Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Witch Eyes

Synopsis:Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

My Review: What first attracted me to Witch Eyes was the cover.  I know I’m shallow in that regard; I’m a sucker for a good cover.  It’s been on my radar for quite awhile so when I saw it was available for a book tour I jumped at the chance.   Normally “witch” novels kind of fall flat for me.  They’re kind of just all the same.  Witch Eyes completely surprised me and was a very fresh take on the witch idea.  I got it in the mail, started reading it while cooking stir fry, read for an hour at work, came home and stayed up till 3 a.m. just to finish it.  I literally could not put that book down.  I was just so absorbed that I didn’t notice the time flying by.  You will be completely hooked from start to finish.  

Braden is unique among witches.  He doesn’t need a spell to be able to use magic, but rather can will it into doing his bidding.  Braden is blessed (or cursed) with Witch Eyes, allowing him to see the world how it truly is; a complex mesh of past and present with every memory and action imprinted onto the earthly plane.  He can unravel and duplicate a spell with ease, and his abilities make him of huge value.  However, his gifts come with a price.  Every time he looks at the world without the shield of his sunglasses, he is crippled by extreme migraines, nose bleeds, and occasionally passes out.  When Braden receives a vision of his uncle being murdered, he decides to go to Belle Dam in an attempt to keep his uncle protected.  Belle Dam is a complete mystery to Braden, and all he knows is that it is where he and his uncle are from originally. He soon discovers, however, that he has landed himself in the middle of a centuries long feud between the two most powerful witching families in the new world.  Just to make things more complicated, he discovers his long lost father is in fact Jason Thorpe, one of the two witches in town.  With both sides tugging for his attention, Braden struggles to not become a pawn in their endless game of revenge.  Yet something else is happening in Belle Dam, and when Braden digs deeper, he discovers the real reason he was led home. 

I absolutely adored Braden’s character.  He’s sarcastic, funny, and doesn’t take shit from anyone.  Though he is more powerful than the average witch, Braden doesn’t let it get to his head.  He’s very down to earth and just wants to be normal.  His budding relationship with Gentry (or rather Trey) was also a highlight of the novel.  Think Romeo and Juliet and the Montague’s and Capulet’s.  Two young lovers who are kept apart because of a family rivalry.  Except of course it’s ten times better than Romeo and Juliet, because I absolutely hate that play.  I loved how their friendship grew into something more, and the tree scene?  That tree scene was HAWT.  Lol.  Their relationship doesn’t really get defined in the novel, but it’s clear they care for each other.  It gets all complicated because Trey is 100% loyal to his mother, and Braden’s terrified to tell him he’s Jason’s son. In the end though, it’s clear that family ties fade in the face of love.  (God I sound like a Hallmark card) 

I also adored Jade, Trey’s younger sister and Braden’s best friend.  She really tells things like it is, and is the most upfront person.  Out of everyone you could take what she said and did at face value, because she had no ulterior motives.  The other side characters were just as equally entertaining.  Riley was like a hamster on crack and Drew had this whole bad ass vibe going.  They really weren’t featured prominently, but I have a feeling they’ll have a bigger part in the next one. 

I was really kinda surprised at how easily the villain was defeated.  Believe me, I definitely don’t think it will be the last time we see him, but I was still a bit surprised.  Things between the two families are on rather unsteady grounds at the conclusion of the novel, and it’s unclear how things between Braden and Trey will play out.  But hey, that’s what sequels are for! And believe me I am PSYCHED for more.  Witch Eyes was a truly wonderful read that had me glued from the first page.  There are a lot more secrets to be revealed and romance to be had, and I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (17)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb @Should Be Reading
-Grab your current book
-Open to a random page
-Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
-no spoilers!
-Share title and author
I might as well start calling these Teaser Wednesday for how much I miss the Tuesday mark.  :/ Sorry. 
This week it is Shut Out by Kody Keplinger! 

"No, this dream was...Well, it involved me, Cash, and that library sex scene from Atonement that I wasn't supposed to be thinking about whenever Cash was around-- even though I couldn't help it." 

"And damn, the boy is hot.  Who doesn't have raunchy dreams about him?" 

Lol totally loving this so far. :)

Review: Goliath

Synopsis: Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.

The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is at it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld’s brilliant trilogy.

My Review: Here it is! The long awaited conclusion to the Leviathan trilogy! Since I first read Leviathan I have been absolutely in love with this world, and the characters.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting this since Behemoth.  Goliath definitely did not disappoint.  
Goliath picks up pretty much where Behemoth left off.  The revolutionaries’ coup went successfully and Deryn and Alek are back on the Leviathan.  The ship is now headed towards Japan, but on the way they pick up an unexpected tag along.  The famous inventor Tesla is now aboard the Leviathan and his presence has unexpected consequences for Alek.  I thought that Tesla’s appearance was definitely interesting.  Westerfeld did a good job of capturing all of his quirky personality traits. And yes, Tesla really was that weird.  Plus the incorporation of Tunguska? GENIUS! I had the biggest geek out moment ever when I realized where they were in Siberia.  I’m probably one of the few teenagers that actually knows what Tunguska is, but hey, I’m weird like that.  

Since these books began I have been waiting for the big Deryn reveal of “I’m a girl!”  I’ve imagined a dozen different scenarios in my head, but of course Westerfeld topped them all.  I loved the way Alek found out! Well I’m not gonna tell you, obviously, but it was perfect in my mind.  If anything, I think it increased Alek and Deryn’s bond.  I loved how they promised each other to always tell the truth. 
It’s so hard not to give any spoilers! So much happens! I have always loved Alek, but I have to say that he was totally amazing in Goliath.  The things he does for Deryn to keep her secret safe were just so awe worthy.  Every time I just felt so fluffy inside.  He was just such a sweet heart.  Deryn is one lucky lady.  And of course Deryn is full of kick ass badassery as usual.  I can’t imagine pulling half of the stunts she does and she always dives head first into trouble.  

I absolutely loved the ending as well.  Ugh it just drives me nuts that I can’t say anything!!! To say that it was perfect will just have to suffice.  I got my happy ending, and things ended well for both Deryn and Alek.  I’ll always want more for these two, but I’ll just have to be happy with the end they got.  This review probably wasn’t the greatest, but I don’t want to spoil ANYTHING! You’re just going to have to read it to appreciate the pure awesome-ness.  A fabulous conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Possession

Synopsis:Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn. This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

My Review: This is a hard review for me to write.  There were many things that I really liked about this novel, then there things that just kept me from loving it.  I’m rather on the fence about it, so maybe I’ll work out whether or not I liked it by the end of this.  

The world that Elana Johnson created was very well developed and intriguing to read about.  As far as world building went, she did an excellent job.  The whole concept of the Thinkers who essentially control every citizen was terrifying to think about.  Every person is required to tune into brainwashing broadcasts and even physical touching is not allowed between men and women past a certain age.  The Thinkers hold the mentality that they are keeping humanity from destroying itself, by thinking for them.  It is true that humanity has an awful track record for putting individual needs before those of the whole community.  Human beings are selfish creatures, and this is the justifying fact for what the Thinkers do.  What’s truly scary is that this isn’t just an isolated city that does this.  The whole entire world is under this way of thinking.  It’s kind of hard to start a resistance when you have the whole entire world against you.  There are factions of less controlled cities who are freethinkers.  They don’t have to follow the ridiculous rules and are allowed some small amounts of freedom.  Of course the brainwashed Goodies think that the Baddies are the scum of the earth.  Yet as the story progresses the lines between good and bad are blurred beyond recognition.  

The one thing that I just couldn’t completely accept were the “superpowers” some people had.  Premonitions, soothsaying, mindreading, and being able to literally will things to do whatever you wanted.  Maybe there’s some scientific explanation for it that has yet to be explained, who knows.  It just sort of clashed with my view of a dystopian novel.  It’s unique in the fact that it incorporates both dystopian themes and some more supernatural ones, so I appreciate the new twist. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I feel about it.  

Vi was an interesting character.  She was full of spunk and I loved her attitude.  She doesn’t want to be one of the brainwashed Goodies that she is surrounded by.  She breaks rules as often as she can, though she tries to not be caught.  She was a very entertaining and tough MC and I greatly enjoyed her character.  I enjoyed Jag just as much.  He was the type of easy going guy that you can’t help but smile at his wit.  He was smart and entertaining and was a perfect match for Vi.  I enjoyed their interactions a lot, yet at the same time there were things that bothered me about their relationship. First of all it moved rather fast, but when you’re running for your lives it’s easy to get swept away in the moment.    Their relationship just seemed full of vicissitudes.  They just flipped back and forth from working together to bitching at each other for really stupid things.  Both of their reactions were so overblown at really small things.  I felt that Vi especially was being a drama queen and overreacting.  It really just kind of ruined the story for me.  

The ending really surprised me.  I wouldn’t have called that in a million years.  Despite my slight problems with this book I’ll definitely be reading the second one.  I really have no idea how the story is going to continue.  It will be interesting to see what Elana does. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cover Crazy (21)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.  So I am absolutely psyched for this book.  Think Tithe meets dystopian.  Ya, exactly.  Awesome! This sounds so amazing and the cover blows me away as well.  Simple, clean, yet still retains that air of mystique. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (16)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb @Should Be Reading
-Grab your current book
-Open to a random page
-Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
-no spoilers!
-Share title and author
So it's Wednesday not Tuesday.  Shhhhh! No one will notice! Today's tease is from Possession by Elana Johnson! 
"I'm not always right.  I've just seen you take out a Mech or two. Or twenty."

"Sprouted wings?" I was so glad I didn't pick the door with darkness.  "You're insane.  I flew the hovercopter."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Fracture

Synopsis: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine—despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

My Review: After reading the synopsis for Fracture I was intrigued.  Near death experiences always peak my interest, and Fracture was no exception.  Fracture had me hooked from the first page.  It was full of drama and suspense from the very beginning.  When Delaney falls into the lake, your heart literally stops alongside hers.  Six days in a coma later, she suddenly wakes up.  It’s a miracle that no one can explain.  She shouldn’t have been able to put together coherent sentences much less be capable of retaining her memories.  She spent eleven minutes without oxygen before she was pulled out.  She should have been dead, yet she is very much alive.  

Delaney’s condition goes against everything we know of the brain.  She should have remained in a vegetative state, yet somehow she has full cognitive ability.  But as Delaney begins to recover and restart her life, she discovers that she’s not as okay as she had thought.  Unexplained tugging sensations along with jittery hands are afflicting her when she comes in close contact with someone who is going to die. Delaney can now sense the pull between life and death, yet is incapable of preventing it.  When she meets Troy, who has the same ability as her, she’s grateful to have found someone to confide in.  Yet Troy is not who he appears to be, and Delaney discovers that they aren’t as alike as she previously thought.  

I found Delaney’s brush with death and the consequent “death radar” a very interesting premise.  We only use about 10% of our brain.  Mankind knows more about the beginnings of the universe than it does about the full potential of the human brain. Given the right circumstances and stimuli who knows what humanity is capable of.  (I’m still putting my bets on telekinesis and mind reading) So in the long run, Delaney’s death sensing ability may be entirely possible.  Kinda cool to think about really.  Okay, my nerdy geek out moment is over.  Onto the review.  

I really liked Delaney’s character.  She’s a lot like me in a lot of ways, in the school department anyway.  She’s a bit of a neat freak.   Everything has to have its proper place and every book is alphabetized.  (also like me!) Plus she is stubborn as a mule.  She’s so confused about what’s happening to her, but she sticks to what she believes is right.  In the end she makes the best out of her new abilities and tries to help those who are dying the only way she can.  Her hot/cold relationship with Decker was so frustrating at times though.  They both love each other, end of story.  There was a lot of tip toeing around and no honesty going on.  In the end they both finally admit what they’ve been denying all along.  

I have to say that the ending totally surprised me.  Did NOT see that coming.  At all.  It was kind of fitting really, when I think about it.  I liked where the author left it.  I’m not entirely sure if there will be more books following this, but either way it was a good read.  I’m satisfied with the ending, but if there’s gonna be more I’m not gonna complain. :) Overall a very interesting read with lots of new ideas and concepts.