Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

                This book is curtsey of and Random House Children's Books.  I was lucky enough to receive this book a little while ago, and I have to say as soon as I started it I couldn’t put it down.  I'm slowly but surely putting a dent in my reading list, I'm the little reader that can.

                Now Shadowfell summary curtsey of

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strength captured and brought before him.  Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk-- Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she received aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential.  She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear.  Neryn struggles to trust her only allies.  They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule.

Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

                Sounds pretty amazing right?  Well yes it's a completely different world of Alban which is magical and dangerous.  People are not allowed to trust or even really enjoy any moment knowing that anything they do could be seen as unusual and in turn be sent to the evil King.  It's a horribly dark tale and I enjoyed every minute of it.

                Now don't worry it's not a dark depressing tale by any means.  It is dark but the point of the story is that there is hope.  Out main character Neryn, whom I adore as a strong heroine, has been through so much in her short life, things that would knock down stronger people but still she keeps moving forward.  She keeps hope that she will find that peace she was once told about. That to me is a much more vivid representation of what most of us go through every day when we have things to make it through, be it a long shift at work or just some dreadful task before you, always look to the end and the peace to be found.  I know I kept thinking pretty profound thoughts as I read this book.  If Neryn can keep going through all of this, I can make it through 8 hours of annoying people at work, okay so maybe not that profound.

                Marillier creates a vivid world for sure, but that world would be empty without equally detailed characters to fill it.  Now we have our main character Neryn who is on this journey.  She is young but she has not grown up in a happy place, all she has known was the horrible place of Alban which over the years has gotten darker and darker, still she holds on to hope.  She is scared for herself and those around her.  She is a wonderful character full of flaws and even when she was being stubborn and I wanted to strangle her for doing something I clearly knew was a bad idea (being a reader and not in the situation of course why don't characters know what we know), she was real. She has to figure things out each and every day, try to learn to trust these new allies of hers when she's been on her own for so long. 

                Now onto these allies for which I spoke.  There are a bunch of 'Good Folk' like Sage, Red Cap, Silver, and countless others for whom I am not going to even try to remember or spell.  They are all described so beautifully its amazing.  They each have different personalities which was fun to read.  Then more importantly, to me anyways, is Flint.  The mysterious man who saves her life but his motives seem unclear.  Even after he explains what little he can to her she is suspicious.  Can you really trust someone who you really know nothing about?  And what happens when you find out what/who they are?  He was beautifully written.  Strong, silent, mysterious, and haunted he is a man who invades your every thought trying to unravel. 

                Neryn has a special gift that is rare.  One that could be a great power to the war on either side.  Her ability to communicate and see the Good Folk even when they are hiding is strange enough to her but when she learns the deeper meaning of her gift she figures out just how perilous it really is.  Can she learn to use her gift and fight the good fight or will she be used as a weapon to squash out what little hope there is in Alban?

                This is only the first book in a series, of course if I'm reading it then it should be known the chances of it being a single book are 1 in a 100, so we have to wait for more.  Can Neryn learn to use her gift to help turn the tides in the war and bring the much awaited peace to Alban?  We shall have to find out.  This book came out September 11th.  If you're ready to be swept away into another world check it out.

5 Stars

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

                This is one of my ARC’s from NetGalley and Egmont USA, which I am way behind on.  I finished this book pretty quickly though and have to share my thoughts.  This book is the first in a series with a new take on demons.

                You have guess I’m sure that the series is about Demons.  You would be partially right.  See the book centers around Mia, a young girl who learns the hard way about her family history.  Being possessed by an angry and powerful demon, she survives but to stay safe she must travel to Milan and stay with her family she has never known.  Thrust into a new country she must learn about the history of the city, the language and just what it is the family does.

                You would think being taken to Milan would be a dream come true, a vacation.  Nope.  Between the studying and helping around the house, and the inability to leave the house without a pack of family to keep the demon way, well lets just say that puts a real damper on the whole vacation aspect. 

                This demon is the big bad, he has a past with Mia’s family and now with her.  is she strong enough to stand up and fight?  Can she learn her family’s craft?  The past?

                I really enjoyed the book I liked the family, the bizarre closeness even when personalities are polar opposites.  I admit I have an urge now to work on my cooking skills, have a glass of wine and learn Italian.  Speaking of the book is in English, thankfully for me, but its also in Italian if that makes sense.  Everything doesn’t just start speaking English, it’s more like subtitles but without reading every line of conversation twice, though every once and a while for common words you learn what they mean which I really enjoyed. 

                I liked Mia and I was rooting for her to find out more.  I wanted her to learn more so I could learn more about what the family does.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out so I can learn more.  There were parts that confused me, sometimes it was crazy hard to keep all of her Italian family straight but it was still fun.  I found that if I just kept reading and it came out easier than trying to make sure each name was well remembered. 

                The scenery and background of the setting was well written.  I’ve always wanted to learn more about different places but have just always been too lazy.  She takes everything in stride but is completely human and has her moments of frustration.  No it wasn’t action packed like one might expect but it had a different kind of creepy and haunting kind of action, the action of the mind.  Fighting is more than physical, it’s mental as well. 

                As for things I didn’t care for.  Well Mia does mention how hot her cousin is on more than a few occasions and well I may just be overly sensitive but that was kinda gorse to me.  Yeah nothing happens and I can admire that someone I’m related to has some handsome features but I never fell all fluttery about it.  Yep that’s pretty much my biggest issue with this book and it wasn’t a huge thing just something that struck me as well…odd.   

                I enjoyed this book and give it 4 solid stars.  It’s not for everyone that’s for sure but I hope you will give it a chance it is really clever and unique.  Haunting and creepy in a new way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Expendables 2 & The Bourne Legacy

                So I was wondering why no one had said anything about my last double feature and then realized that I never got to post it.  It’s been sitting here for a few weeks, had some internet issues and sigh I’m saddened to admit it but when it finally came up I forgot to post it.  So a little late but better than never, right?

                I finally did get to do my movie double feature.  I saw The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy, the two biggest movies out at the moment (obviously a clear indicator I am behind in posting).  They are both sequels that seems to be a theme of mine and action flicks.

                First lets dive off into The Expendables 2 which features…well let’s face it pretty much all the major action stars of the past.  This movie is bloody and violent to the extreme for sure but in the best possible way.  If you don’t’ want that then I don’t see why you considered this one in the first place, perhaps you were lured in by one of the many big star actors.  Either way be warned.  This is a guys movie so to speak.  I admit the only females in the theatre came in with guys and didn’t look nearly as excited as their other half.  One man in a pack even declared there were no single women seeing this, to which I had to advise him of his mistake.  All good fun I know I have a different taste than most females, like ‘a girl’.

                That being said I liked this movie more than the original.  There were so many inside jokes about the different action stars pasts it was great.  I had flashback moments to so many and giggled like a girl.  They even joked about the obvious things which made the movie for me.  They action was great and plentiful for sure.  There were guns, chases, explosions, and plenty of hand to hand al put together into one great action movie.

                More than anything the plot of this one was simpler.  I felt more invested in the outcome.  Honestly, I like personal stories more than the overall do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.  It gives the action a more powerful meaning.  Don’t get me wrong I can totally enjoy random action for the sake of action but if story is set up to make you care, then I want to really care, I’m silly that way.
                Any who I really liked the movie and totally recommend it to any action fans.  I give it 5 Skulls.

Rating:  5 Skulls

                Now for Bourne, Jason Bourne…not really.  The Bourne Legacy follows Jason in a way but we learn Tredstone was just the tip of the iceberg.  This story centers around Aaron Cross, played by the beautiful Jeremy Renner.  First off I must admit, he is so pleasant to gaze upon (click here to read a vivid description from ‘a girl’).  Now he is different than Jason, he has his memories; he is just realizing how things work.  Also you see how they are as good as they are, genetic re-energizing of the cells.  Yep pills that enhance the body and brain.  Just saying I wouldn’t mind that.

                I can’t really talk too much about it because it’s a movie following a complex plot and to give the wrong information away would be to give away a spoiler and you all know how apposed I am to that.  So I’ll just stick with saying if you liked the other 3 Bourne films you should totally check this one out.  Lots of intrigue and fast paced action, so would want these people on my side is all I’m saying.  It was just what I thought it’d be and wanted.

Rating:  5 Blue & Green Pills

                So there you have it a bit late and I do apologize for that but sigh I can’t help my internet.  I’m working on it but I’ll spare you my entire tirade about this company and my thoughts about them for the time being.  In the mean time I am reading and working on my review for the recently released and finished book.  Hope to post by weeks end.  As always questions, comments, rants, raves, please leave them below.