Book Review: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

10429092Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
ISBN: 978-0062026507
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pub. Date:  August 2012
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/ Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/ YA
Pages: 448
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.  Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.  Most of the chosen do.

My Reveries and Ramblings:   Sooooo…..I REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK!  Before reading this, I went on a romance novel binge.  I probably read at least six romance novels.  (I was at the beach…don’t judge :P) After that, I was craving to read a book with a strong kick-ass heroine.  I was so tired of reading about damsel-in-distress-I’m-so-weak women.  So picked this from my goodreads TBR list….and read….and read….and didn’t stop.

Elisa, the protagonist, is a princess who carries the godstone, a gift from God to the people of Earth to defend them against dark magic.  Elisa’s possessing of the godstone has put her in constant danger since she was a little girl.  Of course, she never knew about the danger; her family kept her sheltered.  When her father marries her off to a King from a far away land, everything changes.

      Elisa is a fantastic character.  She starts off incredibly insecure, fat, and depressed.  She is fat because she eats when upset or stressed.  This is partly why she is very insecure.  She is, however, incredibly smart.  Over the course of the book, Elisa changes.  Some of these changes come at a great cost to her.  But she perseveres.  She starts out weak, and by the end of the book, she’s so much stronger.  What I liked most about Elisa was that she was so relatable.  She was nowhere near perfect, but was a character that many teenaged girls can look up to.  Hell, I’d like to be like her.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is really hard to review without giving spoilers.  This book does have romance in it, although you’ll be in for lots of surprises.  Every time I started to predict what would happen next or how the book would end, Ms. Carson would go “Yeaaaah no” and throw in a huge twist.  The Girl of Fire and Thorns was nothing short of gripping and epic.  It did involve religion, but it didn’t feel overwhelming.  

If you like epic stories with a strong, relatable, kick-ass heroine than you will LOVE this awesome historical fantasy book! 

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

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Book Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

10429015Title: Cold Kiss
Author: Amy Garvey
Series: Cold Kiss #1
ISBN: 9780061996221
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date:  September 2011
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads:   It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.
Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants–what she must do–is to bring Danny back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.
Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her–and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.
But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought–even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

My Reveries and Ramblings: This book was okay. I was able to read it fairly quickly in one sitting. There was very little detail. It was pretty much plot driven. The characters were a bit flat to me. I wanted to know more about Wren’s power and why her mom wouldn’t talk about it, or why her dad left. I also wanted to know more about Gabriel. But instead most of the book was entirely devoted to how badly she messed up by bringing Danny back to life and how she loves and loved him so much. I just wish Ms. Garvey spent more time on fleshing out the characters. The plot is there, the characters, not so much.
Having said that though, I do think the story was good, albeit predictable. It felt more like a novella or short story. There just wasn’t enough…of everything. But i did enjoy it. I’m not the biggest fan of zombie books and there were quite a few moments where Danny creeped me out. But I loved the message in the book. The messages were of love, loss and grief. Wren has to come to terms with losing her first love prematurely. Most people have lost someone in their lives. So I can assume everyone can relate and sympathize with Wren’s battle: her desire to keep the one she loves and her need to let him go.
Overall, I thought the book was okay. I will probably read the sequel at some point. I really hope the author expands on the world and answers some questions left from the end of the last book.

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Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss, #1)

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Book Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

9750937Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 978-1594485183
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Pub. Date:  June 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/ Fantasy/ Historical Romance/Paranormal Romance/ Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:   The latest from Ann Brashares, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a magical story of reincarnation and a love that lasts more than a lifetime Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. But just when Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

My Reveries and Ramblings: My Name is Memory is one of those books where you read the first page, and you immediately know that it will be amazing. There is so much I have to say about this book, so bear with me as I try and collect my thoughts and communicate them to you.
I have a not-so-small obsession with stories that involve reincarnation and romance. Something about soulmates and love lasting lifetimes just warms my heart and makes me smile. There is a drawback, however, to reading so many stories like this; they tend to all start to mesh together because most of the time they are all too similar. This book is not like that at all! The story was so original. It was so grounded in reality! It barely felt like a paranormal romance. In fact, by the end I felt like it could totally be possible.
The book switches between Lucy and Daniel’s POV; It also alternates between lives. There are many chapters dedicated to Daniel telling the story of his past lives and how he came to meet Sophia (Lucy) in all the other lives. He can recognize her soul even though her body changes with each life. Her soul becomes a beacon throughout his lives. However, they usually are far apart in age and it almost always ends in tragedy. It was painful to watch Daniel in his past lives try so hard to be with her, make her happy, make her know, and to apologize for what he did to her in that first life they met, only to fail again and again.
Daniel and Lucy in the present spend most of book apart. We see Daniel falling in love with Lucy through the stories of his past life. When Daniel transfers to Lucy’s school, she immediately becomes obsessed with him and that scares her. It’s the insta-love syndrome, but the heroine isn’t giving in to it (like in almost every other book), instead she seriously questions her sanity. When he approaches her after two years at the end of senior year, she remembers some of a past life with him. That is what causes her to run. She leaves him, heartbroken, because she is scared she has finally gone insane. The rest of the book takes place in the six years following the incident. She uses this time to flesh out her thoughts and feelings and find out the mystery surrounding Daniel. But neither of them realize that a danger from the past has been following them and wants revenge. This danger could tear them apart once again.
I feel so bad for Lucy. She is a very realistic person. The fact that she is being haunted by memories that knows didn’t occur in her lifetime very nearly convinces her she belongs in an institution. She spends a lot of the book trying to come up with an explanation for her love for a man that she’s barely spoken a word to, and the strange visions and memories.
There was only one teeny tiny thing about this book I didn’t really like that much. The pacing was inconsistent. The beginning was good and super interesting. Then the entire middle was long and ever so slightly tedious. The end picked up, though. But the information presented in the middle is extremely important for the series. It sets up the story and the history; plus the reader gets to see Lucy and Daniel fall in love. So it was still enjoyable.
What I really loved about this book (other than the reincarnation romance part), was that Ann Brashares explored the consequences of having memory as a special power. Daniel’s character changes throughout his lives. He learns and grows like most people do, but in many lifetimes, carrying those experiences over from life to life. His love and dedication to being with Lucy strengthens with each lifetime.
Ann Brashares has written a beautiful novel that touched my soul. While reading this book, I realized one of the reasons why I love reading about love is because it IS so beautiful. Words can caress the heart, bring tears to your eyes, pull at your heartstrings, make you stop breathing, make you laugh until your side hurts, and so much more. There were moments where I felt like crying. Their love was so beautiful it tore at my heart.
This book is not stand alone. It’s the beginning of an epic love story. The only sad thing is that now I have to wait for the sequel (THANK GOD it is a series), which from what I’ve heard, may or may not happen. Let me just say, IT BETTER! I’m serious, I will write a letter to the publisher if i have to!
So my recommendation, is that you stop reading whatever it is that you are reading right now, AND READ THIS!!!!

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My Name is Memory

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Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

7740152Title: Torment
Author: Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen #2
ISBN: 978-0385739153
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub. Date:  June 2011
Source: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Young Adult/ Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:   Hell on earth.
That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts – immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something – something dangerous. What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series…where love never dies.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Torment is one of those “in-between” books. You know, the kind of book where you LOVED the first and third one but the second is just eh. Well, I haven’t yet read book 3. But I’m really hoping I’m right.
I read Torment when it first came out. I didn’t like it very much. So it stayed on my to-be-reviewed shelf for a few years because I really didn’t want to sit and talk about a book that wasn’t that great. However, recently I picked it back up, wanting to get back into the Daniel and Luce story. And I found myself flipping through the pages rather quickly–stopping when I couldn’t stand what certain characters were doing–then picking it right back up again after popping some chocolate chips into my mouth.
Fallen (book #1) centered on the insta-love of Daniel and Luce. Book # 2 goes a bit deeper and has Luce questioning whether or not she trusts the mysterious Daniel, who has sent her away to keep her safe. In the process of trying to figure out who she is and was, she meets and befriends a whole bunch of really awesome people (Miles, Shelby, and a bunch of other angels, nephilim, and demons).
So I’m not going to lie, Daniel and Luce have a LOT of problems, starting with their ever-present and growing trust issues. Daniel spends most of the book trying to stay away from Luce only to fail and visit her while refusing to tell her anything useful other than “I love you.” and “You can’t do that.” Meanwhile, Luce is falling apart. She’s having a major identity crisis, which fuels her fights with Daniel. All the while, she is searching for anything that could help jog her memory of the past.
While I definitely related to Luce, I had a hard time accepting some of Luce’s decisions. It was so obvious what was going on, why she needed to be protected. But she just kept breaking the rules. Daniel, too. He was all “I love you!” but then when asked even a tiny question about what was happening, he was all brooding and distant. Come on!
Even though I wanted to strangle certain characters in this book, I still liked it and was able to finish it (with interruptions) in a day. I will FOR SURE be reading the 3rd book in the series.

 

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Torment (Fallen, #2)

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