Tag Archives: paranormal

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

26 Oct

I love when I get a book I wasn’t expecting for review and it rocks my reading world. This was definitely the case with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which arrived as surprise book love from Simon and Schuster Canada.

Sometimes when I love a book so freaking much, I have a Hell of a time reviewing it. I usually sit on the review, trying to tone down my gushing a bit before I write it. Well, I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer way back in June. And I’m still not sure what to write for my review. That’s how much it blew my frigging mind.

This was such a different book. But in a totally “Holy crap I want to marry this book and have it’s little book babies” kinda way.  It had a touch of almost every genre: romance, contemp, mystery, horror, thriller, paranormal. While it may seem that all of these genres coming together would make for a messy, disjointed book, this was far from the case.  The different elements fit together perfectly. Hodkin’s writing style made it seem like all of these genres were made for each other.

What did leave me feeling off balanced for most of the book was Mara’s story. From page to page I was never 100% sure what was going on. But instead of pissing me off like it sometimes does, I loved it. This uneasy feeling of not knowing added another layer to the story, making it even more enjoyable.

To say I didn’t see the ending coming would be putting it mildly. It was a major “What the Hell?” moment that had me rereading passages to make sure I was understanding correctly. Actually, through the last part of the book this happened a few times.  But it wasn’t that Hodkin was writing in a confusing manner or that the plot twists and turns were unbelievable. It was the fact that she so brilliantly tied things together in such a surprising manner that I was once again caught off guard. It was wicked.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was a freaking amazing read and will definitely be on my best of 2011 list. I usually don’t reread books, but I anticipate wearing out a couple of copies.

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

19 May

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Released: Dec 1st, 2010
Genre: YA, tweens, paranormal
Purchased for Coco my Kobo.

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning…

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…

From Sourcebook website

OMG, OMG,  O.M.G!!!!!!  Cute, cute, CUTE! Loved, loved LOVED!!!!!!!! Buy it, buy it, BUY IT!!!!!!!!!

And that’s basically my review. Okay, I guess I should do some specific gushing of why this book was so wonderful and why you all must buy it right away so you can love it as much as I do.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been Jade’s age, but some of the things she embarrassingly goes through made me cringe in an holy-crap-that’s-so-embarrassing way. Boudreau nails those moments and I dare anyone to read them and not be able to identify with Jade.

This was a gigglicious book. There were laugh out loud moments and I found myself chuckling through most of. I really enjoy my paranormal with a side dish of funny and that’s exactly what Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings was. It was the perfect balance of serious and light.

Despite the fact that this was a humorous book, there was a lot of meat to it and I LOVED the whole mermaid angle. There’s mythos and mystery throughout and the plot had me hooked until the end. Actually, it had me hooked well past the end because as soon as I finished it I started hounding Helene about how much I needed more of Jade. And thankfully there is a sequel in the works. 🙂

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

2 May

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Released: Oct 12th, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal
Bought for Coco by Kobo.

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

From Henry Holt & Co. website.

I have a confession to make: I bought this book based solely on the title. I had no idea what it was about. I knew it was YA and I figured it was a paranormal, but besides that I knew nada. Except that it had the coolest, funniest, geekiest title I’d seen in a while.

This was a fun read. Each chapter was titled with a song title, which was super cool. I loved the necromancer angle and there’s some funny shit that happens.

While I enjoyed Sam, there are a couple of other characters that stole the show for me. Sam’s friend Brooke is hilarious and for reasons I can’t really say, but trust me. She has some of the best lines in the book. And Ashley the ghost? OMG I loved her.

I think any one who enjoys their YA paranormal fare with a bit of tongue in cheek and lightness will enjoy Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. I believe there’s a second book coming out. There better be a second book coming out. Cuz this was too good to be a stand-alone book.

Review: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

31 Jan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: June, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal, romance
Gifted from the wonder Bella.

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

From St. Martin’s Press website.

*This review is slightly spoilerish*

While it may seem like I drool over every YA book out there, it’s not true. Honestly. Each year there are actually only a hand-full of YA books that I must read or I’ll die a slow, painful, whinny death. Well, not really but that’s what it feels like. 13 to Life was one of those books that I desperately wanted to read. When Bella from Bella’s Bookshelf sent it to me as part of a book swap I was uber-excited. There may have been some screaming.

Any-hoo I pretty much instantly dug into it and I wasn’t really disappointed. Sure, there were a couple of things that niggled at me a bit, but they weren’t monstrous enough to make me not enjoy the book.

I loved the mystery surrounding the Rusakova family. Who were they? What was their story, really? From the moment we meet Pietr, it’s obvious the boy is hiding some deep, dark secret. And then we meet the rest of the clan, and, well, things get even more secretive.

Jessie was a solid female lead, but, well, she does some things that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and seemed a bit mean. And here’s where the spoilery stuff comes in, so if you haven’t read the book you may not want to read the rest of the review.

Jessie likes Pietr. Pietr likes Jessie. But Jessie’s best friend Sarah also likes Pietr. So Jessie says she’s stepping back and tells Pietr to date Sarah even though he wants to date Jessie. He does. But then he spends the rest of the book sneaking kisses with Jessie and spending as much time with her as possible. Not really a nice thing to do to a friend. I mean, if you say you’re going to step back, then step back! I really liked Jessie and Pietr as a couple but I was put off by this weird love-triangle. The reason Jessie does this is explained, but I just didn’t think it was a strong enough explanation.

I also found the pacing a bit off at places. Things happened quickly and emotions and feelings changed in the blink of an eye. And before anyone says anything, I know teens can be moody little beasts, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I found at certain parts of the novel (like the Homecoming dance) that it went from crying to laughing to angry back to crying way too fast for me to feel vested in any of it.

With that being said, I really, really enjoyed 13 to Life. The plot and, like I said, the mystery of the story kept my attention. In fact, I stayed up until 4 am finishing the book in one sitting. It ended in a major cliff hanger and even though I’m on a bit of a book buying ban, I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel, Secrets and Shadows, when it comes out in February.

Oh, and I in case you aren’t quite sure how much I liked this book, I’m also part of the MAX-imum Exposure Tour. On February 1tth, I’ll get the chance to interview Max, Pietr’s older brother. Tres cool.

Review and giveaway: Purpose by Kristie Cook

17 Dec

Publisher: Ang’dora Productions
Released: December 15th, 2010
Genre: Adult paranormal, romance
For review from author

Defending souls is her purpose…but can she save her own?

Lost in despair, Alexis teeters on the edge of an abyss, her lifeline of hope fraying into a thin thread. If it snaps, she’ll plunge into complete darkness. With the help of her son and her writing, she’s been able to hold on. Until now. Erratic impulses, disturbing delusions and her own demonic blood threaten her sanity. When she’s forced to choose between hanging onto hope or letting go to serve her Amadis purposes, she faces a decision with inconceivable sacrifices.

Alexis runs to the one place she thinks will provide answers, only to find herself at the center of another battle of good versus evil, not only with the Daemoni, not only within herself…but also against the worst opponent imaginable. But even if she wins, what will she lose?

From the author’s website.

*Disclaimer*
I know I said this review would be up yesterday and that had been my plan. But my crappy mattress and insomnia banded together and my brain was like mush. If I had written the review yesterday it would have sounded much like all the adults in the Peanut cartoons.

I love when a sequel blows me away. You know, when you enjoyed the first book in the series, but then you hit the next book and it’s like “Whoa, this is some great stuff!”.  Well, that’s what happened when I read Kristie Cooke’s second book in her Soul Savers series, Purpose.

I really, really liked this book. Really, really. While there is some romance in it, it wasn’t as romancey as the first book and that was just fine by me.  There was more mythos, action and bad guys and a lot more Owen (who, BTW, is my fave).

Purpose takes place a few years after Promise, and Alexis is not in a good place. I think my only issue with the book was that the first third of it was so frigging depressing. I honestly wanted to reach into the pages and shake the crap out of Alexis. She wanders around pretty depressed and teary-eyed for the first part of the book. She’s gone through something pretty traumatic and can’t seem to get over it. I just wish she hadn’t been quite as gloomy as she was. But she does eventually snap out of it, and for me that’s when the book really took off.

The writing in Purpose was better than the writing in Promise. I know that seems like a bit of an obnoxious thing to say, but it’s true. While Promise wasn’t badly written, there just seemed to be a better to flow to the writing in Purpose. Kristie was really in a cool writing grove.

I think some people that read and enjoyed Promise for the romance may be a bit surprised that Purpose isn’t as romance based. At least it didn’t seem that way to me. And for a chick who prefers her paranormal with just a dash of romance, it was the perfect balance.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

Yay! So, I have one copy of Purpose to give away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is comment below and let me know of a sequel that  you enjoyed more than the first book or what sequel you are most looking forward to (beside Purpose) in 2011. The contest is open to Canada and the US and I’ll pick the winner on Christmas eve.*

*Yeah, so I’m going to extend this contest until the 8th of January because I took a bit of a blog break and so wasn’t promoting it.

Review: Storked by Wendy Delsol

29 Oct

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Released: October, 2010
Genre: YA supernatural
Review copy from publisher.

Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by THE SNOW QUEEN by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.

Oh baby! A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural from a debut author.

From Candlewick Press website.

 

 

I think from now on when I’m trying to decide the awesomeness of a humorous book, I’m going to gage it in snortability.  And Stork had snortability coming out its wazoo. This book was laugh out loud funny. And I’m not just saying that. I was reading Stork while waiting for a presentation to start. I ended up snorting OUT LOUD in a room full of soccer moms. Seriously. Then it happened again a few pages later. Finally I put the book away and just stared at my water glass.

Katla was funny and sarcastic, if a bit obsessed with fashion. But after all she is from LA. I also found some of her fashion choices pretty hilarious, but I think that’s because of my major ass-backwardness when it comes to clothes. I am strictly a Tshirt and jeans kinda gal.

I’m not familiar with Norse mythology at all, but the mythos surrounding Katla and the secret society was very cool. The other women in the society were freaking hilarious old bitties and their relationships with each other added a neat dimension to the story.

Wade’s a douche and Jack’s a sweetie and both have some things going on in the background that the reader isn’t sure of. Neither is Katla for that matter.  It’s not the typical love triangle (thank the gods!) and I really enjoyed trying to figure out what the deal was with both of them.

Like I’ve said, this was one hilarious book. Except for a few of the chapters. I found the dream chapters uber-serious and kinda out of sync with the overall tone of the book.  Don’t get me wrong, they were just as well written and important stuff happens in them. I guess because the rest of the book was funny after funny, that I just found the seriousness of the dreams a bit jarring.

But I still loved this book. Lots. And I was so thankful to hear that there’s a sequel in the works because these are definitely characters I want to see more of.

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

8 Oct

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Release year:2010
Genre: YA  paranormal
One sentence summary: Girls just wanna have paranormal fun (oh, and save the world, too)
Rating:5 out of 5
Purchased for KoKo my Kobo ereader

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

From HarperCollins Canada website.

 

This review is going to be full of the gushing. I can’t help it. I am so in love with this book that I want to stand on a mountain and sing about it. I want to hold up a ghetto blaster and blare Peter Gabriel.  I want to change from the nerd I am into a cheap tramp to get its attention. Yes, folks, that’s how much I love this book.

I had heard great things about Paranormalcy, but I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was a paranormal YA book and by the cover I figured I was in for another epic, sweeping, oh-so-serious tale of struggling love and Big Danger. After I read the first, oh, three sentences I knew that I was in for a treat.

This book was FUNNY. And cute. Evie is such a fun, sarcastic character that I loved her instantly. Really, you can’t help but root for her. She’s been dealt a pretty crappy hand, but she does her best to rise about it. And – this is the part that made me squee all over the place – she does it without the usual “woe-is-me” dramatics that a lot of other paranormal heroines get caught up in. When she comes across an obstacle she doesn’t crumble on her bed or bitch and moan through three chapters. Nope, she tries to find a way around the obstacle. Or through it.  Don’t get me wrong, serious stuff happens and she does have moments of self-doubt and she does cry. But there is so much more to Evie than the distraught heroine.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am getting a bit tired of love triangles in YA. And also the whole love at first sight soul-matey thing that can be great when done well, but is a bit over done right now in my opinion. There is boy stuff in Paranormalcy. Evie likes a boy. She isn’t sure if that boy likes her back. There’s flirting, their friendship, their uncertainty. In other words it’s a pretty normal teen-age relationship. Evie’s relationship with Lend the shape shifter is, perhaps, the best written boy-girl-are-they-friends-or-more relationship I have read in a paranormal YA book in a Hell of a long time.

Despite the humorous, light moments, this book wasn’t all fluff. There’s serious stuff that happens and some pretty cool supernatural folks to boot. The bad guys are beyond bad, and you aren’t always sure who they are. There are twists and turns a-plenty and White kept me guessing until pretty much the end of Paranormalcy and then I howled and shook my fists angrily at the gods because the book was over. But then I discovered there’s a sequel and I called down. A bit, anyway.

I think everyone should read this book, especially if you’re a fave of YA or urban fantasy or paranormal stuff.

I’m off to write my love sonnet to Paranormalcy. Catch ya all later. 😛