Sunday, July 26, 2009

Even Angels Fall (book review)

Even Angels Fall, by Sherry Mauro, is the thrilling story of sixteen-year-old Sabrina Devour. Sabrina is no normal teenage girl; she has the ability to see the dead and help them cross over. Upon returning to claim his family's estate after many years away, handsome Hunter Ravenwood begins to show interest in Sabrina. Sabrina is happy as their relationship blossoms, but she becomes unnerved by Hunter's enormous mansion, Rambling Rose. She feels as if something is in there, watching her. It's almost like the house is alive. Rumors claim that Rambling Rose sits on a Sheol, a gateway to Hell, and Sabrina can't help but believe it. She soon realizes that, like many families, the Ravenwoods have their own dark secrets. And as she tries to help the ghost of a mysterious woman whose past is tied in with that of Sabrina's own family, she discovers just how dangerous those secrets may be.

Even Angels Fall was exciting, engaging, and all-around fun to read. I found it nearly impossible to put down. Sabrina was witty and likable, if a bit dreamy, and the book had all the hooks of a good Gothic romance. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre.

*NOTE: As of 11/01/2009 the author offers a FREE PDF version to anyone who is interested in reading this book or others in the series. Just contact her with your email addy at her blog:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wolf Tower (book review)

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

Wolf Tower, by Tanith Lee, is the story of sixteen-year-old Claidi, who, all her life, has served the spoiled royalty of the House, a sparkling oasis in the midst of the barren Waste (or so she has been taught). She never expects that her life could change until a handsome stranger, Nemian, arrives from the Waste. Claidi risks everything to rescue him, leaveing behind the only life she has known and accompanying him to his city ruled over by the mysterious Wolf Tower. Together they journey across barren deserts, through toxic jungles, across vast rivers, and all the while Claidi begins to think she could come to love Nemian..until they reach the Wolf Tower, and an unexpected betrayal leaves her trapped and confused. Will her real Prince Charming come and rescue her? Or will she be stuck here forever?

This was a great book. Claidi was a likeable heroine, and I enjoyed reading about her journeys across the "Waste". The plot had a twist at the end that I would never have suspected!

This book is for the What's in a Name Challenge 2.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Reading Challenge

I am joining the Random Reading Challenge, hosted by Caribou's Mom. I'm joining at Level Three, which means I have to read twelve books. It runs from August 1st, 2009 to July 31, 2010. This is a great one for me because I always have trouble picking what books to read!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Mango-Shaped Space (book review)

A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass, is the story of a girl with a rare condition struggling to fit in. Thirteen-year-old Mia appears to be the most normal child in her family--after all, her brother keeps a chart of all the hamburgers he's ever eaten, and her sister dies her hair as often as she changes clothes. But Mia knows that she is anything but normal. Letters, numbers and sounds have colors for her. D is a pinkish purple, for example, and slamming the door causes her to see brown rings floating in the air. Difficulty at school forces her to reveal her secret, and now she feels like a freak. It will only be when Mia loses something incredibly special that she realizes just how much her colors mean to her.

This was an incredibly moving book. It was sad, humorous, and heartwarming all at different times. It was a great book for people of all ages. The heroine is someone whom people can relate to as she struggles with school problems, crushes, and the loss of a loved one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Warriors (book review)

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

This is a book review of the first mini-series in the Warriors saga by Erin Hunter. The series starts when the main character, then a house cat named Rusty, journeys into the forest behind his house for the first time. There he meets a forest cat named Graypaw, who tells him about life in ThunderClan, a group of feral cats living in the woods. Soon Rusty is faced with the biggest decision of his life...should he join ThunderClan and leave behind his soft life or stay with his "Twolegs" (the cats' word for humans)? When he decides to head into the forest, his life is changed forever. But clan life is not easy. There are three other clans in the forest--WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan, and they often fight one another. Now known as Firepaw, he must handle his new duties as a warrior apprentice, a mysterious prophecy from StarClan (the "heaven" of the cat world, where good warriors go after their death), and the gnawing suspicion that ThunderClan is housing a murderous traitor...

In the next book, Bluestar, ThunderClan's leader, sends Fireheart and Graystripe (now full warriors with their own warrior names) well beyond the boundaries of the forest to retrieve WindClan, who has been driven out by ShadowClan's murderous leader, Brokenstar. The journey will be long and hard, and it will test the skills of both cats to the end. Fireheart must also deal with the evidence that one of the most trusted cats in ThunderClan is a traitor, and the fact that Graystripe is having an illegal romance with a she-cat from RiverClan, a romance which puts both cats in incredible danger.

In the third book, Fireheart decides he must uncover the truth. Is ThunderClan deputy Tigerclaw a murderer or not? While digging for clues, he discovers another fact, something quite unexpected...many years ago, two ThunderClan kits vanished without a trace. But two cats in RiverClan also have ThunderClan blood. Could these be the two missing kits? And if so, who is their mother?

By the time that the next book starts, murderous Tigerclaw has been exiled from ThunderClan...but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest somewhere, waiting to strike. Meanwhile, Bluestar has not dealt well with Tigerclaw's treachery. She has become a shell of her former self, and Fireheart, now the new deputy, feels as if he is the one running the clan. And as ThunderClan struggles to deal with the aftermath of a raging forest fire that took three cats' lives, Fireheart begins to wonder if he can really handle the pressure of his new job.

The fifth is the most chilling book yet. Cinderpelt, ThunderClan's medicine cat, tells Fireheart of a warning she was given by StarClan of a dangerous new enemy, and a dream in which she heard the words, "Pack, pack," and "kill, kill". A mysterious force is sweeping through the forest, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Fireheart is not sure what it is, but he has a feeling that Tigerstar, now leader of ShadowClan, has something to do with it. But what can he do about it when ThunderClan's leader has begun to lose her mind and has decided to wage war on StarClan itself?

In the final book of the mini-series, Fireheart, or Firestar now, has become leader of ThunderClan after Bluestar gave her life to save the Clan from the mysterious threat lurking in the last book. But Fireheart must deal with an even bigger problem as Tigerstar brings another threat into the forest, and every cat must prepare themselves for the final battle, where the clans will fight side by side, heroes will be made, and one brave cat's destiny will be fulfilled.

These were some truly excellent books. I would recommend them to fans of animal fantasy or cat books. Although they are violent, they are recommended for 8-12 year olds, and are quite appropriate for children. Erin Hunter brought the cats to life and personified them in a unique way. It is sometimes easy to forget that they are cats at all!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wildwood Dancing (book review)

Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier, is a fantasy story based on the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses. The story is told from the point of view of one of five sisters. Her name is Jenica, or Jena for short. A little, enchanted frog named Gogu, who can speak to Jena, is her constant companion. They live in a castle called Piscul Dracului, deep in the Transylvanian forests, and each Full Moon the five sisters open an enchanted portal and are whisked away to the Other Kingdom, an enchanted world filled with faeries, elves, and other fantasy creatures. However, Jena's world is quickly turned upside down as her father is sent away to a warmer climate to improve his ill-health, and their tyrannical cousin Cezar takes his place as head of the household. To make things worse, Night People, aka vampires, have arrived in the Other Kingdom, and Jena's older sister Tatiana has fallen in love with one of them. But is the mysterious, mournful Sorrow really a vampire? Or is he, as Tatiana claims, one of their slaves? Jena is deeply afraid for her sister. But as it becomes more and more clear that Tatiana may be willing to give up her humanity to live with Sorrow forever, and that despotic Cezar will never give up his grip on Pascul Dracului, and on the five sisters, Jena begins to realize that she must make a choice--or risk giving up everything that is dear to her.

This book was wonderful! I absolutely loved it! It combined true love, enchantment, fantastical journeys, wicked villains, and the strong bonds of sisterhood into a perfect plot. This book was nearly impossible to put down. An amazing read!