Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Ramblings on Poison by Bridget Zinn

By: Bridget Zinn
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Author Website
Book Provided by: NetGalley

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her? 

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon. (from goodreads)

My Ramblings:

First of all, I love the cover. I know that they say don't judge a book by it's cover, but when you are scrolling through potential books to read on NetGalley, or browsing the shelves at the store or library, the cover is what catches your eye, it's what draws you in and it's the thing that makes you want to know more. 

Luckily the book lived up to the cover. I've always been a fan of this type of book. Strong female in the lead, mystery, murder and magic. Love it. Kyra is pretty awesome. She is one of the best potioners and for a long time was held in high regard, but now, after she tries to kill the princess (and fails) she becomes a fugitive. I liked watching Kyra trying to reconcile who she was with who she has become and who she wants to be. She doesn't like that she tried to kill the princess, but she has her reasons and she is steadfast in the belief that she is doing the right thing. 

What I particularly like about this story is that no one is exactly who they seem. Even Kyra, who we know the most about throughout the story, has a few hidden secrets up her sleeve. Fred is a great side kick and partner for Kyra. She is serious and on a mission, he is carefree and has a way of breaking down her defenses. Like Kyra, Fred isn't exactly who he claims to be and as we see them both try to figure the other out, we also learn more about the happening of the kingdom and why it's in turmoil. I have to say that every twist and turn that Zinn worked in genuinely surprised me. Some made sense the minute I read it, and others had me thinking "really? that's how that's going to work out?" only to have it reconcile itself later. It was all very well done. Plus, there's a pig and a wolf dog who embark on their own little love match, and who doesn't love animal sidekicks? 

So if you like books that pack a punch and keep you guessing this is a good one to pick up. It doesn't come out for another few weeks, but it's worth ordering. I know that I've already added it to next years library order. I think my kids will love it! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Ramblings on Wanted! by Caroline B. Cooney

By: Caroline B. Cooney
Release Date: Jan 22, 2013 (re-release)
Book Provided By: NetGalley
Author Website

Alice Robie's father has been murdered, and the police have an e-mail message in which Alice confesses to the crime. When her own mother suspects her, Alice has no choice but to flee in the hope of proving her innocence. (from goodreads)

My Ramblings:
I don't know about anyone else, but my love for Cooney goes back to my middle school days when I devoured The Face on the Milk Carton and it's sequels and then slowly worked my way through the rest of Cooney's books. They were really my introduction to mystery novels and I could not have been more excited to pick up Wanted! and give it a shot. 

To be honest I wavered on how to rate this book and how to review it. It was very good. The characters and the story were great. The story follows a girl named Alice who finds herself at the middle of a murder investigation. She is framed for her own father's murder and goes on the run while she tries to figure out what happened and how to fix it. The thing that I loved most was that just as I thought I had it figured out, something would twist or turn and I'd be scratching my head again. I figured out who the real killer was only a few pages before Alice did, so that was really great. Also, the way that some of the oddities were explained in the end really tied up nicely. So some of the things that I was questioning as I read really made sense once the story wrapped up. 

What bugged me were some of the technical issues that were scattered throughout. There weren't a lot, but some were glaring and really threw me off. For instance, early in the book Alice needs to change her clothes and the sentence says: "She yanked off her jeans and let them lie on the floor, ripped off her t-shirt, which fell half on top of the jeans, kicked off her sneakers, which banged into the wall and fell back onto the carpet." Now there are a few things wrong with this section and I actually read it once, then read it again, then a few pages later turned BACK to it to make sure I had really read that, then I posted it on Facebook. Little things like that drive me bonkers, but when it came down to reviewing the book I needed to remember that this was an ARC. Chances are these little mistakes were fixed by the time the book went out to readers. So I can't really count it against the book (so I didn't). It's funny though how small things like that can cloud your entire view of an otherwise great book. 

All in all this was a great story. I would have liked a little more character development on Alice, but considering the timeline of the story I thought that Cooney did an excellent job showing the reader who Alice was and made me, at least, really care for this kid who was literally running for her life. I certainly wouldn't say no to seeing more of Alice some day in another book!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Ramblings on Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows 
By: Yelena Black
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Author Twitter
Book Provided By: NetGalley

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed.
(from goodreads)

My Ramblings:
This was such an interesting and intriguing book. I thought I knew what to expect when I started reading the book, but it took some crazy and awesome turns along the way that made the book exceed my expectation. First let me say that this book was a pretty easy sell for me in terms of picking it up. I started dancing at age 3 (I learned to be a flower!) and continued dancing, teaching and choreographing all the way through college. I still lace up my toe shoes or tap shoes as the mood strikes and dance away all my stress. I love reading books about dance so I was very excited to pick this one up. 

I was not expecting there to be so much depth and mystery in this story and I loved it. From the summary I knew that there would be something about the missing sister, but I didn't at all expect how that would play out. 

***Minor Spoilers Ahead***