Category Archives: Review

Review: Fablehaven

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction.  The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic.  Enchanting? Absolutely.  Exciting? You bet.  Safe?  Well, actually, quite the opposite…

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven.  Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies.  However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.

I bought this book at one of our local bookstore a few weeks ago.  One of my many goals this year is to spend more time reading with the kids and I thought this was the perfect choice to start.  It didn’t hurt that both of them were excited about the book.  More often than not, one of them will like a book and the other will hate it which makes group reading difficult.

I read a chapter a night, even though they begged for more.  Ok, I confess, a couple nights I couldn’t put it down and had to read another chapter – suspense can be difficult to ignore!  As I typed up this review, I realized that one of my favorite  authors has the quote on the back.  “Like Harry Potter, Fablehaven can be read aloud in a family with as much pleasure for grown-ups as for children…” — Orson Scott Card.  He’s absolutely correct!

I loved the story line and the characters, although I will say Seth bugged me throughout the book.  Every time his grandfather told him not to go somewhere or look at something he turned around 5 minutes later and did what he was not supposed to do.  The first time was fine, but by the fifth or sixth, it got frustrating.  I found myself saying to the kids quite a few times “see what happens when you don’t listen!?”  LOL.

All in all it was a very good read and I’m looking forward to starting #2, Rise of the Evening Star tonight.

Rating: 8 – Great!

Next up: Fablehaven Rise of the Evening Star

The most dangerous evil has infinite subtlety and patience.  Beware: It is Rising.

At the end of the school year Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures.  Grandpa Sorenson invites three specialists – a potion master, a collector of magical relics, and a trapper of mythical creatures – to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to steal a hidden artifact of great power.  Time is running out.  If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world.

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Review: the Iron King

How did I get this book: Purchased

This is a book I bought with my lovely birthday amazon gift certificates (my family knows me well!)  I started reading it a few nights ago, and have had a hard time putting it down.  I would read each night until the letters started blurring, and I would still want to read just one more page. I enjoyed the way the author brought in characters from faery tales like Puck and Oberon & Titania.  I’m fairly sure I’ve seen the Ash character before too?

From Amazon:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The second book in the series, The Iron Daughter, will be available on August 1, 2010, and I’m having a really hard time waiting for it …. I mean that’s almost 2 months away!!  To satisfy cravings, and as a very cool gesture, the author has written a novella called Winter’s Passage, that takes place between the first two books.  It’s available for free via the series website until July 31st.  You can download it here for free, or for $2.39 from Amazon.

I frequently add new books to my To-Be-Read lists from reviews posted by Ana & Thea at The Book Smugglers.  They also reviewed The Iron King, and gave it a lower rating than I did, and it seems like the comments are either loved it or had a hard time finishing it.  One comment made me realize why I like this book so much.  It really does remind me of Labyrinth and The Neverending Story, which were two of my favorite movies growing up.  I guess I just like that “rescue the child, save the world” storyline.

Joust – Mercedes Lackey

joustMercedes Lackey has long been one of my favorite authors.  I flew through all of the Valdemar books, and still continue to buy and devour any new books in the series.

I picked up Joust a few years ago while on spring break, and quickly read through both Joust and the second in the series Alta.  Then proceeded to buy the remaining two books in the series as soon as they came out in hardcover.  Joust is not related to Valdemar at all,  in fact it reminds me more of the Elvenbane series by Lackey, and Andre Norton (another all time favorite of mine).

When I first received my kindle a year and a half ago, Mercedes Lackey was one of the first authors I looked for in Kindle version.  Unfortunately, many of her books weren’t available.  Since I had loaned out Joust to a friend (not sure which one though), and never received it back, I’ve been missing the beginning of the series.  I finally broke down and bought it in paper version again this spring break, and have been reading it slowly the last few days. 

Re-reading it, I find myself getting caught up again in the world of Vetch and the Jousters.  I love the world building, I love the characters, I love the controversy that she creates with Vetch starting to like his “captors” in particular Ari.

Definitely will be in my re-read list again, and this time I’m not loaning it out.   But, I did just realize another advantage of the Kindle.  Yes, we can’t share books with it….. but we also don’t have the problem of not getting them back either!  🙂

Rating: 9 – Excellent!

Amazon: Paperback

TBR Wednesday – January review

tbr-challenge-2009

January It’s all about the category, baby. Harlequin, Sil. Intimate Moments, Harl. Blaze, Harl. Presents. A lot of readers have been enjoying some great category titles of late. Hey, they’re quick reads, too! Did you buy any of them last year and didn’t read them? Now is your chance. Don’t have any? Grab a book out of your stacks and get to reading, you’re not excused.

 

rosie

My choice for the January theme is Everything’s Coming Up Rosie, by Kasey Michaels.  I’ve had this on my TBR shelf for a little over a year, I think it got buried for awhile and I forgot about it.  I don’t think this qualifies as a category read, but it was published by Harlequin Books, so I’m close!  And more important,  I have at least one down on my TBR list. 🙂

From the back: What’s a dedicated bachelor doing at a week-long society wedding celebration? Doug Lllewellyn is being bored out of his skull … until a beautiful, unknown woman calls him “darling”, then plants a big we kiss on him.  Suddenly boredom is no longer Doug’s problem.

Rosie Kilgannon, she of the big wet kiss, is also a guest at the wedding, and although she’s used Doug as away to escape an amorous admirer, that kiss was really something else!  Why not enjoy each other for the week, no strings attached?

Which might have worked, if not for the weeping bride, the suspiciously shifty groom, the neurotic wedding planner … and the fact that True Love often sneaks up on the unwary and belts them right in the chops!

All in all, it was a light, fast read.  Rosie is a strong, educated, independent and quick witted woman which always makes me happy.  Doug is the typical playboy with a dating rule that makes me cringe.  He only dates women between the age of majority and 25, maybe 26.  Given he’s just turned 41 …. ummmm ick!  But he does redeem himself, and realize the error of his ways – always a good thing in a leading male character! 🙂

I probably won’t read this one again, but it was an entertaining few hours.  I will most likely buy her next book for the light hearted, quick beach read this summer.

Rating: 5 – just ok.

There are many people participating in the TBR Challenge, hosted by Keishon at Avid Book Reader.  To read other reviews, go here for a list of links.

Review: Ender in Exile

ender-in-exileEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite books of all time, but, I’ve never really been able to get into and enjoy the Ender sequels (Xenocide, Speaker for the Dead etc).  I read a few reviews on Amazon for Ender in Exile, and decided to give it a chance.  I’m really glad I did.  Ender in Exile begins following the aftermath of the Formic (aka bugger) war, when Ender wins the final battle. 

As I started reading Exile, I realized it had been awhile since I read Ender’s Game.  I searched my house high and low, but could not find my copy.  I’m sure I loaned it out to someone and never got it back.  So, I decided to download it on Kindle so that I could re-read that first.  Low & behold, there is no kindle version of Ender’s Game!!!!   Needless to say I was a little disappointed.  I ended up reading Exile, without re-reading Game, but it ended up being ok.  Pieces of Game that I forgot came back to me quickly while reading Exile. 

Favorite part:  When Ender arrives on Shakespeare colony (no spoilers), just my favorite part. 🙂

This book is the perfect segue into Speaker for the Dead, and I’m planning on re-reading Speaker and Xenocide with a more informed eye. 

Rating: 9 – Excellent!  (probably worthy of a ten, but nothing can quite compare to the original Ender’s Game in my mind)

Amazon:  Hardcover, Kindle, Audible (audio clip on Audible of Orson Scott Card discussing his writing and the direct links between Ender’s Game and Ender in Exile)

Review: The Eye of Night

One of my favorite discoveries this last year, is a community of authors and readers who take their time to write about books.  I first stumbled upon Lysrian’s “I Read What?” blog midway through the year, and thought it was a great idea.  I read so many books, that I lose track of my likes and dislikes, I lose track of those authors that I really want to read more of, the series that I start but never finish because I’ve forgotten about them by the time the next book is published.  A few months ago, Lysrian reviewed Wanderlust by Ann Aguire.  Both a book and author I had never heard of, nor seen on bookshelves.  I was intrigued by the story line though, and my next stop at a bookstore, I picked up Grimspace, the first book in the Jax series.  I really enjoyed it.  The story line was unique, the writing brought the story alive.  I had found a new favorite author.  So imagine my happiness when I discovered she had a blog of her own.  I subscribed to the rss feed, and have been happily keeping up to date with Ann’s happenings.  About a week ago, she posted a rave review about the book The Eye of the Night by Pauline Alama.  She was so complimentary of the book I had to read it myself.  I downloaded the book on my kindle immediately after reading the review, and started the book that night.

eye-of-nightThe Eye of the Night – By Pauline Alama

One of the frustrations I have with the Kindle, is they don’t include the back blurb with the downloads.  I found this by googling Eye of the Night synopsis.

“The Troubles coming down from the North threaten to engulf the world in chaos. Even time and reason seem frayed to the breaking point. Jereth, disillusioned ex-priest of the Rising God and sole survivor of a shipwreck, finds his own life the perfect mirror of a world spiralling toward catastrophe. He has nothing; he has nowhere to go. But then one night he meets two mysterious women, a prophet and a fool, each with her own secrets. They involve him in a quest to save the world from death by traveling into the heart of the Troubles, bearing a talisman of night. He follows them without really understanding their quest – for their dark vision gives him his first glimpse of hope. But what can three penniless vagabonds, unarmed and unprepared, do about forces that threaten to crack the world?” Pauline Alama

I was captivated with this story from the first line.

“I little thought, when I begged shelter at Kelgarran Hall one rainy night, that I should take part in its downfall.” 

The story draws you into the quest of the main characters, and lures you along with a  love story that remains in the background until the last quarter of the book.  The love that develops between Hwyn and Jereth is heartbreakingly pure.  Most of the time, Epic Fantasys have so many characters that it’s hard to keep everyone straight.  I find myself flipping back through pages trying to remember who so-and-so is.  I didn’t have that problem in this book.  There are a lot of secondary characters, but they’re so well developed, you don’t forget them.  And, unlike some books, the names are very dissimilar, so I never confused one for the other.  I’m having a very hard time letting this story go, and it’s more than just the main characters, the world that she created haunts me. 

I truly enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to discussing it with others who are reading it based on Ann’s review.  She’s setting up a book club to discuss it after everyone’s had a chance to read it.  Once she sets that up, I’ll post links from here. 

Rating: 10 – Perfect!