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Archive for January 2012

Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

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Rose of Winslow StreetThe last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families. When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past. As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain. (From Amazon.ca)

What I loved most about this novel, was the characters in them. The plot was good, but it’s really the characters that made the book twice as enjoyable to read. Libby is a great character with an awful secret – although I thought it was most definitely a secret problem that can be fixed, so I’m not sure why it wasn’t encouraged for her to try to solve this issue. Perhaps because she’s tried so hard to do so with results, she just gave up – what surprised me was I really thought Michael would do something about it, but he didn’t. (This whole thing will make sense once you read the book).

I thought Libby and Michael were such a wonderful couple! from the start they had a little spark and it eventually grew to something more but it was just so nice to read them both. Some of the things Michael says to Libbey throughout the book were so nice I had to sit back and reread them again. They were most definitely very memorable quotes. My favorite scene, had to be when they were stranded in the rain.

The plot was really good and interesting. I was very glad of Mirela’s outcome because of her past story. What got me all riled up was Regina. Oh argh. She got me so mad and I can’t believe she did what she did. (Which just goes to show you how involved in the plot I was while reading this book). I also liked the perfume parts of the book. That was interesting and didn’t think someone like Michael would be into that sort of thing. It’s definitely something you don’t see in most novels out there.

Definitely recommended for those who want a light romantic read. The romance was brilliant, the plot very nice and interesting to follow, most importantly it had very memorable characters that made the book absolutely fantastic.

I give it a 10 out of 10

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Written by Karoline

January 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

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Maid of Fairbourne HallPampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt–and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall? (From Amazon.ca)

I enjoyed this book. It was a good read and the characters were all very well done and likable. Although at first, I disliked Margaret. She wasn’t that likable in the beginning and acted more like a spoiled brat who took a lot of things for granted. However, Margaret also provided for the most developed character in the book and it was nice to see her grow and become a much better person. I enjoyed reading her experience as a housemaid (mostly comical, sometimes I felt sorry for her).

The main couples ‘to be’ in this book suited each other very well. They were paired each other nicely, they sure had the chemistry all figured out but what was nice was when they were finally together. It made the ending of the novel a nice sweet one. The plot on the other hand was well done, I liked the amount of historical detail was made to make the plot much more authentic and realistic. I’m glad Julia Klassen took the time to make this book with as much historical detail as possible it made the reading experience much more fun.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was towards the end, the plot slowed a bit, and there was a mystery added that was interesting, but it just felt like it dragged the rest of the plot as well. However it did have a nice ending as I mentioned earlier and overall the book was good so I’d say this is just a minor issue.

I’d recommend this to historical fiction lovers, the contrast between servant and high society is definitely mentioned and you follow Margaret in seeing the vast differences between the two. It’s most definitely worth the read.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Written by Karoline

January 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

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EmptyAll-American Tom, golden child Nicki, and outsider Leila live in rural Spring Valley in the not-too-distant future, when oil production has slowed dramatically and the country is running out of oil. People can’t get to work because they don’t have gas; they’re being laid off because of businesses cutting costs; the price of everything is rising; and heat and electricity are increasingly hard to get. Nicki’s family is being torn apart by the crisis, and Leila is worried about how to survive the winter on her own. As winter progresses, life in Spring Valley grows more desperate, and people in nearby towns are pitted against one another. The teens must find ways to stop the raids and fighting—and new ways to live without oil. (From Amazon.ca)

The book had all the things I wanted when I felt like reading about the world going down the drain and what happens when stuff hits the fan. So naturally, I picked this one up. It’s a short read, as it’s less than 200 pages.

I wish I could like it more. Yet I couldn’t. Although the situation is realistic and could be very possible, I just couldn’t get into this book. It was dry, and the characters weren’t that great to begin with. There’s also a potential love triangle but the characters just were not likable and there was absolutely no chemistry with any of them that it was almost painful to read.

The plot itself was okay, the subject matter interesting but it just did not have enough to really engage me as a reader. It could be also because the bland characters just didn’t do enough to make the plot flow successfully. It does get a little preachy towards the end, with the environment speech – however I have to add that house and how it was made was very interesting and if only houses like that could be made all throughout, perhaps this type of situation could be avoided.

I’d say take this book or leave it. It is a short read, but because of the dry plot and the blandness of characters the reading took a bit longer than I expected. The idea is unique but more should have been done to make it a more engaging book to read.

5 out of 10

Please note: I’m not sure why ppl would tag this book as “Dystopian” I personally think it’s not….

Written by Karoline

January 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Posted in 5, Review

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Warped by Maurissa Guibord

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WarpedTessa doesn’t believe in magic. Or Fate. But there’s something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa’s own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa’s life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy. (From Amazon.ca)

I was glad I picked this book up. It’s such a different story from the other YA I’ve read, and it was a good read, so good, it was hard to put down. The idea of the Fates, and the purpose of the tapestry is very different and it sets this aside from the usual plot hooks you find in the millions of YA books you’ve read – sometimes when you need a break from vampires and werewolves then perhaps you should read Warped.

I liked the time bending fantasy aspect of the book, and how our lives are really all woven into one big tapestry. The story itself is very well written and caught my attention all throughout the book. There’s plenty of magic and action, a very evil villain (well written and extremely evil! she could easily top the list of evil villains), and the romance is well done. It might take a bit to warm up to William de Chaucy, he’s pompous, arrogant, and can be a jerk but as the story goes on, he ended up being one of my YA crushes (his demeanor improves later). I really liked how his character worked out. Tessa on the other hand is a great main character and her chemistry with Will is there, and I liked seeing them both together.

The plot was a most different one. It’s got a great blend of historical fiction and fantasy all mixed in. The pacing isn’t too fast, and not too slow, but it’s gradual and as the story unfolds it gets much more interesting as the reader progresses. Characters are likable, and villain most evil so it fits all the characteristics of a book in this genre but made things interesting by going a step further (by adding in The Fates, and the tapestry).

I most definitely recommend this to other YA readers! take a break from the vampires and the werewolves and pick this book up! you won’t regret it! whether there’s going to be sequel, I’m not sure. It would be fun if there was, it does leave some things left out in the open.

I give it a 10/10

Written by Karoline

January 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Posted in 10, Review

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Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

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Rise of the Evening StarAt the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists — a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper — to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? (From Amazon.ca)

I thought this one was just as good as the first. The action literally starts from the first few pages of the book and grabs your attention. The magic is still there and it’s still fun and exciting. It’s also nice to see a bunch of new characters, but also, some of the previous characters have also returned as well.

The plot was much more engaging and at a faster pace. There was much more character development when it came to both Kendra and Seth (and surprisingly enough, Seth got a little less annoying…). The magic is just as entertaining and I really enjoyed the new addition of the three specialists, it certainly put more emphasis on the magic aspect of the plot and a little more explanation on how it works. There is also some bit of mystery put into all of this (as to be expected) and it certainly was well written and well thought out as I was blindsided as to who the culprit was.

It is recommended you read the first book before jumping into this one there is so much the reader will have missed without reading this in its’ specific order. Highly recommended for Middle Grade readers, or for those who are into the fantasy genre.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

January 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

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WingsLaurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words. Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever. (From Amazon.ca)

I liked this book, but then I didn’t. The more I read further into this book, I almost wanted to drop it, but I didn’t because curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what was going on.

You have to wonder about Laurel’s parents. Laurel doesn’t eat like normal teens, and drinks up on the sodas. Yet her mom is okay with that? her parents are pretty much oblivious to everything regarding Laurel and this is where it gets unrealistic. It got a teensy bit worse when her good pal David seems to be VERY accepting of who Laurel really is. He doesn’t think it’s strange? he had no hesitations? he just shrugs and gets along with it? if David had been skeptical at first, it would have made this whole situation a little bit real. BUT! What bothered me the most was how in the end, once Laurel explains everything to her parents…they were just ok with it. Um..what? really? they just suddenly thought: ‘okay honey that’s nice. Run along, play with your new friends and hope your new outlook on life is great’ WTF?! At this point because it was at the end, I resorted to eye rolling. It was just too late into the book to throw it against the wall.

So, despite all of this silliness, there was a couple of things I liked. The world building was pretty good. The fantasy aspect and the magical places are interesting. The plot itself was an all right read and the pace made it for a quick read through. Character-wise, I thought David was the best one of all of them. Just because I thought he really was such a sweet guy after all. (He’d have to be sweet, to be so easily accepting to Laurel). Tamani on the other hand resembled a very jealous possessive guy who has severe issues and overall I found him downright annoying. His little comments here and there annoyed me and I wanted either David or Laurel to kick him in the face somehow.

I’m not sure if I would recommend this. A lot of readers seemed to have liked this book a lot. I’d say there’s better books featuring magical fae out there. I’d say try out Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston instead. For this one, take it or leave it.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

January 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Posted in 6, Review

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The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer

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The Bad QueenHistory paints her as a shallow party girl, a spoiled fashionista, a callous ruler. Perhaps no other royal has been so maligned–and so misunderstood–as Marie-Antoinette. In this latest installment of her acclaimed Young Royals series, Carolyn Meyer reveals the dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last Queen of France. From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone–courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people–but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can’t help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and other unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette’s lifestyle gets ever more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty–and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay. (From Amazon.ca)

I enjoy reading anything about Marie Antoinette and this one does not disappoint! as this book caters to the younger age crowd, Marie Antoinette’s voice certainly ‘feels’’ younger. The book does a good job covering most of the main moments of her life leading up to her death. The book paints her somewhat in a sympathetic light, although ignorant and oblivious to what really is happening outside of the palace walls. Her large spending sprees and luxuries are a result of her desperate desire to please others, and to be surrounded by her friends (albeit, they all have another agenda). You can’t help but shake your head at these actions, but on the other hand, she was lonely, with no one to really talk to, and being under the constant scrutiny of others, you do sympathize and try to understand what’s she’s feeling. Her admirers and friends don’t help much in that matter either, as they just grab and take what they can. So although she’s done mistakes and she can disliked for her behavior, you can’t help but pity her as well.

The way her story is told is perfect and the writing style is superb. Although it’s a huge thick novel, I found it easy to read, and quick to read through. The setting and descriptions are well done and realistic, so everything is easily pictured. The little rules outlining the beginning of every chapter are cute but it goes to show the lengths to which Marie Antoinette was raised and how she was expected to be at court. It’s rigid and very restrictive, and you can’t blame her for wanting to break rules to suit herself and her comfort – much to the chagrin of others in the French court.

This was a great telling of Marie Antoinette tale for younger readers and I greatly recommend this for those wanting to know more about a misunderstood Queen. Those wanting to read a more adult version of this book, I’d recommend Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund. It’s a more detailed account of her life, and also very well done.

I give it a 10 out of 10

Written by Karoline

January 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm