Tag «magic»

Single Sundays: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

Review:

I’ve enjoyed Alex Flinn’s work after reading Beastly so I have read a few of her other fairy-tale based books and enjoyed them. I like how she takes well known stories and makes them applicable to the modern world so this book seemed like a no-brainer.

What I like about Cloaked was that it wasn’t just one fairy tale book used in this story (so don’t think it is about Little Red Riding Hood because it isn’t!). In her author note, Alex talks about using lesser known fairy tales in this novel as her main purpose for writing this book and she succeeds in this mission. While I wasn’t familiar with all of the tales used, it added a bit of freshness to the story as I didn’t know where it was going and I was able to learn about other fairy tales that haven’t been made into Disney movies.

However, I just didn’t like this book as much as I hoped. I think I was a little too old to be reading it so it took me a while to get into it. It definitely picked up once you got into it but nothing really wowed me about this book. It was a long time ago when I read this and the fact that this review is so short she be a good indication of how much I enjoyed and remembered the story.

Conclusion:

Definitely better for a middle school crowd who enjoy action, minimal romance and like modern adaptions of fairy tales.
Rating: 3/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young adult, Adventure, Magic, Fairy Tales
Recommended for: 12+
Similar Books: Kill me Softly by Sarah Cross and A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Spin-off Saturdays: Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

The Bloodlines Series is a spin-off of the Vampire Academy

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #10; Favourite Author
Series: Bloodlines

This is a spin off of the Vampire Academy Series.

Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 6 (Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, Indigo Spell, The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows, The Ruby Circle)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Vampires, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Fiery Heart onwards)

Thoughts:

After reading the Vampire Academy (VA) Series, I wasn’t sure how I felt about a spin-off. I loved Adrian in the VA books so I was excited for him to be in the new series; but it was Sydney I wasn’t sure about. It’s not really Sydney’s fault I didn’t love her in the VA books. Her character needed to be who she was in order to progress the story. I warmed up to her by the end of the VA series but she was by no means my top choice for a spin-off character.

Well, it’s a good thing I am not the author of these books! Because Sydney is a great character and I have grown to love her in this new series.

Bloodlines takes fan-favourite characters and gives them the stories we all wanted them to have. From Jill to Eddie to Adrian, all these characters make an appearance in the books. Even Rose and crew appear here and there. Despite the fact that the story is told from Sydney’s POV, we still know what is going on with every other character–just like it was in the VA series.

The first book, Bloodlines, is a slow start to the series but is needed. It really establishes the characters and let’s you into Sydney’s life and thought process–seeing as she was only told through Rose’s perspective in the VA series. Book 2, The Golden Lily is where things start to fall into place and the “overarching” (by this I mean it is a plot that spans multiple books) begins to unwind. It also helps that there is a HUGE cliff-hanger that has you begging for the next one. Book 3, The Indigo Spell does not disappoint and I am counting down the days until book 4, The Fiery Heart is released.

It should be noted that this series doesn’t have much physical action as VA series. It’s there, but Sydney uses other methods, like chemicals and magic, to fight her foes. I tend to not like magic series that have witches so I was worried when the series started to focus more on magic (this series focuses more on the Alchemists than the vampires). I should know by now that Richelle Mead does not disappoint and I really like where this series is going with the spells aspect of it.

UPDATED (Dec 7/13): I was lucky enough to get my hands on The Fiery Heart shortly after it was published. I finished it in a day, that’s how much I loved it! While the book is mostly character development, I never found it to be dull. I think it helped that Adrian gets his own POV so for the first time we really get to see his thought process–and with him being my favourite character in the entire series, I was excited and happy to finally get more insight about him. This book has a great buildup into the next two books of the series and I can’t wait! July 2014 can’t get here soon enough!

UPDATED (August 10/14): When my copy of Silver Shadows finally came in from the library, I went ASAP to grab it and then spent the rest of the weekend reading it. I would have finished in a day but life got in the way :P. Overall, Silver Shadows is a bridging novel that is setting up the plot for the final book (The Ruby Circle) in the series. However, this doesn’t mean that it is dull in anyway. Despite a more singular plotline than the previous novels, I found the book moved at a very quick pace and kept my interest throughout. Fans will not be disappointed–the only disappointment is the waiting 6 months until the conclusion in The Ruby Circle.

UPDATED (March 15/15): It’s always really hard to say goodbye to your favourite characters–and The Ruby Circle was a tough one to read knowing it is the last of the Vampire Academy Universe. I think I was 50 pages from the end when I started to cry knowing I only had a few more pages left. I’ve been following these characters for the last 6 years so expectations were high going into this book and I wasn’t disappointed! I thought The Ruby Circle started slowly but once I was about a third of the way through it picked up immensely and I didn’t put it down. There were unexpected twists, a fast plotline (once it got started) and so many great character appearances, fans of both series will be very, very happy with The Ruby Circle. It’s hard to say goodbye but it makes things 20x easier when you are happy with the ending. I definitely plan on revisiting all of these books in the future.

Conclusion:

To fans of VA: Read this! If you loved Adrian and Sydney (or even Eddie and Jill), you will love this series! It has everything VA had but does it in it’s own unique way. To new fans: even if you didn’t read VA (which I suggest you do!) you could probably get away with diving right into this series. A must read for fans of paranormal YA.

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series #1)

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WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY SERIES THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS HAS SPOILERS!

Synopsis for Bloodlines (from Goodreads):
Blood doesn’t lie…

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

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Fresh Fridays: Fate on Fire Series by Wendy Knight

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Feudlings by Wendy Knight | The Fate on Fire Series

book2

Series: Fate on Fire
Author: Wendy Knight
# of Books: 2+ (Feudlings, Feudlings in the Flames)
Complete?: No, book 2, Feudlings in the Flames, will be released later in 2013
Genre: Teen, Magic, Romance, Action

Thoughts:

I will admit that I was hesitant to read this book based on the synopsis. I find that I am not a huge fan of “witch/spell” type books so that was a worry. I was also worried it was going to be more of a romance with some action and seeing as it is targeted more for teens, the presumed teen angst nearly turned me off from reading it. But that’s what happens when you assume!

This book was definitely more about action than romance. Yes, it is there but there was so much else going on that it nearly took a back seat. It started off slow but it really picked up when you learn more about the world Wendy Knight has created. It’s simple yet complicated at the same time so it is easy to follow along.

At first, I wasn’t a fan of Ari. She was a little too angst-y for me but when you learn more about her past it makes sense why she feels the way she does. (Nothing worse than a whiney, spoiled heroine but that is not the case here!). As for the rest of the characters, I really liked them and can’t wait to see more of them!

Conclusion:

Definitely check this book out if you enjoy star-crossed romance with a lot of action; magic; smart characters and strong female leads!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Feudlings (from Goodreads):
Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not fall-ing in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.