

The Iron Queen is a wrong title for a somewhat good book. Some of the gods are good. Others are bad. Take Aphrodite as an example. She is a terrible goddess. Zeus, on the other hand, is very good. And very disgusting. I'm not sure what to make of Hera. She seems to be fairly weak. And anti... Well, I'm not going there.

Told from many POVs, the Iron Queen is an okay last installment to an okay series. I don't like how the story is told in the modern times. I prefer it if it is long, long, long ago. Then things will make more sense than the story being told in the modern times. Anyway, I better stop before I start to repeat myself.

Overall, I think this book and its series is okay. It isn't too bad. It isn't anything outstanding. It is bearable unlike the Goddess Test where I wanted to throw up in some moments. It isn't anything like Abandon, where I have to yet again praise Meg Cabot's genius brain. Still, the overall story is that this book is okay and no one will blame you if you bother to read it. There is no shame in reading books. Got me?

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Daughter of Earth and Sky by Kaitlin Bevis Review

"Some vows can never be broken.

Persephone thought she could go back to her normal life after returning from the Underworld. She was wrong.

The goddess Aphrodite is born among the waves with more charm than she can control. Zeus is stalking Persephone and her loved ones, and Thanatos is no longer content with Persephone’s silence.

He wants her soul.

Persephone can’t tell anyone about Thanatos’ betrayal, and it drives a wedge between her and Hades. Her mother is still keeping secrets, and Melissa’s jealousy of Aphrodite threatens to tear their friendship apart.

Alone, Persephone turns to a human boy for comfort. But will their relationship put him in danger? Sacrifices must be made, and Persephone must choose between her human life and her responsibilities as a goddess. If she doesn’t, she could lose them both. But will either life be worth choosing once Zeus is through with her?"

Well, this is the second book in the tale about Hades and Persephone. 

Daughter of the Earth and Sky refers to Persephone. This time the title is a bit more creative than the prequel (Persephone). Earth means Demeter, goddess of crops and everything in between. (Where's Gaia?) Sky means Zeus, who is a bit creepy. Thank goodness, gods aren't related to each other by blood. That would be a lot of incest. (Remember Zeus and Hera, who are siblings and spouses).

Okay, now we get to see that Hades sounds like an angsty teenage boy. I want to tell you I'm joking, but I can't. He truly is that bad. That bad, yes. I'm sorry, but that is the way it needs to be. So right now, I'm totally disappointed in Hades. And how old is he? Two thousand years old? He needs to be a bit more mature than that. So disappointing. Old people have to act like old people. Got it? Unless the god is Apollo, Hermes, Ares, or Aphrodite. Those are the only exception. Ares is on the list, because his toys always get broken by his sister, Athena who is the goddess of wisdom. Apollo and Hermes? Well, they are travelers. And they are... Never mind. Just blame Percy Jackson for my biases. 

Persephone is certainly different. She is a bit clever, but not clever enough. She couldn't stop the plot from moving too fast, unfortunately. However, she does manage to find the secrets. Specifically, Zeus' secrets. And that is very important. After all, Zeus is the enemy behind all of this, remember? Oh, wait. You never read this book. But you can probably tell who is the enemy from the synopsis. 

Anything else?

Why, yes. There are a few more things I need to talk about. First of all, the setting is a bit interesting. Everything is happening in the present instead of the past. The myths were technically taking place two thousand or three thousand years ago. Of course, that is only if it were real. It is a bit interesting that everything is in the present instead of the past. There are many characters that are familiar, from Aphrodite (who isn't into all that matchmaking, at least not yet) to Orpheus (who tried to get his wife from Hades' clutches). It is a bit interesting. I don't like it, yet I don't care about it. It is neutral territory.

Overall, I think Daughter of Earth and Sky is a bit long for a title, but the book is going downhill. I don't really like it, but I think there is a chance it will improve. The plot will improve. Sorry. The book, on the other hand, has opportunities to improve, but it is published. There is little the author can do now. The characters are a bit annoying, the plot is fine, the setting is alright, the dialogue is smooth enough, and the title is a little long.

Rating: Three out of Five

Friday, July 11, 2014

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay Review

"Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.
The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare"

Well, for once, I really like Juliet and Romeo thanks to this retelling. It is the oldest tale of two lovers who took their own lives. The message at the end of the book is very powerful, but it doesn't happen here. Juliet Immortal blends true love with paranormal spirits and powers. Magic may exist, but it is only implied. All I know is that there are spirits, good, and evil. And yes, Romeo is evil. To a bunch of sixteen year old girls in love with the idea of love, that isn't very pleasant. To them, Romeo seems to ultimate object that represents love. 

But we aren't here to talk about obsessions. We are here to talk about the book. I need to get myself together and stop talking about Romeo, Romeo, Romeo.

The cover for Juliet Immortal is gorgeous! I just have to mention it. I really love all that. The ocean, the red dress, the rock, the expressions in that girl's shoulder. It is all very beautiful and expressive. Sorry, I get caught by this wonderful cover art.

Juliet stands for light. Romeo, for darkness. Now, everything may seem black and white, but as you slowly go through the book, you see that nothing is as it seems. There are many gray areas, and you realize that the Nurse (Juliet's Nurse) is in on it too. I wonder about the Friar, but that is not the point of this paragraph.

Juliet is a bit darker than you think. She may stand for light, but she has every desire to kill Romeo, because he "killed her." Now, notice those quotation marks. They are very important. Just like how the main character isn't always the good guy. (And I can't name any books when the bad guy is the main character. It is a bit strange, but good always wins in books). She is all about saving true love, but she is indeed darker than that. And I can't believe I'm repeating myself over and over again. It gets a bit annoying. Even I will admit that.

And Romeo is disgustingly insane. He is not all like what Shakespeare says. His sonnets aren't exactly the kindest, and he always laughs at weird things. Insane, like I said before. He is a bit sarcastic, sometimes using Shakespeare's words to annoy Juliet out of her mind. But in a strange and creepy way, he still loves her and always will. Isn't that strange? Well, I guess the insane people always find some things sane and normal.

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis Review

"There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life."

Well, this is obviously the retelling of Persephone and Hades. This time the author paints their story as a story of a slow growing love instead of the rape the Greek Mythology calls it. Still, it is another version of the tale. This time Kora/Persephone doesn't realize she is a goddess until she was attacked by a deity. Her mother, Demeter, isn't as powerful as Hades, who thankfully rescues Persephone before she is killed.

I can tell you that Persephone is really fun. There are a lot of little tingles here and there when you see Hades slowly falling for Persephone. Persephone, on the other hand, tries to hide it, but you can so obviously tell that she likes him too. And it is all so adorable. Don't you agree? Oh, wait. You haven't read this book yet so you can't really agree with me. Sorry. But just imagine the chemistry between Duval and Ismae (Grave Mercy) and half that. Yeah, it is half the amount, but it is gold. I mean, Duval and Ismae are meant to be. Like what Duval's half-sister, the Duchess, said, they are well suited together. And Hades and Persephone? Well, life and death go hand in hand together like war and death (Duval is for war; Ismae is for death).

It is an awesome retelling. I really like all the little allusions here and there. It is all very fun and awesome. I really enjoyed it. Persephone is a fast-paced tale about the love between Hades and Persephone. However, this being a book, it has to be a bit longer tale than what you read on Wikipedia.

Persephone is one strong girl. She doesn't change very much throughout the book, but who cares about that? I read worse books about Persephone and Hades (cough, cough, the Goddess Test, cough, cough). Compared to those certain books (cough!), Persephone looks well-developed (despite the cheesy factors in the book) and whole. However, it isn't as good as Meg Cabot's Abandon trilogy, which is much more fun than this series. So far.

And Hades. Well, he isn't as hot-tempered as Greek Mythology believes him to be. He is this bored god who plays video games to pass the time. But with this many people dying per day (about four thousand?), I don't know how he isn't bored.

Anyway, Persephone is certainly a fun book, if your kid can't get interested enough in Greek Mythology. However, I would recommend Percy Jackson for that problem.

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fight to the Finish by Shannon Greenland Review

"Book #5 in the series by Shannon Greenland
Release Date: November 2012

When someone close to TL disappears, The Specialists pull out all the stops. GiGi is brought into another mission along with Bruiser and Mystic. This time, it’s a fight to the finish, and someone doesn’t make it out alive."

Fight to the Finish is a fairly short book despite its status of being the last installment. Honestly, it should had been at least two hundred pages, but oh, well. What is done is already done, like this book and everything else I'd read. (With the exception of ARC books. They still have a chance at redemption).

GiGi returns. This time she comes back with a lot of romantic issues. Randy (also known as Professor Quirk) is causing the barrier between David and GiGi. GiGi, unbeknownst to her, is partially responsible for her actions. David is responsible for his actions while Randy remains a good friend with both of them. I have no idea how they would be good friends, but anything could be possible.

Fight to the Finish stars Bruiser and Mystic this time. Plus, there are some insider's information about TL. There is plus, but I should stop talking about the very fast plot. Instead, I should discuss the book as a whole. Maybe that will help me from talking about spoilers and little details here and there.

Before I talk about the book as a whole, I have to tell you that I'm very disappointed in the ending. I mean that girl in the end is a killer, who is alleged to be involved in manslaughter, murdering people, extortion, and everything else in between.

As a whole, Fight to the Finish is a very exciting read. There are things from fighting to mystical/paranormal intervention. It is all very interesting for a very short book of about one hundred and fifty pages. It is a bit unusually short for a book. It is loads of fun, best for a young reader who doesn't want to read.

Rating: Four out of Five