Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mini Review Bonanza Part 2

Ok, so I let another week or two slip by but here are some mini-reviews from the month of June. My new goal is to get my July reviews up before July is up...

June Series & Sequels

This was definitely a month of series readings for me. I finished Vampire Academy, Hex Hall and Kane Chronicles. Since I haven't reviewed any of the individual books, I am just going to give an overall review for the series. 

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Overall Series Rating: 4.5 Peaches
My Favorite in the 6 Book Series: Last Sacrifice (book 6)

This series started out slow to me, I enjoyed the first few books but it wasn't until the last half of the series that I was officially hooked. I also did not go into this series with high expectations. The same student that recommended this series also recommended House of Night and I couldn't even get through the first book in that series. So what saved this series? For me it was two things. First of all, the world building was a different and exiting take on vampire lore. The vampire rankings from Dhampir, Moroi and Strigoi add an extra layer of depth to this series and more is revealed throughout the books that build on Mead's vampire "history" without contradicting itself. Secondly, the characters, especially our heroine Rose Hathaway. Whenever I think of Rose I always associate this quote from Madonna to her "I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b****, okay." Rose is tough, she is ambitious and for the most part, knows what she wants and goes for it. She goes hard and when she makes mistakes, she doesn't hide from them but grows stronger. Rose's other half is Lissa, who I spent the first few books annoyed with until she began to take on some of Rose's spirit and, I believe, finally became an equal partner in friendship with Rose. Then, of course, their are the boys Dimitri, Christian and Adrian. Is there a love triangle, yes sigh but I absolutely approve of the way it ended. Yes there are many "Team Adrian" but Rose's decision in Last Sacrifice is the most intelligent one I have seen a female MC make in awhile. She doesn't just go with the "hottest" or the bad boy but she chooses the man that challenges her to be a better person and that she challenges in return. Loved it. 
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I definitely would over many of the other vampire books out there right now. 

Hex Hall, Demonglass and Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Overall Series Rating : 4 Peaches
My Favorite in the 3 Book Series:  Hex Hall

This series is just a good time.  It has so much that I like from a sarcastic main character with a snarky love interest, good old fashioned mean girls, a supportive best friend that isn't afraid to tell it like it is and wonder of wonders, supportive parents! It raises some deeper questions about what makes one evil, there are some great fights and action and lots of laugh out loud dialogue.   I could have gone for a little more character development in some of the side characters and wished we could've known more about the Brannicks and The Eye. What I really want to know, having finished the series, is why is there a black cat on each cover?? Did I miss that in every single book? If anyone knows the answer, I will reward you!  
Would I recommend this series? Sure, especially to my high school girls who enjoy the paranormal!


Overall Rating: 3.5 Peaches
My Favorite in the 3 Book Series: Throne of Fire

I am going to try so hard not to compare this series to Riordan's Percy Jackson series but it's so hard! I love the inclusion of the Egyptian God's, the way Riordan describes them and even modernizes them. Oh, I loved Bast so much. She is exactly how I imagine my cat would be and I would love to take her class on napping. The idea of the House of Life and magicians fighting to control chaos or unleash it was thrilling. However, I just did not fall in love with most of the characters enough to really care for or worry for them. I'm not sure if it was the constantly changing point of view but Carter just felt flat to me, I couldn't truly understand his need to prove himself or believe in his leadership while Sadie always just felt selfish and a little too boy-crazy what with the possible end of the world. 
Would I recommend this series? Yes, in fact I have given the first book to several students and the school library but I always tell them to try Percy Jackson first!

Following are books in a series that I have not completed or am just beginning!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My Rating: 4 Peaches

Oops! I actually read Lola and the Boy Next Door before reading Anna but I guess they are more like companion novels than sequels. However, I did already know a little about Anna and St. Clair from Lola but I was excited to get to know them better and super excited that this story takes place in Paris. After reading Anna, I wish I could have gone away for a year abroad in High School or college and I definitely need to plan a trip to Europe. Anna and St. Clair were fun, lovable characters and the romantic tension was pretty fantastic. What I would like now is for Perkin's next book (Isla and the Happy After which I hear is going to include Josh from Anna) to have two main characters and love interests that fall in love not already be in relationships with other characters. That was definitely my least favorite plot point from both Anna (St. Clair had a girlfriend) and Lola (Loal had a boyfriend). How about some love for the single people?
Would I recommend this book? Of course! I am not really a fan of realistic fiction but Perkins is slowly changing my tastes!

A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

My Rating: 3.5 Peaches

I always love it when boys at my school recommend a book for me because it's usually not something I would pick up. This is definitely the case with Cirque Du Freak. It was a fun, strong beginning to a fairly long (12 books, I think) and  very popular series. The descriptions were perfect and had the effect of making me shudder and gag at certain points. I have to say my biggest turn-off was the spider, and that's a personal problem! I can definitely understand why middle school boys would devour this series! If I get a chance, I will probably read the rest of the series but I won't be going out of my way to get the books. I will also probably try to see the movie, if only because of a young Josh Hutcherson, also known as Peeta...
Would I recommend this series? I would pass this around to some of the middle school boys and some of the girls as well!

Playing With Fire (Book 2) by Derek Landy

My Rating: 4.5 Peaches

Oh Skulduggery, you are probably my favorite find of the year and I am enjoying surprising others with your complete and utter awesomeness. What do I love most about you? It has to be the way you talk to me, all sarcastic and arrogant like. Here let me show you:

"What would a thing like you know about honor? Only a heathen would bring a gun to a sword fight.' And only a moron would bring a sword to a gunfight.”

“If things go wrong, I'll lead them away. Once it's clear, get back to the car. If you don't see me in five minutes, then I've probably died a very brave and heroic death. Oh and don't Oh, and don't touch the radio--I've got it tuned right where I want it and I don't want you messing that up.”

“Is he all scarred now? Magic gets rid of most physical scars, but I like to think I scarred him emotionally.” 

Was it a test?" she asked. "I mean,I know I'm still knew at this,I'm still a rookie. Did you hang back to test me, to see if I'd handle it alone?" "Well, kind off" he said. "Actually,no,nothing like that. My shoelace was untied. That's why I was late" "I could have been killed because you were tying your shoelace?!"An untied shoelace can be dangerous,' he said. 'I could have tripped.' She stared at him. A moment dragged by. 'I'm joking,' he said at last. She relaxed. 'Really?' 'Absolutely. I would never have tripped. I'm far too graceful.”

Ok, ok, I'll stop now but only because I need to go order book 3 right now...
Would I recommend this series? Yes, go buy it, right now!

June Stand Alone Novels

Snowed in Together by Ann Herrick

My Rating: 2.5 Peaches

Wow, apparently I only read one stand alone book this month and it was a short story that I downloaded free for my kindle at that, bad me. Anywho, Snowed In Together was not my kind of story, probably because I was never a socially inept, horny, high school boy (thank God!). However, if I were I might have felt some connection to this story. I can understand it and see how it might be realistic and a dream for some guys but overall, not for me. 

Would I recommend this book? Nope, can't really think of any reason why I would. :(

Phew, and with that I am officially caught up to the month of July! Now I have a week to get reviews up from this month!

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