Monday, December 29, 2014

The Name of the Star: A Review

Goodreads (description):

Jack the Ripper is back, and he's coming for Rory next....

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

My Review:

This was certainly an interesting book. I remember picking it up at the store and seeing the huge label on the back about Jack the Ripper. He was a creepy guy, so of course I was interested how someone could incorporate him into a modern day story. Figures out, Maureen Johnson did a great job.

The setting is in London, obviously. This was quite enjoyable to me. Being a native of the United States, I have always wanted to visit London, along with the rest of Europe, and since I haven't yet, reading about it is the next best thing.

Johnson did a great job with description, never giving too much, but also not holding too much back. During the intense parts of the book, her description helped create the perfect mood.

As for the story...  I liked it. I will not spoil anything, but the way Johnson incorporated Jack the Ripper into the modern day was pretty cool. Not to mention everything else that happens now that Jack is back. Like when Jack the Ripper first existed, no one could find him. No one knew who he was, or why he did what he did.

Except for now.

Rory is one of the select few who can see the man who is causing all the mess. She goes from being a slightly normal boarding school girl with regular human problems and friends, to discovering that she has an ability none of her friends have. She is forced to rethink everything she knows and find a way to deal with her new gift.

What I love about this book is that even though Rory gains a new supernatural ability and meets new friends with the same gift, she doesn't drop her friends from school. She still cares about them and hangs out with them. They are her stability, even when she cannot tell them the truth.

Overall, I thought this was a good book. Granted, the beginning was slow and didn't have much action--I felt like I was floating through the story. I thought it could have been shortened a bit, but it wasn't bad enough to the point that I got bored. I liked it enough and Rory's spunky character made for some good laughs.

I'm interested to see where this story is going. We didn't learn about Rory's new gift until really late in the book, which was slightly annoying (especially since I already guessed what was going on and wanted to know already if I was right or not), so I'm curious about what is going to happen next.

The book left with a slight cliff hanger, but from what I know, the second book is already out. I recommend this book to whoever likes a little supernatural twist to this modern world. It's been a while since I've read a book like this and it made me remember why I like these sorts of books.

I give this a 3.5 out of 5!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Shadow of Loss by Josefina Gutierrez

The Shadow of Loss
by Josefina Gutierrez
Release Date: 09/31/14

Summary from Goodreads:

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus.

Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

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Here's An Excerpt!
I pile all the nicely golden-brown pancakes into a dish and walk them over to the table.  I can’t wait to take huge bite out of them.  They aren’t even placed on the table before she starts in on me, “So I was thinking you should get a part-time job.  You know build working relationships, make some money, handle responsibility,” she says all too fast like if she didn’t, she would lose the courage to get it all out there.
“I don’t think getting a job would be quite so easy,” I finally reply.  I really don’t want to look at her, that’s where she gets me with those little baby doll eyes.
“Sure it would!” she says with faked enthusiasm.
“I don’t have work experience.  I was committed for months.  I’m still in high school,” I read out my mental list of reasons why this is seriously a bad idea.
“So loads of kids get jobs in high school,” she argues.
“Yeah loads of normal kids get jobs.”
“Normal is overrated and boring.  You are fun and interesting,” she fiddles with her fingers.  “Well when you talk…and smile…and well you know.”
“No I really don’t.  Why am I expected to talk?  I have no interest in talking to twiddly twats all day because I want them to like me.  And why should I smile?  Do I look better smiling?  Why does it matter?”
“You need to try,” she urges.
“It seems pointless is all I’m saying,” I stab at my food with extra force.
“It’s not pointless, it’s being pleasing and approachable.”
“Exactly!  I don’t want people to approach me.”  I like being invisible.

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About the Author

Josefina Gutierrez is a Young Adult eBook author and a forever student currently working towards a Masters in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Josefina writes Young Adult Multicultural, Sci-fi, and Fantasy literature in her free time when she’s not embarking on adventures with her son and gnomes Fitzgerald and Bartholomew.

Author Links:



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Friday, December 5, 2014

Crown of Midnight: A Review

Goodreads (Description):
"A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.
It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."
From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.
Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.
Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Let me begin by saying that this series is SO FLIPPING GOOD!!!!
My Review:

I love the world building in this series and how I can picture everything that is happening with perfectly clarity in my mind. Amazing.

This particular book had a slow beginning, but now that I look back on it, it was steadily building up for the crash landing ending. Seriously, there’s all this up build and then suddenly so much happens that I’m frantically waiting to pick up the next book.

In this installment, Celaena is trying to discover the dark secrets of the Glass Castle and its King. She learns some startling things that change the whole course of what she is meant to do.

There are so many things that happen in this book, I don’t know how to write a review without spoiling anything… So I’ll focus on the characters.

I came to like Dorian a lot more. Not that I didn’t in the first book, but I feel like I saw more of him in this book. He has far more honor than his father and I believe he is smarter, even though he lacks his father’s cunningness. It makes me smile that he loves books so much; it is one reason why I can connect with him. He is handsome and strong, even though he isn’t built to be a fighter. Which, I don’t mind. It is nice to have someone who relies on his book-smarts rather than brute strength as heir to the throne. I don’t believe this is a weakness of his, I believe it is a strength, especially considering who his father is.

Chaol… I really do like him, a lot. There were times where he annoyed me a bit in this book, but I still like him. Finally, finally, his eyes are opened to the evilness of the king and he begins to work more on finding out the truth rather than blindly following. I like how he is loyal to those he cares about, even when it complicates things. I believe his heart is in the right place, and in the end, I know he will make the right choices.

Celaena was a little scary is this book. I won’t say why, because it will spoil things. Also, I understand why she was the way she was. Her world, which was already surrounded by grief, was amplified in this book. What I like about her, is that even after her dark moments, we are shown that she still has a heart and feels guilty about certain things—that she isn’t a monster. She shows us that even when people go into the dark places, it’s that they can still come back into the light.

Overall, this book was full of foreshadowing and hints of what is to come. These little points make me super excited for the next book.

As for content, there’s a little more language in this book than the previous ones, and a fade to black sex scene. Other than that, there isn’t much sexual innuendo.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Blood of Olympus: A Review

Goodreads (description):

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

My Review:

I have kept up with this series since my eighth grade year. Now I am a freshman in college and have just finished this fantastic final book. I can’t believe it’s over! It’s been so long since Percy Jackson first came out, and it kept on getting better.

It took me a while to finish this book because the college life is demanding, but I enjoyed it every time I opened up and wanted nothing more than to keep on reading it. So last week I finally finished it! And I am so happy I did.

This book is filled with action, adventure, and the amazing humor Riordian has. I laughed my way through as Leo provided jokes that helped distract from the serious and disastrous circumstances that surrounded the seven demigods. It is always good to have one person who tries his or her best to cheer up the group when everything was falling apart.

A huge thing I love about this series is how the demigods came to unite with each other. Obviously they have problems here and there, but they accept each other’s differences and learn to work together for the bigger cause.

I came to care about all the new demigods and my love for Percy and the gang from the first five books grew even more.

Hazel is strong, funny, and I love how she sometimes compares today’s world to her previous life. I like how she doesn’t shrink from responsibility even despite her age. She is a peacemaker among the group and even though she is a daughter of Pluto, she does well at looking on the bright side of things.

Frank. He makes me laugh, if just for his awkwardness. He is like a giant teddy bear that will tear anyone down if you mess with his friends. Frank is fiercely loyal and is probably the character who grew the most. He went from being a bit of a coward, to being a fearless leader of armies. I loved seeing that growth.

Obviously Leo is the funny trickster. Though he can get annoying at times, he does his best to keep everyone’s spirits up and understands the difference between stupid and smart decisions. Though, he is really good at making smartly stupid decisions… A bit of an oxymoron, but if you read these books, I’m sure you’ll understand.

All right, who else is new in this series…

Ah yes, Jason. I really like him. Although he began as the typical blonde jock, he grew into a strong man with honor and strength. He learned to not take crap from anyone and to stand up for what’s right even with the Greek/Roman Gods staring him down. I love how he always has his friends’ backs; if anyone needs help, Jason is there for them.

Piper is cool too. I love how even though she is a daughter of Aphrodite, she isn’t like the other girls and boys in the Aphrodite cabin back in Camp Half-Blood. She is humble and a quiet kind of strong. In the beginning she doesn’t believe she can do much, but through this series we see her grow stronger to the point where you would want to be on her good side.

Reyna is pretty cool too. I like how she unites with the Greeks and casts aside the prejudice between the two camps. I would like to say more, but I will not spoil it for you.

I should re-read Percy Jackson and write about those characters too, but there are since there are so many, I only wanted to write about the new ones.

I highly recommend this series. It is definitely worth it. It is clean, funny, and full of adventure. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t have put this book down; it was SO good and had such a beautiful ending. It was perfect. And ending can make or break certain series, but this ending definitely made the series! Once again, it was perfect.

I give this a 5 out of 5!