Book Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Paper MagicianThe Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release Date: September 1st, 2014
Publisher: 47 North
Pages: 224
Price: $14.95

“Perhaps in a heart, knowledge was more stable than memory or thought.”

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

The story of Ceony and Thane was quite interesting. I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go initially, and that made it hard to focus. However, I did love the intricacies in how the paper magic was described. It was so lovely, and dare I say, magical. Ceony was a bit high strung in the beginning, having to give up her lifelong dream of working with metal. It was sweet how Thane taught her and took his time slowly revealing the magic to her. It gave Ceony an appreciation for the magic she was bound to, but also showed her the importance of the craft.

When the Exisioner arrives and things begin to pick up pace, I didn’t know what to expect. The portion of the story that comes after this was a little fuzzy for me to wrap my head around. It felt in a way, almost too simple of a solution. I realize that the book is part of a series, but I don’t feel compelled to run to the next book to find out what happens moving forward. It will be on my list, but I’m not in a hurry to get to it.

Rating: 3 Stars

 

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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinderCinder by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 390
Price: $9.99

“Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past to protect her world’s future.

I had checked out this book on numerous occasions, but I never picked it up. For whatever reason, it just didn’t interest me, or I wanted a different genre. With thorough prodding from my friend, she lent me the first book and urged me to give it a try, and if I didn’t like it, she would stop bothering me about reading it.

I’m a lover of the classic Cinderella tale. I love everything involving that tale, so I guess I needed just a little push to try a unique twist on the classic. Cinder is a character that I wish I were more like. She has an attitude that offers no apologies about who she is, but she cares very deeply about the people she loves and goes to extreme lengths to protect them. In the face of danger, secrets, and massive changes, Cinder shows her true self—a girl just trying to be herself but tasked with saving the world. She accepts this challenge with bravery, and I love her for that.

Prince Kai is a pure cinnamon roll. Although he angered me and broke my heart towards the end. He said something to Cinder that was just…it was awful. I had to take a minute because it was a low blow. Anyway, Kai has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he just wants to help his people and be the best leader he can be. Unfortunately, he takes the throne during a time where no matter what choice he makes, the whole world is in danger.

Within the first 100 pages, I texted my friend excited that I had come up with a possible plot twist. I was correct in my guess, and I was pleased with myself. Being a writer sometimes helps me predict things, and I enjoy being right.

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Subsequently, the rest of the books were amazing and I fell into a big book hangover because I just couldn’t stop thinking about those characters. I had become so absorbed into their world, that nothing else felt right when I would start to read another book. Almost like I was cheating by moving on so soon after finishing. It’s a unique series, and each book dabbles in a classic fairytale. What I like the most is that every character has flaws, but they remain strong and true to themselves as their stories progress.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Review: Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

17165610Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Price: $15.00

“That’s what happens when you wear the triple crown of fame-talent, looks, and filthy rich. With this, you can add the fantasy element of wickedly untamed.”

Isabel Lang buried her past long ago, leaving behind the blissful and painful memories of Catswallow, Alabama for a sweet life in Providence working at a radio station. Her life has been set up wonderfully, a great boyfriend who wants her to succeed and a job that brings her joy. But everything changes when Isabel requires help from an unlikely source to keep her job and potentially her sanity.

Aiden Roycroft and Isabel Lang were best friends in the small town of Catswallow, Alabama during their childhoods and teen years. Aiden was the golden boy, handsome and musically gifted. All the boys wanted to be him, and all the girls wanted to be with him. He was trouble, but to Isabel, he was a best friend and someone she could trust.  They shared in the secrets that their families tried to keep in the past and reveled in the memories they had with one another. But when Aiden is accused of a vicious crime, the two flee to Las Vegas where Isabel’s future unravels and crumbles before her.

Seven years later, their friendship is just a long drifting memory. Isabel is content with her life with Nate Porter, a handsome and perfect doctor who plans on giving her the ideal life she has longed for and working hard on running a radio station. Plans change and life becomes jumbled when the new station management demands more ratings putting everyone’s jobs in jeopardy. Everything seems hopeless until Isabel decides to call on a lifeline from the past and contact the only rock star she has ever known.

I love Spinella’s way of weaving the past and the present. Her characters are always so wonderful and quirky; they jump off the page. There were some uncomfortable moments in the story and it may *TRIGGER WARNING* some things for people, so be careful. I feel like Spinella’s love stories are honest in the fact that things are messy. Life is chaotic, and everything doesn’t work out the way you planned, but eventually good things happen. I know that consistently having a happy ending bothers some people, but honestly, I feel like it gives me hope for my own life. I loved this book, and I will be looking for more of Spinella’s writing.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A77113_original Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 416
Price: $9.49

There are those who seek me a lifetime but never we meet,

And those I kiss but who trample me beneath ungrateful feet.

At times I seem to favor the clever and the fair,
But I bless all those who are brave enough to dare.

By large, my ministrations are soft-handed and sweet,
But scorned, I become a difficult beast to defeat.

For though each of my strikes lands a powerful blow,
When I kill, I do it slow…”

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I had to pace myself before reading this book because I was very excited about it. When I first started, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Mind you, I didn’t get very far in, but once I got into it things really picked up quickly. Feyre is a great character and I really enjoyed going through the story with her.

Tamlin is another level of seduction that I have never known before this book. He’s sweet and mysterious (which something about that combination brings me to my knees) and there were a few times where I thought to myself, can you please calm down my parents are in the next room. He’s definitely on the list of fictional husbands.

With my lust aside, their story was so intricately weaved between folklore and Beauty and the Beast. It worked really well for the story and it was a unique reconstruction of a story that many of us grew up with (although this one had more adult points).

With the good points aside, there were inconsistencies. There were some points that didn’t really add anything to the story and didn’t seem to fit into what was happening. More or less it was a way to introduce a new character while also bumping up the sexual tension to an unhealthy level for readers. I also heard that there is going to be a love triangle in the next book and I’m not pleased. I loathe love triangles, especially when I like one couple better than the other. It just complicates things in an unnecessary way.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

10212034Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 383
Price: $17.99

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

In a world divided by blood, Silvers rule all while Reds are slaves.

The Reds are commoners, nothing more than slaves and servants to the elite Silvers who possess god-like abilities. To seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow, a Red girl from the poverty streaked Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

Until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace, surrounded by the people who have enslaved and imprisoned Reds for generations. It is here, among her most hated enemies that Mare discovers she might have something in common with them after all, a deadly power all her own. A power that is both unruly and unknown in its origin may threaten the very balance of her world.

Afraid of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her among their own, declaring her a long lost Silver princess who they betroth to a Silver prince. Knowing any step could mean her death, Mare risks everything to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group in order to bring down the Silver regime once and for all.

In a world full of lies and betrayals, Mare must learn whom to trust. Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against herself.

This was a fantastic book. The story was so original and unique. It really gave me pause and left me questioning things and people throughout the story. I had my own theories about certain characters and their origins and I was right about some things and wrong about others. I guessed a big plot point towards the end, because as I writer I thought it would be the most interesting outcome and I was right, unfortunately. I didn’t want to be right. Sometimes books are why I have trust issues. The world Aveyard created was really vivid and the difference in social class was all too real.

There were a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming, which was nice because the element of surprise really changes things. I was a bit annoyed with the seeming love triangle happening, but that was fixed by the end of the novel so I’m not upset about that. Just glad that it was taken care of. Looking forward to the second installment of the series.

Rating: 4 stars

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

WRATHcoverThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Release Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 388
Price: $17.99

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

In a land ruled by heinous young king, each dawn means the death of a new bride, and the pain of loss to a different family. Khalid, the eighteen year old Caliph of Khorasan, is truly a monster. Every night he takes a new bride only to have her murdered at dawn. When sixteen year old Shahrzad’s best friend falls victim to the kings murderous rage, she takes action and volunteers to be his next bride. She is determined to stay alive and to get vengeance for all those lives lost to this lethal boy-king.

Night after night, Shahrzad weaves adventurous stories for the Khalid, enchanting him with her words, ensuring her survival, even when each dawn could be her last. Soon she learns something remarkable: Khalid is nothing like what she expected him to be. He is a tormented soul and incredibly Shahrzad begins to fall in love. But not everything is as it seems in the castle on the hill. In order to create change, Shahrzad needs to uncover the secrets long kept by Khalid, and despite her growing love for him, she may still need to take his life as retribution for all the pain and torment he caused and the lives he stole from families all over the land.

Can her love save him or is he bound to drown in his torment and secrets?

I can’t gush enough about this book. It was enchanting and endlessly beautiful. Ahdieh’s wording is effortlessly gorgeous and the magic that she brings to the pages is amazing. Shahrzad was a fantastic character to read and her development throughout the story is strong and poignant. Khalid was a surprise. I knew there had to be a reason for why he was the way he was and it was definitely heartbreaking. He treated Shahrzad with care and when he called her joonam my heart just melted and I wanted everyone to see the good in him that Shahrzad saw. I could go on and on. It was simply stunning and I can’t wait for the next book to come out in May!

Rating: 5 stars

Book Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

17788403Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Release Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Price: $9.71

“However, I’ve learned that the heart can’t be told when and who and how it should love. The heart does whatever the hell it wants to do. The only thing we can control is whether we give our lives and our minds the chance to catch up to our hearts.”

Sydney is enjoying a pretty great life. She’s in college, living with her best friend, working a steady job, and she has a wonderful boyfriend, Hunter. Or so she thinks. Her life is altered when she discovers that Hunter has been cheating on her with her best friend—leaving her unsure of her future and her living arrangements.

Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge who sits on his balcony every night strumming his guitar. She can’t stop listening to his music, nor can she stop looking at him. When Ridge offers Sydney the spare room in his apartment until she can get back on her feet, Sydney accepts, not realizing that the chemistry between her and Ridge is something that neither of them can keep fighting.

There is something special about this book that really hits your emotions. Sydney and Ridge had such amazing chemistry together. Their music was beautiful and every lyric on the page was heartbreaking and lovely. There was a lot more emotion and depth in this novel than in the past novel I had read by Hoover. There was so much feeling and a range of emotions that your heart broke for Sydney but it filled with their love. It was a bit heart wrenching and I did cry. But it was so worth it. As I mentioned previously, there was a rather large musical component to this book, with lyrics included on the pages that Sydney and Ridge collaborated on. There is something synonymous with books and music, at least for me, since as a writer I tend to listen to music as I write to help me really dive into the emotions of my characters. This was a cute read, definitely gut wrenching, but a step up in terms of emotional depth from Hoover.

Rating: 4 Stars