Thursday, May 30, 2013

Winner Announcement

Congratulations
~Tiffany W.~
On Winning The Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who participated by liking, tweeting, and/or just reading the review. It was a great turnout this time around, and I hope to offer more giveaways in the future.
Anyone interested in something a little Wicked?

In case you missed it, here's my review

~Miss Peregrine's Home
for Peculiar Children~

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Book 1
By Ransom Riggs
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thanks To A Binding Spell, That Magic Was Gone

SPOILER ALERT
This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous books, Hex Hall and Demonglass, or don't mind knowing some spoilers for them. Spell Bound, however, will remain spoiler-free.
SPOILER ALERT

Spell Bound
~Spell Bound~
Hex Hall
Book 3
By Rachel Hawkins

Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Talk about terrible timing...

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. With her powers locked inside her, Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t so sure.

The only known spell that can help Sophie regain her magic is at Hex Hall—the place where it all began, and now the headquarters of the evil Casnoffs. Together with her best friend, the vampire Jenna; her boyfriend, Archer; her fiancé, Cal (yeah, her love life is complicated); and a ghost for a sidekick, Sophie must battle an army of demons. But even with her friends at her side, the fate of all Prodigium rests on her shoulders alone.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride... Can she get her powers back before it’s too late?


Picking up where Demonglass left off, Sophie has just fallen smack dab in the middle of a sticky situation and once again has to use her snark and wits to save her skin. However, thanks to a binding spell that's trapped her powers, she doesn't have her amazing magic skills to help her out, so now all she's got to rely on is her sarcasm and a little help from her friends to save not only herself, but the whole world. Not exactly what the Hex Hall brochure promised.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Audio Addendum: Demonglass

Demonglass
~Demonglass~
Hex Hall
Book 2
By Rachel Hawkins

Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


Original Review

Approximate Reading Time: 4 Hours


Audiobook Review
Read by Cris Dukehart
Length: 8.3 Hours
Listened at 2x Speed

Better than I remember the last one being. I really got into Sophie's head through the narration with Cris's voice. A lot of the snark seemed to work better this time around, which I really enjoyed. After all, it just isn't Sophie without the snark.

Unfortunately I can't say the same about the other character voices. There was enough differentiation to tell them apart from one another, don't worry about that, but I was definitely disappointed in how Sophie's dad was handled. Obviously it shouldn't sound cartoony or anything like that, but I just couldn't get over how pointedly feminine he sounded. Yes, he's British (and one of the very few who speak as such in the book), but putting a British accent on him does not a British Man make. I just wish something a bit deeper had been done for such an important character.

Another slight hitch I had with this audiobook was the constant pausing. The audio didn't break, mind you, but even listening to the whole thing sped up, I couldn't help but notice the incessant pauses at the ends of (and even during) sentences. Not a deal-breaker, but something I did end up noticing as I read along.

Overall, an improvement from what I remember Hex Hall being, but still an average experience as far as audiobooks go. Not ground-breaking, but it'll definitely get you through the book alright.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nikki, the Avenger

SPOILER ALERT
This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous books, Halflings and Guardian, or don't mind knowing some major spoilers for them. Avenger, however, will remain spoiler-free.
SPOILER ALERT

Avenger
~Avenger~
Halflings
Book 3

By Heather Burch
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Sometimes the Truth Comes with a Price

Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily — she simply never imagined the lengths he'd go to get her back into his clutches, and turn Nikki's heart toward darkness. A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings fight the battle that has erupted on earth.

But even as the two boys she loves fight for her, she knows the battle will be hers to win. Determined to uncover the secrets of her past, and exactly how she fits into Vessler's twisted plans, Nikki sets off on her own, and soon discovers facing hellacious beasts is nothing compared to the decision she will need to make. One that could change not only the war, and her relationship with Mace and Raven, but her future with the Throne.
I was already at least half-way over the fence after the first two books, Halflings and Guardian, with little hope going into the third installment, Avenger. After the major rants I'd already given, by all rights I should have called it quits on this series and gone on with my life. Alas, despite my warnings to myself, I trudged my way through another of Burch's books, and woo-boy, have I got some more ranting to do.

But first, let me cover the things I enjoyed. Don't worry, there were only two of them.

First off, I was glad to see Nikki finally grow a pair. Granted, at the end of the last book she did manage to shoot Vessler twice. But after everyone tried to downplay it as "not her fault" because she was being drugged, I can't really give her that. This time, she's not only trying to show some spice in hand-to-hand combat, but she actually intentionally takes on a hellbeast one-on-one. Slight docking of points due to the foresight and lame battle mechanics, but hey, at least she got her hands dirty!

I also enjoyed the (very few) scenes with Zero. Another case of characters being wasted in the background, Zero is a hidden gem in this series. Kind of a Dr. House type personality—brilliant, but not usually good with people. I always loved his witty dialogue and snarky personality. But best of all were his POV sections at the end. He goes through some really intense stuff and yet refuses to give in, even going so far as to destroy means of calling help so no one else would get hurt on his account. Love ya, Zero.

And that's it. That's all the good I can say about this book. Unfortunately my dislike-to-hate list is much, much longer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We're Peculiar. Aren't you?

~Miss Peregrine's Home
for Peculiar Children~

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Book 1

By Ransom Riggs
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


You remember in school when you were given a picture and told to write a story about it? Or maybe you've had a writing exercise where you have to use a picture and a phrase within your short story. Well, regardless of whether or not you've done it yourself, I think we can all agree Ransom Riggs has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements.

I'll admit, the photographs did creep me out when I first received the book. The majority of them are of children in carnival clothes, all with blank or staring faces, almost like they're daring you to judge them. It gave me a horror-esque vibe when I first saw it, which I'm sorry to say put me off reading it for quite some time. But regardless of whether this book was inspired by the many Ripley's Believe It Or Not-esque photographs or whether they were sought out after crafting the peculiar tale, I'm glad they were included. It gives the entire work a uniqueness that not only enhances the reading experience, but is sure to remain in the minds of readers for some time after completion.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I've Got A Game For You

Mind Games
~Mind Games~
Mind Games
Book 1

By Kiersten White
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Fia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And most importantly, they keep each other’s secrets, even the most dangerous ones:

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Annie is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn’t grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school, and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie’s life. Over and over again the sisters are forced to choose between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.



If the title and summary weren't enough of an indication, this book deals with some heavy stuff. We're talking kidnapping, assassinations, blackmail, espionage, and mental breakdowns — and the characters caught up in the middle of all this are both in their mid-to-late teens when this is happening. As much as this may seem like a relatively short, kick-ass heroine action story, it's actually quite the dark character study.