Review: The Loved and the Lost by Lory S. Kaufman

Lizzie     Jan 23rd, 2013     Dystopian, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Fiction Std
Source: Received from publicist
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193655853X
ISBN-13: 978-1936558537



They are three 24th-century time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona and reclaim their medieval family’s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won – or lost forever.

In this, the final book of The Verona Trilogy, Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn’t have imagined – all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.

Today, I am reviewing the final book in the Verona Trilogy, as a part of Lory’s blog tour!

Read my review of The Lens and the Looker here and my review of The Bronze and the Brimstone here.

First off, let me say, I’m a little sad to see the covers redesigned! I loved the original covers for the first two books and how they had a sort of classic look to them. However, I think these new ones are great and will definitely appeal to more readers. Which is a good thing, of course. ;)

Now, on the story…

I’m so glad I agreed to review these titles. Time travel is a concept that I’m so fascinated by, and have been for years. And this series reflects the complications and wonderful things that could arise from it. That’s one of things I loved about this particular series: it shows, ultimately, that time is a very sensitive thing.

All of the characters evolved in The Loved and the Lost; the change I noticed the most was in Hansum, and it was a far, yet great evolution from the beginning of the first book. As the 14th century characters came back into play throughout the story, I felt quite a bit nostalgic for Hansum, Lincoln, and Shamira and the times they had in the beginning of their adventures.

The story got even better with this book! If you have read my other reviews, you know I’m more of the action kind of girl than a romance-y one, and Lory delivers on the action front twofold. I don’t think I can say there was a dull moment. Plenty of heart-wrenching ones? Oh, most certainly. I never felt bored while reading it though. Without a doubt, this book was the best of the series.

It’s hard for me to say that I liked the ending of a series because, well, who likes endings? I certainly don’t! But I did think this one had a truly great end. I’ve read (and I’m sure we all have) series endings that were lackluster and made me feel disappointed in having invested so much time in it. I didn’t feel that way with The Loved and the Lost and the Verona Trilogy. You really should give this series a chance. I don’t believe you’ll regret it for a second. 0=)

Review: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman

Lizzie     Jan 21st, 2013     Fantasy, Middle Grade, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Received from publisher
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594745919
ISBN-13: 978-1594745911

In Professor Gargoyle, we’re introduced to 11-year-old Robert Arthur and the strange world of Lovecraft Middle School. It’s a brand-new state-of-the-art facility—so why do so many creepy things keep happening? Why is the science teacher acting so strangely? And where are all the rats coming from?

As Robert explores with his new friends Glenn and Carina, he discovers that the school may be a portal to another world.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Middle Grade novel. I have mainly focused my reading on YA for the last few years so I’d forgotten how refreshing an MG novel can be.

I had a little trouble getting in Professor Gargoyle at first, mainly because there wasn’t really any character development. Getting past that and unraveling the story with Robert, I found myself done with the book quickly—I read it in less than a day while on a road trip from Texas to Ohio.

The main objective of the book was to get to the main plot in as few pages as possible (which I did like) so that’s why there is little character development. It doesn’t waste time with tons of back stories or narrative which could bore a younger reader. The actual plot fascinated me and kept me reading. The monster are awesome ;D

This is sort of like an American Horror Story for the younger crowd. It can be creepy and I adored that there was an homage to Poltergeist in its pages! I look forward to starting The Slither Sisters, the sequel to this book, which just came out in bookstores in the US. If you have a younger brother or sister, or a child who enjoys fantasy books, I definitely recommend this book for them.

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Lizzie     Jan 15th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 367 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423656
ISBN-13: 978-0525423652

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Haven’t read Crossed? Start here.

Wow. What a book.

I liked Matched a lot but it was never my most favorite book. It wasn’t what I expected or hoped for. It didn’t have action; it focused mainly on the romance. And while I enjoyed that romance, the lack of action disappointed me a bit. And as always happens when I read a book I only liked, I was nervous to read the sequel, pushing it back on my to-read until quite a time after Reached was released.

I don’t know why I did this.

Crossed is the perfect sequel: more action, a perfect balance between romance and action scenes, better than the first in so many ways. The writing also became even better, which, if you have read Matched, didn’t seem possible. The one thing that has always struck me about Ally’s writing was how lovely and pleasant the words are. Personally, I’m obsessed with words and her writing makes me appreciate them that much more.

The setting of Crossed was so gorgeous. I never really thought of myself as lover of canyons and deserts but after reading this, I’m so fascinated by them and I would love to visit the Grand Canyon, like immediately, thank you very much. I absolutely loved the idea behind the Carving and (possible spoiler!) the Society has tried capture it over the years. The village reminded me of my favorite book from my elementary school days, The City of Ember, which I absolutely loved.

There were points where I felt it dragged a bit, though. Especially about 3/4 of the way through, I got a bit bored. I feel like Ally knew where it may have dragged, because I found that when I was getting annoyed with the book, something new or interesting or twisty would happen and move the story along. Which, you know, is very much appreciated.

Crossed is a sequel not to be missed. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? The first book, duh! Read the first book then! I promise you’ll enjoy it. =)

Review: A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink

Lizzie     Jun 1st, 2012     Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Dial (March 20, 2012)
Source: ARC received from author
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0803737262
ISBN-13: 978-0803737266

Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world’s past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.

Michelle Zink masterfully weaves historical fantasy with paranormal romance to create a gripping tale of love and betrayal.

I was honored when Michelle picked me to receive one of very last ARCs she had of A Temptation of Angels. So thank you very much Michelle!

I really, really enjoyed this one. Probably more than her previous three books, and I loved the Prophecy trilogy a whole lot. There was just something about this one that I adored! Maybe it was the fact that this one is set in and around London? Maybe it’s those British accents? Or maybe it’s the writing, which is lyrical and engaging as I’ve come to expect from Ms. Zink.

I’m not sure. But I loved this book beyond words.

Helen is a strong character and I do wish that could’ve been showcased more. I know it is set in a time where women were considered very fragile but the boys in the story, Darius and Griffin, seemed to not realize that Helen was well and capable of doing a lot more than they allowed, despite that she was equal to their positions with the Dicata. I’m hoping in the next book, Helen sets them straight. That was the only thing I have complaints about. The rest of the book = awesome.

As I’ve said before, Michelle is an incredibly lyrical writer. She weaves such amazing tales, and she knows what she’s doing. If that wasn’t apparent in the Prophecy trilogy, it will be in this one. I had no trouble getting into the story because of her amazing writing. Well, also because there was absolutely no time wasted getting to the action! Right off the first few pages, the story began and I was so engaged in it.

And let me tell you: I’ve never been so torn between two male characters. Raum and Griffin were both so… GAH! Well, actually, Helen can have Griffin and I’ll have Raum. ;)

Enough of that.


Review: Casey Barnes Eponymous by E.A. Rigg

Lizzie     Mar 22nd, 2012     Contemporary, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading Level: Young Adult
Sold by Amazon Digital Services
Source: Received from author
Language: English
Purchase: Amazon

Three weeks into the school year music junkie Casey Barnes gets a second chance with the mysterious ex-boyfriend whose name she has not even been able to say. In hopes of saving studentkind from the hell that is high school, Casey has been slipping song playlists to fellow students while working in the library. When she gets another chance with her ex, she schemes to win him back by giving him one of the lists. Her plan works, but not quite in the way she hopes, and she realizes that truly winning him back will be a lot harder than choosing some killer songs. Namely, she will need to get the attention of the whole school in a way no one has ever done before.

Casey Barnes Eponymous is the debut novel by award-winning writer E.A. Rigg. For songs of the day and more follow the book on twitter, @CaseyBarnesEpon, or at the Casey Barnes Eponymous page on Facebook.

I never review self-published books. And it’s not because they’re not worthy of my time; really, I just have too many books to read. But when E.A. Rigg, author of Casey Barnes Eponymous, emailed me with her request, it really touched me. Believe it or not, I get a lot of emails from authors, self-pubbed or not, and some of them are just plain generic. When I read the email and learned about Casey’s story, I was definitely interested, especially considering the musical part of the story.

Casey was a great protagonist. She was flawed and funny and she had some awesome music taste! She definitely reminded me of myself in some ways (though I’m not exactly funny, no matter how hard I try to be!). Her complete and utter infatuation with Alex Deal was annoying at times, though. It seemed like it was hard for her to see what a jerk he was.

Which I can completely relate to. >__>

Overall, this was an awesome, quick read! Never mind that it’s self-published. That says nothing about the story in any way. If you’re a music fan, read it. If you’re a contemporary YA novel fan, read it. It’s cheap (only $2.99), it’s fun, and you’ll get a great new playlist out of it! Be sure to check out E.A.’s blog too, to learn more about what she’s up to!

PS.. Sorry I’ve been MIA again! I’ll be making a post soon to elaborate as to what exactly is going on around here.

Review: Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

Lizzie     Feb 9th, 2012     Fantasy, Paranormal, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 3, 2011)
Source: Bought
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316027375
ISBN-13: 978-0316027373

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help–or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister–and maybe still does. James doesn’t know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.

There are some secrets sisters aren’t meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink’s Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers.

I love this series and I’m so sad to see it is over. =/ The first book wasn’t so action-y as the second, and the second wasn’t as action-y as the third. Basically, it got better with every book!

Michelle has a way with words that is so terrific, it holds me in the book and I cannot put it down for hours. It was 10 PM when I started reading and before I knew it, it was almost 1 AM. Oops! I guess for some people, that’s not saying much, but lately, I’ve had trouble getting into books for a few months but I think this book is what finally cured me of that!

I was glad to see that James, Lia’s boyfriend in the first book, had returned in this one. That was the thing that bother me the most in Guardian of the Gate; James seemed to have completely disappeared, though it was for good reason. Still, I thought it was great to see him return. Now, though, I’m pretty partial to Dimitri hehe. ;)

I’ve noticed this trend that series finales are really great up to about the last five or so pages, and then the author throws in some bit that is totally unnecessary. I won’t mention any names *coughcough*Mockingjay*coughcough* but I think we all know of a book like that. I didn’t feel this way at all with Circle of Fire. I thought this had the most perfect ending, and it wrapped almost everything up nicely.

I don’t know what was missing. Probably, nothing was missing. It’s been a while since I read the first books in the series but I felt like something was left out. Don’t take my word on that though. I think I’m just mixing things up. Overall, I really, really loved this book and this entire series. It had one of the best endings I’ve read. It was action- and romance-packed, with a fascinating storyline. I cannot wait to read more from Michelle and I know I’ll returning these books over and over again!

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Lizzie     Feb 8th, 2012     Dystopian, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 386 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (January 10, 2012)
Source: Bought
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159514398X
ISBN-13: 978-1595143983

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Haven’t read Across the Universe? You should probably start here.

Excuse me, because this review may get a bit fangirl-ish. I promise I will try to control it.

Beth Revis seems quite normal when you talk to her via Twitter. She’s so grateful people love her books, she is kind and takes time to actually talk to fangirls like me, and she is quite endearing. Also, she holds amazing giveaways and contests.

That is just a facade. Underneath it all, she is an evil, evil woman who likes to torture her readers. You thought Cassandra Clare was bad? Psh. Beth is WORSE!

I loved Across the Universe beyond words. I will rave to you everyday of the week about that. I loved the claustrophobia of it, the adrenaline and the way things are weaved together in such a way that you never see the end coming. I love the cover in every single way. I love that the Godspeed symbol is on the jackets and embossed in the hardcovers of the first book.

But A Million Suns is way better than Across the Universe.

Normally, you would call that blasphemy. How is it possible to love the sequel more than the first one?! Well, it’s like this: Beth is a twisted woman and she shows you that in A Million Suns. Nearly every chapter, give or take, introduces a new point that sets your heart racing. It was so hard to put the book down and as such, I finished it within three sittings. Which has not happened in a very long time.

In simpler terms, this book freaking rocks!

Everything about it frustrates and entices you to the point where you can be engrossed for hours. I was fascinated the entire time, in so many ways. I really wish I could go into why but that would lead to extreme spoilers and no one wants that. :-( I do, however, think it would be a very good idea that you find out why I loved this book so for yourself. You won’t regret it! And if you do, I will pay you $1,000,000 for the inconvenience*!

* — I really won’t but sounds like a good idea, aye?

** — I can’t promise the ending won’t be frustrating and make it impossible to wait until 2013 for the last book but I can promise $1,000,000*!

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