Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: The Graveyard Book

Jack killed the mother, the father, and the sister without a qualm – but somehow, he let the baby boy escape. Nobody Owens made his way into a graveyard, where the ghosts of the Owenses promptly adopted him. With the help of Silas, a mysterious not-quite-human not-quite-ghost being, they raise Nobody as best as they can. They teach him to Fade, and walk through walls, and do all the other things proper ghosts do.
But as happy as Bod is in the graveyard, the other ghosts can never forget that he is, in fact, alive. And the man that killed his parents is still out there, searching for his one mistake and waiting for the chance to finish the job…

Entertainment: ★★★★

I was a little surprised to find that The Graveyard Book was illustrated, but the occasional pictures were actually pretty cool (in an abstract kind of way). Anyways, I thought it was a very funny book and I liked reading it.

Plot: ★★

I give the plot two stars because there really wasn’t a central plot. There were a lot of side plots revolving around Nobody, but no ultimate goal or quest or whatever, not really. Also, the side plots themselves were a little cliché and none too surprising.

Characters: ★★★★★

Nobody himself was actually pretty bland – grey eyes, grey clothes, grey personality – but the ghosts and the Jacks more than made up for him. The ghosts were funny, and author does an excellent job of giving them all unique personalities and voices. Silas was interesting, although a little too mysterious for my tastes – we never found out what, exactly, he is, although I’ve made an educated guess – and the Jacks were decent villains, although most of them didn’t come off as particularly scary.

Writing: ★★★★

The writing could have been a little more descriptive, but besides that it was pretty good. The action moved at a nice pace, the characters all had their own unique voices (except for Nobody, who really didn’t have a voice at all) and Gaiman does a good job of crafting an interesting world in the graveyard.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shay Doran's Clues

I got a package in the mail today. Inside was a letter.

Thanks for helping me with this. I think if we all post pics on Facebook of the clues we find, then together we can solve this mystery.


Well, obviously I was excited.  And my clue was in the form of... an old book?

I was a little confused until I noticed two bookmarks.  Openig the book to the marked pages, I found

Although you probably can't see it in those pictures, there were words outlined in the design. The first read just "Efron Bane."  The second said, "Marise's death made him master of the Bane pack."

I've got no idea where this is going, but I'm excited!  And now I really can't wait to read Nightshade!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Mistborn

Vin is a street kid, living as a thief in a street gang.  She's not happy, but she's alive, and that's all she really wants. After all, she's skaa; a serf, a peasant, and a girl at that.  What more can she really expect?  But then she meets Kelsier - showy, flamboyant, magic Kelsier - who recognizes her for what she is.  She's a Mistborn like him.  He teaches her to use her powers, and takes her to a world she's seen but never even dreamt of entering: the world of the nobles.

Kelsier, meanwhile, is the Survivor of Hathsin, the only person to ever escape a death sentence.  He has a grudge against the Lord Ruler and he's willing to throw the country into anarchy to despose the immortal king.  Vin is just another pawn in his plan... a plan to save the world and bring revolution.

Entertainment: ★★★

Although I was mildly interested by the story, I wasn’t dying to know what would happen next. Things moved a bit slowly and at times even dragged. I liked Mistborn, but I wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about it.

Plot: ★★

There were twists and turns and U-turns that kept me guessing… right up until about halfway through the book. From there, I guessed (accurately) about nine-tenths of the rest of the story. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed.

Characters: ★★

Kelsier really shone, easily earning a five. Vin was decently written. After that, everything went downhill. Even Kelsier’s awesomeness couldn’t save his friends and enemies from two-dimensionality. Frankly, most of the characters bored me; they had a single, central trait, and beyond that trait never developed, grew, or did much at all except serve as stage props for Kelsier and Vin.

Writing: ★★

Sanderson loves details. Loves them. As a result, the writing is detail-oriented and is bogged down with often repetitive and/or useless descriptions, making for very slow reading. Also, although the story is in theory told from several (too many, at times) points of view, there is very little difference between the characters’ voices, and so the point-of-view switches just made for further confusion in an already complicated story.

World Building: ★★★★★

I know, this isn’t a category I usually have on reviews. But I couldn’t help it. The one redeeming feature of Mistborn, in my opinion, is its world building. This is some of the best I have ever seen. First of all, the “magic” is creative, innovative, unusual, and really interesting; the Mistborn swallow and then "burn" different types of metals to create different powers. Second, the “past” isn’t a half-baked legend or two, it’s got a fully developed history. Finally, the world itself is imaginative and unique, from its weather (although, to be fair, I did want a bit more explanation for the unusual “ash falls” and such) to its flora and fauna to its social structures. Although the rest of the book isn’t that great, I thought it was a worthwhile read just for its world building.

To be fair to the other books I review, however, I won’t factor WB into my final score.

End Result: two stars. I was not impressed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Follow Friday Blog Hop Funness

My question for you guys, what is your high fashion book? --- translation --- best book cover ever.

Definitely Dark Life (my review and a picture of the cover here).  Although you can't really see it on-screen, it's got this great glossy finish with metallic elements.  Gorgeous.

Book Blogger Hop

When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

Usually a day or two after I finish.  Sometimes I'll start early if I've got a point I really don't want to forget, and sometimes I'll procrastinate if I didn't like the book.  I don't like to review right away, because I have this funny little habit of needing to kind of step back and think about the book as a whole; if I just read it I'm still too involved with the characters I liked and the plot if I liked it to write a really honest review.

Alright, that's it for this Friday!  Welcome to novapsych, friends :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: The Light Fantastic

The wizard Rincewind falls off the edge of Discworld, his planet, which is a disk balanced on four giant elephants on top of the Great A’Tuin, the giant space turtle. Except Rincewind once read a book he shouldn’t have, and as a result one of its Eights Great Spells escaped into his head. This spell saves his life, and launches him into an adventure involving druids, other wizards, trolls, mercenaries, the Tourist Twoflower, Twoflower’s sentient and rather violent Luggage, the four Horsemen, the ancient barbarian Cohen, Dungeon Dimensions, and the quickly approaching red star which may or may not be the Apocalypse. And somehow, Rincewind and his Spell are the keys to it all.

Entertainment: ★★★★★

This might just be the funniest book I've read this year. I literally laughed out loud. Every page had me cracking up as it threw in another witty twist or random side character or crazy description of Discworld.

Plot: ★★★

I have to say, the “plot” was mostly nonexistent. For 241 pages, the main characters collided wildly with each other and with a whole host of side characters and apparently random events. It wasn’t until the final few pages of the book that the characters weren’t just running around, haphazardly destroying things. Regardless, what plot there was I enjoyed very much.

Characters: ★★★★★

Just for their incredible, ironically-stereotypical hilarity. Twoflower and the Luggage, particularly, were really excellent. Normally I don’t like it when I don’t connect with characters, but in this story I was happy to just sit back and watch them create chaos.

Writing: ★★★★★

Pratchett’s writing is witty, intelligent, and makes fun of just about everything and everybody. It has the perfect balance of irreverence and sarcasm that had me laughing at each new page.

Overall: Five stars.  A really excellent book.  Read it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday

This week, I can't wait to read Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld!

Okay, so, I've loved everything I've ever read by Westerfeld.  He's my favorite author.  So obviously I'm excied about his next book!

It's a sequel to Leviathan, a very good book in its own right.  They're part of a series about another version of the World Wars with a steampunk twist.  The Behemoth description, courtesy of Simon & Schuester: The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker Powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.
Behemoth is set to come out on October 5th.  I know I'll be reading it!  Will you?  And what soon-to-be-published book are you dying to read?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trailer Tuesday


This week's first trailer is for Heavenly. First, bonus points for using Evanescence. I like that song. Second, what a cute video! Makes me want my own angel.


The second video is a little sadder.  But the word-overlay effect and the church music, although very solem-feeling, make me really interested in the questions, and their answers.  I think I want to read Deadline.

What do you think of this week's trailers?  And what's your favorite book trailer?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Little Sister

Mitsuko Fujiwara, or Little Puddle as she is known, is the fourth daughter of a minor lord in Japan of the 12th century. When she is thirteen, her home is burned, her family kidnapped, her brother-in-law slain, and her favorite older sister struck with a mysterious illness. Desperate to save her sister and her family, Little Puddle joins forces with a tengu, a shape-shifter, and journeys across Japan and all of its mythology, learning about her true self in the process.

Entertainment: ★

I just didn’t like Little Sister that much. I found Mitsuko whiny, her quest boring, the mythological beings of all sorts confusing, and the conclusion of the book dull. The author didn’t properly explain the various gods and creatures Mitsuko confronts, so I was left wondering what on earth they were. The “quest” was rushed, not particularly well executed, and had too many pointless dead ends. Maybe I would have enjoyed the story a bit more if I were more familiar with Japanese mythology, but I doubt it.

Plot: ★

The plot has several different branches, but Mitsuko’s main quest was the journey to find her brother-in-law’s soul, which had apparently gone missing and taken Mitsuko’s sister’s soul with it. How on earth she jumped to this conclusion I still don’t understand. Well, she journeys around aimlessly with her tengu friend Goranu, meeting deities that take strong likings to her for no apparent reason but despite all their power are absolutely useless in her quest. Overall, the ending was easy to predict. Most of Mitsuko’s actions (and those of most of the characters, actually) were never really explained.

Characters: ★

There was nothing at all interesting about Mitsuko. She was the stereotypical rebellious-princess figure, and wrapping her in a kimono didn’t make her any more original. She was extremely flat and boring. Most of the other characters in the story followed a similar trend. The “trickster” tengu wasn’t particularly clever or funny. The side characters, when they were characterized at all, were given uninteresting descriptions and voices that all sounded alike. I doubt I’ll be able to recall a single character from Little Sister in a month from now; they were simply uninspired.

Writing: ★

The descriptions were bland, when Dalkey bothered to describe anything. The character’s voices all sounded alike. The narrator was unoriginal and unexciting. Overall, the writing was just boring.

Overall: one star. Don’t waste your time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

General Update Part Deux

First of all:

Friday Following funness :) This is my first time so I might very well be doing it wrong, but yeah... follow me, let me know, I'll follow you?  That's how this works, right?

Next order of business, I've decided to revamp the Friday meme.  It's just going to be Feature Friday from now on.  This might mean playlists, fashion, poetry, whatever I happen to feel like rambling about any particular week.  Approve?

Finally, just posted the review for The Hunchback Assignments.  You should check it out because I write awesome reviews :)

And that concludes this time's General Update.  If you read this far, YOU are AWESOME.

Thanks for reading, following, visiting, commenting... whatever it is you do, I appreciate it and hope you're liking novapsych!

Review: The Hunchback Assignments

Modo, a deformed child, was adopted by Mr. Socrates and raised in isolation.  He learned to be intelligent, clever, an excellent fighter - and to harness his mysterious ability to shapeshift into another person.  As the final part of his "training," Mr. Socrates throws Modo into the heart of Victorian London and leaves him to make his way alone.

It's not long before Modo, making a living as a detective, discovers a sinister secret society.  And at the same time, orphans are disappearing all over London.  A few reappear as suddenly feral, wild children; most never come back.  With the help of Octavia Milkweed, former street urchin and fellow "agent" for Mr. Socrates, Modo must thwart an evil plot and save the Parliament, and London as he knows it...

Entertainment: ★★★

This is one of those "junk food" books; I knew as I read it that the characters were bland, the plot boring, etc., and it wasn't a great book.  Still, I had fun reading it.  Also, bonus points for the amazingly awesome cover art.

Plot: ★

Don't read this book if you don't like cheesiness.  There's an evil doctor.  A giant clockwork robot.  A hot evil assistant.  A hot fellow agent.  A young and not-fully-trained main character.  I could go on about the sheer stereotypicalness of the story for a long, long time.  It was like your average boring comic book, with steampunk elements.

Characters: ★★

A few of the characters were mildly interesting.  Most weren't.  Most, in fact, could be described by the word stereotype.

Writing: ★★★

I think I'd describe Slade's writing as a "worthy effort."  It was good, but not fabulous.

End Result: two stars.  I wasn't impressed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Perfect Chemistry

Alex is a Mexicano, a poor kid from the south side of Fairfield with gang tattoos and a reputation to match.  Brittany, the head cheerleader, is white and rich and beautiful.  They could never be together... or could they?

After they're matched up - unwillingly - for their chemistry class, they start to learn things about each other.  Things like the fact that Brittany's "perfect" life is inches from chaos, as her mother is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her father is never home, and her older sister has cerebral palsy.  Things like the fact that Alex doesn't want to be in a gang, doesn't want to deal drugs or hurt people; he only wants to protect his family.  Slowly they discover a growing respect for each other... and maybe more.

Entertainment: ★★★

This is a little, maybe even a lot, out of my usual genres, but I still liked it.  A little predictable, maybe, but a nice and exciting and even funny at times book.  And I have to mention, that cover is basically awesome.  I don't even know why I love it so much, but it's the best cover I've seen in ages.  Seriously.

Plot: ★★

I was a little underwhelmed by the plot - hello, Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story, again - but Elkeles does manage to pull it off to a certain extent.  And I did like the ending, even if I could see it coming two hundred pages away.

Characters: ★★★★

I liked Brittany.  She's quite an impressive protagonist.  Alex is nice too, although I didn't connect with him quite as much.  The really good thing about the characters in this story is not the characters themselves - although they certainly hold their own - but their interactions with each other.  Brittany's relationship with Colin, particularly, really shone; it was the best example of a brilliantly written failing relationship I've seen in a while.  Completely realistic.

Writing: ★★★★

Elkeles does a great job of giving his protagonist distinctive voices.  Really the only thing I disliked about the writing was the continual gushing about how hott Brittany/Alex are.  Okay, we get it, he's got abs.  Okay, we get it, she's got perfect hair.  Move on.

Besides the gushy bits, though, Elkeles is a really talented writer who manages to make two very disparate worlds and two very different people come together in a completely believable way.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday

On Wishlist Wednesday, I blog a little about an upcoming title I'm excited to read; this week, I can't wait for Enchanted Ivy!

The summary, courtesy of Amazon: What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

So yeah, what's not to love?! And a were-tiger sounds really, epicly amazing.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trailer Tuesday

Fun fact: today I learned how to pronounce "meme."  I'd always said it like two "me's" put together: me-me.  I was wrong.  Apparently it's properly said "meem."  Interesting.

Now, on to the trailers!

I just read The Dark Divine recently (review coming ASAP~) and liked it.  This is the trailer to go with it!  Here's the thing: I love it until the close-up of the guy's face.  He looks nothing like how I pictured Daniel (or Jude, for that matter.)  But maybe that's just a personal thing.  It's still a nice trailer.

Nightshade is coming out in just a few weeks, and it's been getting a lot of buzz in the blogosphere.  I know I certainly want to read it!  Anyways, the trailer is fabulous!  Seriously, I'm in love with the artsy, pastel-y, flowery feel!

What do you think of these trailers (or the books themselves)?  And what's your favorite book trailer?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Save the Words Sunday!

I stumbled on this crazily amazing link earlier today, and after wasting a few years on this site I just had to share it!

It's a collection of all the fabulously descriptive words that nobody uses.

It's actually a little depressing when you think about all those poor, forgotten words.

But you can spend a fun and very educational hour clicking around enjoying all the crazy words.  My new favorite word is "quibblism," or maybe "operiment," or even "stiricide (the falling of icicles from a house)."  I adopted all three.

Come on!  Let's spread the words!  Go and adopt and start utilizing those obscuriferous words!

(And come back and tell me which you adopted!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review: Poison Study

Before her execution, Yelena is offered a choice: hang for her crime, the murder of Reyad; or, become the ruler’s food taster. Naturally, she chooses the option offering even a limited chance for survival. Under the guidance of Valek, the chief spy-assassin of the realm, she learns to distinguish poisons by scent, texture and taste, and then is responsible for ensuring the Commander’s survival. The cost of failure, of course, is death.

Under Valek’s guidance, Yelena blooms again next to Ixia’s most powerful man. If she can detect and survive poisons, she can live a happy and prosperous life beside the Commander... and beside Valek. But Yelena has more on her mind than poisons. There is the ghost of Reyad, who haunts her. There is Reyad’s father, General Brazell, one of the most powerful men in Ixia, who wants nothing more than to see Yelena die in agony. There is her growing but deadly attraction to Valek. There is her own dark past. And on top of all that, there is a subtle but fatal plot spreading like a disease over Ixia…

And oh, yeah, Yelena might be a magician, which in Ixia carries an immutable sentence of death.

Entertainment: ★★★★

I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I didn’t see all of the plot twists coming, and overall I enjoyed reading this.

And I have to note, this cover is basically amazing. Especially how her eyes match the green of the plants perfectly...

Plot: ★★★★

First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a food taster before; I loved that unique angle. The storyline was interesting, if occasionally predictable, and the romance fairly well-written. There were a couple of twists, some of which were expected but some of which came as a complete surprise and kept the story interesting.

Characters: ★★★

I loved Yelena. She was interesting, and she had a dark past but wasn’t whining about it every other page. She was also practical, and didn’t let her faith in humanity and nice things like that get in the way of basic survival. I like heroines who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves instead of their ideals (yes, people, there's a difference.) Unfortunately, she couldn’t quite make up for the other characters, who all felt a little fake and flat.

Writing: ★★★★

Snyder is a very good writer, who keeps the story moving at a good pace but still provides enough description to draw the reader into the story and really make them cheer for Yelena.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Playlist Friday

Alright, so technical issues (read: Blogger is being obnoxious and not allowing me to upload pictures properly) are preventing me from having Fashion Friday like I'd like to.  Well, I didn't want to just post three reviews in a row; I mean, even book bloggers can get a little tired of reviews.

So, after some thought, I've decided to institute a temporary replacement meme. Drumroll please. Playlist Friday!

Which is kind of uninspired, as names go, but whatever.  Basically I'm just going to post ten songs that I love this week.  So feel free to look them up (I promise they're awesome), comment on them, or let me know what you've been listening to!  I love hearing about great new music almost as much as great new books! And you know I love comments :)

About A Girl - The Academy Is...
(also, an excellent music video.)
Break Your Little Heart - All Time Low
Bring It (Snakes on a Plane) - Cobra Starship
(I actually hated this song initially. But somehow it's grown on me... a lot)
Can't Stand It - Nevershoutnever
(I can't explain why I like this song, exactly. But every time I hear it, it just makes me smile uncontrollably! Also, minor profanity alert, if that bothers you)
Hello Brooklyn - All Time Low
(My new life goal is to visit all of these cities)
Hold My Hand - New Found Glory
My First Kiss - 3Oh!3/Ke$ha
Skyway Avenue - We The Kings
Stupid Love Letter - The Friday Night Boys
This City Is Contagious - The Cab

I have what I like to think of as "eclectic" tase in music (this translates to I Will Listen To Literally Anything But Country.)  So seriously, let me know what your favorite band/song/music video is!

Alright, this post had absolutely nothing to do with books, so I'll add this: I've just finished a series of pretty cool books, so look forward to some great reviews in the next few days!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Aurelie, A Faerie Tale

Princess Aurelie, Loic the river-drac shapeshifting boy, Garin the foreigner, and Netta the serving girl all played together as children. Loic gifted his friends with the ability to see the magical beings around them, the Fae. His gift can be deadly, though, for if the Fae discover it they will exact terrible prices from the humans.

After a tragic incident in which Netta slips up and loses her sight, the four are forced to split up and go their separate ways. Now, a few years later, they are all young adults with their own agendas. Princess Aurelie wants to stop the brewing war between her country and Garin’s; Netta just wants to be with Loic; Loic has grown powerful but cold in the world of the Fae; and Garin is forced to choose between his love and his country. Meanwhile, someone is pulling all the strings behind two countries on the brink of war, and that someone has a dark plan for the princess, the Fae, and anyone else that gets in her way…

Entertainment: ★★★

There wasn’t anything bad about Aurelie, but there really wasn’t much good either. It was just a bit… bland.

Plot: ★★

First of all, there wasn’t much plot. Until the whole first half of the book had gone by, there was no real villain or antagonist, and all the protagonists just kind of did their own thing. Even once they got their act together (way too far into the story), it wasn’t much of an act. Two boys, two girls, perfectly matched up. There was hardly any romantic tension, and no worrying about who would end up with whom. The villain was fairly obvious, pretty much as soon as they appeared. True, I didn’t guess the big ending, but only because in my opinion the author really didn’t provide enough information or foreshadowing; my immediate reaction was, “Um… what?” And for all that, the climax wasn’t too impressive anyways.

Characters: ★★★★

Here, Aurelie did shine. I liked the take on the Fae; they weren’t the usual, “Humans, but prettier and immortal and environmentally friendly!” No, there were all sorts of different creatures, all quite imaginative. I particularly liked Loic, the river drac; his species was quite interesting.

As individuals, the characters all did fairly well for themselves. My only quibble is that I never felt like they were really in danger; there was a token enemy or peril to face at every turn, of course, but I was never seriously worried that any of them would get anything less than a happy ending.

Writing: ★★★

I disliked the fact that Tomlinson used funny names for her Fae; for example, a weird beastie called the gargouille. I assume this is a play on “Gargoyle,” but it was confusing and complicated. Not the best wordplay ever. Tomlinson also insisted on plenty of other entirely unpronounceable names. Maybe it’s not a direct problem for you if you’re not reading the story out loud, but I like a character whose name I can say without stuttering and mispronuncing it. Aside from this, the writing was quite good, although a little short on description sometimes. Tomlinson did a good job mixing up her characters’ voices; when the narrator switched, I could tell from the change in tone and vocabulary and such, which is always nice.

Overall: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (4)

On Trailer Tuesdays, I spotlight two cool trailers for two cool books!

First up, Project 17.  This trailer is downright creepy!  And I just love the whole home-movie feel to it.  So scary!

The second trailer, for Halo, is just plain cool.

So what do you think of this week's trailers?  And what's your favorite book trailer?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: The Clockwork Angel

Tessa Gray is sixteen when she sails to Victorian England in search of her brother, Nathaniel.  On arrival she is kidnapped by two warlocks of the Pandemonium Club, who unlock her magical ability to transform into any person.  She is rescued by Shadowhunters, who introduce her to the Downworld.  The Downworld is a world of vampires, werewolves, demons, warlocks, monsters, and the Shadowhunters responsible for keeping them all under control.  But things are changing: there's Tessa's power, which confounds the Shadowhunters.  There's the mysterious clockwork people that shouldn't exist.  And there's the dangerous force calling itself the Magister, who seems to be orchestrating everything...

Tessa finds herself drawn to the Shadowhunters, particularly the sarcastic and moody Will and the fragile, beautiful James.  Torn between them, she must face a dark plot which may kill them and the rest of the world... and Tessa is the key to it all.

Entertainment: ★★★★★

This book is seriously amazing.  It combines magic, romance, steampunk, urban fantasy, and just about every other awesome genre in one action-packed book.  Couldn't put it down.

Plot: ★★★★★

I think the best adjective to describe this plot would be "awesome."  There were plenty of twists I didn't see coming, and the ending was amazing... due to major spoilers, I won't talk in detail about what exactly I loved about the plot, but let's just say it's great.  Really stellar.  Also, it really sets the stage for an equally amazing second book in the series.

Characters: ★★★

If you've read the Mortal Instruments series (I have), you might notice some interesting similarities between some of the characters, like Will and Jace.  I had fun analyzing those similarities.

That said, most of the characters were decent, although many of them were not as impressive as the characters from Mortal Instruments.  Characterization, in fact, was the only aspect of the book that I had any problem with.  I was particularly disappointed by Magnus Bane, who was not nearly as freakin' awesome as he was in the previous series. 

And by the way, I'm Team James.  All the way.  Even though Will has some pretty amazing lines and some interesting depth to him, I completely fell for James.

Writing: ★★★★★

Clare is a really great writer.

End Result: five stars.  A really excellent book.  Read it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review: Looking For Alaska

Miles was a nobody, with no friends and no life and nothing except a passion for famous last words.  And then, searching for a "Great Perhaps" (last words, Rabelais) he moves to boarding school in Birmingham.  His roomate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius who lives for pranks.  Chip nicknames him Pudge and introduces him to Alaska.  Alaska is crazy, beautiful, sexy, funny, amazing, self-destructive, a wonderful disaster looking for a place to happen.  She teaches Miles/Pudge to drink, smoke, and prank; in just days, he is head over heels in love with her.

But underneath it all Alaska is truly, deeply unhappy.  She's a screwed-up person.  The book is divided into two parts, with each chapter labled the number of days "before" or "after" the tragedy that changes Miles forever.

Entertainment: ★★★★★

Wow.  Seriously, that's all I can say.  Wow.

Plot: ★★★★

Miles' journey is honest and amazing.  And although what comes "before" is funny and intense, it's what comes "after" that really makes the book.  It's a lot of soul-searching and touchy-feely stuff, which doesn't usually appeal to me, but in this case... it was amazing.

Characters: ★★★★★

Alaska is of course the enigmatic star of the show.  She ricochets wildly from funny, fun, and upbeat to angry, crazy, and depressed.  There's just a lot of her, and she's a really excellent character.  Chip/the Colonel was equally awesome; a trailer-park genius with a Napoleon complex, creative but totally real.  And then Miles, the good kid who'd never smoked or broken a rule; his self-discovery was really amazing to read.  And the side characters, too, were fully characterized and real.  I don't even know what to write about them, seriously, except that they were really, truly awesome.

Writing: ★★★★★

I'll just list some adjectives: light, dark, funny, honest, self-deprecating, open, real.  And those five stars up there just about sum it up for me.

End Result: five stars.  A really excellent book.  Read it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fashion Friday

Today's book has two covers, actually, and luckily my look works for both!  Here it is: Flame/Fall of a Kingdom!


Now, I have to mention, this is an excellent installment in an excellent series; it's in a place of honor on my Shelf of Awesome Books.  I was excited to put together an outfit for it!

The skirt brings in the whole desert/tribal thing, which is a big part of the story's culture.  It also has orange, which goes with both covers.  The shoes echo it, and the plain shirt keeps it neat and understated, like the style of the main female lead.  Also, the shirt matches the black shading on the covers.  As an extra bonus, there's a decorated gold bracelet, just like the one that plays an important role in the story!

So what do you think of the look?  Do you think it matches the book?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

General Update

Hi everybody! So, novapsych has hit its first monthiversery (yay) and I've got some followers (love you guys)!

And according to my Blogger Stats (yes, I creep all of you on Stats), I've had visits from people from Israel, the Philippines, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Brazil, Australia, China, Canda, and the USA.

I feel so very international right now, you have no idea.

And I really wish I could speak anything besides English.

Anyways, I'm having fun blogging and I hope you're all having fun reading, so good afternoon (or night, or morning, or whatever) and keep visiting novapsych!

PS: Tell your friends :)

Review: Stealing Heaven

Danielle is a thief. Her earliest memory is watching quietly as her Mom robs a house; her life consists of flitting from rich neighborhood to rich neighborhood, watching her mother charm men and steal. And Dani helps her steal. It’s all she’s ever known for eighteen years, and she’s pretty much okay with it.

Then, she comes to Heaven. Heaven is a beach resort for the filthy rich to hang out with other rich people, just like hundreds of others Dani’s robbed over the years. But Heaven is different, because Heaven has Allison – talkative, quirky Allison who may actually want to be friends. Heaven has Greg, funny, cute, stubborn Greg who definitely wants to be more than friends. And Dani likes him too. The only problem? He’s a cop, her worst enemy. The con is spiraling out of control as Dani struggles with her conscience and with herself, forced to choose between the only family she has and the only friends she’s ever had.

Entertainment: ★★★★

This was a really cool book. I loved Dani. I liked Heaven. And I was really caught up in their story. Scott does an amazing job of crafting a realistic world and catching the reader up in that world.

Plot: ★★★★

There’s not a whole lot of action in this plot – it’s a very internalized type of story – but I loved all Dani’s introspection and the choices she has to make. I liked the ending, and overall I thought this story was really sweet.

Characters: ★★★★★

Most authors try to write thieves as either Good And Noble or Very Bad. Dani is an amazingly well-written grey area. She also has one of the best internal struggles I’ve read in a while; realistic, not overboard or underwritten. I liked Greg very much (too bad he’s fictional) and I loved Dani’s mom. She’s incredibly flawed but incredibly real. An amazing side character. Beyond those three, most of the other characters only made cameo appearances and never really had a chance to make an impact, but still came off as quite realistic and well-written.

Writing: ★★★★

Dani’s narrative is honest. I loved her “voice,” which comes through excellently. I loved her openly cynical tone and her openly cynical description of social interactions. Stealing Heaven might have benefitted from a little more description of the scenery and side characters and things like that, but since the story was supposed to focus on Dani and her internal story I’m okay without it. A really well-written book.

End Result: four stars. A good book, definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (4)

Wishlist Wednesday is where I mention an upcoming title that I'm really excited about reading!

This week, I can't wait for Ascendant, by Diana Peterfreund!  I loved the first book in the series (my review's here) and I hope the sequel can measure up to the standards set by Rampant.

I have to admit, the cover isn't as impressive as Rampant's.  The teaser summary sounds pretty cool, though, especially the final line: Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?  If you want to read more about the book, check it out at

So what do you think?  Do you like Peterfreund's writing?  Will you be reading Ascendant?  And what book can you not wait to get your hands on?