Friday, January 25, 2013

Faerytale Magic Part III: A Book Review on Endlessly by Kiersten White

Evie is ready to settle down for good with her normal life filled with her not-so-normal boyfriend, vampire roommate and the horde of paranormals coming in and out of her life at the diner she works at. When a new head at the IPCA tries to blackmail Evie into working for them again full-time, Evie begins to understand exactly where her place in the world is and she's determined to set things right to keep her loved ones safe. But when the Faeries once again return with information regarding the purpose to her existence, Evie has to decide if she's willing to risk everything to help save the paranormals she's worked so hard to keep in line or turn her back on her destiny, once and for all.

Aww damn phooey; mumble grumble boo.

It feels like it took me ages to finish Endlessly. Really, I started it right after finishing Supernaturally, honest I did, but I only just finished it a couple of days ago.

White's writing is concise, the voice is strong. But this time around, there is absolutely no denying it; Evie is definitely whining a LOT in this book. Whenever she hears something she doesn't like, or she just doesn't want to listen to something, she just walks away, or stomps away usually. It got tiresome, to say the least.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Faerytale Magic Part II: A Book Review on Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Evie has a new job now, fulfilling her lifelong dream of living the normal life of your average high school student. But it's not everything Evie hoped it would be. She's stuck going to high school trying to earn good grades to get into the same college as her boyfriend and stressing over college applications. She's working at a diner for money and she lives in a small apartment with a vampire as a roommate. As much as she thought she wanted the "normal" life, Evie thinks back to her days at the IPCA and wishes for the chance to really matter, which is why she jumps at the opportunity to work for them again when they ask her back. But the missions go from bad to worse and the prophecy Evie thought was over has come back with a whole new force behind it. After learning that there's a war brewing in the Faerie world, Evie finds out that her life is inexplicably tied to the paranormals she truly hates, the Faeries. And unless she manages to figure out her part, Evie's whole world will slip through her fingers for good.


Blast. Blast, blast, BLAST!

Note to the reader: Don't read this review if you haven't finished the first book in the series, Paranormalcy, as this review will discuss plot points from the previous release as they pertain to this story, therefore making this filled with the occasional SPOILER!

For a book that I read and finished over the course of several hours, I honestly thought I'd reach the end and be floored by the sheer awesomeness of another adventure with Evie.

Except that it felt like nothing truly happened in this book until the last 60 pages finally rolled around. Then, wow, there went everything, so many revelations, all this new information is given only for the book to end and leave readers looking towards book three with just a bit of trepidation.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Faerytale Magic: A Book Review on Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

16-year-old Evie works at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, or the IPCA for short. She deals with faeries on a daily basis, she hunts down vampires and werewolves that are a menace to society and her best friend Lish is a mermaid. Evie is one of the best at her job, thanks to her natural and yet unexplainable talent to see through all paranormal glamours. But there's a new threat out there now threatening the lives of all paranormals. After a shape-shift infiltrates the IPCA looking for information about the new threat and ends up captured, Evie begins to realize that her particular brand of weirdness may be part of a prophecy that links her destiny to the fate of every paranormal creature in the world.

This book was fun. For me, anyways. I found the lead to be engaging, funny and charming in her own witty way. I thought her life was interesting, I enjoyed her care-free attitude and her longing for a high school existence. I've spent the last three days working through White's whole trilogy, which I've had on my shelves for ages and just never gotten around to reading (*cringes* I have a habit of doing that). So finally, I took the whole trilogy out of my library, left them on top of my computer to guilt me into picking them up and reading them and there you have it folks, I read them in record time. Hell, I even spent precious hours reading these books while I should have been talking to my family, who came to visit and ring in the New Year earlier this week (happy 2013!) Was it worth it? I'd say yes, for the first book in the series, yes it was.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Music, Magic and Intrigue: A Book Review on City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Sarah Weston has decided to work a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging music manuscripts. After her mentor was reported to have committed suicide while working the same job, Sarah decides to work on determining whether the suicide was the truth or if something else happened to the professor. As the mystery starts to unravel, Sarah is left in the middle of the turmoil, working on who to trust and what her professor was working on before his death. Working with time-travel, music and centuries of secrets, Sarah has to figure out the truth behind the work at the museum and live to tell about it.

I've spent a few days working through my thoughts on this book. I was hoping for a lot of time-travel, magic and mystery. That's not necessarily what I encountered in this book. Instead, I got a book that seemed part mystery and part romance, with a little bit of magic thrown-in. The time-travel could have been an incredible aspect to this story but in the end I got the feeling that it was meant more for fun, like when the characters get to see Beethoven's interactions in the past at Prague Castle, which is enjoyed more for the fact that the characters can SEE Beethoven as opposed to the clues they are meant to find by encountering Beethoven. It's also determined to be caused by a drug, created from a formula that has disappeared over the centuries. Eventually the "time travel" is used as a means of finding the formula to make more of the drug that enables the time travel in the first place and if the main characters manage to find the clues that focus on the "mystery", its more of an afterthought than anything else.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Ties that Bind: A Book Review on The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Willa Jackson is determined to put her past behind her, including her connections to her family's former mansion, the Blue Ridge Madam, which they lost after encountering financial troubles in the 1930s. Paxton Osgood has taken on a new project: restoring the Blue Ridge Madam, a landmark southern family plantation home, and turning into a inn. Previously happy to keep their distance from each other, Willa and Paxton find their lives thrown together after the restoration unearths a skeleton buried beneath a peach tree on the property. Determined to discover the truth and understand this long buried secret, Willa and Paxton must work together to understand the circumstances surrounding the skeleton and how their new friendship is a powerful force ready to transform their lives for the better.

I've been keeping up with Sarah Addison Allen's books for the last few years, at least since the publication of The Sugar Queen back in 2008. I've honestly enjoyed each of them and The Peach Keeper is the latest release, making a total of four books available now by the author. Allen creates a special brand of magical realism in her novels with enough of the supernatural to appeal to the reader but is also grounded enough in reality to come across as not only endearing stories but also as believable circumstances for those more skeptical readers.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Walled Secrets: A Book Review on The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

When a young child is left alone in Australia with no memory of who she is, she is taken in by a new family to be raised as their own. When her father decides on her 21st birthday to finally tell her the truth, Nell's life is then left forever altered. Determined to discover her true origins, Nell eventually travels to England armed with a rare book of illustrated fairy tales to guide her search for her family. But things have a habit of swiftly changing and Nell is unable to continue her search for the truth. As a result, Nell's granddaughter Cassandra is left with the clues that Nell had put together and out of love and respect for her grandmother, she takes up the search where Nell left off. What she finds is a decades long mystery that revolves around family ties, fairy stories and the fate of a little girl left left alone on a dock nearly a century ago.

When I first read Kate Morton's book The House at Riverton earlier this summer, I was floored by the incredible world I'd encountered in the novel. I'm not one for choosing fiction works with a more historical slant to them so my affection for the book came as a bit of a surprise. True to my word, I said I'd read The Forgotten Garden next as it's next in line according to publication dates. Again, Morton creates a rich history, encompassing not only a wide array of characters but a stretch of time that spans nearly a century. But the awful truth is that The Forgotten Garden left me feeling grumpy and melancholy in the end.

It's a good story. The mystery is enough to leave the reader willing to stick to finishing the novel, hoping for a good outcome, but in the end there was too much sadness for me to truly feel that this was a brilliant read. Instead, by the time I finished this book I wanted to wring the necks of a lot of the characters and I even found myself snapping at real people when I was disturbed from my reading. My apologies to those I snapped at, by the way.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A World of Pure Creation: A Book Review on "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde

In an alternate version of 1985 Great Britain, Thursday Next is working as a literary detective with The Special Operations Network. When she's approached with the opportunity to investigate the theft of the original manuscript of Charles Dickens' "Martin Chuzzlewit", she learns that the thief at large, a man named Acheron Hades, can manipulate people inside their own minds, change his appearance at will and walk around unnoticed by video cameras. Thursday realizes her importance in this case lies with the fact that as a former student of Hades when the man worked at her University, she is one of the few left who could positively identify the culprit. But Hades is up to no amount of good and the web of deceit encompasses more than anyone realizes. It's up to Thursday Next to pursue Hades at all costs, especially when the man manages to steal Jane Eyre from the pages of her own story, and Thursday won't stop until everything has been put to right at Thornfield once again.


Okay. I read this book a LONG time ago. There, I said it. After a recent excursion to my local bookstore led to my acquiring The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to go back and reread The Eyre Affair, the first book I'd ever read by Fforde. And wow, it is still as absorbing and impressive as it was when I first read it a good number of years ago. So, naturally I suppose, I put The Last Dragonslayer down and immersed myself in the world of Thursday Next. Then for good measure, I pulled out the rest of the books in this series, which currently amounts to six books including this one, and I have plans to read them through again over the holiday with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie at my side. And it will be a very grand time, indeed.