Review: Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Timeless new Timeless
by Alexandra Monir

ISBN-13: 9-780385-738392
Publication: January 2011 from Delacorte BYR
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s family, she is forced to move from Los Angeles to New York City to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their historic Fifth Avenue mansion, filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers the biggest family secret of all – an ancestor’s diary that, amazingly, had the power to send her back in time to 1910, the year it was written. There, at a glamorous high-society masquerade ball, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life. And she finds herself falling for him, and into an otherworldly romance.

Soon Michele is leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – and to complete a quest that will determine their fate.

divider

Timeless by Alexandra Monir is one of those rare time travel books that manages to keep my head from hurting too greatly. The concept is intriguing, well-done and suits the tone of the story. Michele Windsor, after a tragedy strikes her small family, is forced to move across country from California to New York City to live with grandparents she has never met. It’s there, in their breathtaking mansion, that Michele makes her time traveling discovery and has her world once again turned upside down.

I found Michele a tough character to get to know. Yes, she likes composing music, loves her family, is a kind person and seems genuinely nice, but that’s really all you know. You can tell from the beginning and meeting Michele’s grandparents that there are buried family secrets that will hopefully be revealed throughout the course of the novels. Michele’s absent father is one such secret, and the slow reveal for that one is tantalizing. The method of time travel is very neat, as are the descriptions of old New York and the fashions of the time. Music plays a huge part of the story and I liked reading the lyrics that Michele creates for Philip’s music – oh Philip. I think the one part of the story I was a little wary about was the Michele and Philip storyline (crazy, I know, since that’s really the main part of the book). It’s very insta-loveish which I am not a big fan of. As well, at one point Michele leaves Philip for his own good (being separated by time and all) and yet through time travel manages to still see him frequently in his future. It was all very quick. But thankfully, I liked Philip. Nice guy, musical, strong and marches to his own beat. H and Michele fit each other.

3.5 heart

Timeless by Alexandra Monir is a love story that transcends time. Despite the family secrets, the mystery of how Michele can time travel and why, the base of the plot is a love story – how can Michele and Philip beat Time and stay together? Despite my hesitation of insta-love and a lack of deeper connection with the characters, I have to say – Timeless has one crazy ending! Talk about your cliffhangers. I was thankful I had a copy of the sequel to read right after because I needed it. This series is a relaxed, enjoyable and perfect to quench the need for some romance.

Paperback received from Authors on the Web in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Advertisements

Review: Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Magisterium
by Jeff Hirsch

ISBN-13: 9-780545-290180
Publication: October 2012 from Scholastic Press
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

On one side of the rift is a technological paradise without famine or want.

On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life without knowing what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin Kapoor, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft. But magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies, and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send her and Kevin on the run – with only one place to go.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch blends a mix of magic and technology into a truly unique world and adventure. The Rift divides Glenn’s world in two – the Colloquium, where she lives, and the Magisterium, the place beyond the Rift that she believes to be barren and lifeless. Until she finds herself running from her government and a visitor to the Magisterium.

The technology and futuristic world of the Colloquium is wonderful. The details that Jeff Hirsch has put into both it and the fuedal-like society of the Magisterium really bring you into Glenn’s world and help paint the pictures of the two lands in your mind. It’s easy to imagine the forests and towns, and the city. Glenn is an intriguing and interesting main character – her mother walked out on the family when Glenn was young, and her scientist father is often wrapped up in work. Glenn strives to be accepted into a program that will send her into space and the new colony planet. Her best friend is a boy she doesn’t even really like all that much, and her entire life gets turned upside down when her dad is arrested and she and best friend Kevin go on the run and find themselves on the other side of the Rift. She manages to keep a good head about her and takes responsibility when needed. She’s determined and strong and wicked powerful. Because oh yes, the Magisterium has magic it does. And also, can I just say I love Glenn’s full name? Glenora. Very neat.

The moments describing use of Affinity (magic) are wonderful. Vivid, colourful and slightly terrifying. Jeff Hirsch is a master of description. The action present in Magisterium starts early and just continues until the end. The book moves at a fast pace and is never boring. And while this book is pretty awesome, I do have to say that I was often wondering WHY the Colloquium government wants to invade across the Rift. Obviously to try and harness Affinity, but it just seemed kind of strange. They’re so far advanced technologically, why magic? And Kevin, though the best friend and fairly main character, changes so quickly. While in the Magisterium, Kevin is given memories of some other boy. And he immediately flips personalities. But then kind of flips back? I’m not sure, but it was odd, as was the eventual romance between Glenn and Kevin. Glenn’s mother also comes into play near the middle/end of the book, and I won’t say how because I don’t want to spoil it. Although if you read the book you might be able to guess early on when she’ll show up and how.

3.5 heart

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch ends wide open for potential sequels. I would definitely visit Glenn’s world again, if for nothing more then to get further answers to questions and experience the magic, tech and world that Jeff Hirsch has so wonderfully brought to life. I think this one will definitely be enjoyed by fantasy/sci-fi fans, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting to try the genres. Great world building and a kick-ass female heroine keep the pages turning in this book, and contributes to late nights spent reading.

ARC provided from Scholastic Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey

Demon Eyes
by Scott Tracey

ISBN-13: 9-780738-726458
Publication: October 2012 from Flux
Series: book 2 in Witch Eyes
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Braden thought he had destroyed Lucien, a calculating demon trapped for centuries in a human body. But he’s haunted by disturbing visions of the undead demon promising to return and a terrible warning: The feud between Belle Dam’s two witch dynasties–ruled by Catherine Lansing and Braden’s father–is about to get unimaginably worse. As young girls start disappearing from town, Braden knows Lucien’s diabolical scheme has been set in motion. Forced to explore the unknown powers of his witch eyes, Braden becomes the ultimate weapon in a deadly magical war.

SPOILERS FOR WITCH EYES!

Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey, the second book in the Witch Eyes series, thrusts readers right back into Braden’s story with immediate creepy happenings, mystery and intrigue.

While Braden is still recovering from the happenings in Witch Eyes, new developments are arising in Belle Dam that aren’t looking so good for our main characters. Girls are disappearing and there are hints that the demon Lucien may not be as dead as we’d all hoped. Over the course of the book Braden showcases the beginnings of a personality change, but who wouldn’t start to think and act differently when dealing with things that can kill you and a debilitating power – also the uncertainty that is his relationship with Trey (at one point, in amongst them not being together, they end up making out in a closet. I’m sure I found it more hilarious than it was meant to be). And Jason, Braden’s father? I can understand why Braden gets so frustrated and annoyed at him sometimes – he is quite aggravating at times, though I can’t help thinking there’s more to the feud between the Lansings and the Thorpes than Braden is being told. Also, I’m curious how Drew plays into everything. He has to have some more backstory than what has been revealed so far.

I thought I would spend most of this second book still being a bit confused about the witches and the town (do Trey and Jade have powers? People in the town seem to know about the feud, but do they know about witches?), but questions are definitely answered in Demon Eyes that start to clear up some questions for both Braden and the reader! But despite all the answers revealed, more questions just keep coming, things get more mysterious than ever before and honestly, you can’t trust anyone in this town. I’m surprised everyone’s not paranoid about everything and everyone else – I would be. There is a good pace set throughout the book, not too much investigating or too much constant action. The best action is the ending, and there are some great revelations about Grace (the witch who had the Witch Eyes before Braden and large part of the town’s history and founding).

While I found a few plot threads to be a bit hard to follow since there is quite a lot going on and not all the information we need has been presented yet, that’s also a bit of a good thing? There are still lots of loose ends to tie up in the third book, and a cliffhangery ending to lead right into it. Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey is a solid second book in the series. It shows Braden becoming more aggressive in his search for what’s been happening with the feud, in Belle Dam and what’s going on with his Witch Eyes, steps up the plot twists and turns and even has some angsty romance going on. I’m curious to see where the third book takes us.

e-ARC provided thanks to Netgalley and Flux in exchange for my honest review. Thanks!

Review: Mira’s Diary: Lost In Paris by Marissa Moss [blog tour]

Mira’s Diary: Lost In Paris
by Marissa Moss

ISBN-13: 9-781402-266065
Publication: September 2012 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

When Mira receives a cryptic postcard from her missing mother, she set off with her father and brother to find her in Paris. Only Mira doesn’t know she’s looking in the wrong century.

With an innocent touch to a gargoyle sculpture on the roof of Notre Dame, Mira is whisked into the past. There she learns her mother has the ability to time travel and can move between the centuries to revise past wrongs. And Mira has inherited her gift!

But her mother is in trouble, pursued by others bent on stopping her. So Mira must step in. Following her mother’s clues, Mira travels to nineteenth-century Paris where she meets the famous artists Degas, Mary Cassatt, Renoir, and Monet. She enlists their help to free a falsely accused soldier and bring her mother home.

Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss is a smart middle grade novel that contains an interesting method of time travel, good character voice and a great take on history.

Mira’s mother has disappeared without a word, until a postcard arrives in the mail from France. Determined to find her, Mira, her brother and their father set out for Paris – where Mira finds her mother, but a whole lot of trouble as well. Transported back to nineteenth-century Paris, Mira finds herself befriending artists (like Degas), chasing her mother through both Paris streets and Time, and running away from another time travel who seems determined to stop Mira’s mission to put right a past wrong. But Mira’s a very down to Earth, reasonable and responsible girl, time traveling or no, and she won’t let someone stop her. I quite liked Mira’s determination and resourcefulness – she doesn’t panic in the face of something new, but rolls with it and tries to make the best of a crazy situation. I also liked that through the book she has a lot of uncertainty about what she’s doing, but perseveres. Unfortunately, I found most of the secondary characters to be fairly two dimensional, and outside of Degas, little explored. There was a brief almost-romance between Mira and a young helper to Degas, Claude, that I felt was not really necessary, but cute.

There are small sketches scattered throughout the chapters representing Mira’s own sketches and they really add a nice touch to the story and plot. I was a little confused on the subject of the other time travelers and what their actual purposes were,but they lent an air of suspense to the novel. Mira’s mission in the story is to try and right an injustice that was done to a Jewish member of the French army and her attempts and the information she gathers provide a nice lesson on the wrongs of intolerance, prejudice and antisemitism in a way that a younger teen will be able to easily swallow and understand. The author has provided a historical recap of the event that she uses in the story, as well as a bibliography which I found so refreshing – actual research and historical events! The history major in me grinned quite a bit when I saw that.

Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss is a quiet sort of book. While it has some action scenes and a bit of suspense in regards to whether Mira completed her mission, the story focuses on Mira’s journey and history that she is seeing first-hand. And as with all history, there is no real epic conclusion – rather, there is a sense of Mira having complete what she time traveled to do, but the results were not seen right away, and people were still hurt despite her best efforts to save everyone. This book has a great message wrapped up in an entertaining story and I’m hoping to read more Mira adventures!

e-ARC received from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Blackwood
by Gwenda Bond

ISBN-13: 9-781908-844071
Publication: September 2012 from Strange Chemistry
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just a story for the tourists. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people right now, an unlikely pair of 17 year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is an entertaining mystery story that surrounds the legend of Roanoke Island. Bond has taken the legend and all the speculation about what really happened and created intriguing characters and backstory to not just fictionally explain the original occurrence, but delve into a modern day repeat of the disappearances.

The main character Miranda has an incredibly mysterious past, considering her family is disliked by almost the entire island, she’s apparently cursed, and she’s not sure why. You’d think she’d know something like that. Miranda’s a likes able enough character, she’s sincere and tough, a lady geek and self-sufficient. But she has crazy ideas about relationships, if you ask me. Phillips, the main boy and love interest, is a nice enough guy. Very sweet and capable in weird situations. But he is the catalyst for Miranda’s school life being crap, and she hasn’t seen him in three years. They get together pretty quickly, disembodied voices, curses and disappearances aside.

The story sets up a nice mystery, not all the details are released at once and there is sufficient suspense to keep you turning the pages and wanting to know what will happen next. Things seem pretty hopeless and desperate until the end (of course), but Miranda and Phillips keep hoping for a good ending, and so does the reader. The addition of the FBI agents who are investigating the disappearances and Miranda’s father in particular are an odd addition, especially since they think Phillips, and Miranda, are to blame (for some weird reason).

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is a creepy and well-imagined take on the Roanoke mystery, with good writing and an interesting plot. While the were some factors that hindered my overall view of the book (including Miranda’s overuse of the word frak), I still found it an enjoyable read and would recommend it to any fan of historical mysteries and magic. Also, can I just say that I loved the Supernatural references, especially since they did that Croatoan episode? Very cool.

ARC provided by Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Teen Boat! by Dave Roman & John Green

Teen Boat!
by Dave Roman & John Green

ISBN-13: 9-780547-636696
Publication: May 2012 from Clarion Books (HMH)
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

Teen Boat! is the Ignatz Award-winning story of a boy with the power to transform into a small yacht! From breaking out into barnacles to facing pirates and detention, all the challenges of adolescence are here with a nautical twist. Being a teen AND being a boat means dealing with a lot of pier pressure!

Teen Boat! is one interesting graphic novel. Broken into parts, the novel is divided into mini stories – almost like episodes in a television show. All deal with the adventures and antics of Teen Boat, a typical high school guy on the surface, but with the mysterious power to turn into a small yacht.

The panels in Teen Boat! are colourful and easy to follow, and the artwork is very easy on the eyes. The story is, like I said, a bunch of mini-episodes all with an overarching plot of Teen Boat in high school and his adventures. There’s a fun mystery with his friend Joey (who climbs through his window via ladder in the first story, very reminiscent of Joey in Dawson’s Creek) who we figure has some sort of changing power, too, only it’s not yet explored. Leaves something for the next book, I suppose!

Teen Boat! is a very random graphic novel, with a crazy premise, but good storytelling and artwork. I see elementary school kids getting a kick out of this one, and teens appreciating the humour and situations Teen Boat finds himself in.

Hardcover copy received from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook by Christy Dorrity

The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook
by Christy Dorrity, forward by David Farland

ASIN: B007ZS0UBY
Publication: May 2012 from Dorrity Publication
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

Great books, bloggers, and recipes meet in this second volume of a fresh and unique cookbook that helps you experience books, not just read them. This year’s volume features even more tasty reads, recipes and book bloggers.

Books were selected from the author’s book review blog and paired with delectable recipes like “Caramel Crack” from Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi, “Everliving Soup” from Brodi Ashton’s Everneath, and “Jagged Ham” from Elana Johnson’s Possession.
Mouthwatering photos complement every recipe.

The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook includes a foreword by David Farland, award winning, New York Times Bestselling author, and showcases more than one hundred reviews with links to book review blogs and author websites.

Whether you’re a food lover, an avid reader or a book blogger, there’s something for you in The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook.

The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook by Christy Dorrity is such a neat idea. If you follow me on twitter, you know my love for baking, so a cookbook that combines my two favourite things – reading and food – is definitely a good thing.

Christy has combined twenty-two young adult/middle grade books with recipes suited for each story. Each recipe consists of a picture of the book cover, synopsis, explanation for the chosen recipe, photo of the finished product and then the recipe itself (ingredients and instructions), and blurbs from book bloggers about the book. The recipes range from meat main dishes, to sweets, breads and even a drink. I will definitely be trying out some of the desserts (like the Beignet Chess Squares associated with Gypsy Knights by Rhett and Lafe Metz and the Wind-Whirled Ice Cream Cake associated with Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon). Unfortunately, no matter how good the meat main dishes look, I won’t be trying them since almost all of them contain a pork product, which I don’t eat. I may be able to substitute chicken or beef, though, and still have them work out. However, if you’re less picky than I am and do eat pork, these recipes sound and look really yummy!

While a cookbook on its own would strike my interest, I really enjoy that the recipes are attached to books. Not only do you get some great food ideas, but new book ideas as well! There are a few books found in The 2012 Book Bloggers Cookbook that I have yet to read and they have definitely caught my attention. The blurbs from bloggers really help to get an idea of the books being showcased. Now if only I could get this in hardcopy so I can take it into my kitchen and start baking. I’ve been craving ice cream, so ice cream cake sounds good right about now!

E-book provided by Christy Dorrity in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

This post is part of The 2012 Book Bloggers Cookbook tour. Please see Christy’s Website for links to all the tour stops!

About the Author
Christy Dorrity loves to read about cooking and cook about reading. She was taught early to have a discriminating taste for both books and food. Christy grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming. She taught elementary school and lives in the mountains with her husband Devon and their five young children. When Christy’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

Find Christy
Website | Twitter