Friday, December 31, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Pages: 359
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

"Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart."
                The Iron Fey is one of the best series I’ve read in a very long time. It is so fresh, imaginative, and exciting. Every twist and turn, every new character, every reunion and heartbreaking parting is like a jewel to pick up and savor. This is one of those books that I’ve been recommending to friends and family of all ages. It has a plot to die for, depth of character development, and engenders real emotions. Our heroine, Meghan Chase, is smart, funny, and not afraid to get her hands dirty. In short, it’s the best kind of book. The kind that picks you up and carries you away to a place where magic and fairies are real.
                This story picks up after Meghan Chase has arrived at the court of the Winter fey. All the events that occur within the first few chapters could be a novel within themselves. Betrayal, murder, deceit, theft, it all occurs in such a short time that it will leave your head spinning, in the best sense. After Meghan and Ash escape the palace of the Winter Fey, things get even more complicated, if that’s possible. The duo find out that some of the Fey have defected to the Iron Fey, and seek to create trouble in Faerie. As the journey progresses, Meghan reunites with an old friend, teams up with a former enemy, and trudges through layers of deceit that threaten to destroy both the world of the Fey and the world of the mortals.
                The first book in The Iron Fey series impressed me so much that I wasn’t sure The Iron Daughter could live up to my expectations. However, this installment proved my doubts to be completely unfounded. The Iron Daughter blew me away with its vivid  depiction of the world of the Fey.  It’s so easy to find yourself completely lost in the story, caught up in the adventure, excitement, and beautiful detail.
                As with many books these days, The Iron Daughter features a love triangle. The triangle in this book features Ash, the Winter Prince, and Puck, the best friend.  When I started reading the series, I was firmly in the Team Puck corner, but the farther I read, the more I wanted Meghan to end up with Ash. The problem with love triangles like this is that both of the boys are good guys. It's so hard to choose between them, knowing that one of their hearts will have to be broken. So, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Are you team Ash or Team Puck? Why? Leave me a comment below.
                The big picture: The Iron Daughter is a fairy tale for those of us who have matured beyond Cinderella and Snow White (or at least those of us who pretend that we have), but long for a tale with the feel of those old stories. It has magic and wonder in spades and always keeps you on your toes. This novel is a must-read.  

Don't forget to leave a comment telling me if you are Team Ash or Team Puck!

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Pages: 228
Publisher: Hyperion

"After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?"

If you asked me to sum up this book in one word I would say cute. If you gave me three I would say cute but predictable. However, this is my standard assessment of just about every work of romantic, for lack of a better word, comedy.

The basic premise of the story is that Alona Dare (your typical it girl with a secret) takes a fatal step in front of a bus and ends up as a ghost, spirit, or whatever term you’d like to use. In her incorporeal form she learns that her friends were never really friendly and that the entire school hates her, etc. So far, just a typical plot. Enter Will Killian. Will is Alona’s exact opposite, for one thing he’s goth (hence The Ghost and the Goth) and he despises all things popular. But you know what they say about opposites. After meeting up with some of the other spirits haunting the school, Alona realizes that Will can see and hear her. One thing leads to another and the two are practically joined at the hip because of certain agreements and arrangements, some voluntary and some quiet unexpected. So, the pair work together to free Will from the hoards of ghosts asking him to help them find the light, settle some unresolved issues, and manage to keep Will from getting locked up in the loony bin. Sounds good, right? The problem is Alona keeps disappearing, and one time, she may not come back.

The Ghost and the Goth is a very quick read, practically one sitting. It has some exciting moments, and it definitely holds your interest, but it’s no classic. The story line is, as I said, cute and predictable. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re anything like me, you need a break between those hard-core murder/assault/death novels. The Ghost and the Goth is the perfect filler, or as I like to say “fluffy”, novel to clear the mind before tackling another serious subject.

This novel is nice the way it is, but I wish that the plot had received a little more development. It could have had some real elements of exciting action. The seeds of the idea are there, but they didn’t sprout or grow.

The big picture: The Ghost and the Goth is a cute romantic story. It doesn’t require deep thought, and it has no anxiety ridden moments. I would recommend that you take this book on vacation with you. It’s a perfect beach read, quick, light, and funny.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post: Sybil Nelson in the Voice of Priscilla the Great

Hey everybody, I've got a real treat for you today! Sybil Nelson, the author of  Priscilla the Great, has provided me with a blog post in Priscilla's voice. The topic: Twilight. As you can probably imagine, this is a topic that provides numerous laughs.

But first, let me introduce you to Priscilla.
"Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner!"

You can find out more about Sybil anf Priscilla here or here.

My Twilight Book Review by Priscilla Sumner a.k.a Probably the Last Person on the Planet who has Neither Read the Book Nor Seen the Movie.
I admit it. I’m probably the only 13 year old girl who has completely stayed away from Twilight. I’ve never read a single sentence of the book, and God knows I have not seen any midnight viewings of the wildly popular movies. But I still wanted to give my summary of a book that I’ve never read to see how close I come.
Okay, so Bella is a small town girl who apparently never smiles and who obviously can’t get a date with a normal boy thus her only two options are a vampire and a werewolf. Seriously, are there no jocks at her school? Anyway, she meets Edward and it’s love at first sight or something. Or maybe she’s blinded by his skin which I hear glitters in the sunlight. A hot and heavy romance begins with probably some really awesome make out scenes. Maybe I should read the book just for the make out scenes.
Now Edward is not all he seems to be. He’s hundreds of years old, but apparently he has the same sort of syndrome as Matthew McConaughey’s character from Dazed and Confused where he has a thing for teenage girls. He “keeps getting older, they stay the same age.” Gross.
Edward’s family doesn’t like Bella. They probably want to eat her or drink her blood or whatever. But Edward has found a soul mate in this girl who is a fraction of his age and I’m sure he swears to protect her or whatever.
Enter furry little Jacob. I think Jacob is poor and homeless or has an upper body allergy to clothing, thus his lack of a shirt in all the Twilight promos I see.  Anyway, I think Bella at one point had a puppy she loved as child and therefore she feels some sort of attraction to a werewolf. Just so you know I’m not completely out of it, I know that later on he turns out to be a shapeshifter. I think that is even less appealing to me as the only shapeshifter I know is that weird looking guy from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Jacob and Edward hate each other. I’m not sure why. I guess Vampires and Werewolfs have some kind of long standing rivalry like the Red Sox and the Yankees or maybe they just don’t enjoy the taste of each other’s saliva on Bella’s tongue.
So a bunch of stuff happens but what it really comes down to is that Bella has to choose between Edward and Jacob. Of course, she chooses Edward and they live happily ever after on his retirement benefits.
So that’s Twilight from the perspective of a girl who has not read the book. Am I close? Let me know.
Priscilla is a character from the new book Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson. Visit her website for more info.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Time to Pick Some Winners!

Hey everybody, it's the moment you've all been waiting for (or at least I flatter myself by imagining that you've been waiting for it). I am about to pick the winners for my 100 Followers Giveaway and my Speak Up Giveaway. Drum roll please!

The Winners are....

Speak UP! - Kiara Vos

Prize Pack #1 - Jacinda (jacmom)

Prize Pack #2 - Lily M

Prize Pack #3 - brandileigh2003

Prize Pack #4 - jessica b

Prize Pack #5 - Lisa loves to read!

I have e-mailed all the winners. You have a week to respond before I draw new winners. Congratulations!