Sunday, January 29, 2012


I'm going to revamp 'The Magic in Writing' a bit. Book reviews and blogging have started to feel more like a job than something to do for fun. It's still going to have book reviews, but it's also going to have updates on my writing projects and random blog posts.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.
(from Goodreads)

I can't really write a proper review for this, but I'll leave you with this: All I'm going to say on this book is that it went totally opposite of how I wanted it to, but I think that the ending was the best one. Oh, and that this is the first time since The Sweet Far Thing that I have felt like crying after the book finished.

I am definitely going to read Cremer's future novels.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death. (from Goodreads)

If I heard Gabi call Marcello 'my man' one more time, I swear I was going to shred the book into confetti and use it at a party or throw the book across the room. And it's a library copy. (But it was kind of funny when Marcello was talking about 'his men,' meaning his knights. If you looked at it using the same meaning Gabi used, Marcello would be gay. If he was, that would have solved a lot of my problems with this book.)

So after two weeks of  being in ancient Italy stalking and staring at Marcello lustfully, the Big Moment comes. Gabi, of course, has decided that she's in wuv with Marcello Mr. Italian Hottie. But oh no. Not the casual hookup type. No. The OMG-I-want-to-marry-you-now type of love. (If you even consider that love, not lust.) -____- She's seventeen. Because, see, the medieval Italians married at seventeen, so Gabi should be able to marry then, too. 

*spoiler for first and second books* (highlight to view) And Gabi kept telling us how her father was soooooo overprotective and would grill any boy she brought home. Yet with one look at Marcello and a word from his wife, poof! he decides Marcello is okay. *end spoiler*

There was so much purple prose in this book about Marcello Gabi's one true love, it wasn't even funny. So many people complained that Halo by Alexandra Adornetto had purple prose, but this book was far worse. Far, far worse. 

And the plot was so predictable that it wasn't funny either. I was guessing every turn. And why couldn't Marcello just disappear forever?

When my second favorite character was killed off so Marcello could be with his true wuv, I couldn't stand it anymore. I stopped reading. 

There was a point in the book when I thought this book was actually good. But I underestimated the author's need for Marcello. 

After I accidentally saw the last line, I read the last chapter and gave up on the book. I have better things to do than read about pansies getting rescued by men drenched in purple prose for the entire freaking book. 

It's amazing how good the first book was and how things went all downhill from there. 

Note: The author says that she's considering a spinoff series about Lia and Luca. I might read them, even after the way these books turned out, because Luca is still my favorite character and I'd like to read more about him. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever. (from Goodreads)

This book was slightly short of a letdown. The first book in this series, Waterfall, was great. I really enjoyed it. But there were so many things wrong with this book. 

So Waterfall took place in 1332. Yet three months later, when they return to Italy, it's 1342. How on Earth did no one catch that mistake? It was one of the first things that I noticed about this book. 

Secondly, this was the first book I've read in a while that I seriously considered the MCs to be Mary Sues. They could speak fluent medieval Italian, had perfect weaponry skills, had every man in sight hitting on them, oh, excuse me, every hot man, were constantly being called beautiful, and nothing really bad ever happened to them. Or if it did, one poof later and they were fine.

I also like heroines to be slightly kickass. They don't have to be Katniss or Katsa style, but they should be able to fight off whatever's pursuing them without always being saved by the guys. No. Just no. Whenever Gabi was in a scrape, Marcello would just show up and save her. 

I don't know if the publisher is a Christian publisher. It didn't say anything about it on the book. I'd have liked to know if it was, because the religious aspect of this book was just getting to be too much. At the beginning of Waterfall, Gabi was barely religious, didn't even know if she believed in God. By the end of book two, there wasn't a chapter that went by where there wasn't some sort of prayer or plea. I know that this is medieval Italy, but Gabi's a modern character. Her internal thoughts aren't medieval.

One of the biggest mistakes had to do with Gabi's mother (who, conviently, was just as Mary Sue-ish as her daughters). She had to get a docorate in anthropology as well as archaeology. I've been fairly interested in archaeology for a while now, and archaeology is a branch of anthropology. 

It seems the author needs to do a bit more research. 

This gets two stars because of the time travel and ancient Italy. Oh, and Luca. He's still my favorite character (not that there are many characters I still like).

Monday, January 16, 2012


What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world? 

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. 

Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. (from Goodreads)

This book lived up to my expectations. It was a perfect afternoon read that I finished in a couple of hours. 

I liked the fact that Gabi, when she was in Italy, never lost sight of her one goal - to reunite with her sister. Even when Mr. Italian Hottie distracted her *coughcough* that was still her main goal. So I liked that part.

The historical part of this was also portrayed well. Even though it got a bit confusing at times - with questions on Italy's two political parties - there never was an info dump.

There were only two problems that I saw, and they were really minor ones. One, there was never a description of what Gabi herself looked like until the end. Two, Gabi just suddenly knew what year she traveled back to without asking anyone. I know she's an archaeologist's daughter, but that seemed to me a bit too excessive. 

But those were minor problems. 

My favorite character was probably Luca. He was just so real and non-cardboard, unlike Lady Rossi. She was a pretty standard, cliched character. 

I also really liked the time traveling aspect of this book. It's not something done well often in YA fiction today, and so that was a really nice aspect to this book. 

It was pretty good. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shattered Dreams

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her. (from Goodreads)

So I didn't quite get this book. There were a ton of different little plots, and I didn't really figure out which one was the main plot. 

The book was creepy, to put it simply. There was a lot of talk about disappearing girls and psychopaths. 

It reminded me a bit of Darker Still, the way the plot was just meshed together with a bunch of random things that didn't really have any correlation. 

There were also a few characters who just showed up randomly. Bethany, Jessica's sister, didn't really do anything. I would have liked it if she had more of a role in the book; her emotions could have been shown a lot more. 

But this book did keep me up reading until I finished it, even if I was counting the pages until it was done.

The romantic aspect of this book didn't bother me. I think it was because Chase and Trinity had done stuff before the book started, so the romance wasn't instant. But Chase was sort of stalkerish - he investigated along with Trinity and everything, but it was never really explained why. So some more clarification would have been nice.

There wasn't really an explanation of why this was a 'midnight dragonfly' novel. As a matter of fact, there wasn't really an explanation about Trinity's powers and why she had them, what exactly they did, where they came from, etc. 

This book had the potential to be great, but the plot was too confusing. The ending was really odd, and who the bad guy was and why he did what he did was never really explained. 

The biggest problem with this book would have to be the lack of explanation of things. I assume more will be explained in the sequel, but I don't know if I'm going to read it or not. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My second WoW is...

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

The first book was pretty good, and the summary for this one sounds great, especially the clockwork collar part. Plus, it's a steampunk that takes place in NYC, with should be fun to read.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dark Mirror

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status. 

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

I had high expectations for this book. It didn't fall all that flat, but then, it didn't live up to my expectations either. 

The beginning of the book was pretty good. Tory wakes up to discover that she's floating above the bed. Her mother, someone with magic running through her veins, orders Tory to hide her abilities, otherwise she'll be sent away. But she rescues her nephew as he falls off of a cliff, showing her magic to everyone. She saves him, but at the price of being sent away to a Gothic-like school. 

The time travel aspect of this book was something I hadn't been expecting, but it was a nice addition. I also liked the fact that they were traveling forward in time, rather than back in time, with the same goals that they had in their own time period. I would have liked to know a bit more about the mirrors and how they came to be, but that will probably be explained in the sequel. 

The idea that magic was outlawed by the aristocrats yet embraced by the common was an interesting idea that added a lot to the story. It added a lot of struggle to the beginning of the story that helped to push the plot until Tory discovered the mirror and tumbled through. 

The characters were okay. They didn't stand out at all, but neither did I instantly hate them. Jack was probably my favorite. He, Elspeth, and Cynthia. They might have been slight cliches, but they, to me, were the most fleshed-out and real characters. Tory was all right. The only character I really and truly hated was Allarde. He was just so...flat. There wasn't anything real about him, and when he revealed his 'shocking secret' to Tory, I wasn't surprised. Plus, his first name didn't fit the time period at all. It made me think of one of today's pop stars, not some Regency lord. Plus, the author tried to pull off something with him at the end that didn't work AT ALL.

Other than the romantic interest, this book was great. The plot was original, the characters weren't cardboard, and the setting was wonderful. I can't wait until the third, Dark Destiny, comes out. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Sorry I've been gone so long. There were finals to study for, and then I wanted to take a bit of a break from blogging. Onto the review:

An epic romance full of mysteries that transcend time—fans of Romeo and Juliet and The Time Traveler’s Wife will rejoice! 

Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story—and hers—takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary—and that of Heloise and Abelard’s ancient romance—their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can’t last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history? (from Goodreads)

Please scratch what I said about The Mephisto Covenant being the worst case of insta-love! I've ever read. Illuminated is far, far worse.

This book, physically, wasn't to my liking. It was on the smaller side with huge print, so the 250-page number was misleading.  And so when the romance started on page 30, the book didn't get any brownie points from me.

I was actually excited to read this book. It has pretty cover and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet - yeah, that seems pretty good. But the summary is really, really misleading.

The book started out okay, with Callie and her uncle discovering a really old, valuable book. That part I liked - I love to read (duh!), and old books are fascinating. In fact, Uncle Harry was my favorite character, along with Miriam. They just acted so real and genuine, and I could imagine them as real people, with real emotions and reactions.

But my like for the book stopped pretty much after Callie met August. It was insta-love! of the worst kind. Callie even says something to the effect of it at the beginning of the book, something like how she couldn't believe how much of a connection she felt with August after two days. Part of the things I like about romance is seeing the relationship develop. And there was none of that here.

I also didn't really connect with Callie. Maybe it was because she made so many decisions that I thought were really stupid, but I wasn't rooting for a happy ending for her. I actually disliked her, and that led to the dislike to the book as a whole.

The part about Heloise and Abelard was interesting, and I'd like to have read more about them and that part of the book.

The bad characterization just ruined this book for me. That and the romance.