Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Faerie Guardian

The Faerie Guardian 
by Rachel Morgan

Violet Fairdale is poised to graduate at the top of the Guardian class and may even be the best Guardian to come from the Fae Realm in years. Everything is going perfectly for her until her latest rescue not only sees her, despite her glamour, but also hitches a ride from the human world into her world.

Now that she's accidentally broken rule number one, she decides to go ahead and break a few more rules on purpose. She repeatedly goes to see her new human boyfriend and even brings him back to the Realm a few times.

Unfortunately, other faeries and fae have found out about Violet's friend and a few other secrets that lead to even more secrets and more intrigue.

It seems halflings and fae are being sought for their special gifts and Violet's high on the list of targets.

Time is running out, not only for Violet, but for everyone she knows.

Final thoughts: Meh. Not fabulous and not awful. I found myself putting the book down repeatedly and then delaying picking it up again. Overall, it was decent, but I really didn't care about any of the characters that much. I definitely can't believe that Violet was so amazing since the only reason the reader knows that she may be is because everyone in the story keeps saying that she is, with little to no evidence that it's true. There's more to the story, but I don't think I'll follow through with reading those books.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Rose Master

The Rose Master
by Valentina Cano

When Anne Tinning turned seventeen, birds fell from the sky. A murder of crows simply passed some line and dropped to the ground.

That should have tipped her off that something was very wrong.

When she is called to see the lady of the house, she is informed that she is to move to a new home and a new job in two days.

Something was definitely wrong.

At her new home, there are no visitors, no leaving once in, almost no staff, and the master of the house is rarely out of his rooms.

It's also the middle of winter and roses are in bloom all over, completely surrounding the manor.

The freezing cold that permeates every inch of the home guarantees that something is wrong.

Anne must make the decision to stay and try to stop the evil that is everywhere or leave before that evil destroys her.

Final thoughts: Nice little mystery, but nothing wow-worthy. It does have a few haunting moments, but it's all pretty generic. This will add to a collection and tide over young adults if they need something with a bit of spookiness that's not really scary.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Is Your Afterlife

This Is Your Afterlife
by Vanessa Barneveld

It's only been a few months since her beloved grandmother passed away and Keira would give almost anything to see her again, but she wasn't born with the gift to see the dead.

Or so she thought.

When star football player Jimmy Hawkins disappears, the whole town hopes to see him again, but only Keira can.  He popped up in her bedroom with no knowledge of how he died and no idea where his body lies.

Now Keira must find help him find his body, find his killer, and find his peace.

Thank goodness Jimmy's brother, Dan, is around to help.

Final thoughts: Decent read. It reminds me a bit of The Body Finder series by Derting. The story flows pretty well and there are some good moments. The mystery is a little predictable and there are a few eye-rolling moments, but it's light and easy.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fairy Tale Reform School : Flunked

Fairy Tale Reform School : Flunked
by Jen Calonita

She's lived in a shoe her entire life. In the beginning, life was good and Gilly's family thrived. Unfortunately, when a fairy godmother figured out how to replicate the glass shoe that was designed by her father, business went bust and now they live hand to mouth.

To make ends meet and keep her siblings fed, Gilly becomes a pretty good petty thief. She has gotten caught occasionally, but she's also helped keep her family from starving, so she figures that feeding them is worth the danger.

However, when she steals a hair clip from a royal and gifts it to her sister instead of pawning it, the evidence is literally right in front of the guard who comes to confront her and now she's on her way to Fairy Tale Reform School or FTRS.  She's got a three-month sentence under the care of the Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella's story (now Princess Ella).  She'll be taught by the wolf from Red Riding Hood, the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid, and Snow White's Evil Stepmother.

But Gilly soon finds that FTRS isn't what everyone thinks it is and there is definitely something villainous going on in a place meant to reform villains.

Final thoughts: Fun little read with a few cute things going on. It's the start of a series and it seems like one that will get a decent following. I liked Gilly and Jax quite a bit. The teachers were pretty interesting, as well. My only real issue was Gilly's sister and her sudden change of behavior and attitude at the end. It felt strange and forced, like it's designed to be an issue in the future and this was a set up for that.

Rating: 4/5

ARC from NetGalley

The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase
by Jonathan Stroud

It's been over 50 years since the Problem arrived.

There had always been ghost stories around the world, but a sudden increase in paranormal activity has changed everything. Now adults come in at sunset, line their doorways and windows with salt and iron, and send children out to get rid of the spirits that haunt the land.

Lucy Carlyle comes to London after a disastrous ghostly encounter. She wants to get away from the bad vibes and get a job with a company that will respect her talents and instincts.

She finds what she's looking for with Lockwood & Co.. Most of their jobs are pretty small and easy, but they occasionally get a tough one that requires a firm hand. One of those jobs goes more than a little sour and now Lockwood & Co. needs a small miracle to stay in business.

With the necklace of a dead girl in her possession (that happens to be possessed), a ghost head in a jar, a murder mystery to solve, and a big payday on the way, Lucy and her colleagues have one night to clear a manor of some of the most dangerous ghosts ever located... and they also have to survive where no one else has.

Final thoughts: Cute mystery book probably aimed at upper elementary and middle school kids. Has a few great moments, a few good ones, and only a few bad ones.  Nice read. Recommend for preteens.

Rating: 4/5

The One

The One
by Kiera Cass

It's down to the final four. America knows that Maxon loves her and that he wants her to be his queen... or does he?  Every time she thinks they are truly meant to be together, something happens to tear them apart.

The rebels are getting more rebellious. The king is pushing to get her out of the competition as soon as possible. And the other girls are spending more and more time with Maxon.

With everything going on, can America turn the tide of the polling that shows her in last place, prove to the king that she'd be good for the country, and finally get the proof she needs that she and Maxon are meant to be?

Final thoughts: The first was good. The second was decent. This third book just got to be annoying. The only thing stopping America from being happy is her own stubbornness regarding admitting her love to Maxon.  They are both idiots in this book by both insisting the other one declare love first. While the conclusion is foregone, it's also a bit too easy.  The last couple of chapters fly by and are filled with all the right deaths to make America's ascension quick and pretty painless.

Rating: 3/5


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