Tag Archives: Book Reviews

adult books
May 28, 2016 posted by Nichole

Book Review: Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost

7039218She’s a mortal with dark powers…

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

 

My Review

I have such mixed reviews over Once Burned, because I loved it and also highly disliked it. It’s a very odd combination that has left me not really knowing how to rate this book or what exactly to say. I guess that it can pretty much be summed up like this. I loved the first half, but I hated the second half.

Vlad was awesome. He wasn’t as appealing as Bones, Spade, or Ian, but he definitely has his moments. He was very dark and mysterious and sexy. Basically everything rolled into one package. I do wish that he would have had a little bit more to his personality. We never really got to see any charming or funny moments from him. He stayed consistent throughout the whole book. I would have definitely enjoyed more personality.

My huge problem with Once Burned was Leila. I HATED HER. I’m sorry, but Frost cannot write about an awesome female lead to save her life. I can’t stand Cat, I didn’t like who Spade ended up with, and I DESPISED Leila. It’s almost like she has a difficult time coming up with their personality. A part of her creates this weak little mouse who is in loooooooove with the main male character, but then they are also this wicked badass who stands up for herself. Nothing wrong with either! Because Frost is mixing the personalities, though, the main female character always ends up whining a large majority of the time and getting pissed off at the male MC. It’s just all over the place and I can’t stand it.

The last half of the book was so over dramatic that I skimmed a big section of it. It was just a little too much all at once. There was also way too much Leila time going on.

I was disappointed that there weren’t more romantic scenes between Vlad and Leila. I also thought that their relationship progressed way too quickly. I would have liked to see more of a build up and more soft, sweet, hidden moments stolen between them. I just kind of felt like Frost got bored having the wait time and then just sort of thrust them together. I didn’t care for that.

OH! Another thing that really bothered me was Leila’s power. That was a badass power that Frost made out to be very weak. I would have like Leila to be wayyyy scarier and more intimidating with the magic soaring through her veins.

Overall, probably my least favorite out of all of Frost’s books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in reading more from her, but I was definitely a little underwhelmed with this one.

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Book Reviews
May 18, 2016 posted by Nichole

Story Time with the Kiddos: Book Reviews of Hensel and Gretel Ninja Chicks and Snappsy the Alligator

henselNew from the team behind The Three Ninja Pigs and Ninja Red Riding Hood

These ninja chicks are anything but chicken!

When Hensel and Gretel’s dad gets snatched by a fox, the sisters put their ninja skills to work to track him down before he can be stir-fried.

But are these two little chicks ready to take on a dark tangled forest, a tricky house made of corn bread, and an even trickier fox?

This plucky pair isn’t giving up without a fight! Kiya!

 

My Review:

Definitely one of the best picture books around! My Story Time kids LOVED this book! Not only did they love it the first time, but then they demanded that I read it right over again! They stayed just as engaged and interactive the second time around – if not more so!

I loved the rhyming words in this book! Everything blended really well together, and it was super fun! The story stayed consistent throughout the whole book and the kids were constantly able to tell me what was going on.

The illustrations in this book were amazing!!! The kids were constantly pointing out everything and asking me questions about the book. Very well illustrated!

I read this to kids ages 1-4 (almost 5) and each and every one of them stayed very engaged throughout the whole book. They added in their own ninja moves and LOVED IT! Such a cute story!

Rating: : ★★★★★


25489475Snappsy the alligator is trying to go about his very ordinary day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story with slanderous claims. Is Snappsy making crafty plans? Is he prowling for defenseless birds and soft, fuzzy bunnies? Is Snappsy a big, mean alligator who’s obsessed with snack foods that start with the letter P? It’s no wonder Snappsy won’t invite the narrator to his party!

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is an irreverent look at storytelling, friendship, and creative differences from a pair of rising stars in the picture book world.

 

 

 

My Review:

This one fell flat with the kiddos.. The first mistake was the name Snappsy. It’s very difficult for little kids to pronounce and they kept wanting to say Snappy. The title definitely didn’t roll very well off the tongue.

I hate to say this, but this book was BORING. In fact, there’s actually one part of the book where the narrator says that the book is boring. Let me tell you, that didn’t encourage my kiddos to want to listen to the story. They had a very difficult time sitting still and paying attention to this. Lots of skimming had to be done to avoid tantrums.

There were a couple phrases that I found to be a little inappropriate in this book. Maybe not so much for slightly older elementary students, but I wasn’t going to say them to 1-4 year olds. The narrator says “Oh, you are really cheesing me off,” and “Now I just want you to buzz off.” Again, not the biggest or worst phrases out there, but I DEFINITELY didn’t want the kiddos going around and repeating those words. Especially when they go back home, repeat those phrases to their parents, and then somebody gets mad at me. I just didn’t think it was so appropriate for a children’s picture book.

I also found the narrator of the book to be very rude. We had to have a lot of conversations about how we don’t act the way the narrator does because that’s not very good behavior. I’m all for that message in books, but I don’t really think that was the message that this book was actually trying to get across.

Overall, this one was a huge miss. My kids didn’t like it all /=

Rating: : ★☆☆☆☆

Every Day by David Levithan
Book Reviews
August 15, 2012 posted by Nikki

Every Day by David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

A has occupied the bodies of a lot of different people: boys, girls, gay, straight, transgendered, diseased, addicted, afflicted, depressed – you name it, he’s experienced it. He’s careful not to do anything too out of character, and he’s even more careful about doing things that might potentially mess up the body’s life (once they get it back). He’s just going through the motions…

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, A wakes up in the body of Justin. Upon initial assessments, A figures Justin is a bit of a douche, and settles into the routine of going about Justin’s day. Then he meets Rhiannon – Justin’s girlfriend – and his stay-out-of-it approach takes an instant nose-dive. A is drawn to Rhiannon in a way that he’s never been drawn to anyone, ever. Which is bad. Very, very bad.

Unable to help himself, A maneuvers himself into Rhiannon’s life, her head, and her heart. And honestly, that’s just all kinds of bad, because really, what kind of life can he give her? Different body every day, different location every day.

Then he meets someone who tells him he can make his situation more permanent. Could this mean he could have the life he’s always wanted? Could he have Rhiannon, every day, in the same body? He’s determined to find the answer.

So what did I love about this book? How about EVERYTHING! Everyone who knows my literary taste buds knows I have always loved and adored everything David Levithan has ever done, but this, well, this takes it to a whole new level. Every Day was utterly unputdownable. I loved everything about A. I loved how believable Rhiannon’s character was. I loved that she believed A so implicitly. I loved the depressed girl, the fat boy, and the kid he left Rhiannon with. I got to the end and screamed, ‘NO’ really loudly because I didn’t want it to end. Especially not there, where it did. I loved how flawless David Levithan’s prose was, how perfect and effortless it was to read. I loved the pace – it was perfect. I loved the cover (who wouldn’t?!). I loved Justin for doing the right thing in the one single moment he needed to. I loved the ending, but I hated it at the same time. It left me wanting more, needing more, CRAVING more.

Every Day satisfied every single one of my literary needs. It’s romantic, intelligent, exceptionally creative, and just perfect in every way.

It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. Every Day is the real deal.

Pages: 322

Publication date: 12 August, 2012

Publisher: Alfred. A. Knopf

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “I wake up and I’m not four hours away from her, or one hour, or even fifteen minutes. No, I wake up in her house. In her room. In her body.”

Author Interview – Cassandra Clare
Author Interviews
September 7, 2010 posted by Christina

Author Interview – Cassandra Clare

It’s not every day you get to chat with one of the biggest names in young adult fiction, but we did just that when we spoke to Cassandra Clare.

Her new novel, Clockwork Angel, is the first in the Infernal Devices series and prequel to The Mortal Instruments.

Set in Victorian England, the story follows sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when she discovers the secret world of the Shadowhunters as well as her own new shapeshifting abilities. As she draws deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated and torn between two best friends – Will and Jem, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Since the success of The Mortal Instruments how has your life changed? Do you get recognized out on the street?

That had never happened! Most people haven’t the faintest idea what writers look like. Only once, when I was in Ireland, did a stranger recognize me. I was on TV there talking about literacy and gothic literature for children. When I got to the airport in Dublin to fly home the woman who patted me down said “I know who you are, you were on TV! You are a writer!”

You’ve taken to twitter like a fish to water, which as fans, we really love and appreciate – what is it about it that you like?

Ironically I swore up and down forever that I would NEVER go on Twitter, that it would just suck all my time and I’d never get anything done. Then I found out someone was impersonating me on Twitter — pretending to be me and answering reader questions and the like. I was furious — they’d even replied to messages from my boyfriend as if they were me — so I had to create a “No, THIS is me” Twitter account. And of course I immediately got addicted. It’s such a quick way to get news out, and a great way to network and meet new people without the effort of writing a whole blog post.

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

Smooth.

The Mortal Instruments series was set in New York why did you opt to set the Infernal Devices in London?

Because London is one of my favorite cities — and why work so hard creating a demon-fighting force that spans the globe if you’re not going to visit new locations? Also, the first inkling of the book came to me in London — I was crossing Blackfriars Bridge and I had this sudden strong image in my head of a girl and a boy, in the period costume of the mid-Victorian era, standing on the bridge at night — and from one end of the bridge, unseen by them, was an army of clockwork creatures approaching. It was very creepy and I knew immediately it was historical, and that it would be set in my favorite London period, the mid-Victorian era.

What research did you do for the Victorian setting?

For six months I read only books written during, or written about, the Victorian period. I did a lot of reading of first-hand sources: journals kept at the time period, the travel accounts of tourists visiting England from America (since Tessa is American, in London for the first time) and newspapers of the period. I also employed a research assistant — Lisa Gold — to track down hard to find photographs of locations in the time period, and went to London several times myself to map out routes and select locations.

There’s a lot of dialogue about the Accords – they seem to take on more significance in this series than in Mortal Instruments?

That’s because in the Mortal Instruments the Accords have been around for a hundred years, while in the ID books they’re new. The Accords are a fact of life for the Shadowhunters in MI, but in ID they’ve changed everything — the new generation is embracing them, but the older generation of Shadowhunters hates them. In fact, the older generation of Downworlders doesn’t like them all that much. You can draw a parallel with any sort of progressive civil rights movement — it usually takes people a while to catch up and do the right thing.

*** Spoilers Ahead ***

Due to their line of work, Shdowhunters tend to live shorter lives while most Downworlders, such as warlocks and vampires, can live for a very long time. It seems that Tessa is set for some lonely years ahead?

You mean because both of her love interests are mortal? Well, there has to be a downside to immortality, doesn’t there? And besides, who knows what’s going to happen in the next two books . . .

When shape shifted into a vampire Tessa’s heart stopped beating and her skin felt cold. If she were to shift into a Shadowhunter would she gain some of their abilities too? Could she draw a rune?

Not without reading the Gray Book. She’d be a Shadowhunter, but she wouldn’t have their knowledge, just like when she becomes Camille, she doesn’t immediately know everything about vampires.

It looks like certain personality traits are inherited, how would a meeting between Will and Jace go down? Battle of wits?

Yes, they would probably both instantly hate each other and try to out-sarcasm the other one.

In some earlier blurbs Tessa’s last name is Fell but now it’s Gray, did it have anything to do with Ragnor Fell?

Oh, character names change all the time. Remember those earlier blurbs date from a time when City of Glass wasn’t finished, so Ragnor Fell wasn’t Ragnor Fell. He had some other last name. When I settled on Fell for him, I changed Tessa’s last name so no one would think there was a connection. Also there’s a reason her last name is so close to Clary’s false last name, Fray.

If you could spend the day with one of your characters (TMI or ID) which would it be?

Magnus— he seems like he’d be fun to shop with.

Though I’m sure for the most part your lips are sealed, what can you tell us about the next book Clockwork Prince?

I can tell you that the secret to Will’s bizarre behavior will be revealed; that we will meet Gabriel Lightwood’s older brother (the one who’s reportedly even grouchier than he is) and that by the end of the book at least one character we know has gotten engaged.

Character Q’s  – We get a little cameo appearance from some of the amazing new characters from Clockwork Angel.

Tessa, we spot you at the end of City of Glass, what was it like seeing the descendants of people you were very close to?

Tessa: I’ll just say that seeing Jace was a bit like seeing a ghost.

Jem, you’re rocking the silver hair which is unusual for someone of your age, do you think you’ll bring it back in fashion?

Jem: I wouldn’t mind if my hair color was a bit less unusual, as I dislike being a curiosity, but I’d hate to have people repeat the experience that made my hair look like it does.

Will, you’re quite a mysterious person and in a way, I’m not sure what to ask, I’m kind of speechless. Do you find you have that affect on people often?

Will: It’s quite natural to have the urge to fall down and worship me as a sort of god. Feel free to go about it. I won’t even notice.

How’s everyone feel about Church moving in?

Jem: He’s a fine little cat.

Tessa: He does tend to come up upon one at unnerving times. He’s made me jump into the air several times.

Will: That’s nothing, I found him staring at me in the bath the other day. Of course, given the chance, who wouldn’t?

Jessamine: We have a cat?

Charlotte: He certainly is an unusual cat. I’d like the Silent Brothers to look at him.

Henry: I could dissect him.

Everyone else: NO.

Ah Will, always a flirt. A big thank you to Cassandra Clare!
Make sure you gets your hands on a copy today, Clockwork Angel is available in store and online now at all good book stores.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) – Cassandra Clare
Book Reviews
August 31, 2010 posted by Christina

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) – Cassandra Clare

“When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gas lit streets.  Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn even deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated – and torn between- two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.”

Clockwork Angel is the first novel in the Infernal Devices series and is the prequel to the highly successful Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. Over the past few weeks I’ve been hearing reviews mostly to the tune of “ZOMG, SO GOOD”, in regards to this book. So, not that I needed much encouragement, having already been a die-hard fan of The Mortal Instruments, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

The story is set in Victorian London and centers on Tessa Gray who has just arrived from New York to join her brother Nate after the death of their Aunt. Tessa barely sets foot on English soil before she’s kidnapped by The Dark Sisters – a wicked pair of warlocks who have hidden Nate and taken him hostage. In return for her brother’s safety Tessa is tortured into uncovering a shape shifting ability she never knew she had.

The Magister knew of it though. He is the leader of the Pandemonium Club, a mysterious club where humans and Downworlders (vampires, warlocks, faeries, werewolves) mix and he wants control of Tessa’s unique ability.

While uncovering murders linked to the club, Tessa is discovered and rescued by the Shadowhunters – Nephilim who are the children of Angels and humans who have sworn to protect humans from demons. Taking refuge at the London Institute Tessa enlists the help of the Shadowhunters to find her brother while she helps them uncover the dark plan to wipe out their kind…

When Clockwork Angel arrived in the mail I did a bit of a dance, I was that excited. I was Shadowhunter starved! A year had passed since her last book release and I was missing the sarcasm that Cassandra Clare does so well, and she definitely delivered. It took a bit of time in the beginning to adjust to the new time period and things took a bit of time to get going because a whole lot of groundwork needed to be laid before the story was able to gain some speed.

There’s no shortage of action in this book and can be quite creepy at times thanks to the evil clockwork minions of the Magister, made from the bodies of the dead. That, plus London’s notoriously bleak weather give the book quite a dark quality.

For me, Cassandra Clare’s standout talent as a writer is her ability to create such loveable, dynamic characters. The new characters we meet in this story are no exception. We see a few familiar last names – Herondale, Lightwood, Wayland, all being the ancestors of the characters were knew and loved from The Mortal Instruments (including Magnus Bane!) We’re also presented with a bunch of new characters as well.

It probably wasn’t until Magnus showed up though that I realized just how much I had missed the Shdowhunter world. He was his charming self as always and even though in this book his appearance was briefer than I’d have preferred, he was still great. Plus, it’s Magnus that leaves us with a great cliffhanger right at the end.

Our main character, Tessa, definitely has spunk.  She’s a lady with all the politeness and proper manners that go hand –in-hand with the time period, but when it comes down to it she puts up a hell of a fight and has a comeback for any snarky comment Will throws her way.

Speaking of Will; this guy is badass. His only downfall is that he’s also an a-hole. With his dark hair and blue eyes he’s beautifully sexy and has the kind of wit and classic one-liners that we’ve come to love from Jace in TMI. As Jace’s ancestor it’s clear that’s one of the character traits he’s passed down. Like most characters in this book, Will has a dark and mysterious past, which is apparently the reason he’s a jerk to most people and keeps them at arm’s length. Everyone except his best friend and parabatai, Jem.

Jem though, has dark secrets of his own, secrets which are destroying him from the inside out. He’s the only one who’s been able to get close to Will and balances out Will’s snark with his calm, soothing demeanor. With his silver hair and musical skills Jem’s a charmer simply by being a gentleman. He catches your attention with his subtleties.

The blurb hypes the three of them to be caught in a fierce love triangle but it’s not really the case – at least not in this book. It seems clear which of the two boys Tessa prefers (but if she was smart she wouldn’t…) but we’ll see how that’ll unfold in the next books.

There’s no denying there’s a well thought out plot here. Though it seems the plot moves Tessa rather than her driving the plot, it still twists, turns and weaves brilliantly, especially at the end – right when you think you know where everyone stands, it gets turned on its head which was really great. It was also great to see Shadowhunters from the perspective of a Downworlder, at times it made them appear very elitist and superior.

We also get to see the role of women during the period from different angles from each of the ladies we meet in the book. From Jessamine who wants a more traditional life, to Charlotte who is bending the rules and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable for a lady to do (and without a corset too!)

By the end there are still so many questions left hanging you double check the last page to see if there’s even a sentence or two more to answer at least one, but no such luck.

This is a stunning novel and it’s going to be an agonizing wait for the next book but I know it’ll be worth it. It’s a fresh take on a period piece so expect action, many lines of great, quotable dialogue, a bit of romance and plenty of Shadowhunter mystery. A huuuuuuge thumbs up!

Pages: 488
Publication Date: August 31st 2010
Rating: : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote:  “That was enterprising,” Will sounded nearly impressed.

Nate smiled. Tessa shot him a furious look. “Don’t look pleased with yourself. When Will says ‘enterprising’ he means ‘morally deficient.'”

“No, I mean enterprising,” said Will. “When I mean morally deficient, I say, ‘Now, that’s something I would have done.”

Clockwork Angel Chapter Sampler and Wallpapers
News
August 26, 2010 posted by Christina

Clockwork Angel Chapter Sampler and Wallpapers

As promised, thanks to Walker Books we’ve got a chapter sampler from Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel to share with you all! Also, be sure to check out the official website for other goodies such as wallpapers, artwork, an excerpt and much more – www.theinfernaldevices.com

The prequel to the best-selling The Mortal Instruments will be available on August 31st.

Click below to read the Clockwork Angel chapter sampler and wallpapers…