Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

I am a big fan of Jim Butchers' Dresden Files series, and of high fantasy. I just had to try this series.

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

One of the first things that I think Butcher does well is his characters. They come flying off the page. The first character you meet is Amara. She is a Cursor, a messenger/spy for the king. She is independent, clever, and couragious. She was my favorite character from this series and not because she can fly.
Tavi is the main character that the story revolves around. He is fifteen and very smart. He doesn't have a bond with any fury, but what he lacks in furycrafting he makes up for in intelligence.
You get to meet a lot of charcters in this story, and even though there are a lot, they don't get mixed up or confusing. The storyline easily flows to encompass everyone.
The plot of the story was interesting. I liked the idea of having people connect with a natural elemental being. The world building was nice. I could clearly picture the Steadhold, mountains, and the various other places we get to go.

All in all I thought it was well written and look forward to traveling back to Alera and spending more time with these characters.

Here is a link to the author's webpage

Daily Book Chat and Contest - Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine

Daily Book Chat and Contest - Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine

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Fallen by Lauren Kate

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

I am just gonna come right out and say it. I was disappointed by this book, and it makes me sad. I was really looking forward to reading this. It is not often that I find a book that is hard for me to finish but I found myself struggling to read it. I wanted to stop halfway through but trudged on hoping it would get better. And finally it did with about fifty pages left.

I feel as if the book never really explained anything. I still don't believe in the relationship between Luce and Daniel. You never get a clear picture that these two are suppose to be together, you are just told they are and are supposed to believe it. Sorry, but I need proof.

I am just confused after reading this, I guess it is a good thing there will be another. Hopefully the next one will take the time to explain itself better and not be full of fluff that doesn't matter.

In my opinion, don't buy this book, get it from the library.

Demon Bound by Caitlin Kittredge

This is the second book in the Black London Series. Here is a summary and my review following...

Jack Winter’s deadly past has come back to haunt him...and his only hope lies in the shadows of Black London, the supernatural underworld teeming with dark magic and fey glamour.
Thirteen years ago, Jack Winter lay dying in a graveyard. Jack called upon a demon and traded his soul for his life…and now the demon is back to collect its due. But Jack has finally found something to live for. Her name is Pete Caldecott—and because of her, Jack’s not going to Hell without a fight.
Pete doesn't know about Jack’s bargain, but she does know that something bigger and far more dangerous than Jack’s demon is growing in the Black. Old gods are stirring and spirits are rising—and Jack doesn’t stand a chance of stopping them without Pete’s help…

First of all let me say, if you haven't read the first book in the series Street Magic, do so immediately. You can read them out of order and be ok but why when you don't have to.

I was so excited to step back into the Black with Jack and Pete. In the first pages you are thrown right back into the action. Pete and Jack are working together to help those with witchy problems. They end up traveling to places outside of London and as far away as Thailand. We get to meet some new characters some human, some not. My favorite being Trixie, a tattoo covered bar owner.
The main plot of the story revolves around Jack trying to deal with the bargain he made with a demon. My favorite part of the story is the relationship between Jack and Pete. I love how they react to each other. Both needing the other, but able to be independent.
The ending is a cliffhanger, one that makes me a little nervous. I am not sure how the next book will go, but since it is authored by Caitlin Kittredge, we can rest assured it will be good.
Here is a link to the author's webpage

RSVP For: 12/11 - Interview, Chat and Contest With Author Caitlin Kittridge

I am reading her latest Black London book Demon Bound.
RSVP For: 12/11 - Interview, Chat and Contest With Author Caitlin Kittridge

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I picked up this book because it seemed like something new and exciting. Boy was it! Here is the summary and my review following.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I really enjoyed this book. Right from the beginning the action starts and doesn't stop until the very end. My favorite part about the story is how involved you get with the characters. I was right there with Katsa, feeling her joy, sorrow, triumph and courage. Katsa is one of those characters that makes you smile when she does, and furrow your brows while screaming "what are you doing?"
And Po is exactly what she needs. A friend and a confidant. Someone that can understand what it is like to live being Graced.
This book is full of adventure, friendship and love. A true fantasy beautifully told.

Here is the link to the authors blog

RSVP For: 12/8 - Interview, Chat and Contest With Author Becca Fitzpatrick

Bitten by books is having a chat with an author of a book I reviewed here, Hush Hush.

RSVP For: 12/8 - Interview, Chat and Contest With Author Becca Fitzpatrick

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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I found this book while browsing around on amazon. I read the little exert and was hooked. Here is the summary with my review following.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
My favorite thing about this book was the fact it was narrated by a boy. This was my first young adult book with a guy voice. I enjoyed it immensely. I am a girl, I know how I would react to a situation, so I can guess how other girls would too. But guys on the other hand, sometimes it's a mystery.
I found Ethan to be quite endearing. I warmed to him immediately. He was bored living in his small southern town until Lena rolls in driving her uncles hearse. And his life completely changes. Some for the good, and some for the scary.
I also enjoyed reading about the relationship between Ethan and Lena. It wasn't the love and first sight, can't live without you kind of thing. It was natural. They knew they had some kind of connection, but not how or why.
I thought the book was well written. It is pretty long, 563 pages, quite thick for a young adult. But I never found myself getting bored, or skipping ahead. So bravo ladies and I look forward to the next in the series, atleast I hope there will be more!
Here is a fun link to enjoy or learn more about the book!

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I have had this book sitting on my book shelf for about a year. I first bought it because the book cover caught my eye and I have a soft spot for historical novels set in England. Well I finally got around to reading it. Here is the summary with my review following.

Despite having argued long and hard to be allowed to go to London, the Gemma Doyle that arrives on the doorstep of the city's fashionable Spence Academy is not the discontented teenager from Bombay who had her hopes set on the big city. Mourning the tragic death of her mother, she is unable tell anyone the truth. Saddened by her father's retreat into laudanum and her oh-so-proper brother's insistence that she be the prim Victorian miss that she is not, Gemma despairs of fitting in. Her role as an outsider seems assured when beautiful Pippa and sophisticated Felicity lump her with her roommate, Ann, a scholarship student. To top it off, one of the mysterious men present when her mother died seems to be following her. Her bleak prospects change when she is led to the diary of Mary Dowd, a former Spence girl who penetrated the secrets of The Realm that now link Gemma, her mother, Felicity, Ann, and Pippa with a life and death struggle.

I find myself sitting here not quite knowing how to start my review. Having just finished the book it is still fresh in my mind. So I will write my likes and my concerns.

First my likes...
I enjoyed the character of Gemma Doyle. I found her refreshing. The novel is set in the late 1800's when young women were suppose to be perfect english ladies. Gemma is snarky, independent and is not afraid to stick up for others regardless of their station. And like any girl thrown into a new environment she just wants to belong.
I also enjoyed the character of Kartik. The silent protector. Even though he and Gemma have few moments together, I found myself wishing their were more.
I really do love historical novels set in England. It makes me wish I could be there. I could picture in my mind the fog covered grounds of the school. The dreary rainy days. Having to go to school for things such as proper tea service and waltzing. How different things are now!

My concerns...
Right from the start I had a feeling about Felicity and Pippa. After reading the book, I am interested to see how Gemma handles her friendships with them.
The one thing I found the most troublesome with the book was part of its plot. The Order and the part about the other realms I am a little confused about. We don't really get a very good picture about them or the purpose of them going to other realms. But like I said above there are two more books to discover the mystery.

Overall I enjoyed the book. There were some really sad moments. You definately feel for Gemma when it comes to her family and her feeling alone. But there are also times when you get a big smile on your face, either when she is standing up for friends or putting Kartik in his place. And it is never a bad thing to escape to another time and place, especially Victorian England.
Here is a link to learn more about the books...