paranormal

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

leighbardugoSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

 Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

 Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Has anyone else noticed the immense amount of praise this book has gotten lately? Nearly everyone recommends it and at least 90% of the reviews are positive. I tend to be a non-conformist to the bandwagon of popular reads but I finally gave in and bought this book, partly because Leigh Bardugo is on the list of attending authors to Decatur Book Festival this year. It took me a while to make myself read it but I was immediately sucked in. I am very sorry that I doubted all the blogger and all the great things I’d heard. THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. So amazing that I used CapsLock on a whole sentence for the first time ever in one of my posts. This book is so dynamic and different that you’re instantly enthralled. The world is different, the powers are different, the characters even have a different air to them. Alina is a tough girl who is pulled from everything she knows because she has this extremely special power and I think she handles it pretty well. She hates standing out and goes to every length possible to blend into the background. But, of course, she always stands out. And I’ll share my views on the love triangle, like I always do. I totally love the Darkling. Don’t hate me! I don’t know if I have this instinct to root for the boy you know the heroine shouldn’t be with or if it’s about power or what; I feel that way about Warner in Tahereh Mafi’s books, so I’m building this theory. Anyway, there was just something that I didn’t like about Mal. Yeah, he was sweet and took care of her. But after a while adorable little love-struck boys get on my nerves. So yeah, join the bandwagoners and love this book.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of BonesWhen Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons–and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demon’s be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

     This is one of those books you either love or you hate. It doesn’t really matter which books you like to read and which books you don’t; the reactions are pretty evenly split. I have this sort of odd emotional range when it come to this book because it depends on the mood I’m in whether I love it or not. Sometimes, I feel like the book is alright. Other times –when I’m in a fun, silly, adventurous mood- I love this book. I’m probably book bipolar or something but oh, well. This book is well written, funny, magically romantic, and jam-packed with action. The great thing about our heroine, Clary, is that at the beginning, she is just as clueless as we are about the entire world of shadowhunting. She learns things as we do, which makes everyone’s reaction genuine. This book will immediately capture you. There is a certain intrigue, I think, about the heroine of a book being a fifteen-year-old girl who also happens to be a demon slaying badass. The word heroine is used in the literal sense here because Clary isn’t just the protagonist of this story. No, she is actually saving people’s lives and kicking some serious butt during this novel. How can it get any better? Only if there was a love story entwined, right? Well, let’s all immediately applaud Cassandra Clare because she gave us that, too. Though, I didn’t quite like the odd turn it took towards the end. Have you seen the previews for the film? It looks amazing.

If you enjoyed The Mortal Instruments, you should definitely read Cassie’s other series, The Infernal Devices which I liked even more. The first book in that series is Clockwork Angel. It’s set in Victorian London. It’s got steampunk elements. Umm, hello? What more could you want?

The Dark Devine by Bree Despain

the dark divine     I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way  about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel  a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . .  . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”

 Grace  Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the  night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude  collapsed on  the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret  that night  really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer  deny her  attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

 As  Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth  behind Jude and Daniel’s dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones  she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

This series probably ranks #3 on my list of absolute, all-time, without-a-doubt favorite books ever, only being beaten by the Mara Dyer Series and the Caster Chronicles. About a year ago, I got this book from the library along with 5 other books. I only read one of those other books in my alloted lend time because I reread this book so many times. This is just one of those completely awesome books that people connect with on such a personal level. I mean none of us have a gorgeous, tortured, werewolf boyfriend, but we all know what it’s like to help someone we love even though they push us away. It is also a great read because it’s Christian YA which, in my opinion, the world needs more of. It was nice to have something to think back on instead of reading something that someone has completely made up. As I read from Grace’s POV, I also drew a lot of connections to my attitude and my life as a teenage girl. She’s very involved in the community and trusted, but she is also rebellious and strong. Grace knows what she wants. I love that about her character. It seems to be effortless for Mrs. Despain to create these extraordinary characters that you can’t help loving. You feel like you’ve known them your whole life!  You feel like Jude really is your brother and Daniel really is the person you’ve loved since you were a child. I love this book more than life itself. Everyone should definitely read this novel.

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Embrace the Forbidden 
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? 
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she  turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

This book was recommended to me by my aunt Angela (ReadingAngel.com) because she absolutely loved it. I really liked this book because it is so different from anything else I’ve read. The one thing I did regret about this book was not buying the actual book copy later on because Wendy ended up at YALLFest doing signings. Anyway, I love the main conflict of this novel because it’s Anna’s war against herself that is also influenced by everyone else in this story. That conflict, of course, is the age-old, never-ending fight of good VS. evil.  Anna really does struggle with herself and the things she is destined to do. Although she imbraces her powers and who she is, she still feels like it’s not right. And then there is Kaidan, who has a bit of inner battle to endure himself about whether he should be with Anna or continue to embrace his nature and be a man-whore. (Sorry, that was for lack of a better word. You have to read the book to understand.) But I couldn’t help but fall for him anyway. As Anna searches for her father and her own true identity, you will be on the absolute edge of your seat. This is a great read that becomes addicting, making you read it again and again.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

armentrout Starting over sucks.

 When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

 And then he opened his mouth.

 Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

 The hot alien living next door marks me.

 You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

 If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Ominous, I know. I love it. I’ve been meaning to do this review for a while. The book starts out explaining how terribly depressed our heroine is because of her recent move to a new town and blah, blah. As average and boring as that sounds, it was so well written and different that I enjoyed it. We find out that Katy usually has her time invested in a book blog (thumbs up for that!!) or reading. And then we meet Daemon. That’s when the extreme drama starts…dun dun daaahh. I’m not going to give anything away -and believe me, I want to- but I am going to say that this, go find this book and read it and love it and worship it. It’s so edgy and new that I loved it with a passion.

Fated by Alyson Noël

     Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met, but who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

     There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness the powers of her ancestral legacy, but it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, when things take an alarming turn. Forcing Daire to discover if Dace is the one guy she’s meant to be with…or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

I was excited about this book because I was already in love with Noël’s writing. I’d read The Immortals series and the Keeping Secrets duo. So I went out on the day it was released and bought it. Like every book I buy, I tore through it and had it finished before I went to bed that evening. I really  think that I love this book (and it’s sequel) more than any of Noël’s other series. I love the magical aspect and the native symbology. When everyone else is making up their own kind of magic -don’t get me wrong, I love nearly any magical story- you can honestly tell that the author really worked hard researching and getting her facts straight. It gives the story a sense of being more realistic. You also have a little romance and a sinister twin thrown at you as the story plays out. I’ve read this book many times and had it signed by Alyson at YALLFest. It’s one of those stories that will never get old. Fated is exciting, mystical, and -at times- super suspenseful. Daire is definately one of my favorite heroins of all time and I’m going to marry Dace. So yeah, I love it.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

imagesCAPHWCVF     Ethan Wate is haunted by dreams of a girl he’s never met. When Lena Duchannes moves into his small southern town of Gatlin County, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her. And he is determined to uncover the strange connection between them, even if it means uncovering the one secret that could change everything.

This is my absolute number one, without-a-doubt favorite book of all time. I don’t know why. It just is. I’ve read it more times than I can count and I still love it. If you saw my copy of the book, you’d know that it was well loved. All that aside, this book is extremely crafted. Having an inticate plot line full of magic, mystery, and an all consuming love makes it absolutely perfect. Set in a sleepy southern town that hasn’t changed in 150 years, it gives off a beautifully eery gothic setting. It’s the one place you’d never expect to be the epicenter of a secret world. As Ethan, a boy who can’t wait to get as far away as he can from the boring little town he grew up in, starts to fall for the Lena, one of the most powerful Casters EVER, he starts to see the town of Gatlin isn’t as bleak as he once thought. Together they discover unimaginable secrets about their town, their loved ones, and each other. With the deciding date of Lena’s 16th birthday growing closer with every second, Lena tries everything in her power (no pun intended) to change what she thinks is the inevitable Darkness. Ethan is by her side no matter what he comes his way, constantly doing his best to convince her that she can decide her own fate. It’s incredibly facsinating, the world that Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia have created.  I want to jump into this story and stay put. I love the air of mystery, the uncertainty of your own fate, and the undying love that is consistent throughout the story. Go find this book ASAP because you will not regret it!!

~C

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

bloodlines     Blood doesn’t lie…

     Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir -the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir- is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

NOTE: So all of that in the synopsis could be a bit confusing (with the mention of dhampir, moroi, guardians, and protecters) but if you are interested in this series you may want to consider reading Richelle Mead’s previous series The Vampire Academy before this. There is a lot of background information in this novel so it’s not really required, but hey, a little intuition never hurt anyone. Though this story is all new, some old characters are woven into the story. Most of whom come from the other series. 

As mentioned in my blogger’s note, this series vollies off of Mead’s debut series The Vampire Academy. That series is very good, also, but of the two sagas, this is my favorite. I also think the reason for this is that all of the vampire novels were becoming clichè. I love them as much as the next person while it lasted, but it was a short-lived fad. Anyhow, this is book was great. This novel is 421 pages but makes for a quick and easy read. Sydney is a smart, strong, and very sarcastic heroin who becomes somewhat of a motherly figure to her “siblings” once she ignores the differences between the Alchemists and the Vampires. She is very protective over Jill, not only because it is her job, but because she becomes close to Jill, eventually feeling as if Jill really is her sister. Syndey seems to make strong impressions and even stronger connections to those she meets. She comes to the realization of how big her previous mistakes are and she applies what she learns to the situation at hand. This is one of her main qualities, using her own faults to her advantage. This story is a perfect storm of danger, magic, and the power to work with anyone -or anything- when everything you know is at stake.

~C

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatterme     Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

      The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

     The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

      Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Okay, so another Dystopian. What can I say? I love them. Alright, this book didn’t immediately catch my attention. I read the synopsis and was like “It might be good but I’m not so sure.” Then I couldn’t really find anything else (GooglePlay is a very limited source), so I went back and bought the ebook on my cell phone. This book began just a little slowly but then everything just seemed happen very fast, a rock tumbling down a steep hill. What I really, absolutely, without-a-doubt loved was the fact that Ms. Mafi is so poetic when speaking through her main character. Nearly everything Juliette feels, sees, hears, or experiences is put into these little lyrical sentences that will enchant you and leave you riveted. As I mentioned in a previous post, I love a brilliant, tortured heroin. You know immediately of Juliette’s struggle and the internal torment the guilt of her power causes her.  She’s rebellious against the ones who want her as a weapon and a trophy. You also see the immense love for Adam, the one person who will go-and already has gone- to any lengths to keep others safe from harm. This book is a fast, non-stop thrill ride of trauma, love, and what it means to stay true to yourself, no matter who you are (or what you can do).

~C

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

the unbecoming     Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is. She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

Okay, so this is probably very near the top of my favorite list. I absolutely love this book. I was instantly intrigued by the cover and that’s ultimately what drew me what I now know is a MASTERPIECE. I, for one, enjoy a haunted protagonist. They are the easiest to connect with because I feel as if I’m equally broken. I believe everyone feels that connection with at least one character in fiction. Getting back to this book, I liked it because of its very complicated plot and super witty, über honest, completely teenish humor. This book makes you think and that’s what won me over. It’s a bit of mystery (what’s going on in Mara’s head?), a catty mean girl serving as a jealous rival (honestly, who isn’t captivated by a good dose of sweet revenge on these crazy people…), a love story (‘nough said), and a some pretty eerie flashbacks tumbled into one to create a grand adventure of emotions and mind tricks.  I recommend it to everyone in need of a good book that is great enough to come back to, again and again. Go read this ASAP!!

~C