Sunday, July 21, 2013

KAÏ-RO by Graham Marks

by Graham Marks
Publication Date:  Oct 31st 2007
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Source: Bought
Find This Book: Kaï-ro
Rating: 3/5

This book is about Setekh, God of Chaos, and Horus, God of the Sky.

"Remember this... Gods are like Tinkerbell, if you don't believe in them, if you don't need them, they fade away. But, because they're gods, they don't die. And if the need returns, so, too, do the objects of belief. Remember this, because it is true."

Kaï-ro is the dark city across the River Isis built by Mr. Nero. He found a god who speaks to and through him. He carries out his Setekh's orders and starts building 3 huge black structures. Well, he himself isn't building them... People from Dinium (the original city on the other side of the Isis) are kidnapped and become slaves of Kaï-ro. Once you're taken to the other side of the crocodile infested river you're never seen again.

With his Dark souldiers (that's how they spell it) and his army of Risen, Mr.Nero pretty much has this 'bring a god back and destroy the world' thing in the bag. But there's one thing he doesn't plan on. Just like Setekh was brought back, so will the god's brother, Horus, by one abandoned lonely boy. Stretch Wilson.

Stretch is a scav. Tons of them crawl over Bloom's Mount, a mountain made up of discarded items nobody wanted, and they search for anything that's valuable. If they don't, well, then they don't get food for the day. On top of that, Bloom's Mount is a terrible place to work. The rubbish could collapse on you or worse, parts of the heap could explode as they always do when the methane gas builds up. Stretch scavenged Bloom's Mount with his dog named Bone. The dog had found Stretch a couple months after his dad was kidnapped for slave labour, and Bone hasn't left his side since. But one event changed Stretch's life forever. He is the only person who can stop the evil that lives in Kaï-ro from taking control, for eternity. How did this boy, this insignificant street-boy who can't read or write, become the one to save them all? You'll just have to read it to find out!

This was a pretty good book. Very original. But it wasn't Special. It didn't grab my attention and pull me in hook,line, and sinker. I liked it but didn't really get into it and enjoy it till about halfway through. I don't get how Jazmin fits into the story. She's an orphan girl who they pay to give them a donkey then she comes with them to Slip-End and all of a sudden they're friends? I also thought that their war was too simple and easily won. I mean sure a lot of people die but they're facing a frickin GOD! A god of CHAOS I might add. War IS chaos! But it was like: *poof* war's over, oh people are dead?Wellll who cares let's go find my dad now! And then that whole thing with the Witch-Lady? Tanith/Phaedra? I did NOT see that coming. AT ALL. Also, while they were all at slip-end trying to get an army for Horus so that they could take down Kaï-ro, I felt like that was just *poof* you have an army *poof* make that TWO armies. And it wasn't very believable.

One thing I really liked was how when the Guild dresses Stretch as a god-on-earth he felt out of place. An imposter. A fake. It made him seem more down to earth like 'Just days ago I was a scav so now the whole "I'm a gods messenger on earth" shabang doesn't feel real'. Even though it IS real. He IS Horus' messenger. The god talks to and through him just like Mr.Nero and Setekh. Anyway, it was an ok book, wouldn't recommend it, but not a bad read. It was a stand alone which was really refreshing after reading so many series lately.

The Undying God by Nathan Wilson

The Undying God
by Nathan Wilson
Publication Date: Oct 8th 2012
Source: Author
Find This Book: The Undying God
Rating: 4/5

A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

 I really liked the characters and the plot of this book, It was very intriguing and made me think about societies ideals. The villain, Margzor, believes that keeping ones virginity is an awful thing and that it’s something to be done when you love someone and someone loves you. His life has been pretty much the worst and he yearns to be loved. A demon posses him and gives him the idea to kill the demigod of virginity, Astalla, and become a demigod himself. He has so much hate that he believes in these ideals so strongly that he starts murdering the Demigod’s followers. It could just be that I wasn’t paying attention as closely as I should have to the book (there were a lot of breaks because I needed to paint a couple rooms) but I feel like his background wasn’t really explained, and that was disappointing. I felt it was really easy to feel pity for Margzor and I’m curious about his childhood and what originally caused him to hate.

 The Literary Foil of Nishka and Arxu was really interesting to read (props for the cool names too). Arxu needed Nishka to bring out the good and emotions in him. He had been murdered and brought back to life, completely emotionless and he couldn’t remember anything about his life. Nishka on the other hand cares deeply about her father and his well-being, which is why she left her small home town to sell his goods. Her father hires a pale stranger (Arxu) to guard her on the road until she gets back. When Nishka almost dies, that’s when the humor of the book, Hrioshango, comes in. He’s constantly on the wrong side of the law and really perverted, but made the book pretty funny. He’s pretty much a foil of himself which sort of makes sense since he’s a chaos magician?

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the description. It was so deep and vivid, with amazing vocabulary. There was so much of it, you could picture what was going on easily (for better or for worse with those bloody gore scenes) without being an overload. Another thing I loved was ALL of the characters. Even though I don’t think everything I wanted was explained, the characters were well thought out and realistically deep. You could watch the characters grow and muture…. Or grow into even more hatred… Margzor realizes that he has the chance to be saved from his hate, and chance to give up his goal and to stop killing, and he puts that hope 100% into Nishka who had shown him mercy without even realizing it. Then he decides to kill Astalla’s followers anyway? I didn’t really get that part… Another part I wasn’t so sure about was when Margzor looks in a pool of blood and sees the image Nishka and Arxu together… I’m pretty sure Margzor doesn’t have magic, so how did that happen?? Also, how does Arxu get his memories back? Was it because he walked into the ruins of his old home? Because he killed his murderer? Because he almost dies? I have no clue, but all of a sudden he has them back… Lastly, I don’t get how the title of the story fits…. “The Undying God” because I’m pretty Sure 3 deities die in this book sooooo….

I guess I’m just being nit-picky, but Nishka just abandoned her father, never really sold much of anything, and then disappears… I’m curious about what happened to Hrioshango too. But I suppose this was a happily-ever-after story in the end. So it had its pros and cons. The fact that it centered on a sensitive modern issue such as sex was refreshing for me. It’s such a touchy subject in this day and age where some people do covet virginity and where others probably couldn’t care less about it. This book really made me think. It was pretty hard to pick a side between the ‘villain’ and the ‘good guys’ because they both had valid points. By the end of the book I still hadn’t made up my mind! All in all I really liked this book even with these little criticisms and I will definitely re-read in the future.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Assured Destruction by Michael F. Stewart

Assured Destruction
by Michael F. Stewart
Publication Date:  March 22nd 2013
Publisher:  Non Sequitur Press
Source: Authors
Find This Book: Assured Destruction
Rating: 5/5

A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Janus is your typical teen going through High School, aside from the fact that her father walked out on her and her mother and Janus doesn't know why, her mom is now in a wheel chair, their shop is close to shutting down, and to top it all off Janus is an unappreciated computer genius. No exactly typical.

So, Janus and her mom run 'Assured Destruction' where they assure the destruction of hard drives for people. Except, not all of them meet the mouth of Chop-chop. Janus has a place called The Shadownet. She goes through hard drives and pieces together a persona from the information on it. She then puts these people on the Internet. They're like a family to her, their infractions are each a different part of her. JanusFlyTrap, Gumps, Heekleena, Frannie, and the new recruit Paradise57. Things were great, her biggest problem was Chippy the computer science teacher who she had a mutual dislike for. That all changed when the hacker attacked. Her Online refuge is getting destroyed piece by piece, and she is getting pushed into a world of reality and relationships with real people.

Not only is this way more serious than she ever imagined, her mother is also starting to date a new guy named Peter and now that she notices, Janus is having some boy trouble of her own.

I love the tension between Janus and her mother throughout the book. It completely realistic and reminds me of an over-the-top exaggeration on my own relationship with my mom (we don't agree on things very often). The way technology is incorporated into the story was great. I mean, I wasn't expecting much (the whole e-book thing is still skeptical to me haha) but this book actually blew me away. I genuinely loved the modern writingI style and how the book didn't end in a 'happily ever after' sort of way, but it was still satisfying. I totally wasn't expecting the plot twists, I ended up feeling emotions for the characters instead of just 'reading from the sidelines' and I couldn't help but root for Jonny's success as far as relationships go hehe. There WAS a bit of a love triangle, but the fact that the book wasn't revolved around it at all was awesome. I thought is was really cool that Jonny spray paints and is artistic, while the book also brought up real world issues about the modern high the world such as bullying on social media, how easily pictures spread, hackers, identity theft, child pornography etc. it was really quite interesting. The book is told in a very new generation social media sort of fun lingo with the occasion tweets from her different selves. It was really enjoyable to read :D

Alexa Stone and the Lake of Fire by Megan Boudreau

Alexa Stone and the Lake of Fire
By Megan Boudreau
Publication Date:  December 1st 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Source: Author
Find This Book: Alexa Stone
Rating: 4.9/5 (never thought I’d come across a book I wanted so badly to be a 5!)

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

*****I REEEAAAAALLLLLY wanted to give this book 5 stars, easily could have given it 5 stars, but there were just a couple of minor points I wanted to make sure i got across*

So this book is about Alexa Stone (obviously since her name is in the title). She’s your typical high school outcast. Her Foster Family, the Mochries, lives in a small town called Green Creek, where she gets excluded from basically everything. She’s not allowed to do afterschool activities because her foster parents make her work ungodly hours at their pawnshop and they only keep her around for the check they get from the government for housing her. Her foster family consists of an older sister named Abbey, a brother the same age as her named Tripp, and a little brother named Bradley. It’s a bit Cinderella-y really, except the Bradley is her friend and tries to help her out with all of her chores. Tripp and his friends bully her in school all the time (mostly this kid named Dillon Powers) and her only consolation is swimming. The original reason why everyone hates her is because she kicked Dillon’s butt in a swimming race and everyone says she cheated (how that’s possible, I don’t know). 
Her drab land life drastically changes when a new kid shows up to school one day and sticks up for her against Dillon. Landon comes in and sticks up for her when Dillon stuffs Alexa’s locker full of cafeteria trash. Why is this newbie being nice to her? It’s obvious he’d just make the whole school his enemy…

Landon is the key to her freedom. He has quite the crazy story, but it will give her a new life, in a new home, with new friends. Alexa is an elemental. Aquarians manipulate water, Terranians manipulate earth/metals, Avians manipulate air, and Pyranians manipulate fire. All of the elementals are separated into their own realms and this separation and control over their element achieved harmony on earth. Now Alexa discovered her love and skill in the water is because she is an Aquarian, and Landon Knight is going to take her to Obsidian, in the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a lot for a girl to take in all at once. She’s going to learn how to use her powers just like every other Aquarian kid, but they’ve grown up knowing whom they were and what they could do. None have ever been on land before, on Terranian terf, and Alexa is quite behind. To make matters worse, this evil dude Mortaroff, wants her for the destiny she inherited from her parents. The one he knew she would have since she was born. The one that he would kill for.

I REALLLLY want to give this book 5 stars. I loved all of the cool ideas brought into the book for life under the sea. Their unique clothing, wanting the latest shellphone models, their different ways of transportation even within the society…. It was all really interesting to read. There are just these little quirky elements deeply incorporated into the book, so that you can immediately tell that Alexa sticks out as a human. 

Negatives I would like to point out
There were a couple of spelling errors, such as Alexa’s hometown being called “Green Creek” throughout the book, yet mentioned as “Greek Creek” in the ending. But most importantly, the book felt like the plot was climbing but it never reached the climax, which left me feeling a bit unfulfilled. The book is called Alexa Stone and the Lake of Fire, so i thought the Lake of Fire would be a bit more important. it didn't really feel like it was part of the book much at all. She is at the Lake of Fire for a short scene where she finally comes face to face with Mortaroff who wants her source of power, which he easily takes from her, and she just RUNS AWAY. And that’s it… I mean, turns out she doesn’t need her ring to use her powers anyway, but she just gave the strongest person in the ocean the means to completely utilize his powers, and she just leaves it with him and the book continues! It just seems like the book is building up to this intense moment and then nothing huge ever really happens. So the plot wasn't perfect, but I really enjoyed the direction it was going in. Just not the way it was carried out.

Most importantly, I LOVED LOVED LOOOOOVVVVVED the characters in this book! (Which is really why I want to give this book 5 stars). They were all realistic and believable. There weren't any exaggerated traits, just ordinary people that you and know and love. 

I adore Landon as a character. Honestly, that moment after the Ring Ceremony between Landin and Alexa made me cry. With Landon I was really conflicted because he DID have a valid point in his argument but at the same time as was like ‘noooo you’re wrong, don’t you DARE do that!’ (read the book to understand what I’m talking about, because honestly it’s a great read and once I started I could NOT put it down. Literally, I was making up excuses to stay inside and read this book!). Landon just seems like such a sweet guy, but he feels the need to protect his feelings and his ‘image’ so he keeps things under a layer of ice. Landon seems totally crush-worthy, I am really looking forward to a book 2!

Carley is the first friend (other than Landon who Alexa met on land) that Alexa makes in Obsidian. Alexa isn’t exactly liked by many other apprentices either because in this realm, they’re all jealous of her (again, read the book and find out why!) Carley be-friends her before any secrets get out and is pretty gentled hearted, but Carley is also proud, has a healthy does of competitiveness, and is protective of her friends. She is the prefect girl to gossip with and really helps Alexa learn the ropes of being an Aquarian and acting like one too. Being born on land is unheard of for Aquarians and if the people knew about where Alexa was from, it would cause an uproar. 

Chase is her other key friend that Alexa makes and who Carley accepts immediately even though Carley and Chase are complete strangers to each other. Chase is from a talented Aquarian family, They own factories across the Atlantic and have high expectations for their son. Although Chase has talent in manipulating water (and even helps tutor Alexa), all he really wants is to have fun with life and he CERTAINLY doesn’t want to inherit his parents’ factories. Alexa meets Chase in one of his rebel stunts where he failed at making a floating orb and fell onto a rock and cut his arm. Alexa hadn’t been able to use her magic on command at the point and needed to make a flare orb to signal for help and save him form dying of blood loss (thank god because this adorable boy is a keeper if I do say so myself). I'm also really happy that this book didn't turn into a love triangle between Landon, Alexa, and Chase. Chase just comes across as the hilarious best friend, not the sexy boyfriend role, you know?

Although the book didn’t really climax, it was very satisfactory in many ways. The information about her parents was very intriguing and had me just as curious as Alexa. A key reason I loved this book that I should point out is that, for once, the female main character seems capable of taking care of herself. Landon Knight ( her Knight in shining armor) has so far come in and saved the day multiple times, but that was before she could handle her own powers. She is a very stubborn and determined girl (which I love) and I hope to see even more character development from her in the future. The book ends on a bit of a cliff hanger where you just learn some new information. She gets to spend some limited time with someone special and that was awesome to read, and then the book ends with her needing to talk to someone who has quite the new identity! Predictable if you ask me, but it confirmed my suspicions and had me wishing for more. Definitely a series I will read till the end!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Finale (Hush, Hush #4)
by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publication Date:  October 23, 2012
Publisher:   Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Find This Book: Finale
Rating: 5/5

Refresher (WARNING contains Books 1-3 SPOILERS!!!)

So as you all know (or SHOULD since this is a review of the fourth and final book) is that it’s about Nora Grey. She’s part nephilim, which means she is the daughter of a nephilim and a human, which means she’s the grandkid of a human and a fallen angel. Fallen Angels take control over Nephilim bodies during the month known as Cheshvan. So the two hate each other forever and ever. If a fallen angel kills a female descendent of their Nephilim host, the immortal host will die and the fallen angel will become human.

Nora is smitten with Patch (Jev) who is a fallen angel, saves her life in book one, becomes her guardian angel. Gets involved with Nora’s mortal nemesis Marcie in book2 while the mysterious Black Hand threatens Nora’s life, and the issue of Nora’s father’s murderer. Nora also encounters childhood friend ‘scotty the hotty’ (Scott) who turns out to be nephilim. Book 2 ends, Rixon is the murderer and also tries to kill Nora, Patch and Nora are back together, Vee the bff is witty as usual, and dunDunDUN Marcie’s dad is Nora’s biological father. Book 3 has Nora losing her memories and restarting her relationship with Jev (frickin’ adorable) and she spends the book recovering from being kidnapped by Hank! So end of book three was pretty intense and leaves the reader wondering what Nora will do now that she’s head of Hank’s Nephilim army! An Army that’s set on destroying their captors, destroying the fallen angels- destroying Patch.

My Thoughts: Let me just say that Scott was perfect. I loved him throughout this series, though I was TOTALLY rooting for Patch as far as being with Nora goes. Books 2 and 3 were nowhere near as good as 1 and 4 (as far as I’m concerned) and this last book made getting through 2&3 worth it for me. Throughout the series Nora hasn’t been very smart. Book smart, maybe, but not street/boy smart. This book was no exception. She knew that devilscraft was bad for her, but the way if heightened her abilities and made her almost as strong as a normal nephilim got her addicted to the stuff. DUMB. She’s also still really paranoid about losing Patch to another girl. Seriously?!?!?! After all you two have been through, you can’t trust him by now??!!?!!!???!?

However, this book made reading the whole series worth it! Oh my god! There are always these unexpected plot twists and betrayals from the people I least expect (such as Rixon in book 2). The second that Vee said she had a secret it was pretty obvious what it was, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be true. With everything going on it should’ve been apparent much sooner, and Nora’s heightened abilities in book 4 would’ve picked up on it. Her secret just seemed forced and didn’t seem to fit in with the book. Another thing I didn’t like is that Vee is normally a witty, loud-mouthed, strong-willed girl. And after Rixon, she swore off boys, but the second Vee sees this one guy she falls head over heels for him! I mean, they DO make an adorable couple and I totally shipped them, but still……

I honestly thought Marcie wasn't going to be the important in this book.... She’s annoying, self-centered, and honestly really bitchy. She wants to know who her father’s murderer is (that would be Nora) and decides to move- in with Nora and Nora’s mom! Geez, Mrs. Grey is too much of a push-over. So Marcie lives with Nora, gets some sister bonding and investigating done, and Marcie screws up so important plans…. Let’s just say that boy was I wrong about her being unimportant.

Nora shapes up and gained my respect towards the end, but the end was still heart-breaking ;( And Detective Basso's real identity? Geeez I didn't even THINK to consider something was up with him. Vee was sassy and hilariously witty throughout as usual :D Patch was frickin' sexy as HELL, thank god for that. Scott is still my favorite <3 There was a cute epilogue with Vee at the end which I thought was a bit too cheesy and overdone, but since she's not actually IN the ending of the book- the epilogue was definitely necessary, though Vee’s marriage wasn’t exactly acceptable in the eyes of Nikki the fangirl….

All in all, the Nephilim vs Fallen Angel tension was great. Having Nora lead the Black Hand's Army against the Fallen Angels, yet needing to quell Nephilim rebellion to appease the Archangels.... Intense. Loved Vee <3 Loved Nora and Patch's relationship <3 Loved this book <3