Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon

Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.


Oh my goodness.  THE EMOTIONS.

I seriously have nothing bad to say about this book.  I have never read a journeying book that has impressed me so much as The Naming.   Croggon did an absolutely lovely job writing this book.  Oh, where to begin?

When Cadvan finds Maerad, she has no idea that she's a Bard.  He helps her to find her way to the city of Innail, where she can begin her lessons in Barding.  But travelling there, Cadvan begins to see that Maerad may be far more important than she appears.  Together, they start a journey that could effect both of their futures, as well as the fate of all of Annar.

Maerad is a character that you get quite attached to from the very beginning.  I love her.  She is such a strong character, though she has had a daunting past.  With Maerad, Croggon managed to capture the delicate balance that a female lead should have: the right amount of strength mixed with the right amount of vulnerability.  She has all the feelings of a teenage girl, yet she neither whines nor complains incessantly (as you see quite a lot with some other lead females).  Maerad is a truly relatable character that makes you fall in love with her from the start.

Cadvan.  Thank you, Mrs. Croggon.  Cadvan is awesome.  He is an extremely interesting character, and personally, I am just as intrigued (if not more) by Cadvan as I am by Maerad.  Croggon does a beautiful job of giving the right amount of background information of Cadvan so that the reader is not ceaselessly plagued with curiosity, but she still leaves room for us to wonder about his past.

Also, not to forget, this novel was beautifully written.  Croggon speaks with a beauty that is quite hard to match.  For example, there is a scene when Cadvan gets into some trouble and Maerad does not know what to do.  An excerpt from the scene: "Suddenly the torrent of grief became an all-consuming anger, and as if her anger tore aside a veil, a new awareness blazed inside her.  Despite her extremity, she was possessed by a fierce, wild joy.  Her blood sang through her veins like a silver fire.  At last she understood her power, and she knew, with a clarity like that of a dream, what she had to do. (Page 353)."  I've seen many different kinds of writing, and Croggon's is among my favorites.  She never failed to impress me.

The Naming allowed me to fall in love with Croggon's writing.  I felt as if every aspect of this story was completely beautiful and eloquent, and few books leave me feeling as such.  From the plot, to the diction, to the characters, this book will meet few matches in its genre.  Croggon did an absolutely wonderful job, and she left me begging for the sequel.

Favorite quote from the book: "She had thought hope was dead inside her, but now she realized that it merely slumbered, like ash-gray embers that held yet a glowing heart, which the merest breath might fan into flame."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (#1)

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a meme held by MizB at Should Be Reading.  Here, bloggers take a couple of "teaser" sentences from the book that they are currently reading and post them to the blog!

My teaser this week comes from The Naming by Alison Croggon

"Maerad was still to young to have given up hope of escape, although as she approached adulthood and began to better understand her own limitations, she understood it to be a childish dream.  Freedom was a fantasy she gnawed obsessively in her few moments of leisure, like an old bone with just a trace of meat, and like all illusions, it left her hungrier than before, only more keenly aware of how her soul starved within her, its wings wasting with the despair of disuse."  -Page 2

Guys.  HOW FREAKING BEAUTIFUL IS THAT?!  I have fallen in love with Croggon's writing. Enough said.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School

Back to School

Alright guys, for those of you who are students, this is by far the most fun part of the year.... back to school! (If you can't see the sarcasm, I promise you, it's there.)

So, that being said, reviews are going to be a bit more slow-coming because I can't sit around and read all day (no matter how much I wish I could).   Between school and Cross Country, I happen to be quite busy now.  But, never fear! I will definitely still be holding the blog and reviewing books, it just may not be quite as fast as normal.  I've been really excited about the growth of my blog-25 followers now.  You guys are amazing!  So, hopefully, I will continue to grow.  I don't know how quickly I'm going to be able to read and review books yet, but I should hopefully work out a decent system or schedule in the near future.  I just need to get the feel of how busy I'll be with schoolwork.

I am currently reading a book, The Naming by Alison Croggon, for those of you who are wondering, and I should hopefully have the review up sometime between the end of this week to mid-week next week.  I would like to have it up by Sunday, but alas, this is not Burger King.  And I may not "have it my way".  But I should hopefully get it up by then.

So, anyways, I still love you guys, and you're all still a big bunch of awesomeness, but I have less time on my hands.  Keep being awesome.   And I'll do my best!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (#3)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that asks bloggers to feature books that they are ever-so-eagerly waiting for.

Top of my to-read list this week:

Tiger's Destiny by Coleen Houck 

Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Snippet from Goodreads:
With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.

GUYS.   I've been waiting for this book for what seems like ageeeeeesssssss. 
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.  The suspense is going to kill me.   But anyway, I can't wait to see what Colleen is going to make me emotionally torn over in this one.  I guess I'll find out soon.  Less than a month away! 

What are you guys waiting for this Wednesday?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.  Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


THIS. BOOK.  It is seriously intense, my friends.

Thomas arrives in the Glade with no memories.  He knows how to speak, how the world works, and what things are, but when it comes to specific people, places, or memories, he has nothing.

The day after Thomas arrives, a girl shows up in the Glades, the first ever.  She says one sentence before passing out, "Everything is going to change."  In her hand, the Gladers find a note that says, "She's the last one.  Ever."

Thomas doesn't know the girl, but he can't help feeling that he has some sort of connection to her, somehow.  The same sort of feeling he gets when he first sees the Runners.  The Runners are the group of Gladers that run out into the maze every day, always searching for a way out.  They've been running for two years and find nothing different, but still they continue to run.  As Thomas watches them go into the depths of the maze, he can't help but feel as if he should be one of them.

Then, one day, when he helps one of his friends out as a Griever is chasing him in the maze, Thomas gets offered the chance he's been waiting for: he's allowed to train as a Runner.  Not exactly sure what he's searching for, but glad to begin, Thomas eagerly accepts and begins training, searching for a way out of the endless maze before time runs out.

Okay guys, I'll admit.  The first few chapters or so of this book seriously got on my nerves.  I felt like nothing was happening and it was really confusing because none of the Gladers would elaborate on the world that Thomas had been thrust into, leaving readers just as bewildered as Thomas.  But, once Thomas started getting a few answers and some of the lingo was decoded, the story got much better.  

And on a side note, I don't think that James Dashner has ever truly been on a long run.  Because his characters all eat full-blown meals and then go run for hours.  I run all the time, and I feel slow and groggy if I eat even 3 or 4 hours before I run, much less 15 minutes before.  Or maybe it's just me.  Who knows?  It just cracked me up a little bit.

But, in all seriousness, The Maze Runner was fantastic.  After you get past the first few chapters, the story is completely enveloping.  I mean, I seriously think I took my copy everywhere I went on Friday and Saturday.  It's a good story, and Dashner told it well.

The book was very fast-paced and really interesting.  And once the action starts (though it does take a couple of chapters to get there,) it never stops! And the ending.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  It left me pretty much begging for the sequel.

Favorite quote from the book:
" 'We can do it,' she said in a quiet voice.
Hearing her say that only made him worry mroe.  'Holy crap, I'm scared.'
'Holy crap, you're human.  You should be scared.'
Thomas didn't respond, and for a long time they just sat there, holding hands, no words spoken, in their minds or aloud.  He felt the slightest hint of peace, as fleeting as it was, and tried to enjoy it for however long it might last."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Blood Red Road by Moria Young

Review: Blood Red Road by Moria Young

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Saba's world is shattered when her twin brother, Lugh, is captured by four cloaked horsemen. Determined to rescue him, Saba sets off into the lawless, wasted landscape left behind by the Wreckers. It's a brutal world where Saba discovers some surprising things about herself: She's a fierce fighter, a cunning opponent, and above all, an unbeatable survivor. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl warriors called the Free Hawks, Saba is off to save her brother - and maybe her whole world.



This book is so good that it is unreal.  Saba is one of those kick-butt characters that is just plain awesome.  She can be extremely annoying at times, but you also get so emotionally wrapped-up in her story that it balances out.  

At first, I was a little reluctant to read this because it was written in dialect.  It may not sound that bad, but I am a serious Grammar Nazi, and at first I my only thoughts were, "OH MY GOODNESS.  THIS IS DRIVING ME CRAZY."  But please, do not let the dialect stop you from reading this book.  You'll get over it, I swear.  And there is an amazing story behind it all. 

So, quick plot summary: Saba's brother, Lugh,  gets kidnapped and she and her little sister Emmi go on a journey to find him.  Along the way, Saba meets a few allies: the Free Hawks and a boy named Jack.  OH, JACK.  I love him so much. 

And, this book is filled to the brim with adventure.  There wasn't a moment in the story where I was bored with it.  I mean seriously, I wanted to be reading this book non-stop (which, unfortunately, eating, sleeping, and cross-country practice decided to interfere with that idea).

Saba kicks butt the whole story.  She cage-fights, and she goes on a journey that no average person would attempt too save her brother.  OH, and let's not forget that she fights man-eating worms.  Yeah.  If there were any doubts of the adventure in this book, you may easily lay them aside. 

This book was totally and utterly enthralling.  It left me wanting so much more of the story.  When I finished, my only thought was, "NO. It's not supposed to end there!" So, I absolutely cannot wait for Rebel Heart, the sequel.

Favorite quote from the book: This was a song that Jack kept singing that I just absolutely fell in love with.  He was referring to Saba, and she was (comically) unaware.  This is one of the verses in the song-
"Oh many fine beauties did beg me to stay
 But none until Annie did snare me
 Though she hurts an shuns me an makes my heart bleed
 My heard-hearted Annie I never shall leave."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (#2)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that asks bloggers to feature books that they are ever-so-eagerly waiting for.

Top of my waiting-for list this week:
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Publication date: February 19, 2013

Snippet from Goodreads: 

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. 

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

SO excited for this one.  From what I've heard, White is a good writer, and the plot just looks like something I'd get really wrapped up in.  

What are you guys waiting for this week?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I'm ready to fight.

Note- There will be spoilers in this review if you have not read I Am Number Four, the first book in the series. 

I liked The Power of Six SO much more than I Am Number Four.  I absolutely devoured this book.  I couldn't pull myself away from it. 

This book shows the story from both Four (or John)'s POV and Seven (or Marina)'s POV.   Seven is in Spain with her Cepan, and Four is still in the U.S. with Six and Sam.  And OH MY GOODNESS.  This book is freaking intense.  

They did a much better job of adding danger into the story this time, which was much more exciting than I Am Number Four.   The Mogs (the nickname for Mogadorians) were around much more in this book, and there was much more action.

Also, I liked Sarah in the first book, but I've always liked Six better.  So the fact that Sarah stayed behind in Ohio while John, Sam, and Six travel was awesome to me.  The whole time I was just like "JOHN. PLEASE JUST DUMP SARAH AND BE WITH SIX FOREVER." (Which probably would have saved him some trouble later anyway.)  But Six is stinking awesome.  And it was nice to be able to see her show up much more in this book than she did in I Am Number Four.

Now, let's not forget Seven.  I wasn't as interested in her story as I was in Four and Six, but that's partially because they had a whole other book to start their story, and I was already emotionally involved with that plot-line.  But Seven ends up making me love her story too, and she steals the spotlight on several occasions.  She makes things in Spain interesting, and adds another side to the story that we wouldn't have seen if we had just seen things from Four's POV.

So, basically, this book ripped my heart to shreds.  It was intense, heart-breaking, and emotional, and still action-packed.

Favorite quote from the book: "Be noble, confident, and brave.  Live with the same sort of dignity and valor that you inherited from your father, and trust in your heart and your will, as Lorien trusts in it still to this day.  Never lose faith in yourself, and never lose hope; remember, even when this world throws its worst and then turns its back, there is still always hope."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books - but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.
                  But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.


I really liked this book.  I've seen quite a few negative reviews on it, but I happened to like I Am Number Four a lot.  It's not at the top of my favorites list, but still, I thought it was pretty well executed! 

This was one of those few occasions where I saw the movie before I read the book.  I'll be honest, I actually liked the movie a little bit more than I liked the book.  But I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.  There were just a few slower parts (which they left out in the movie) that had a lot of world-building for Lorien (John/ Number Four's home planet) that were probably necessary, but still extremely slow.   They could have at least been shortened or given some plot.  But it felt like they were just random scenes describing Lorien and didn't have much to do with the story.

And seriously, who names their main character John Smith?! That was about the creative limit for this book.  Major Character names: John. Sarah. Mark. Sam.  Come on. 

And I know that in the movie, John is like this really intense, hard-core dude, but in the book, John was freaking EMOTIONAL.  I would have sworn that a girl wrote this book, not two guys.  I'm a girl, and there were times when I was just like, "Dude.  Suck it up." I mean, seriously.  

But, once we jump to the last 175 pages or so, it got pretty interesting.  When the action started kicking in, I had a tendency to be glued to this book.  It was slow coming, but eventually, the story got really good and I felt like I was actually reading something intense.  I think that until the last 175 pages it was all too easy.  They had avoided the Mogadorians (those are the bad guys, for those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie) for way too long.  But, when the final "showdown" finally occurred, it was really interesting, and not something I've really seen before.  So, the book was good, but it just took a while to get there.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (#1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that asks bloggers to feature books that they are ever-so-eagerly waiting for.

Top of my waiting-for list this week:

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Publication date: March 5, 2013

Snippet from Goodreads: 
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. Of Pandemonium, ALA Booklist noted that “like all successful second volumes, this expands the world and ups the stakes, setting us up for the big finale.”

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

The first two books in this series were AMAZING, so I can only imagine how awesome this one's going to be.  

What are you guys waiting for this week?