Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review: Masters of the Veil, (Veil #1) Daniel Cohen

Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player. every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer.Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot.As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown. but all humankind. Goodreads

          I haven't read many YA novels with a male protagonist, but I think I should start. I loved Sam. He's the type of believable character I could easily see being from my old high-school. (If my high school had football superstars) His reactions, emotions, and dialog were all very realistic. And his best, maybe only, friend Glissandro? He can only speak through his music. How cool is that?
         Atlas Crown itself was hard for me to really picture. It is so different from our world, with it's own culture, customs, food, and living spaces. But once I got my head around it, it was awesome.
          I was glad that Daniel didn't try to turn this facinating story into just another love drama. Actually, there isn't much of a romance factor at all. There are two girls that feature as possible love intrests, but it really isn't part of the main story. Actually, I loved how Sam, in typical teenage boy fasion, has no idea what either of them truly wants, or the best way to impress them.
         Perhaps my favorite part of the book is how easy it was for Sam to make the wrong choices. Without giving too much away, there were times where I wasn't eve 100% sure who the bad guys were.  I've read several novels where the villian is so obvious that the main character's struggle to do the right thing seems fake. Not so with Masters of the Veil.
      The only reason Daniel doesn't earn all 5 stars in my opinion is that the early descriptions of Atlas Crown reminded me of a combination of Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, both of which creeped me out. But that is totally an opinion issue, so you should check it out yourself! If you're looking for a vivid new world of magic, mystery, danger, and excitement, you won't go wrong with Masters of the Veil.

4.5/5 Stars

YA notes: Mild language

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I've had a few people tell me that it's practically impossible to comment on my blog. I think I've fixed the problem, but I need volunteers to test it out for me. Any takers?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Short Story Therapy

  So, I may have discovered my own cure for writer's block!!! For anyone who doesn't know, I'm working really hard on my first full-length novel. But lately it seems that all I can do is re-write what I've already said. So basically, I'm getting nowhere.

Solution: I decided to quit for a little while. But instead of laying down my pen, (figuratively, of course. I don't actually use pens. I'm a lefty and they make my hand yucky.) I wrote two totally different short stories and I read a book. And guess what? I'm now brimming with new ideas for my own book. Heck, I even named the manuscript, which I've been trying to do for six months. Now I just need to get the ideas out of my head and onto the paper and I'll be a famous author in no time. It is that easy, right? (Read with tons of sarcasm.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Stolen Away, by Alyxandra Harvey

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.  Taken from Goodreads

I love all things Faery, so of course I had to get this book. The imagery and descriptions Alyxandra used were awesome, and between the two viewpoints and fast paced action, it was hard to but it down. Unfortunately, the plot confused me at a few points and I can't help but feel that if the book was a bit longer the author could have explained to us how some things worked. But it could just be me. After all, I read the book in less than 24 hours with a toddler in the house, so I might have missed something.

Characters: The story alternates between the viewpoints of Eloise and Jo, and Alyxadra does a great job of making the reader feel connected to both. Personally, my favorite was Jo, because I see a lot of myself in her. I do wish that we got to spend a little time with Devin. As the only member of the trio of best friends without his own chapter, he just doesn't seem to quite fit in the narrative.

I'd have to say that my favorite thing about Stolen Away is that there are two very different yet equally swoon-worthy guys who managed to steal my heart without a love triangle drama or over the top sexual tension, which seems to be happening a lot in YA right now. Bottom line: If you're looking for a highly detailed guide to the Faery Realm, this probably isn't for you. But, if you want a quick, lighthearted read that will leave you curious about what happens next, go get this one today. 

YA notes: Some strong language 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ah, traditions...

Spencer Hill Press is at it again! They are compiling stories for a new anthology, andof course I want to be in it. But this time, they are looking for the "real" reasons behind some of our favorite holiday traditions.  I have a few ideas, but I'd like some input. What strange holiday traditions would YOU like to see finally explained?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Pure, (Covenant #2) Jennifer Armentrout

There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone. Goodreads

First off, I’d love to smack some sense into Alex, but I’m afraid she’d just kick my butt. Jennifer has produced an awesome second book in the Covenant trilogy. The action is non-stop, the plot is fantastic, and the ending made me VERY sad that the third book, Deity, isn’t out until October. *sighs*
Aiden seemed a bit more realistic (read: dumb guy) in this one, making me love him a little less, but only a little.  Seth, on the other hand…. I just don’t get it. Yes, his features look chiseled out of marble, and he was there (and surprisingly sensitive) for Alex at a few key points when Aiden was not. But in the end he’s an unapologetic man-whore. Sorry, but he is. So, not that we know where I stand on the Aiden vs. Seth issue, moving on.
I love that there is obviously something bigger going on, but going into book three, I still don’t know what it is. The surprises just keep coming, which is awesome. Without spoiling the book, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about the plot. But I giggled, I cried (on the inside) and I read it really fast because there just isn’t a good spot to put this book down. I do feel that the sexual tensions were a little over the top for YA, but other than that, I have no complaints!

4/5 stars

YA notes: strong language, suggestive/sexual content.